Ujjaini mahankali bonalu


Bonam—– thanks giving to the goddess

Nonalu  a Hindu festival for the Goddess of power MahanKali or Kali is celebrated in Secunderabad and Hyderabad in Telangana.

Bonam means Bojanalu in Telugu or a meal in English is an offering to the Goddess.  Women bring cooked rice with milk sugar sometimes onions in a brass or earthern pot adorned with small neem branches and turmeric  vermilion  [kumkum] or Vibjooti [ white chalk ] and a lamp on the top. Women go to the temple carrying it on their heads and offer the Bonam to the deity.

Hence the Jathara acquired the name Bonalu  plural of Bonam.  Some women fill the vessels with water mixed with turmeric powder and offer it to the Goddess along with the neem branches.  This is called saaka.

This festival is celebrated during Ashada masam in July and August months.  In Ashadam each Sunday is celebrated as Bonalu in particular regions of Hyderabad and Secunderabad twin cities.

Secunderabad Ujjaini Mahankali Bonalu is celebrated on Fourth Sunday. It is also known as Ashada Jatara Utsavalu.

The goddess at different temple is worshipped with different names such as Yellamma,  Mysamma  Pochamma  Pedamma Dokkalamma Ankalamma  Poleramma Maremma etc and is decorated with special illumination buntings and festoons.

The dance of balancing pots with the colourfully dressed female dancers balancing pots [Bonalu] step to the rhythmic beats and tunes in praise of the village deity.

Male dances called the potahrajus follow the female dancers to the temple lashing whips and emerald margosa leaves tied around their waists adding colour to the roaring trumpets and pulsating percussion.





19-year-old Chennai girl Neerajakshi chats about winning Nodojiman – The World, a music competition held in Japan for non-native singers

She’s called Neerajakshi by family and friends. In the online world though, she prefers the name ‘Yami’.

It’s the name she used when she attempted voice-overs for an online Japanese voice-acting group. That was in 2015, a little after she discovered a passion for the Japanese language. Today, Neerajakshi Sunder Rajan — a 19-year-old who is currently undergoing articleship at a chartered accountancy firm — is the first Indian to have won top honours at Nodojiman – The World, a competition in which contestants from various countries are invited to sing Japanese pop songs.

It’s show time

Her first tryst with the Japanese world started when she was very young, when she used to follow anime (a style of film and television animation). “Initially, my sister and I used to watch them just for fun,” recalls Neerajakshi, “They were quite entertaining.” Slowly, the siblings got obsessed with the themes and characters in the shows. “Naruto and Cardcaptor Sakura were two of my favourites,” she smiles.

It soon became dinner-time discussion for Neeraja and her sister Sindhuja. They even started picking up bits and pieces of the language. “We loved interacting in Japanese… from whatever we picked up from these shows,” she recalls, “Of course, back then, we didn’t know if we were speaking it the right way.”

Tune in

It was early this year, after she’d completed her CA inter, that she came across an online post about a Japanese singing competition called Nodojiman – The World. A trained Carnatic musician herself (her father, Delhi P Sunder Rajan, is a renowned violinist), she checked out a few pop songs and picked them up surprisingly well. “I submitted three songs as audio files and forgot all about it,” she says. But an e-mail came soon, requesting her to send videos of her singing. “I then came to know the magnitude of this competition and that there were more than 20,000 applicants from all over the world.”

In a few weeks came another mail from the organisers, that took Neerajakshi by surprise. She was not only chosen for the competition — which meant an all-paid trip to Japan — but was also the only Indian in the event that had contestants from USA, Belgium, Norway and the Philippines, among others.


Hyderabad’s own little drummer

Arnav Kuppachi might look like your average 10 year old but when he begins talking his words precede his age.  He is very confident and talks like he knows what he is doing.  Especially so when he talks about his love for drumming. His parents Kalyan and Vavita deserve credit for where he has reached today. They spotted the “ sense of rhythm” in him early and encouraged him to take up music.  Luckily for Arnav his school too helped him dabble in various musical instruments like key board violin piano guitar and table before moving on to drums.

Recently during a World Music Day event in the city  Arnav was one of the youngest players.  In fact he stood out in the band as all the other members were over 27 years of age.  The way the little boy matched up with their experience impressed everyone in the audience.

“ I was first part of a band with members who were in my age group  but I wasn’t happy because they didn’t spend time practicing and weren’t taking it seriously” says Arnav explaining that for him drumming is a serious business.

In fact it was this interest that pushed his parents to bring out the best in his and provide him with good training.  “ All his music teachers in school always told us that he was a quick learner and we wanted to nurture the talent in him.  So we tried enrolling him in a class with Dominic  a well known drummer in the city. But Dominic felt he was really young then   he was just eight years old.  However today Arnav has been practicing for over a year and now Dominic sometimes feels that we should have started a bit earlier “  shares Arnav’s father Kalyan.

I love playing the drums more than anything else. I keep practicing as much as possible. I was nervous at the World Music Day event, but I think it went pretty well. Everyone congratulated me and it makes me happy that I achieved something  says Arnav who has been performing at several places in the city.

He has huge plans for the future and is now gearing up to join an in house band at Microsoft where his mother works.

Arnav says he wants to go on to become one of the best drummers ever.  “ I also want to learn table so that I can use both the instruments to create fusion music’ he concludes.



Rooting out trafficking




IPS officer Mahesh Bhagwat was recently recognised by the US State Department for his long and concerted fight against human trafficking


IPS Mahesh Bhagwat, Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, who has been leading the fight against human trafficking since 2004, was feted for his courage and conviction by the US State Department on June 27 and conferred the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Hero award. He was recognised for his vital role in elevating human trafficking as a government priority, and his innovative approach to investigating cases and dismantling trafficking operations. Under his command, Rachakonda police have rescued 490 children from Orissa who were forced into labour and have raided and closed 25 brothels in less than a year.

First anti-trafficking tryst: 
It was in 2004, during his posting as DCP Cyberabad, that Bhagwat first raided a resort. “I realised that victims were being brought from Kolkata and Mumbai to Hyderabad and felt that we should do something. While in Nalgonda as SP, we launched a project called Aasara for the rehabilitation of victims, in coordination with other stakeholders. With that project, we were able to control 90 per cent of prostitution. It was recognised internationally in 2006,” he recalls.

Bhagwat joins seven others from around the world, who have been recognised for their efforts despite threats to their lives. Bhagwat says, “Law enforcement officers can do something beyond rescue of victims. For instance, rehabilitation and repatriation in coordination with other stakeholders. Prevention, protection and prosecution are the 3 Ps of anti-trafficking.”

Recalling his days as SP, Women Protection Cell, CID, he says, “During my tenure, the United Nations office on drugs and crime launched a project against human trafficking.” An anti-trafficking unit was opened in Hyderabad under the CID and Bhagwat was made in-charge. “We then started conducting raids in Mumbai and Bengaluru; rescued many victims from brothels and brought them back to our state.”

He also started writing and contributing to journals, including a book published by the UN on trafficking. “My book is on the syllabus for the Certificate Diploma in Trafficking Course at IGNOU.”

In 2009, Bhagwat was promoted as DIG of Eluru range, after which he returned to Hyderabad as a resource person at the National Police Academy, Lal Bahadur Academy and other institutes in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Talking about the award, he says, “This award has brought global recognition to Telangana Police in its fight against trafficking.”

US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge, and Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump recognised this year’s TIP Heroes.

“My gratitude to DGP Anurag Sharma, CM garu, HM garu and my Rachakonda commissionerate team for their support,” says Bhagwat.

The previous Indian recipients of the award include Amod Kanth, Kari Siddamma, Kailash Satyarthi, Sunitha Krishnan, Sattaru Umapathi, Swati Chauhan and Bhanuja Sharan Lal.









Leaping high into the air

Ever overheard a group of youngsters in your neighbourhood  huddling and talking about Ollies and wondered what those are?  The Ollie is the most fundamental skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands. With June 21 being the Go skateboarding Day enthusiasts from the city as young as eight year olds are gearing up to celebrate the day in all fanfare.

Talking about the same  Aaron Savio Johnson student of class III says “ I took interest in it after watching You Tube videos and pestered my father to get me a skateboard.  I started training professionally three weeks back but the experience is thrilling.” Further adding Savio’s father says “ it’s really difficult to see him falling while training but I try to stay strong and get accustomed to it  but his determination is commendable”. Another student of class III agasthi Chandrashekhar who’s into the sport says “ I have been into roller skating since I was four years old and now with skateboarding I find it really good. I am going to focus on it now.

It’s not just kids who are into skateboarding but many youngsters from the city who are into this sport are coming up with an event at Wall Ride Park. But the way they all fell in love with the sport is almost similar   through You Tube videos.  Sushant Kumar after completing BBA is into fulltime skateboarding.  ‘ I learned the basic from those videos and started pratising three years back”  he says adding “ it  was love at first leap.  Now whenever I get time I take part in competitions   not to win  but to learn tricks from other experts “.  He also adds “people generally think that it’s so much fun  but skateboarding is about maintaining balance while trying out new tricks”.

A member of skateboarding in Hyderabad group Adnan Jafar shares his plan for the day.  “ we will be gathering at the Wall Ride Park to participate in competitions.  It’s very rare that we get a chance to be together and we can’t miss this opportunity to try out new tricks at the new venue only dedicated for skateboarding “ he explains.  Adnan has been skateboarding for the past six years and thinks it is just right time for people to explore more of it.




After 8 years of R & D, Western scientists have proved that at Lord  Nataraja ‘s big toe is the Centre Point of World ‘s Magnetic Equator. 

*Our ancient Tamil Scholar Thirumoolar has proved this Five thousand years ago!* His treatise, Thirumandiram is a wonderful Scientific guide for the whole world. To understand his studies, it may need a 100 years for us.

Chidambaram temple embodies the following  characteristics :

1)  This temple is located at the Center Point of world ‘s Magnetic Equator.

2) Of the “Pancha bootha” i.e. 5 temples, Chidambaram denotes the Skies.  Kalahasthi denotes Wind.  Kanchi Ekambareswar denotes land.  All these 3 temples are located in a straight line at 79 degrees 41 minutes Longitude. This can be verified using Google.  An amazing fact & astronomical miracle !

3)  Chidambaram temple is based on the Human Body having 9 Entrances denoting 9 Entrances or Openings of the body.

4) Temple roof is made of 21600 gold sheets which denotes the 21600 breaths taken by a human being every day (15 x 60 x 24 = 21600)

5) These 21600 gold sheets are fixed on the Gopuram using 72000 gold nails which denote the total no. of Nadis (Nerves) in the human body. These transfer energy to certain body parts that are invisible.

6)  Thirumoolar states that man represents the shape of Shivalingam, which represents Chidambaram which represents Sadashivam which represents HIS dance !

7) “Ponnambalam ” is placed slightly tilted towards the left.  This represents our Heart.  To reach this, we need to climb 5 steps called “Panchatshara padi ”
“Si, Va, Ya, Na, Ma ” are the 5 Panchatshara mantras.

There are 4 pillars holding the Kanagasabha representing the 4 Vedas.

8)  Ponnambalam has 28 pillars denoting the 28 “Ahamas “as well as the 28 methods to worship Lord Shiva.  These 28 pillars support 64 +64 Roof Beams which denote the 64 Arts.  The cross beams represent the Blood Vessels running across the Human body.

9)  9 Kalasas on the Golden Roof represent the 9 types of Sakthi or Energies. 

The 6 pillars at the Artha Mantapa represent the 6 types of Sashtras.

The 18 pillars in the adjacant Mantapa represents 18 Puranams.

10) The dance of Lord Nataraja is described as Cosmic Dance by Western Scientists.

Whatever Science is propounding now has been stated by Bharath thousands of years ago

Girl power


Two girls from the Telugu states have made it big at an international platform beating European weightlifting veterans in their own country.

It’s not easy waking up at wee hours training three times a day—- without any support from the state federation. But Budumuru Rajeswari and Boddenpalli Rajya Laxmi fully on private sponsorship took part in the 14th international women weightlifting Grand Prix event in Nagold Germany which concluded recently and clinched gold medal in their respective categories.

“ It was the first time that Indian women weightlifters tookpart in this event and getting such great results was beyond expectation “ says Rajya Laxmi who got gold in the 90 kg plus category.  Agreeing with her Rajeswari says “ Our federation was not quite eager to send us to any international event  they thought we will not stand a chance against European champions.  Proving them wrong and beating former Olympians gave me a great boost.  Now I don’t want to stop I want to train for the selection round of Commonwealth Games that’s scheduled for next year.

At the Grand Prix 108 weightlifters from 18 countries participated with around eight contestants in each category and beating them all is a great achievement feels their coach Raja Sekhar who accompanied them.  Talking about their journey from national to international tournaments he says “ they trained hard for this tournament as they had to maintain a certain diet and weight.  Seeing their hard work  C B R Prasad agreed to sponsor us for the entire tournament. They trained with me at the CBR Academy of Sports and Education Gollor near shamshabad airport”.  He adds “ if our sportspersons get a chance to participate in such international championships only then will they get the opportunity to mingle with other great champions.  Such experiences matters.”

For both Rajya Laxmi and Rajeshwari the win means a lot more than a medal. “ I was a four time national champion but had to quit weightlifting after marriage.  I came back to the sport a year ago. Since then I am taking one step at a time.  Initially my family wasn’t keen to allow me to continue with the sport but with my consistent effort they agreed.  Now after the win they are elated” she says.

On the other hand Rajeshwari’s family was in full support of her endeavours.  “ Former Olympian weightlifter Karnam Malleswari is from our village in Srikakulam and my parents knew the value of weightlifting.  So when I showed interest in the sport in class VII they readily agreed” she says.

Both Rajya Laxmi and Rajeshwari were joined by twenty one year old.  Tejavath Sukanya who secured the sixth position in the 75 kg  category at the same event. When they are not training they like to watch television for their daily dose of entertainment.


Courtesy  Deccan Chronicle