The State-of-the-art Media Centre at Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2006.

Shravanabelagola, February 10, 2006: “The arrangements are very good and very useful. I am impressed by connectivity.” When Sudha Murthy of Infosys Foundation jotted this in the Visitor’s Book after a tour of the Media Centre set up as a part of the Mahamastakabhisheka Celebrations she was merely echoing the thoughts of many international and national journalists since the celebrations was flagged off by President A P J Abdul Kalam on January 22.
Ably complimenting the efforts by Shravanabelagola pontiff Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji and the Digambar Jain Mutt at ensuring that the message of non violence and renunciation leading to peace and happiness acquires the centrestage rather than merely the colourful visual treat that is Mahamasthakabhisheka, the Media Centre set up under the aegis of the State Information Department has exhibited the capability to cross bandwidth, hospitality and power fluctuation hurdles over a sustained period of time.
Though the trend setting and innovative idea was inspired by the success of the facility provided at the three day CMs’ Conference at Chandigarh, the alternates found of sustaining such a facility for nearly a month along with appropriate client servicing by boys of Mindspin and VSNL-Tata Infocom, the systems providers, made all the difference. “We were very careful in choosing the team and I am happy that it has paid off,” says Kiran, young director of Mindspin.

If the Mahamastakabhisheka of 1910 is now remembered for the four pigeons that flew with James Edward’s message 400 miles within three and a half hours to catch the edition of Madras Mail, the millennium’s first Mahamasthakabhisheka registered a new history. For the first time in the history of Mahamasthakabhisheka, the report of the first day of the Mahamasthakabhisheka on February 8 was flashed from atop the Vindhyagiri Hills by Kamal Gopinath, Chief of Bureau of the Digambar Jain Mutt’s Mass Communication & Information Centre, to over 200 media outlets across the world using a laptop connected to Wi-Fi wireless internet systems provided by the Government.
“That is the very beauty of communication. We have the very communication revolution unraveling before us at the Mahamastakabhisheka. Our team has done a wonderful job and it is a time to sit back and enjoy when an experiment succeeds,” says Information Commissioner K V R Tagore.
The publicity exercise commenced during November-December 2005 from a small but efficient Media Centre operated by the Digambar Jain Mutt, leveraging the internet facilities to the optimum for spreading the message enshrined in the celebrations. Slowly, beginning first with 25 systems and later rising to 125 systems, the Government’s Media Centre had come into existence during January second week. One hundred MBP internet enabled atmosphere using Wi-Fi with satellite and terrestrial connections as back up ensured high connectivity to each of the systems at the centre with 512 ram, separate laptop-card reader-pen drive sockets and card readers, offering both free share and proprietary software.
Four separate rooms, one each for the international and electronic media, for the photographers, for the Kannada and Hindi journalists and for journalists of English newspapers with giant screen and televisions offering live telecast of the proceedings up the hills is additional incentive for the scribes covering the event.
Another facility that is impressive aiding better coverage of this year’s celebrations is the facility of downloading pictures from online site. As many as 2,158 photos have been uploaded as on date across the world with an average of 40 to 50 photographs being uploaded each day. “Twelve photographers deployed at different locations are providing quality pictures and these pictures have been downloaded from the website by various publications,” says Assistant Director Mr.C R Naveen.

“However, in the euphoria of all this, we have not forgotten the local media. Thanks to the support from the Mutt and co-ordination with the Mutt’s co-ordinator Mr.Madan Gowda, who helped liaise with the local media, and Bureau Chief Mr. Kamal Gopinath, who provided necessary content support, we have been able to cater to the requirements of both the global and the local media,” says Joint Director Mr.Shivaram.
Finally, the high quality gourmet provided around the clock on the house by the Mutt along with mineral water, fruits and soft beverages, even while working in air conditioned comfort makes covering the Mahotsav a pleasurable experience for the global as well as the local media especially after a climb up the Vindhyagiri hills in very hot conditions. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)