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Friday, September 20, 2019

86 of rescued Thai Tigers die at Govt care centre !! in Thailand


The Indochinese tiger is a Pantheratigristigris population in Southeast Asia.  Theravāda  is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest extant school. Modern Theravāda derives from the Mahāvihāra sect, a Sri Lankan branch of the Vibhajjavādins, a sub-sect of the Indian Sthavira Nikaya, which began to establish itself on the island from the 3rd century BCE onwards.

It did not happen overnight ~ pressure was building with the hype created by the foreign media who hyperactivated news that things are not aright .. and then more than 500 officers from Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP) swooped on the Tiger Temple, in the town of Kanchanaburi, a couple of hours’ drive west of Bangkok, on May 30, 2016 stating  allegations of illegal breeding and trafficking in the endangered cats.

It was a Buddhist place of worship ~ known for its calmness. The temple’s abbot vigorously denied any impropriety. But a total of 147 live tigers were confiscated.. .. .. and the   Tiger Temple had to be  shut down. It clearly demonstrated what a focussed media attack can do – first they congregated calling it a controversial house.  Founded in 1992, Wat PhaLuang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, as it was officially known, received its first cub in 1999. Buddhist temples have traditionally been places to take injured and abandoned animals. But Kanchanaburi became famous because it was the only place where visitors could see orange-robed monks and big cats living together in what appeared to be harmony. The Tiger Temple was essentially a theme park, sprawling over 60 acres, with Tiger Island occupying 5 acres in the middle. Hundreds of deer, boar and cows roamed the outer scrub, along with gangs of civet cats, ponies and peafowl. The tigers were mostly confined to individual concrete cells, although they had the run of larger enclosures on a rotating basis. Every afternoon, a few were led on chain leashes to “the Canyon” — an artificial habitat complete with rocky cliff face and pond — for pictures with tourists.

Reportedly, in Thailand, all tigers technically belong to the government, but private owners are permitted to keep tigers, and breeding and using them for commercial purposes is legal with a zoo license.  There are hundreds of  captive tigers  reared at various places.  Thai DNP officers  chose to strike at   Wat PhaLuang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, accusing that monks were illegally breeding and trafficking endangered animals.

Logically as the tourists grew, the space for Tigers and animals shrunk and there were more younger ones, which were the natural choice of visiting tourists to get closer and take ‘selfies’.  It was also claimed that they had kept some dead  tiger cubsin the freezer for legitimate reasons, they say, as the temple’s former vet insisted that they keep deceased cubs — a litter’s natural mortality rate can push 40% — to prove they were not being trafficked.

Whoever is right, there was something about the Tiger Temple that didn’t sit easily with Buddhism — not even Thailand’s brazenly commercial brand of it. It was hard to square the principle of ahimsa — “do no harm” — with the feeding $15,000 of farmed poultry to wild animals each week, not to mention coaxing the revenue from tourists. Each day, hundreds of visitors paid entry fees and more for cuddling a  tiger cub.  The economies of operations were getting messier ~ to maintain the cubs, to pay for food and vet bills and full time staff, the Tiger temple did need tourists to come and part with money.

Increasingly visitors wanted to take photos with cute, tiny cubs. That meant breeding more of them, since cubs become unbridled adolescents when they reach the age of 6 months. From that age, impetuous and unaware of their own strength, they can be very dangerous. So whether the abbot was really making money from the venture was always a big Q !  - those volunteers and supporters cried hoarse that the abbot was unfairly marred and targeted.

~ and they were not without reason ..  if the purpose was to save the tigers and not allow private display – what followed was really worser.  Some media highlighted that immediately after the raids,  three months after the raid, the temple’s tigers were  in a worser state. Robbed of distractions, toys and space to prowl, several sported facial wounds from bashing their heads against the bars of their tiny government enclosures, where they spent 24 hours a day. One died too.  Perhaps the measure of confiscating all tigers was in a rush, without any proper plans for keeping the tigers and rehabilitating them.   Curiously, after the raids too,  one large cat remained at the temple: a lion, called Petchy, who still roams his own leafy enclosure. The foliage so thick that the only clues to his continued existence are a ripped up toys left for him daily — and the occasional roar from deep in the undergrowth.

So after that botched operation, 147 tigers were taken over by the Govt and   taken to two breeding stations in nearby Ratchaburi province but not many have survived !  ~ not admitting that deaths have occurred whilst in their custody for over 3 years now, the Dept tries to state that deaths could be linked to inbreeding !“Most of the tigers were already in a distressed state stemming from the transportation and change of location … later their health problems emerged,” said another department official.

Conservationists question whether authorities had looked after the seized animals appropriately, with small, cramped cages enabling the spread of disease.Conditions at the enclosures were “not good enough to house so many tigers and the setup was wrong”, they added.Three years after 147 tigers were seized from the Tiger Temple in Thailand, government officials are reporting that 86 of the rescued animals have died. The official cause of death, according to the Thai government, was a viral disease exacerbated by inbreeding of the big cats.

The tigers did live well and attracted hundreds of tourists adding revenue to the Nation, but  a National Geographic expose and work by the Australian conservation nonprofit Cee4Life alleged controversial practices, including alleged animal abuse and speed breeding of the big cats to supply tiger body parts for illegal trade.With pressure building up, Govt acted in haste without really being prepared for it ! raiding on the abbot taking away 147 tigers – of which 86 have died whilst being provided care at Govt custody.. 

So what would the authorities, and the Press which campaigned for the safety of tigers say now ! ~ were they right in vociferously campaigning removal of big cats, only to lead to their deaths probably due to negligence, lack of space and care. Opinions would naturally be divergent ! ~ not good for the big cats.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Sept. 2019.

BCCC reprimands Sun TV for obscene display in Kalyana Veedu Serial


Do you see TV Serials ? - is that Q itself innately wrong ??

Doordarshan, which began as an experiment on Sept 15, 1959, and became a service in 1965, turned 60 last Sunday. .. .. modern day youth can never imagine that DD in Tamil (from 15.8.1975) – was in B&W – single channel – that too for restricted hours ! ~ those days entertainment was ‘Oliyum & Oliyum’ [up to 6 songs on Fridays]; movie on Sunday and a drama [sometimes extending for 2 / 3 parts on Tuesday.  In ‘Ethiroli’ – the previous week’s programmes would be reviewed – and there could be a Q on how the Director missed out the Clock [in the background of a hero or heroine speaking] not showing time properly !

In Hindi side, TV Czarina Ekta Kapoor and AnkitaLokhande got nostalgic as their ‘PavitraRishta’ completed ten years on Saturday (June 1). ‘PavitraRishta’ is one of the most loved and longest running shows on Indian television. The daily soap, which started airing from June 1, 2009 on Zee TV, has telecasted over 1400 episodes.‘PavitraRishta’ was the Hindi TV remake of Tamil soap opera ‘Thirumathi Selvam’. Interestingly, the on-screen name of the female character in the Tamil show was also Archana.  In between, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’  completed 3000 episodes.  Shivangi Joshi and Mohsin Khan celebrated 3000 episodes of their television soap opera along with the rest of the team of the fourth longest running Indian television soap opera. The first episode premiered on 12th January ten years ago and followed the life of Akshara Maheshwari, played by Hina Khan, and NaitikSinghania, played by Karan Mehra.

Kalyana Veedu (Wedding house) is Tamil TV serial aired in Sun TV since  2018.  This  family soap opera is directed by Thirumurugan, R.Sundarajan and N. Sundareshwaran. The show replaced Kula Deivam and is on air from Monday to Saturday on Sun TV.This show crossed 400 episodes on 5 Aug 2019.This show's 405th episode has been shot without any background music, with no break-shots and with the camera acting as a character in the serial, which is a record in the history of Tamil TV serials, it is claimed! ~ the Serial is in news for totally wrong reasons.

A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama and sentimentality. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers. BBC Radio's The Archers, first broadcast in 1950, is the world's longest-running radio soap opera; the world's longest-running television soap opera is Coronation Street, first broadcast on ITV in 1960. A crucial element that defines the soap opera is the open-ended serial nature of the narrative, with stories spanning several episodes.

The news is : Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has reprimanded Sun TV for the telecast of a sexual assault sequence in KalyanaVeedu serial. The BCCC has reportedly ordered the channel to pay a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh, and demanded that the channel carry an apology before each episode for a week (September 23 to September 28).

The serial is directed by Metti Oli-fame Thirumurugan M, who also stars as its protagonist.The controversial KalyanaVeedu episodes, which aired on May 14 and 15, showed the female antagonist graphically explaining to four henchmen how to gang-rape her own sister.Then, tables turn on her, when the leader of the gang decides to enact the instructions on her.The ghastly scene continues to get worse, and in a later episode on June 28, these rapists are punished with extreme violence, including setting the perpetrators’ genitals on fire.The scenes were condemned widely on social media, and following complaints from viewers, the BCCC took cognizance, and sent a notice to Sun TV, and producers Thiru Pictures.

In the hearing, held last month, both parties defended the serial and argued that the necessary precautions were in place to ensure the family-oriented serial remained so, and that the scene was taken out of context.However, the BCCC found the episodes to be problematic and has punished the channel.A compliance report, along with the original clips of the apology, is now to be submitted at BCCC’s Secretariat on or before October 7.  BCCC also  imposed a financial penalty of 2.5 lakh on Sun TV as well as directed them to run a video apology after examining complaints from viewers about the content in the serial Kalyana Veedu.

The complaints which the Council had received noted that such content would encourage atrocities against women and should not have been aired in a channel being watched by millions.The council, on examining the video clips based on the complaints, has said in their order that the content violated the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) guidelines which bars content that glorifies violence, as well as incite or encourage viewers to obscene or indecent behaviour.

~ the levels that these people have descended in attracting audience and raising their rating ! – shame on Sun TV, Thirumurugan and all those involved in these media making, shame also on the viewers of these type of serials.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Sept 2019.


iconic Bentley car on Mount Road, Chennai


There are traffic congestions and in cities the rich-poor divide is deep.  While hundreds wait patiently for Public transport, some drive in flashy cars and such luxury cars easily attract the attention – and there could be some comments too!   In the film ‘Ninaithaale Inikkum’ – Rajni would risk his finger for a bet on a Toyota car. Those days, the word ‘toyota car’ rhymed with those ultimate mean dreams of ambitious people.  After 1985 World Series Cup, it was Audi car – there are many exotic brands ..

The comment on road could be ‘while poor suffer, rich enjoy luxury !’ – and there could be talk about Ambanis / Adanis too – same comment would not surface about local politicians, cine stars and son on .. .. there are concepts of Communism and Socialism, sometimes used interchangeably referring essentially to the economic philosophy. 

Miles away, two  iconic brands are teaming up in what seems like an unusual partnership to offer the ultimate 'Texas' SUV.Bentley Dallas and Stetson have teamed up to build the Bentayga Stetson Special Edition. The first SUV was delivered recently to the Bentley dealership in Dallas in a White Sand exterior color, which matches the "Silverbelly" color Stetson hats made famous by U.S. Presidents, artists and musicians.

The motif of Bentley is very famous.  The metal motif is designed to retract in the event of an accident but a flaw was  found that in some models can cause the mechanism to fail.The fault  prompted the company, which was created in 1919, to recall 1,426 cars across the world including 298 in Britain.The recall involved the Arnage, Azure and Brooklands models which were built between Oct 2006 and Oct 2009, costing between £183,100 and £250,400. At that time, millionaire owners of the vehicles, including  Rio Ferdinand, the former England captain, and Mark Wahlberg, the Hollywood actor, were told to bring in their cars for a one hour repair.

Walter Owen Bentley, MBE (1888 – 1971) was an English engineer who designed engines for cars and aircraft, raced cars and motorcycles, and founded Bentley Motors Limited in Cricklewood near London.He was known as "W. O." without any need to add the word Bentley.  Before World War I, Walter Owen Bentley and his brother, Horace Millner Bentley, sold French DFP cars in Cricklewood, North London, but W.O, as Walter was known, always wanted to design and build his own cars.

I was excited to see this Bentley running on Mount road – it did catch the attraction of all around.  Bentley car prices in India,  startat Rs 3.21 Cr for the most inexpensive model in its lineup, the Flying Spur. The most expensive car in Bentley's lineup is the Mulsanne, priced at Rs. 5.55 Cr for its top variant. In total, Bentley has 4 models on sale in India. The Bentley Bentayga, Bentley Continental, Bentley Flying Spur are amongst the most popular cars in their respective segments.

Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as Bentley Motors Limited by W. O. Bentley in 1919 in Cricklewood, North London—and became widely known for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, and 2003.Today most Bentleys are assembled at the company's Crewe factory, with a small number assembled at Volkswagen's Dresden factory, Germany, and with bodies for the Continental manufactured in Zwickau and for the Bentayga manufactured at the Volkswagen Bratislava Plant. After some mergers, Intellectual property rights to both the name Rolls-Royce as well as the company's logo had been retained not by Rolls-Royce Motors, but by aerospace company, Rolls-Royce Plc, which had continued to license both to the automotive division.

Style, tradition and innovation come together in a spectacular blend of two icons. Bentley Dallas and Stetson are combining their powerful legacies to create a timeless vehicle for discerning clients. “The Bentayga’s rugged luxury is a tailor-made match for Stetson’s unsurpassed quality. The Bentayga Stetson Special Edition combines the best of old-world craftsmanship with American history to create a distinctive and memorable motoring experience.”The Bentayga Stetson Special Edition vehicles are exclusively offered by Bentley Dallas with the first car delivered this week to Texas, the heart of modern cowboy culture.

The first special edition vehicle is offered at $246,578.00 and is available now featuring white sand exterior with camel hide interior details. Bentley Dallas will have two additional cars arriving in Texas in October and November.Rich interior leather hides are chosen carefully and crafted with precision for each vehicle. The Bentayga Stetson Special Edition will offer interior colors of a camel main hide, saddle secondary hide, and burnt oak accents. The duotone steering wheel will feature a burnt oak center, a saddle-leather outer and chrome elements.Taking cues from cowboy boots and saddles, the Bentayga Stetson Special Edition will feature “boot stitching” throughout the vehicle to create a Bespoke Bentayga that embodies the style of the Stetson brand.

This year, Bentley Motors celebrates 100 years of automotive performance, reflecting on the inspiration of founder W.O. Bentley: “Build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.”

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Sept. 2019.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Chiranjeevi brings back history of freedom struggle ~ Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy


We read in our books ‘the uprising of 1857’ not as a National movement, not as a freedom struggle but as sepoy mutiny, an uprising by a group of soldiers.  .. .. and then read that Gandhiji  [Nehruji and Congressmen] got us freedom without spilling blood !! ~ British were so kind and noble that they gave freedom on a platter !!


Perhaps sons of cow belt soil would remember the movie  - Mangal Pandey - The Rising (The Rising - Ballad Of Mangal Pandey)  and the hero of the movie.   .. .. .. he was not the first man though, and Uprising – the National struggle of 1857 was not the first fight against British East India Company.  Down under, we have read about the exploit of Poligars (Nayakars) – the name and exploits became legendary more because of the 1959 tamil film “Veerapandiya Kattabomman”  written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy and directed by B. R. Panthulu. Everybody aspiring to become an actor would try to repeat those immortal dialogues uttered by Sivaji Ganesan.  There have been many rulers in this part of land, around the 15th  century it was Pandyan dynasty, then Nayakas,  as the Vijayanagara Telugus were called. Madura was fortified Nayakas; the constitution of the Polygars.  Among the many, the man who fought 304 years ago (1st Sept 1715) “Puli thevar” and his hq  Nelkattum Seval would stand out ! .. rather than reading the Battle of Plassey, we should have,  in our schools and colleges  read the real-life stories of  Pulithevan, Veerapandiya Kattabomman,  Veeran Azhagu Muthukone to later day freedom fighters like VoC, Vanchinathan, Barathiyar, Subrahmanya Siva and many many more ! ~ and sadly, my thoughts too were constrained with people from Tinnevely and down South .. there had been many more patriots who fought against the savage British.

How well do you know ? - Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad, who was  Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for a couple of years.  Chennai and tinseldom is where he grew early.    He is one of the co-owners of the Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC.  Sure one would not need any clues to guess !  ~  it is actor Chiranjeevi.

Around 25 years ago or so, I saw Mutha mestri in Kakinada starring Chiru, Meena & Roja.  I was not too impressed but kept mum as my good colleague was a great fan of him and even his walking and other moments seemed to imitate and remind me of Chiru.   At that time -  Gharana Mogudu, directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, was a super hit and was touted as  the first Telugu film to gross over 10 crore at the box office. It made Chiranjeevi the highest-paid actor in India at the time catapulting him to the cover pages of national weekly magazines in India.  Interestingly, in 2002, Chiranjeevi was given the Samman Award for the Highest Income Tax Payer for the 1999–2000 assessment year by the Minister of State for Finance.. .. no post on Chiranjeevi but on his upcoming film trailer of which is now trending in You Tube and social media. 

The film  also stars Amitabh Bachchan and Vijay Sethupathi,  due to be released on October 2, 2019   ~ the  trailer of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s multi-lingual period film Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy released on Wednesday evening to much fanfare, promising an epic war film on the scale of the Baahubali series. Opening with an insight into the background of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy who led a rebellion against the British East India Company, the film terms him ‘a monk’, ‘a warrior’, ‘not a common person’, until the presence of Amitabh Bachchan who declares that this is India’s first war for freedom. History has it that Narasimha Reddy led a peasant uprising in Kurnool in the 1840s, much before Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. Tamannaah Bhatia and Nayanthara both appear in the trailer as well, vying for the warrior’s affection, but the majority of the footage is dedicated to impressive action sequences and depictions of brutality by the British against the villagers, which incites Reddy to start a war.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, produced by Ram Charan under Konidela Productions, is one of the biggest Tollywood films. Touted to be produced on a huge budget of Rs 200 crore, the film starring Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan and Nayanthara is directed by Surender Reddy.  The teaser launch of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, the latest movie of one of the biggest stars of Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi was a grand affair. The trailer was released in five different languages.   

Here is something on the real hero on whom the film is based.  Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy  was at the heart of a rebellion in 1846, where 5000 peasants rose up against the British East India Company (EIC) in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, then in Madras Presidency. They were protesting changes to the traditional agrarian system introduced by the British in the first half of the nineteenth century. Those changes, which included the introduction of the ryotwari system and other attempts to maximize revenue impacted lower-status cultivators by depleting their crops and leaving them impoverished.

The father of Narasimha Reddy was related to the Polygar family of Uyyalawada in Koilkuntla taluk, Kurnool district, and had married two daughters of the Polygar of Nossam. He had three sons, of whom Naramsimha was the youngest.  The people by the wiles of British East India Co  were dispossessed of their lands. Many landowners were jailed too.  As the old order collapsed into disarray, the once-authoritative Polygars, including Narasimha Reddy, became the focus of attention from sufferers, whose pleas fell on deaf British ears. The Polygars mobilized the peasants and fought against the invaders who had no right to take away lands.

The Rayalaseema region had been transferred to the British by the Nizam and Reddy refused pay taxes directly to the British. [sounds another Kattabomman !]  On 10 June 1846 he raided the treasury at Koilakuntla and marched towards Kambham, Andhra Pradesh (Prakasam District).  When he killed a Govt official,   Collector Thomas Monroe issued orders to arrest him. The EIC put a price on his head Rs. 5000 and Rs. 10,000 for his head.

Reddy, with his army mounted a serious attack on the British forces camped at Giddaluru on 23 July 1846 and defeated them. Unable to capture him, the British deceptively imprisoned his family at Kadapa. Narasimha Reddy moved to Nallamala forest to save his family but the British forces were tipped off by someone about the hideout of Mr. Reddy. To avoid being caught by the British in the Nallamala area, Narasimha Reddy returned to Koilkuntla area and hid in Jagannatha Konda. Unable to be at large for a long period, Reddy was caught as the army moved in upon a tip-off and arrested him and his followers at mid night of 6 October 1846. The EIC put heavy fetters on him and paraded him right in the streets of Koilkuntla before his people with blood-stained clothes so that it would be a warning to them. Around 112 of his followers were arrested and convicted for 5 to 14 years and some of them were jailed in Andaman. The special commissioner of Kadapa conducted the trial and Narasimha Reddy was charged with revolt, murder and being a dacoit and was convicted on all charges. He was publicly hanged on 22 Feb 1847, on the banks of nearby river in the presence of Collector Kokcrane. His head was kept on the fort wall in public view for 30 years from 1847 to 1877 to instill fear in the people so that another rebellion won’t be tried by others against the British.

Thus a local who fought for the rights of peasants was   dubbed as a murderer and robber and, at last, was mercilessly killed by the early British rulers. His revolt in India against the British occupation was 10 years earlier than India’s First War of Independence of 1857.  Now this epic historic story is being made as a feature film for the prestigious 151st film of Megastar Chiranjeevi. The story has been penned down by Sai Madhav Burra, Vema Reddy and Paruchuri brother on Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy who bared his chest and dared the British.

I would love to see the movie for the theme itself ~ though some could immediately write that there has been some distortion of facts, as this happens often with movies. Look forward to the movie ~ would happily get guided by my Telugu sotharalu!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Sept. 2019.