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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Google green doodle on Dr Anandi gopal Joshi ~ a tragic story !!!


As is usual, today too started with Google search page ~ lured by the green doodle. It is an Indian woman, Anandi Gopal Joshi who is  honoured with a Google doodle on what would have been her 153rd  birthday.  Today’s Doodle is created by Bangalore-based artist Kashmira Sarode who imagines Joshi celebrating her degree. She was India’s first Doctor but, tragically  Joshi’s young life was tragically cut short when she died of tuberculosis before her 22nd birthday. Her legacy and the path she paved for generations of women continues today. Interestingly, even a crater on Venus is named after her!

Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi lived between 1865 and 1887 only.  She was born this day. She was the first woman of Indian origin to study and graduate with a two-year diploma in medicine in the United States. She is also believed to be the first Indian woman to set foot on American soil.  She was born in  Yamuna, in Kalyan of the Thane district.  Kalyan but had lost their economic wealth. As that was the practice at that time, Yamuna was married at the age of nine to Gopalrao Joshi, a widower almost twenty years her senior, due to pressure from her family.  Gopalrao Joshi worked as a postal clerk in Kalyan. Later, he was transferred to Alibag, and then, finally, to Calcutta.

At the age of fourteen, Anandibai gave birth to a boy, but the child lived only for ten days because the medical care necessary for his survival was unavailable. This situation proved to be a turning point in Anandibai's life, and inspired her to become a physician.  Her husband  encouraged Anandibai to study medicine. In 1880 he sent a letter to Royal Wilder, a well-known American missionary, stating Anandibai's interest in studying medicine in the United States, and inquiring about a suitable post in the US for himself.  While the Joshi couple was in Calcutta, Anandibai's health was declining. She suffered from weakness, constant headaches, occasional fever, and sometimes breathlessness. Theodicia sent her medicines from America, without results. In 1883, Gopalrao was transferred to Serampore, and he decided to send Anandibai by herself to America for her medical studies despite her poor health. Though apprehensive, Gopalrao convinced her to set an example for other women by pursuing higher education.

Anandibai Joshee graduated from Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMC) in 1886. She is seen above  with Kei Okami (center) and Tabat Islambooly (right) – source Wikipedia. All three completed their medical studies and each of them was the first woman from their respective countries to obtain a degree in Western medicine. Anandibai travelled to New York from Calcutta by ship, chaperoned by two female English acquaintances of the Thorborns. Anandibai wrote to the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, asking to be admitted to their medical program, which was the second women's medical program in the world. Rachel Bodley, the dean of the college, enrolled her. Anandibai began her medical education at age 19. In America, her declining health worsened because of the cold weather and unfamiliar diet. She contracted tuberculosis. Nevertheless, she graduated with an MD on 11 March 1886; the topic of her thesis was "Obstetrics among the Aryan Hindus". On her graduation, Queen Victoria sent her a congratulatory message.

In late 1886, Anandibai returned to India, receiving a grand welcome. The princely state of Kolhapur appointed her as the physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital.  Anandibai died because of tuberculosis early the next year on 26 February 1887 before turning 22. The Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), a non-governmental organization from Lucknow, has been awarding the Anandibai Joshi Award for Medicine in reverence for her early contributions to the cause of advancing medical science in India.

In addition, the Government of Maharashtra has established a fellowship in her name for young women working on women’s health ~ and today’s Google doodle honours her.

Gleaning the web, Elizabeth Blackwell (1821 – 1910),  a British physician,  was  the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. She was the first woman to graduate from a medical school, a pioneer in promoting the education of women in medicine in the United States, and a social and moral reformer in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Her sister Emily was the third woman to get a medical degree in the US.

Dame Mary Ann Dacomb Scharlieb, DBE (1845 – 1930) was a pioneer British female physician and gynaecologist.  She was to marry  William who at that time  edited the Madras Jurist, a journal for practising lawyers. Mary Anne helped him in this task. She joined midwifery training. In addition, she offered voluntary service as a ‘nurse’ at the lying-in hospital in Madras.  This was when Edward Balfour pioneeringly decided to open the gates of Madras Medical College for women. Mary Anne was one of the first four women to take advantage of this opportunity. She was admitted to pursue a Licentiate in Medicine & Surgery (LM&S), a three-year programme then offered at Madras Medical College. Years later she was to return to England where  she met Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, the only qualified medical woman until 1877, who had just then started the London School of Medicine for Women (LSMW). She thought that Mary Anne was physically unfit to pursue a stressful degree programme. Mary Anne persevered and was finally accepted as a student at LSMW in 1879.

 In Nov 1882, at the age of 37, she was awarded her MB degree by the University of London, with Honours in all subjects and a gold medal in obstetric medicine. Mary Anne was the first woman to win this distinction in the annals of the University of London. Winning the gold medal entitled her to a scholarship to further enhance her skills in surgical obstetrics. She availed herself of the opportunity and went to Vienna (Austria) to train in surgical obstetrics. Mary Anne and William returned to Madras in 1883. With support from the then Government, largely influenced by Edward Balfour, who was the Surgeon-General at the time, the Queen Victoria Hospital for Caste and Gosha Women was founded in Moore’s Garden, Nungambakkam. (Yes, it is the present day Kasturba Hospital (Gosha hospital) at Triplicane) and this pioneering woman’s Triplicane connection as the hospital moved to its present place in 1890. 

With regards – S.  Sampathkumar
31st Mar 2018
Biblio : 
1.       Article and photo on Dr Anandi Joshi from Wikipedia,
2.       About Dr Scharlieb Bird – first heard from historian V. Sriram and as read from Madras Musings article titled ‘The pioneering woman doctor’ - 'Pages from History' (by Dr. A. Raman) Charles Sturt University Orange, New South Wales Australia





Friday, March 30, 2018

Crimes & Punishments ~ and misplaced sympathies !!!


Often there could misplaced sympathies !!!  There are times when people sympathise with the perpetrator of a crime, totally forgetting the torment of the innocent victim !~ when an innocent girl was murdered publicly on a railway platform, some media assailed her character and sought to know of their relationship ! – whatever it could have been – is slaying right and who deserves justice – the one killed or the one who killed ?  ~ the modesty is further outraged by some trying to make a film portraying what he wants to and trying to make money out of the tragic event.


Thousands of miles away – in a different country - "You made your choice," Judge Evelyn Baker said at sentencing. "You're gonna have to live with your choice, and you're gonna die with your choice, because, you will die in the Department of Corrections.Judge Evelyn Baker stared down at the accused before her  in St. Louis courtroom, she was filled with disgust. It was the winter of 1997 – the man  had been found guilty of committing a series of armed robberies in his own neighbourhood when he was only 16. His victims had come to his side of town in a spirit of giving, carrying donations for Christmas.  The man and his 18-year-old friend Donald Hutson had held them up at gunpoint. Two men in their 20s handed over their money but were shot anyway. The bullets grazed them, but they survived.

After being swiftly arrested, the accused refused a plea deal, insisting on going to trial and pleading not guilty. The jury convicted him on 18 charges — a total of 241 years. The prosecutor asked Ms. Baker to impose them consecutively. “These were good-hearted people, all of them” he said of the victims. “And they ran into two mean-hearted men. They’re not boys, they’re men.”  The Judge, Ms Baker was not known for harsh sentences. In fact, she had a reputation for the opposite. The first black woman appointed to the Circuit Court bench, Baker was often accused of being soft on crime. She angered the St. Louis circuit attorney for throwing out felony convictions for lack of evidence. Her penalties in drug cases were decried as too lenient. Months before these  crimes, Baker had sparked outrage for sentencing a drunk driver who killed two teenagers to probation rather than prison.But on that day, it was Baker who was angry.

Sentencing is not just about determining how long someone should be behind bars, it also has a symbolic, theatrical function, says an expert who has written extensively about deterrents.  In a case where Judge sentenced the criminal for 150 years for fraud, the Judge was conveying that he was really a bad person and for that purpose the no. of  years shall be endlessly elastic. How much symbolic denunciation plays a part can depend on many things, such as media coverage or the nature of an offence, but the tension between these two radically different functions - the symbolic and practical - is a feature of modern criminal justice system – and it is reported that in a  casein Spain, a fraudster received a 2,000-year sentence.

At Capetown, the Cricket fans were brought to their knees – Aussies were caught unabashedly trying to tamper and change the condition of the ball.  Following the outrage, Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) stepped in and handed over bans to trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.  Captain Smith and his deputy Warner were stripped of their positions and banned for a year by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft received a nine-month ban for the incident in the third Test against South Africa. Smith, 28, and Bancroft, 25, have also been banned from captaining Australia for at least the next two years, while Warner, 31, will not be considered for any team leadership positions in the future.

Before the ink could dry, there are some murmurs that Aussie board is too stern and that players have been penalised rather sharply.  Think of the grave crime, how the Cricket fans have been taken for a ride and more so, the attitude of winning somehow ! yet yesteryear star Shane Warne has condemned the actions of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft but believes the punishments handed down for the roles the trio played in the ball-tampering controversy engulfing world cricket are too harsh.

On that fateful night on 16th Dec 2012, an young physiotherapy intern boarded a private bus – sadly, the young girl was  beaten, gang raped, and tortured.  There were 6 animals in the bus,  all of whom raped the woman and beat her friend. Eleven days after the assault, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment but died from her injuries two days later.  There were wide protests seeking justice for her, protecting her identity, the victim came to be known as Nirbhaya, meaning "fearless", her life and death have come to symbolise women's struggle to end the rape culture in India and the long-held practice of either denial of its existence within the country, or otherwise blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Of the animals that brutally mangled her, was a juvenile who is due for release after  serving his three-year sentence.  Though found guilty of the gruesome crime, he was handed a milder punishment as he was a juvenile.  For punishment his age was considered, though he committed a crime, far beyond his age. Nirbhaya’s mother rightly feels that allowing the 20-year-old from Badaun, Uttar Pradesh to leave the reform home ‘sends out a wrong message’. “Juveniles will now think they can do whatever they want, and get away with it,” she added. After committing the gruesome crime, he went to juvenile home and not to jail and his roaming free would convey only wrong signals.  He may have completed the sentence – but should remain a criminal for ever. Away from media glare or rather with their active support, he reportedly  has settled well in his new life. He is cooking at a prominent restaurant. His employer is not aware of his past and even he has left it behind,” said a NGO official, who was part of his rehabilitation process. There are NGOs and others to plead and protect such criminals but not many to voice for the victims !

The US case referred was that of Bobby Bostic who  was convicted of eighteen crimes stemming from an armed robbery and carjacking committed in 1995 when he was sixteen. He and an eighteen-year-old accomplice held up a group of do-gooders delivering gifts for the poor on the north end of the Hill neighborhood. The teens shot two of them, even though their victims handed over cash and a wallet. According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story from back then, the victims miraculously survived the ordeal with only nicks and scrapes because their thick, winter coats slowed the bullets.   State Attorney General Josh Hawley said Bobby Bostic’s 241-year sentence for committing 18 crimes — including robbery — on a single day when he was 16, does not violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The jurisprudence deemed it fit  that  the man who committed a brutal robbery as a teenager in Missouri, firing a gun at two people, will be in prison until he dies. Unless the court changes its mind, he will be in prison until January 2091, at least.Bobby Bostic was from St Louis, Missouri, in the American Midwest. He was one of four; his older brother and sister had a different dad. Reading in a BBC report, aged 10, he started smoking and drinking. He was on cannabis aged 12 and was smoking PCP - another illegal drug - aged 13. At the same time, he would steal cars, or ride in stolen ones."It was a status symbol," he reportedly said.  "That was our idea of wealth - a car that wasn't even ours."It was a Tuesday in December 1995 that changed his life. Bostic, 16, was at a friend-of-a-friend's house in another part of town; smoking weed, drinking gin, smoking PCP. The victims were giving presents to a needy family, as part of a newspaper appeal. They had two car-loads and a truck. Bostic and Hutson approached the first victim as she took the couch cushions out of her car. They put a gun to her head. When she ran, they chased her.Her boyfriend - who had been on the phone - shouted at them, so Bostic and Hutson chased after him instead. They demanded his money, punched him, and shot at the ground.When the boyfriend didn't hand over the money, 

Bostic still shot him. Four months after being arrested, Bostic was offered a deal: plead guilty and take a life sentence - 30 years - with the chance of parole. He turned it down.Eight months later, he was offered a "mercy of the court" deal: plead guilty and take what the judge decides. Again, he turned it down. Bostic went on trial and was found guilty of 17 counts, including eight counts of armed criminal action, and three counts of robbery. The judge ordered Bostic's sentences to run consecutively, rather than concurrently. The total was 241 years."You made your choice, and you're gonna die with your choice," said Judge Baker. "Because Bobby Bostic - you will die in the Department of Corrections."Bostic's accomplice, Donald Hutson, took the mercy of the court deal. Judge Baker gave him 30 years.

The courts in Missouri, where Bostic has appealed, say he is not serving a life sentence - he is serving a long sentence, with the chance of parole in "extreme old age".

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Mar 2018.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Aussies ball tampering ! the other effects ..


To those following Cricket regularly – can you name the Indian Openers during the Indian tour of South Africa ~ more specifically that 1st One dayer at Capetown on Dec 7, 1992 ?  Can you identify this person on cycle ?? **

Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will leave South Africa on Wednesday in the wake of their pre-meditated plan to tamper with the ball on the third day of the Cape Town Test against South Africa. They will be told of their "significant" Cricket Australia code of behaviour sanctions within 24 hours. However the investigation of the CA head of integrity, Iain Roy, found that the coach Darren Lehmann had no prior knowledge of the ball-tampering plan. This is despite the fact he was captured on television footage sending a message to Bancroft via the 12th man Peter Handscomb, leading to Bancroft attempting to hide the adhesive tape he had been using to rough up the ball. James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, said Lehmann would remain under contract and had not resigned his post.

Remember - Petrus Stephanus de Villiers (Fanie de Villiers), a frail looking medium pacer play for South Africa.  In 18 tests he took 85 wickets and in 83 one dayers he took 95 wickets at a good economy rate.

It took just 30 seconds for reputations of players and a national team to take a nose dive, for careers to be put at risk.  In an explosive report from The Sydney Morning Herald, a source has given them an insight into just what went down in the Australian locker room at lunch on the third day of the third test against South Africa.  David Warner is said to be emerging as the 'chief conspirator' in the ball tampering scandal that has rocked world cricket to its core, amid a teammate's claim Steve Smith isn't to blame for the cheating in South Africa. Cameras captured Cameron Bancroft's illegal attempt to scuff the ball after lunch on day three of the third Test in Cape Town, a ploy that Smith later admitted he and 'the leadership group' had given the green light to. Cricket Australia bosses have allegedly been told Warner 'was the chief conspirator and that Smith foolishly agreed,' though sources close to the vice-captain deny he invented the plan, according to a Fairfax report.

The Laws of Cricket allow for manipulation of the ball to some degree, but there is a definite line that must not be crossed. A match ball may be polished, providing an artificial substance is not used. A wet ball may be dried with a towel and on rare occasions, mud is allowed to be removed under supervision. Any other action which changes the condition of the ball is illegal, though that hasn't stopped players from attempting to gain an advantage over the years - both covertly or "accidently on purpose", as Graeme Smith accused Pat Cummins of doing earlier this Test.

Ball tampering is not entirely new in Cricket – on earlier occasions, Pakistan star Shahid Afridi was banned from two Twenty20 internationals after being found guilty of ball-tampering during an ODI in Perth. Standing in as skipper, Afridi was caught on cameras trying to bite and chew the seam.  In another, Sri Lanka notified the umpires that they believed Peter Siddle had been attempting to raise the seam on his way to taking 5-54. He was cleared by the ICC over the incident.  It was the former South African fast bowler Fanie de Villiers who perhaps brought out this cheating ! – he  says he instructed camera operators to look for Australian ball tampering on day three of the third test, having suspected the Australians were using underhanded tactics.   

De Villiers said he knew something was up given how early they got the ball to reverse swing.  De Villiers has been working for a broadcaster in South Africa for the Test series and claimed he knew something untoward could have been going on by how early the tourists were getting the ball to reverse swing. Ultimately his suspicions were proved correct when, after searching for an hour-and-a-half, the cameras spotted Cameron Bancroft rubbing sticky yellow tape on the ball in an attempt to alter its condition. 'I said earlier on, that if they could get reverse swing in the 26th, 27th, 28th over then they are doing something different from what everyone else does,' de Villiers told RSN Radio on Monday. 'We actually said to our cameramen, ''go out (and) have a look, boys. They're using something''. 'They searched for an hour-and-a-half until they saw something and then they started following Bancroft and they actually caught him out at the end. 'It's impossible for the ball to get altered like that on cricket wickets where we knew there was grass on, not a Pakistani wicket where there's cracks every centimetre. 'We're talking about a grass-covered wicket where you have to do something else to alter the shape, to alter the roughness of the ball on the one side. You have to get the one side wetter, heavier than the other side.'

A damning graphic showed how the ball reversed in Cape Town while Bancroft tampered with the ball but stopped when his actions were exposed. Cameras clearly picked a  small, yellow object in Cameron Bancroft's hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later revealing it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt. He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie. Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, in a bid to deceive the officials.

'Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,' said Bancroft. No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident. But after the day's play, captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball-tampering in a press conference. Smith continued: 'It was a poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren't involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this. 'We saw this game as such an important game. We've seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn't seem like it was going to go. It's such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.'

The controversy sent Australian cricket’s image spiralling as Smith and vice-captain David Warner stood down from their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test match, which Australia lost by 322 runs in a monumental collapse last night. The Australian media has been scathing of Smith's admittance that his side deliberately tried to tamper with the condition of the ball.  Cricket Australia (CA) has begun its investigation in the controversy and will announce on Wednesday its findings, leaving plenty of speculation as to the quantum of punishment for Smith and others .. now the trio - Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are leaving SA, though Darren Lehmann, continues !

There are some who are relieved because of this controversy ~ ~ “I’m the last one who comes up on Google as the man who took the lead role in Australian cricket’s darkest day — it’s a real relief I can finally drop that title,” the 65-year-old told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on Tuesday. Trevor Chappell said Smith and Cameron Bancroft will long be haunted by what they did. “What I did has lived with me ever since and it will be the same for Smith and Bancroft,” he said. “They will struggle for the rest of their lives and be known as the ones who brought Australian cricket into disrepute. Trevor Chappell said the under-arm ball  controversy cost him his marriage and the chance to have children. "I struggled a lot with it mentally. I was vilified for years and people will still ask about it," he told the newspaper. "My marriage broke down and I never remarried or had kids. These days, all I do is coach cricket to kids and play golf."

**  when one think of Indian openers in One dayers of recent decades – the immediate thinking is of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan .. .. .. .. – at Capetown on Dec 7 1992, it was Woorkeri Venkat Raman and Ajay Jadeja  - South Africa won by 6 wickets (with 3 balls remaining) – Fanie de Villiers debuted in that match pictured at the start cycling in Pak (pic credit espncricinfo.com)

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Remington files Chap 11 bankruptcy !


In good old days, in Tamil movies, a rich man would suffer a great set back (mostly with the ship carrying his stock sinking !) and in a financial crisis, he would file ‘yelllow notice’ – immediately people would start treating him badly .. .. ‘yellow notice’ was bankruptcy.  Nandakumar, directed by Keshav Rao Dhaibar, produced by A. V. Meiyappan hit the screens in 1938 !

A few decades ago Tripicane streets were dotted with Srinivas, Padmavathi, Sarathi, Shivish Halda, Ganesh, Halashyam ………… and more.  Be it Mylapore, T Nagar, Purasawakkam or Mayavaram – situation was no different. One could see young boys and girls walking with sheet paper rolled  .. ..the learning courses were usually of an hour duration… the last 10 minutes, if you are to enter the hall, you might be frightened with the silence that precedes typical sound – keyboards pressed, cylinders moving, carriages returned,  occasional paper change… people with total concentration seeing printed matter placed on their side and deftly moving their fingers.  This is no post on the romance that developed in those places – but how  Godrej, Halda, Facit & Remington (brands of typewriters)  were the names that we saw, fingered and dreamt. 

Chapter 11 is a chapter of Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship, and to individuals, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities. Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay debts to creditors. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor.

Though I have known Remington to be a typewriter, founded in 1816, Remington is "one of America's oldest and largest manufacturers of firearms," according to court filings. Remington is also one of the best-known gun makers in the world. It's owned by Cerberus Capital Management, which plans to shed ownership once the bankruptcy is complete. The firm, founded more than 200 years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection to cut a deal with its creditors. Remington's chief financial officer said the company's sales dropped significantly in the year before its bankruptcy, court papers show. The filing comes amid fresh demands for greater gun control in the US.  ; we think that in US, there is greater demand for fire arms (read guns).  Analysts say more Americans were buying guns two years ago because they feared a possible Hillary Clinton presidency could usher in gun control policies,  and that baffles the little knowledge of Economics that we have – when demand exceeds supply, the prices go up and the manufacturers / traders should do well, but .. …. ..

A shooting at a Florida high school in February has revived the debate on gun control, and on Saturday hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of US cities. Some US retailers have raised the age limit for certain firearms purchases to 21 or stopped stocking semi-automatic weapons. It's tempting to read Remington's bankruptcy, occurring in the midst of anti-gun protests and after the bankruptcy of rival Colt in 2015, as a sign that America's gun culture might not be as impregnable as it seemed. However,  Remington has had plenty of problems of its own making, including errors in financial statements and faulty products. It is reliant on chains like Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods, which are fighting for customers in every category as shopping habits shift online. Then there is the company's frequent losses and more than $1bn (£700m) in debt, piled on under owner Cerberus Capital Management during a decade of acquisitions.

Remington's sales did fall markedly last year, tumbling to $603m - about half what the firm netted in 2013. But most analysts think that's because buyers are less worried about the possibility of new gun restrictions since US President Donald Trump took office. The restructuring plan the firm announced is set to wipe out much of the company's debt burden - and meanwhile the firm, under new owners, is to continue operating. Remington's Chapter 11 filing is unlikely to be the end of the story.

In the mythological movie Nandakumar released in 1938 TR Mahalingam and TR Ramachandran made their cine debuts.  TRM was just 13 at that time and the actor singer went on to reach greater heights, acted, produced films and eventually ended on a sad note, losing all his wealth.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2018.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Salute to those great martyrs who fought for our Freedom ~ Gopinath Saha


Indian history has a cliché  ~ Gandhi got us freedom; Indian freedom was gotten without spilling blood.  Far away from truth – for there were thousands of martyrs whose blood flowed on Mother India in pursuit of freedom; may be it was not the war where the rulers were killed and chased away, yet certainly – thousands of young Indians shed their blood and sacrificed their lives for the Nation. 



Nethaji birth place at Cuttack

23rd March 2018  marked the 87th  year of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. They symbolise the best example of sacrifice to free India from the imperial clutches of British rule. Indian history books perhaps have provided lesser  exposure to their visionary battle against British rule. These revolutionaries envisioned India’s future were not in the same stream of Congress and did not garner that attention that the party gotten. A  bomb was thrown "to make the deaf hear and to give the headless a timely warning" ~ the perpetrators did not run away – but like our own Veera Vanchinathan, offered themselves to Police arrest, as was planned by the Central Committee of Hindustan Socialistic Republic Association being headed by Chander Shekhar.. .. .. it was  the day to remember them .. .. .. and a web search led me to another Bengal activist who was arrested and hanged in Mar 1924 (sad even the date is not recorded and not much of history we ever studied about this hero – and here is something on him, that great martyr)

Bagha Jatin, born in 1879 as  Jatindranath Mukherjee was a Bengali revolutionary against British rule. He was the principal leader of the Yugantar party that was the central association of revolutionaries in Bengal. Having met the German Crown-Prince in Calcutta shortly before World War I, he obtained the promise of arms and ammunition from Germany; as such, he was responsible for the planned German Plot during World War I.  Another of his original contributions was the inspiration of the Indian soldiers in various regiments in favour of an insurrection.

Gopinath Saha (1906-1924) was a Bengali activist who fought for the Nation’s Independence.  He was a member of the Hindustan Republican Association.  On 12 January 1924, he attempted to assassinate Charles Tegart, a leader in the fight against revolutionary movements and the then head of the Detective Department of Calcutta Police. Saha's attempt failed as he erroneously killed Ernest Day, a white civilian who had gone there on official business.  Saha was arrested, tried and, in March 1924, hanged.

Gopinath Saha, was born in the village Baghanchra, Santipur, Dist. Nadia, West Bengal.  The man who he was determined to kill - Charles Augustus Tegart, KCIE, KPM,  "was a colonial police officer in India and Mandatory Palestine, variously earning praise for his industry and efficiency, and notoriety for his brutality and use of torture".  He was known to be ruthless and "uncompromising with detainees". In view of his expertise, the British authorities sent him to the British Mandate of Palestine, then in the throes of the Arab Revolt, to advise the Inspector General on matters of security. He arrived there in December 1937.  Based on his recommendations - "Tegart forts", reinforced concrete police stations and posts which could be defended against attack, and of a frontier fence along the northern border of Palestine to control the movement of insurgents, goods and weapons were constructed. It is recorded that suspects underwent brutal questioning by the Mandatory police, involving humiliation and the Turkish practice of falaka (beating prisoners on the soles of their feet).  It is stated that for some time, Tegart kept a defused bomb as a paperweight to remind him of the attempts on his life.

Gopinath Saga underwent toture in Presidency jail, Calcutta where “dangerous revolutionary” Aurobindo Ghosh’s attained divine enlightenment and transformed into Rishi Aurobindo, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose held his famous hunger strike during the early 1940s. It was at a solitary cell called Six Degree, renamed Aurobindo Cell, that Ghosh wrote The Life Divine. Another cell on the first floor of “European Block” is now called Subhas Cell. Freedom struggle heroes Kanailal Dutta, Satyendra Nath Bose, Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta and Gopi Mohan Saha were hanged here.
Sad ~ politicians and rulers of those years and those who followed failed to honour such great sacrifices of martyrs but for whom, we will not be celebrating our freedom.

Salutes to Them all ~ with regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2018.

Chipko movement is Google doodle of the day


Most days start with our search on Google on Bancroft’s sandpaper episode or something else .. .. .. today read that - originally expected to last just two years, NASA’s long-running Marsbound Curiosity rover has just passed its 2000-solar day mark on the surface of the fourth planet and is still running strong. The 1982-pound solar-powered Curiosity landed on Mars in August of 2012 and has been exploring ever since. Although the craft has traversed less than 12 miles of the surface of Mars, it has made remarkable discoveries, including offering proof that the red planet potentially supported life in eons past.

Before  ~ it is another attractive Google doodle (with Indian connection) that captured eyes. Prosopis cineraria is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is the state tree of Rajasthan and Telangana in India. A large and well-known example of the species is the Tree of Life in Bahrain – approximately 400 years old and growing in a desert devoid of any obvious sources of water. It is also the national tree of the United Arab Emirates.

Google today celebrates the 45th  anniversary of Chipko Movement through a doodle. Chipko Movement refers to a non-violent movement for conservation of forest. Started in the 1970s, Chipko Movement got its name from the way people embraced the trees to protect them from being cut. The Chipko Movement followed Gandhian philosophy of peaceful resistance and was an uprising against the people destroying ecological balance.   Sunderlal Bahuguna, a noted environmentalist  initiated the Chipko Movement.  The movement slogan was : "Embrace the trees and Save them from being felled; The property of our hills, Save them from being looted."

On 25 March 1974, the day the lumbermen were to cut the trees, the men of the Reni village and DGSS workers were in Chamoli, diverted by state government and contractors to a fictional compensation payment site, while back home labourers arrived by the truckload to start logging operations. A local girl, on seeing them, rushed to inform Gaura Devi, the head of the village Mahila Mangal Dal, at Reni village.  Gaura Devi led 27 of the village women to the site and confronted the loggers. When all talking failed, and the loggers started to shout and abuse the women, threatening them with guns, the women resorted to hugging the trees to stop them from being felled. This went on into late hours. The women kept an all-night vigil guarding their trees from the cutters until a few of them relented and left the village. The next day, when the men and leaders returned, the news of the movement spread to the neighbouring Laata and others villages including Henwalghati, and more people joined in. Eventually, only after a four-day stand-off, the contractors left.

Chipko type movement dates back to 1730 AD when in khejarli village of Rajasthan, 363 people sacrificed their lives to save khejri trees. Today, beyond the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as an ecofeminism movement. In 1987, the Chipko movement was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.
Prosopis cineraria ~  is better known to us as : Khejri or "Loong Tree"; Janty; Vanni (Tamil); Jammi (Telugu); and Sami. 

In the epic Mahabaratha, during their exile Pandavas had to spend a year without revealing their identities.  This period was spent on Virada desam.  This is explained in detail in Virada parvam of Mahabaratha.  On Vijayadasami day which coincided with completion of their one year in exile,  in the war to protect Virada kingdom, Arjuna took back his bows and arrows hitherto hidden in a ‘vanni tree’. On Vijaya Dasami day at Thiruvallikkeni, ‘vanni mara parvettai’ is enacted every year.   This now-a-days  is symbolically celebrated at the entrance of the temple itself ; in olden days [till a decade ago]  this act called ‘paarvettai’ took place in Vasantha bungalow situate in Venkatrangam Street.  Now that picturesque bungalow and the mantap are no longer there. At the entrance of the temple, leaves of vanni  are  symbolically placed and the Lord comes near the tree ~ after aarathi, couple of  leaves get plucked by the battar representing the Perumal. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2018.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Aussie pride-fade moment ! loses Test by 322 after ball tampering incident


Read  the word ‘Schadenfreude’  meaning the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.

My career started with an Industrial house manufacturing bonded and coated abrasives.   An abrasive is a material, often a mineral, that is used to shape or finish a workpiece through rubbing which leads to part of the workpiece being worn away by friction. In case, the word is not so common to you – sand paper /  Emery paper are types  of abrasives used to abrade (remove material from) surfaces or mechanically finish a surface. We are reading so much of them now !!

Kim Hughes was a compulsive hooker, an attractive player who led a team to India in 1979.  He played at Chepauk when Dilip Doshi debuted.  Hughes started with a century on debut for Western Australia, a poised hundred in his fourth Test, and captained Australia to victory in his 11th – but was later considered a luckless Captain. His tearful resignation at Brisbane in December 1984 after only four victories in 28 matches was one of that office's sorriest spectacles. He ended his international career leading the sanction-busting Australian "rebel" teams to South Africa, a disenchanted, alienated figure  ~ yet he can still feel proud thinking of the current situation.

Afghanistan eased to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier competition in Zimbabwe, bringing to completion a comeback that must rank among the greatest in cricket's long history. Virtually written off after their disastrous showing in the group stage, Afghanistan rode on their self-belief - and a little bit of luck - to claim the trophy. Sordid tale for West Indies, though they too have qualified for the World Cup in 2019.  Less than a month after his 17th birthday, Rashid Khan made his ODI debut on Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe in 2015. A year and a half later, while back on tour in Zimbabwe in  2017, the precocious legspinner fetched the highest ever bid for an Associate player in the IPL Auction. He was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 4 crores – he has risen to top becoming the fastest to 100 wickets in ODI.  Rashid’s 100 came in 44 matches; MA Starc did it in 52; Saqlain Mushtaq 53; Shane Bond in 54; Brett Lee in 55 & Trent Boult in 56 – great feat yet the World is grossed in the happenings in South Africa.

After the ball-tampering events of Saturday, nobody outside of the Australian team - and possibly not even they - could have wished for any result other than a huge South African victory. Yet this was too meek a surrender, a 322-run win that even for the South Africans must have felt strange. Australia were the losers in every way: they lost not only the Test, but their captain to suspension, and their credibility.   A stunning collapse of 10-50 in the final session on Sunday at Newlands resigned Australia to a 322-run defeat on another dramatic day. Retiring quick Morne Morkel picked up 5-23 in the evening session to record career-best match figures of 9-110 as Australia were skittled for 107 inside 40 overs.

Australian batting collapse, all out for 107 in a chase of 430; but  this Test will only ever be remembered for the ball-tampering scandal. It is a shame, because Morne Morkel deserves recognition for collecting 5 for 23 to make match figures of 9 for 110, a career-best in what he has already announced is his last series. But in years to come, the defining image of this game will be Cameron Bancroft stuffing tape down his pants, not Morkel walking off with his head held high. Bancroft's concentration is the stuff of legend in Australian domestic cricket, but even he must have had trouble focusing after the ball-tampering drama. He and Warner gamely put on 57 for the opening wicket, but the stand was broken when Warner called Bancroft through for a suicidal single and the younger man was run out. It was a fitting metaphor for the events of the previous day. Paine remained not out on 9, the last man standing in an Australian line-up that had embarrassed itself again. Another fitting metaphor for the man who could soon become the country's 46th Test captain.

Australia captain Steven Smith will not play the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, after the ICC gave him the maximum penalty for tampering with the ball on the third day of the Newlands Test. Fielder Cameron Bancroft, the player to actually tamper with the ball, was given three demerit points and fined 75% of his match fee after accepting the Level 2 charge. An ICC suspension from the final Test against South Africa may be just the start of sanctions for Australia's captain Steven Smith, who alongside his deputy David Warner faces anything up to a life ban for cheating under Cricket Australia's code of behaviour. The aussie batsmen were roundly booed upon their arrivals at the batting crease, then given still louder rebukes upon their departures, with fans rushing to vantage points either side of the players' race to deliver invective at close range.

As CA's head of integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard travelled to Cape Town to commence an investigation, the CA Board bowed to pressure from the Australian Sports Commission to strip Smith and Warner of their leadership roles for the remainder of the Newlands Test, following their roles in orchestrating the ball tampering attempt that also involved Bancroft. The focus has sharpened on Smith and Warner, after it was clarified that the lunchtime discussion did not involve the full "leadership group," which has also featured Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, but was instead undertaken by "senior players".

The CA chief executive James Sutherland also issued a public apology to Australian followers of the game, with the Board at a delicate point in the multimillion dollar television rights negotiations for the next five years with the Nine, Ten and Seven networks and the pay television network Fox Sports.  Hours after Cricket Australia said it would investigate the actions of the Australian team's leadership in relation to the ball-tampering confession in the Cape Town Test, the Australian government  asked the board to remove Steven Smith as captain. The country's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident a "shocking disappointment". "We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," Turnbull said. "It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.

At the other corner, Stuart Broad, who was called and booed with allegations fo ball tampering, poured scorn on Steven Smith's assertion that Cameron Bancroft's use of a foreign object on the match ball during the ongoing Newlands Test was the first time that an Australian team had used such a tactic. Broad, who played in all five Tests of England's recent 4-0 defeat in Australia, openly questioned Smith's defence of his team's actions, after TV footage on the third afternoon of the Test appeared to show Bancroft first rubbing the match ball with the object, then attempting to hide it in his trousers after he realised he had been spotted. "I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it's the first time they've tried it - which to me, it's surprising why they'd change a method that's been working," Broad said. "Look at the Ashes series we've just played, all those Test matches, and they've reverse-swung the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn't expect it to. I don't understand why they've changed their method for this one game.

Sad hour for the game ~ yet the Aussies look defiant and may escape with not so stringent penalty.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Mar 2018.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Cameron Bancroft admits ball-tampering ~ and did Steve Smith knew it ??


In Cricket – shortleg is a specialist position, yet it is an unwritten rule that the man donning that position would be the junior in the team or the opener ! ..  controversies are not new to the game.. in 1983, Indians in Pakistan were bamboozled by big banana inswingers of Imrankhan  ~ there were comments that ball-tampering was rampant and that frontline Paki bowlers were overstepping by a big margin ~ and Umpires were not taking cognizance !!!

The 3rd Test at Capetown on day 3 is interestingly poised.  South Africa 311 & 238/5 * (72 ov); Australia – 255.  South Africa lead by 294 runs with 5 wickets remaining. ..

Cameron Timothy Bancroft   made his debut for Australia as a batsman/keeper in a T20I against India in Sydney early in 2016, but has played only one T20. Remember he made 150 in Chennai playing for Aussie A. Bancroft was then named in Australia's Test squad for the 2015 tour of Bangladesh, which was cancelled due to safety concerns, and he instead had to settle for another productive Shield campaign with 732 runs at 45.75.   At Capetown, Cameras focused on Bancroft, who put his hand in his pocket before appearing to work on the ball with the yellow object, before putting his hand back in his pocket. Some minutes later he could be seen taking the object from his pocket and dropping it down the front of his pants.  Day three of the third Test in Cape Town was beginning to get away from Australia with Aiden Markram dominating the second session, before the footage was replayed on broadcast. Umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth convened in the middle, before talking to Bancroft.

In the sport of cricket, ball tampering is an action in which a fielder illegally alters the condition of the ball. The primary motivation of ball tampering is to interfere with the aerodynamics of the ball.  Under Law 41, subsection 3 of the Laws of Cricket, the ball may be polished without the use of an artificial substance, may be dried with a towel if it is wet, and have mud removed from it under supervision; all other actions which alter the condition of the ball are illegal. Players allegedly resort to tampering the ball by rubbing the ball on the ground, scuffing with a fingernail or other sharp object, or tampering with the seam of the ball or using abrasive sand sheet.

Cameron Bancroft, the Australia opener, was spoken to by the on-field umpires after television cameras captured him holding a foreign object when working on the ball during the second session on day three of the Newlands Test. A small, yellow object was seen in Bancroft's hands after he had worked on the ball, and he was also captured taking it from his pocket and seeming to place it down his trousers. The footage showed Bancroft seeming to rub the rough side of the ball, the opposite side to which he would usually be trying to shine on his trousers, as is permitted under ICC playing conditions. He appeared to put the object down his pants apparently after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come on to the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann over walkie talkie. Lehmann seemed to speak to Handscomb after footage of Bancroft working on the ball was shown on the TV screens at the ground.

The umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth were then seen speaking with Bancroft, though they did not choose to change the ball nor penalise the Australians five runs - the statutory on-field penalty for illegally changing the condition of the ball.  Slow-motion replays, both on TV and broadcast on the big screen at Newlands, appeared to show Bancroft then putting the small object into his underwear in an apparent attempt to hide it.  The officials chose not to change the ball or penalise his team the statutory five-run on-field penalty for illegally changing the condition of the ball. Although the umpires appeared satisfied with Bancroft’s explanation on the field at the time and allowed play to continue, match officials could review other footage.

Reverse swing has been a major part of this series, and players can increase that by roughing up the ball with foreign objects, which is strictly prohibited in cricket. Australia, who are falling a long way behind in the game, appeared desperate for wickets to turn it around. Ball tampering has been an issue raised throughout Australia’s tour. In Port Elizabeth, Warner was highlighted for the impact of the bandages on his hand – the result of finger injuries suffered while batting – on the ball, and on day one in Cape Town Australia bowler Pat Cummins inadvertently stepped on the ball.

After the first Test in Durban Australia’s coach, Darren Lehmann, said both sides would try various “techniques” to get the ball to reverse swing. “Obviously, there are techniques used by both sides to get the ball reverse and that’s just the way the game goes,” Lehmann said after the Durban Test.  When Bancroft spoke to the umpires, he was shown holding a bigger, black cloth rather than the small yellow object he had earlier seemed to place down his trousers. Both South African and Australian commentators on the host broadcaster, SuperSport, said Bancroft's actions looked suspicious. "It is very suspicious. There is no doubt about that," Allan Border said. "If you're caught doing the wrong thing, you've got to pay the penalty."

The former South Africa captain Graeme Smith said he was surprised the umpires had not changed the ball. "In my opinion I think he's tampered with the ball and used an object to do that," Smith said. "It does look like it's a bit of sandpaper. The footage doesn't look good. I'm quite amazed the umpires haven't done anything with the ball. The footage is quite damning. Shane Warne, meanwhile, said it was unlikely that Bancroft had acted alone, without the knowledge of his captain and coach. "You've got to own up and say what was it that you were hiding," Warne said. "You can't have that in the game. We've got to get to the bottom of it. The Aussies have to be honest and say 'this is how it happened'." I don't have any issue with anyone if they are sucking on a mint or chewing some gum, then that's just natural saliva.

Australia's bowlers had been able to gain pronounced reverse swing on day three in Cape Town, though South Africa continued to build their second-innings lead. Questions about ball tampering have been raised throughout the series, where reverse swing has been a consistent theme.  Ball tampering has been at the centre on many earlier occasions too.  To recall a few, in  2010 England were implicated in a ball-tampering storm – a miserable third day of the third Test ended with England staring at a series-leveling defeat and Andy Flower, their coach, being forced to defend their integrity over claims that Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson had cheated. South Africa ‘made their concerns known’ to match referee Roshan Mahanama over the state of a ball with which they believe Broad attempted to tamper by treading on it at an early stage of the South African second innings.

Pakis had the knack of making ball talk with reverse swing and many past cricketers had expressed doubts on that.  The big burly Sarfraz Nawaz, sued former England batsman Allan Lamb for writing in the Daily Mirror that more than 20 years ago Nawaz invented an illegal trick to make cricket balls swing wide and late, deceiving batsmen, a technique refined by his successors into widespread cheating by the international team last summer.  During a cricket match against Pakistan, Faf du Plessis of South Africa was filmed repeatedly rubbing the ball on the zip of his trouser pocket. As punishment he was docked half his match fee, his team was penalised five runs and the umpires ordered the ball to be changed. The  other time in the history of the sport that a team has been formally reprimanded for "ball-tampering" was in 2006 when the umpires ruled that Pakistani players had doctored the condition of the ball during a game against England. The Pakistan team, in protest, refused to return to the field after a tea break and forfeited the match.

So ~ what really happened – did Bancroft tamper the ball – and was it a solitary act or backed by the Team and Coach .. helping their bowlers to get undue advantage ?  ~  as I post this, read on web that Cameron Bancroft has admitted to trying to change the condition of the ball using a foreign object ..and a contrite Steven Smith admitted to the team management knowing that !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Mar 2018.