Friday, November 26, 2010

Deeper instinct and prescience

Came across the following on Sylvain Guintard's FB page: Use your deeper instinct to choose the people around you, the road you want to take, to have the courage to create the life you want... ---Lily S Giraud
This prescience is an elegant path for any future. One thing I have noticed is that it helps to ignore the failings (if so) among those one is aligned with at a certain level however valid the  reasons, as also attempt to function with them in spite of their being excruciatingly demanding and boorish: truly ways of manipulations, and not as we often perceive them to be -- mere harmless idiosyncrasies.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Incestuous smugness and Self-loathing

Its startling to observe those around us, who are doing well by all indicators -- arbiters of various persuasions; getting bent out of shape at common courtesies and expressions, including words /phrases such as - thank you, sharing, engaging together; like to be of help, etc. If one is driven to anticipate lurking motives behind such utterances in spite of knowing the utterer-- then perhaps one is living in some form of incestuous smugness and self-loathing; seeking parity with others in that they abide by shared fears.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Momentum & Change

The rate of change of momentum is directly proportional to the impressed force and takes place in the direction of the force. (Newtons 2nd Law of Motion)

(excerpts from Why Germany Has It So Good...)
Geoghegan: You see a story in the New York Times every six weeks -- ever since I graduated from college in 1971 -- about how Europe is going to collapse. They come out like clockwork.

McNally: I pulled one of those Times articles in May when the Greek crisis was hot. The headline: "Europeans Fear Crisis Threatens Libera
l Benefits." But you point out that when a country like Germany takes something away from the safety net, they usually balance it with a benefit.

Geoghegan: They cut back on holiday and they add a nursing home benefit. But the US press always focuses on the cutback. One of the reasons I wrote this book was to show that there's a leadership class over there that is very clever about these things. I don't mean in a spurious, tricky way, but actually thinking, "What do we have to cut back now so that we can go forward in the future?"

To quote a wonderful line from the Lampedusa novel, The Leopard: as the old order is collapsing, the Sicilian aristocrat says to his young prince, "We have to change so that everything remains the same." How do you change social democracy so that you preserve it, and maybe even create an opportunity to expand it in a year or two when the wheel of fortune turns again?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Forbearance is a virtue, which even if practiced as an offshoot of cultural Christianity — will be tested by the pricks (that segment comprising the worst among women; and I know some fine women), and the bitches (that breed of quasi-cerebral emasculated males). So?! One may but hold ones head high. In the meanwhile you will count pigs as your friends and may find equanimity. A tall order, but considering whats on tap — it behooves one to stay the course.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A venomous state of Being

Jiski fitrat hi dassna ho to wo dasséga, mat socha kar.
--Antra, Tanha Tanha Mat Sochar kar, Mehdi Hassan ke ghazal se

If its in ones nature to be venomous--"it" could attack at any moment, so
why waste much thought over "it."
--Opening from the ghazal Tanha Tanha Mat Sochar kar by Mehdi Hassan

in Konkani:
Zecho bes zaun assa viisecho, zalear gans pois na, tor ten chintim
(In those of venomous character, the bite/strike is not far behind, so
don't consider them--leave them alone) --Survat chi olli Mehdi Hassanachem
ghazalatun Tanha Tanha Mat Sochar kar

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Realization: Education

I came to a realization today, that I am tremendously fortunate not to have studied with certain teachers, and also fortunate to have studied with some serious sycophants. Needless to say, one learnt a lot that I did not have to. The egalitarian approach was not taught, but was a gift. So no need for pitiful strategies.

Having somehow managed to stay on my path--as it has unfolded, paying all tolls along the way (toll naka, toll "junction"[tollbooth]), I can only say that I am still walking the walk.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vulgarism in the visual imagination

Never image complex forms, specific bodies, and movements which stem out of certain philosophies--ex, ballet, if you are not intimately familiar with them. Unless you are doing it for the hoohah factor, wow value. Why? Because it shows. Certainly not to all, but it shows. And if you do limit it to your sense of comprehension. No need to overreach into unfamiliar territory. Study. Its comes across as grotesque, in the real sense of the word. A certain vulgarity, again in the precise and classic sense of the word. At least read and see what people from those culture

It comes across as grotesque, in the real sense of the word. A vulgarity, again in the precise and classic sense of the word. At least read and see what people from those cultures have done. Be enlightened though their eyes--through their lived aesthetic. This applies to drawing, painting, photography, also commentary, and criticism,

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This read on Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam may twist your synapses a bit. Perhaps quite a bit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

John Aki-Bua

Today John Aki-Bua came to mind. Certain people come to mind when Goa engulfs my mind--a certain way. Many years ago I met Dave Hemery (bronze medallist, 400-meter hurdles at Munich 1972) in Marlborough, England at the redundant church of Sts Peter and Paul.

In 1972, after only one international competition, Akii-Bua arrived at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. His opposition in the 400-meter hurdles included Dave Hemery of Britain, the world record-holder and defending Olympic champion, and Ralph Mann, an American. His only pair of running shoes was two years old, and one shoe was missing a spike.

But he was built ideally (6 feet 2 inches and 170 pounds), and he had trained with frightening intensity. In the six months before the Olympics, his training had included wearing a vest weighted with 25 pounds in lead as he ran 1,500 meters over five hurdles that were 42 inches high -- the hurdles for his race were 36 inches. He did four sets of those repetitions, twice a day, every day.

He won the Olympic gold medal in 47.82 seconds, a world record, leaving the silver medalist, Mann (48.51 seconds), and the bronze medalist, Hemery (48.52), six meters behind. Then he ran a victory lap and jumped over the hurdles again.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kobayashi Issa_sari nagara

Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara
The world of dew --
A world of dew it is indeed,
And yet, and yet

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reading Meaning and "Greatness" of any Art rooted in Religion, in terms of collective consciousness

The Meaning and Greatness of Christian Art by R.J. Rushdoony, at the link below is well worth a read. In a similar vein Hindus and others should consider putting out thoughts on shall we say "The Meaning and Greatness of Hindu Art (leading into contemporaneity), art from a Hindu awareness, or the lived aesthetic through INDIAN art." However, my concerns are Goacentric.

I am at least 15 years away from writing from/for the Hindu side; ie., of course, if no one else does (it is very difficult needless to say), or my interests change even further, and if I do not completely move into oblivion. Part of it is also that I am not a scholar, in the way I understand that form of knowing, and do not wish even a quarter-baked scholar to consider going after me. There are better things to do with ones time. One need more methodology to include of course the qualitative.

But I trust that the progeny of the mahants, our erudite litterateurs both Hindus and Christians, also of assorted high-profile businessman and scholars will rectify the paucity of expressive texts connecting the visual to the spiritual, to the existential, and to lived aesthetics.

Read John Berger's
Ways of Seein; Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny, Endurance, and the Role of the Artist, as also Ben Shahn's The Shape of Content, as eloquent texts in forming understanding.

The Meaning and Greatness of Christian Art
© 1993 by R.J. Rushdoony

Art is the making well, or properly arranging, of anything whatever that needs to be arranged

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sex and Work: Drawings for HIMAL South Asia

A drawing each in both the following pieces in the Sex and Work issue of HIMAL South Asian (August 2010). These two are part of a suite of four drawings which may be viewed here:

The entire Issue:

Sex and the pity
By: Meena Saraswathi Seshu
The stigmatisation of sex workers stems from misconceptions and squeamishness about sex.

By: Srilatha Batliwala
Despite decades of tension between feminists and sex workers, it is finally becoming clear that the former has much to learn from the latter.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Lost Supper

Sorvespor kitlo boro, tacho mae mog shim naslolo
Sorvespor kitlo boro, tacho mae mog shim naslolo

The Dhanapati (Dhonia, also Good Shepherd [Dhangar]) in this case is the Aam Admi (Common Man) presiding at the Lost Supper---in that cartoon sitting in the the place of Jesus, who presided at the Last Supper. To me this Lost Supper is a meal of missed opportunity, where the Politicians are not loosing a moment to take it in. It is as though this is their last meal with the Aam Aadmi and what they do henceforth will be done in memory of him--of the Aam Admi. That the common man is dead, or quite so--or so it is desired. Manmohan Singh is in his blue turban (as in Hail to the UN) is there as are all the Ballbusters. Perhaps Montek was serving wine.

Christians--of all degrees and digressions, including nonchalants, etc., should have crossed themselves, with knowing smiles--that the basic idea of the Last Supper was being HANDILY and effectively employed by an Indian cartoonist to parody Indian Politicians. Perhaps, we do not wish to see, seek or do not want to get the basic underpinnings of what that line of thinking can do to our Spirits, Spines, and SHIT (help get it all together). The apostles too had their own problems. They were not the strongest folks in town at that table, but this is also not about them either.

If I was a Bishop, I would give this cartoonist an award OR have him talk at a convention on Iconography. That would have turned some tables, heads, how about minds, and yes help people see the COVENANT that a Christian presumably carries within ones being (which is respected by the very many, including non-Christians).

The Times of India newspaper in my opinion did not cave in, meaning thats not a cave in--although it appears so. Imagine at least in Goa people ignoring the paper; that would not be cool for TOI. On the contrary, I believe it meant nothing for them to apologize. This apology is not a double standard vis-a-vis MF Hussian, other pariahs, social lepers, etc., who have hurt the sentiments of other communities--as many see it and say so. The difference in the Lost Supper is that there is nothing that should have offended the most holier than thou Christian. Other than, seeing the general contours of an image in a different light. HAVING SAID THAT, I have more than a faint feeling that it could be only recently that the large number of Indian Christians, MAY have seen the Da Vinci'd Last Supper, the real one This was a sentimental cry for an apology. Apologies are strategic positions taken/rendered by those who wish to avoid the possibility of loosing something further down. They are perhaps laughing their brains out at the Christians and the hierarchy--Dum vivimus, vivamus** (**Lets live while we live [[but in the wrong poverty of spirit]]).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bakibab Borkar

I was not born in Goa, but relate to what Bakibab Borkar said about the refining of the human spirit.

"If I am to be born again and allowed to choose my birthplace...
I shall choose Goa... because its scenic beauty
has a supernatural quality of refining the human mind
and turning it inward into the depths of creativity and spirituality."

Bakibab Borkar

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Being and Time

My last note to my co-workers in Interactive at Ogilvy. June 30, MMX.

Hi All,
It has been good being a part of Interactive Design Dept. for the past many years; from the days of 16 color graphics! Working with the UN of Interactive. But, form changes, times change—a kind of shape-shifting, if you will.

from the Isha Upanishad:
“That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near;
That is within all this and That also is outside all this.”

Take care all.

venantius j pinto

My coordinates:, h phone, anytime: 212 928 3955,
No cell yet : )
Btw, some of my stuff is in this book, which also showcases among others R. Crumb’s books, and Stefan Sagmeister’s concept drawings:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah by Indra Sinha, after Bhopal Verdict
The centipede is a Congressman. One scorpion is a BJP stalwart, the other a Communist. Animal is feeding them quail from the Jehan Nabz.

The story Blah, Blah, Blah by Indra Sinha is at:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ivo Coelho's, Philosophical Musings blog

Three interesting posts below from Ivo Coelho on his blog


Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.3
नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो
न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन।
यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्य-
स्तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनूं स्वाम्‌॥ ३॥

nāyamātmā pravacanena labhyo
na medhayā na bahunā śrutena |
yamevaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhya-
stasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām || 3||

You cannot have the knowledge of the Supreme Soul by
means of reasoning, erudition, or studying of the Vedas;
Only through causeless mercy does He reveal His own
person unto him whom He does accept as His own.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Of “Phile” and Philia culturally speaking

Many of us have love, or have a deep fondness for other cultures, and countries; yet, others are besotted or have afflictions for cultures equally or more—other than their own. The suffix "philia" expresses these sentiments to convey the object of said interest/desire. A Sinophile is one who has strong admiration/affection** for Chinese culture, its language/s, dialects, the history, and so forth. Related to interest in cultures known and earlier imbibed by empires, part of the Old World., etc, as in the Greek, Irish, Spanish, Persian, more recently Japanese. Of course cultures are fluid and the meanings and implications get layered and compounded, giving rise to newer philias, and their corresponding enthusiasts.
** as in more than a glancing interest

Portugal/ Lusitania:
Lusophile (Lusophila); Lusophonia, Lusomania, Lusitanian (Lusitani), Lusophobe, Lusophobia, Lusitanic, Lusophones, Lusotopic, Lusitic, etc. Also, Indo-Lustanian, etc.

Some not so obvious "philes/philias" are
Lacanophile, love of things/ideas Spanish
Slavophile, Slavs, Slavic. Slavophillsm developed in Russia.
Russophile, Russia
Scandophile, Scandinavia
Persophile/Iranophile, Persia/Iran
Armenophile, Armenia
Hibernophile, Irish
Scotophile, Scottish
Estophile, Estonia
Hellenophile, Greek

Indophile, India.

Btw, a wine connoisseur would be known as a oenophile. Onenophilia, may be used to refer to the generic fondness towards good wine by normal people, not a sommelier, or an aficionado.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Anjali Phyllis Mendes (niz Goeakan; a true Goan) passes away.

"I am an ugly duckling who transformed into a swan on her own."

The snide among the pish-posh Indians called her kali-kaluti. Pierre Cardin cut his clothes on Anjali (a jolie) Phyllis for a little over twelve years. She was his muse.

From, Frederick Noronha via Goanet:
Anjali Mendes passes away
MARK MANUEL , Jun 19, 2010, 12.00am IST

Modelling world stunned by death of first Indian supermodel and Pierre Cardin muse

The modelling world in Mumbai woke up to depressing news yesterday even as the skies turned dark grey and weepy. Anjali Phyllis Mendes, the first dark-skinned model to grace the Parisian ramp and become Pierre Cardin's muse, had passed away. She was 64, and India?s first supermodel on the international stage, a tall and dark Goan girl with long legs who opened fashion shows and walked the ramp with models including Shobha Rajadhyaksha -- now Shobhaa De, and Zeenat Aman.

On a whim, in June 1971, taking the money she had made on an assignment with Shobhaa, Anjali flew to Paris on a one-way ticket. "She had an extreme sense of adventure," said Shobhaa yesterday, "and she went at a time when black models didn't exist and she was considered black. There was no question of her coming back. Dressed in a saree, she staged a dharna at Pierre Cardon?s salon and demanded to see him, sitting eight hours without food and water until the great designer condescended to giving her an audience... and instantly a role as his house model! She had made it. Cardin cut his couture collection on Anjali for 20 years. She was the toast of not just Paris, but all of Europe, but she had her own desiness... she remained a Goan girl who served Goan meals with French champagne at home."

Anjali, who returned to her roots periodically, was in India (especially Mumbai, where she had friends, and Goa, where she had family), only last month. She had come to recuperate after moving home from Paris to Provence... where she had what she described as a chateau. It was at this chateau that Anjali passed away after falling suddenly ill and being rushed to hospital with a low white blood cell count on Thursday. In an interview to The Times of India in 2004, she had said, "I am an ugly duckling who transformed into a swan on her own. I have proved all that I had to prove to myself and there are no regrets. Focussing on yesterday and tomorrow serves no purpose. I always live for the present."

* * *

Anjali Mendes, Pierre Cardin's muse, dies

Mendes, 64, passed away on Thursday in a hospital in Aix-en-Provence after suffering from an unidentified stomach infection

Anindita Ghose

New Delhi: In 1971, before Parisian ramps had seen women of colour, before Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell, a dark, 6ft- 1-inch tall, sari-clad model waited in French designer Pierre Cardin's salon for eight hours. Cardin's assistant called a manager, telling him that an Indian princess had come to buy clothes. When Cardin finally met her, she was hired on the spot. He called her "a jolie" (Anjali), and Phyllis Mendes became Cardin's muse for a little over 12 years. She also modelled for designers such as Ungaro, Scaperelli and Givenchy. But the former supermodel remained a Goan girl who served her sorpotel with champagne at her apartment in Paris.

Mendes, 64, passed away on Thursday in a hospital in Aix-en-Provence after suffering from an unidentified stomach infection. She had just moved from her apartment in Paris to a chateau in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.

Her friends from the fashion and advertising fraternity in India are shocked. Several of them met her during her last visit to India about three weeks ago. "She was remarkably healthy and disciplined. She did her yoga and prayers everyday and ate carefully. This is all toosurprising," designer Wendell Rodericks said over the phone from Goa.

Mendes returned to India frequently to visit friends and family. She was the fourth of seven children born to Cajetan and Flo Mendes. While in college, she worked as a secretary to ad guru Bobby Sista. "She was extremely sharp, had thick glasses, long limbs and hair that went down to her knees," Sista recalls. One day, while on a bus to office, a magazine editor suggested that she apply for a forthcoming fashion show.

Mendes went on to walk the ramp with the likes of Zeenat Aman and Shobhaa De, but the Indian fashion industry largely rejected her for being "too tall, dark, gawky and skinny" all unattractive traits to the industry back then. The press even called her an "Ethiopian princess". In a 2004 interview with The Times of India, she had said: "I am an ugly duckling who transformed into a swan on her own."

De recalls becoming fast friends with Mendes from the day they met around 40 years ago at an audition. "Those were the early, heady years when modelling was just about coming of age in India. She was ridiculed here and going to Paris was one of her best decisions," says De, adding that Mendes rose rapidly to become something of a cultural icon, feted and adored by the press in Europe, courted by visiting royalty, movie stars and the international jet set that famously included the late Princess Margaret.

Mendes never married, but while in Paris, she met an English aristocrat who groomed her for Parisian high society. He succumbed to cancer shortly before they were to be wed.

Friends remember Mendes for her humility and gregariousness. "She may have been the toast of tout Paris and presiding deity at the House of Pierre Cardin for decades, but her heart remained in India," says De. Ad man Gerson da Cunha adds that though she spoke fluent French, she never attempted to hide her strong Indian accent. "I think she betrayed her most noteworthy quality by getting into modelling," says da Cunha. "She was so smart and focused that she would have made a great manager." Cardin believed so too. So, after Mendes quit modelling, he asked her to look after the India side of his operations, which she did for 18 years. When the design house completed 50 years in 2000, it shut down the overseas offices. Mendes then moved on to her other great love?gastronomy. In 2004, she also published a Indian cookbook calledCuisine Indienne De Mere En Fille.

Indian models found substantial work overseas after the 1970s, but the successes of Mendes and later, Shyamoli Varma, were exceptions. The fashion world only really noticed when models such as Ujjwala Raut and Laxmi Menon followed in the 1990s, earning substantial global experience.

De shares that her friend was working on an autobiography. "It is one book I would love to publish," said De, who?s launching her own publishing imprint with Penguin. "Phyllis was like a rare and precious black diamond, whose real value is only known to connoisseurs and lovers of beauty."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some thoughts on Yūgen (幽玄)

There is an unassuming word in the Japanese language— Yūgen (幽玄), an aesthetic concept that is anything but simple, it expresses a deeply “refined elegance” (Zeami):indeed, context dependent. It contains in its Kanji a swathe of signifiers that convey a complex of aesthetic references: Vagueness not ambiguity, subtle yet profound, nuanced yet gently hinting an attitude, a quiet elegance, “shadows within emptyness” (Jun ’ichirou Tanizaki). What could these words be describing. There are those objects, ideas, sounds, darknesses, shadows around us that our minds can barely pin down. The sensate experience they evoke can hardly be explained in absolute terms, leave alone even in a relativist manner.

Yūgen pervades all Japanese arts including the budo of the martial arts. A word to signify “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe… and the sad beauty of human suffering.”(Ortolani, 325). Ortolani, Benito. The Japanese Theatre. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1995).

Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, in Zen and Japanese Culture (New York)
Yugen is a compound word, each part, yu and gen, meaning “cloudy impenetrability,” and the combination meaning “obscurity,” “unknowability,” “mystery,” “beyond intellectual calculability,” but not “utter darkness.” An object so designated is not subject to dialectical analysis or to a clear-cut definition. It is not at all presentable to our sense-intellect as this or that, but this does not mean that the object is altogether beyond the reach of human experience. In fact, it is experienced by us, and yet we cannot take it out into the broad daylight of objective publicity. It is something we feel within ourselves, and yet it is an object about which we can talk, it is an object of mutual communication only among those who have the feeling of it. It is hidden behind the clouds, but not entirely out of sight, for we feel its presence, its secret message being transmitted through the darkness however impenetrable to the intellect. The feeling is all in all. Cloudiness or obscurity or indefinability is indeed characteristic of the feeling. But it would be a great mistake if we took this cloudiness for something experientially valueless or devoid of significance to our daily life. We must remember that Reality or the source of all things is to the human understanding an unknown quantity, but that we can feel it in a most concrete way.

As with Zeami’s yūgen, there is Rikyuu’s wabi (a sense of tranquil solitude), and Basho’s sabi. A world of aesthetics where all the forms evolved in the Muromachi period or descended directed from it.

Yūgen is exceeding hard to convey—it eschews the linear thought processes, and cannot be grasped, however much the logical capacity of our minds; but it does manifest upon encountering creativity, within ourselves, others, as also in insentient objects. And of course, creativity too is a source hard to fathom. Yūgen in that sense is the becalmed self free of anxiety, strategy, machinations, doubt—a self that expresses a form, a shape, a space, a movement, discovers a formula—which truly appears to evoke wonder in the one who experiences. An idea of mystery pervades the comprehension and feeling of seeing into something of the unknown that remains unknowable.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nada te turbe

Nothing we receive to include the Self "can diminish the infinite stores of love and wisdom."

Nada te turbe by St.Teresa; from Eknath Easwaran's Purna
पूर्ण (Full) in 1000 names of Vishnu.

Nada te turbe,
Nada te espante
Todo se pasa.
Dios no se mua
La pacienza
Todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene
Nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing,
God alone fills all his needs.

Btw, it is amazing to see and be a part of the youth at Taizé sing a version of the above (in tandem with various Alleluia's, the Magnificat/s, Bénissez le Seigneur, Bless the Lord, etc. (
Cluny chants), close to the Abbaye de Cluny (Eng.), France.

Na-da te tur-be,
nada te_es.pan-te;
quien a Dios tie-ne,
na-da le fal-ta.
Na-da te tur-be,
na-da te_es-pan-te
só-lo Dios

Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frigh-ten
those who seek God shall ne-ver go want-ing,
God a-lone fills us.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

[Goanet] IN THE NEWS-ESG: "Mangalore Air Crash Tragic Fallout of Criminal Negligence of Planning and Regulatory Authorities

Its one thing to hurtle deeper into modernity or adhuniktaif you will, yet something else to ignore the conscientious and aware among our midst, which are astute people like Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator, Environment Support Group; and Arthur Pereira, Environment Support Group and Trustee/ Spokesperson, Vimana Nildhana Vistarana Virodhi Samithi, Bajpe, Mangalore.

Imagine, this could have been any one of us in the recent
Mangalore Crash. And all for the cockiness of "chalta hai." (vjp)


Mangalore Air Crash Tragic Fallout of Criminal Negligence of
Planning and Regulatory Authorities

An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft arriving from
Dubai with 167 on board 2010 tragically crashed at
International Airport at 6.30 am today (22 May 2010). It is
reported that the plane overshot the runway while landing and
fell over a cliff resulting in this disastrous crash. Very
few are known to have survived this horrific crash.

This was no accident, but the direct result of deliberate
failure of officials at the highest level in the Director
General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India,
Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Government of
for allowing this 2
nd runway to be built in criminal
negligence of applicable norms and standards.

Such a strong charge is being made as the likelihood of this
kind of a crash (the worst case scenario) was predicted. A
series of Public Interest
Litigations were fought by the
undersigned to stop the construction of this 2
nd runway in
Mangalore airport on grounds that the design simply did not
conform to the most basic national and international
standards of airport design. The
PILs also highlighted that
the airport does not conform with the most minimum safeguards
for emergency situations -- particularly during landings and
takeoffs, and could not have emergency approach roads within
a kilometre on all sides of the airport as required.

It is truly sad that because of the failure of key decision
makers at the highest levels so many innocent lives have been
lost. It is quite possible that many lives were lost as
emergency rescue teams could not access the crash site due to
the difficult terrain (a valley) for over a hour after the
incident, even though it was proximal to the site.1

Vimana Nildana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (Local Communities
Alliance Against Airport Expansion),
Bajpe and Environment
Support Group had repeatedly highlighted the high risk
expansion of the
Mangalore airport during the late 1990s. The
expansion was proposed to enable flight movements of wide
aircrafts, such as Airbus A 320.

Authorities were repeatedly informed that the proposal did
not at all conform with the standards prescribed for runway
design as laid down by the Director General of Civil
Aviation, National Building Code of India and Ministry of
Civil Aviation. Further, considering that the airport was
proposed for international flights, a case was also made that
the 2
nd runway could not conform with International Civil
Aviation Authority standards due to terrain limitations.

No one in authority cared to listen to our fervent pleas.
This even when we demonstrated through a variety of
representations that that the site chosen for expansion at
Bajpe was surrounded by deep valleys on three sides of the
runway and did not provide for emergency landing areas as

This neglect of our legitimate concerns forced us to move the
High Court of
Karnataka in a PIL in 1997 (Arthur Pereira and
ors. vs. Union of India and ors., WP No. 37681/1997). A key
concern raised was that the 2
nd runway in Mangalore could not
meet the standards required in dealing with an emergency,
particularly during landings and takeoffs -- a time when air
crashes are most likely to happen.

The Airports Authority of India filed an affidavit in Court
dismissing all our concerns and stated this, amongst other

It is submitted that as regards the apprehensions
of the petitioner that the length and width of the
runway is insufficient for a plane making an
emergency landing, the same is without any basis.
It is respectfully submitted that all the
requirements as per the
ICAO recommendation will be
met and that there has been no infringement of any
of the recommendation and limitation therein.

(Copy of this affidavit dated 14 October 1998 is
accessible at:

On the basis of this affidavit,
Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Y.
Bhaskar Rao and the Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. M. Farooq (as
their Lordships then were) dismissed this
PIL ordering as

It is stated that the fear of the petitioners that
the runway is insufficient for any emergency
landing of a plane is without any basis since
before the project is to proceed, the authorities
will be meeting the recommendations of the
is also stated that there is no basis for the
allegations made by the petitioners to the effect
that the various safety measures have not been
followed. That on the other hand they will be
getting all the relevant materials described by the
petitioners which will be followed in letter and
spirit without which the airport would not have
been conceived in the first place.

Thus it can be seen that the expansion of
airport project is at the initial stage and the
second respondent has in their objections mentioned
above unequivocally stated that all the safety
measures etc., stated by the petitioners in their
writ petition will be followed during the progress
of the project and nothing can be said before the
lands are handed over to the second respondent.

Considering these facts, we are of the view that
the petitioners have rushed to this court before
commencement of the project itself and the writ
petition is premature. It is not, therefore,
necessary to consider the various grounds taken by
the petitioners in the writ petition to allege that
the respondents have been proceeding with the
project in a casual manner. There is nothing to
doubt about the statement made by the second
respondent in their objection statement and we are
sure that the respondents will be taking all
necessary measures under the different enactments
etc.., before proceeding with the project in
question. The writ petition stands dismissed.

(Emphasis added. A copy of this order is accessible
at: )

Even though alternative sites existed, the authorities
proceeded obstinately to expand the airport yielding to
pressures from business, real estate and hotel lobbies who
benefited immensely from an airport at
Bajpe. Politicians
keen to make the expansion a part of their legacy overlooked
all concerns raised.

Even at the existing
Bajpe alternative sites existed to
expand the airport, that conformed with most safety norms,
but this site was not pursued as it would affect large
landholders and influential people. Consequently, nothing
whatsoever was done to respond to the concerns we raised
about the risks involved in the 2
nd runway.

The Airport Authority did not even have a proper feasibility
study, and claimed that such a critical information detail
would only be prepared after the land was acquired for the
airport. Surely this amounted to putting the cart before the
horse, for the study, even if eventually prepared, would have
been tailor made to justify the decision to so expand the

Distressed by such a turn of events and the absolute lack of
compliance with applicable norms and standards, we appealed
to the
ICAO to intervene in the matter. The ICAO did not
respond and so we returned to the High Court with a fresh
in 2002. In this exhaustively researched
PIL many significant
concerns were raised and a case was made that the 2
nd runway
could not conform with
ICAO norms for the following reasons:

Minimum Area for Stop-way: At page 155 of the said
ICAO) report, para 2-1 prescribes standards for
providing the minimum area for a stop way and/or a
clear way in the event an aircraft undershoots or
over-runs the runway. For instance, if an aircraft
has initiated take off, and a technical flaw
requires emergency stop, the standard prescribes
the minimum area that should be kept free to enable
such a stop. In the instant case, the runway
distance itself is about 2400 metres, and even if
the area left is most cautiously utilised, what is
left is only about 300 metres on each end of the

By the prescribed standard, this is far below the
required distance needed for an emergency stop way.
Therefore, the chances of an aircraft that has
achieved the decision speed forcing an emergency
stop are critically minimised, and the inevitable
consequence could be that the plane would come
crashing down the hillsides from a height of 80-100
metres on either side of the proposed runway.
(Emphasis added. A copy of the
PIL is accessible
at: )

The High Court of
Karnataka dismissed this PIL initiative by
their order dated 27 May 2002 (WP 20905/2002) stating the

No doubt, in an appropriate case, this Court can
issue directions, if there is gross violation of
fundamental rights or if the issue touches the
conscience of this Court, but not for personal gain
or political gain. The construction of 2
nd Runway
and Terminal Tower in
Mangalore Airport will
otherwise be in the interest of public.

Learned Counsel has not been able to show how the
construction of 2
nd Runway and Terminal Tower in
Mangalore Airport will be against the public
interest. On consideration and in the facts of the
given case no direction as prayed for can be issued
in this
PIL. The authorities concerned have to
complete all formalities as per law before
commencement of the project. Accordingly, this Writ
petition is dismissed.

However, it is made clear that dismissal of this
petition will not preclude the concerned
Authorities to take all necessary precaution and to
complete the formalities as per law before
proceeding with the project in question.

(Emphasis added)

In a desperate effort to stop the
Mangalore airport from so
expanding and needlessly exposing innocent people to
unnecessary risk, we went on appeal against the High Court
order to the
Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. Dismissing the
appeal, the Supreme Court ruled 07 February 2003 in
Environment Support Group and
ors. vs. Union of India and
ors. [SLP(C) 1172 OF 2003] as follows:

We see no reason to interfere with the impugned
order. Accordingly, the special leave petition is
dismissed. We, however, clarify that in
constructing the Airport, the Government shall
comply with all applicable laws and also with
environmental norms. (Emphasis added. A copy of
this order can be accessed at:

One hopes with the benefit of hindsight that the Director
General of Civil Aviation or Airports Authority of India had
complied with this order of the Supreme Court and ensured
Mangalore airport was developed in full conformance with
applicable laws, standards and norms.

In case the current site was not feasible, they could have
easily explored alternate sites, as such sites did exist --
Bajpe itself, or even in Padubidri, between Mangalore
Udupi. Instead, the authorities preferred to view the
Supreme Court order as a victory, as did the
Government and
Mangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry
which had systematically campaigned for the expansion.

Without any further hesitation the 2
nd runway construction
began in 2004 and was commissioned in May 2006. No
techno-economic assessment, feasibility study, or even an
comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment was ever done for
the 2
nd Runway. Simply put, the runway was built in
comprehensive violation of applicable laws, standards and
direction of the
Hon'ble Supreme Court.

On 8
th March 2004, we wrote to Dr. Naseem Zaidi, Chairman
Addl. Charge) & Joint Secretary, Airport Authority of India,
Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, reminding
him of the need to comply with the Supreme Court direction.

In particular we highlighted that "such action would
jeopardize passenger safety, put local communities to risk,
needlessly dislocate people by acquiring land on a location
that in no way could comply with the said provisions and
thereby contributed to gross wastage of public money and
resources." We did not get any response.

Six years later today we are mourning the unfortunate death
of so many people who should have been alive. We are clear
that this is no accident, but a direct result of the series
of deliberate failures of officials and key decision makers
at the highest levels of all authorities connected with the
decision to allow the 2
nd runway to be constructed and
commissioned. Of course all sorts of explanations will be on
offer, but none of that can bring lost lives back or cure the
tragedy that has wrongly befallen so many families.

India today is frenetically building airports all
over, and for all sorts of flaky reasons. Such is
the political, bureaucratic and corporate pressure
to build and expand airports that anyone questing
the rationale is quickly dubbed as a "busybody",
"useless interloper", "promoted by vested interest"
and raising "frivolous" concerns.

To ensure such incidents do not recur, we demand that the
Union Minister of Civil Aviation orders an impartial
Commission of Enquiry into the causative factors of this
crash, especially investigating the absolute lack of
conformance with basic runway design standards and emergency
approach measures.

As a small tribute to those who lost their lives in this
tragic air crash, ESG offers to assist crash affected
families to initiate a damage suits against the Government.
We will also initiate criminal negligence proceedings against
all authorities connected with the decision to commission the
2nd runway at Mangalore in violation of the directions of the
Hon'ble Supreme Court. We take these corrective actions in
the hope they would serve as a deterrence against the
lackadaisical approach to critical decisions by key decision

Leo F. Saldanha
Environment Support Group
Cell: 9448377403

Arthur Pereira
Environment Support Group and
Vimana Nildhana Vistarana Virodhi Samithi, Bajpe, Mangalore
Cell: 9449208264/9481439921

1 That such a crash has occurred at the Mangalore airport is
unpardonable as a similar crash had occurred at this airport
over a decade ago. Fortunately the plane did not tip over
into the valley and all passengers, including Union Law
Minister Mr. Veerappa Moily, were fortunate to escape..

2 This safety standard of ICAO also applies to air crafts
when landing. It is truly sad that today's tragic air crash
could be a consequence of the lack of conformance with this

For further details, contact:
Environment, Social Justice and Governance Initiatives,
Environment Support Group - Trust, 1572, 36th Cross,
Banashankari II Stage Bangalore 560070
Tel: 91-80-26713559-61 Voice/Fax: 91-80-26713316 Email: Web: