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Friday, July 21, 2017

India beats Australia - enters finals of ICC Women World Cup 2017

What a night it turned out to be on 20th July 2017 ~ the Indian women excelled with their performance. ~ and it should be another cracker of a contest on Sunday – the finals between England and India.

Harmanpreet Kaur played one of the great innings: destructive, breathtaking, and full of class. She also had one of the most epic meltdowns when she thought her partner had been run out – and she did not celebrate her hundered !  171 from 115 balls,  and she finished with an injury. Was limping between the wickets, and didn’t field.  After a slow start, her heroinic effort catapulted India to 281-4 in a reduced innings of 42 overs. The next best score was Raj’s 36.

The score card finally reads : India women 281 for 4 (Kaur 171*, Raj 36) beat Australia women(Blackwell 90, Villani 75, Deepti 3-59) by 36 runs ~ but there was so much of drama in between, most enjoyable from Indian angle.

A perfect restart for India followed. Australia were pegged three times in the opening eight overs, Jhulan Goswami removed the consistent Aussie  Meg Lanning for her first duck since August 2014 with the ball of the tournament (angling in, before leaving the right-hander for dead and clipping her off stump). Ellyse Perry and Elyse Villani fought back. Villani led the charge in a century partnership off 89 balls in which the second 50 took 39. When Villani was dismissed for 75 – a career best – and Perry and Alyssa Healy followed in 33 balls, India were back in control.

The game looked well set for India at  that point, with Australia requiring 113 from the final 57 balls. Alex Blackwell disagreed. Aged 33, this may well be her last World Cup and she marshalled the No11, Kristen Beams, expertly while bringing up a half-century from 36 balls, which included six fours and, at the end of the 35th over, the first six of the Australia innings. She went on  to hit two more huge sixes down the ground and five more fours. But, on 90, with 37 needed from the final 12 balls, she was bowled by Sharma to hand India victory. She contributed 65 to the last-wicket stand of 76, which is a record for the 10th wicket in women’s ODIs. But that is a dull silver lining to a second world tournament in as many years that Australia have left empty-handed.

Well done Team India ~ Sunday, we are eager to see another repeat performance and the World Cup

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mr Ramnath Kovind is the new President elect - Greetings !!

India has elected ~ may not be, We, the people of India – Mr Ram Nath Kovind is the new President elect.  He has defeated Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar by a huge margin  to officially become the 14th President of India.  Before we read further, do you know or remember Prof KT Shah and his fling at President’s chair ?

Polling to choose the 14th President of Indiaas the incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee demits office on 24 July, was held simultaneously at 32 polling stations – one in Parliament House and one each in 29 state assemblies and two union territories with assemblies. LokSabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra is the Returning Officer for the election, and will issue the certificate to the winning candidate.

The President of India is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament, the elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the 29 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.  As of 2017, the electoral college comprised of  776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs.

There have been 13 presidents of India since the introduction of the post in 1950(the current tenure is 5 years of an Indian President). The post was established when India was declared as a Republic with the adoption of the Indian constitution. Apart from these thirteen, three acting presidents have also been in office for short periods of time. VarahagiriVenkataGiri became Acting President of India in 1969 following the death of ZakirHussain, who died in office. Giri was elected President a few months later. He remains the only person to have held office both as a president and acting president. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, is the only person to have held office for two terms.

A total of 4,896 voters – 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs – were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.While the value of an MLA's vote depends on the population of the state he or she belongs to, the value of an MP's vote is the same at 708.  The breakup of  4,896 members is  - 543 Members of LokSabha,  233 Members of RajyaSabha  and 4120  members of State Assemblies.

While the LokSabha Speaker, an elected member, can vote, the two nominated members in the Lower House from the Anglo-Indian community cannot. Twelve nominated members in RajyaSabha are also ineligible to vote.   It is not equal. Each MP and MLA vote has a certain value attached to it. And this value differs from state to state.   Each MP’s vote is 708 : 708 x 776 = 5,49,408.  The votes of MLAs  (4896) totals the same 5,49,408 = 10,98,903.  The winner needs to secure 50% of valid votes polled.

The First Presidential Elections in free India were held on 2nd May 1952.   Dr. Rajendra Prasad won his first election with 507,400 votes over his nearest rival K. T. Shah who got 92,827 votes. There were other contenders too :Thatte Lakshman Ganesh (2672); ChowdhryHari Ram (1954) and Krishna Kumar Chatterjee (533)..   Prof K.T. Shah was known for his active role in the Constituent Assembly (General, Bihar) responsible for framing of the Indian Constitution. An alumnus of the London School of Economics, he was a socialist leader, he was the runner-up in 1st Presidential election in India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th July 2017.

Harmanpreet Kaur's heroic 171* - Mac Lanning out for a duck !!

In 1975, even before we realized and understood much about World Cup Cricket, there was this huge century ! ~ Glenn Turner made merry against an inexperienced East African attack to pile up 171 which was to be eclipsed later by mercurial Kapil Dev.   New Zealand played East Africa at  Edgbaston,  a curious mix of players from the nations of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.   Among the many was  Don Pringle, the father of England all-rounder Derek Pringle. He was 43;  John Nagenda, born in the Belgian Class B Mandate territory of Ruanda-Urundi bowled the 1st ball – as Glenn Turner made merry.  Turner was to make another ton (114) against India in 1975 WC.

Nothing more on Men ~ this is time for ICC Women WC  ~  there were tears of joy, sooner to turn bitter as we relish calling South Africa, chokers.   Chloe Tryon and Marizanne Kapp, playing in their second and third World Cups respectively but first knockout match, could not hold back their emotions when the national anthem was played. They were overjoyed, they were expectant, as was a nation.  Of course, there were tears at the end. When Anya Shrubsole threaded the third-last ball of the match through the gap at point to the boundary, the South African side slumped to the ground just as their men's team had done at Auckland in 2015. And they cried.   SA out of the cup, and England through to finals.

Today, in the other Semis, Indians play a strong Australia; past records suggest that Aussies are unbeatable.  The match has been reduced to  a 42-overs-a-side contest. That will effectively mean two bowlers can bowl nine overs, and three bowlers can bowl a maximum of eight overs. Lanning flung  the coin up. "Heads” was the call and Mithali Raj got it right, chosing to bat.  Lanning was to say : With the weather around, I wasn't sure. So, a good toss to lose. It is about attacking the 42 overs and we are ready to go. I come in for Rachael Haynes.  Actual captain in and deputing Captain out of the Team.
With the strong batting line-up that Australia boasts of – what will be a good score ? – India crawled – at half way mark – 21 overs they were 77/2; after 25 – 101/3 and after 30 – 132/3.   How much 12 overs can be milked was the Q ? ~ and what would you have bargained ??

India have a "50-50" chance of beating defending champions Australia in the Women's World Cup semi-final, an opinion the former India captain Anjum Chopra insists isn't merely the "hope" of a positive outcome. Chopra has been closely following the fortunes of Mithali Raj's team as a commentator, but concedes Australia's superior experience and pedigree will be a factor going into the clash. Australia have won six of the 10 World Cup tournaments prior to this and hold an overwhelming 34-8 win-loss record against India in ODIs. Since the last World Cup in 2013, India have won just one of their four ODIs against Australia. In the group stages of this edition, Australia won six of their seven games while India won five.

Aussies looks mighty and unconquerable ~ Smriti Mandhana failed with high expectations after her   scores of 90 and 106* - have you followed H Kaur ??  -  Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar 28 played for Sydney Thunder in Big Bash.  She is a big hitter, I have heard – had the fortune of seeing her classy innings matching Glenn Turner, batting like Kapil Dev or like her idol Virender Sehwag.  Viru promptly greeted her with his tweets. 

Over no. 34 of Jonassen – 2, 1,1,6,4,1;  over no. 37 of Gardner – 1,6,6,4,4, 2 (23) – India had galloped to 215/3. 39th over Vilani hit for 19  ~ a blinder, a stunning innings – exceptional quality of hitting, Harmanpreet scored her second century of World Cups in just 90 balls and with some lusty blows to the boundary. She took charge of the innings and then scored at free will. Her century came with a help of 12 fours and two sixes. On her final run to complete the run, there was much drama. Batting on 98*, she pushed the ball for a couple of runs. Her partner Deepti Sharma was struggling in the running and responded late to the call of the second run. She had to dive to save herself and later Harmanpreet had to dive to save herself as well.

She ended up making unbeaten 171  off mere 115 balls with 20 fours and 7 sixers ! ~ expecting India to win and reach the Finals.  Chasing 282 – Aussies are 14/2 with skipper Mac Lanning bowled for a duck by Jhulan Goswami

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th July 2017 @ 21.50 hrs.

Pic : Harman Kaur in bigbash –

SYMA Educational Aid Function 2017 ~ an appeal for donations

Dear Friends, 

Good Morning wishes *** Today, it is focussed on SYMA ~ the Organisation that I have been writing about for many years now, being the Secretary.  It is all about about SYMA’s Educational Aid function held on 8th July 2017  and seeking your financial support for the same.  Please do read this – together we will change the way some students attend school.

July is a very important month for SYMA - our Educational Aid function, was held on 8th July 2017   at NKT National Girls High School.   We had extremely distinguished Chief Guests Mr TS Krishnamurthy and Dr K Sridhar. 

Shri. T. S. KrishnaMurthy,  would require no introduction having served as the Chief Election Commissioner overseeing the Lok Sabha elections in 2004.  He holds a bachelor’s degrees in economics from University of Mysore and in law from the University of Madras. He also holds a master’s degree in fiscal studies from the University of Bath, U.K.  Besides, CEC, he  served as the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Secretary to the Government of India - Department of Company Affairs, Additional Secretary – Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

Dr. K Sridhar has always been close to us ~ the person instrumental in making SYMA do medical service for over 27 years now.   Presently, he is Sr. Vice President - Medical & Director - Plastic Surgery.  Dr Sridhar, MBBS, MS, MCH, graduated from Kasturba medical College Manipal, pursued his masters in General Surgery from the same college. He worked for a year at VHS Adayar as an assistant surgeon following which he joined Mch in Plastic Surgery at Government Stanley medical College and Hospital. The renowned Plastic Surgeon has travelled widely delivering lectures in Seminars and has a great passion for helping poor and doing social service.  We are proud to be associated with him having him as our mentor.

Srinivas Youngmen's Association popularly (SYMA) has been rendering social service from 1977. We are registered with the Registrar of Societies. With care and concern for the society, we have been actively involved in social service doing multifarious activities which include – coordination with civic authorities in keeping the environ clean, conducting health campaigns – promoting health care and hygiene; organizing Eye Camps, Blood Camps and other camps. In our earnest effort to improve the competitive spirit and to instill confidence in school children, We have been conducting Child Fest every year in which more than 4000 students from around 100 city schools participate.

With a focus on sustainable service, we have two bigger continuing projects :

1) Medical Centre and Laboratory run for the poor wherein free consultation and medicines are provided – popularly known as ரெண்டு ரூவா மருத்துவமனை [Rs. 2 hospital !] This functions between 5 – 7 pm on all days except Sundays and National holidays. Consultation is free and medicines too – provided through regular medical shops with whom we have working arrangement. Around 40 – 50 people utilize this daily. We also have a Medical lab wherein blood and other tests are done at very nominal costs. The running of Medical Centre and Lab costs around Rs.25000/- per month.

2) SYMA Growth – a purposeful special tuition centre for coaching poor students of 10th and 12th standards.  Into its 10th year now, this was inaugurated in  2008 and producing good results year after year, changing the lives of poor children.   This year we have X Std English medium; X Tamil medium; + 2 Science Group and +2 Commerce Group.  Every year, we educate around 130 students selected from weaker sections of the society and that way perhaps we have touched the lives of more than 1000 poor students. 
Through this project we aim to provide quality educational support to students who would otherwise will have no opportunity to such quality education. Education is imparted through qualified senior teaching professionals who are paid nominal fees by us. Classes are conducted on all days of the week. We have created an excellent infrastructure and have dedicated staff for this. The classes are conducted at the premises of National Boys High School, Triplicane for which we pay a nominal rent and some amount towards electricity and other expenses. The project expenditure of our Tuition centre is around Rs. 7.5 lakhs lakhs per year, which for the Educational year 2017-18 is fully  sponsored by ManpowerGroup, to whom, we express our deep gratitude.

In the Educational Aid Function conducted now, we provided more than 1000 sets of unstitched uniforms to poor students. In the Educational Aid function, We also provided financial assistance to select college students,  and honoured School toppers of various Schools in Triplicane.  Every year we recognize some silent achievers of the Society and this year too we presented SYMA Seva Award to a woman who has been specializing in communication skills to intellectually challenged. 

Generally, we collect funds in the months of  July & ahead coinciding with our Educational Aid Programme, though donations are welcome throughout the year. You have patronized us in a big way in the past, and we look forward to receiving your donations this year too. Cheques are to be drawn in the name of  ‘SRINIVAS YOUNGMENS ASSOCIATION’ – payable at Chennai. In case any donor wishes to make a Bank transfer, we will provide details of our Bank A/c on request. Contributions to SYMA are eligible for deduction under Sec 80G (5) (vi)of Income Tax Act, as applicable.

               Here are the details of our Current Account with Punjab National Bank.

Punjab National Bank.
A/c No. 0346002100024570, Triplicane Branch, Singarachari St. Triplicane, Chennai - 600 005.
RTGS/NEFT IFS Code : PUNB0034600 MICR Code : 600024015

You have all along supported us in a big way and we look forward to your continued support. Together we will ensure transformation towards a better Society.

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.
Secretary – SYMA; Editor – BLISS

For complete details of SYMA – please log on to : 
or email us at :

PS : To those of you, who have already contributed to SYMA this year, this mail is not to seek additional donation but only to say thanks again.

Some photos of the Educational function is enclosed. A brief report on the Function will feature later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ICC Womens World Cup 2017 ~ Highest run scorer, Wicket taker and victims are Indians !!

She has played 2 Tests and 98 ODIs ; 68 T20s – scored 2408 ODI runs and has 42 stumpings and 95 catches in ODI.  Her name would immediately make you think of Saamy heroine.

The ICC Womens’ World Cup has been exciting.  SA has choked again; England has marched to Finals and wait the outcome of India Australia match at Derby tomorrow.  In this WC  Indian Capt.  Mithali Raj has rewritten the all-time batting record and Jhulan Goswami  the all-time bowling record; Trisha Chetty added her name to the leaderboards when in Taunton earlier this week she rose to top spot for most wicket-keeper dismissals in women’s One-Day Internationals when Chamari Polgampola edged Dane van Niekerk to her gloved hands.  She is of Indian origin but plays for South Africa.

Moments after the final of 2017 edition Indian Premier League between Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians was concluded, Chennai Super Kings franchise announced their return  to the league and social media just exploded.  Chennai fans have been starved off International cricket, no matches being played at Chepauk, and most of us are eagerly awaiting TNPL about to start in a couple of days.  CSK along with Rajasthan Royals were in July 2015 suspended from the cash-rich league in a clean-up exercise following the 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal.

India offspinner R Ashwin has waded into controversy by comparing Chennai Super Kings' return to the IPL fold to Manchester United's recovery from the horrific plane crash at Munich in 1958, in which 23 people including eight of their footballers died. The Manchester United squad had been returning home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade on February 6, 1958 when their British European Airways flight crashed on take-off following a refuelling stop. Ashwin subsequently took to Twitter to clarify his position, claiming his comments had been taken out of context.

Out there in UK, a  week ago, when India went down to Australia by eight wickets, the odds in favour of the two teams facing each other a second time this World Cup were seemingly low. While Australia had sealed a semi-final berth at a canter, India's fate was to be decided by a knock-out tie against New Zealand. In what turned out to be their most comprehensive victory in the tournament, a century from captain Mithali Raj, coupled with Veda Krishnamurthy's 45-ball 70, marshalled India to their fourth semi-final appearance in ten editions and their first since 2005, when they finished runners-up.

India is expecting that opener   Smriti Mandhana, who got India's campaign off to a flying start with a 90 and a hundred in consecutive games, would fire again in the possible 2 matches along with Punam Raut.   Mithali  Raj's partnerships with Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur, Krishnamurthy and Deepti Sharma have been vital to India's totals, as have been her 356 runs at an average of 50.85, that contributed to her becoming the first Indian to score 1000 runs in the World Cup.  India would look forward to its spinners too ..

Trisha Chetty has been playing since her young age and is reportedly an avid fan of Jonty Rhodes.  Chetty followed a fairly regular route through the ranks, from junior cricket to provincial cricket and the national team. She made her international debut as an 18-year-old and batted at No. 6 in that match. Less than 18 months later, she moved to the top of the order, in a one-off match against Ireland. That's where she stayed until recently. Unlike modern wicketkeepers who consider themselves batsmen who can keep, Chetty sees herself primarily as a wicketkeeper. It has helped that she's had one of the best in the world to look up to. "I loved Mark Boucher's style," Chetty says. "I wanted to be just like him. Just everything about the way he did things and his rhythm in keeping."

Last year,  Cricket South Africa suspended two of its three Indian-origin players in the national women’s squad – Shabnim Ismail and Trisha Chetty – for repeat offences that breached its Rules and Code of Conduct. Ismail and Chetty were suspended until January 31  for persistent breaches of Article 1.5.2 of the Code, namely “unbecoming or detrimental conduct which could bring them, the Board or the game of cricket into disrepute”. Although CSA would not give details of the nature of the offences, sources said the two players were at loggerheads !

So tomorrow let us all cheer for our side to win the match reach the finals and win the Cup too.  Hearty wishes to Mithali Raj and our team India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

19th July 2017.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lankan batsmen chase 388 ! deny Zimbabwe piece of history

After a long tour of India, England landed in Sri Lanka and on a Wednesday, Feb 17, 1982,  when Bob Willis ran his long steps and  bowled to Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka became cricket's eighth Test-playing country.  Minutes earlier, Warnapura had become the first Sri Lanka captain to win a toss; minutes later, he was their first batsman to be dismissed when he was taken high in the gully by David Gower off a Willis snorter for 2.  Lot of things happened thereafter too as -  Bandula Warnapura captained  a  rebel Sri Lankan side to South Africa and received a life ban from cricket as a result.  The English Captain  Keith Fletcher never played for England again and was replaced as captain by Bob Willis.

Today,  Rangana Herath was just named Player  of the Series ! -  for a one-match series, and another hero was Player of the match -  Downdegedara Asela Sampath Gunaratne.  History would otherwise have been made ~ Sri Lanka denied Zimbabwe their first Test series away win in 16 years by chasing down a record-breaking 388 to win the one-off Test by four wickets in Colombo.

16 off the last over would be a daunting enough challenge even in a Twenty20 chase. Sixteen an over for the final three overs is something else entirely. And yet in  Feb this year at Simonds Stadium, Geelong, Victoria,  Australia's captain, Aaron Finch, said he felt that while Asela Gunaratne remained at the crease, Sri Lanka still had a chance of achieving their goal, an assessment that turned out to be accurate, to the delight of thousands of Sri Lankan fans at Geelong's Kardinia Oval. Gunaratne took 12 off James Faulkner, then 22 off Moises Henriques, and the 14 that Sri Lanka then needed off the final over from Andrew Tye were completed when Gunaratne crunched the last ball over cover for four. After that innings – it was apparent that he will be featured in IPL and Mumbai Indians picked him for Rs. 30 lakhs !  ~ he is hailed in Lanka today ..

Niroshan Dickwella has played more Tests, but during the 121-run stand that turned the match, it was Asela Gunaratne who found himself constantly pestered for advice. Sri Lanka had been five-down and 185 runs short of their target when the two came together. Dickwella played aggressively through the partnership, and helped ensure some of the pressure Zimbabwe had exerted, was reversed.

Niroshan Dickwella (81) and Asela Gunaratne (80 not out) shared a sixth-wicket century partnership to help Dinesh Chandimal’s side complete the highest fourth-innings chase in Sri Lanka – beating Pakistan’s 382 for three two years ago. It was also the highest successful run chase in Sri Lanka’s Test history, and the fifth highest ever by any nation.

Followers of the game would well remember that great match for India in Apr 1976 at Queens Park Oval,  Port of Spain, Trinidad.  India came to the third Test  after being outplayed in the first match of the four-Test series at Barbados. They had come close to winning the drawn second Test at the Queen's Park Oval, and when the third Test, scheduled to be played in Guyana, was rained off and the venue shifted back to Trinidad, they felt that they were in with a chance. Clive Lloyd believing his pacers set a target of 403, India lost only two wickets - Anshuman Gaekwad and Gavaskar - to the bowlers; the two others, Gundappa Viswanath and Mohinder Amarnath were run-out.  Sunil  Gavaskar and  Mohinder Amarnath put on 108 - patient and studious.  When Gavaskar got out scoring 102,   Viswanath matched his supple grace with the bold outline of Amarnath's strokes in a stand of 159 to carry India to 292 for two by tea. Driven to despair by the failure of his spinners, Lloyd claimed the second new ball. It fared no better than the old, as 37 came from the eight overs shared by Bernard Julien and Michael Holding. Gundappa Viswanath made  his fourth Test century but lost his wicket when there were 70 runs left, Brijesh Patel ahead of Eknath Solkar.  It was a moment to savour as India successfully chased a mammoth score. 

Today there had only been 4 higher targets  successfully chased in Tests. The 388 that Sri Lanka chased down in this match is the highest any team has successfully chased in Asia. The previous highest in Asia was India's chase of 387 against England in Chennai in 2008.  87.3 Overs sent down by Cremer in this match - the most by any Zimbabwe bowler in Tests.

A late bloomer, the Sri Lankan Army man, Asela Gunaratne piled up several impressive seasons for Sri Lanka Army Sports Club before making his international debut at the age of 30 against Zimbabwe in a Test match in 2016. He scored a fifty in the first innings of the first Test and went on to score his maiden Test century in the second match of the same tour.  Earlier this year, Gunaratne scored his maiden ODI century against South Africa at Centurion. His purple patch continued as he hit back-to-back fifties against Australia to ensure the Lankans triumphed in the T20I series against Australia, in Australia.
Today’s match was played at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo  named after Former Sri Lanka president Ranasinghe Premadasa.  The stadium was his idea and when finished it was  named Khettarama Stadium as it was adjacent to the Khettarama Temple. The President gave a swampland to build a stadium and in Feb  1986 a huge 14, 000 seater concrete stadium was built. It was only after the assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa in May 1993, the stadium was renamed after him.

In 1983 WC Group match, England swamped Lanka.  Ashantha de Mel, easily Sri Lanka’s bowler of the tournament, had Chris Tavare caught-behind — though not before he had raced to a 48-ball 19, which was certainly express by his standards. Graeme Fowler (81 not out from 77 balls) and an in-form David Gower (27 not out from 24 balls) went after the bowling, and the target was chased down with more than 35 overs to spare.  But when the awards were presented,  Fowler it was not;  neither did Allott (three for 41), Botham (two for 12), Vic Marks (two for 18), or Cowans (two for 31).  Instead, Willis was called on to receive the award — not for his economic spell of 9-4-9-1   but because of his bowling changes and immaculate field placements.

Years later in June 2001,   the tall West Indian fast bowler Cameron Cuffy, was given the award for a tight spell of bowling in Harare in June 2001. Cuffy delivered his quota unchanged at the start of Zimbabwe's innings, finishing with figures of 10-2-20-0 (and didn't bat or take a catch).

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th July 2017.

Pic credit : EspnCricinfo.

Monday, July 17, 2017

imposing National flag and tall flagmast at Fort St George ~ Sri Bashyam Iyengar @ Arya's bravery

In the Tamil Srivaishnava tradition, Serangolam ( Serankulam) near Mannargudi  is one of five villages collectively known as Panchagramam. The other villages are Karappangadu, Nammankurichi, Peravoorani and Puliyakkudi (Idaikkadu).

In Chennai, as one travels in Beach road aka Rajaji Salai – one of the main attractions is the Tamilnadu Assembly / TN Secretariat and of course the National flag that flutters on a tall flagmast.   This has a long history and dates back to 1644, when the fort was built at a time when it was White town.   The fort is considered to be the first establishment of the British in India. Initially erected as a trading post, it later served as the origin of the modern Indian Army. A live example of the military architecture marvel, the St. George Fort is probably the most noticeable ancient monument in Chennai. The fort holds great historical importance and is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India.  The Govt Museum here  was organised and opened to the public in Jan  1948. The museum began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the disbanded army units and others.

The tall and beautiful National flag flutters on an imposing flag mast. It is here that National flag is unfurled on Independence Day and Republic Days.   It was originally made of teak and remained for a considerably long period from 1688 till 1994 when it made way for a steel replica.  By some accounts, the origin is related to  the mast of a ship that sank off Madras in the 1680s which was used  when Elihu Yale took over as Governor.  For long it was the  King’s flag that was  flown from the ramparts. The Fort’s Diary and Consultation Book for 1688 has it that “the Garrison and Train’D Bands are therefore order’d to bee in Arms and the Chief Inhabitants of all Nations invited to the solemnity.”

Here is some history into the flag and more to an unsung freedom fighter ~ Sri Bashyam Iyengar @ Arya, who hailed from Serangulam and the man whose painting of Mahakavi Subramaniya Barathiyar is widely used everywhere.  The details in blue are reproduced from a wonderful article written by Historian V Sriram in The Hindu in 2015.

Today it is a steel replica, but until 1994, what stood here was a teak beam. Rising to a height of 148 feet, it was considered the tallest flag post in the country. Salvaged from a shipwreck in 1687, it was used by Governor Elihu Yale for unfurling the Union Jack the subsequent year. The Indian tricolour was hoisted on it on August 15, 1947.

But that was not the first time the flagstaff had sported the Indian flag. It had done so for a brief while on January 26, 1932, thanks to ‘Arya’ K. Bhashyam, a freedom fighter. This may not be a well-recognised name today, but in his time he was a livewire, organising flash stirs against foreign rule and burning foreign goods in public. In her biography Naan Kanda Bharatham, S. Ambujammal writes that Bhashyam had a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Madras but had become a freedom activist from 1920 or so.

Bhashyam’s activities were not to the liking of his aristocratic family. His uncle was Sir N. Gopalaswami Aiyangar, of the Madras Civil Service, later Dewan of Kashmir, and still later, the Railway Minister of free India. Bhashyam’s brother Sadagopan was a senior officer in the South Indian Railway. Their displeasure, however, had no effect, and on January 26, 1932, he committed an act of unparalleled daring. When it was still dark, Bhashyam climbed the ramparts of Fort St. George, and having shinned his way up the riggings of the flagstaff, managed to reach the top. There, he unfurled the Indian tricolour that he had brought along.

All this activity had not passed unnoticed and a considerable police force had assembled at the base waiting for his descent. Bhashyam made his way down and halfway through, jumped on the policemen thereby injuring a few. In the ensuing scuffle, he also managed to thrash a few of them before being arrested. In court, Bhashyam refused to tender any apology and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. It was not the first and it would definitely not be his last tenure as a guest of the State.

Post independence, Bhashyam refused the pension to which he was entitled as a freedom fighter. He eked out a living painting portraits of his idols — Subramania Bharati and Mahatma Gandhi, all of which he signed as Arya. The best-known depiction of the poet, with handlebar moustache and turban, is his. He also sculpted busts and statues of Gandhi and one of these is present at Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya. His statue of S. Satyamurti stands at Ripon Buildings.

Bhashyam passed away in 1999 at the age of 93. If we had any sense of history, we would have a plaque in his honour next to the flagstaff inside the Fort. (

Wikipedia has an article in Tamil and some extracts from it :  In 1907 Bashyam was born in a middle class family to A Rangasamy Iyengar who was editor of Sudasemithran.  He was furious hearing about Jalianwalabagh massacre and was drawn in to National movement at an early age.

He was attracted by the militant struggle for freedom and was vehement against Simon Commission for which he was fined and chose to leave college education.  He was arrested many times participating in freedom struggle and criminal cases were foisted against him including the attempt to murder of a Governor.  The activity of burning foreign clothes was a grand scene in the film ‘Indian’ perhaps was attracted by his attempts in burning foreign clothes where they were sold those days. 

His bravery of getting atop the most guarded Fort mast staff, taking out Union Jack and unfurling the Indian National flag is recorded – the act is recorded but not the person. He was a great artist – painter and sculptor and sadly such committed freedom fighters have not had their due place in Indian history. Was surprised to learn that today (17th July 2017) is celebrated in Tamil Nadu as ‘Thiyagigal Thinam’ and Ministers paid homage and floral tributes to 3 great freedom fighters ~    Thiyagi Arya alias Bhashiyam;  Thiyagi Sankaralinganar and Thiyagi Shenbagaraman

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th July 2017.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

ICC Women World Cup ~ India to play Aussies in Semis ~the long gap between matches

Spanish ace Garbine Muguruza  denied Venus Williams a fairytale sixth Wimbledon crown to claim a watershed second grand slam title. In a high-quality final, Muguruza defeated 37-year-old Williams 7-5 6-0 to add a Wimbledon trophy to her 2016 French Open title.

When Roger Federer and his growing family embarked on a new tennis season in 2017 after his six-month injury layoff, the big goal was winning Wimbledon. It has been that sort of tour-de-force season for Federer, the 35-year-old Swiss maestro who might not yet have regained the No. 1 ranking but is firmly atop the sport on every surface except clay.  Tonight, he won his eighth Wimbledon singles championship and 19th  Grand Slam singles title by defeating Marin Cilic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. The victory, his first at Wimbledon since 2012, made Federer the oldest man to win at the All England Club in the Open era, which began in 1968. It also broke Federer’s tie with William Renshaw and Pete Sampras, who each won Wimbledon seven times.

Down under, troubled NRL star Greg Inglis has revealed seeing a therapist up to four times a day as he continues his battle against depression. Speaking on television for the first time since checking into a mental health clinic in May, Inglis admitted he struggled being away from his South Sydney teammates following a season-ending knee injury. He said some of his frustrations spilled into his home life, but only opted to speak up in the week leading into the Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand.

Despite being injured, Inglis had spent the week in camp.   Wallabies prop Scott Sio is adamant the Brumbies can end Australian rugby's Kiwi nightmare in the Super Rugby finals despite a New Zealand clean sweep of trans-Tasman matches. Australian teams lost all 25 games this year against Kiwi foes, a first since Super Rugby kicked off in 1996. Even the Japanese Sunwolves snared a Kiwi scalp - embarrassing the Blues 48-21 in Tokyo. The Brumbies lost the last game of the regular season against the Chiefs 28-10 in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon, but will get a shot at Kiwi redemption in a quarterfinal at Canberra Stadium next weekend.

~ but all that had to take a back seat as NZ crumbled out of the tournament not making to the Semi final stage in ICC Women WC 2017; yet, the response and the methodical writing in Kiwi press is all to be praised as it reflects a fairer reality and no emotional outbursts when the team is not doing well !! – here is something read in NZ Herald.

Sloppy fielding, wayward bowling and deficient batting - particularly against the spin of Rajeshwari Gayakwad - saw New Zealand outplayed when it mattered most. If ever a match-winner was demanded, this was the fixture. On paper the New Zealand side was full of them; in reality India produced four.

Prolific captain Mithali Raj made her sixth ODI century with 109 off 123 balls. She was backed by Harmanpreet Kaur (60 from 90) and Veda Krishnamurthy (70 from 45). Krishnamurthy's innings was arguably the most instrumental. India were 154 for four when she came to the wicket in the 37th over. The platform set by Raj and Kaur's 132-run third-wicket stand could have been dismantled.  Her innings even included 28 runs from seven balls between Lea Tahuhu's 46th over and captain Suzie Bates' 47th. Gayakwad, a left-arm orthodox spinner, mopped up the puddle of New Zealand resistance. She took five wickets for 15 from 7.3 overs. Amy Satterthwaite top scored with 26.

The White Ferns brimmed with the sort of professional talent which is in demand on the global Twenty20 franchise stage, yet they were beaten by Australia, England and India in the 50-over campaign's key contests. New Zealand's semi-final chances became a mirage as their potential outweighed their application. An abandoned match against South Africa stymied their momentum, but the hammerings of Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Pakistan revealed the batting pedigrees of Bates and Satterthwaite (Sri Lanka), Rachel Priest (West Indies) and Sophie Devine (Pakistan) in comfortable chases. They wavered when knock-out cricket loomed. "We were nowhere near as good as we needed to be," Bates said at the post-match interview on Sky Television.

New Zealand Cricket has offered unprecedented backing to the White Ferns as part of November's mea culpa for a sustained neglect of the women's game. The incumbents failed to repay that faith in England as the sport's global gender equity gap narrows. The White Ferns flew business-class to the event; every match has been broadcast - either on television or live-streamed - for the first time; prize money has risen from US$200,000 to US$2 million with the winner to receive US$660,000. By comparison, the men's Champions Trophy kitty totalled US$4.5 million.  A significant income stream is also taking shape for New Zealand women's cricketers, at least compared to the past.

Last August's three-year memorandum of understanding between NZC and the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association saw 15 women awarded annual contracts ranging from $20,000 to $34,000 with match fees - $400 for ODIs and $300 for T20Is - and an annual $2500 superannuation payment. Top players are contracted to the flourishing Australian and English T20 leagues, and receive endorsement deals.

Statistically   186 Runs  win here is the  biggest win when batting first in the Women's World Cup. Overall, there have been only three other instances when India have won by a bigger margin when batting first in women's ODIs. They had beaten Ireland by a 249-run margin in an ODI in May this year, which is their biggest margin of victory.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad's figures  5/15 in this match is the best in WC for India eclipsing Ekta Bisht’s 5/18  against Pakistan.      Our Captian  Mithali Raj has 7 50+ scores,  the most by any captain in the tournament. She went past Suzie Bates' and Belinda Clark's tally of six with her 109 in this match.  Veda Krishnamurthy played like Virender Sehwag or Kapil dev striking 70 off 45 balls ~ strike rate of 155.55 !  India has been at Semi finals stage thrice earlier.

A tournament as big as this perhaps is controlled by extraneous circumstances – may be media coverage or the magnitude of Wimbledon – nothing explains the schedule.  The 1st Semi final is to be played  only on 18th when England meets South Africa, the 2nd Semis would be played again at Derby on 20th July with India meeting Australia again ~ and if India can beat Aussies, they would play at Lords in the finals on July 23, 2017.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th July 2017.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

ICC Women WC ~ India storms into Semis - Gayakwad's 5 for 15

In 2012  Vadodara got its new Gaekwad as the 45-year-old scion of Gaekwad family, Samarjitsinh, was crowned in a traditional ceremony at Lakshmi Vilas Palace in the Gujarat city.  Samarjit, the only son of Ranjitsinh Gaekwad, the former king of Vadodara, became the natural successor to the throne after his father's death.   

The Gaekwad or Gaikwad are a Hindu Maratha clan.  A dynasty belonging to this clan ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the early 18th century until 1947. The ruling prince was known as the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda. With the city of Baroda (Vadodara), it was one of the largest and wealthiest princely states.  The Gaekwads, together with several Maratha chieftains, fought the British in the First Anglo-Maratha War.  Gaekwad, or Gayakwad, also survives as a fairly common Maratha surname, found mainly in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

By swimming against the tide and overcoming several obstacles, Rajeshwari Gayakawad,  emerged  as the first woman cricket player of Bijapur district to get selected in the national women’s cricket team. The left arm spinner today scaled newer heights in 27th match of ICC Women's World Cup  at County Ground, Derby.  

Being put into bat by the White Ferns skipper Suzie Bates, India lost its openers cheaply, but Mithali Raj made a fine century supported by H Kaur 60.  Veda Krishnamurthy played a breezy knock making 70 off mere 45 balls.  India set up a formidable 266 as target and then skitted out NZ for 70 winning by mammoth 186 runs ~  Rajeshwari Gayakwad had magical figures of 7.3-1-15-5

Now India is into Semis and two more wins would entitle it to the crown.  All the best Indian Team

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th July 2017.