Magical solutions sponsored by Forest and Excise Departments Saturday, Mar 13 2010 

Brochure of Nilackai...

Magician Muthukad is staging a show on the banks of Bharatapuzha this evening to create awareness about the condition of the Bharathapuzha, also called Nila. The show Nilackai is sponsored by the Forest Department which also plans to run a series of show across the State in August to create awareness about environmental problems.

A similar show was staged last year under the auspices of the Excise Department. It was to create awareness about the evils of alcohol. The very Department, which advices people against drinking through magic, is the very one selling liquor to the people.  What a hypocrisy!

It is notable that in the Budget for 2919-11, Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Issac proposed an increase of tax on hard liquor by ten per cent and reduction of tax on beer and wine by ten per cent. This is a clever move to encourage consumption and favour the liquor barons.  It is no secret that many sell seconds. Those who evade tax now stand to gain by ten per cent and they would not complain about the government collecting ten per cent more on billed liquor! Lowering of the taxes on beer and wine is an incentive for new comers.

Show sponsored by Excise Dept.

Show sponsored by Excise Dept.

Now, look at the case of Nila. One can see that the government is largely responsible for the murder of the river.  It entered into agreements to supply softwood to companies, paving way for the destruction of the forests upstream. It also constructed the dams and allowed sand mining to go unchecked along the banks of the River. The Forest Department is now trying to wash its guilt off by staging a magic show. But no magic would bring back the River.

The Government is now doing the same to Munnar and environs by omissions and commissions. We can expect a magic show soon in Munnar also.

Power Minister’s magical moments Friday, May 2 2008 

Electricity Minister A. K. BalanKerala’s Power Minister A. K Balan flagged off a blindfolded motor ride by magicians by staging his own magic in Trivandrum early this week. The message was “Save Power, Save Kerala.” He pulled out theme banners and did a few other tricks.

But, the real magic by Mr. Balan was in reducing consumption during peak hours this summer. The Kerala State Electricity Board had been running campaigns calling upon people to switch of bulbs during peak hours. The Minister claimed the campaign, which used celebrities, was a big success. The peak hour consumption in summer did not rise, but dropped compared to the previous year. The saving was of the order of 200 MW.

What was the trick behind this magic? Well, repairs were delayed. Some interior areas did not get power for more than 48 hours at a stretch. Even in Trivandrum city, power went off regularly in some areas. The Board compelled some major consumers to shed load during peak hours. Then, the summer rains helped— fewer fans were on. May be a few switched off lights heeding the calls of super stars.

However, Mr. Balan and his predecessors have done magic if they had intensely promoted energy efficiency including use of CFL lamps. The power savings would have been tremendous. The Board would have gained even if it subsidized CFL lamps. It could also have set up non-conventional energy generating stations when Centre was offering 100 per cent subsidy.

What the Board could not do in 16 years, a private company did in 100 days at Ramackalmedu by erecting wind turbines. Now, should be oppose corporatisation or even privatization of KSEB? In the telecommunication sector, the private companies have done wonders. They will do the same in the power sector also. However, it is imperative to keep them under tight regulations to prevent exploitation.

For further reading:
Electricity Boards can save millions by subsidising energy efficiency

Film star Mohanlal as magician Thursday, Apr 17 2008 

Malayalam film star Mohanlal in his new avtar as stage magicianStage magic is beginning to attract celebrities. Malayalam film star Mohanlal will be doing a Houdini escape act (Burning Illusion) in Thiruvananthapuram on April 27 as a prelude to the Vismaya 2008 magic fair to be attended by magicians from different parts of the world.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob, who could not do anything magical during her career, had turned up at the local Magic Academy of Gopinath Muthukad to learn magic. Now, Mohanlal, who inclination towards stage is already known, is undergoing intense training to do the escape act. That could make him the first film star to do the escape act, which had remained the domain of experienced magicians.

Magic has indeed become an attractive proposition to stage performers after Sorcar, Muthkad and others turned magic into glittering shows. Superstar Mohanlal has indeed found an opportunity here to stay in the limelight.

The Kerala State Youth Welfare Board with the Magic Academy is sponsoring the escape act. The reason cited is that the performance would be an inspiration for the youth to face hurdles. “It shows that you can escape from the clutches of bondage,” said Mohanlal.

We can only hope that it would not turn into inspiration for the youth to jump into fire. The Board should be warning the youth that they should not attempt risky acts without sufficient training. Discretion is the better part of valour. That should be the message of the Board to the youth when even Mohanlal’s family is asking whether he should be jumping into the fire.

Besides, magic is basically tricks and illusions. Such escape acts cannot see the youth through the hurdles of life. The youth should not hope to achieve anything magically. If welfare of the youth is the objective of the Board, it should cast its messages carefully.

Update ( 23/4/2008 ): Mohanlal’s programme has been cancelled in view of protests from fans and others who fear for his life. The Youth Welfare Board, which unnecessarily sponsored the programme, should be in a fix now. What message has Mohanlal’s withdrawal given to the youth? Runaway from difficult tasks?