Changing dynamics

Narendra Modi first opened at Lucknow national executive of the BJP last June, the plank of federalism and discrimination of states by centre as potent tool to take on the arrogant congress whose dirty tricks department was hell bent on misusing every institution against non congress states and to unite various political parties on a much more cohesive platform than a plain anti-congressism.

This was followed up by Modi’s close friend down south, Jayalalitha in her national development council speech where she alleged that centre was not treateing the states as equal partners  and had reduced the states as glorified municipal corporations.

The thread had slowly picked up. The next drama that saw the expansion of federalism plank across parties was the mid night murder of democracy by congress during the lok pal bill debate in Rajya sabha. Upa partner Mamta revolted in the name of federalism and states rights.

The elections were approaching and the state with maximum possibility of sending non congress non bjp parliamentarians was going to poll. While media decibels grew around the campaign of congress projecting an extraordinary revival led by rahul gandhi, the shrewd regional party bosses were watching it keenly for any trends of revival.

Even as election process was on, a shrewd Chandrababu Naidu revived the almost dead political relevance and media relevance of Arun Nehru. Soon the regional parties came together and protested on NCTC, this time led by Navin patnaik who for long had remained silent even at the height of Posco agitation or the avatar moment of the Delhi Sipahi. Behind the scenes guided by Naidu, arun nehru was working with Nitish, Maya,Mulayam,Mamta,Navin . The old fox Pawar too was not far behind having a meet with Arun nehru

One mustnt forget Naidu’s closeness with Jaya and his campaigning in TN election meet at coimbatore with talk in air of Naidu dialing Jaya to keep her in loop about fast paced developments. All leaders were said to be in direct contact working out the agenda for ensuing parliament session.

While Modi had provided an excellent plank for expansion of  NDA and common ground, the central BJP leadership responsible for taking it forward was slowly being outfoxed by the regional parties as they sensed the weakness of BJP. This was amplified when results came on march  6th.

While key delhi based bjp leaders are hallucinating of NDA plus without deriving right lessons from elections, its allies are making smart moves. The Badal now less dependent on BJP thanks to the fact that BJp lost seats while they gained and with help of independent had majority on their own and with their strategy of fielding Hindu candidates proving highly successful with all of them being returned, the relevance of BJp for akalis for Hindu votes is at reduced level.

This has empowered the Badal to join the game by inviting Mamta and Jaya.  Badal’s are reported to have gone out of way by offering to ferry mamta by sending a special  aircraft.  The Badals have also included the joker card – Abdullahs. That Mamata and the Abdullahs, the secular torchbearers are unmindful of the presence of  Modi show the significance attached to the symbolical message to be sent to BJp and cong. Mulayam too now has openly joined the game and invited not only Mamata but also Jayalalitha.

Jayalalitha by deputing two mps to attend both functions has kept her options open and not openly bit the bullet. That said one cannot discount the possibility of guidance from bjp leadership looking for early poll to get the badals to invite Mamata as we have seen the insipid Jan Chetna yatra failing to take up the vociferous corruption campaign of state BJP leadership against Navin making them a butt of ridicule. But there is every possibility of game going out of hands if BJP shows any signs of weakness.

There have also been two key events at expanding the base of this regional formations. These shrewd bosses are aware that more national parties sink, the more power to their negotiation board room to force the BJP especially to support it post the next general polls. This was behind the talked about attempts by JD(u) in splitting Karnataka BJP by encouraging Yeddyurappa to split away. The significance of word political upheaval in Jay Pandas tweet on the quashing of Fir by Karnataka high court against Yeddy must not be lost.

Baijayant Jay Panda‏ @Panda_Jay

Does this mean more or less political upheaval in Karnataka!? “@ndtv: Just In: High Court quashes case against Yeddyurappa in mining scam”
The bypolls in AP in the telengana region is significant one and can be the next accelerator to the fast changing scenario. If Naidu sees a revival, he will smell blood and make a push. It is another factor that Kishen reddy had led a rousing Tenlenga Poru yatra with sole aim of energizing the party before bypolls. It was a roaring success, with local media reporting the increase in BJP power. BJP had with a very convincing reason announced contesting all seats. A twist in the end, which can only be explained by delhi leadership suddenly saw BJP announce contesting only 1 seat with an unconvincing reason. The jubilant Kishen reddy post this has stopped his twitter participation.
The BJP must not forget the ability of pawar to spring a surprise by forging a regional coalition with sena and mns leaving the BJP and congress in lurch. This move from pawar cannot be ruled out. Nitish too has started making his moves by not even refering to the BJP by name. The Badals too have shown they are not averse to the game.
The first testing ground for this group will be the ensuing presidential election where BJP may be forced to support the choice of this group. The reason seems simple, the delhi BJP seems more focussed on scoring this petty point over the congress. A success here would mean this group may go for the kill soon as almost all members including Mamata, jaya, Nitish, badals,mulayam and navin fresh from the demolition of cong in municipal polls would want polls advanced to reap maximum benefits.
The BJP though strangely seems inclined for early poll when its preparedness leaves much to be desired. As things stand even a peaking performance in states like gujarat,mp,rajasthan and decent performance in karnataka andmaha would leave the BJP with at he maximum 150 seats. This is too tough a proposition and may end up around 130 unless something drastic happens in UP in the LS polls. The NDA is as good as nothing if BJP is less than 150.  When the cong and BJp together land up in the 240-260 category the game is wide open.
While right wing intellegentsia is gung ho of nda plus, fourth front seems to be taking a nice imminent shape.

The states send a final warning message to BJP

The 5 states have given their verdict and one hopes the victors take forward their respective states growth and help the people of their state achieve their dreams.

Each state has sent a message to their respective stakeholders as well as combined big picture. Punjab has broken the trend of voting out governments and voted back in the Akali-Bjp combine. One of the reasons attributed to the Akalis victory was the much maligned Sukhbir Badal’s and his father and CM- Parkash Badals easy availability. At the same time, among the major reasons why Mayawati lost was said to be her aloofness from the people, cut off from the real feelings of people and fed only by a coterie of party assistants and intelligence officials who tend to say what sounds sweet to the ears of their political masters. She had rarely stepped out of her  office and toured the state to assess the situation and  first handffedback in a vast state like UP.

Move over to Uttarakhand. Despite the huge anti-incumbency thanks to inept administration of Nishank, peoples love for the honest leader and one who was simple and accessible allowed BJP to make a stunning comeback.  While the reason for loss of Khanduri is said to be his predecessor in CM post and and also the sitting constituency MLA to whom Khanduri had entrusted his campaign while touring the state, a popular leader like Khanduri  just cant loose due to some backstabbing. Such leaders should be ideally able to overcome it. But  his opponent was a very popular, former 4 time Mla, who has excellent rapport with locals for his availability. The sitting MLA of BJP too had the same image. With Khanduri hardly able to spend time in the constituency, with the climate reducing his campaign schedules, it helped the opposition as well as backstabbers spread the canard that Khanduri would not be easily available to them. This availability factor and backstabbing helped in Khanduri’s loss and also made the difference between which party rules the state.

Thus one of  overall big message out of the elections is  – be it MLA or CM, they must be easily accessible to the people and  frequently tour the state. Jayalalitha should very well read the message, otherwise the writing is on the wall.

Since most of them discuss the picture for Congress I am not going to discuss the message for Cong. The message for BJP is big and huge.  The dead cells has reached a stage where major surgery is required and fresh cells inserted. Else the voters have clearly sent the message that BJP is heading towards oblivion as a conglomerate of glorified municpal parties or at best glorified regional parties, if I am allowed to extract that famous term of Jayalalitha to centre.

That the delhi leadership of BJP is part of its big problem is known for quite sometime. But the reactions post verdict made it pretty clear that no lessons will be learnt and instead will be brazened out.

When the BJP performed its worst in 2007 UP polls on the back of the most inept and disastrous presidency by UP local man, most people thought this is the rock bottom and from here only growth is possible.  Even in Jan sangh days it hadnt been this worst. But to grow and not to hit further rock bottom, meant corrective measures to be taken. With the same man acting as a hindrance along with coterie responsible for destruction of Kalyan singh to any corrective attempts ,perhaps the result was a foregone conclusion. Not even the result of 2009 awakened the BJP. One expected that when a much touted administrator and man manager in Nitin Gadkari was parachuted to check the Delhi powercentre by Nagpur course correction was on the anvil. This was not to be the case. Nagpur’s much famed hands off policy while exercising its power to select the president of party is as much part of the problem especially given its previous choice proved disastrous.

In Nitin gadkari it had chosen a person who was perceived soft and had no mass base to take on the political and media power of delhi leadership of party. Its here that hands off policy of Nagpur hurt the most. Had it been pulling up its choice every forthnight, this power Gadkari drew from Nagpur would have been sufficient to take on Delhi leadership.

Gadkari in the first 15 months of his leadership failed to be assertive. Unlike Akilesh yadav who saw the message in his wife’s defeat and Sukbhir Badal in the defeat of 2009 and subsequent split in party and family and applied course corrections, Gadkari and BJP failed to pull up their socks.

Once a decision was taken to reinduct Sanjay Joshi it should have been done officially. Once it was decided that Uma would be the face of BJP, her candidature must have been announced  first and declared CM candidate no matter who protested.  Instead not only was there a delay in declaring the list, Uma candidature was announced very late thanks to protests from Delhi, mainly from the disastrous past president. What message was being sent when Gadkari succumbed to protest of a leader not to campaign unless his son was given post who incidentally has done nothing to add to party unlike what Akilesh did. This when party was going all out against dynasty politics. Unfortunately voter expect less out of other parties, while they expect very high standards from BJP. This message has come out in many elections.  Take the choice of state leadership BJP decided post Nitin Gadkari becoming president. Gadkari, Sushma,Advani campaigned for Shahi and his main contender was a Muslim candidate, yet he lost. Thats how uninspiring was the choice of state president made in Apr 2010. The weak base of Gadkari, this blogger believes allowed the pressurizing of him by Delhi power centre’s through the clever manufactured revolt of Munde.

Now move over to Uttarakhand. By last April people were saying unless Khanduri was brought back uttarkhand will be a disaster. Soon  Swapan Dasgupta had tweeted BJP was toying with replacing Nishank very soon. Even news channels quoted this tweet of Swapan Das Gupta. Yet a decision was never taken till very late. Who and what prevented an early decision and there is no accountability on this front. When Khanduri was such towering figure, and towering Thakur leader In Koshiyari there to support him, where was the need to pitchfork Rajnath Singh as leader of UK campaign ? And when it is well-known that unhappy Nishank will attempt sabotage, why was he allowed to remain part of state politics? if a Sripad Naik could be prevented to avoid trouble, why wasnt Nishank kept away? If koshiyari was brought to rajya sabha, why wasnt Nishank who was made a vice president packed off to manipur as incharge? And when it is known that Khanduri has to travel around, why wasnt a safe seat chosen for him? That new entrant in manipur- TMC performed way better than BJP again shows the inept leadership of BJP.

The timely recovery initiated in Punjab is large part thanks to the timely interference of Badals. And Goa out and out belonged to Parikkar. There is nothing to cheer for Delhi leadership or even Nagpur. Time and again karnataka has become a mess thanks only to the deadwood allowed to run rot. Without corrective action many more uttarkhand and rajasthan are bound to happen, and delhi would prove to be another UP come 2013

The entire deadwood in UP, karnataka, and delhi powercentres needs to be removed and some towering figures forced retired as graceful reminders seem to have had no effect. It’s a do or perish situation currently confronting BJP and Nagpur political vision. Nagpur has to do away with hands off approach and become involved more hands on as it doesn’t seem inclined to allow cadres to elect their leader. As Shourie put it a bombardment is needed. Drastic times require extreme actions.

It’s also time action is taken in Bihar and its face Suhsil modi is promoted for next few months before finally breaking away as otherwise Bihar is another orissa in making. While power hungry machinations of Delhi leadership has allowed the nonsensical theory of allies wishes to stay afloat while damaging BJP, that very ally is bad mouthing BJP all over and attempting to break BJP in karnataka. It will be prudent to break away by early  late mid 2012 and allow anti incumbency to set in while working hard, rather than be washed away when ally decides to break away close to 2014 polls to realize PM ambitions through third front dreams. The third front is not punctured as some claim, as Maya has gained votes and given first 2 days of happennings in UP, she looks all set to make a stunning comeback with 30 MP’s in 2014. Also a maya free of the burdens of CM post is dangerous in that she will be a force to reckon in poll bound states before 2014.

Finally one will know if Nagpur has learnt its lesson during the mid march conference coming up. The mesage is project a clean honest, hardworking, easily available candidate for Mp’s or perish. This will be even more important in the 80-100 odd urban seats.  But the biggest message to nagpur from UP,Goa,UK,punjab for 2014 – project a credible, honest proven face  for PM or perish. The choice is obvious.

Cho Tuglak function and takeaways.

A few days back in a twitter conversation I mentioned that prime importance during the Tuglak function must be attached to Cho’s replies and speech and not to LKA or Modi’s speech. Last year it was during this function Cho laid the foundation for AIAdmk-DMDK alliance through his speech, clearly giving indication what was the gameplan.

I strongly believed that possible RSS gameplan for BJP in TN and nationally will be given away by Cho.

Before getting into the details and interpretations, would like to translate some portions of Chos speech. This mainly to correct  wrong intepretation let out by journos yesterday. Barring the first post article which has picked the tweets from many of us yesterday, all others had got it wrong.

From cho answers to readers qns.

On Modi as Pm candidate,  – I want it, you all want it, but it depends on all voters of this nation.

from Cho speech

No other party had indulged in brazen corruption in history of independent india like UPA. The only moksha out of this situation is for the government to go and the BJP to come to power. Only BJP can pack of this govt.

BJp has some problems  and there are charges against few. Unlike the UPA where one cannot identify who is a good person, it is easy to tell and count by hand who is dishonest in the BJP. Thats why there is great expectation among people on BJP. Thats why it worries people even if the feeling of jealously among few in the party comes.

Today LKA is the tallest leader in the nation and no one can claim the status of leader. He is a statesman whose very entry makes people to stand up and he commands respect. His determination, integrity,his political acumen, experience, patriotism, will power has made him into a great leader.

His lieutinent is Narendra Modi, who is shown as what all can be achieved through his work in Gujarat. Even after this, its foolish not to bring him to All India level and make use of him. Just like how a ranji trophy player who performs so well for state has to be brought into National level, Narendra Modi too has to be brought.

This can be done only by Advani. Only Advani can guide the BJP. Unlike Congress which depends on Sonia, the BJP is party full of talent, leaders and with many people of stature and hence there is competition and faces a problem of riches.  Their independence gives the impression of competition.  Parties with single vote catcher have total discipline. But a party with so many leaders does face the problem of competition.

But because they are all mature and if nation comes first to them, I expect them to easily sort it out.

The journalists and some of the opposition leaders,  say Modi is not a secularist. No single court has found him in the wrong.

What did Sc do,  to investigate riots a SIT, it gives a report, to cross check another person, to cross check this again, take it to court. Their desperate Attempt is to somehow chargesheet him and convict him and potray in the negative . Is their someway out of Modi?

The SIT has said there is nothing to chargesheet him, and they are now desperate and prolonging the case. They fear him, if he comes we are Govinda.

So next ploy is raise the Nitish bogey. Indian express recently had an article, not much of development has happened in bihar. There are still lot of problem in Bihar. Nitish has faced protests from police on account of them not receiving salary, many villages dont have power, and they achieve their work through corruption.

The reason for lot of goodwill for Nitish is 7 times increased advt since he came to power. He is a a very good man, I am also a good person, that doesnt make me qualified to hand over the country to me. He is good man and wantedly a competition has been raised by elements who fear Modi.

In order that we dont worry over it, would like to mention that the man who made BJP what it is is LKA. It was LKA who proposed Vajpayee as PM. LKA could have become PM if he wanted to then. LKA is such a confident man. India has only two parties, Congress or BJP formations as alternative.

It was LKA who brought this bipolarity, through his hardwork, yatras, honesty, which has helped BJP. The problem is he has mentored a lot of people. Like Anna thurai of DMk, who mentored many leaders, Advani too has done this selflessly without fear for his position.

As per Sachar comm. report, literacy, rural education,govt employment opportunities, individual earnings, BPL nos reduction, its Gujarat which stands out. There are many states which say we do work, but true work is done in Gujarat.

Our reporters have gone to Gujarat, Muslims and Christians says our vote is for  Modi .

Take the case of CBI in Amit Shah case, it lied that many relatives of Amit Shah are in judicial positions in Gujarat but were caught. There is attempt to discredit a good candidates like in Amit shah case  through slander and lies.

Finally at end

Jaya wishes to bring a government like Modis/Gujarat govt in TN. She aspires to take TN to a position better than Modis administartaion of Gujarat. She suffers though from lack of continous run as everytime is time is wasted on repairing the DMK unleashed disarray. She will compete with Modi if she gets continuous run of 10 years

BJP’s decision is in the hands of Advani, but we people have Modi in our minds, we see him as PM candidate. If he comes nation will be electrified, as Modi will become the issue, no other issues needed for BJP, with it they can win  the elections easily.

If for some reason, if those who speak secularism and associated issues combine and say bjp govt cannot come but a bjp supported govt can come, then I would say BJP should support Jaya as pm.

Her patriotism,determination, hardwork, charisma, grasping power, her ability to swim against tideknowing many languages are qualities which will be highly useful for a country.

Even otherwise, I think ADMk will play a crucial role in the formation of next government and they will need to do their bit for a BJP govt.

Be it uniting the party post being hounded out after MGR death, developing the party, or making the phoenix comeback and finally achieving a stupendous electoral achievement not even achieved by MGR, she has done it single handedly, and depended on her own and was her lone campaigner.

I admire leaders like jaya and Modi who get no central support and achieve despite the hurdles of hostile media and centre.


Thanks giving speech of Cho ..

In his typical satirical style after listing the mutual agreements over many issues between bjp and admk – I am only mentioning the mutual agreements in many issues, and I am not talking abt alliance.(this is his style where its like saying dont do dont do when meaning is do it.)

I am only talking abt post poll scenario and not prepoll scenario.


My reactions and takeaways in twitter yesterday and today post seeing some clippings in Jaya news.

I have repeatedly said, Jaya name is clever ploy to neutralize Nitish and 3 rd front.

If at all confused results turn up, each gang in bjp will prop up one among these. expect AJ to prop Nitish or Sharad yadav, Modi,sushma – JJ

message of  modi, lka i.e is bjp to tn : you guys love lot of state autonomy, BJP guarantees it, unlike cong which usurps it.

Jaya will not have a pre poll alliance. BJP knows this . period.

Only post poll alliance will give her hold to neutralize Nitish kite flying by some BJP ites and journos

Pre poll will not give her the leeway to maneuver .

Heard Cho speech clippings, he said

Every body wants BJP, the decision rests with LKA, All of us see Modi as PM, pm candidate, if it happens nation will be electrified

Moment Modi is announced as candidate, Modi becomes the issue, no other issue, That is enough for BJP to easily win polls

In case some people oppose him in the name of secularism and associated nonsense, and say form a BJP supported govt, BJP should make JJ pm

Combined with his earlier talk on Nitish being promoted by journos for fear of Modi,Its clearly clipping the strings of Nitish kite flying by media, some anti modi grp dreams in BJP

And what did many do, misconstrue as Cho pumping for JJ as pm. Also read Cho saying only postpoll.With postpoll Jaya can neutralize nitish kite flying. as simple as that

CHO was all out calling for Modi as PM and neutralize attempt to scuttle Modi by using Nitish in name of high moral pseudo secularism

As I said the other day, its not Modi or LKA speech thats to be listened carefully, but CHo.I think Jaya will be RSS strategy too to neutralize any attempt to use Nitish bogey by some in BJP

Thats the message I get out from chennai yesterday

 When tha nation has been pushed in to abyss by 10 yrs of inept government, it requires a stong PM with vision to pull it out,not 20 mp pm
Take away post hearing full audio of speech

In effect Cho’s last line was the thread for LKA and Modi speech. That of federalism and unfair treatment of non congress states by centre. This once again as I mentioned in twitter feed, its Cho reflecting the talk and strategy of possibly Nagpur post election results and important people in BJP on the thread for stitching together alliances.

As mentioned in twitter stream on his earlier mention of Nitish, Bihar not yet being in a great state and the bold mentions of some opposition leaders raising bogey of secularism in the translation above, CHO has only hit out at Nitish actions during Bihar elections and some of the attempts by BJP leaders to scuttle Modi using Nitish bogey. Cho also hints that media is giving a positive spin than Nitish deserves  to prop his image up as a counter to Modi while Modi has achieved the image through letting his work speak despite the hostile media.

The mention at end of Jaya campaigning on her own and achieving all the laurels on her own, is a reminder to the fact, that Nitish needed the BJP to come to power, the BJP too struggled hard to oust Lalloo, he had luxury of many great leaders campaigning and that the 20 MP’s he will contribute will have the great hand of BJP in it.

This is unlike the case for Jaya in TN. Readings from his last few lines is if at all country needs to be ruled by a leader who is just the leader of 20 Mp’s got through alliances, it is better to have leader like Jaya who will command more Mp’s than Nitish through her own efforts.

So clearly Cho clipping the strings of Nitish kite flying by people averse to Modi, by using the Jaya bogey. In effect jaya is the pin that will be used to puncture Nitish Balloon.

So In my view the reading is RSS will not announce the PM candidate like in UP and will use the Jaya factor to negate any attempts at using Nitish to neutralize Modi post poll. Cho saying it is the post poll scenario, clearly gives how it will proceed and how Jaya wont be burdened by prepoll alliance in her ability to neutralize Nitish. Jaya can only be countered if the BJP takes the wrong decision of courting Mamta orMaya. Given her need to maintain secular credentials with WB state elections soon to come and her extreme left stand BJP may find it extremely difficult to take her on board. The dynamics in UP and past experiences will weigh a lot while courting Maya. Jaya becomes the safe bet for BJP.

Jayas slogan for Tn elections will be give me 40 Mp’s, TN will install the best primeminister for the Nation and also ensure TN reaps the benefits for that act.

Cho has also  clearly  put Advani under pressure through this meet, where he got LKA and Modi on same stage, and set the ball rolling by calling Modi lieutenant to Advani, urging Advani to bring him to national stage and also make Advani realize the popular mood for Modi as PM among many BJP supporters and even non BJP supporters even in a state like TN.

When readers asked Cho will BJP announce Modi as Pm candidate, only Modi can make india compete with China, will you please ask Advani to name Modi as Pm candidate, the message must have gone loud and clear to Advani.

The ball has now been lobbed publicly in  LKA’s court. He is clearly under pressure.

In the end beautifully done by Cho and others like Gurumurthy

Cho missed a trick or two by not getting channels like Jaya plus to live telecast it or neutral news channel like puthiya thalaimurai which has a webcast also, or the site Kalakendra to webcast it freely as it did last year.

Jaya’s reported Pm ambition

There have been manu speculations that Jaya nurses a Pm ambition, and perhaps journos blinded by these speculations, wrongly construed Cho as pumping for Jaya as PM.

My take is, she is matured enough to know the pros and cons. of such an ambition. She may have nurtured such an ambition in the past fuelled by those near her or by reportedly astrologers, but she has shown enough evidences of having matured during this term.

Coupled with her maturity with experience and her astuteness, one has to deduce that she will know the pitfalls of leading govt that is neither BJP led or Cong led in this country. She would very well know that life expectancy of such a government is short. Unlike Nitish who has Sharad yadav to fall back on, she does not have an aide to fall back on in TN.

She would need a person to take care of the state as cm, another for the party organisations. It would be tough job to handle a coalition, undo the mess the UPA has led the country into and at same time manage affairs/ retain control of state and party which is at farthest end from the national capital.

She has shown enough evidences as wanting to be seen as a leader who delivers the promise as well as be seen as development oriented leader as Modi. This point was reiterated by Cho himself.  She would need to undo the damage done by DMk and put the state on the path, – a visible path before 2014  and mainly complete a significant job by 2016 if she wants to achieve her dream of wiping out DMK and achieving what MGR did, a second consecutive term. She is on the job since December 1st. The media may have failed to notice it, like articles on first post, but throughout December and continuing in new year, she has been announcing one governance related issue or other without waiting for budget session beginning on Jan 30. She has not even allowed the operation Sasikala to distract her on this. Monday could see the start of phase two of this operation culminating before onset of budget session. As a transport sector follower, can assure the dead and buried transport sector of TN, once its pride, is beginning to look up.

She knows well that if she leaves mid way in 2014, come 2016 she will be in deep trouble. post 2016 she may have neither the pm post, cm post or the party in control. She still hasnt completely defanged the Sasikala gang or possible future threats from them. She is has not cemented her position in the state yet.

She is of  authoritative nature and would not like to bow down to especially mercurial allies  like Mamta, and then Nitish. Hence with just 30 MpP’s at command and with her  lack of finesse in dealing with allies, I dont think she will venture out for such an experiment. She would rather prefer to dictate terms.

Inbetween 2012 and 2014 lies the possible party pooper in bangalore court

Thanks to Idlyvadai for audio of Cho speech

Waiting for video to see the reactions of Modi and Advani to Chos comments.

Arguments and counter arguments and solution to impasse

Let’s now proceed to see the common charges and counter charges being traded between the media/ people of two states and in online discussion forums. This proceeds with Kerala charge and TN return allegation format, as the respondents in this case are TN people.

  1. Old lease agreement is unjust at 999 years, colonial and hence such an agreement needs to go and a fresh one is needed.

Reply . The counter runs, that the agreement has been upheld by SC, it was also renewed by the two states in 1970.

TN further points that only reason why it let go of Peermede and Devikulam taluks in which this dam lies during SRC despite these taluks being 65%-75%  tamil population was because of gentleman understanding on TN’s right to own, maintain and operate the dam across Mullaiperiyar.

 2.Old lease agreement is unjust with regards to monetary compensation to kerala.

Reply points out that these areas were completely inaccessible from Travancore side, and was undeveloped region and even dam construction happened suffering extreme duress and hence the monetary compensation in 1886 was justified.

In 1970, while monetary compensation was suitably increased, TN had also surrendered rights over fishing, tourism, and security of dam. This contributes major significant revenue to kerala.  Hence it is wrong to state monetary compensation is little. Many have even suggested increased monetary compensation and even transfer of equivalent power to kerala  as produced in lower camp.

 3,Dam is 116 yrs old masonry dam and that its initial life was 50 yrs.

Reply  : Life of a dam is subjective to its maintenance and strengthening over the course of time. Chigali dam, karnataka is an example of new dam collapse. There are numerous dams in Europe and USA that are over 100 and even 300-400 years. Kallanai reservoir itself stands the test of time. Newer dams have failed due to improper maintenance. Googling Dams from beginning will give a nice detail of very old dams surviving till this date.

 4. Old dams cannot be strengthened and have to be decommissioned.

Reply  : As pointed above it is far from truth.  Roosevelt dam in the USA state of Arizona is a shining example on this.

Theodre Roosvelt dam is the the world’s highest masonry dam, conceived in 1889, approved in 1903, was started in 1906 and completed in 1911. Its 289 feet high and 723 feet in length.

In the 1960’s this dam was even made a National historic landmark. In 1980’s under dam safet projects, modifications were designed so that it met safety standards and flood control affairs. This was carried out after engineers determined issues with safe release under maximum flood and maximum credible earthquake occurrence near dam.  Problems included weak mortar joints, cracks and faults in the underlying bedrock, and numerous old tunnels that had to be plugged in its foundation.

The dam was resurfaced with concrete.  Modifications to Roosevelt Dam now allow drainage to the dam’s foundation to protect against earthquake failure, along with added low-level outlet capacity

The dam now has a structural height of 357 feet and a crest length of 1,210 feet.

Hence we can see in the case of Roosevelt dam, that it was of similar age masonry dam that too rubble, faced similar problems, and has now been strengthened for earthquake and even has huge expanded capacity.

Joux dam , a French masonry structure of slender profile dating from 1905, has been heightened in 1952 by a top concrete section and post-tension anchors . Rockfill buttressing was used in 1983 to replace the post-tension anchors that were weakened by corrosion. Upper Glendevon gravity dam  in U.K. has been provided with a rockfill buttress on its downstream face to improve its seismic stability that was considered inadequate specially in the presence of leaking vertical monolith joints and horizontal construction joints leading to significant uplift pressures

Safety – Strengthening works carried  out in MP dam:

The safety work carried out in case of Mullaiperiyar is almost similar. In the old dam  front and back of the dam are constructed as a Lime based Stone structure. The centre of dam was filled with concrete and mortar.  Gravity dam withstands the pressure of water and tremors using its weight. Gravity dams are among the safest dam designs and in india almost all dams are of this type only. Idukki dam is one and only arch dam.

As a short term action, to increase the weight of dam, 21 feet wide, 3 feet thick RCC capping structure was created on top of the dam for its entire length. Due to this, the weight of the dam is increased by 35 tonne per metre, i.e. totally 12000 tonne weight has been added to the structure.

As a part of medium term action, cable anchoring was done on the basis of Pre-stressing technology.At a distance of 5 feet away from front of dam on top surface, 4 inch dia holes were drilled throughout the structure upto a distance of 30 feet inside earth.

Inside these holes, 34 numbers of 7 mm thick high strength wires were stranded together and inserted. To support these cables on foundation rocks, intially concrete was poured to a depth of 20 feet and then cables were inserted from top at a force of 120 tonnes. In this stage, concrete mix is poured again to fill the hole and then it is closed at the top. Due to this, these prestressed cables hold the dam strongly with foundation rocks with a force of 120 tonnes. 95 such cables were inserted and concrete filled at a distance of 9 feet for the entire length of the dam and strengthened to withstand tremors. This is nothing but pre tension anchoring.

As a long term measure a 32 feet wide RCC structure with 10 feet deep foundation upto a height of 145 feet above ground enclosing the cap structure was erected on the back of the dam. Existing dam and new structure were designed and joined together using state-of-the art technology to behave as a single dam structure.

Based on CWC’s recommendation, whilst building the strengthened structure, two drainage galleries were built at a height of 10 feet and 45 feet in new structure.  Based on this, water leakage from dam is being calculated daily.

It has been proved and established scientifically that certain amount of water must leak from the dam if it needs to be safe, strong and healthy. (While kerala claims that there is excessive seepage, its TN claims that seepage allowed for Mp dam is 250 litres per minute while actual seepage is only 45 litres per minute.)

All dams have some seepage as the impounded water seeks paths of least resistance through the dam and its foundation. Seepage must, however, be controlled in both velocity and quantity. Thus its monitoring seepage is necessary tool to know safety of dam. Drainage channels are provided for controlling this. The following gives better idea.


When water level rises above 152 feet, to safeguard dam excess water is evacuated by a structure with 10 sluices, each measuring 36×16 ft was already there. Using this 86,000 cu. ft of water/second can be evacuated

Moreover, based on the advice of CWC, an extra evacuation capacity of 36,000 cu ft/second was added by constructing 3 sluices measuring 40×16 ft. So the current evacuation capacity of the dam is 1,22,000 cu ft/second

This dam also has an associated baby dam.  Water enters near Baby dam only when the water level near main dam exceeds 112 ft. This also means when the water level of the main dam is 152 ft, baby dam has only 40 ft of water pressure. But still, it was decided to strengthen the backside of baby dam using RCC backing and works were started. This was not completed due to lack of cooperation and SC has in 2006 ordered its completion and cooperation to be extended.

Periyar dam has also been strengthened by buttressing as per CWC.

TN side argument is thus old dams can be strengthened and even capacity extended.  TN side brings out these facts along with SC judgement to make its point.

5.Maintenance work has not been going on for last 15 years.

Reply : Basic maintenance work has been on and its remaining maintenance work on baby dam that has been stalled due to non cooperation since 96. The SC judgement on this and foisting of false case using kerala forest department is pointed out.  Further it is pointed out that in year 2000, following an elephant’s death due to electrocution iafter tangling with a power cable, power supply was cut to dam, quarters and TN pwd ran the show with diesel generators.  It was post 2006 judgement, TN requested a cable connection as alternative and made payments towards the same. It is also pointed out that life of TN engineers is very difficult out there and were harassesd,sneered and jeered at and no cooperation was extended, forcing them to shift their families.

It is also pointed out that there are still hurdles and SC had to be approached in apr 2011 to seek permission to do maintenance without hurdles.

6.Recently water resources chief engineer of kerala reported that  that the seepage through the ‘          Baby dam’ next to the main Mullaperiyar dam was ”serious.” 

Reply : The maintenance work on baby dam and earth bund was never allowed to be completed and hence this is ironical statement.  Even though this strengthening work is only minor in nature, baby dam receives flow only when dam exceeds 112 ft. Hence baby dam flow is only 24 ft when dam is at 136 ft

Baby dam and earthen bund have been cleared for safety even when level of MP dam is at 142 ft and strengthening is required only for rising the level above 142ft. Hence at 136 feet its safe. Last time MP dam reached 136 feet was in 2000 and has reached 136 feet only this year.

7.A new dam  be built and kerala will give TN water.

Reply : TN is not agreeable to this. This means the ownership and operation of dam is out of TN control . TN is not ready to let go of ownership given that previous commitment on increasing the level once strengthening is complete wasn’t honored or the SC judgement was respected. This along with water sharing  rulings not being respected across India, means TN not ready for this.

TN also objects that new dam proposed 350 m downstream is at a level 50ft below the base of MP dam and that the tunnel canals to draw water towards TN are at 104 ft level of existing MP dam. Tn says for this the proposed dam must be minimum 154ft and that only 194 ft gives it a good head.

TN has initially pointed, that it is willing to consider  a new dam if it gets ownership and control and that TN was prepared to part with power from dam.

8 .  Its keralas resource and hence no new agreement can agree for ownership of new dam.

 Reply argument once again goes to validity of agreement and SRC issue.  The argument once again goes on that since its kerala which is claiming its not safe when sc appointed independent committee has cleared it, hence if TN agrees to new dam, it should get same lease contract on rights and ownership and TN will fund it.

As per ministry of water resources Representative of Kerala stated in the meeting that the Govt. of Kerala also recognizes the established uses of water from the dam by Tamil Nadu as per the existing agreement between the two States and will continue the same after the construction of a new dam.

TN had agreed to consider it when it was formally sent to them and Mowr had requested gok to do the same.  The Gotn developed cold feet and kerala too in its comments to minutes said that above was unacceptable and that its had only mentioned in the meeting  that Kerala is willing to give water to Tamil Nadu.

9. Dam is not safe as per reports of IIT roorkee to seismic effect.

Reply : Seismic effects have been considered in design changes as is evident from CWC report and that IIT roorkee report is not acceptable as they are funded by kerala post Sc order with a view to tarnish CWC report and create panic in people. If EC feels so can be further strengthened for revised calculations as in many other dams using techniques like rockfill butressing.

118 year old jaswanth sagar dam collapsed and developed cracks in 2007 and caused floods. It had developed  leaks in the central foundation and developed two 40ft breaches. Same IIT roorkee  guides the engineers in reconstruction  in this case.

10 .  Dam collapse will cause 35 lakh people to die.

Reply notes kerala’s submission in SC regarding free capacity of Idukki dam even under copious rainfall, the maximum levels being reached at MP dam only thrice in its history, that even 136 ft is not being reached easily nowadays.  The reply notes that MP dam current capacity at 136 ft is just 10.5 tmc contrary to  15.5 tmc full capacity.  Hence idukki,kulamavu and cheruthoni dams are capable of storing the waters comfortably. The waters of dam following its break will take a minimum of 4hrs to reach Idukki dam, which is around 50 km away, would have only a pressure or force of 3 feet per second. Hence there is no danger to the three dams. As additional measure if needed water can be discharged from Idukki dam as a safety measure. 4,00,000 cubic feet per second is the discharge capacity of Idukki dam.

With regards to flow between MP and Idukki dam reply notes the settlements are 2,743 ft above sea level while the flood flow will be at 2,450 ft above sea level. Hence very few families will be affected and not as made out.

Allegations from both sides on intentions – follow


While kerala alleges that tamilnadu intention is concerns about reduced hydro power due to reduced water level,political vote, tamil nadu side allegations are that the real intention is to get the dam out of TN control as the storage level at idukki has not been upto expectation affecting power production capacity and that reduction in the Mullaperiyar water level is to increase the water availability at the Idukki  of Kerala located downstream of MP dam. It is argued that if the water level of the Mullaiperiyar dam is increased from 136 ft to 152 ft, Tamil Nadu can divert an additional 5-8  tmc ft of water from the reservoir and consequently the storage at Idukki reservoir will be reduced.

They also point out to recent statements of former CWC chairman Thomas backing the safety of the dam

TN side further alleges that kerala’s politicians real opposition to increasing storage level is the fear of submergence of numerous resorts that have come up in these 30 years.


Tamil nadu arguments have also been that leaders statements of multiple earthquakes to tune of 24 in last 3-4 months are exaggerated and has helped in whipping panic. The argument has been that only 2 in july and 2 in november have been reported by IMD.  The only other tremor reported from south was from ariyalur,TN and not even nicobar islands have seen these many tremors or aftershocks in last few months. Tamilnadu further says that these were not felt at dam site and no cracks have developed


The argument from tamilnadu has been that IIT roorkee report was rejected by empowered committee in july and kerala had filed an appeal against it on Nov22 which is going to be heard on Dec 5. The current round of whipping of passions had been strategically timed to bring public opinion pressure and force hands when things weren’t going well in judicial arena.


The further argument has been that govt officials and ministers of kerala have been systematically participating and promoting documentaries predicting dooms day. This started in 2006 when a documentary based on dooms day scenario book of 35 lakh being killed had  revenue minister being part of it.  Then another such documentary was inaugurated by cm and water resources minister. This was followed by another documentary and a film called Dam99 finally.


The arguments further go that stragically graphics of dam break, cities and towns washed away have been propagated through internet medium and with active connivance of print and electronic media. This created a mass fear in the minds of people. The dooms day scenario went to extent of giant tsunami waves to 25-30 feets high, malls and multi storeyed buildings collapsing as far as Kochi, and what more central kerala submerging in Arabian sea and Tamil nadu having new coast on its western boundary and the might western ghats on its western border submerging.


The counter to above has been that this is to create awareness on the issue and brings no pressure on any one and this must not be considered out of contex


Conspiracy theories have also been floated connecting it to  issues between centre and Tn over kudankulam, Sabarimala and religious conflict, and the delicate balance in kerala assembly and upcoming  Piravom bypoll.  Both sides have alleged their leaders as being sold out to the other

Suggestions for conflict resolution:

It’s clear from allegations and counters that the whole issue is about safety and power for kerala, and ownership and assured guarantee of water for TN and power.

The result of such a big campaign is no matter what the supreme court or empowered committee order is, the impression left in minds of kerala people is unsafe and hence politicos will find it hard, and we may find repetition of what happened before.  Hence safety is the priority of Kerala and for TN ownership.

The centre must be concerned with national integrity of country as many reports have come of vested foreign interests in whipping regional sentiments and breaking the nation.

Option 1

A new dam with a minimum storage height of 204ft, 20 TMC may be proposed, that gives same old and agreed contractual terms to TN with regard to ownership and operation.  Monetary compensation can be reworked and TN can let go of hydel power produced.

This though will have to clear hurdle of environment issues in a sensitive location like Tiger reserve, one reserve which has reversed the trend of falling tigers.

Option 2

TN be allowed to increase capacity to withdraw water from dam by increasing tunnels or widening them.  This could help to decrease the storage level. TN can store this in its plains.

The resultant equivalent power whatever produced in lower camp in TN must be rerouted to kerala. The reason being this would affect storage in idukki. This is because increased water withdrawal capacity may become an issue, as when power plant was shut down, Tn had diverted waters via a byepass route and there were questions and allegations that TN was illegally drawing water. So increased drawing of water may be an issue and be compensated by power surrendered to kerala.

If needed options through use of modern technology can be explored to dig tunnels much below 104 ft to reduce dead storage in  MP dam. Ths both new channels and old one will allow for increased withdrawal capacity and withdrawing as it flows in. This would allow dam level to be low most of the time. slightly upstream diversion channels also can be thought of if kerala is ok for it.

edit: ( saw many make similar suggestions but have forgotten other issues. dam height cannot be fixed officially at 100 feet as some ingeniously suggest. The MP dam unlike other dams is diversion dam. Its a natural pit surronded by rock. The wall blocks it and water is not let downstream but opened on other side. When water rises above 136 feet flood control spillways come in actions and allow downstream flow. (Many cite this as reason why Kerala wants level to be 136 feet nd this tamasha is to ensure it reamains at 136 feets and not goes up, to allow downstream flow). This also tells that maintaining 120 feet without increasing capacity to withdraw not easy during times of rains.

0-104 feet has only 5 TMC of storage. from 104 to 136 feet its another 5 tmc of storage and from 136 to 152 another 5 tmc of storage. So when u say keep level at 100 feet and try new tunnels at 50 feet, ur only allowing a storage of arnd 2.5 to 3 tmc. Dead storage reduction and increasing capacity to withdraw helps in rainy season. During non season water is withdrawn and storage drops to arnd 2.5 tmc at 50 feet. so another 2.5 tmc of water inflow needed to get to 100 ft. the increased withdrawal allows for greater time to fill this up. Then when others also kick in at 104 feet it helps to ensure that it takes lot of time to even reach 120 feet and as and when withdrawal helps keep storage less. Hence officially limit cant be set at 100 ft)

Option 2a

To guarantee further safety Kerala could still construct new dam and put it in a joint operation or central operation, so that even if still extreme scenario of dam breaking this new dam will hold  it.

Interim safety measures

As an  interim or short term measures, kerala could construct a series of check dams and barrages enroute from MP dam to idukki dam to control the flow in case of break.

Decomissioning of dam to involves lot of studies, regarding the impact of silt deposited over years, on environmental impact on flora and fauna, the flow time and so on. The dam cannot be decommissioned immediately.


All these could be jointly funded by central govt, tn,kerala as this is a national integration issue wit centre taking a major share.  If centre could consider special package of funds towards telengana, north east, JK on national security aspect, this too has possibility of snowballing. Centre had in past refused to even own up expenses of empowered comm. and SC came down upon it heavily for this attitude.

This remains the only possible mutually acceptable solution to this impasse.  Else this may drag on legally.

One may hope SC and empowered committee settles it once for all next year, but given the campaign built up, it’s tough to imagine it will die down or convince people. The SC must ensure that no longer mockeries of its judgments happen.  The Sutlej canal case where in Punjab assembly tried to overcome the SC judgment, which ordered the centre to take over the canal is another such example.  This practice must be ended.

Both sides must hopefully accept whatever the empowered committee says.

Having said this, dams must be constantly monitored actively. Further strengthening process if needed must be carried out.

Instrumentation like use of strain gauges and accelerometers must be implemented. CWC had mentioned that it will suggest suitable instrumentation for main dam, baby dam and earth bund once strengthening of baby dam and earth bund was completed, but the legal process and keralas non cooperation has meant it was never carried out.

CWC must also carry out determination of wave parameters following a dam break(this is mandatory in many countries) if it hasnt and alsong with national disaster management authority prepare plans. The dam break nalysis must be carried out only by experts of CWC and not any other organisation as it might end up in red flag.

Hence it is crucial that as this debate and legal process continue, pending strengthening works be carried out immediately irrespective of verdict.

With IB reporting the potential possibility of terrorists targeting this dam to tear the fabric of our nation and this being in route to Sabarimala and close to it, witnessing huge influx of people making security situation difficult, it is important centre send its central forces in addition for security and sets up cctv cameras and monitoring.

Media must share a major share of the blame for this current scenario. It indulged in sensationalism and played to the gallery.

Kerala  SHRC chairman made the same observation. He went on to say that it was the media in Kerala and Tamil Nadu which allowed the issue to snowball.

The leaders on both sides to must refrain from flaring up panic and mutual hate for petty political gains. Such person must be dealt with severely as per law.

Part 1 Part 2  Part 3


Retd Engineers of PWD of TN.

PART 1 :

PART 2 :

Mullaperiyar – The legal battle

The expert committee along with help of other central agencies like Central materials research and soil station conducted tests and studies and submitted the report in 2001. At the time the expert committee submitted its report to SC in 2001, an organization by name Mullaperiyar environmental protection forum filed an appeal, stating that  1886 and 1970 agreements be declared as null and void and also that increasing reservoir level once again was against environmental rules.

The SC considered the questions on legality of agreement, environmental concerns and safety concerns and permitted TN to raise the storage level to 142 ft in an order by a bench headed by then CJI of India- Sabharwal.

SC also ordered that Kerala cooperate with TN,CWC in order to complete remaining minor strengthening works in the baby dam,earth bund and a 20mt portion of the main dam. This SC had to incorporate in the order after it found Keralas attitude obstructionist. Once this was done, SC had permitted another assessment, following which level could be raised to 152 ft

With regards to safety issue SC opined that

Regarding the issue as to the safety of the dam on water level being raised to 142 ft.from the present level of 136 ft, the various reports have examined the safety angle in depth including the viewpoint of earthquake resistance. 

The apprehensions have beenfound to be baseless. In fact, the reports suggest an obstructionist attitude on the part of State of Kerala.

The Expert Committee was comprised of independent officers. Seismic forces as per the provisions were taken into account and structural designs made accordingly while carrying out strengthening measures. 

It also shows the various strengthening measures suggested by CWC having been completed by Tamil Nadu PWD on the dam including providing of RCC backing to the dam. The report also suggests that the parapet wall of the baby dam and main dam have been raised to 160 ft. (48.77 mt.) except for a 20 mt. stretch on the main dam due to denial of permission by the Government of Kerala.


Some other works as stated therein were not allowed to be carried on by the State of Kerala. 

The report of CWC after inspection of main dam, the galleries, baby dam, earthen bund and spillway, concludes that the dam is safe and no excessive seepage is seen and that Mullaperiyar dam has been recently strengthenedThere are no visible cracks that have occurred in the body of the dam and seepage measurements indicate no cracks in the upstream side of the dam

The Deputy Director, Dam Safety, Monitoring Directorate, Central Water Commission, Ministry of Water Resources in affidavit of April 2004 has, inter alia, sated that during the recent earthquake mentioned by Kerala Government in its affidavit, no damage to the dam was reported by CWC officers who inspected the dam. The experts having reported about the safety of the dam and the Kerala Government having adopted an obstructionist approach, cannot now be permitted to take shelter under the plea that these are disputed questions of fact. There is no report to suggest that the safety of the dam would be jeopardized if the water level is raised for the present to 142 ft. The report is to the contrary

It is pertinent to note that earthquake being mentioned in the above judgement is the 2000 earthquke measuring over 5 in richter scale. At that time too reports had appeared in kerala press about cracks being found and that entire dam network was in danger.

The SC had also gone into possibility of dam breaking in its judgement and based on kerala’s submission observed that Idukki dam was enough to hold even if MP dam breaks.

With regards to validity of the agreement, SC upheld the agreements validity. It also found no substance in the contention that there will be adverse effect on environment, after making detailed observations on the same.

Kerala Govt’s Legislation & subsequent legal battle :

This order came on Feb 27 2006. The two states were headed to election in April and May.  Kerala called for special session of assembly and amended the Kerala irrigation and water conservation act 2003 and barred any civil court from adjudicating on matters pertaining to this act and set the height of Mullaperiyar dam at 136 feet.

The law empowered the Kerala’s Dam Safety Authority to arrive at its own findings on the dam safety and direct Tamil Nadu to suspend or restrict the functioning of the dam or even decommission it, and Tamil Nadu was obliged to comply with such directions.

Keralas review petition of above judgement was dismissed and the judgement upheld. TN petition on validity of act overruling SC led to setting up of a 5 judge bench.  SC had declined to answer TN ‘s pray of interim stay of the kerala act.

Kerala next proceeded to appoint an IIT delhi team led by George Paul and retd professors, Ak Gosain and Subash Chander. This team funded by kerala opined in 2009 that hydro-logically dam was unsafe.

The independent  CWC team appointed by SC rejected these arguments saying the difference in the adopted values of Design Rainfall (Storm) depth, Time distribution of rainfall, Unit hydrograph & Infiltration rate have resulted in estimation of higher flood peak (PMF) and the said studies by the IIT Professor does not appear to be well founded.

Kerala next proceeded to appoint an IIT roorkee team headed by KA Paul and Sharma. This team opined dam is unsafe in event of 6.5 and above quake in 16 km vicinity of dam. Both these reports were rejected by SC.

In Oct of 2009 while hearing the TN petition on the act, a bench comprising Justices D K Jain, Mukundakam Sharma and R M Lodha observed “ If every state in inter-state dispute sought enacting a legislation not to give effect to our judgment, it would have serious consequence,”

“When this court said that Tamil Nadu can raise water level up to 142 feet, can you (Kerala) nullify it by enacting a legislation and fixing the water level at 136 feet?” it asked senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan appearing for Kerala. “What is the sanctity of the Supreme Court if its judgments are not implemented,”

Kerala government counsel said that it had to come up with the legislation as it was concerned with the safety of its people. At this, Justice Jain said: “This court is equally concerned with the safety of the people. The court had taken all the facts and concerns expressed by the two parties before passing the decree.”

The court asked Kerala whether it favoured the idea of having an “independent mechanism” in the form of an expert body which would monitor the dam’s functioning. The counsel for the state said he would seek instructions from the government and report back.

To Kerala objecting to CWC, court remarked that the CWC is a statutory body. Do not label it with tar

Following this a 5 member constitutional bench was constituted in nov 2009.

In feb 2010, The Constitution bench comprising Justice D K Jain, B Sudershan Reddy, Mukundakam Sharma, R M Lodha and Deepak Verma remarked “Your arguments are unfounded, misleading, fallacious and jugglery of words. You should support it (claim) with evidence,”

The apex court made the remarks as it was not impressed with the state’s argument that if the water level of the dam, which supplies water to Tamil Nadu, was allowed to be raised beyond 136 feet would lead to its collapse endangering public safety as it would submerge several villages in the state.

The bench said the arguments cannot be accepted as even during the three floods witnessed in 1924, 1943 and 1961, the water level had reached a maximum of 152.35 feet as against the danger level of 155 feet.

On feb 18, SC appointed an empowered committee to look into various aspects of case and former CJI AS Anand was appointed as chairman. TN and Kerala appointed two former SC judges from their respective states to the panel and it was completed by CWC members making it a total of 5.

Currently the term of this committee is till feb 2012 and SC has asked it to submit its final report. The TN govt in april 2011 had asked SC to stay any plans for new dam by kerala, to which SC has opined that no meaning must be attached to statements of kerala ministers and is just an irresponsible statement. Arguments on new dam issue will commence once the empowered comm. submits its report.

The empowered committee has made site visits, conducted remote operated vehicle tests lead by Alex Verghese of CWC.  Besides this tests have been conducted by BARC, CMRSS, GIS.

The empowered comm. has rejected the reports of IIT roorkee professors in July2011. Kerala appealed against this decision on Nov 22 2011 and EC will meet on Dec 5th regarding this issue.

Part 1 Part 2  Part 4


Mullaperiyar – part 2- The tamilnadu-kerala Bonhomie

Kerala Tamilnadu – Bonhomie and cooperation

Kerala and Tamil nadu have had excellent relationships with regard to water sharing when compared to the relations between the other three southern states with regards to water sharing.

Infact in Andhra there is a virtual split within the state itself over the question of water sharing. Primary reason for this being these states depend on monsoons for their irrigations and drinking water needs and also have bigger dry, parched regions.

This is unlike the situation in Kerala. Barring certain regions of Palakkad dist, Kerala in addition to being blessed with 44 rivers, is also blessed with copious rain over the entire state.

Kerala’s big problem though has been on power front.  High density of population has meant lack of suitable lands for power projects based on coal. Also the fear on effects of power plants on life has kept these coal based plants away from the state.   Kerala also had rejected a nuclear power plant proposed in 1980’s which then moved to its new site across the border in TN.

This had necessitated Kerala to rely heavily on hydro power and a network on dams across these rivers has been providing them with hydro power. These dams  have little to do with irrigation and drinking water purpose in Kerala compared to other states.

Besides Mullaiperiyar, Tamilnadu and Kerala cooperate on Siruvani, Parambikulam-Aliyar project in borders near Coimbatore-Palghat. The three major PAP reservoirs and its other structures are controlled jointly by the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments.  Drinking water schemes on both sides are implemented with due cooperation from each side. The joint water regulatory board on interstate PAP takes care of this. In the recent past, increased needs on both sides have led to minor issues, but have been taken care well. This is one of best interstate river water project.

The other border area of kanyakumari where again Western Ghats provide us with many rivers and streams, also had some minor issues and allegations flying, but has more or less remained peaceful. There is a dispute over Neyyar water sharing and is in complete limbo now, as Kerala is reported to have stopped supply in the left channel which irrigates Vilavancode taluk.

A similar sticking point is the 7.5 m long Shenbagavalli veir.  This is actually around the origin of Periyar river. This region Sivagiri hill ranges sees a host of streams originating. In the past the Travancore rulers and the Sivagiri polygars rulers which was one of the 72 originals palayams of Pandyas reached an agreement to create the veir to feed tanks in sivagiri and Rajapalayam. This got damaged in 1971 following tree falls and has not been repaired by Kerala till date though TN had handed cash over in 1986. Kerala had returned the cash back 3 years back stating the inability to carry out the work.

These though have smaller zone of influence and hence haven’t snowballed into a bigger controversy and are being patiently dealt with.

Mullaperiyar – A thorn in the flesh

Unfortunately the Mullaiperiyar issue may end up spoiling this bonhomie. Increasing power needs on both sides have also not helped. With Tamilnadu slipping into a power deficient state due to bad management over the last few years, situation has worsened. TN power condition was same when CM Jayalalitha took over in 2001 and on her request, then CM Ak Anthony had ensured supply of power to TN.

Be it movie industry, tourism, cattle, poultry, construction sand, food and vegetables, other trade and commerce, there has been good cooperation between the two states.

Mullaperiyar has been a sore point in this for over last thirty years. Following the 1979 reports in Malayalam daily with regards to safety of dam, CWC held meetings with engineers of both sides and decided strengthening measures to assure the people on the safety of dam.  It was agreed by TN as per Kerala suggestion to keep the water storage level at 136 ft. while the agreed works were taken up. The works were divided into three categories and short term measures to be done before next monsoon, medium term measures like pre tension /cable anchoring and long term measures were identified.

It was agreed to increase the level back to 145 ft following completion of medium and short term works and both state reached a commitment on this as per CWC

Around 1986 CWC made various design notes to TN on additional splillways, RCC topping to add weight to the gravity dam, RCC wall backing and other measures. CWC also had opined that following completion of these works, the dam was competent enough to hold back its original storage of 152 ft.

With works getting completed and difference of opinion on water storage rising between the  two states, matters proceeded to SC with Subramaniam Swamy calling for transfer of bunch of petitions filed in both state HC. As per Swamy he approached the court after his offer for negotiation was rejected by then Kerala CM.

Following talks failure, SC appointed an expert committee to go into the safety aspects of the dam. Besides CWC, the service of Central Materials Research and Soil station was also used. The committee had the CWC designs and research wing director , two chief engg of CWC, director of dam safety govt of MP, a retd. engineer in chief from UP as members besides representatives of TN,Kerala.

Part 1 Part 3  Part 4

Mulla(i)periyar Dam – History

Discussing about rivers and the sharing of its water between states has always been an emotive issue especially in states having areas south of Vindhyas. The current river debate that’s in the spotlight concerns the Mullaiperiyar river.

Unlike other river water sharing debate, this one is less about the river and is more about a dam. Before we get to read a primer on the history of this issue, its pertinent to place on record that I hail from Chennai, and there in ends my association with this.  I haven’t been to this dam. This is an attempt to place the concerns and viewpoints of the two sides based on the discussions I have held with people from both sides.

History :

With many parts of India facing famine in 1700’s, Tamilnadus driest regions like current Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin,  Theni and parts of Virudhunagar dists faced severe drought. With a view to address the annual prospect of drought, the then Ramanathapuram king  got his minister to analyse the feasibility of tapping the perennial Periyar river which originated from the Sivagiri mountains by means of a canal. The proposal was dropped though due to precarious financial situation of kingdom even though it was found feasible.

This was once again revived by the British when these areas were under their control. James Cladwell once again began the studies to construct a dam.  More than half a century later after various issues, like endemics, the British revived the idea, with Colonel John Pennycuick  in charge.

By 1884 the project was sanctioned at a cost of 62 lakhs.  The construction began in Devikulam and Peermede taluks. With terrain remaining tough, the construction materials and personnel were sourced from the eastern side, which was the main access to these areas.

To enable the construction, British govt. inked a deal with the then Travancore King in 1886.

Based on that,

1) The agreement is for 999 years and can be renewed at end of lease

2.)For the 8000 acres of land on which the water will be stored, a lease amount of  Rs.5/acre and    Rs.40000/year will be paid to Travancore govt. This was considered to be a valuable revenue source those days given these areas was less developed, and inhospitable with limited access.

3.Full rights to TN for water coming under those 8000 acres. Full rights for TN to do works related to dam and irrigation on those 8000 acres

4.Full Rights to TN for Fishing on catchment areas

5. Full Rights to TN for using stone, minerals, trees, plants in the catchment areas

6. Full right of access to Officials, workers and associated people and to take things with them

7.Full Ownership rights for 100 acres to facilitate dam construction, irrigation and maintenance

During the initial stages of this dam construction, a severe flood washed away the constructed segments in the flood.  Torrential rains, flash flood, wild animals, tough terrain, diseases like malaria meant labour was a major problem

Colonel John Pennycuick was a determined man. He sold all his properties in UK and he constructed this dam at a cost of 85 lakhs.  He is hence the equivalent of Arthur Cotton-andhra to southern tamilnadu.

Technical details of the dam

:ht 176 ft, storage ht – 152 feet, wall height -155ft(160 post strengthening) and length: 1241 feet. total capacity : 15.5 TMC. Current capacity :10.5 TMC

Upto 104 feet, its dead storage and water cannot be tapped towards the TN side. The water stored above 104 ft in the Mullai Periyar dam are transported to Thekkady through man-made canals for 2 km. From Thekkady penstocks(sluice gate), water is transported to TN through 2 km of Tunnels bored across mountains in western ghats and water is merged with a tributary of Suruli River.

In 1933 the dam was strengthened.  In 1956, following states division, a “Four Bay” dam was constructed in Tamil Nadu to produce electricity using this water. From this dam, water is carried in a tunnel and huge pipes for a distance of 5800 feet to lower camp where electricity is produced.

After producing electricity, water is let into Suruli River for irrigation purpose. Using this water farmers in Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram districts carry out agriculture in 2,08,000 acres. This also serves as primary drinking water source to these parched districts.

In 1960, the dam was once again strengthened.  This involved guniting the upstream face and grouting the inside face body.

The 1960’s also witnesses for the first time murmurs regarding stability of dam. It also saw Kerala building a no of check dams along the course of Periyar river.  1960’s also saw the  proposals for Idukki dam.

In the year 1970 supplementary agreements were signed between Kerala and Tamilnadu. This saw TN surrendering the fishing rights, boat rides.  The agreement also saw clauses for power production by TN and amendment regarding the monetary aspects.

The 1970’s also saw the construction of Kerala’s biggest hydroelectric project – Idukki Dam, 50 km downstream of Mullai Periyar dam. Idukki Dam is 1200 ft long and 555 ft tall Arch type Dam.Its capacity is 70 TMC(Thousand Million Cubic) feet, which is 6 times more in capacity than Mullai Periyar.

The resulting flora and fauna in over 80 years of dams presence led to the regions being declared reserve forest followed by declaration as a tiger reserve.

The genesis for conflict breaks in 1979. A Malayalam daily ran a story on 16.10.1979, that tremors were felt in idukki district and the dam is not safe.

Following this under Kerala government request, then CWC president Thomas inspected the dam. CWC though opined that dam was good, suggested strengthening measures.

Then TN govt led by MGR agreed to reduce the level of water storage to max of 136 feet until strengthening of dam was over as suggested by CWC.

Petitions were filed in both HC around 1998 with TN petition calling for increase in level once again with strengthening works almost finishing.

Subramaniam Swamy approached SC and got all petitions transferred to SC. After talks were held between two states following SC request failed, the SC appoints a independent technical comm. to study the strengths of dam and submit a report.

Part 2 Part 3  Part 4


United in thought

Friend amar had last month asked me the tamil invocation that refered to kings, brahmins and cow.

The one that came immediately to mind was svasti prajabhyam from atharva veda upanishad.

Swasthi prajabhya paripalayantham,
Nyayena margena maheem maheesa,
Gobrahmanebhyo shubhamasthu nithyam,
Loka samastha Sukhino bhavantu.


May there be well being to the people;
May the kings rule the earth along the right path;
May the cattle and the Brahmins have well being forever;
May all the beings in all the worlds become happy;

This though does not invoke rains as the next shanthi mantra does separately.

Kale varshathu parjanya,
Prauthwee sasya shalini,
Deso yam kshobha rahitha,
SAjjana santhu nirbhaya


Let the monsoon be timely and plentiful,
Let earth be covered with vegetation,
Let the country live without problems,
And let good people never have fear.

I knew immediately the tamil version is part of thevaaram.  Vaazhga anndhanar sung by gnanasambantha came to my mind and it was indeed the tamil version. Though it is refered as podhu, think it was sung at thiruedagam post pal leaf floating incident.

வாழ்க அந்தணர் வானவ ரானினம்
வீழ்க தண்புனல் வேந்தனு மோங்குக
ஆழ்க தீயதெல் லாமர னாமமே
சூழ்க வையக முந்துயர் தீர்கவே.

Vaazhga andhanar vaanavar aaninam
Veezhga than punal veyndhanum oonguga
Aazhga theeyadhellaam aran naamamey
Soozhga vaiyagamum thuyar theergavee


Let the brahmins, celestials and the herd of cows live long

Let the cool water pour from the clouds.
Let the king become exalted.
Let all the evils fall down.
Let the name of Civaṉ surround the world.
Let the world also be free from sufferings on account of that.
Translation: V.M.Subramanya Aiyar–Courtesy: French Institute of Pondichery / EFEO (2006)

The title of this blog though is a thank you to sridhar who took on the yaadum oore and sthitha pragna and also linked vasudhaiva kutumbam written by Bhartenduh.  Jayashree ji too had written on that topic.

Absurdity of saying Madras was found 372 yrs ago

Every year over last ten years there is this farce of madras day chennai day on. Why do i call it farce? Simply because the city was not established 372 yrs ago as claimed but what happened 372 yrs ago was establishment of st george fort and that area becoming british outlet of south and then on to become a presidency.

Todays chennai has extended so much. Similarly as trade grew, many well known villages and kottams of famous Jayam konda chola mandalam combined to become the big city. many great cities of past have vansished.  and historically TN has had four centres  – karur, madurai, trichy-Thanjur and kanchi region. The karur region is now represented by the high urbane sector of salem-coimbatore. Trcihy-Thanjavur and madurai remain as the other power centres. The kanchi region remains as the northern power centre. Its this location close to kanchi and on sea made the British to establish an outpost here. That is reason Cuddalore wasnt prefered.

In a few more years, Chennai-kanchi will be a twin city region.

So calling it as madras day is obfuscation of history of areas of city. Its good to see Chitra Madhvan every year in her own way remind us of the history,

In south india, its the temples that stand as repository of history.


So here is a list that negates any notion that every locality of chennai came up only because of incident 372 yrs ago. They all existed well before and its just that British decision was a turning point.
Go through this list. Fact remains many of these temple are 900-2000 years old and many
falling in the Chola, Pallava and early Vijayanagara period. All these places were
important places in those period and visited by Kings and patronized. Temples are the
testimony to our history, culture and economy. To remind, the uthiramerur temple bears
testimony to one of the most ancient and most transparent system of elections.( From
hindu links on Eluchur and Uthiramerur)

Mylapore-Triplicane twin area
Mylapore – many shiva temples like Kapalishwarar, Veleshwarar, Valishwarar,
Theerthapaleeswarar , karaneeshwarar, Virupaksheshwarar, Malishwarar etc.
Needless to say about these temples. One of these temples is said to be 2000 years old.

Mylapore Adi kesava perumal – As name suggests very very ancient temple,
Mylapore Madhava perumal – Peyazhwar abhimana Sthalam meaning temple loved by pey alwar/
Mylapore – Kolavili Amman – more than 900- 1000 years old

Ekambareshwarar temple- Temple of Thiruvalluvar birthplace. Where is the
paguthuarivuvathi. In dilapidated condition.

Triplicane – Parthasarathy – Divya Desam. Birth Place on one of the alwars. Needless to say how old.

Triplicane – Tiruvetishwarar. The Shiva existed before, and the temple was rebuilt around 500-600 years ago

Kalikambal or Chennamman– Worshipped by Chatrapathi Shivaji. Was inside fort george. It was shifted out later.

Just as Mumba Devi for Mumbai, was called as Chennamman . Be proud of history. Adi Shankara is said to have visited the shrine.

Chenna kesava perumal – to built Fort St George by british, it was brough down and rebuilt to appease public fury
Chenna mallishwarar – Demolished to built Fort St George by british and rebuilt to appease public fury

These Three temples are reason of why we call Chennai. as Chennai.
Lingeshwara- lingy chetty street
Mallikeshwarar – more than 700 years old. Was recovered as it was completely buried under ground.
Krishnan temple – Thirumazhisai Alwar had been to this temple
Kachalishwarar -300 years old
Kasi Vishwanathar -200 – 300 years
Arunachaleshwarar – 250- 300 years
NSC bose road Vani Subramaniar – built by Vani Chetty trading community, 500 years
Kandakottam Kandaswamy – 500 years old Beri Chetty community built it after idol was unearthed from ground here on instructions in dream.
Ekambareshwarar – 500 years old
Bhairaghi mutt Srinivasa perumal – more than 500 years, built on specific instructions to Bhairaghi mahanth in dreams, the then managers of Tirupathi temple

Starting Along Ring Road
Padi – Sivan temple guru sthalam padal petra sthalam, think valishwarar. Sung by nayanmars.
Villiwakkam – Agasthishwarar shiva temple, – 1100 – 1200 years old
Villiwakkam – Sowmya Damodara Perumal Vishnu temple – 1000-1100 years old
Mogappair- Markandeshwarar and Santhana Gowri ( not sure of name here).
Mogappair -Santhan Srinivasa Swamy temple – 700 years

Mogappair derives its name from these two temples. Magaperu meaning to get children was tamil equivalent santhanapuri. The two temples were part of same complex. Got ruined in 1970’s. The vishnu temple was rebuilt later at different place, whereas Shiva temple exists in same place today. Santha lakshmi unearthed from temple complex is part of Shiva temple.
Koyambedu Vishnu Vaikundavasa perumal and Shiva temple Kurungaleeshwara- do you need more. Chola built. Sung by Arunagiri

Vadapalani Vengishwarar or Vyagarapadehswara Shiva temple ( area called puliyur before)( U can see Vyagarapadar and Patanjali idols here)( headquarters of one of saints of periyapuranam). Chola Built. headquarter of famous Puliyur Kottam of jayamkonda chola mandalam.
Saligramam Aadimola Perumal( right next to Vadapalani temple),Sundararaja Perumal in west mada veedi of Vengishwarar. These two temple go hand in hand with vengishwarar and are very old.

Virugambakkam Varadaraja Perumal
Valasarawakkam Agastheeshwarar Shiva temple. Nearby is Swayambu Vinayaka. 800-900 years old.
Kodambakkam – Bharadwajeshwarar. again very ancient. Chitra madhavan has nice article in Hindu on puliyur temples.

Choolaimedu- Nungambakkam – Agasthishwarar and perumal temple. all again more than 500 yrs old.

Ashok nagar Police training College Mallikeshwarar
Saidapet – Karaneeshwarar – Very ancient temple
Saidapet – Narasimha Venkatachalapthy swamy temple –
saidapet:Subramanya Swamy temple – 400-500 years old
Saidapet:Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple –

Velachery – Dandishwar
Madipakkam – Dharmalingeshwarar
Nanganallur – Ardhanareeshwarar,
Nanganallur Narasimhar.
Parangi malai Siva temple Nandeeshwarar – Was called bringi malai or parangi malai. Only to made into St Thomas mount by british
Selaiyur Madambakkam Dhenupureeshwarar Siva temple – 1100-1200 Chola period
Selaiyur Adi Kesava Perumal -900-1000 years old
Pammal Argeeshwarar – 1000 years old
Tirusulam – Thirusoolanathar Siva temple. Koluthunga Chola
Thiruneermalai – Divya desam
Pallavaram – Thirumaneeshwarar – established by pallavas. Has mahendra varman period temple as well now turned to mosque, documented by even british archaoelogist.
Pallavaram – Neelvarna perumal – 1000- 1200 years old
Pozhichalur- Agasthishwarar. Rebuilt around 900 years back.
Somangalam- Somanadeshwarar- Chola period.
Kovur – Sri Sundareshwarar or Thirumeyeneeshwarar. Kolothunga Chola also patronized
it. 1300-1400 years.( not sure which Kulothunga it was.)
Gerugambakkam – Neelakanteshwarar. Chola period
Kolapakkam – Surya Sthalam like Vysarpadi, Agastheeshwarar – min 1300 years old
Mangadu Kamakshi- Adi Shankara visited here
Mangadu – Shiva temple – Vellishwarar( one at Mylapore as well. So two for Surya, two
for Guru as well). Shiva temple corresponding to Kamakshi
Mangadu – Vaikunda perumal( The Gosalai there is famous)
Kunrathur – Murugan Koluthunga Chola ( don’t know if it was the first or later Koluthungha) and
Kunrathur Siva – Nageshwarar
Kunrathur – Uraga Perumal. Chola period.
Porur – Ramanatheshwarar – Has elephant type garbagriha, hence can be attributed to
Cholas. Legend associated with Ramayana as in Nandambakkam cleanly connecting the
Porur Vyasaraya hanuman. Similar to one at nallatur near tiruthani on banks of kushasthalai and to the one inside Parthasarathy temple established by Vyasara tirtha
Rama and Siva temple at Ramapuram-Nandambakkam. Again bringi malai Bringi
Ahramam. Said to be reconstructed By early Vijayanagara Rajas. See how history been changed with name.

Valasarawakkam-Ramapuram Narasimha Swamy temple- Built by pallavas. renovated by cholas.
Poonamalle – Vaithishwarar. Adi Shankara is said to have been here. In the inner prakaram you can see his vigraham, a rarity.
Ponamalle Varadaraja perumal. Thirukachi nambigal was from here.
Thirumazhisai – Othandeshwarar and Adi jagannatha Perumal temple. Birth place of .Thiorumazhisai alwar
Thiruverkadu – Vedapurishwarar- Kalyana kolam (gnanasambandhar sung sthalam, Arunagirinathar, Periyapuranam)
Thiruverkadu – Thaleshwarar or Yeeteshwarar. Sung by nyanamars.
Thirumullaivoyil- Maasilamanishwarar, Kodiudaiamman, kriya Sakthi. Famous Nyanmar place.
Ayanawaram – Parasurameshwarar. 1000-1200 years old
Chindadripetai – Aadhipureeshwarar and Aadhikesava Perumal – 1300-1500 years old
Egmore Arthanarishwarar (Padal petra Sthalam/vaippu sthala, – do I need to say) – 1300-1400 years. Egmore name part of Appar song.
Purasawakkam- Gangadeeshwarar, Srinivasar. – Manikavasar been here. 1600- years old.
Vysarpadi – Iraveeshwara. Worshipped by Vyasa. Hence the name of place. Will find a Vyasa vigraham here. More than 1000 years old
Kailasanathar koil with Maragatha lingam Madhavaram- Madhavaram milk colony. Pallava nandhi Varman time. There is Vishnu temple enroute as well.
Kolathur – Somanatheshwarar – again ancient temple
Minjur-melur – One of 3 Sakthi Sthalams . Thiruvudaiamman, Iccha Sakthi
Minjur -Has ranganatha temple which like aavanari near nagapattinam is longer than Sri Rangam. Uniquely has lord Anjaneya also
Siva Temple near Red Hills Panchesti – Agasthishwarar. Ancient kings time temple.
Thiruvottiyur – One of 3 sakthi sthalams Gnaana Sakthi,  Padal petra sthalam. Sundar stayed and married here. pattinathar came here. has sankara presence.
Thiruninravur Vishnu as well as Siva. Vishnu is Bhakthvatsala perumal- Divya desam,
Siva is Hridayaeshwarar. This siva is connected with famous mural temple of kailasanathar is Kanchipuram and a nayanmar. Birth place of a nayanmar. Temple built by Pallavan/cholan.
Pallikarnai Lakshmi Narayana Perumal – 700-800 years
Thiruvanmiyur – Oushadeshwara or marundeeshwarar . I have heard it is arnd 6th century. Sung by Nayanmars.
Thiruporur- Murugan temple- very ancient temple. sung also by arunagiri
Near Sholinganallur – Kalinga narthana perumal and venkatachalapathy temple. Pallava period
Besides Singaperumal Koil – Sriperumbudur stretch itself is dotted with many hill temples and old temples like aapur, singaperumal, chettipunyam, vallakkotai, eluchur, uthiramerur etc.
Ofcourse near Sriperumbudur, many important Vaishnavite Sthalams are located.

GST road from TBM- Chingelput is dotted with many ancient temples of Shiva and Vishnu on either side.

This list stands testimony to the history of the city.

Besides there are many 100 -300 year old temples like Vadapalani Murugan- modern name of area derived from temple.

Kothandaramar- West mambalam(100-200 years only I think), Kasi Vishwanathar temple- arnd 500 years

Besides nanganallur has a centuries old Narasimha temple 9 th century  i think.  I may have very well left many more.

PS:I have visited a majority of the temples and is possible I could have visited a few others
as well in my formative years, this list is based on ones I visited and also draws upon
those visited by my parents and their knowledge. Thanks to my father especially who had
told me the history of temple whenever I visited and also told it once again when I asked
specifically. The ages are around and I am not exact Some details on ages from my
uncles. Could be +-200 escpecially the very old ones.

Snippets on ancient Indian Public healthcare

This post is on ancient Healthcare system of India from some inscriptions and notes. This is basically collation of various posts on such topic in the net references to which are at end of post.  The immediate trigger was pachauris tweets on poor indian healthcare system and had it not beeen for brits, we had a rotten system. Thats when the info read on net was compiled as tweets and expanded into blog here. Credit to respective writers and many thanks to them for enlightening us. This is just a compilation of the work they have done. These links have more info on this topic and suggest that one do read them. The attempt is to ensure that media wallahs dont get away hiding these facts as these arent discussed for kids in history classes also.

Fa-Hian, writing about Magadhain 400 AD, has mentioned that a well organised health care system existed in India. According to him, the nobles and householders of this country had founded hospitals within the city to which the poor of all countries, the destitute, the crippled and the diseased may repair. They receive every kind of requisite help. Physicians inspect their diseases, and according to their cases, order them food and drink, medicines or decoctions, everything in fact that contributes to their  ease. When cured they depart at their ease

This quote is from Fa Hien: A
Record of Buddhist Kingdoms, English Translation by J. Legge,Oxford 1886, Delhi Reprint 1971, p.79.

This was also mentioned in this BJP 2009 manifesto foreward by Murli Manohar Joshi.

Dominik Wujastyk, in his The Roots of Ayurveda: Selections from Sanskrit Medical Writings (Penguin Classics, London 2003) writes

This description by Fa Hsien is one of the earliest accounts of a civic hospital system anywhere in the world and, coupled with Caraka’s description of how a clinic should be equipped… suggests that India may have been the first part of the world to have evolved an organized metropolitan system of institutionally-based medical provision

Down south- the marathas, Raja of Thanjavur, Sarfojee Mahraja, wrote to the British describing the services available in the
Chhatrams and requested them to continue the services uninterrupted.

‘chatrams have Doctors, skilful in the cure of diseases, swellings and the poison of reptiles.Travellers who fall sick at the Chetrum or before their arrival, receive medicines, and the diet proper for them, and are attended with respect and kindliness until
their recovery’.

This letter of Sarfojee Maharaj is reproduced in full in Annam Bahu Kurvita: Recollecting the IndianDiscipline of Growing and Sharing Food in Plenty, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai 1996

The orthanadu chatram- from the hindu

Orthanadu Chatram- from hindu

orthanadu chatram -from hindu

The Thanjavur Marathas had built 18 such chatrams. As the above letter makes clear, Chatrams were not mere boarding places and also not just for trading community. They provided food, health facilities and space for the animals that accompanied travellers. Each chatram was separated from the other by a day’s travel. Pilgrims greatly benefited from such  chatrams. The letter of serfoji 2 was written when british took over administration.

Such chatrams served as the lifeline of indian towns and villages in ancient times. As we can see in the songs of Nayanmar Thirunavukkarasu, and in purandaradasa song – Ragi Tandira – which has opening lines annadana maduvaragi, anna chatra nittavaragi. As seen in the above case and following ones, many of these were possibily tied up with hospitals to treat the travellers and aged.

Such chatrams and hospitals, and education was also tied to temples in olden days in many cases. The tirumukudal temple near kanchirpuram at confluence of rivers palar, vedavati and cheyyar,  In this temple is found the inscription of vira rajendra
chola, son of Rajendra Chola, who ruled the chola empire for 8 years. This inscription gives us more insight. It records the existence of a Vedic college located in the Jananatha-mantapa inside this temple in the 11th century A.D. where eight subjects including the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda and grammar were taught.

The students lived in hostels attached to it, and besides teachers, cooks and servants wer part of staff roster. To take care of their
well being a hospital(Athura Sala) called Vira Cholan was attached to the facility.

The hospital was a 15 bed facility. The inscription reveals that chief of hospital was physician Savarna Kothandarama Asvatha Bhatta, who prescribed the medicines. His junior is refered to as one who treats. The hospital also boasted of a surgeon, two nurses, a barber, besides assistants for collecting the herbs and preparing the medicine.

The physician was paid 90Kalams of Paddy and 8Kasu annually in addition of the grant of a land. The surgeon was
given 30Kalams of Paddy, two nurses were given 30kalams of Paddy and one Kasu annually. There was also a barber who was paid 15kalams of Paddy. In addition to the above, there were two persons who were to get medicinal herbs. These two got 60kalams of Paddy and two Kasu.

Mukkudal Inscriptions

Mukkudal inscription

Sculpture of surgery being performed

A total of twenty medicines were stored permanently in the hospital, names of these mentioned in the inscription. They were

Vasa haritaki
Dasamoola haritaki
Bilvatha haritaki
Bala eranda Taila
Panchaka Taila
Lasunathi eranda Taila
Uthamkarnathi Taila
Mandura Vadakam


Kalyana lavanam

The hospital thus was a siddha ayurveda combination. This hospital also sticks to what Thiruvalluvar says in his kural. Valluvar says a health facility as one that have four parts; patient, physician, nurse and medicine. The kural Noi Naadi Noi Mudhal Naadi lays emphasis on treating the disease rather than symptom. Caraka too says same. Caraka says “Baisak dravyani upasthatha rogi patha chathusthayam”. – physician, medicine, attendant and patient form the four legs of what is known as health care.

There are further records. Its known that a public hospital was attached to a Vishnu temple named after Sundara Chola, called Sundarachola Vinnagara Salai, endowed by Kundavai, the sister of Rajaraja Chola

Another inscription found in Malakapuram,gunturdist.  is that of a maternity home established by queen Rudra devi who ruled the Kakatiya dyanasty from warangal in 12th century. She gifted a village to her Rajaguru Visveswara Siva. When he settled the village with people from different professions, temple, saiva matha were also built. To care of health care and education needs of the people- of village- a vedic college, a maternity hospital(prasuti sala) and a hospital(Aarogya sala) were established.

Indiaknew plastic surgery, practised it for centuries and, in fact, it has become the basis of modern plastic surgery. The operation is mentioned in great detail in the Susruta Samhita and the reference is well-known to those interested in the history of plastic surgery. Cowasjee, a Mahratta, of the caste of husbandman, was a bullock-driver with the English army, in the war of 1792, and was made a prisoner by Tippoo, who cut off his nose, and one of his hands. In this state, he joined the Bombay army near Seringapatam, and is now a pensioner of the Honourable East India Company. For above twelve months, he was wholly without a nose; when he had a new one put on, by a Mahratta surgeon, a Kumar, near Pune. This operation is not uncommon in India,
and has been practised from time immemorial. Two of the medical gentlemen, Mr. Thomas Cruse and Mr. James Findlay, of Bombay, have seen it performed The above article has been reprinted in Classics of Medicine Library, Bethesda 1981.

Inoculation with attenuated human small-pox material obtained from previous outbreaks was widespread and is well-documented. One fairly easily available account is that of J. Z. Holwell, FRS, published in 1767.

King bhoja of Ujjain,, the contemporary of Rajendra Chola, just before he ascended the throne, was suffering from a tumor in his brain that caused him an excruciating pain in the head. Despite all the medical aid given to him by his physicians, his condition
became critical. Providence blessed the king with the services of two learned Brahmin brothers from the school of ujjain,
who were pre-eminent surgeons of the era, and had arrived at Dhar about that time.
The two surgeons administered an anaesthetic called Sammohini, a powdery preparation, that made the king unconscious. Then they trephined his skull, removed the malignant growth in the brain which was the cause of complaint, closed the opening, stitched the wound and restored the patient to consciousness by another drug called sanjIvini.

bhojarAja survived his surgery remarkably well and had an illustrious reign both as a military commander and as a scholar .

Here is a sample of the surviving portion of the verses that speak of bhoja’s brain surgery (with my attempt at translation,

sa tasya rogaH kenApi na nivAritaH | For this disease there was no cure in sight.
tadanena bhojanRupAlena bhiShajvarA api svadeshAnniShkAsitAH | There was no physician in the country who could ‘egress’ the disease.

kapAlashodanaM kRutaM bhojena, tadA praviShTaH pAThInaH |The cure involves cleaning his skull,
tanmUlo&yaM rogaH |where the root of the disease is located.
tatastAvapi rAjAnAM mohachUrNena mohayitvA|and then the king was made unconscious by smelling a poweder (mohachUrNam)

shiraH-kapAlamAdAya tatkaroTikApuTe sthitaM shapharakulaM gRahItvA|cutting open the skull, the tumor the size of a large fish was removed;

kasmishchad bhAjane nikShipya saMdhAnakaraNyA kapAlaM yathAvadArachayya|

saMjIvinyA cha taM jIvAyitvA tasmai taddarshayatAm |

then the opening was rejoined and consciousness restored using saMjIvini.

tadA tad dRuShTvA rAjA vismitaH:| the king as he became consciousness and well, was amazed.

The book titled ‘bhoja-prabandha’ that describes such anecdotes connected with King bhojarAja, and is commented
in Hindi, can be downloaded here:

base links

Some links to the Bhoja  surgery: