From here & there

The school is known as Mysore’s first school, and it was a symbol of great pride to study there. Former chief minister of the state Devaraj Urs, legendary writer R K Narayan, cartoonist R K Laxman, journalist Venkatakrishnaiah, also known as Tathaiah, theatre artiste Varadachar, litterateur Chaduranga, and journalist Khadri Shamanna all studied in this school.
The high school was started in 1863. As many as 300 to 400 students studied here.
The school was headed by British principals till about 1916. In 1893, the school was shifted to the present-day Maharaja College premises. It was in 1972 that pre-university classes started here.
The school is planning its 175th anniversary celebrations in December, in a big way.

A water festival in Shimoga
It was a festival with a difference. We are referring to the water festival held recently at Hosagunda of Sagar taluk, Shimoga district. More than 600 acres of sacred groves (Devara Kadu) are located near the village. Most of the villagers are farmers and grow paddy.
Three years ago, it was observed that groundwater levels were depleting. It was also at that point in time that they realised the importance of rainwater harvesting. 
A five-year plan was immediately chalked out. “We dug over 150 pits along the border of the forest, so that rain water would not flow beyond the forest,” said CMN Shastry, one of those who planned the system.
After two years, a pushkarani (traditional water body) which had dried up, is full of water.
Water that percolates into the forests has helped increase the water level of tanks. Now all the eight tanks near the forest are full.
To spread awareness about the importance of rainwater harvesting, children from several schools were invited recently to Hosagunda to see the results.
The children visited the forest and learned the importance of water harvesting pits, and increasing groundwater levels. Shanmukhappa, a farmer demonstrated the pit preparation and noted water expert Shree Padre explained the importance of water conservation.
Na Karantha Peraje

All for that perfect pearl
If you want to see how pearls can be cultured, you will have to travel 35 kms from Yellapur taluk in Uttara Kannada district to reach Ravikiran’s house at Malavalli village. This 22-year-old has successfully experimented pearl culture in fresh water.
Ravikiran invested Rs four lakh in his venture. Traditional belief has it that pearls take shape only when Swati rain drops get into the mussel. But Ravikiran has cultivated pearls even in fresh water.
When a foreign body enters the mussels, they secrete antibodies to protect themselves. This liquid turns out to be a pearl.
Ravikiran explains that the raw material to be injected into the mussels to make pearl, is not easily available in the country and it needs to be imported from foreign countries by paying heavy tax.
This is the principal reason why India has fallen behind in pearl culture. It is an intricate process to inject the foreign body into mussels. Later the mussels are to be reared with great care. After a month, these mussels are shifted to ten-ft-deep water. If a pearl has to reach perfection, it would take twelve to fifteen months.
Sandhya Hegde Almane

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