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VOL 3 ISSUE 3 TRADITION I CULTURE I FLAVOUR I BUSINESS I NEWS SEP 10, 2009

Educationist returns: White fences: Land in the district be-


Former teacher of Hebron ing steadily cordoned off, is raising
School returns from a social and environmental concerns. An
stint overseas as the inclusive perspective is provided by a
school’s new head p 13 recent UN recommendation. p 10, 11

A
eLocal
U N I Q U E P E R S P E C T I V E O F T H E N I L G I R I S
Next issue: The state of public
transportation in the Nilgiris
pic :Staff photographer

Urgent
strides
vital.
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam’s
message, on a recent visit,
inspires locals. p 5
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Cairn Hill Walkers only.
Cairn Hill: One can almost miss the turn, a animals seen or heard here include theNilgiri
little beyond Fernill in Ooty, where a tiny Langur ( Presbytis johni), Giant Squirrel
dirt track leads off the main road, into the (Ratufa indica), Barking Deer (Muntiacus
fascinating ‘walk’ called Cairn Hill. muntjak) and Indian Porcupine (Hystix
Yes, walk! Home to the oldest Cyprus indica) alongwith birds such as Nilgiri
(Cupressus macrocarpa) plantations in the Laughing Thrush (endemic to Nilgiris),
Nilgiris (1868), this is, according to the Scimitar Babbler, Flycatchers, Bulbuls,
signboard of the Forest department found Thrushes, Fantails, Grey Jungle Fowls,
on the premises, one of the few surviving Sunbirds, Wagtails and Warblers.
original walks as enjoyed by the British. The Wanna go for a walk? Conditions apply: No
department communique states that cars inside the premises. And pesky phones!
What we liked most
Bison: The majestic animal that is the bison, about the Nilgiris.
is found across the length and breadth of
the Nilgiris. 1/3 of the country’s bison are
found here. These largely harmless-to-
humans beasts, are also known as the ‘It’s a pleasant surprise to see coffee growing
Indian Gaur. It is not uncommon now to here’, says the erstwhile coffee planter from
see a herd in and around tea plantations.
Chikmagalur,Karnataka,MrDominicRebello.
Apart from its phenomenal size that easily ‘It’s almost like cats and dogs under one roof’. The
gives its away, the typical identification of a animallovingfamily,basedinBangalore,wasvisiting
bison is its stocking-ed feet and a light grey the Nilgiris on a two day trip. What we liked most
patch on the forehead. With shrinking about the Nilgiris? ‘The holiday mood begins right
habitats, in recent times, the bison has been
from Mysore. The entire drive from there onwards
classified under the Red list of the IUCN
is fascinating. You can do so much along the way -
Bandipur-Mudumalai-Masinagudi-Ooty...’
(International Union for Conservation of
Nature and Natural Resources).

The unique tea brewer mug is an industry first from Glenworth Estates.
The double-glass tea mug is reinforced with the capability to retain
heat for long spells. The 200ml cup (in pic) has a removable strainer
that keeps the tea leaves inside the glass, while you conveniently sip
away. Best to keep handy at your work desk. Also ideal to carry along
on short trips.
travel Ooty’s
favourite His record for
5 must-visit tourist paperwala paper sales is
spots in Ooty. 130 copies on
retires. a Sunday!
In about half a day’s time, with a
His little shop at Charing Cross, opposite
small car or taxi handy, one can Breeks School’s lower gate has been the town
get to the essence of Ooty’s resident’s favourite spot to pick up the
tourism identity. (The 6th one, is Sunday morning edition. ‘ I sold 130 copies
the proverbial icing-on-the-cake). in a single day ’ says the beaming Mr
Karuppaiah, who made humble beginnings
in Ooty 42 years ago. Thats when he arrived
Pykara Lake: here as a young boy from Trichy. ‘Relax
21 kms from Ooty, on the Ooty- Stores’ has been just that to several age
Mysore Road, is the Pykara lake. groups, across the years, stocking thoughtful
It is considered sacred by little items from candy to essential oils.
indigenous tribes. Great for Both his daughters studied in Breeks school
boating. Thank God for digital and are happily settled. His wife, due to
medical reasons, is now settled at Trichy and
cameras. the ‘paper-shop-man’ too moves there for
good but in characteristic local style, he
Ooty Lake: leaves his heart behind.
The Local Correspondent
The glittering jewel of Ooty, the Farewell and thank you from an old school
lake is a treat to behold from afar! boy-regular customer!
Total extent: 65 acres. Officially
opened to boating since 1973.
The Local quiz on the Nilgiri 1. When did the NMR come into being? 2.
Botanical Gardens: MountainRailway(NMR). When was the railway line extended to
Ooty? 3. What is the total length of the
In the heart of Ooty town, this 55 rail line from Mettupalayam to Ooty? 4.
acre expanse is the ‘lungs of the From which elevation does the train start
town’ and its resident population. its journey up? And what is the highest
Its layout was completed in altitude that it touches at Ooty? 5. What
1867. 2000 varieties of flowers, does Abt system stand for? 6. How many
is fascinating and overwhelming. tunnels can be found along the way? How
many stations does the NMR have?
Tea museum & Tea factory:
Enroute Doddabetta, the tea An appeal.
manufacturing experience here, Hanging from a heritage train is as
is total - from leaf to cup, as they horrendous an act as slapping a
grandmother in the face. The respect and
say. The museum is a history reverence that a heritage site deserves is
buff’s delight! lost on most of us who are consumed in
cheap, self-centred notions of what tourism
Doddabetta Peak: Pic, courtesy: Kaiwaan Patel really means.
The 100 year old Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Standing at 2623 msl (metres (NMR) is considered a World Heritage Site,
above sea level) Doddabetta is The Nilgiri Mountain Railway engages the rack & having been conferred this status by the
10 kms from Ooty. The name pinion system, a novel creation to ensure extra and fool UNESCO in 2004!
means ‘big mountain’ in the local proofbrakingofthetrain.Theteeth-likecentrepiecefound Please do not venture to and encourage
language. Surrounded by dense running right up to Kallar station from Coonoor runs ex- others not to brazenly etch names on walls
shola (forests) the peak offers a actly in between the two tracks. A ratchet type cog wheel of compartments, or heritage buildings etc,
attaches itself to it, keeping the speed of the train under as if to find a cheap shortcut to a place in
truly far-sighting experience. history. Issued in Public interest by TheLocal
control. This railway has the steepest gradient in the In-
The Bee Museum & dian Railways at 1:12 . Its alternate biting teeth (Abt) in the
Green Shop rack & pinion, provides it adequate safety. DISTRICT call 108
At hill bunk on the Mysore Rd,
msl 5. Alternate biting track. 6. 16 tunnels 7. 9 stations POLICE in any
HELP-LINES emergency
1. In 1899 2. In 1908 3. 46 kms 4. 328 msl & 2203
your understanding of local
traditions, one of which is
honey hunting, is complete with Traintimings: Police: Ooty - (0423) 100,
the visit to the Bee Museum. Mettupalayam-Ooty: Dep:7:10 am Arr: Ooty- Coonoor - (0423) 2221836,
Honey lovers, celebrate. The 1200 noon. Ooty -Mettupalayam: Dep:3:00 pm. Kotagiri - (04266) 271100,
range of fresh forest produce Local trains: Ooty to Coonoor-9:15 am, 12:15 Gudalur (04262) 261246.
available here, will stun you. pm, 3:00 pm, 6: pm. Coonoor to Ooty-7:45 am, Please add the area code if dialling from a
10:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm. mobile phone or from outside the circle
4
local issue

They have made 3 representations to the Collector’s


Whenenough office over the past 3 years to remove the liquor
shop in their colony. They have voted in Panchayat
isenough. representatives who haven’t kept promises. They
have, on occasion, registered complaints at the police
station. They are not aware of the fundamental rule
Strangemenknockonour that a liquor shop must not be located within 100
doors to ask for water and mts of a place of worship or an educational
institution.
an empty glass to have The residents of an indescript colony near
their liquor with.’ Wellington had nevertheless decided to call a local
cable television channel to voice their grievance.
TheLocal correspondent met concerned residents a
day after their staged protest.
While there is anxiety on the faces of the village
women folk, there is hope. They are deeply ignorant
of their legal rights but they are determined that
something must be done. They feel it is the
‘government’ that has decided that the shop be
situated here (apparently at the conjunction of 7
important residential pockets including the large
Jagathala village nearby) and so there is acceptance
and resignation.
Yet, they believe there will be respite from their
troubles relating to drunk men, after dark, (and
during broad daylight - we encountered two of them,
one of whom thought it was useless to dicuss the
matter as if a living testimony to vouch for the
They don’t have a school in their colony, no piped water, only one seemingly impossible situation of alcoholism). How
many alcoholics in this part of the world? They
street light... Yet, they have inherited an unwelcome gift of a thriving don’t know.
liquor shop that is perched in the middle of their lives, making it more In the words of a little girl who became a school
than a nuisance. The women of Tharemi colony, below Jagathala village, dropout, ’We want the liquor shop closed. My father
finally stand up to assert their rights. Will they be heard? became a drunkard and couldn’t pay my fees.’

Readers write
especially damage to liver is quite common. become so acceptable that the downside
(Un) social What about the financial side? In the of it not even talked about. People at a
lower economic strata, for instance, a party are encouraged to drink even when
drinking. person who drinks heavily spends a great they have to drive after drinking. Who
deal of money on it when his wage is not suffers? People get run over by drivers who
Radha Naidu enough. For example, a labourer who are drunk. This happens on a regular
approximately earns Rs. 200 a day will spend basis. Then there is the problem of illicit
Can’t we make friends without all that money on drinks especially if he is liquor. Alcoholics are drinking this stuff,
the help of liquor? an alcoholic. He then resorts to borrowing especially those alcoholics from the
since he wont have any money left to feed lower classes. Illness and even deaths have
‘When we talk about ‘social drinking,’ what his family bringing upon himself, debt. occured because of this.
does it mean? Does it mean that we keep Such people who are alcoholics need help. The time has come for us to seriously
our friend company by drinking when he Doctors who have patients with this think about this situation and try to
or she drinks or do we drink just to make problem should refer them to ‘Alcoholics control the menace.
friends and move within a particular group. Anonymous’ where such people can meet High schools should hold discussions on
Can we not socialize and make friends regularly, talk about their problems and a regular basis so that students become
without drinking? help each other. aware at an early age of the dangers of
I hold the view that having a glass or two At present we also come across instances drinking. Hopefully then we can prevent
of wine once in a way is not harmful if it is of students of eighteen or nineteen who young people from turning into
a way of relaxing and enjoying a meal. But drink. They may belong to the upper alcoholics at an early age. We have to
if we drink heavily every evening we risk classes, the middle or the lower. Students emphasize that their future can be
become alcoholics in no time! What are of affluent parents see their parents drink endangered by drinking heavily.
the consequences of drinking heavily? The regularly and raid the drinks cabinet for a Lastly let us realise that only by setting
heavy consumption of spirits will ruin our drink when their parents are away. an example we can prevent the younger
health and our lives. Health problems Drinking has become a way of life and has generation from turning to alcoholic.
5
cover story

Children
are the most
important
people.
The Local Correspondent

When the former President of India


walks into the hall of a local school in
Coonoor to celebrate 150 years of its
existence and instantly gestures that the
high seat or gaddi placed on the stage
for him be removed, it becomes the
talk of the town. Every individual, young
and old, has not stopped telling others
who weren’t there on Aug 14, 2009 of
this episode. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam
further requests that the ‘VIPs’ kindly
find some place other than the front rows
that they had already occupied and to
allow students of the school to take their
place so he might interact with the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam makes
youngsters easily. known his love for children
To see the enlightened man in person is while expressing disdain for
in itself an enlightening experience. unnecessary fanfare. His inspiring
Short statured, quick paced and quicker address during a brief visit here,will
witted, the former President immediately have great impact, if we pay heed.
endears himself to all, including the
ousted VIPs and the visibly embarrassed
school authorities.
‘Thirty percent of the nation’s population
is made up of young children like you. ever so often and wave the interruptive better politician, a young inexperienced
If we include the age group of upto 30 forces down. person or an older, experienced one?’ For
yrs of age, then 54% of India’s population None of this perturbed the enlightened every question, the visionary would first
is its youth. Change will have to come man. His goal was to talk to young accredit the youngster saying that the
from you if our country must progress students. How many of you want to question was a good one and then he
and if we must be a strong, developed become a politician? There was no show would embark on the answer, each one
nation by the year 2020 (his personal, of hands until he repeated the question. being absorbed by the audience as fresh
much admired vision).’ The lone, tentative hand that went up, ink to blotting paper. ‘Youth contains
To get a glimpse of the visionary-scientist somewhere at the far end of the Stanes energy. Age carries knowledge and in
or to have at least heard his words from School auditorium, was perhaps only in time, acquired wisdom. Both these are
afar would have sufficed for most in the a hesitant, almost playful fashion, mostly essential for a politician to be useful to
handpicked audience that morning, but hoping to be unnoticed. society. You must gain knowledge early
there were others who hustled the He noticed. ‘Good. Some of you must so that your energy will be productively
settings like the photographers who decide to enter politics. The nation needs harnessed.’
constantly caused unwary security men young people like you to take up the It was obvious that Dr Kalam’s words
to abruptly and awkwardly turn in the running of its affairs’. Of the 10 questions also reached out to the child in every
direction of the sudden moves of the so that Dr Kalam parried from students, adult seated there. The nervous laughter
called media. School authorities seated (who had prepared themselves in and clapping that followed his
on the dais were compelled to stand up advance) one was, ‘Sir who will make a Concluded on p 12

The President of the Nilgiri chapter of theAll India Women’s Conference has rallied herself and members of the
association against alcoholism. In a recent memorandum to the District Collector, Mrs Indu K Mallah has solicited
information regarding the location of liquor shops across the district, particularly if any of them have flouted the rule
of 100 ft from schools and places of worship. On the subject of alcoholism, the senior lady feels it is time for residents
of the district to stand up and be heard on this growing social menace. ‘I am concerned about our youth. We must work
towards making their future meaningful and values driven, just as our elders did for us’.
6
Recipe traditions
GodhimaiAdai
(Wheatbasedpreparation)
Ingredients: Wheat rava 250 gms,
Raw rice flour 100 gms, Bengal gram
dal 50 gms, Green gram dal 50 gms,
Ulund dal 50 gms, Thoor dal 50
gms. Coconut pieces1cup, Red chili
(dry) 5 nos, Ginger 1 small piece,
Garlic 5 small pieces, Sombu 1
spoon, Jeeragam 1 spoon, Curry
leaves, Coriander leaves and
Murungai keerai.
Directions: Soak wheat rava
separately for half an hour and all
the dals for 1 hour. Grind rava first
in the mixie and then the dals (avoid
making it into paste). Add rice flour
and mix all these well in a container
and add salt.
Grind coconut, ginger, garlic, red chili,
sombu and jeeragam. Heat some oil
in kadai. Put together murungai
keerai, mustard and ulund dal with
some onions and grinded masala. Stir For the record: Alumni members of Stanes School, Coonoor, posing for pictures next to
it for some time and then add it to the bust of school founder Thomas Stanes which was unveiled earlier by former President
the flour. Heat tava and make the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on Aug 14. The writer is seen standing extreme left.
Adai, thick or thin as a dosa, as you
may wish. On 13th, the registration day, it was lovely to be part of the mainstream as most of them have
Ideal for morning breakfast. meet old friends,both senior and junior,to giggle above average IQs and are gifted and talented.
Recipe sent in by a subscriber of The together and to be the butt end of jokes. All of If taught and counselled well, they will bring
Local, Mrs. Valarmathy Arumugam, us certainly looked a lot older, with signs of laurels to their school. I speak from personal
Nlgiris. graying, spectacles and the little extra weight! experience.
Nine members of the batch of 1984 celebrated We returned to some fun and games that
their 25th anniversary of passing out.This time,
Theyoung
afternoon.A solemn Thanksgiving Service was
I noticed a strong representation of the not so followed by an AGM and the evening saw all
old alumnus – the youngest being from the of us let our hair down at the Coonoor Club.
heart in old class of 2009.
It was equally delightful to see some of our old
The photographs say it all!
The fun could not carry on and on, as we might
students. teachers too – Mrs. Daniel, Mrs. Samson, Mrs.
Thangaraj,Mrs.PM Wright and Mr Benjamin
Gnanamanickam - believe me, it is something
have wished, since we were expected to be up
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the flag
Dierdre E. Issar nee’ Wright hoisting and a march past on Independence
to do with the Nilgiri air that keeps them going! Day. Our oldest alumni member present, Mr.
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam’s thought provoking Edwin Rajarathinam (class of 1966) was the
Stanes Alumni get interaction the following morning with both Chief Guest. Mr.Llewellyn Xavier (the present
together for the 150th the present and past students was the high Principal and also an alumnus) had us swinging
year celebrations finale. point of the function. Apart from unveiling the our arms during some marching practice before
bust of the school’s founder, Thomas Stanes, it all began. Lt. Col. (Retd) Sivakumar (my
the former President was also invited to classmate) lead our contingent. It was wonderful
I excitedly told my friends in Bangalore that inaugurate the Oyster Project of the school – a to be back on the field. I remember how we
I’m going back to my old school for its 150th Special Education department. I was very would take part in every event as students since
year celebrations and tore away from my routine! interested to know that the school had taken there were just a few of us in the Super Seniors
Unlike many, I do have the opportunity of the initiative to start this off as it is a subject that Division (Class 11 & 12). The alumni later
visiting the Nilgiris fairly regularly as my parents is very close to my heart (I was secretly happy pitted skills against younger players in a
– Col (Retd.) C.T.O.A Wright & Mrs. that it was housed in Groves Block, my old house friendly basketball match. I am proud to tell
P.M.Wright live in Wellington. However, I of which I was House Captain). I personally you that in 1979-80 the girl’s basketball team
would never get around to visiting my old school believe that every school must have a Special won the Interschool championship.
for lack of time.This visit was special and I had Education Cell. I must add a word of caution Going ‘back to school’ was truly enriching
reserved the 14th and 15th August, 2009 only that we do not use it as a method of filtering out enough to haul me back to my routine!
for Stanes School. children with learning disabilities. They must The writer belongs to the class of 1980 (Std.12)
7

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a living? Plucking begins at around 8 30 am each


day and goes on till lunch when the team
(usually about 4-5) breaks and with an
Trying a hand at tea leaf plucking, I quickly intervening tea break later in the afternoon,
discover that the experience is rare. Its they finally wind up by 5. Eight hours of
paradoxical, in fact. Will my ‘pinch’ hurt the sheer expert touch, some lighthearted
stalks? Won’t the leaf die if I pluck it off, that conversation, diligent plucking and
too the tender, light green ones that sway maintenance work on the bush (keeping the
delicately in the lightness of the morning table flat, clearing weeds within the tea bush) In my mind, as much as in the readers’, the
breeze? Will an incorrect pluck affect the and finally stuffing the leaves into big round question of whether it was worth the effort,
whole plant? sacks that they carry to the nearest weighing is a separate point. The fact is that this
The elderly lady (in pic) assures me that its shed and it has been ‘just another day at fascinating co-existence between humans
quite ok and that I have actually fared well. the office’ for them. The average weight of a and nature is divine. It blurs the lines of
I am instructed not to go below what is bag goes upto 30 kgs and that is how much divisions. There is oneness with everything
called ‘the table’- a particular level on the a plucker would usually pluck in a day (I around us. I understand that the same bush
tea bush, below which the stalks turn brown, could manage about two and a half kilos all will have new sprouts soon enough. Its the
solidifying further with each descending morning). At Rs. 3/- a kilo, it’s a crisp (or circle of life! Whether this philosophical bent
level and culminating in tough roots. paltry, depending on your point of view) of mind has place in our materialistic outlook
I am able to come to terms. It is, I believe, hundred rupee note that the homemaker is introspective but I believe it is important.
pre-ordained that a large section of human takes back to her family in the village or hatti As for the plucker, her health, happiness and
kind must live of this humble leaf. (most of the small growers and pluckers hail hope lies as delicately as drops of rain on the
Consider this: small tea growers in the district from the indigenous Badaga community). edge of the leaf. The Local Correspondent
pics: Staff Photographer

Master Plan.
The breathtaking layout of a typical Badaga hatti has many a
local and tourist stop and admire it, in awe. With over 300 such
clusters of closely-knit dwellings found across the district, the
blend and balance that these villages signify with Nature is
overwhelmingly evident. Its almost like a Master Plan!

The Badaga hatti


The term ‘hatti’ is used to describe a settlement
of the predominant indigenous Badaga com-
munity of the Nilgiris.
Hattis comprise parallel rows of compact houses
made of stone or mud mortar. The usual num-
ber of houses one can find in a mid sized hatti
will be around 200-300 while some large hattis
are also home to a thousand families. Typically,
a hatti is perched on the slope of a hill, on the
leeward side to protect itself from the direct
impact of the westerly monsoon. The layout of
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key elements

a hatti will include at least two main temples, one


above it and one below, a large field which is
used for a variety of purposes, including festivals,
sports etc,. One is also sure to also find ample
grazing land around the hatti, though this has
depleted in recent times due to changing occu-
pational trends among the once dairy-agricul-
tural based community. Extremely hospitable, the
needs of the average inhabitant are minimal.
Historian Paul Hockings notes in his book on
Linguistic trends, one of the timeless proverbs of
thisfascinatingpeople,Allidamma,arasu;Kuliidamma
birusu, meaning ‘the one who has servants is
wealthy, but the one who has food is happy.’
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products are available at select outlets
in the district (mentioned on p 15).
Call:98431 46176/ 98430 80083

Off limits: The recent


increase in use of solid
fences, to cordon off
property bought in the
Nilgiris, has raised some
social and environmental
concerns. A candid
perspective.
The white fence.
The Local Correspondent
(with input from Deepa Vasudevan)

Responsible property investment,


(RPI), recently framed by the United
Nations, talks of the role that the
building sector has to play in sustaining
the environment. According to the
United Nations Environment program
(UNEP) report (2007) it is estimated
that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions can be reduced
if the real estate development and
construction sector identifies and
incorporates proper practices.
The pace of property acquisition in the
Nilgiris, in recent years, has raised the
questions of what social and
environmental impact has been created
due to this. From an environmental
standpoint, particularly wildlife, much is
being documented about the man-
animal conflict that has led to widespread
displacement of animals and in extreme
instances, their deaths. Fences, cordoning
off land, have particularly affected
movement of elephants, forcing them to
seek alternative routes making them
11
local opinion
inadvertently venture too close to human community, the Badagas, most of their the intention of the PIL (Public interest
habitat (see expert’s opinion on p16). ‘If traditional farming activities that litigation) that was filed by a ‘local’ to
it is going to cause displacement, then included potatoes and other essential contain quarrying (interpreted as stone
as developers, we must ensure that vegetables had already been replaced by breaking) are considered by some as
inter vening fencing lines must be large scale tea planting, a few decades being triggered due to vested interests,
removed and only the marker posts ago. Due to fragmentation in family sizes the fact remains that most builders,
remain, mainly for identification; this and therefore land holding becoming contractors and home buyers have been
will help animals pass freely,’ suggests a small, most of them began to depend on unmindful of the larger repercussions.
longstanding property developer in the others’ fields to provide them work. It is in keepng with long term concerns
Nilgiris. However, now with adjoining fields in that the RPI has been introduced and if
Well meaning efforts by the real estate and around villages or hattis being one has to understand its motives
sector must however be collective and gradually sold and sealed off (pic left), correctly, it will stand out as having a
representative of the larger concern. The this income for the majority of the distinctively inclusive agenda.
RPI stipulations, it was opined in a families whose only mainstay was
agriculture, has been seriously affected. A resident, who had moved in to the
national daily’s article, will soon compel Nilgiris some years ago, while talking
investors to turn away from property Restoring land to farmers through lease
is a way forward and while there are a of his plans now, for some agricultural
that is built with dubious environmental activity on newly purchased land a few
standards. It is also said to go beyond few land owners who have entered into
annual lease agreements with locals, the miles away from his residence, said that
the purview of the environment and to he was considering solar fences to protect
address social implications such as perennial greed trap is to see pure
labour and legal compliances. commercial intent alone resulting in the perimeter! Only a few decades ago
unviable lease renewals, making the there was no electricity in the villages,
The social implications of the land being leave alone electric fences. The elders of
cordoned off, are considerable. Access proposition itself, unviable to enter into.
the village cite stories of a night
to land in interior fields, for instance, is Unmindful or uninformed property
buyers cannot be entrusted with watchman who would keep vigil with a
becoming inconvenient since most
buyers prefer only ‘roadside’ property considering social aspects as much as faithful dog at hand. On sighting or
making it arduous for those engaged in local developers do, for it is they who hearing the marauding wild boar, he
agriculture forcing them to find alternate best understand the dynamics of both the would call out to his counter part on the
routes to their fields. In some cases access environmental and social implications. facing hill who in turn would reach out
rights are even denied. If developers were to come together with to yet another on the next hill and soon
The other issue is agricultural activity a shared longterm vision and regulate a queer, steady drum beat would start off,
on most of the cordoned off land being their approach in what is considered a confusing the raiders enough to go and
eliminated. There are innumerable tea vital sector - housing, then most find some other place to dine or to
fields that one sees lying untended to as ecological issues will have been readily abandon their plans altogether. But these
its new owners are to be found residing addressed even before they arose. practices are now resigned to folklore.
in far off cities! The introduction of the controversial There is an old adage which says ‘good
In this scenario, what is happening to building regulations and the inadvertent fences make good neighbours’. But
the original farmer-owners? In the case dissatisfaction created due to the mining certainly, this did not include open land
of the predominantly agriculture-based Act are relevant cases in point. While in its reference.

Event of the month


What’s wrong with our weather? Readers write Green Shop
Sarasu Bellie opens in Mysore
Yesterday it rained, but only for a short while. It was sunny in the afternoon but it Keystone Foundation now opens a
became cloudy by evening and at night it turned windy. Today, it started becoming Green Shop in Mysore, taking forest-
cloudy and a few drops promised some rain but nothing happened. My father could fresh produce of the indigenous tribes
easily tell when it would rain. In fact, my mother would sometimes not take his of the Nilgiris, closer to eco-sensitive
advice and end up getting all the washed clothes wet again. Today, with all the customers in this region.
modern equipment we cannot predict weather correctly. What has happened? ‘We were invited to set up shop by the
We learnt that clouds bring rain. Also, that water evaporation makes the clouds. But Green Hotel, Mysore (located at
for water to be preserved in the ground, it needs shady trees. I look out from my Jayalakshmipuram), who are our
window and I see tall, steel towers that bring waves of electronic signals but no rain. longstanding partners in the Bee
Museum project at Ooty,’ stated Mr
Matthew John, one of Keystone
Statutory disclaimer: TheLocal disclaims liability of any kind whatsoever, arising out of the readers use, or Foundation’s founder members.
inability to use the material contained in it. Adequate care has been taken to compile stories for the
reference of our users. TheLocal makes every effort to maintain accuracy of the information but does not
The shop was formally opened on 5th
accept responsibility for any and disclaims responsibility for any loss or damage which may arise from the Sept ‘09. It will, according to the
information provided. All opinion expressed in the issue in the form of articles or any viewpoint is solely that organisation, stock all popular Keystone
of the individual or advertiser concerned and TheLocal accepts no liability thereof. None of the Authors, products like honey, spices & coffee.
Contributors, Sponsors or anyone connected to TheLocal can be liable for any reproduction of the material.
12
Ajournalism workshop in Tamil didn’t seem as Journalism workshop at Government High School, Aravenu.
difficult as we had thought, while on our way to
Aravenu’sGovernmentHighSchool,nearKotagiri. Learning is fun: Students of the
It was daunting, however, to see about 100 Government High School, Aravenu in
students, boys and girls, eagerly waiting to see excited chatter, shortly after the journalism
what the ‘patrike’ people had in store for them. workshop that was recently conducted for
The excitement at being able to learn how to them at their school premises.
generate news was evident when after about 20
minutes or so, every single voice wanted to be
heard.
A questioning mind is important, for a journalist
to be effective. Responsibility is above all. Be
careful with information that you have access to.
Be courteous yet courageous in your approach
especially when dealing with sensitive issues.
Facts are critical to opinion...
The students were able to generate a small
newspiece, almost all by themselves, at the end
of the one hour session which goes thus:
‘IndependenceDaycelebrationsatGHS,Aravenu
was held amidst great fanfare, with the school’s
PTAPresidenthoistingtheflaginthepresence of
staff, parents and the students. Later in the day,
teachers planted trees at the periphery of the
schoolplaygroundtomarktheoccasion.’

Promotional feature
‘Cyber crimes are on the rise in recent times’, Children are the
Techno-legal says Mr Brian Soans, a techno-legal consult-
ant, who is engaged in the sphere of banking most important
people.
consultant in consultancy. ‘My role is multifarious. It involves,
on the one end, advising clients who are unaware Continued from p 5
of cyber related crimes such as identity theft, on
the Nilgiris. the possible dangers that they face from fraudsters conclusive answers each time, was
evidence enough that much of what was
on the worldwide web today. On the other hand,
Banks need not harass in the capacity of being a DRT (Debt recovery being experienced that morning inside
defaulting customers. tribunal) representative, I monitor the manner in every heart and mind was enlightening.
There are better means which banks deal with their clientele who have, ‘Stand up for what you believe is right.
by which to arrive at a due to various reasons, defaulted on their loan It is not enough to conform to everything
repayments. Banks are sometimes arbitrary in around you. Your voice must be heard.
solution. I act as an
their approach towards customers who have de- There is much to do. There is much that
arbitrator. faulted in their repayments. There are more pro- is left to be done. The year 2020 will be
ductive ways by which to manage the situation upon us soon...’
but usually it ends in harassment. Clients consult All that the great man said that morning
me on their options and almost always, the re- has left as deep an impression on everyone
sults are favourable to both sides. Allied Law also present as it has on the local
works towards reconstructing/restoration, con- correspondent.
verting sick businesses into profitable units.’ Keeping young children foremost in our
Mr Soans’ consulting firm Allied Law is headquar- thoughts and actions will be crucial. It
tered in Bangalore with offices in Chennai and will entail a host of activities beginning
Mangalore. In the Nilgiris, Allied Law has just set with literacy enhancement drives across
up an extension office to serve the requirements the district. It will require greater
of local businesses and individuals. The firm has volunteerism in the area of ‘after-hours
organised a 2 day seminar on Banking Law for ad- education’. It will have to ensure that
vocates and proprietary/partnership businesses in children who cannot afford higher
the district. Enrolment details mentioned below: education must be sponsored to do so. It
will be equally important to keep young
Seminar: 2 day seminar on banking laws, ones f rom being ensnared into
legal recourse in debt restructuring and undesirable habits, particularly alcohol.
cyber crimes Venue: Keswick, Orange It will be important for adults to carry
Grove, Coonoor - 2. Date: 18th Oct ‘09. themselves as good examples to the
Call (0) 92452 01687 for details. youth. But first, we must shed the culture
of VIPism.
13
interview

You actually swim with sharks?! That was


the startled exclamation of the interviewers
when the newly installed principal of
Hebron School, Ooty said that he enjoyed
swimming in the ocean more than (what
we thought the customary favourites for
an Australian), football or rugby. The soft
toned gentleman then takes time to explain
that sharks aren’t as dangerous as is made
out to be: ‘You don’t bother them, and they
won’t either’.
Mr. Mark Noonan has just taken charge
from the previous principal, Mr Alastair
Reid, who now moves to a new assignment
in England. It has been a little over a
month since the sturdily built educationist
takes the seat of responsibility at this over
100 year old institution.
The on-the-dot 5 o’ clock entry into the
Principal’s cabin is appreciated. The head
abandons his administrative chair, makes
us comfortable in the guest chairs and then
seats himself on one with a wide smile.
The first question evokes a frown. Is it
still worth being a teacher? The question
is met with a counter-question.
‘Why do you ask?!’ Gradually, Mr Noonan
dispels our speculative representation that
the teaching profession no longer attracts
the best and that it is too challenging and
gruelling in these [chaotic] times to be
enjoyable. ‘The world has always revered
the teacher. Communities and countries
The world relies on its Teachers.
have relied on their teachers to show the ThenewheadofHebronSchoolismorethanreadytotakeontheeverincreasing
way. No matter the challenges, teaching challenges in the sphere of education, today. He is hands-on and he will derive from his
will be a fulfilling effort. It is irreplaceable distinctly diverse interests like swimming with sharks and cultivating farm vegetables.
in the sheer sense of service to society that An informal interview.
it provides...’ The smiles are back.
To a question on the present day scenario conditions are favourable. We remind identity of Ooty town. It has an inherent
of too many children for a teacher to ourselves of what the National shooting cosmopolitan outlook and it has keen
handle, and if ‘small is therefore beautiful’, champion Kynan Chenai, a student of this sensitivity to localised issues - the students
he replies saying ‘Nothing is too big to school, told TheLocal in an interview last fervently extend themselves to local causes,
break into manageable parts.’ year, ‘The environment at Hebron calms hygiene and good health among the
‘This is good organisational behaviour,’ my mind and prepares me for my personal weaker sections in particular.
the Principal emphasises, adding, challenges!’ Hebron has advanced to move What do you think of Ooty now? (The
‘ultimately, if the child is at the centre of with changes in technology too. In all of principal was a teacher here 10 years ago).
our efforts, solutions will always emerge this, the new head says he is thankful to ‘Its so much cleaner! There is a
no matter how large a problem there is’. God that the institution retains its first consciousness among the locals about their
There are benefits of being compact. At love, as summed up in the Hebron School heritage and the need to preserve it.’
Hebron School, for instance, every motto-Deo Supremo (meaning God first). We do believe that the local community
youngster is presented endless It will be a task enough to sustain the at Tuncurry, Australia is missing the man
opportunities to flower and flourish with momentum at this renowned educational as it is evident that he is them - photos of
each one finding his and her own space. centre which, notwithstanding its his previous stint at the Great Lakes
Teachers are facilitators and friends. The Cambridge curriculum, is central to the College are already up on his office wall!
It won’t be long before this global local
will carry his new team ahead with rolled
Letters to the Editor up sleeves! And he keenly wishes to
contribute to the welfare of fellow locals.
Readers who wish to send letters to the Editor may writeto : 10/363-Y-1, Mr Mark Noonan knows what it takes to
Indiranagar, AVK Post, Nilgiris - 643 202. Alternatively, you may also email till the soil. With patience and in the hope
your correspondence to thelocaleditor@gmail.com In case of any queries and faith that the harvest, ultimately, will
or clarifications call: (0) 97905 90570. be fulfilling. The Local Correspondent
14
Legal Provisions regarding
removal of a liquor shop
LetterstotheEditor environment
from a locality.
Present a memorandum to the district
Sir,Throughthegoodofficeofmyneice’shusband,K.P.
Rajagopal,inCoonoor,Iwasabletogetthelatestissueof
Birds at your
Collector as a public grievance,
requesting to remove the liquor store.
File an application under Right to
TheLocal. Iwent throughthemagazinecarefullybutcould
not find the subscription rates. Please do let me know
window sill
Ashwath Vishwanath
Information Act with reference to the what the rate is.
Norms and Rules relating to Locating
or Establishing a liquor store in Tamil IwouldalsolovetointroduceTheLocaltoalotofpeople Even the smallest of gardens
Iknow.YoumayhaveknownDrV.M.INambissanwhowas attract a wide variety of birds
Nadu for which you should get a reply
endemic to the Nilgiris.
within 30 days of filing. File a writ petition theGMofCorditeFactory,Aruvankadu.Oneofhisdaughters,
in the High Court stating the public my niece, is presently HOD, Dept of Sociology at the After having lived an entire year away
inconvenience praying for a direction
to remove or relocate the liquor store. JawaharlalNehruUniversity.I’msureshewouldloveThe f rom the Nilgiris, one of my first
Local... ...My good wishes for the enduring prosperity of priorities, when I got home, was to go
According to the provisions in the out into the garden and say hello to my
Prohibition Enforcement Act, a liquor TheLocal. Prof.RadhaNair,KannurRoad,Calicut winged friends!
shop should not be located within 100
ft of a place of worship or an educational
The sheer variety and colour of birds
institution. Further, according to the Sir, found in the Nilgiris is second to none,
Criminal Procedure Code Act, Sec 133 IwasindeedpleasedtofindTheLocalinmyletterboxand so much so that India’s most revered
ornithologist, Mr Salim Ali had
Conditional order for removal of hope you will continue to publish the paper at regular commented about the Nilgiris as being
nuisance.- (1) Whenever a District intervals. The last I received an issue by post, was in
Magistrate or a Sub-Divisional one of the best places for birds in India.
Magistrate or any other Executive March 09. Were there any issues prior to theAug issue Longwood shola, near Kotagiri, and the
Magistrate specially empowered in this that I received? If so, I would like to have a copy. forests along the Coonoor –
behalf by the State Government, on Wealllearnthroughexperienceandpitfalls. Mettupalayam road are amongst those
receiving the report of a police officer regions with a high density of bird life.
or other information and on taking such PleaseletmeknowwhenandhowmuchIhavetopayfor These areas, as with other parts of the
evidence (if any) as he thinks fit, the subscription of The Local as I have not received any Nilgiris, play home to a number of
considers- (b) that the conduct of any notice letter in this regard. I would not like to miss the endemic bird species which further
trade or occupation, or the keeping of exemplifies their importance. A walk
any goods or merchandise is injurious
issuesandhopeyouwil keepintouchwithcustomerslike
within the forest bedazzles even those
us who have preserved the issues ever since the paper
to the health or physical comfort of
the community, and that in started. I am a resident of Nilgiris since 1957.
who are not keen bird watchers.
However, even the smallest of gardens
e
consequence such trade or Wishyouallthebest.ARRajagopal,Springfield,Coonoor attract a wide variety of birds and one
occupation should be prohibited or literally, does not need to leave the
regulated or such goods or comfort of home to watch these amazing
merchandise should be removed or Publisher’s note
the keeping thereof regulated; Sec
creatures.
133 (1) (b) CrPC.
Info courtesy: Advt Sabarish Devaraj, Ooty
One is a majority. Gardens with flowering plants are
frequented with birds which feed on
It is time to stand up and speak out. their nectar. Among the birds that can
be easily spotted frequenting flowers are
Ever since the issue of alcoholism caught our attention, spurred by the article of a the sunbirds and white-eyes. Both these
de-addiction counsellor (The Local Aug’09), I have requested several among us to birds belong to the order Passeriformes,
stand up and speak out against the problem. Especially those whose opinion will which comprises almost three fifths of
matter. The common refrain, initially, was that alcohol is socially accepted and the world’s birds and are characterised
what can we really do about it? Or, the Government is behind it, so...
by their ‘gripping feet’. They have three
I believe the least we can do is to raise our voice against this growing menace that toes pointed for wards and one
threatens to debilitate our health, wreck our homes, and cripple our sustenance and Continued overleaf
development as a society. Notwithstanding the perceivable position of minority,
some among us, our women folk in particular, have decided that enough is enough.
Their actions and expressions have been featured in this issue. Each have raised a SUBSCRIBE TO
voice not knowing that there is another who has done so as well! This, I believe, is
‘the power of one’ when every individual believes it is now upto him or her and not Local
anyone else. The time has come to grapple with our common issues. If it is your
problem then it is equally mine too. This perspective will take us ahead before the Subscriptions to The Local, are opened
issue itself fells us all down. If you wish to know more about the movement against effectiveOctober09.Pleasesubscribe/renew
alcoholism, do get in touch with the undersigned. your subscription through the following
On a related note the former President’s recent visit and his spirited address has methods: Demand draft/local cheque
inspired many who had the opportunity to hear him. We trust that the excerpts favouring The Local Media Publishing Co,.
from that speech, featured in this issue, has inspired you as well. (or)byaMoneyorder toTheEditor,TheLocal
For the convenience of our readers our subscriptions have been reopened. Please Media Publishing Co,. 10/363-Y-1,AVK Post,
subscribe or renew your subscription to avail of your copy of TheLocal by post. You Nilgiris - 643202. Call: (0) 97905 90570.
may also choose to send a copy to a friend, anywhere in India. The postal rates 1 Year subscription: Rs. 180/- for 12
remain unchanged. Edwin David issues, incl. postage & handling.
15
environment
Advertisement

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particularly strong toe pointed are found foraging in small groups.
backwards, giving them their During the breeding season they build
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amongst birds. bushes. They have small broods ranging
The white-eyes (or Silver-eyes) are from 2 to 4 per nest.
small birds of about 10cm in length, In the Sunbirds, unlike the White-eye, western ghats. The adult male has a
pale olive with a white underbelly and the sexes are distinct with the males maroon breast-band, sides of the head
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tongues with fine brush like tips for for short periods and usually perch to throughout the year but are more
collecting nectar. Their diet includes feed. The crimson backed Sunbird is common during the monsoon seasons
fruit and insects like aphids. The birds found commonly and is endemic to the with two eggs per nest.

What next?
‘Can we play football’, was all that we asked of the full-of-energy Toto (as his folks call him) who instantly
volunteered to get his football off the loft, dragged us all out onto the lawn outside his home in Lovedale, near
Ooty and began to kick about, in all earnestness, the ball which had literally no air in it! We played on until the lad
accidentally kicked it into the neighbour’s compound. What next? He quickly fished out a few balloons, made his
mother blow them to size and had us all kick them around too until some of them burst... So what next?
Mrs and MrAshok ___ have no need to worry about that question. This lad with boundless energy always has so
much to do that he perhaps won’t even need that cup of Horlicks, the brand for which he is this year’s Kid star!
‘We think his spontaneity caught the attention of judges’, says the proud father. Mrs Mitchelle Ashok also adds
that he must have had the panelists all in splits of laughter when he replied to a question on what is his favourite
drink. It seems he named 3 other brands alongwith Horlicks! The title was vied for by 129 finalists from across the
length and breadth of the country. His amiable face with a broad smile must have also tipped the balancein his
favour. ‘Who do you look like?’ Mamma... andAshok!’ We think tactfulness was another criteria that made this
young local a deserving winner. Young Shyaam Adrain, on his part, looks up as at us if to say - What’s all the
fuss about? I am just being myself!’
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Man-animal conflict will rise. The Local Correspondent

‘Why did the French tourist have to die? plantation owners in the upper plateau, will
Is it enough to close down the one resort vouch that wild animals were never sighted
in Masinagudi that took unsuspecting on their estates barely two decades ago.’
tourists on the reportedly illegal tour of Mr Mohanraj further states that elephant
the forest? Does the Nilgiris benefit at all corridors have been gradually blocked off
from this kind of fringe tourism at the due to the mushrooming of resorts across
outskirts of the hill ranges? Will there be the district and in a random manner. An
another tourist death such as this one? educational institution, he adds, by
What is the role of conservationists and cordoning off large tracts of area at the
NGOs in the light of increasing elephant foothills near Mettupalayam, has
deaths in recent months? inadvertently displaced the pachyderms
TheLocal questions to Mr N Mohanraj, from their natural route. A resort further
reputed conservationist and elephant up the ghat section, according to the
expert, a few days after the tragic death of WWF official, is perched in the periphery
a French tourist, a 66 year old teacher, of the Kallar elephant corridor. With
while she and members of her family were human habitat fast increasing, there is
making their way through Bokkapuram going to be large scale conflict in future is
on an unauthorised trek through the forest. his conclusive prediction.
Some answers: What is to be done? ‘Regulation has always says the veteran. On the subject of
‘An elephant is a non-confrontationist been the solution to such problems. regulation, we debate, self regulation
animal. It will not attack without having Enforcement of the rule of law will bring works, it has greater committment. ‘People
been antagonised’, says the conservationist. about the desired results in the immediate of the Nilgiris must think for themselves
People have to understand this perspective, but there are long term if they need to preserve the wildlife of the
fundamental aspect. The extent of land solutions that need to be addressed - the region for the future generations.’
which the wild animals earlier traversed long proposed flyover at the final hairpin Collective responsibility is the dire need.
has depleted drastically in recent years. bend near Kallar, for instance. It will take By placing something that is important to
Fences have aggravated the problem four years to build this over pass, which, if me, am I displacing anything vital to is
further, making elephants in particular, to sanctioned and duly constructed, will allow the question that every individual must ask
move into regions hitherto unvisited. Local the elephants to pass below, unhindered’, of oneself, we conclude.
Published on behalf of The Local Media Publishing Co,. by Edwin David from 10/363-Y-1, Indiranagar; Avk Post, The Nilgiris. Printed at Satya Press, no. 50 Kariappa Street; Purasaiwalkam, Chennai - 7. Editor: Edwin David