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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

History of invasions and uprisings - did Great Britain ruled globe always !!

Almost the entire History read in School curriculum was British rulers and partly Mughals prior to them .. .. other glorious kingdoms did not get their meritorious due !  .. .. – the British East India Company that came to India as traders, slowly took over parcels of kingdom, becoming the rulers, and later transferring power to British Empire.  We read, and were forced to believe that United Kingdom was the most powerful and ruled over the entire globe unscathed and unchallenged.  It was portrayal that Britain as an island may be small and isolated, but one that is supremely tough. It had the power and had invaded, conquered other large countries !!

First let us realise, what was wrongly described as Sepoy Mutiny was not  the first or the only major uprising against the British invaders – there had been many, not all of them  well recognised by those tainted historians.   Here are some of them listed below :

The First Carnatic War (1746–1748) was the Indian theatre of the War of the Austrian Succession and the first of a series of Carnatic Wars in which the British and French East India Companies vied with each other on land for control of their respective trading posts at Madras, Pondicherry, and Cuddalore, while naval forces of France and Britain engaged each other off the coast. The war set the stage for the rapid growth of French hegemony in southern India under the command of French Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix in the Second Carnatic War.

Of the many rebellions, was the ‘Paika Rebellion’,  an armed rebellion against Company rule in India in 1817. The Paikas rose in rebellion under their leader BakshiJagabandhu and projecting Lord Jagannath as the symbol of Odia unity, the rebellion quickly spread across most of Odisha before being put down by the Company's forces.

The Barrackpore mutiny was a rising of native Indian sepoys against their British officers in Barrackpore in Nov 1824. The conflict arose when the British East India Company was fighting the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826) under the leadership of the Governor-General of Bengal, William Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst. The mutiny had its roots in British insensitivity towards Indian cultural sentiments, combined with negligence and poor supply arrangements, which caused growing resentment amongst the sepoys of several regiments of the Bengal Native Infantry after a long march from Mathura to Barrackpore.

The Anglo-Manipur War was an armed conflict between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Manipur that occurred in 1891.

In 1942, Andaman & Nicobar islands were occupied by the Japanese.  Until 1938 the British government used them as a penal colony for Indian and African political prisoners, who were mainly put in the notorious Cellular Jail in Port Blair. 

Just to cite a few examples where Indian fought the British but could not succeed due to various extraneous reasons.

Normandy,  is a geographical and cultural region in Northwestern Europe, roughly coextensive with the historical Duchy of Normandy.Normandy comprises mainland Normandy (a part of France) and the Channel Islands.  Normandy's name comes from the settlement of the territory by Vikings (Northmen) starting in the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century between King Charles III of France and the Viking jarl Rollo. England was conquered and for  150 years following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by having the same person reign as both Duke of Normandy and King of England.

The Norman Conquest was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and French troops, all led by the Duke of Normandy, later styled William the Conqueror.

William's claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the childless Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor, who may have encouraged William's hopes for the throne. Edward died in 1066 and was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson. The Norwegian king HaraldHardrada invaded northern England in Sept 1066 and was victorious at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September, but Godwinson's army defeated and killed Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. Three days later on 28 September, William's invasion force of thousands of men and hundreds of ships landed at Pevensey in Sussex in southern England. 

Although William's main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on the English throne until after 1072. The lands of the resisting English elite were confiscated; some of the elite fled into exile. To control his new kingdom, William granted lands to his followers and built castles commanding military strongpoints throughout the land. Following the conquest, many Anglo-Saxons, including groups of nobles, fled the country for Scotland, Ireland, or Scandinavia.Members of King Harold Godwinson's family sought refuge in Ireland and used their bases in that country for unsuccessful invasions of England. The largest single exodus occurred in the 1070s, when a group of Anglo-Saxons in a fleet of 235 ships sailed for the Byzantine Empire.The empire became a popular destination for many English nobles and soldiers, as the Byzantines were in need of mercenaries.The English became the predominant element in the elite Varangian Guard, until then a largely Scandinavian unit, from which the emperor's bodyguard was drawn.

William I (1028 - 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman king of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087.  In 1066, following the death of Edward the Confessor, William invaded England, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest. William was the son of the unmarried Duke Robert I of Normandy and his mistress Herleva. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, as did the anarchy which plagued the first years of his rule. During his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke, and for their own ends. In 1047, William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy, a process that was not complete until about 1060. His marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders.

The so called fortress of Great Britain was invaded and attacked   at least 70 times. This according to some historians, does not include the hundreds of small invasions on the south west coast, or Wales, that plagued many a small town.  Enemies arriving from Africa, America and - perhaps unsurprisingly - France have all landed on Britain's shores and attempted to invade, with varying degrees of success.Everyone knows about the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and Germany's occupation of Guernsey during World War II.

History is always interesting and teaches many a lessons.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Sept. 2022.

Italy elects a new leader - Giorgia Meloni

She is no beauty contestant .. a politician, in fact one set to become a leader of a Country !!

Nestled in Europe, Venice is a stunning oddity. It is a city built atop around 120 islands, crisscrossed by 177 canals, and is best explored – when on foot at least – via the use of its 391 bridges. It is a watery maze of a city, full of tiny footpaths and tucked away squares, hidden museums and secluded, centuries-old churches. Read that  all is not well in "La Serenissima". Indeed, if drastic measures are not taken, the city's days could be numbered !!  is that a hyperbole?  Venice is at very real risk of being consumed by the sea. In worst-case scenario, the city could disappear beneath the waves by as early as 2100. Meanwhile, many of its building are sinking or being damaged by the wakes of boats. It is also routinely overwhelmed by tourists, while its local population is in a state of continual decline. 

Moving away from this -  the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the threat to  democracy and economic chaos all  seen in the West as emanating from far-off capitals — Moscow, Beijing, Tehran. But now lot seem to be happening at Europe too - soon after the election in Sweden that saw an anti-immigration party making gains, water is flowing under the bridge in Italy too. Observers are wondering if Europe is seeing a new far-right wave.   For the first time since World War II, Europe’s third-largest economy will have a far-right government. The coalition led by Giorgia Meloni — soon to be Italy’s first woman prime minister — commands a majority in both houses of the legislature.

Giorgia Meloni is an Italian politician and journalist. A member of the Chamber of Deputies in Italy since 2006, she has led the Brothers of Italy (FdI) political party since 2014, and has been the president of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party since 2020. In the 2006 Italian general election, she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the National Alliance (AN), where she became its youngest ever vice-president.    In 2008, she was appointed Minister of Youth in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet, a position she held until Nov  2011, when the prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign as the prime minister amid a financial crisis and public protests.  In August 2008, she invited Italian athletes to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in disagreement with the Chinese policy implemented towards Tibet; this statement was criticized by Berlusconi, as well as the foreign affairs minister Franco Frattini

Brothers of Italy (Italian: Fratelli d'Italia, FdI) is a right-wing populist and national-conservative political party in Italy led by Giorgia Meloni, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and former minister of youth in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet.  Brothers of Italy emerged from a right-wing split within Silvio Berlusconi's party, The People of Freedom (PdL), in December 2012.  The bulk of the party leadership (including Meloni), as well as the symbol of the movement (the tricolour flame),  comes from the National Alliance (AN, 1995–2009) party, which had merged into PdL in 2009. FdI's main ideological trends are conservatism, nationalism, nativism, Euroscepticism, and opposition to immigration.  

The 2022 Italian general election was a snap election held in Italy on 25 September 2022. After the fall of the Draghi government in July 2022, which led to a parliamentary impasse, President Sergio Mattarella dissolved the parliament on 21 July, and called for new elections. Regional elections in Sicily were held on the same day. The results of the general election show that  the centre-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy  winning an absolute majority of seats in the Italian Parliament.

In a record-low voter turnout, Meloni's party became the largest in Parliament with 26% of the vote, making her likely to become Prime Minister of Italy, as per the pre-election agreement among the centre-right coalition parties.  The newly elected legislature will be seated on 13 October; the new prime minister, likely Meloni, will take office at some point after. As a result of the 2020 Italian constitutional referendum, the size of Parliament was reduced to 400 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 200 members of the Senate of the Republic to be elected, down from 630 and 315, respectively. In addition, the minimum voting age for the Senate was the same as for the Chamber (18 years old and no longer 25), which marked the first time the two houses had identical electorates.

Interesting ! and would Italy and Sweden show the other European Nations a similar way  ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Sept. 2022.



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Beetles ~ ‘Batocera rufomaculata’

How many trees are there around your house ? – and what do you see in them ??  .. . .. .. what I could zoom into see left me wonder-struck ! are you in a position to observe something in the 2nd photo of the tree ?  - உங்கள் வீட்டருகே மரங்கள் உள்ளனவா ?  - இதோ இங்கே ஒரு அரச மரம் ! பச்சைப்பசேலென அடர்ந்த இலைகளை உடையது !  .. .. இன்று காலை மரத்தை கேமரா கண்களுடன் நோக்கியபோது !! 

The 1986 K Balachander film starring Kamal was a musical hit .. .. Kamal donned dual role of which one was Chaplin Chellappa and he rode a Beetle ! The Volkswagen Beetle—officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in German der Käfer (meaning "beetle"), in parts of the English-speaking world the Bug,  and known by many other nicknames in other languages—is a two-door, rear-engine economy car, intended for five occupants  that was manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. 

No post on automobile but on insects !  .. .. Beetles are insects that form the order Coleoptera, in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, elytra, distinguishing them from most other insects. The Coleoptera, with about 400,000 described species, is the largest of all orders, constituting almost 40% of described insects and 25% of all known animal life-forms; new species are discovered frequently, with estimates suggesting that there are between 0.9 to 2.1 million total species. Found in almost every habitat except the sea and the polar regions, they interact with their ecosystems in several ways: beetles often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Some species are serious agricultural pests  that damage crops. 

Beetles typically have a particularly hard exoskeleton including the elytra, though some such as the rove beetles have very short elytra while blister beetles have softer elytra. The general anatomy of a beetle is quite uniform and typical of insects, although there are several examples of novelty, such as adaptations in water beetles which trap air bubbles under the elytra for use while diving. Beetles are endopterygotes, which means that they undergo complete metamorphosis, with a series of conspicuous and relatively abrupt changes in body structure between hatching and becoming adult after a relatively immobile pupal stage. 

Beetles are prominent in human culture, from the sacred scarabs of ancient Egypt to beetlewing art and use as pets or fighting insects for entertainment and gambling. Many beetle groups are brightly and attractively coloured making them objects of collection and decorative displays. Over 300 species are used as food, mostly as larvae; species widely consumed include mealworms and rhinoceros beetle larvae. However, the major impact of beetles on human life is as agricultural, forestry, and horticultural pests.   

A web search indicated that the one featured here is ‘Batocera rufomaculata’ -  a species of beetle in the family Cerambycidae. It was described by Charles De Geer in 1775. It is known from China, Israel, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Laos, Mauritius, Malaysia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Réunion, Syria, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Barbados, Bangladesh and the Virgin Islands. It feeds off of Ficus carica, Carica papaya, Mangifera indica, and Shorea robusta.  

Some photos of the tree and close-up view of the beetle are seen here.  Before concluding - The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960, that comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They are regarded as the most influential band of all time and were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music's recognition as an art form.  Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock 'n' roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band later explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock.   

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Friday, September 23, 2022

Nagpur T20I - 8 overs aside match !!

After the drubbing at Mohali, India today play Australia again in a T20I at Nagpur today .. .. the match has been delayed by a wet outfield. .. .. match is about to start – India has chosen to field ! 

After more than a couple of inspections, Umpire Nitin Menon is quoted as saying that there has been lot of improvement .. ..  . "Although the conditions are not perfect, they are safe to play. And we have an eight-overs-a-side contest. The toss will take place at 9.15pm. The first ball will be bowled at 9.30pm. A bowler can bowl a maximum of two overs. The powerplay will also be of two overs. 

What would you call a 8 overs aside match ?  less than 100 balls in all – is it played for the spectators or ..  is that an overkill ?? 

There have been innovations and when a Test between England and Australia could not be played, in Jan 1971 was born a limited Overs International match – that really changed the fate of Cricket and more than  4,000 ODIs have been  played by 28 teams thus far. The frequency of matches has steadily increased.  In February 2022, against the West Indies, India played their 1,000th ODI match, becoming the first team to play one thousand matches in this format. 

Remember watching India England ODI played for 15 scheduled overs ! – and then in 28 Feb 1992, down under India played a WC match that lasted just 2 balls.  Ajay Jadeja debuted in that match played   in the city of Mackay, known as 'Sugar Capital'.  Sri Lanka won the toss and invited India to bat first. No runs were scored off  the first ball of the match.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth took a run on the second ball – then rain came pouring down, ensuring cancellation of the match.  Not many would remember that Srikkanth’s opening partner was the great Kapil Dev who walked to open an innings.    

That was not to be the shortest matches – on record there are 5 matches abandoned without a ball being bowled – West Indies being involved in 3 of them   .. read that it is a decision of ICC from June 2004 that -   "all future Test and ODI matches that are abandoned without a ball being bowled shall be included in the records provided the toss has taken place." !! strange !! 

The shortest ODI with result happens to be a match of 104 balls  played at Kirtipur in Feb 2020, Nepal bowled United States of America in 12 overs for 35 runs and scored the required runs in 5.2 overs !!  

Interesting !  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23.9.2022 @ 9.15 pm.