Monday, July 28, 2008

Trouble Making MLA

On Saturday, I went out with my wife for shopping at Abids (Hyderabad). There was usual flowing traffic on the road and we didnt sense what was going to happen. Once shopping is done, we were walking towards our car and I saw the traffic almost to a standstill. We sat in our car and were unable to take it out from the parking area.

Somehow or other, I took it out and found that I was almost in the same place for 30 min. I sensed some sort of trouble or bomb blasts (as there were serial blasts a day before at Benguluru). I called my dad and told him to switch on the TV and he told me that there was some trouble at the Abids Police Station.

Then traffic police team came (after full 45 minutes) and we were told to take a "U" turn on Abids Road. Never in my life I had experienced such a situation on this very busy shopping district where I was told to take a "U" turn on this on-way road. Came Home and learned what the hell happened.


A day before, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation(GHMC) officials brought down a portion of a building on the Chapel Road after giving notice to the owner, Mir Adil Ali that his building, is built on a encroached land. The owner along with 20 of his friends attacked the GHMC officials and chased the away after injuring 3 of the officials. The attackers didn't even spare the lady official, Shama and she was hurriedly rushed away by her car driver to safety. While a case had been lodged on Mr.Adil, the GHMC officials and their sub-ordinates went on Strike to take action on the perpetrators of the attack.

The incident was informed to Mr.Sharma, the head of GHMC. On saturday, on the leadership of City Chief Planner (CCP), Mr. Purushottam Reddy and 100 GHMC officials, they went back to the same place to bring down the building.

Then the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Member of Legislative Assembly from Karwan Constituency, Mr.Afsar Khan comes to the location. He vents his ire on the CCP and puts his hands on the shoulder of the CCP. Angered by this aggressive posture of the MLA, the GHMC staff starts shouting against the MLA. Meanwhile, another MIM MLA from Asif Nagar Constituency, Mojam Khan joins Afsar Khan. He started using foul language which cannot be written here against the GHMC staff. Already irate GHMC staff attacks the MLA and roughs him up.

Then out of the blue, Afsar Khan, despite surrounded by his security guards, takes out his personal revolver and shoots two rounds in the air. Now....this is great !!

Now comes another twist. The Government Security Guards then take the "Lathi" (sticks) our of the hands of Police and started beating Police !! Ha!Ha!Ha! Look at their "Swami Bhakti" !! The police were chased and beaten by security guards !! This Happens Only In India !! Where else can you see such a situation ??

Now, not only we got to be careful of gun wielding MLA's but their security guards too who dont mind beating the police.

Now, another twist. The MLA's other goondas stage a rasta roko (literally meaning, stop the traffic) bringing the bumper to bumper traffic to a stand still shouting that GHMC staff should be arrested. At this point, we were told to take a U Turn on the Abids Road. While coming back, I noticed the traffic been diverted into other areas and kilometers of traffic jammed all because of one person who was elected by the poor people.

After sometime, they were joined by other MLA's from their party, Mr.Akbaruddin Owaisi and Ahmed Pasha Khadri and after sometime, by Hyderabad Member of Parliament, Mr.Asaduddin Owaisi. They had a closed door meeting with GHMC top officials and a telephonic conversation with the Chief Minister himself !! The Government came down and agreed to put cases against the GHMC officials who were attacked by MIM cadres. Yes! Yes! I wrote right only. A case was filed against those persons who were attacked. This Happens Only in Hyderabad - Where else ?? The MIM cadres were happy and left after creating huge traffic jams from 11.30AM till 4.00PM giving a tough time to the police, ordinary citizens and to the patients of different hospitals whose ambulances got stuck up in the traffic snarls.

Now, what is the government doing ?? Why is it not having guts to act tough ? The police say that they didnt want to create tension and riots in the old city. Till how many more years we need to fear goondas like this ? Act tough once, let riots happen, act tough then also, that would send a clear signal to the trouble mongers. Instead, we are trying to pacify them and making them above law. If we leave them now, they would become unmanageable monsters.

These are the same people who have attacked eminent writer, Taslima Nasreen when she visited Hyderabad earlier. Why is the Government making peace with them ?

The government is compromising on the security aspects and creating more fundamentalists with its acts. It is worrying that any action against the trouble mongers would only push the minorities away from it. But, I sincerely believe that ordinary Muslims would not support such people. It is high time political parties stop appeasing minorities and sincerely work for their upliftment.

Muslims also should understand that voting on the basis of religion have not taken them anywhere. They have been voting MIM past many decades but still the old city of Hyderabad had not changed a bit. We need leaders who are constructive, not destructive.

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Is The Government Functioning ??

Somehow I got this doubt after a series of bomb blasts hit the Southern City of Bangalore (now called as Bengaluru) and Gujarat State capital, Ahmedabad (Karnavati is its original name before its Muslim invaders changed its name). Recently, Jaipur was the target of a series of bomb blasts. The interesting fact is that, all the three states are ruled by Hindu Nationalist, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It needs to be observed if the Islamic terrorists want to send a political message. Whenever a bomb blast occurs in the country, oflate, it has become common the finger points to Hyderabad, which has become a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists as the State Government hardly cares for security of its citizens.

The Central Government is more busy to ensure that it is in the power. While a committee would be formed to ascertain the reasons for the blasts, the report would come out in a year or two. Meanwhile, people would forget about the blasts and wait for another blast to occur. While the politicians were given gunmen and mine and blast proof vehicles, it is the ordinary citizens who are left to rot. I got a feeling that the Government got no spine to act tough. We are sending wrong signals to terrorists of a soft state. We need strong laws that can give extra power to the police and at the same time, give absolute power to the Intelligence Agencies and not use them to settle political scores.

Bangalore Blasts:

Within a span of three hours, there were nine bomb blasts in Benguluru which resulted in the death of two people and 4 injured.

It was just luck that these blasts were of minor intensity that resulted in such a very less loss of life.

Are the terrorists just testing the security situation and planning for more heavier strikes ?? Time would tell.

Generally, terrorists strike at areas where there would be large concentration of people. But in Bengaluru, the bombs were planted under foot bridges, electric transformers, near petrol bunks and under culverts. Since the intensity of the bombs were less, it didnt create much damage to the property.

One more interesting fact is that, the terrorists were targeting Hospitals. They know that the bomb blast victims would be brought to hospitals and lot of media, police and politicians concentration would be around hospitals. If they hit the hospitals, that would create more chaos and panic and the loss of life would be more. Bloody fucking bastards!!

Ahmedabad Blasts:

Within 24 hours of Bengaluru bomb blasts, Ahmedabad was targeted. Within a span of 70 minutes, 16 serial blasts took place at 14 locations in Ahmedabad. Four blasts occured in two hospitals !!

50 people died and more than 100 injured. A non-descript organization called "Indian Mujaheddin" claimed the blast and it said it is avenging Gujarat.

Future Course Of Action:

It is to be noted that while all the terrorists are Muslims, some of the victims would be Muslims too. Which only show that the terrorists dont care even if Muslims die in the bomb blasts. The onus has fallen now on Muslims to bring out the wolves out of the herd of sheeps. The Government's blatant approval of so many Mosques, Masjids and more importantly Islamic Seminaries and Madrassas has only increased the religious extremists. As happens in Hindu Schools, the Government should ensure that modern education is taught at the Madrassas. If not, we would be only breeding terrorists who would not think a moment to kill their own Mothers.

At the sametime, we need to bring back POTA or any other Act which would give a free hand to the intelligence agencies. I agree that such acts would be against human rights, but at the sametime, I do feel that we should not think about Human Rights with regard to terrorists who hardly give a shit for human rights.

Another area where we need to concentrate is take the war to enemy's doorstep. We need to first strengthen our External and Internal Intelligence Agencies. Through our agents in Pakistan, assassinate the militant leaders who have the protection of Pakistan. We cannot be bogged down by such things when we are planning to play an important role in international arena. If we cannot put our house in order, how can we play any role internationally ? I do understand that some people would not support such an idea saying that there would be counter assassinations in our country. But, dont you think we had enough of bomb blasts till now following such a failed course ? Assassinations means politicians would be killed instead of ordinary citizens !! I do believe, lot of Indians would support my idea as they hardly care for their spineless politicians.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Nagarjuna Sagar Tour

Back from two days of tour to Anupu, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Nagarjuna Konda, Ethipothala and Chennakesava Swamy Temple at Macharla.

Starting At Hyderabad:

By 8AM on 19th July 2008, Ravi Kiran, Srinivas, Ranjeeth and Anil Kumar came to my place at Lakdi-Ka-Pul and by 8.15, we started off to Nagarjuna Sagar. We had breakfast at Santosh Nagar and took left turn at Santosh Nagar to Nagarjuna Sagar State Highway.

The highway is a good one with limited traffic. We stopped at Ibrahimpatnam to buy liquor and then at a place where they are selling "kallu". Kallu is a liquid extracted from "Thaati Chettu" (I really dont know the english meaning of this tree - if anyone knows, please share so that I would update my post accordingly). I had a sip of it as I didnt like the smell and taste. But it is very good for health.

By the time we reached Nagarjuna Sagar, it was almost 12PM as we lost lot of time at the above mentioned spots. We were not allowed to stop nor take snaps at the dam. Couple of years back, we were allowed to and at that time, I went there with my childhood friends. We took lot of snaps there! Times have changed !! Security has become a top priority now. The Nagarjuna Sagar town is on the other side of the dam. We need to take a detour there and cross a bridge across River Krishna and reach Nagarjuna Sagar. Before that, we took a right turn just before the bridge and this road goes till the pump house under the Dam. Took some snaps there and saw the Dam from around 100 Meters distance.

We had lunch at a hotel opposite to the Launch Station (Boating station from where we need to alight boats to reach Nagarjuna Konda). After lunch, we started off to Anupu.

At Anupu:

Anupu is the place where Acharya Nagarjuna preached Mahayana Buddhism. As informed to you in my earlier post, he is the founder of Mahayana branch of Buddhism.
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had re-constructed the entire area which consists of a University with class rooms, rooms for teachers, lecture hall and an amphi theater.

This is a very huge place and we were informed by the security guard there that the people living in Anupu village were re-located to enable the re-construction.

The Security Guard took us round the entire place giving us some insight about the place. Apart from a notice board that contains a very few lines about the place, Andhra Pradesh Tourism had not done anything that would lead to increase in visitors to the place.

In 2006, His Holiness, The Dalailama visited the place and planted a Bodhi Tree (Hindus from ages call this tree as Raavi Chettu or Peepal Tree). Almost every Hindu Temple would have this tree. Being a copycat religion, Buddhism had copied lot of things from Hinduism.

The interesting part is that we saw the road leading towards the river banks. We took this road which is just 5 Feet Wide. The road was good to some extent and later it was a bit bumpy and it directly led us to the Krishna River banks. This was one part of the journey where we enjoyed the scenery. The road was quite narrow and thick foliage surrounded the road. There are lot of garden lizards at this place and I had to slow down the car to make sure Iam not killing them. One of them saved our lives as I stopped the car for it to cross and in the opposite side from a blind curve, a Tata Sumo was coming towards our direction with considerable amount of speed.

The guy saw our car in the last minute and he slowed down while I already started to move back using the reverse gear. We found out that there is a road that directly leads us to Macherla without driving through Nagarjuna Sagar. From Macherla, there is a direct road to Ethipothala, where we booked rooms.

This road is just 10 feet wide, near zero traffic and surrounded by hills and wide plains. Gave a real good thrill driving on this road.

Macharla Chenna Kesava Swamy Temple:

By the time we reached Macharla Chenna Kesava Swamy Temple, it was around 3.30PM. The temple was closed and we were informed that it would be opened only at 5PM.

This temple was built in 1113AD as a Shaivite Temple. During the reign of Brahma Naidu, it was converted into a Vaishvanite Temple. One of the main reasons why lot of Hindus converted into Buddhism is the animosity between the those worshiping Lord Vishnu and those worshiping Lord Shiva. People got fed up with this constant conflict between both the sects and converted. Lucky for us, Adi Shankaracharya preached Advaitha Philosophy which says God is One and God is none but YOU. After his preachings, Hindus who converted into Buddhism returned to the fold and thus Buddhism vanished from India.

Ethipothala Water Falls:

By the time we reached Ethipothala Water Falls, it was around 5PM. We checked into our rooms and immediately set off to Dattatreya Swamy Temple which is located very near to the water falls.

Actually, rainy season starts in the month of June. But, the South Eastern Monsoon failed and there were no rails till now. So, hardly any water in the water falls. The route to this temple starts just beside the main gate to the water falls.
We need to take couple of stairs down into the valley and then rough pathways.

We were on high alert as there is a crocodile breeding farm below the water falls. Also, we were expecting snakes on our way as it is completely covered with bushes. We went till the Temple. But there were too many monkeys making noise and we were least interested to bother them. We didn't had the Darshan of the Lord.

From there, we slowly went towards the waterfalls. Since there is hardly any water, it was quite easy for us to go till the waterfalls. But, the entire place is full of bushes and shrubs making our movement very slow and tension filled.

We were informed that there are crocodiles near the waterfalls. But, we found none of them. Maybe our luck or bad luck!! We carefully started walking back to the stairs and we found ourselves surrounded by Monkeys. Lucky for us, they were not aggressive enough for us to panic and we safely reached our hotel rooms.

We played around in the garden for sometime and then went inside our rooms to freshen up. If we need dinner, we need to give the order by 7PM as the entire staff would not be present at that remote location. To give us company, only two security guards would be there for the entire night. Whatever happens, they have to take care. Since there were no rains, there is acute power shortage here and power would be given only for 6-7 hours per day.

Before planning to stay at AP Tourism Hotel at Ethipothala (Phone Number: 0864-2211100) it is advisable to call the guys there and inquire about:
* Water levels in the waterfalls
* Power problems
* Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner timings.

While going there, better carry the following with you:
* Blankets
* Torch Light
* Mosquito Repellents
* Emergency Light - if possible
* Battery powered fan - if possible

There is no problem with food at this location nor problems with water and cool drinks. Since there is no Pub / Bar, it is better you buy all your Beers and hot drinks from Nagarjuna Sagar itself or from the city you are coming or from Macherla.

Cell Phone Coverage:
Till date, Government owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) coverage is very good at Nagarjuna Sagar and Ethipothala. Very limited or negligible coverage of private operators like Airtel, Tata Idea or Vodafone. Airtel's nearest tower is located at Macherla. So, very limited connectivity.
While there are lot of Telephone coin boxes at Nagarjuna Sagar, the same is not present at Ethipothala.

Power went off at around 9PM and the guys at AP Tourism have switched on the generators. They switched it off at around 5AM and power came back at 9AM. We had our breakfast (only Poori is available) there and vacated the room at 10AM.

Nagarjuna Konda:

By the time we reached Nagarjuna Sagar from Ethipothala (15 KM of winding roads), it was around 11AM. We directly went to the Launch Station to alight the Launch (big boat) which takes us to Nagarjuna Konda where ancient Buddhist relics were found and a 40 year old Museum is located. We were informed that AP Tourism would run the launch only if there are a minimum of 50 people available.

We had to wait till 12PM for our boat to start off. This boat can carry upto 150 people. By the time we reached Nagarjuna Konda, it was around 1.00PM - a distance of around 20 KM upstream Krishna River.

Once we are on the island, we were told to come back to the boat within one hour after going through the museum and the excavated sites. I felt one hour is a too less time. We were told that there would be no boat till 4PM if we miss ours.

So, we had to rush through everything there. The museum has an awesome collection of Buddhist artifacts and the lineage of the Kings who ruled Nagarjuna Sagar and also a beautiful chart depicting how language changed according to ages.

Lot of research has been done and the entire research was presented in this museum. This would be a very interesting museum for young researchers.

Our boat reached back at 2.30PM at the Launch Station. We had lunch at the same hotel and then we started off to Hyderabad at around 3.30PM.

Our car tyre got punctured at a place called Chintapalli where a beautiful Sai Baba Temple is located. Lucky for us, nothing ontoward happened and we caught hold of a mechanic who came and fixed things up.

By the time we reached Hyderabad, it was around 7PM and I immediately took my one year old daughter, Meenakshi into my hands!!

This is what Mr. Srinivas summarizes about our trip to Nagarjuna Sagar:

A Bridge Too Far:

We started on adventure to find some space for ourselves five of us were we, gents if not geeks away from the routine jobs we did in office and shop floor come dawn we left our bikes for the car to travel all the miles that did stretch with smiles on our faces beaming with the sun to reach the bridge too far away from our domicile no headlights we switched on only our exhaust did let go of our steam we stopped for a native drink what the coconuts did spring whole twelve pints of glasses filled the pot with springs of yeast and rye if the songs in native tongue did build the rhythm, we rocked to the music the journey was not spiritual in nature for there was by no means a tempest to build as our tongues did wagged on love lost to the vagaries of fate and misadventure we did reach the bridge constructed by man and not god or nature's wind awesome was our breathtaking stance overlooking the river and sands and the dam as our steps did make pace with the rugged outlook at ethipothala waterfalls we snapped some pictures and sidestepped some bushes and rock and stone as the melody of waterfalls did ring in our ears, monkeys did scatter our path as we played the cards close to our chest breathing air fresh on the mountains drinking whiskey and the rye, breezer adding up to the tune of refreshments launch we did, come next dawn on river waters heading upto the Nagarjuna Konda where the scriptures of yester year speak of Buddha and his sermons lone seagull stalking our boat, we returned for a fiesta and drive on wheels if the car tyre did puncture, it by no means did breath out our spirit of adventure and as we returned home to cherish our tour a bridge too far to catapult our tourist sprint to talk of travel and nature's space we did find, away from all the living in and breathing air in this concrete jungle!!

Guys....noticed any full stop in the above paragraph ?? I have no words for this!!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nagarjuna Sagar Trip Plan

After our Srisailam Trip With Colleagues in the month of December 2007, we decided to kick the road again - now to Nagarjuna Sagar.

Acharya (Monk) Nagarjuna was the person who started Mahayana Buddhism and he preached it through India wandering. The Buddhists built a Monastery at Nagarjuna Konda where Nagarjuna taught.

Persons in the team who have confirmed are:

* Madhav
* Srinivas
* Ravi Kiran
* Ranjeeth
* Anil Kumar

Subhash, Nalini and new joinee, Sateesh opted out for this time.

We have already booked two rooms at Andhra Pradesh Tourism Guest House at Ethipothala.
Starting point would be at our flat at Lakdi-Ka-Pul in Hyderabad at 8AM on Saturday, 19th July 2008.

Lakdi-Ka-Pul -> Kothi -> Malakpet -> Santosh Nagar -> Nagarjuna Sagar Highway

About Nagarjunasagar:

Nagarjuna Sagar, an erstwhile prominent Buddhist center, is the most attractive tourist spot in Andhra Pradesh. Named after the Buddhist monk, Acharya Nagarjuna, it is today the major hydel power station in Andhra Pradesh.

It is the tallest masonry dam in the World, constructed on the river Krishna. Nagarjuna Sagar dam is located on the border of Guntur - Nalgonda districts. The dam was completed in 1966 and it is 124 meters high and 1 km long.

It is built across the river Krishna and has one of the largest networks of canal systems irrigating over 2,000,000 acres of land in Guntur, Prakasam, Nalgonda, Khammam and Krishna districts. 4 kms away from the dam, is the viewpoint, where a panoramic view of the amazing landscape, is simply a feast to the eyes. One can find the image of Nagarjuna, on a pylon not too far from the dam.

Places Around Nagarjuna Sagar:

There are many places of tourist interest near this place like Ethipothala waterfalls, and the thick forest of the Srisailam Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is part of Project Tiger, and supports a variety of animals, birds and reptiles.

A 20-minute ride by a motorboat across the river Krishna attracts tourists for its Buddhist relics and a fine museum. The dam is a spectacular sight and attracts a lot of tourists, during the floods in Krishna. Centuries ago, a city named Vijayapuri flourished in this area as a center of Buddhist studies.

The city later served as the capital of the Ikshvaku kindom, and, today, the town bears the name Nagarjunasagar, in tribute to Acharya Nagarjuna, the founder of Mahayana Buddhism. In this beautiful township are found the sacred remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in the world.

The Nagarjunasagar Dam is a symbol of modern India's architectural and technological triumphs. The construction of the dam resulted in the formation of the world's largest man-made lake and a captivating vista of India's natural beauty.

About Nagarjunakonda:

Remnants of a rich bygone era, unearthed from the excavations carried out by archaeologists at Nagarjunasagar, have been preserved in a museum on a beautiful island hill called Nagarjuna Konda. Situated in the middle of the man-made Nagarunasagar Lake, Nagarjunakonda is a unique island museum. Constructed in the shape of a vihara, or a monastery, the museum houses an impressive collection of Buddhist relics. The main stupa of Nagarjunakonda is purported to contain the sacred relics of Buddha himself.


Nagarjunakonda is one of the important tourist attractions of Andhra Pradesh, located about 150 kms. southeast of Hyderabad on the Krishna River. Nagarjunakonda was one of the largest and most important Buddhist centres in southern India from the 2nd century BC until 3rd century AD. and was earlier known
as Vijayapuri. It was the venue of many a congregation of monks and scholars. Nagarjuna the great Buddhist scholar is said to have founded the University here.

Excavations at Nagarjunakonda revealed the Mahachaitya, the most sacred of the stupas. An inscription in Bramhi characters states that the sacred relics of Lord Buddha lie within the Mahachaitya. The ruins of a university, vihara, monasteries and an ‘Aswamedha’ sacrificial alter from Paleolithic and Neolithic times were also discovered here.

Educative Site:

This site is one of the richest sources of Buddhist narrative sculpture discovered in India during the 12th century. Nagarjunakonda, as a result of extensive excavations, has revealed a large number of viharas and chaitya halls, through which the typical plans and constructional details of these structures can be well studied. It was discovered in 1925. The excavated remains are outstanding examples of white marble carvings and sculptures depicting the life of the Buddha.


The great stupa at Nagarjunakonda belongs to the class of uncased stupas, its brickwork being plastered over and the stupa decorated by a large garland-ornament. The Ikshvaku Princess Chamtisiri in the third century renovated the original stupa. It houses excavated material from early stone ages to medieval period including beautiful stone sculptures, inscriptions, relic caskets, jewels etc, library. The prehistoric findings include the tools from Palaeolithic and Neolithic times. There are many artifacts on display like Stone Age picks, hoes, hammers and spears. Coins and coin moulds belonging to the local rulers like Satavahanas are also on display. There are fine and attractive sculptures of large voluptuous women and also of Jataka stories on long slabs. The museum at Nagarjunakonda has a model of the now submerged valley and the environs.

About Ethipothala Waterfalls:

Located 11 Kms. from the Nagarjunasagar is the picturesque Ethipothala waterfalls. The cascading waterfalls are formed by the water flowing down from Chandravanka Mountains from a height of about 70 feet and are a spectacle worth watching. They are a radiant sight of the power and beauty of nature. This is a famous picnic spot, set in a beautiful valley. Here the Chandravankas stream plunges into a lagoon. The rising place of the river Chandra Vanka is at Muthukuru, on the eastern part of the Nallamala hills. The river falls from a great height before it joins the Tumurukota reserve forest and this place called "Ethipothala water
falls" finally joins the Krishna river.

Ranganadha and Dattatreya temples are located near the waterfalls - We need to check this out at Ethipothala.
The meaning of Ethipothala is - Ethi (we call then Yathulu in Telugu) means Rishis and Thapothala means Place of Penance.

The the meaning of Ethipothala means Place where Rishis did penance.

About Anupu:

It is said that the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna taught in Anupu Located 8 Kms. away from the Nagarjunasagar dam, Anupu is a site of Buddhist excavations reconstructed to perfection with painstaking effort. Several brick structures such as Amphitheater, Maha Vihara, Asthabhuja Swamy Temple, Sarvadeva Temple and Hariti Temple were reconstructed. During the construction of the Nagarjunasagar dam, the ruins of an ancient Buddhist university were excavated. These have been reconstructed at Anupu.

Reconstruction and Formation:

The reconstructed stupas have circular brick or rubble walls, which have cladding of limestone slabs or plaster. The Simha Vihara has two Chaitya halls, one encircling a Buddha image. The Chaitya Halls and monasteries had limestone column set in to brick or stonewalls. However only the lower portions including the pavement slabs and access steps survive. Nagarjunakonda also has remains of some Hindu shrines. The island has an archaeological museum rich in sculptures mainly from the 3rd - 4th century AD and also a few pieces from much later periods. The reconstruction sites are at Anupu on the east bank of the river, which include a temple, monasteries and a Stadium. The monastery has also a refectory, a store and a bath. The stadium has tiered galleries providing around a rectangular court.

Sri Laxmi Chennakesava Swamy Temple - Karampudi - 40KM from Nagarjuna Sagar - ONLY AN OPTION:
Karampudi 35 Kms from Macherla. The historical Chennakesava Swamy temple built by king Brahmanayudu, is located here. Weapons used during the palnadu war have been carefully preserved here.An annual festival to commemorate the memories of the heroes of that war attracts visitors from all over the region.

The main temple is the Sri Laxmi Chennakesava Swamy Temple. It was built around the 13th century A.D. The main gate has one tall Dwajastambam Swamy statue
which is covered with wood and bronze. Close by are four stone figures. They are Sri Madbhagavathamu, Srimannarayana Avataram, Sriman Mahabharatam, and
Srimad Ramayanam.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Trip to Vargal

Yesterday, we went to a place called Vargal which is around 60KM from Hyderabad. Goddess Saraswati Temple is located there. It is developed and maintained by Kanchi Shanker Mutt and there is a Veda Paathashaala where almost 70 children are learning Vedas.

It's a very beautiful temple built on a hillock. There is a lift facility for going up to the temple at a cost of Rs.5/-.

Here is the route:

Hyderabad -> Secunderabad -> Jubilee Bus Station -> Karkhana -> Tirumalagiri -> Alwal -> Hakimpet Airforce Station -> Shameerpet Lake -> Turakapally -> Take a diversion on the left 5 KM before Pragnapur on the Karimnagar-Ramagundam Highway.

Heavy downpour added much beauty to the picturesque landscape.
Great place for Hyderabadis who are used to mechanical urban life where there is very less space for fresh air.

Bought nice cookies at Vac's Bakery at Tirumalagiri. Very famous bakery in this part of the city!

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Politics of Convenience

Past week has been very eventful in Indian politics as well as Andhra Pradesh politics.

Indian Politics:
As the Communists have decided to withdraw support to the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government for going ahead with Nuclear Deal with the Americans, Congress political spin masters have started looking for support from political parties who have supported them in the past.
Noted among them is Mulayam Singh Yadav led Samajwadi Party with a net of 39 Loksabha Member of Parliamentarians.

A wily and cunning politician, Mulayam Singh Yadav is a very well known Anti-Hindu being pro-Muslim as there is a huge population of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. It is a well known fact that Muslims enmasse vote to his party and Hindus hate him for firing and killing hundreds of Karsevaks during the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. He was a darling of the Communists but he is also known for hopping alliances from supporting the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party to supporting the Communists and the Congress.

Till two weeks back, there were war of words between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress and now it seems they are patching up for political survival. Good to see the Congress true colors.

Andhra Pradesh Politics:

The Telugu Desam Party is beset with leaders queuing up for other political parties. While senior leader, Devender Goud left the party for the sake of forming a separate political party fighting for Telangana, other leaders have gone out to join yet to be formed political party of Mega Star Chiranjeevi. There is an almost huge rebellion to happen in TDP and Naidu is fighting for his political survival. At the same time, Telangana Rashtra Samithi head, K.Chandra Sekhar Rao is also fighting for his political survival as he lost too many seats in the recently concluded by-elections.

TDP is a party known for its stance against a separate Telangana State. After 8 years, Naidu had a one-to-one talk with KCR. Political pundits say there is going to be a pact between both the parties "IF" Naidu supports a separate Telangana. This would be a dramatic political decision which would have far reaching implications.

Naidu sees Chiranjeevi as a probable politician who is going to challenge his political survival while KCR sees Devendar Goud as one.

Let's keep a close watch on more developments that is going to happen in the name of democracy !!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

War On Maoists (Naxalites)

A couple of years back, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nara Chandra Babu Naidu's convoy was attacked by left wing Naxalites (changed their name to Maoists after merging with other Communist militant outfits) using Directional Claymore Mines. Naidu came out of it alive - but most people who have planned and executed the operation perished in the Government backlash. This was one grave mistake the Maoists have done.

Another mistake they did was when the Congress Government called the Maoist leaders for talks and the media hype given to it and foolishness of the maoist leaders to come out of the jungle under media glare. Once the peace talks failed, police entered the forests from the same place and could able to kill lot of Maoist leaders. The maoists were kicked out from the entire Nallamala Hill Ranges and also from Dandakaranya Forests and they were pushed to Andhra Orissa Border (AOB).

Grey Hounds:
A special Commando Unit called "Grey Hounds" was formed in 1989 to tackle Naxal menace. The members of the commando unit are very young, highly motivated and highly trained in all the arts of warfare - jungle, mountain and water. Even though there were reports of excesses, overall result of Grey Hounds has been very very exceptional.Even the Union Home Minister asked other state governments to take example of Andhra Pradesh in tackling Naxal menace by raising such commando units. They use special weapons, equipment and food when they are going for combing operations. An Officer On Special Duty (OSD) would be leading them. He would be responsible for the entire planning of the daily operations. He would also be responsible for the funding of informers and moles. It seems there was no OSD at this part of the state for almost two months and this is one reason for not getting proper information through informers.

Grey Hounds Attacked:
On Sunday, grey hound unit of 60 members were returning back to the base camp after combing operations for 2 days. They were traveling back in a Launch (Boat) in the Sileru River after finding no maoists. They were all very tired and since they didn't find the maoists, they were to some extent guaranteed of protection during the boat ride. Suddenly maoists attacked from two sides raining bullets and using mortars nearly toppling the boat. As they were under very heavy fire from different sides, the commandoes tried to jump into the river and swim to safety. As too many people went to one side of the boat, it tilted and drowned in the reservoir which is around 220 feet deep. Till now, almost 35 Grey Hound commandoes are unaccounted for.

Actually, Grey Hound Commandoes should not use the boats as they are not safe. But since they didn't find any maoists, they wanted to quickly return to their base camp and take rest and so,safety was kept aside. After every combing operation, debriefing would be conducted by a senior officer so that the Commandoes can apprise them of the operation and what problems they faced during the operation. This used to ensure that next time when they go for combing, these problems would not recur. It seems that the commandoes have complained regarding the boats mechanical faults but these were ignored as the higher officials considered it as a small irritant. Also, the commandoes should travel in two boats. If one is attacked, the commandoes on the other boat can repulse the attack. This was not taken care of and all the commandoes had to travel in only one boat becoming a very easy target.

Rescue Efforts:

Rescue efforts were immediately started once the news reached Hyderabad. As of now, almost 10 Helicopters were pressed into service getting necessary equipment and Men.
Naval Marine Commandoes were brought from Visakhapatnam where the Head Quarters of Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command is based. Efforts to locate the drowned boat was started and they could able to locate it yesterday at around 220 feet deep. No one could able to reach near it and more deep water divers are on their way from other parts of the state. Once the boat is pulled up then they can extract the bodies of Grey Hound commandoes who were stuck up in the cabin of the boat.

Higher Police Officials are also taking part in the rescue operations. The Chief Minister, Home Minister and Director General of Police visited the place. The head of Grey Hounds unit, Visakhapatnam District Super Intendant of Police (SP), SP of Malkangiri District of Orissa State are staying put in the area.
Earlier, Maoists used to terrorize people in Andhra Pradesh and then take shelter in neighboring states. Since AP Police cannot enter other states, this used to be advantageous for the Maoists. But past one year, Grey Hounds have been entering Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh states and attack Maoists. This has given a clear edge to the police.

Grey Hound Commandoes Captured ?
This is the question in the minds of the police officials now. Some of the commandoes who escaped the bullets informed during the debriefing that there are chances of some of their comrades been taken captive by the Maoists.
A body of Commando, identified as Uday Nagu from Warangal was fished out of the river and it was found that his hands were found tied. From this, it can be concluded that Maoists have captured some commandoes and killed those who are resisting in cold blood.

Police Baying for Vengeance:
With such a huge loss of life for the first time, the police and the commandoes are planning for a vengeance. They are planning an operation which would wipe out the Maoists from the map of Andhra Pradesh. It is reported that the Home Minister himself saying that the vengeance would be 10 times stronger than the attack of Maoists. Later the Home Minister said he was misquoted. But, this clearly shows how angry police are. It is also reported that one senior commandant saying that " Wait for 10 days and you would see from 11th day onwards".

The police were unable to digest the fact that the Maoists could target highly trained Grey Hounds!! As Iam writing this post, already 400-500 commandoes were airlifted to brace for a huge war with the Maoists. They have joined the already present 400 members from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Chitrakonda is a village which falls under the Malkangiri District of Orissa, which is near to the place in Andhra Pradesh where the attack took place. Such is the police presence that there are more number of police than the villagers in this village.

Role of Human Rights Activists:
These are the people who sprung up whenever there is an encounter and Maoists were killed. They conduct strikes and rasta rokos (stopping traffic). Not a single person had come out condemning the killing. One police office had vent his anger against the Human Rights Outfits like People Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL). He said "When one Maoist was killed, they would conduct strikes and bundhs but when 35 police personnel were missing or killed, they have not even come out with a statement condoling the same. Where have the Human Rights Activists and Human Rights Commission gone ? Are we not human beings and dont we have human rights ?"

Looks like we have to brace ourselves for a long war against Maoists and should be ready to hear more bad news in the near future. Maoism has lost its relevance and it is time it is kicked out once for all.

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