Stakeholders? Who?

the arrogance of the British?

BUT they were sent packing decades ago!

The powers that be, in this case Mysore University, are planning to commercialise the best natural lake in Mysore: Kukkarahalli Kere used by hundreds of locals for invigorating walks and a wonderfully diverse population of birds.

They seem to be stuck in the past.. development-itis means buildings, creating a boating lake (we already have a boating lake –  why not  buy some better boats and get that one working properly?) destroying the very aspects of the lake that attracts the birds and creates the necessary life-enhancing biodiversity. A case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Well this morning, there was a tremendous turnout of local people from allsorts of local organisations and all political affilitiations, to highlight what will be lost with this inappropriate development. Appreciating their picture show of birds to be found on the lake and signing their petition were hundreds of local people who love the lake as it is now.

Well done the managers of Mysore University, who are acting just like the autocratic British invaders with no sensitivity to local needs and wishes. They might as well be invaders from outside given the complete lack of sensitivity to local stakeholders with little understanding of our need to live in harmony with the natural world. Maybe their brain is not in tune to a real world,  they are contributing to the destruction of Mysore and what makes it unique. Maybe they will realise our loss when its too late.

Unfortunately it was too foggy this morning to properly appreciate the place. Maybe that’s appropriate as it helps illuminate what it will be like after the ‘development’ as we’ll see fewer birds. There will however, always be a place in the hearts of the heartless for the lesser spotted digger, the painted TATA Hitachi, the tool of develpment -itis.

Farrell Factoid

The thread throughout all my careers has been engaging people. One of my current workshops, delivered in the UK as part of the Corporate Responsiblity Academy is a ‘development’ model that is based on stakeholder dialogue and their active participation.



more change….

We, that’s Manjula, Kamlama and I, drive to the village in the Ambassador, round the backside of Chamundi Hill.

We park round the front of the small village house and follow the sound of the music to the rear. We’re met by a typical scene: a “tent’ a canvas decorated roof to provide shade,  these are often used for events at someone’s house, has been quickly erected that morning. The musicians are seated on the road in centre of the tent, the men are either seated by the music or constructing something out of bamboo.

Our gardener is laid by the side of the house door with his closest women relatives, particularly his wife and adult daughters, crying, prostate around his body. Small groups respectfully go and place flowers. the pile becomes so high that they are often scooped up and taken away to be added to the ‘litter’ the men are building.


We pay our respects, leave flowers, wait a few moments and leave.

He will be buried later that day. I don’t know why. Most people are burnt on a funeral pyre (helps the soul escape?)  and then the ashes to be sprinkled on water. Locally that’s on the river such as the site we feature on the Srirangaptnam tour. Some are buried.

For the following thirteen days there are a whole series of rituals and customs to be followed. These vary according to location, caste, local and family tradition. They might include: no cooking at home, a process of cleansing, clearing and cleaning, redecorating the house, showering, Tulsi plants, new sari, bangles, sindu. The widow goes to the burial place to break her bangles, takes the flowers from her hair and wipes off the Sindu.

Its complicated, formal and informal and its significance is unmistakeable.

These scenes are common as we pass through villages.

This is the first close member of our team to die. Nariyanappa has worked for us for over three years and in that relatively short time has created a commerative to his abilities as a gardener. He’s made a real and lasting difference to the place.

You can see it, as you arrive at the house, in the downstairs sit-out, up by the back door with the bouganvillia or the best of the lot, the roof top terrace. Even to the very last moments he was concerned to ensure his daughter (who also works for us) was visiting regularly to water and keep the garden in good order.


We visited his wife and family during this period of mourning to provide some cash to help them through and the gift of a little sun We thought it was approriate as he’d brought a light into our home with the beautiful garden he’d created which is appreciated by the hundreds of people who visit us here in Mysore.

Thank you Nariyanappa!


Who is Cochrane?


According to ‘The Times’ (in UK) :

“He was a Radical, whereas those were the palmy days of Toryism. He was outspoken, whereas officials admire reticence and discretion. He was resolute in exposing abuses, and therefore constantly creating trouble. He was impractible – a term still in favour for describing inconvenient excellence; and he head a strong spirit of independence – a quality which as very recent controversies have shown is singularly obnoxious to the official mind.”

This biography of a unique man, helps illustrate how institutions such as the Royal Navy in late 18th and early 19th century were corrupt and how the establishment ‘looked after its own’ and wouldn’t countenance the challenges represented by the radical movement and in this case Lord  Cochrane.

In some ways it helps show how Britain might have introduced or at the very least encouraged those practices through the British Raj in India.

Back to Cochrane. Historian Sir Archibald Alison stated…

Lord Cochrane was, after the death of Nelson, the greatest naval commander of that age of glory. Equal to his great predecessor in personal gallantry, enthusiastic ardour, and devotion to his country, he was perhaps his superior  in original genius, inventive power and inexhaustible resources.