Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bodhidharma’s portrayal was wrong in bilingual movie 7th sense

Who is Bodhidharma? The question, popularised by the Telugu movie ‘7th Sense’ is shrouded in mystery, and director A. R. Murugadoss has attempted to bring back the forgotten chapter into public gaze after a ‘thorough’ background research.

But, the founder of Sailum Zen Monastery in Bangalore, Babu T. Raghu disputes the ‘historical’ account on ‘Bodhidharma’ in the movie and terms it as ‘completely erroneous’.

“The life and legend of the 28th Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma was distorted to suit the requirement of the movie script, and hence, the character of the monk suffered extensively. None of the ‘historical’ aspects as shown in the movie are correct,” he argues.

“Historical accounts say that Bodhidharma took up Buddhism at an age of seven years and travelled to China, at an age of 150 years, to spread the Dhyana culture of Mahayana Buddhism.

But the movie depicts him as a married man with two children, and that he took to Buddhism on the way to China. And even worse, he was shown as going to China to cure a disease and teach fighting skills to the villagers,” Mr. Raghu said.

“Bodhidharma confined himself to a cave and never spoke to people for nine years, and there was no mention of Bodhidharma fighting with anyone,” Mr. Raghu, a Buddhist researcher said. His life and death were also depicted wrongly in the movie, he added.

“The young Bodhidharma was shown as practicing martial arts in Kanchi town, whereas my research shows that he practiced at the ‘Sri Parvata’ (Nagarjunakonda) area in Andhra Pradesh. Bodhidharma, who attained the ‘vajra kaya’ status, which means that he was immune to diseases and poisons, had to be away from the bustling metropolis like Kanchi town to attain this state,” the researcher maintained.

‘Body never found’

The movie also showed the exhumation of his body, but historical accounts indicate that Bodhidharma’s body was never found when the tomb was reopened, Mr. Raghu said.

Mr. Raghu felt that the director should have exercised caution in declaring his version as authentic.

“While appreciating the freedom of artistic expression, the director should have at least made a disclaimer that this is one of the versions of the available legends, or that he adapted the story to suit the movie. Forgetting or neglecting a history is much better than distorting it,” he felt.

Director Murugadoss was not available for comment.

This article was published in The Hindu on November 15, 2011


Traffic violators get away by paying Rs. 50!

How many times did you go out without carrying your driving license or registration documents? Were you tense that you will have to cough-up substantial amount at the traffic police checkpoint?

If the increasing trend in the city is to be considered, you can get away with as little as Rs.50 for your ‘forgetfulness.’


While the traffic police is expending its energies and showing considerable enthusiasm in improving the enforcement of traffic rules, and in turn, reducing the traffic chaos and accidents in the city, a few ‘considerate’ policemen are making in the quick moolah on the field. And for these police, Rs. 50 has become a magic figure for all types of violations.

“I forgot to carry my driving license and was caught by traffic police at Prasad’s IMAX theatre. After a bit of haggling and pleading with the cops, they let me off after taking Rs.50,” an engineering final-year student Amruta V. said.

“The challan would have cost me about Rs. 250 along with some awkward questions from my parents. But I can easily manage Rs.50 out of my pocket money,” she says.

Steady rise

But while students like Amruta are being benefited by the leniency shown by the cops, the very incidence of police raking in the ill-gotten money is on a steady rise.

Areas like Necklace Road, Prasad’s IMAX, Begumpet and Chilkalguda crossroads are turning into hot spots for this type of operations held even under the supervision of Sub-Inspectors.

“As per law, a motorist has to carry valid documents and sometimes they do forget to carry them because of various reasons. In those circumstances, police have to issue a challan and ask motorist to pay the amount at nearest e-Seva centres. How can they demand money from motorists and still maintain that they are being considerate?” a software professional Rakesh Kumar questioned.

“I was caught thrice on the same day for not carrying my license and paid Rs.50 each time. It is the cops who first demand money and suggest that we can go Scot-free with less money. And if we ask for a challan instead, they usually book us for all sundry reasons that they can come up with,” he said.

The police version

But why do the police indulge in such acts in the first place? “There are people who try to cut some corners in all departments. The problem would be more as traffic police deal with public directly and have considerable discretionary power,” a senior police official said.

“Also the police who stand on roads and represent traffic police are often under-paid and under-qualified. We take strict action against persons who indulge in such practices as and when they come to our notice,” he added.

My article on The Hindu


Will a new signal system improve Hyderabad traffic?

Nemmani Sreedhar

HYDERABAD: With the much delayed Hyderabad Traffic Integrated Management System (H-TRIMS) project finally gaining steam, the aging and often ‘dysfunctional’ traffic signals in the city are set to fade into the twilight of an era that is marked with chaotic traffic.

The decades-old traffic signals installed are beset with a host of problems ranging from lack of connectivity to inability in configuring the signal timings properly. But if the H-TRIMS project takes-off as per the plans, the city will see a better traffic management within a year. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) won the bid for installing the ultra modern signal system under the H-TRIMS project on Tuesday.

“One of the most important reasons for the present traffic chaos on the city roads is lack of proper signalling system. How can police control the traffic when the signals themselves fail?” a senior police official said.

No power backup

“The present signalling system has no power backup because of which signals go blank during the power cuts and also result in fused bulbs. Apart from this, there is no possibility of synchronizing the present signals to optimize the traffic flow during the peak hours,” he explained.

In contrast, the 221 signals that are to be installed under the H-TRIMS project are completely wired with one another and all of them will come with power backup facilities. Each signal point will also be provided with countdown timers, and have a provision to set signal timings manually or from a control room.

That is not all, the cameras provided at each signal point will keep a watch on the traffic flow and will automatically increase the green light duration on the side that is witnessing heavy traffic flow.

Control room

With all the signals connected to the control room, the traffic police will also have a greater control over the overall traffic flow in the city and can take timely action to maintain a smoother vehicular moment.

The new system comes with a few more promises. To facilitate the movement of pedestrians, the signals will have an ‘all red’ duration when the traffic from all sides will be stopped. The duration changes for each signal according to the pedestrian volume.

Detecting breakdown

Since the signals are connected to the central control room, detecting a breakdown at any signal point becomes much easier, officials added.

The number of traffic signals installed in the city are168, while the number of signals removed as not necessary are 27. The number of signals to be up-graded under H-TRIMS in city are160 and the number of signals to be up-graded under H-TRIMS in Cyberabad area are 60.