if one wants that bird

you know,
there was a king in mongolia,
who once invaded some
distant kingdom, where
he heard a new bird singing,
and wanted the song for himself.
for the sake of the song , he wished to capture
the bird , with the bird its nest,
the branches that held the nest,
the trunk of the tree, the tree itself ,
the roots, the earth that held the roots,
the village,
the water,
the surrounding land,
the country,
the entire kingdom......

wanting to take them all
he gathered together all the remaining
elephants, horses, chariots
and soldiers,
conquered the entire kingdom,
annexed it to his empire

and never returned home.

- a.k.ramanujan,
translated from kannada by s.k.desai.

here, my own amateurish effort to describe unreason in rhyme. or whatever.


srt said...


Any thoughts on `Lage Raho Munnabhai'?
I just read about it being used to 'spread Gandhian ideals,' and am looking for an informed opinion.


kuffir said...


i haven't seen the movie - but i'd had seen ' munnabhai mbbs' on television..

munnabhai, mbbs presents a sanitised version of indian reality - though the protagonist himself comes from the streets.. looks like the fear associated with the new breed of ruthless mafiosi who rose in bombay/mumbai in the late 80s and 90s has worn off - giving way to a feeling of acceptance, just as a lot of other ugly things are accepted in india.. the filmwallahs now seem to find them an element of every day reality.

i use the word 'sanitised' because.. i think filmmakers have seen what these mafiosi are capable of, even suffered at their hands to an extent, and have 'processed' the information to produce a more palatable version ( i'd like to know why?)..in the film, munnabhai, the world the 'bhai'/mafioso lives in and the one he moves into , the hospital..have both been cleaned of their essential elements - the cruelty associated with the new mafiosi and the corruption associated with public hospitals in india.

the film clicked largely with urban audiences - mainly the very young who constitute a major section of india now..the film didn't subscribe to the dominant indian film narrative of the day - the pretty wedding tamashas set across continents. it was, in a way, introducing these young audiences to india..just as children are introduced to classics in literature through 'abridged, modified' versions..

that's my pop analysis for you . gandhi, or more accurately, his methods aren't really dead in non-metropolitan india.. his protest strategies are followed by a large number of political and ..other activist groups across india. and also by individuals who are not associated with any ideology or organisation. young unwed mothers stage 'hunger strikes' in front of their lovers' homes.. individuals stage sit-ins at police stations where their relatives are held.. the gandhian methods are still the most accepted modes of protest..

regional movies pay more consistent homage to gandhi's values than hindi films.. i can think of quite a few telugu movies which actually had gandhi-like characters, or gandhi himself as a character..

as i said earlier - this movie is more about urban india..or big city india.

kuffir said...


i think it's relevant here to point out that one of the reasons attributed to the success of dr.rajsekhar reddy, now chief minister of andhra pradesh, in the 2004 elections was his 'padayatra', or march, on foot across 1600 kms of the state - an exercise aimed at 'gaining knowledge' about farmers' problems..

dr.reddy doesn't have a history of being a gandhian..but this gandhian march did work wonders for him.

gaddeswarup said...

Off topic. If one wants to travel around A.P. villages what is a good way to do it. I guess that most villages do not have hotel type places. Thanks.

kuffir said...


i think it is easier to stay in a hotel etc., in district headquarters in most areas and travel from there to any village you'd like to visit (which would cut down the duration of your visits). large towns other than headquarters do have hotels but the quality varies..

you are probably aware that various state govt departments maintain what they call 'guest houses' or 'travellers' bungalows' across the state - the tourism development corporation is a good place to find out details.

i'm not sure what you'd consider 'good' when one considers the quality of hotels etc., many hotels do not offer western-style toilet facilities, for instance. but i think it'd be wiser to first determine your destinations, generally... if you could decide/list out the places/districts you plan to visit..perhaps i could offer better advice?

gaddeswarup said...

Thanks. I would probably like to start with Karimnagar district and places like Kotilingala. There is another place on the banks of Godavari where lot of people come when their children start 'onamalu'. Along the way, I would like to find out a little about the work of DDS. That will be the start. I have seen very little outside Guntur and Krishna districts. Any suggestions are welcome.

srt said...


Thanks for the information, although I've been late to catch up on it.

Swarup, if you have a chance go to Sankapelli about three hours outside of Karimnagar; there is no place I feel more 'at home' and I can live vicariously through you...

srt said...


The use of Gandhian methods you describe are wonderful to hear about; I am very interested in local level resistance, both in relation to larger structures and within daily life.

More than that though, I simply find these moments beautiful--precisely because they are inscribed in and responding to tragic circumstances.

thanks again,


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