Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hyderabad Times Impact — Child Rights panel takes action after reading Hyderabad Times report

The story of young boys made to beg during Ganesh puja, carried in Hyderabad Times on Sept 5, titled 'The agony of boys painted like toys', has moved the authorities to take action. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) has called for a meeting with the Police Commisionerate and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to issue guidelines to curb child begging and trafficking in Hyderabad. 

"We are issuing guidelines to the Police Commisionerate and GHMC to come together and curb this menace. A task force will be formed to rescue child beggars from the clutches of their fake parents," said Achutya Rao, member SCPCR. "After we read the story in Hyderabad Times, we saw the need for immediate rescue of children painted in silver near the puja pandals. We have sent squads to different parts of the city to nab these fake parents. No parent, by rule, is allowed to force hisher child into begging. If she does that, she is liable to imprisonment," he said "The children will be taken to hospital and given treatment as the paint applied on them is toxic. The first action has to be taken by the traffic cops," Rao explained. "These beggars keep roaming around traffic islands, so traf fic cops have to swing into action first. If a traffic cop sees a person holding a child and begging or little children begging, he needs to inform the SHO of the nearest law and order Police station. There's a mafia that's working behind it. We need to sensitise public so that they stop supporting the cruel exploitation of children in the name of giving alms."

Agony of Beggar Children Painted Like Toys

Ganesh Puja is a time for festivities, but for some kids near the Khairatabad Puja pandal, it is a cruel trick of fate. 

On a sunny afternoon, near the tall idol of Ganesh at Khairatabad, is a child painted in silver with spectacles and dhoti sitting on a torn blanket. The boy may not be more than eight and could barely speak as passersby threw coins on the cloth on which he was sitting. Around him, is an air of carnival as worshippers push and shove, some gape at him, some don't even give him a second glance and move on. The boy painted in silver varnish is not the only one on the road leading to the Khairatabad idol - there are more waiting at other spots. 

Thirst above all The serpentine queues push and jostle towards the enormous towering idol at the pandal. And quite naturally, after crossing the rail track of Khairatabad, the first thing that catches people's eye is the child in silver paint. These small children, aged between seven and 10, are made to sit for hours in the sun. And in the evening, as the footfalls rise, they even 'perform' for the 'demanding' crowd. 

When we speak, the boy barely manages to mumble, "I sit from 8.30 in the morning till 6 in the evening. The paint tastes bitter when it enters my mouth." 

He is not supposed to move as his job is to sit still and catch the attention of the festival revelers. Some people sit near him, some poke him, touch him, to see if he's real and treat him like a festival toy. 

He does not go to school and comes to the pandal every morning with his grandmother. He says, "My body burns all the time. I get to eat only after it is dark." When we hand him a drink, the thirsty child immediately grabs it and gulps it down till the last drop. Ironically, there are several traffic cops posted there to manage the crowd, but they appear to have more pressing things at hand. When questioned, they shrug and move away. 

An amusement toy? 

A troupe of 15-16 such children is forced into begging and performing when the puja time comes. Reason? More people, more money! The little boy's grandmother in a South Bihar accent says, "We do it once a year. We have to earn our living. We are poor labourers." She confesses that she herself paints the child. "It takes almost an hour. But I wipe the paint off with the pallu of my sari," she adds. 

Malati, a hawker selling cheap plastic flowers, says, "You should see them early in the morning when they come with all their children. Some of them are then sent to Necklace Road and others to Lower Tank Bund." Many such children can be seen begging and performing at different places all the year round. Ratheesh, who is a tea vendor, informs, "The paint that these people procure is mostly from factories. Of course, they are not going to buy dabbawalla paint!" 

Dr Subha Dharamana, a cosmetic dermatologist, warns, "Harmful substances present in such paints can be toxic. There can be mercury, zinc and lead present that can cause severe damage in a small child. The child can even get cancer or tumour if the paint goes inside his body." 

Sudarshan, one of the organisers of the Khairatabad Ganesh Puja Utsav Committee says, "These people come on their own. We have nothing to do with it." There is little hope of the plight getting better. Amal Raja, team member of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) says, "When we get to hear about these children we send our team and rescue them. The persons involved are liable to be punished." 

Anxious Wait for a Word from Kashmir

It has been two days since Hina Kaul heard her brother's voice. As the news of flood spread, her brother Ishfaque Kaul, tried to get in touch with his parents in Kashmir Valley for two days, and then caught a flight to Srinagar armed with medicines, blankets and packed food. Her parents are cut off from civilisation in their Naseem Bagh house, Srinagar. "He was searching frantically for them, but now, there's no contact with him also," Hina, a PG student at Osmania University sobs. Her friends have gathered at her Narayanguda home to comfort her. Hina and her brother came to Hyderabad for studies, and their parents, who stayed back in Srinagar, were happy to see their children their pursuing higher education. 

But Hina's story is not an isolated one. There are many other Kashmiris who are in Hyderabad praying for the safety of their dear ones back home. Samia Farheen has not heard from her brother Mohammed Zahid, who lives in Anantnag. "I have been trying to get in touch desperately. There are some social media groups that are active, and people are trying to help me reach out to my brother through phone." The only relief that she had was about hearing from her friend Huzaifa Pandit who lives in Chaanpura, Srinagar. "All he could say in a few seconds was that he's well and safe, but there is no water to drink. Then the phone went dead," she says teary-eyed, recalling her visits to the banks of serene Jhelum River. "We never thought the river will vent its fury on us like this. The bowl shaped Valley has now become a trap for Kashmiris," she says. 

Samar Banerjee, who lives in Madhapur, had bought a pearl necklace for the bride-to-be of his friend Rahman Malik in Sopore. He was all set to go to Kashmir and enjoy the grand wedding.But now, all his plans have been dashed; he has been able to locate his friend, and some of his relatives, thanks to the hyper-active social media. "I got hold of a Bangalore number. The person in Bangalore connected me to another guy in Delhi and finally, I managed to speak with Rahman, who said he's been rescued along with his mother and sister.They could save nothing from their twostoried house. Everything is destroyed.Because of the chill, his father now has fever, and at present, all they need is water-purifying tablets and medicines," says a worried Samar. "My friend and other people in the area need to be evacuated as Wular Lake is nearby and the Dal Lake is already rising," adds Samar. 

What they need 

We have been inundated with calls after our story -`City reaches out to Kashmir flood victims' - published we did on September 11, 2014. The calls have been from people who want to donate and reach out to people in the Valley. So, here's a list of things you can donate for the flood victims. 


Disinfectants, hand sanitizers, first aid bandages, betadine, syringes, needles, ORS masks, anti-allergic, medicines (for cough, cold, fever, malaria, asthma, skin irritation, pain killers and more) etc. 


Bleach powder, ropes, rubber boots, undergarments, chlorine tablets, water proof bags, toothpaste, tents, mats, delivery kits, torch, candles with matchboxes, mosquito repellents, old working mobile phones with chargers etc. 


Ready to eat food items, milk powder, dry food,juice,biscuits etc.Here are the numbers you can call to make contributions: 9866916734 or 7675043509.

Women Commuters Cheer for Segregation in the Buses

Most Hyderabadi to women have an experience or two to share when they commute in city buses. Some carry Swiss knives, some pepper sprays and some use umbrellas to keep pesky men at bay. This sense of insecurity may become a thing of past, if the pilot run of TSRTC succeeds. On the first day of the trial run with the partial partitions installed on a bus plying between Secunderabad and Afzal gunj, women reclaimed their space. The fourth seat from the front has a sheet of fiberglass behind it, the aisle is not blocked. But this demarcation seems to be more than enough as men did not cross the line as they usually do. The women appeared happy with the arrangement on bus no 8A. 

All about mental comfort 

Lavanya, a girl in her 20s was travelling to her office in Afzalgunj and seemed happy that now she can sit comfortably without men crowding the women's area. "I am a regular commuter. A couple of days ago it was over-crowded," she said. Pointing to the crowded men's section she added, "Complete partition may create problems for the conductor to move. But it's a real relief. Some men actually stand so close that you feel uncomfortable and if you ask them to move aside they throw a fit. It's so irritating at times." 

In the offing 

At present, only one bus with partition is plying via route 8A. RTC officials say more number of buses will be introduced with the partition. Aparna Kalyani, an RTC official at Ranigunj shares that because of the long festive season there's slight delay in bringing all the buses on the road. "By October 8, seven more buses will be plying this route. For other routes, talks are going on." 

The bus has seats for handicapped and senior citizens as usual near the main entrance. We spoke to the conductor Surya who also felt different. He shared, "Many times women would call me to complain about certain male passengers who would stand too close to them. Am glad it will not happen now." Saying this, he went over to the male section, asking the standing men not to come inside the women's section. 

Mixed reactions 

But here also there is a difference of opinion. Garima Rao, a student at Koti Women's College, travelling in the bus told us, "It's good to see such initiatives but when the bus gets overcrowded will these people not come to this section? Why can't there be a rule that a certain number of passengers can only board the bus! And if anything of that sort is there why it's not implemented?" Men argued that making women feel uncomfortable by getting closer to their seats is sometimes not their choice. Ahmed Fazal, who boarded the bus from Moazzam Jahi Market said, "What if the bus halts all of a sudden? Do we not kind of fall forward? Does it not happen to women? I agree that some men do it deliberately. Good this partition thing has come up." 

The 30-minute journey from Secunderabad to Afzalgunj came to an end with many women walking away with a smile.

Splash of Colours and Memories

If the Salar Jung Museum showcased the works of Bombay Progressive Artists — namely Syed Hasan Raza, MF Husain, FN Souza, Ram Kinker Baij, Jamini Roy and others — an art gallery in Jubilee Hills came alive with the works of eminent contemporary artists of Hyderabad, right from 1950 to 2014. Called 'Ramaniyam 2014', this was a three-day tribute to the grand old man of arts and letters in Hyderabad — Jagdish Mittal. The exhibition ended on October 12.

Thota Vaikuntam's rural woman in oil, neo-tantric elements woven in PT Reddy's 'We Two' painted way back in 1966, to Laxman Aelay's 'Komurayya' painted in 2014, it was a celebration of art and artists of Hyderabad to mark Jagdish Mittal's 90th birthday. Mittal is better known for the finesse of his pahari style and the repository that he has built in Hyderabad.

From the maestros' brush

"Art has always blossomed in different forms, and in what better way can it be celebrated than by presenting the same on one platform," said Thota Vaikuntam, with the backdrop of his 1982 painting showing a dusky woman of Telangana, in hues of blazing orange and yellow. The vibrant simplicity of Vaikuntam ran parallel to the etchings of his fellow artist, Laxma Goud. "I don't care if people don't appreciate my work. I come from a rural place and that reflects in my works. I have tried tracing the signs of our own heritage through the works painted during the revivalism of Bengal," said Laxma, who's known for the streak of eroticism that runs through his work, and which was on display at the gallery in his 1974 work.

Is art taking a new shape?

This question loomed large and there were multiple answers. A look at Fawad Tamkanat's acrylic on canvas transported onlookers to the sleepy cityscape. However, the shades of blue that filled geometric shapes of houses glinted from the dull topography that they were built on. The sky and water body reflected typical blue shades used by Picasso. Another oil painting by Surya Prakash was a mishmash of red representing the surreal strokes of a floral landscape. He thinks that Hyderabad is still very young and has long way to go. He shared, "To a great extent, the artists here have done great work. But this does not mean the art scenario here is much enriched if we talk about young artists. They have to learn a lot." Pointing to a vibrant painting titled 'Komurayya' painted by Laxman Aelay he added, "This one painting is very symbolic of Telangana struggle. The colours of revolution are bright in the orange headgear of the old man holding a green bidi."
The experience was best summed up in the words of Jagdish Mittal, "Art is alive in me as it is in the hearts of every artist. When I look back and glance at the collection today, I feel good that the lines and dots are not dying, but taking new shapes."

Pakistani Serials Create a Buzz in the City

It's been years since Zarin Aman saw her cousins in Karachi. At the most, she has vague memories of them visiting her at their Chirag Ali Lane home in Hyderabad. 

But now, she gets a glimpse of a life her cousins might be leading on the other side of the border, thanks to Pakistani serials that are being aired on TV , being downloaded and shared on video sites. "The characters in the serial look, act and talk like us," she says.

Zarin is not the only one hooked to Pakistani soaps."Sometime back, when my friends started talking about Fawad Khan and what an eye-candy he was, I watched an episode, just for the heck of it. As I watched it, I found the stories very intriguing. The best part was that the other characters were fleshed out in a much fuller way . I was hooked! The acting was brilliant, and sans the melodrama, the characters looked more believable," says Rashima Sharma, a young bank professional. Now, she either switches on the TV or watches it on her laptop. 


Serials from the other side of the border are different from the episodes churned out in the Indian scenarios.Their shows deal with corporate issues, problems of daily life and have welletched, strong, independent female characters, which evolve as the story progresses. They are not shown in extreme black or white. Characters like Kashaf in Zindagi Gulzar Hai have become darlings amongst many. "I like Sanam Saeed as Kashaf.She is so real and speaks strongly for herself. Her life isn't centred around a man.She has other issues to deal with, like her father's second marriage. On the other hand, the way characters are portrayed in our serials -with so much melodrama -makes me laugh," says Sadaf Mujib, a student. 

Mahira Khan as Khirad in Humsafar is another character that has found admirers.Ruchika Aggarwal, a young IT professional says, "Khirad remains a silent character in the beginning, but as the story progresses, she too evolves. She makes her mark and emerges as a strong character, even though her marriage is on the rocks. I like her individuality ." 


Mohabbat Subah Ka Sitara Hai, based on Umera Ahmed's Yeh Jo Subah ka Ik Sitara Hai, won hearts with the way its protagonists, Romaisa and Zeeshan, deal with life. "I like the simple plots and how the story evolves without getting too complicated. It's wonderful to see the way the characters are dressed up -no heavy make-up or embroidered Benarasi saris when they get up from bed.The roles stay with you and take you along with the plot," shares Mahek Chaudhry, a 24-year-old college student, who has just finished downloading a couple of episodes. 

"I love the sense of style and the clothes worn by the actresses in Pakistani serials.I am fascinated by the long Pakistani kurtas worn with straight pants and wide dupattas or scarves. They are a break from the regular jeans and T-shirt," she says.ground the next. Another variant of the game was a contest of how far one could through the disc.

Lipstick Revolution

Girls kissed girls. Guys kissed guys. Girls and guys kissed each other.Students at University of Hyderabad were kissing for a cause - the right to express themselves, without the fear of moral police. It was one dramatic Sunday evening, as hundreds of young men and women turned up to kiss in public! On one side, you had representives of various student political outfits shouting slogans against 'Western influence' and 'moral decay'. On the other side, there were cops trying hard to keep the mob under control. But no amount of booing, catcalling or sloganeering by the self-appointed guardians of "Bharatiya Sanskriti" could deter the 'kissers'. And while the angry mob brandished their flags, banners and moral danda, the young protestors had just one weapon to fight the moral police -lipstick! There were lipstick marks everywhere -on their faces, mouths, posters - as they kissed each other in protest. 

The protesters were a microcosm of India -there were students from Delhi, North East India, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Telangana... And a heated debate ensued. 

"Who defines culture and how?" asks Agaja, a 21-year-old MA student, adding, "Who assigned the moral police the 'job' that they are doing?" Shailendra Sahu an M.Tech student and ABVP activist fumed, "How can they kiss like this publicly? If their parents walk in or a senior professor passes by , will they not be ashamed? Will any of these guys allow their sisters to come up in public and kiss other guys in public?" To this, pat came the reply from Bilal Majid, a doctoral student of HCU, "My sister has turned 18, and as an adult, she has every right to go ahead and kiss if she chooses to. As her brother, I respect and support her right of freedom." 

Saying this, Bilal went to apply another coat of lipstick before kissing and hugging fellow students.

Another student, Raman S said, "People can take off their pants and piss in public. But if someone wants to kiss, it is labelled 'obscene'! How? I say , if pissing is allowed in public why not kissing?" "Kissing is not about sex. It can happen between two friends, class mates, relatives, a father can kiss his daughter," said Arundhathi B, a student, as she kissed her classmates. "A kiss is an expression of affection. How come no one protests so strongly against eve teasing and rape?" she fumed, adding, "It is my right to do what I want to do. I am not doing anything obscene by kissing or hugging." 

Talk about using 'kiss and tell' to drive home a point!

Life is Short, Hum its Tune

Says Bhai Nirmal Singh, who sings mesmerising kirtans, music connects souls and brings them closer to God; this is what the priestly singer Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa believes in. In Hyderabad for the spiritual music festival Ruhaniyat, Nirmal Singh talks about his love for Almighty, charm of Hyderabad and his connection to Pakistan through his mother. The Hazoor Ragi (resident singer) at the Golden Temple, is a man of many facets which he connects like dots to his spiritual calling. 

"I like the ambience of the city. It stays with you and makes you feel calm," he says. "I got into a cab where the driver was playing a south Indian piece and wanted to change it. I asked him to let it be. The music was mesmerising. Music does not know any borders, any languages it just binds you," says Nirmal Singh who made his mark with his voice he lent to Shabad Kirtan, where the words of Guru Granth Sahib take precedence over music but lead to a mystical experience. 

The lesser known side of Nirmal Singh is his attachment to ghazals where he considers the Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali as his guru. "I used to listen to his ghazals religiously. But I never dreamt that I would even meet him. But there I was face to face with him in England. He listened to me and agreed to teach me music. That's how I became his disciple," he says jubilantly. 

Crossing borders has become regular part of his life. "Lahore is just 20 km from Amritsar. It's a different feeling when I step into Ghulam Ali's house. I have become a family member," says Nirmal Singh, whose 85-year-old mother can recite the Quran as she has her roots in the present-day Pakistan. 

Music is the thread that binds all in today's fast moving world, says the singer who has travelled to Pakistan, US, Canada and a host of other countries taking his mystical singing experience with him. "The way Indian music touches the soul, no other music can. Music was born in Hindustan. These songs are for worshipping the Lord. The music flows in forests, rivers and wind without acknowledging any borders, any language. It connects you to the Almighty and is the nectar for your soul.There can be no alternative for this kind of music," says Nirmal Singh who can make people forget themselves with just the sound of a stringed instrument and his mellifluous and soothing voice. 

He has been travelling and performing for Ruhaniyat for the past 10 years. He first checks out the audience and then begins performing. "It's important to understand who's going to listen to you and how you can connect to them. This is what ruhaniyat is all about. It's Sufism that teaches you to love another human being with all your heart and this pure love takes you closer to ruhaniyat. Music envelopes you, gives you inner relief and seeps into your soul. This is what I've experienced in my 65 years," says Nirmal Singh who is also a Padma Shri winner. "Life is very short. Hum its tune while you are still alive," he signs off.

Music and Sounds from Another Era

In one of the inner lanes near Goshamahal floats the raga of bygone era. An 85-year-old ghazal maestro continues with his riyaaz in the early morning hours on the terrace that faces out to the Golconda Fort. This is the house of Pandit Vithal Rao Shivpurakar, the last court singer of the Nizams. Vithal Rao remembers the anecdotes from the durbars of Mir Osman Ali Khan and later his son Moazzam Jah for whom he sang ghazals and bhajans. 

Tryst with Nizams 

Clad in a cream-colour sherwani and churidaar, he raises his hand to the forehead and greets us with salaam. The jasmine attar on his dress wafts in his room. The walls are covered with photographs of Mohammed Rafi, Bade Ghulam Ali and a handsome young Moazzam Jah in royal finery. Vithal Rao sits on the carpet straight without leaning against the bolsters. He plays a dhun on his harmonium that he once played for Osman Ali Khan. His eyes shine as he says, "The Nizam was very fond of me. I was a small child. He had heard me singing a ghazal of Siraj Aurangabaadi on radio in a children's programme. And I was called to sing for him as he was amazed how a young child can sing a ghazal so well. He'd sit in his chair and get engrossed in the ghazal. Whenever the notes would touch his heart he would raise his hands as dua and would say Subhan Allah." 

A four-horse buggy with silk curtains would be sent to young Vithal Rao's house. He would be then taken to the Nizam's palace: King Kothi. "Those things I remember very clearly though my memory is fading," says the pandit of ghazals. Nizam would reward him with pouches of asharfis (gold coins). "Sometimes, when I would spill sherbet on my dress which used to be spotless sherwani and pyjama, the Nizam would say, 'Naye kapde lao bachhe ke liye (get the boy new clothes)'. And I'd be let off after that." He'd sing ghazals of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Ghalib, Mir and Zauq for the Nizam. 

His bonds with royalty grew in the lavish mehfils at Hill Fort Palace thrown by Moazzam Jah, who was a poet and an aficionado of poetry. The nobility of the city would be invited, lawns and halls would be decorated and Vithal Rao would sing ghazals written by the Prince himself. "His takhhalus (pen name) was 'Shajee'. The Prince would write ghazals and I'd compose and sing it then and there." 

Vithal Rao hums a couplet from Moazzam Jah's ghazal, "gham ne dekha muskura kar aap ko, aap hii se dur jaa kar aap ko..." After an evening of ghazals would be the sumptuous dinner. "I would often accompany him to shikar and when he would rest he would do a farmaish (request) for a ghazal," Vithal Rao recollects. Whenever guests from abroad visited Vithal Rao would be called to sing for them. Western music was always a part of Moazzam Jah's mehfils, but soon he became so fond of Vithal Rao, that ghazals became the prime focus of his evening mehfils. 

On movies and more 

Born in a Maharashtrian family of Hyderabad in 1930, the five-year-old Vithal Rao would repeat the bhajans that his father sang in mornings. His father put him under the tutelage of sangeet guru Laxman Rao Panchpoti after noticing his talent. Later, as a court singer of Nizams, when his fame reached Bollywood, he was asked by Naushad and Mohammed Rafi to relocate to Bombay and sing for movies. But he declined the offer, "I didn't want to leave my watan, my mitti. Hyderabad is my home." Pointing to a framed picture of him being hugged by Sunil Dutt at an awards ceremony in Bombay, he says, "Nargis once said, 'He is a Marathi. How can he bring nazaakat in ghazals?', but when I sang teri ruswaiyon se darta hun, jab terey shahr se guzrta hun, she was in tears." 

He composed music for a Hindi movie Sukh Dukh and two Telugu movies, but discontinued later. 

Beyond borders 

Vithal Rao is a globe trotter in the course of entertaining and receiving awards. "I live with my music and my memories," he says. None of his five children have picked up his lead in music.
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      A Man is Never Complete without a Woman

      Tall, wiry with wrinkles lining his face, 86-year-old Milkha Singh is still the intense man who speaks his mind. His sense of humour has the sharp edge as he talks about the women in his life.

      In Hyderabad for a run, the adulation and attention that follows him, seems to have gone a notch up after the release of the biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.


      Did the character played by Sonam Kapoor really exist?

      "Definitely, she existed. Without a woman a man is never complete. Big wars were fought over women. Kingdoms were destroyed. Kings became losers. Such is the power of a special woman. Such a woman did come in my life. Those times were different."

      There was another Australian woman shown in the movie, and she too was an important part of his life. He reminisces about her, "Do you know who she was? She was the fastest sprinter of her country Betty Cuthbert and won three gold medals."

      How they met is interesting. Betty had never seen sardars with turbans, and once at a meet, while Milkha was sitting she point ed to his turban and asked him what it was.

      "For her, I unwrapped the patka (turban). She insisted that I wrap the turban around her head, and there I was, wrapping a blue turban around the head of this pretty Aussie woman. Later, she died of cancer, but the turban that I gave her is still kept safely in her house by her two sons. They showed it to me when I visited Australia the last time," Milkha informs.


      Secunderabad Cantonment has a special place in Milkha's life. To improve his strength, he would race in the nights against speeding trains which left officers wondering about the identity of the runner.

      Milkha Singh smiles, "Once, I was penalised for running during nights. It was here in Secunderabad that my guru Hawaldar Gurudev Singh asked me to race against meter-gauge trains in the night. Main bhi chhoti train ke saath bhaagta thha. Raat me daud lagata thha, uss se muscles strong hote hain." But one regret that haunts him is missing the gold medal by a whisker at the 1960 Rome Olympics.


      Speaking in a language laced with Hindi and Urdu, he says that coming to Hyderabad might mean inspiring some small child about running. "Maybe another Milkha Singh will be born. In the past 60 years that I've run, I have not seen another Milkha Singh. Before I die, I would be happy to see another Milkha," he says, adding, "I salute mentors like Gopichand who have given the nation talented sportspersons. The 120 million Indians need more mentors like him."


      The Flying Sikh does not seem too happy about the cricket-crazy nation that India has become. "Every child seems to be running with a bat scoring runs. The media is to be blamed for that as so much is written and shown about this game. Other sportspersons can take a cue from cricket." He feels that in every street and village, a sporting talent is waiting to be discovered.