Last week, a routine assignment turned into the discovery of a historical link between Mangalore and Assam. While reporting on Suman’s Arts Academy, Assam, which had organised a workshop on Assamese dance in Mangalore, this reporter came across dancer Moloya Deka (Moloya means ‘A wind from the South”). Though she was born and brought up in Assam, her father late B. K. Bhandari was a Mangalorean. Her father worked with Gandhiji when he visited Mangalore. On the insistence of Gandhiji, Mr. Bhandari moved to Assam and later built leprosy hospitals, weaving centres, schools and an orphanage in Assam.
Ms. Deka’s family stayed on in Assam after her father’s death. Their mother ensured the children grew up aware of the Mangalore link. Ms. Deka said she finds Assam and Mangalore region very similar except that Mangalore has the Netravati and Assam has the Brahmaputra. The family continues to address the eldest daughter of Mr. Bhandari as “Akka”, she said.
Health Minister U.T. Khader had to summon all his PR skills on Saturday to fend off some “uncomfortable” questions from journalists. With a plethora of questions on his changed stance on the Netravati diversion issue, he had a tough time wriggling out. At a point he tried to go on the offensive. “You write a report but do you expect it to be printed word by word? Your editor will have a say in it. Same is the case with us. We cannot do much.”
RENUKA PHADNIS AND RAGHAVA M.