How the Maharajah Got Its Wings: The Story of Air India’s Iconic Mascot…

One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, Air India’s portly Maharajah with folded hands has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

“We can call him the Maharajah for want of a better description. But his blood isn’t blue. He may look like royalty, but he isn’t royal. He is capable of entertaining the Queen of England and splitting a beer with her butler. He is a man of many parts: lover boy, sumo wrestler, pavement artist, vendor of naughty post cards, Capuchin monk, Arab merchant…”

These are the words of Bobby Kooka, the man who conceived Air India’s Maharajah nearly 72 years ago. One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, this portly figure in regal garb has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

Here’s the fascinating story of Air India’s iconic Maharajah.

A part of Air India’s campaign to distinguish itself from its peers, the jovial and rotund Maharajah first made his appearance on an in-flight memo pad in the mid-1940s. He was conceived by SK (Bobby) Kooka, who was then a Commercial Director with Air India and sketched by Umesh Rao, an artist at J Walter Thompson in Bombay.

Back then, India was known as the “Land of the Maharajas” and Air India was its only international carrier, flying to destinations such as Cairo, Prague, Damascus, Zurich and Istanbul. So Kooka wanted to create an illustration for Air India’s letterhead that would symbolise graciousness and elegant living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SK Kooka with Captain V Vishwanath in May 1948 
It was somewhat along these lines that his creators, Kooka and Rao, gave him a distinctive personality, luxuriant moustache, aquiline nose and the quintessentially Indian turban. Eventually, the regal figure became Air-India’s mascot for its advertising and sales promotion activities.

For the next few years, the Maharajah was ingeniously used by India’s national airline to introduce new flight routes. His funny antics and quirky puns also allowed Air India to promote its services with subtle humour and unmatched panache.

For instance, one of the posters from Air India’s “retro collection” shows the Maharajah as a Russian Kalinka dancer to advertise its flight to Moscow. Another one shows him on a speedboat surfing in Australia with the boat replaced by two mermaids. Yet another one shows him being carried as a prey, hands and feet tied, by two lions in the jungles of Nairobi.

Here are some iconic posters that show the Maharajah in his quirky avatars, looking quite at home in famous locations around the world.

              Photo Source: Air India on Imgur.

   As such, the Maharajah came dressed in various garbs, but his trademark twirly moustache and his roly-poly stature remained — until 2017 when he lost of a bit of his flab and traded his traditional attire for blue jeans, trainers and a low-slung satchel to align himself with the modern times.

Unsurprisingly, the Maharajah has won numerous national and international awards for Air India for originality in advertising and publicity.

Interestingly, at one point in time, the mascot’s regal connotations triggered a controversy with politicians expressing doubts about using such a symbol to represent a nation with socialist aspirations. As a result, Air India did away with the Maharajah in 1989. But there was such a hue and cry from various quarters that the popular mascot had to be brought back.

In fact, during these years, Maharajah stickers and dolls were common in most middle-class Indian homes, even those where air travel was considered a luxury!

 

                                                                       So like all great men, the Maharajah has had his critics. But the millions of travellers who love him far outnumber them. For many of them, the inimitable mascot is a real person, almost like a friend who reaches out with warmth and hospitality, even to the farthest corners of the world.

As Rahul Da Cunha, the ad man behind the equally iconic Amul India campaign, once said,

“The Amul girl and the Air India Maharaja are the most brilliant characters ever created. The Maharaja encapsulates everything Air India should be: Indian luxury, hospitality, services and above all, royalty. It is royalty combined with humility. What can be a more iconic symbol for an Indian carrier?”

Source….SanchariPal

http://www.the better india.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

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The village that gave India its new ISRO chief…..DR.Sivan

A humble son of a farmer who studied in local government run schools, in Tamil medium, is the new head of India’s premier space agency.

Dr K Sivan was born in Sarakkalvilai in Kanyakumari district in 1957. His father was a farmer, and Dr Sivan is the first graduate in the family.

By all accounts, his is an unusual story.

A young Sivan studied in government schools in his native village till the 5th standard, and completed his schooling in neighbouring Valankumaravilai, all in Tamil medium. Later, he graduated from the S T Hindu College in Nagercoil.

He then graduated from the Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering in 1980 and completed his master’s in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1982.

That year he joined ISRO on its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle project, towards which he contributed in mission planning, design, integration and analysis. He has held various responsibilities during his stint in ISRO, finally going on to head India’s space agency.

At ISRO, he completed his PhD in aerospace engineering from IIT-Bombay, in 2006.

Dr Sivan, who takes over from Dr A S Kiran Kumar on Monday, January 15, for a three-year term, is only the second rocket scientist after G Madhavan Nair to head ISRO.

MAGE: Dr Sivan’s family home in Sarakkalvilai village. He comes here regularly to attend family functions and for the Bhadrakali Amman puja. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

Sarakkalvilai falls on the outskirts of Nagercoil, which is the headquarters of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. All of a sudden this small village has become the centre of attraction for people near and far, thanks to its famous son.

“Take the next right and it is at the end of the road,” says a villager, and as you reach the house you realise it is as unpretentious as the man who grew up there.

Dr Sivan’s sister-in-law Saraswathi lives in the family house with her daughter. “My eldest daughter got married five months ago and Sivan had come for the function,” she says, her eyes glowing with happiness.

Since the announcement about his appointment, people have been coming in droves to congratulate her, and her face beams with pride.

“I was married 30 years ago into this family and at that time he was already working for ISRO in Thiruvananthapuram. He used to live in a lodge then. He comes home for festivals and family functions,” says Saraswathi.

The conversation is interrupted when former Tamil Nadu Congress president Kumari Ananthan lands up with a dozen supporters to congratulate her.

One of the men who comes along with Ananthan hands her a book with the message, “Please give it to him when he comes next.” Another hands her a monthly magazine.

“He comes here every year for the Badrakali Amman puja which takes place in April-May,” adds his sister-in-law.

“He comes with his family, offers prayers and leaves the same day. He always comes for all family functions. When he is with the family he is always smiling and joking. He never calls, but his wife calls regularly and keeps in touch with us,” Sarawathi says.

“He was a class topper from school to college,” says Dr Sivan’s uncle who lives in the house opposite.

“He was a brilliant student and never went for tuitions or private classes. His father used to pluck mangoes and young Sivan used to go to the market to sell it. He was a helpful child,” the uncle adds.

The school Dr Sivan studied at is also opposite the family house. The retired PT master there recalls him clearly. “He was five years my junior in school, I remember him as a very quiet boy.”

“I too was five years his junior,” another villager pipes in. “You know the final exams used to come during harvest time. His father used to be in the field while Sivan sat on the lower branch of a tree with his books, studying, keeping one eye on the harvest, and run if his father called. He was always studying.”

“When Sivan and I were in school we had a very good headmaster,” the villager adds. “That headmaster planted many trees in the school compound and made every class in charge of a few trees. In the morning, when we came to school, the first thing we did was to water the trees and only after that did we attend school.”

“Kanyakumari is basically an agricultural district,” an elderly villager points out. “Apart from coir, there was no industry here. We all survived on farming. It’s rich fertile soil and there is plenty of water. Paddy, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, rubber is grown here.”

“Sivan was exceptional,” the elderly gent adds, “while he helped his father in the field he continued studying every free moment.”

“As there was only a primary school here we went to nearby Valankumaravilai for our SSC (Class 10). Those days there was no 12th standard. As there was no bus facility we walked.”

A colleague from ISRO, who retired a decade ago and did not want to be named for this feature, recalls, “He (Sivan) would go home only to sleep. He is extremely hard-working and totally focused on his work. He was not only the first graduate from his family, he was also the first graduate from his village.”

FILE PHOTO::: New Delhi: Renowned scientist K. Sivan has been appointed as the new Chairman of ISRO, by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Wednesday, January 10, 2017. PTI Photo **                                                

“He is a disciplined taskmaster,” says D Karthikesan, former director of the ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahindragiri, Tamil Nadu.

“He likes to keep everything on schedule and works with a deadline,” adds Karthikesan. “If he thinks there is a problem somewhere he will go and talk to the people actually working on the project, and never limit himself to seniors in the organisation.”

“Though he is a hard taskmaster,” the former ISRO scientist points out, “he is also extremely generous and always looks after the welfare of the people working under him. So people work hard for him.”

“He is a bold decision-maker,” says Karthikesan. “Where others may hesitate wondering if it would work or not, he will say it will work and will do it.”

“Though he followed the schedule strictly,” adds Karthikesan, “he also made sure that all parameters are met at every stage. Whether it is quality or safety, he made sure every parameter was up to the mark before proceeding, and yet kept a tight schedule.”

Dr Sivan has two sons. The elder one has finished his BTech, the younger son is in college.

The school Dr Sivan studied in was built over 60 years ago. “We need to pull it down and build another,” says a villager. A government-run school, the land was given free by Dr Sivan’s uncle.

The village still does not have a bus service, a fact the villagers highlighted to Kumari Ananthan, the Congress politician. Nor does it have a middle, high or higher secondary school.

K Sivan’s ascent bears an uncanny resemblance to another ISRO scientist who was born in a fishing village in Ramanathapuram, also in Tamil Nadu.

That scientist, of course, went on to become the most beloved President this Republic has had.

Source….A.Ganesh Nadar in http://www.rediff.com

Natarajan

WHAT IS A KUDO, AS IN “KUDOS TO YOU”…?

First, it should be noted that “kudos” is not the plural form of “kudo”, so a “kudo” was once technically nothing. However, because so many people in the last century, mainly in the United States, have thought kudos was plural, in some dictionaries today “kudo” is considered a valid word meaning the same thing as kudos (yet another word created via back-formation).

To answer your question, kudos in English means:

1) Praise / Accolades

2) Credit for one’s achievements

The word “kudos” comes from the Greek κῦδος (kudos), meaning “glory” or “fame”.  The “-os” ending in Greek typically indicates a singular noun and is supposed to be pronounced like “-ose”, rather than “-oze”, as many Americans usually pronounce it, “koo-doze”, or as a lot of British people tend to pronounce it “-oss”, “cue-doss”.

The word made its way into English around the late 18th century / early 19th century, meaning pretty much the same thing as it means today.  The first documented instance of the “singular” word “kudo” didn’t pop up until 1926.

Source….www. today i foundout.com

Natarajan

Inside Sealand, Perhaps The Smallest Country In The World….

From its origins to the present day, discover the strange story of Sealand, believed by some to be the smallest country in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Principality of Sealand, believed by some to be the smallest country in the world.

In the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk, England lies Sealand, which some people believe to be the smallest country in the world.

The story of Sealand began when former army major Paddy Roy Bates took his family to HM Fort Roughs, an abandoned fort seven miles offshore and roughly the size of a tennis court, on Christmas Eve in 1966. Bates was a radio pirate that is and he wanted to continue broadcasting his pirate radio signals without the interference of the British government.

At the time, the BBC controlled British radio and TV. Bates took issue with this, and the 46-year-old drew on his military experience to move his family away from the influence of British laws without moving too far away. Because it was actually in international waters, the sturdy steel and concrete platform of HM Fort Roughs fit the bill.

When it was built in 1943, during World War II, the platform was to defend shipping lanes against German incursions by sea and air. After the war, however, Britain had no use for the small fort and abandoned it.

This meant that Britain no longer had control over the abandoned structure. It also meant Bates could do as he pleased.

Rather than just use his newfound territory as a broadcast point, Bates got creative. He made the platform into his own country and there was nothing Britain could do about it.

On Sept. 2, 1967, Bates, along with his wife Joan and two teenage children, declared independence for their sovereign state of Sealand. Bates got rid of the other pirate broadcasters using his platform and dubbed his wife Princess Joan as a birthday present. Ironically, Bates never restarted his radio signals after this point. He was too busy running a country.

In 1968, the British Royal Navy destroyed three nearby platforms, all within sight of Sealand, in an attempt to prevent more pirates from taking hold. It was too late to stop Bates, however. Despite being arrested for firing warning shots at navy ships and facing a coup of armed mercenaries in 1978, the Principality of Sealand endured.

Britain extended its sea territory to 12 nautical miles in the early 1980s, which then placed Sealand in British territorial waters and not international waters. The British government then declared that the Principality of Sealand was not a country because it fell under the sovereign rights of Great Britain. The government further declared that Sealand could not be its own country because it did not have any physical land.

Nevertheless, Bates and his family continued to run Sealand as if it was an independent state, the self-proclaimed smallest country in the world.

Even though Britain has sovereign rights over the platform, the Bates family still claims Sealand as its own to this day. It’s as if both sides tolerate each other from a distance, so long as neither Britain or the Bates family interferes with each other’s operations.

For Sealand, those operations include bestowing titles of royalty for those who apply and pay the application fees (the government has to have a revenue stream, of course). You can even obtain citizenship and a passport. The self-proclaimed country also has its own currency, which depicts Princess Joan, as well as postage stamps and a national soccer team.

However, Sealand now also faces an uncertain future. Prince Roy died in 2012 and Princess Joan followed in 2016. That leaves their son, Prince Michael, and his two sons in charge of the island territory.

In addition to the royal family as well as friends and relatives who make up Sealand’s several dozen citizens, a rotating group of caretakers oversee the platform. Meanwhile, Sealand’s online presence is helping to expand the country’s virtual populace, but is it enough to sustain Sealand?

Prince Michael Bates hopes so.

He maintains that Sealand’s sovereignty is serious business. However, the prince manages the country’s affairs from the offices of his fishing business in Essex, England.

Based on the mainland, the country’s shop sells various goods (including T-shirts and jerseys of the national soccer team) as well as citizenship, royal titles, passports, and the like. Prince Michael has even said that he’s thinking of selling the platform. His family invested more than $1.4 million into their rusted island paradise, but he says he has grandchildren to think about.

Sealand was for sale in 2007 for $977 million, but there were no takers. Prince Michael says he would sell for the right price. The aging prince says the platform is bigger than it looks for anyone interested in owning their own sovereign territory. Living quarters are in the two concrete legs. You can swim, scuba dive and maintain tourism while owning your own little slice of heaven.

Just don’t expect anyone else to recognize your sovereign state. In 1994, the United Nations passed a resolution stating that sea-based platforms are not considered a nation.

But as the story of Sealand shows, you can still deem yourself a head of state, at least in your own imagination and for the right price.

Source….www.all that is interesting.com

natarajan

Which is the ‘Best Police Station’ in India? This Coimbatore Station Bagged the Award!

The New Year brings with it new beginnings and felicitations of various kinds – best movies of the year gone by, television series, best designers etc.

Now here is an award with a difference – Tamil Nadu’s RS Puram police station, in Coimbatore city, won the award for the ‘Best Police Station’ in the country in the category of SMART Police Stations, an initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

SMART Police (S-Sensitive and Strict; M-Modern with mobility; A- Alert and Accountable; R- Reliable and Responsive; T- Trained and Techno-savvy) was a concept that was introduced by Prime Minister Modi at the 49th annual conference Directors General/Inspectors General held in Guwahati in November 2014.

Station House Officer T Jothi, Inspector (law and order), received the award from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the All India Conference of Director Generals/Inspector Generals of Police held at BSF Academy Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh.

The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh presenting the medals and trophies after inaugurating the three-day All-India Conference of Director Generals / Inspector Generals of Police, 2017, at the BSF Academy, in Tekanpur near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh on January 06, 2018.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the National Security Advisor, Shri Ajit Doval the Union Home Secretary, Shri Rajiv Gauba and other Senior Officers are also seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is yet another feather in the station’s cap, the RS Puram station has an exclusive room for visitors, a waiting hall, investigation room, a receptionist cabin, treated drinking water and a ramp for the disabled. The all-woman police (east) has set up a crèche for the kids accompanying petitioners.

Station House Officer Jothi attributed the station winning the award to the teamwork of Tamil Nadu police. “No single person was responsible for the award. It is a team from the top to the constable level,” he said. “The station has been chosen as the best in the nation based on 80 parameters including basic amenities, crime detection, property recovery, cleanliness and citizen-friendly,” he said, as per a report in DNA.

The Hindu reported, following instructions from the State police headquarters, the Coimbatore City Police sent a file containing the initiatives it had taken in the past for effective and friendly policing. Based on the proposal a Home Ministry team visited the city and interacted with people who fell under the police jurisdiction limits.

Some of the parameters considered for the assessment include the rate of crime detection, execution of warrants, recovery of properties, enforcement of local laws and special acts, preventive arrests and detention under Goondas Act.

Here are the other stations that made it to the top 10 list released by the Ministry:

1. R.S.Puram PS, Coimbatore
2. Panjagutta, Hyderabad
3. Gudamba, Lucknow
4. Dhupguri, Jalpaiguri
5. K4 PS, Anna Nagar, Chennai
6. Banbhoolpara, Nainital
7. Ghiror, Mainpuri
8. Rishikesh, Dehradun
9. Valapattanam, Kannur
10. Kirti Nagar, Delhi

Source….Vidya Raja in  http://www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை ….”வீணையின் நாதம் “… கவிதை 2

வீணையின் நாதம்
——————
வீணையின்  நாதத்தில் கீதமும் இருக்கும்
வேதமும் ஒலிக்கும்
பேதமும் பார்க்காதே  வீணை தன்னை
இசைப்பவர் யார் என்று ?
இசை ரசிக்கும் ரசிகருக்கும் எம்மதமும்
சம்மதமே..இசை ஒன்றே அவர் பேசும்
மொழி …உண்ணும் உணவு !
இசைவிழா நேரம் இனிய ராகத்தில்
இணையும் மனசு சட்டென்று மாறி
ஒருவர் மீது ஒருவர் வசை மாரி
பொழிவது ஏன் ?
நாதத்தின் ராகம் மட்டும் என்ன என்று
அலசிய அதே ரசிகர்  கூட்டம் ஒரே இரவில் நீ என்ன
இனம் நான் என்ன இனம் என்று
அபஸ்வர ராகம் பாடத் துடிப்பது ஏன் ?
வீணை வடிக்குது கண்ணீர் இன்று
தன் நாதமும் கீதமும் வீணாய் போனதே என்று !
Natarajan in
http://www.dinamani.com dated 7th Jan 2018

A Briefcase….Lost and Found ….!

The rigmarole involving a lost piece of luggage

I went to Kolkata with an upset tummy and returned with an upset husband. He had been very cheerful while we boarded the flight and the plane began to taxi. The air hostess started her routine, giving seat belt instructions and survival tips if the plane decided to take a dip into the ocean. My husband took a dip into his book when I asked him, “Where’s your briefcase?” I just remembered it wasn’t part of the hand luggage we had shoved into the overhead compartment.

He answered airily, “We checked it in,” and returned to his reading when what I said next made him forget his book for a long time. And that was some achievement. “We didn’t,” I persisted. “It was your carry-on baggage. Remember you left it unlocked because it would be with you?”

He turned ashen, clapped a hand to his mouth and jerked forward, straining his fastened seat belt and crashing back into his seat. “Oh no! I’ve left it behind! Where?” As he tried to figure that out, the plane accelerated and took off leaving his briefcase behind in Kolkata. “At the security check!” My husband exclaimed, looking aghast as he recalled his memory lapse.

He had forgotten to take it after the security check, having been pleased to collect his sling bag into which he had deposited his wallet, phone, pens and a notebook with a spiral spine, all guaranteed to beep if on his person. In fact, at the security check on our way to Kolkata, his pocket had behaved so much like an impromptu orchestra that on the return he had hit upon the idea of emptying his pockets into his shoulder bag before it was screened and, cock-a-hoop with its success, had completely forgotten his briefcase.

“What next?,” I asked. “No point informing the crew; no plane is going back for a briefcase unless it contained state secrets. And what’s in it?”

We racked our brains to recall the contents. Luckily my husband had emptied the case to accommodate the last minute shopping of the previous evening. So it didn’t have any important documents or cards. But it contained new silk saris, dress material, T shirts and a few knick knacks.

“So if we don’t recover it, we only lose these,” said my husband, looking relieved. “The saris!,” I cried in anguish.

During the flight we discussed the next course of action. I believed we would recover the case since my husband had chosen the best place in the airport to leave something behind – at the security check. Then I recalled that any abandoned piece of baggage is viewed with suspicion. “What if they immerse the case in water? Or something else?,” I was alarmed. “The saris!,” I cried out again. “They’ll be ruined.”

“Can you think only of saris?,” my husband snapped. The tension was getting to him. “One of them is your gift to me, that’s why,” I said and that mollified him.

We had more than five hours in Chennai before boarding the flight to Thiruvananthapuram. Earlier we had wondered how we would spend the time, but my husband’s ingenious briefcase plot took care of that. We explored the length and breadth of the airport putting in a few kilometres of brisk walking-cum hops, skips and jumps before learning what to do.

The airport manager, seeing my husband’s anxious face, reassured him, “Don’t look so worried, sir, you’ll get it back. Such things happen all the time.”

“‘Really?” Now my husband beamed, grateful he didn’t hold exclusive copyright for losing baggage.

The Lost and Found Department at Kolkata airport whom we called were close-lipped about the whereabouts of the briefcase but gave instructions on the procedure to follow in Thiruvananthapuram.

Once home, we revived our letter-writing skills what with the never-ending letters and e-mails we had to send to various addresses, describing the briefcase and its contents, all with scanned copies of the boarding pass and ID proof attached.

We also had endless calls to make and everyone wanted details. I was most relieved we had decent items inside the case and lauded my husband’s uncanny foresight that had made him remove his innerwear from it.

Lost and found

After many twists and turns in the plot in the next few days that would have done Jeffrey Archer proud, the briefcase, decorated all over with the Lost Property number, returned home. Bringing it in, my husband declared he wouldn’t leave the corporation limits again. Ignoring his loaded statement, I asked anxiously, “Are the saris intact?”

A fortnightly column by the city-based writer, academic and author of the Butterfingers series. She can be contacted at khyrubutter@yahoo.com

Source….Khyrunnisa . A

http://www.thehindu.com

Natarajan