Search This Blog

Monday, January 30, 2012

Elections in 5 Indian States and Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Age has been the perfect fire extinguisher for flaming youth.;  Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.;  A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef. ****

India has such a wide and varied culture that it is too difficult to understand the occurrences and their implications in other States.  Five States go to Polls – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand  and campaigning is in full swing - the stage  and mood is almost that of a mini general election. The Golden Temple known as Harmandir Sahib, is located in the city of Amritsar where the poll waves are hot.  The strokeless wonder on debut [remember the way he was playing when Lloyd’s West Indies toured India immediately after their defeat in WC 1983] who exploded to Sixer Sidhu by 1987 WC is moving door to door campaigning for the contestant at Amritsar East Constituency is his wife  Dr. Navjot Kaur Sidhu. 

The variance is there to be seen and observed – of the Five States – the elections at Manipur is over on Jan 28 (single phase); Punjab & Uttarakhand go to polls today; it would March 3 at Goa – whereas in Uttar Pradesh it will be 7 phase affair starting on Feb 8th and ending on 3rd of March – the fate of political parties would be known after March 6, 2012, which is day of counting of votes. 

Historically, Punjabi voters have sought change every five years.  It has been rotation of power  between the Congress and the Akali Dal. In 2007, the Akali Dal was given the baton and now it appears to be the turn of the Congress. More so because there is a third political front, a breakaway faction led by a cousin of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal — Manpreet Singh Badal, who was Finance Minister in the Akali Dal government till some time ago.  Anti-incumbency factor had played havoc to the fortunes of many ruling parties in different State and this appears to be consistent in Punjab from 1967.  Manpreet Badal’s Punjab People’s Party (PPP)-led Sanjha Morcha is contesting all the 117 seats in the state. He himself is contesting from two assembly seats – Gidderbaha and Maur.   The leaders of Akali Dal,  the father-son duo – Prakash Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal –  are facing several corruption accusations. They are accused of having built big stakes in the transport, liquor and sand mining businesses during the past five years when they ruled the state. They are accused of monopolising the state’s cable distribution network. And two weeks ago, Sukhbir Singh Badal, also known as CEO of the Punjab government, was accused of seeking a Rs 1 crore bribe from a senior IAS officer. If you feel that the allegations and actions are more or less similar in your State also – it is your own reading !!!

Elsewhere on the hills of Manipur – the assurance of EC for a peaceful poll came a cropper – high turnout @ 82% is reported but worrying is the news of killing of 7 persons including a CRPF jawan and four poll officials. It is reported that a suspected NSCN(IM) militant entered a booth at Thampi polling station in Chandel constituency and  there were killings inside the booth.  Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, is eyeing a third term in office in Manipur. 

At Uttarakhand 63 lakh electorate is to decide the fate of 788 candidates in 70 assembly constituencies.  Top state leaders, including chief minister B C Khanduri from Kotdwar, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank from Doiwala, leader of opposition Harak Singh Rawat from Rudraprayag and PCC chief Yashpal Arya from Baajpur seats will try their luck at the polls.

Those who follow Indian Politics keenly would remember that filing of candidates with same / similar sounding names, filing of nomination by dissidents, filing by large no. of candidates have all plagued conduct of elections and when there are larger no. of candidates in the fray, the printing, mapping, folding and placing the ballot sheets caused big trouble to EC Officials.  Now, the elections are through Electronic voting machines (EVM) – and in a recent ruling Delhi High Court noted that even though they are not tamperproof, EVMs are the backbone of our election process.  Certainly reverting to paper ballots is going to cost the Nation a fortune making the process more cumbersome and tedious.   In the recent past, Election Commission has assumed control and generally are impartial in conducting the largest voting exercise in the world with fairness.

So from a month now, there could be new rulers !!

****  - some Sidhuisms !!! – one liners from the mouth of colourful Navjot Singh Sidhu

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Battle of Grunters at Melbourne

It is quipped that if you are to watch the finals, you would better press the mute button first.  The Australian Women’s Finals is touted as ‘battle of grunters”

At Adelaide, Michael Clarke set up an improbable 500 as the target for the struggling Indians and there is little to write about.  At Melbourne, the Tournament is heading for a close finish.  If you can recall last year it was Novak Djokovic, Kim Clijsters, Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan – who won the title in Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Mens Doubles last year.

The finalists in the woman are spotted and it was reported that she has  been practising her victory dance moves, just in case.  She has not dropped a set yet and has dropped only 12 games so far in the tournament. She is as mindful as anyone of what lies ahead  and if she were to win, she is like to unveil a few dance moves -   that is Victoria Azarenka, the girl from Belarus who is to meet Russian beauty Maria Sharpova  in the ‘battle of grunters”.  Sharapova will play her sixth Grand Slam final, Azarenka her first.

There are repots that decibel counters set up at Melbourne Park this week have measured Azarenka's wail at 91.4, while Sharapova is understood to have reached 98. At her peak, the Russian has been recorded at an ear-splitting 105.

If you are wondering what this all about, ‘grunting’ in tennis refers to the loud noise, sometimes described as "shrieking" or "screaming", made by some players during their strokes. It is prominent in women's tennis but also exists in men's tennis. Monica Seles and Jimmy Connors are often credited with starting the "grunt" in tennis in the female and male games respectively.  The other practitioners of the art includes Serenas, Sharpova, Dementieva, Azarenka, Nadal and Djokovic. 

Azarenka was the first to reach the Finals defeating 11th seed Kim Clijsters reaching her first career Grand Slam final. Sharapova, the 2008 champion, joined Azarenka in the final after a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory over No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. It was a baseline battle that didn’t necessarily have the contrast in styles that will make for compelling tennis.

Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer  and would play the winner of rematch of last year’s finals – Novak Djokovic playing Andy Murray.  The folks have been friends for more than 14 years now and have played head on each other not  many a times.  In their 10 grandslam matches, Nadal has won 8 times and won in four sets  covering the baseline with incredible speed and hitting forehand winners from almost impossible angles.  They have played more times and have won  26 majors between them. 

Grunters or tigerperches are fishes in the family Terapontidae.  They are found in shallow coastal waters in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific, where they live in saltwater, brackish and freshwater habitats. When caught, grunters make the characteristic grunting sounds that give them their name.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Manipur goes to Polls on 28th Jan 2012

In the biggest democracy – 5 states are to go to polls.  In India, we have a quasi Federal Government – elected officials at the National, State and local levels – the Head of the Govt., the Prime Minister as also the Chief Minister gets elected by the Majority party.   Soon, we will have new Chief Ministers (or the earlier ones with new mandate) in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh

There are lots of comments on the EC order of suitably covering the statues of elephants and statues of Ms Mayawati constructed in public places at government expenses. The Model Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates envisages providing a level playing field for all political parties and candidates at an election.  There are instructions that images & photos of CM / PM / Ministers etc., are not to be displayed in Govt building and premises as that could potentially disturb the level playing field.  Though one tends to ask whether other things – say cycles would be so covered ?   It remains a fact that these statues of elephants are not symbolic of the mammoth mammals of genre – Elephas & Loxodonta but are sought to depict the election symbol of BSP – erected in public places incurring huge expenditure. The EC has clarified that continued display at public places would be  violative of the spirit of the Model Code.

India has such wide and culture that people at one State may not fully understand the  traits of another State.  Manipur, in North Eastern India has Imphal as its capital.  It is bounded by Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam and borders Burma to the east.   There are many ethnic groups and Manipuri (Meiteilon) is the lingua franca of the State.  Earlier foreigners entering Manipur were required to possess Restricted Area Permit, which has been relaxed now.   Manipur has river basins and good water resources.  The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills.  Besides the other religions practiced, Gaudiya Vaishnavism is also predominant.  It is a religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In the 2007 Elections, INC won 30 of the 60 seats.  For the first time, the 62-year old Election Commission has ordered the photographing of all voters of Manipur on January 28, when the State goes to the polls, in order to prevent rigging and impersonation.  Manipur has an electorate of 16,77,270 spread over 60 constituencies.  The Polling is to take place on Jan 28, 2012 and a total of 279 candidates are in the fray.   The main parties who have put up candidates in the polls are Congress (60), Trinamool Congress (48), Manipur State Congress Party (31), CPI (24), NCP (22), BJP (19) and Manipur People's Party (14) among others.

As the State goes to Poll – it appears that there is no dearth of money at Manipur as seen from the assets declared by various contestants.  It is reported that a total of 33 millionaires are in the fray.  Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s assets jumped to a whopping 1,079 percent from Rs 6 lakhs in 2007 to Rs 71 lakhs this year.  Still, there are feelings that this does not appropriately reflect his wealth as he is said to possess properties in places like Goa, Bangalore and Gurgaon.  Congressman and the state’s Information and Tourism Minister TN Haokip has made the biggest leap during his recent five-year stint. His property jumped from a paltry Rs 29.7 lakh to a whopping Rs 9.77 crore in 2012.

Trinamool Congress’s Khagda Bahadur claims to be penniless. 

There are further reports that the  two main contenders for Khurai Assembly seat are the same and the only difference is they have switched sides this time. Nothing uncommon in the volatile politics of Manipur but will it bring a change of fortune?   Here,  there is a straight fight between sitting MLA N Bijoy Singh of ruling Congress and Ningthoujam Bihari Singh of opposition Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP).  The bitter political rivals have swapped sides.  Meantime, the statement of Union home secretary RK Singh, that Indian insurgent groups based in the neighbouring country were planning to create disturbances in the coming elections in Manipur,  is a matter of grave concern.  The home secretary raised the issue at the 17th national level meeting between the two countries at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar. To trace the recipients of arms smuggled into India, Singh requested Myanmar to share interrogation reports of arms smugglers arrested by Myanmar security forces.
It is the responsibility of the Govt to suppress such forces and ensure a free and fair polling, which only will do good to the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Third Q Monetary Policy of RBI

Economics is difficult to understand and strange are the ways of the Press when it comes to publishing it in their own perspective !  The Third quarter Monetary Policy of Reserve Bank of India is being hotly debated upon.  Though I do not understand it in is depth, we for sure know that it is to impact us in the months to come, especially on the financial side.

Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interestfor the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability.  In India, it is done by Reserve Bank of India.  The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment. Monetary theory provides insight into how to craft optimal monetary policy. It could be by increasing the total supply of money or constricting other things. 

You know this condition as also the term – but perhaps may not relate them with ease.  In Economics, Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.  A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index (normally the Consumer Price Index) over time.  To put it simply “inflation means that your money won’t buy as much today as you could yesterday. ”

RBI wanted the Govt to deregulate diesel prices in order to contain the trade deficit, which is expected to widen to $160 billion during the current fiscal.   The petrol prices are market-linked, the government decides the rates of LPG, kerosene and diesel, which usually results in a large budgetary expenditure on subsidies.  Largely the response for the 3rd Quarter review of Monetary policy appears to be not so welcome.    As RBI wants to put is, the  Annual Policy for 2011-12 is set in conditions significantly different from those a year ago. Last year’s policy was made in an environment of incipient domestic recovery and uncertainty about the state of the global economy. While signs of inflation were visible, they were driven primarily by food items. Nonetheless, there was a clear risk of food price pressures spilling over into more generalised inflation, as the recovery consolidated and domestic resource utilisation rose to levels which stretched capacities. Throughout last year, the goal of monetary policy was to nurture the recovery in the face of persistent global uncertainty, while trying to contain the spill-over of supply side inflation.

This suggests growth will slow down even more if investment activity, that has already slowed significantly , stays depressed. The signs are ominous. Corporate investment in new projects fell sharply on a sequential basis during the second quarter of 2011-12 . The resultant impact on growth could have been mitigated had government stepped in with higher capital spending.   The Govt. would struggle as there is likely to be a mounting revenue deficit and constrain the capacity for capital spending. 

First Post reports that 79 is the number of times the  RBI  mentions “inflation” in the press release and in  contrast, “growth” is mentioned 68 times (10 times in reference to global, not local, growth). – this is sought to be exhibited as a clue on where the focus of RBI lies !!

In his statement, RBI Governor D Subbarao acknowledged that declining food prices are a seasonal trend and unlikely to last. The sharp decline in food prices in the past few weeks could be attributed to sharp declines in onion, potato and vegetable prices, which account for less than 3 percent of the WPI.   Fuel inflation came in at a high 14.9 percent in December. Currently, oil marketing companies have refrained from hiking fuel prices because of upcoming state assembly elections and the prices could be hiked immediately after the elections.   When the government’s fiscal deficit (the gap between government revenues and expenditure) widens, it has to resort to borrowings from the capital markets, which reduces the level of funds for the private sector and increases the cost of capital as well.

The expectation of RBI is fall in inflation to 7% by March from the 7.47$ present and there may not be much easing of monetary policy.   The reduction in CRR by 50 bps to 5.5% is not greatly welcomed though; the Repo and Reverse Repo remain unchanged.  The interpretation of the monetary policy is sought to be represented as no reining of inflation but squeezing of demand which could be painful for the growth.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Australian Open - (Women Singles) - Semi finalists spotted

At Adelaide, Australians amassed runs and pushed India to the brink – now another defeat threat looms large and India will have to score 400+ to avoid a follow-on and an Innings defeat.  If only the famed batting line up battles at least once, we should be through – remember the batting line up has remained unchanged despite the reverses and there is some gloom lit large.

At Melbourne, the Australian Open is on and the Semi line up in women is set-up, somewhat not on expected lines.   Kim Clijsters battled through searing heat and an ongoing ankle injury to reach the semi-finals with a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win over Dane Caroline Wozniacki.   She meets Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who fought back to defeat Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7 (0-7) 6-0 6-2.  one cannot hazard any guess on whether the injury torn Clijsters would last through, though she is displaying fine form.

On the other half, there were not many surprises as Second seed Petra Kvitova and fourth seed Maria Sharapova have reached their appointed positions.  The dream run of Ekaterina Makarova  ended with  Maria Sharapova defeating her  in straight sets 6-2, 6-3  this morning.  The unseeded Makarova, had earlier bundled out  an erratic Serena Williams in straight sets on Monday. Kvitova meanwhile defeated 24-year-old opponent Sara Errani, ranked No.48- it was a battle of contrasting heights as Errani, only 164cm herself, played the 182cm opponent Petra Kvitova.

In the QF earlier Kim Clijsters  sent packing  the top seed Caroline Wozniacki.  Third seed Victoria Azarenka has broken through the brick wall that is Agnieszka Radwanska to progress to the semifinals of a major for just the second time in her career.  Azarenka fought back from a set behind after getting whitewashed in the tiebreak to dominate the next two sets, running away with a 6-7(0) 6-2 6-0 win. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Serena sent packing by little known Makarova

One may not readily recognize her seeing this photo.

 She is - Ekaterina Valeryevna Makarova 23 years of age with career ranking  of 56 recently.   She is creating waves in Australian Open -  In the 2nd round she defeated #25 seed Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-2. In the 3rd round she defeated #7 seed Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (7), 6-1. In the Round of 16 she achieved  the biggest win of her career when she defeated #12 seed and 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the first Grand Slam Quarterfinal of her career where she will face #4 seed and former champion Maria Sharapova.

So Russians are destroying Americans, at least in Australia !! - It was a straight set defeat handed over to the flamboyant Serena Williams.   The five-time Australian Open champion was expected to make light work of Russia's Makarova but found herself on the wrong end of an upset as the heat seemed to sap her energy.   Williams had won her last 17 matches at Melbourne Park, lasting losing to Jelena Jankovic in 2008, but couldn't get going and made 37 unforced errors on her way to a disappointing defeat.

The 56th-ranked Makarova will now face compatriot Maria Sharapova in her first Grand Slam quarter-final and admitted she was happy just to have got the better of Williams.  Williams came into the tournament with a badly-injured left ankle that forced her to pull out of a warmup tournament in Brisbane two weeks ago. On Monday, she appeared to be moving well, but made 37 unforced errors and had her service broken while trying to stay in the match.

In the Men’s section, Japanese Kei Nishikori notched another mark  by becoming  the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open since the Open Era began in 1968 with an exhausting 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

the Adelaide Oval - Will India salvage some pride ?

Heard of Cameroon and its star player Roger Milla ?  As India kept losing – it is 7 tests in a row Overseas now, one thought there could be a major shake up.  Here is something interesting on what teams do to get the winning streak away from practicing, strategizing and et al.   Read my earlier post on this : 
Adelaide  is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide is a coastal city situated on the eastern shores of Gulf St Vincent.  Port Adelaide is a suburb of Adelaide lying about 14 kilometres northwest of the City of Adelaide. It lies within the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and is the main port for the city of Adelaide.  The city was founded in 1836 and was planned as the capital for British province in Australia; named  after Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.  Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (Adelaide Amelia Louise Theresa Caroline; 1792 –  1849) was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and of Hanover as spouse of William IV of the United Kingdom.  Going by our practice, we should be organizing rallies for changing the name of this place in to some local sounding name, if this were to be in IndiaAdelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food, wine and culture, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist's World's Most Liveable Cities index in 2010. 
One thing that flummoxes me often is why the cricket grounds are not of uniform size and shape ?    The Adelaide Oval is one of cricket's most picturesque Test venues. The ground opened in 1873 amid bitter local disputes over boundaries and money.  In 1884-85 it staged its first Test. . In 1932-33, the Bodyline affair reached its nadir at The Oval when Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield were struck, and on the third day mounted police patrolled to keep the 50, 962 spectators in order.  The ground is a true oval, which makes straight sixes a rarity but ones square of the wicket more common. 

This morning Australia won the toss in supposedly batsman-friendly Adelaide Oval pitch.  India plays almost the same team – Ashwin coming in for Vinay kumar and Saha made to play for the banned Dhoni.  For a change, Australians are 98/3 at lunch.  Yes they have lost 3 wickets and two of them to Ashwin. For Aussie, the offspinner Nathan Lyon  who was part of groundstaff att he venue last summer is playing;   Mitchell Starc was named 12th man.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Cameroon relies on juju - What will restore Indian glory ?

The last time he played at Adelaide, Virender Sehwag was on a roll – much water has flowed since.  India surrendered meekly at Perth and not many heads are going to roll – Dhoni is out by force and not by any choice.  Prasanna Wriddhiman Saha will fill his boot – but whether he will allow the commentator to pronounce him fully remains to be seen !  Loss after loss – more humiliation, folding without fight – what will make the dressing room come out of feel good factor – there are Managers, Coaches and more out there – the main problem appears to be players also returning too soon rather than be out in the middle.  Vice-captain Virender Sehwag,whose position in the team  itself has become debatable is going to lead in the Final Test – more than a bit confused on what would be his role.  Will it be assertive, hard grind, raising the morale or salvaging pride by playing out for a draw at least.   

A couple of days back,  there was a report on whether a section is too harsh on VVS Laxman – no doubt he had played some good knocks but should anybody be allowed to take their place for granted and that should apply to all Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Kohli, Dhoni and anyone else – if one fails in 4 innings, he should not be a certainty in the next test.  Some may tend to ask whether Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Manoj Tiwari or somebody else would have done better – for sure if they had performed similarly, they would not have played at Perth and no questions of Adelaide !

A legend need not be as big as the other….. in 1990 FIFA at Italy, there was a player from a lesser known country who caught eveybody’s attention by the goal scored and the jiggle after that – that was Roger Milla.   Albert Roger Mooh Miller,  played for Cameroon as a striker and soon became a major star – he achieved this stardom at 38 years of age by which most would have retired.  Against Columbia he scored a goal from far helping Cameroon to reach Quarter Finals.  His trademark celebration was that of running to corner flag and dance. 

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon  is a country in west Central Africa;  bordered by Nigeria, Chad, Congo and more.  The country is called "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity.  Football spellbinds the Nation and they are Africa’s most successful side, having qualified for  FIFA World Cup six times.  They have also won four Africa Cup of Nations titles.

Football fans over there are gearing up for the African Cup of Nations, held every two years.   There is an interesting BBC report on  the continued use of supposedly magic charms by players and officials in Cameroon.   In Cameroon, football is favourite sport attracting huge crowds.  It is not the game, the players, the goal alone – behind  the scenes marabouts - or juju men - also claim credit.  Armed, they say, with supernatural powers, these witchdoctors prepare charms that they believe will help propel teams to victory and confuse opponents.

There are a number of ways that football charms can be administered. Palm oil, popularly known in Cameroon as manyanga, could be rubbed on the ankles or kola nuts, another charm, could be given to players to eat.  In other cases, the players may be asked to jump over a bonfire before the game. Or players may be nicked in the ankles with a razor blade and black powder rubbed into the wounds. Then they would be given rules such as not shaking hands with anybody before the encounter or entering the field by walking backwards.  In the past even more extreme practices were undertaken in the name of football success.  It was very common to hear that players of a team had gone camping in a graveyard the night before an important game.

The objective was to harness some invisible force from the departed. The juju man would assure the players not to panic if they heard a noise or felt a touch in the dark as this could be the "ghost" filling their boots with supernatural powers.  While many believe that such witchcraft is dying out, the Menchum Voice newspaper in Cameroon recently reported on the practice at a local football cup final. Michel Zoah, Cameroon's minister of sport and physical education, faced questions from members of parliament about the dismal performance of the national side, nicknamed the Indomitable Lions, at South Africa's World Cup in 2010.  The report also recalls that during one of Cameroon's local cup finals in 1975, the goalkeeper of Aigles of Nkongsamba came onto the pitch with a live eagle.  A traditional healer was quoted as stating ‘European players take drugs to improve their performance. We Africans do not have access to drugs. We've got a third eye and traditional concoctions that scientific tests cannot detect”.  It could take more than magic charms to restore Cameroon football to its former glory.

And perhaps it requires something of such a magic charm to make the present Indian Team regain its lost glory

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ranji Update – Adelaide Expectation and Empty prattle.

With the Indian reverses down under, I thought of following my own State’s fortune in the premier domestic tournament – the Ranji Trophy. 

TN had many favourable factors – it has a mature leader; many star performers, Mukund, Vijay, Badri, Dinesh Karthik, Balaji have all played for the Nation and they were playing at their home turf against an opponents where the notable names were Akash Chopra and Kanitkar – an easy prey of an opposition one thought and a golden opportunity to repeat what was achieved way back in 1987-88 by S. Vasudevan. 

Who calls India poor country ?  There are waiting crowds at Gold shops; people keep buying at malls; airports are busy, share market sees huge volumes of trade  - the prize money for the Ranji Elite winner is a whopping 2 crore – even the losing Semi finalists get 50 lakhs each !!

The whole of the first day, TN could not dislodge a single batsman as Akash Chopra and little known Vineet Saxena grounded to dust – the second day was marginally better – two wickets fell as Rajasthan moved ahead at snail’s pace.  Vineet Saxena remained unconquered for the second successive day  as he completed his double ton.   People started criticizing the approach of Rajasthan telling that their batting lacked stroke play and positivity and that they were hell bent upon simple staying on an unthreatening dead pitch.  It was only patience as only 15 runs were scored in the first hour.  Eventually they were all out for 621. 

It appears that the rule for the Ranji finals is that it the team’s first innings is incomplete, the winner will be decided on the run rate, provided the team batting second had played at least 30 overs – this seemed probable at least in the minds of Tamil Nadu supporters. 

Incidentally, the 1981-82 final between Delhi and Karnataka, played in Delhi, was extended to the sixth day, to enable the hosts to gain a first-innings lead.  GR Viswanath, the Karnataka captain, elected to bat, a decision that proved appropriate as the visitors went on to amass 705. In reply Delhi could not gain the lead even at the end of the final day's play. But in an unprecedented move, play was extended to the sixth day, and a little before tea, Delhi, under Mohinder Amarnath, scored 707 for 8. By virtue of their first-innings lead, Delhi emerged winners on March 29, 1982, the extra day.
All that went up as things were totally different when it was TN’s turn to bat.  On the same day, when Rajasthan scored that massive score, TN lost 3 wickets – those 3 who had played for India in recent past.  Dinesh Karthik offered some resistance but his century was not good enough as the visitors gained a massive 326 run first innings lead.  Hrishikesh Kanitkar did not enforce the follow on and the last day's play is only a formality before the presentation ceremony begins.

Down under the National Team would battle it out at Adelaide Oval tomorrow (Jan 24) trying to save another whitewash threat that is looming large.   It is less than a month since we started our campaign at Melbourne on Boxing day and the circle of ignominy is complete.  Now there are catcalls for dropping the famed middle order.  Tomorrow there will be no Dhoni but stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag whose place itself is other questionable.  The first task would be play the Test to its full 5 days.    Prasanna Wriddhiman Saha is now talked about a quality gloveman – he has got his place in the absence of Dhoni  Ashwin is certain to come back in the place of Vinaykumar who was thrashed all over the park.  Ponting is 81 short of 13000 runs in Test cricket.

There are some reports in newspapers attributed to Gambhir – his calling for  "rank turners" to be prepared in India for visiting teams  - nothing would prevent the host in playing to their strengths and this has happened before.  But that would never be a solace for the poor performances continuously on tours.  More then losing the present bunch has played it so badly that they are not entering the 4th day of the match and we have faltered against the not-so-fearsome attacks.   It is only the frustration that is flowing out.  There was another statement of Gambhir stating that he puts a lot of premium on his side doing well here — more than even the elusive 100th international hundred of Sachin Tendulkar.  This needs not be overstated at all as the National and Team’s interest should any day be a priority that any individual milestones and 100th 100 is in fact no milestone at all – as it combines 2 different forms of cricket, conveniently ignoring the 3rd format, as Sachin played only 1 in that. 

It is time when Indian players make statement only with their performance putting back their dismal displays and vowing to play with dedication.  Runs scored, wickets taken and the result of the match would be the only indicators and no amount of rhetoric by anyone takes us anywhere !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Remembering Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose

Dear (s)  -  Today is 23rd January – a day of National importance !

Give Me Blood! I Promise You Freedom!! – thundered this Great man who valiantly fought the British.    He made a call the Indians stating that  ‘British are engaged in a worldwide struggle and in the course of this struggle they have suffered defeat after defeat on so many fronts. The enemy having been thus considerably weakened, our fight for liberty has become very much easier than it was five years ago. Such a rare and Godgiven opportunity comes once in a century. That is why we have sworn to fully utilise this opportunity for liberating our motherland from the British yoke.’  -  thus started his speech at the rally of Indians in  Burma, July 4, 1944.

Today after 63 years of Independence the politicians have changed totally – they are extraordinary now.. there are no rules that apply to them.  The society has changed too.  A common man apprehended by police for a petty crime suffers and his family is looked down but the same Society  no longer treats as outcasts those who have harmed the society or its constituent people.  They are not ostracized, they do not live with any stigma but instead only consolidate their position in their parties and become stronger.  Are the political parties alone to be blamed for this conjecture ?  Can we take a vow in life that we will never have any links nor show any respect to the corrupt politicians ?  There is clamour within the party to assign bigger roles for those who come out prison on bail ! – is jail record a badge of honour ?   It is reported that the prime accused in Commonwealth Games scandal who was released on bail has been offered take back his job as the chief of the Indian Olympic Association.

This is a Nation where thousands of people suffered brutally at the hands of British.   There was the Jalianwalabagh.  There were hundreds of other incidents too – one such involved the man who was born at Chennimalai.  Kumaraswamy Mudaliar was hardly 28 when he led a march against the colonial Govt on 11th Jan 1932.  He died of injuries of police assault – for he was carrying the Indian Nationalists flag which had been banned by the British – he is better known as Tirupur Kumaran and Kodi Katha Kumaran. 

Those who participated in such moments and who were arrested incarcerated underwent untold sufferings….  These days there are reports of everything from cell phone to choice delicacies available inside the prison and yet these unscrupulous elements get more recognition in a civil society.

The ones in the first para were the  famous words of one of the greatest sons of  Mahan Bharat  -  Subhas Chandra Bose – whose birth anniversary falls today.

Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but resigned from the post following ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhi. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of nonviolence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance.  Interestingly, he was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn.The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards though this provision was added in the January 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been ten posthumous awards, including the award to Subhash Chandra Bose in 1992, which was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

Remembering the great leader Nethaji..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Remembering the bravest of all – Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose

Remembering the bravest of all – Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose

[A message circulated to my friends on 23rd Jan 2008 
and posted on my blog now !]
Dear (s)
Give Me Blood! I Promise You Freedom!!   The British are engaged in a worldwide struggle and in the course of this struggle they have suffered defeat after defeat on so many fronts. The enemy having been thus considerably weakened, our fight for liberty has become very much easier than it was five years ago. Such a rare and God-given opportunity comes once in a century. That is why we have sworn to fully utilise this opportunity for liberating our motherland from the British yoke.  The first phase of our campaign is over. Our victorious troops, fighting side by side with Nipponese troops, have pushed back the enemy and are now fighting bravely on the sacred soil of our dear motherland.

Gird up your loins for the task that now lies ahead. I had asked you for men, money and materials. I have got them in generous measure. Now I demand more of you. Men, money and materials cannot by themselves bring victory or freedom. We must have the motive-power that will inspire us to brave deeds and heroic exploits.

It will be a fatal mistake for you to wish to live and see India free simply because victory is now within reach. No one here should have the desire to live to enjoy freedom. A long fight is still in front of us.  We should have but one desire today- the desire to die so that India may live- the desire to face a martyr's death, so that the path to freedom may be paved with the martyr's blood.

Friend's! my comrades in the War of Liberation! Today I demand of you one thing, above all. I demand of you blood. It is blood alone that can avenge the blood that the enemy has spilt. It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I promise you freedom.

 Excerpts of speech addressed at a rally of Indians in Burma, July 4, 1944.  There are very famous words of one of the greatest sons of MAHA BHARAT. Yes, it is Subhas Chandra Bose – whose birth anniversary falls today.Subhas Chandra Bose, (Bengali: সুভাষ চন্দ্র বসু, (January 23, 1897 – presumably August 18, 1945 [although this is disputed],  very popularly known as Netaji (lit. "Respected Leader"), was one of the most prominent and highly respected leaders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Raj.

Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but resigned from the post following ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhi. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times. 

His stance did not change with the outbreak of the second world war, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he fled India and travelled to the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan seeking an alliance with the aim of attacking the British in India. With Japanese assistance he re-organised and later led the Indian National Army, formed from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Malaya, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, regrouped and led the Indian National Army to battle against the allies in Imphal & Burma during the World War II
His political views and the alliances he made with Nazi and other militarist regimes opposed to the British Empire have been the cause of arguments among historians and politicians, with some accusing him of Fascist sympathies and of Quislingist actions, while most others in India largely sympathetic towards his inculcation of realpolitik as a manifesto that guided his social and political choices. He is believed to have died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash over Taiwan. However, contradictory evidence exists regarding his death in the accident.

Interestingly, do you know that he was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn. Unlike knights, holders of the Bharat Ratna carry no special title nor any other honorifics, but they do have a place in the Indian order of precedence. The award was established by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, on January 2, 1954. The honour has been awarded to forty persons, a list which includes two non-Indians and a naturalized Indian citizen.

The order was established by Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of India, on January 2, 1954. The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards though this provision was added in the January 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been ten posthumous awards, including the award to Subhash Chandra Bose in 1992, which was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

A Nation loving Citizen - S Sampathkumar

Netaji statue at Marina beach

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tamil Nadu in tatters at Chepauk

Tamilnadu had the home advantage and had senior players – a win was almost on the cards.  When Rajasthan played, they played too slowly at snail’s pace frustrating everyone, mostly the spectators – it seemed they were intent on making the match dead and the pitch appeared lifeless.

Rajasthan has a relatively inexperienced and ordinary bowling attack.  Rituraj Rajeev Singh has played 3 matches but has taken 22 wickets and his two today virtually sealed Tamilnadu’s fate.   On the same dead track where Rajasthan grounded TN to dust, TN batsmen were all at sea to Pankaj and Rajeev Singh. 

In the post-tea session, Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund both of whom have played for India opened and the first over of Pankaj Singh was eventless.  In the second Rituraj struck with a good length delivery trapping Mukund for a duck.   In the 7th over Pankaj Singh had S Badrinath for 6.  In the 10th Murali Vijay also walked back caught behind of RR Singh again.

Now at 65 for 3, the result is almost certain.  Rajasthan have retained the Ranji Trophy this year……………….  Hats Off to an Ordinary team who believed in themselves. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

the dull drudgery of Ranji Finals - TN Vs Rajasthan

Not many would be following the present finals of Ranji Trophy between Tamilnadu and Rajasthan played at Chepauk, which has become a great disadvertisement for cricket.  Played to empty stands, even when there is no entry fee – the premier tournament has driven people away.  This is no statement on the dull drudgery of Rajasthan inching way to 404 in 180 overs.  Nothing wrong with them – simply they want to ensure that they do not lose and if Tamilnadu is not capable of taking more than 2 wickets, they cannot be blamed.  But the blame would lie squarely on the Board, the persons incharge of Cricket administration at Various club levels, ex-players involved with the team, the managers and host of other officials – who are all making money bleeding the game to its desperation.  

Vineet Saxena and Akash Chopra cross
Pic courtesy :

Ranji is the Premier annual tournament having 15 teams in the Elite division and 12 teams in plate division.  Elites are divided into 2 groups and matches are played on round robin league.  The top 3 teams qualify for knock out.  Plate is 2 group of 6 teams each.  6 teams from Elite and 2 teams from Plate play the Knock out leading to the Finals.  Only the Finals is 5 day affair of 6 hours of play each day.   Teams consists of  15 Players accompanied by a Physio and Trainer apart from the Coach and Manager

And do you know the Prize money at stake ………….  Imagine… even your wildest of the imaginations could be way off the mark.  [source BCCI : ]  Drink a cup of water.  The losing Semi finalists get 50 lakhs each; the losing Finalist gets 1 crore and the Winner takes a purse of 2 Crore !!!!!!!!!!!   The winner of Duleep trophy get 15 lakhs; Irani 10 lakhs.  Senior Womens One day trophy winner gets 3 lakhs !!

For ages, it is becoming an unwritten rule that Toss is the most vital.  You win the toss, bat first without hesitation, amass runs mostly by staying put, wear down the opponent and mostly win by First innings lead.   My memory takes back to the finals in 1981/82  at Delhi in March 1982 – a 5 day match.  Karnataka played first.  Roger Michael H Binny scored 115; Brijesh Patel 124, stylish Sudhakar Rao 71, Kirmani 116, Ranjit Kanwilkar 116 – as they were all out after 255 overs making 705.

Ranjit Kanwilkar,  an all-rounder was only 21 and was considered to be an exciting prospect.  Years later  he was among the many dead in an accident when coaches fell into lake Ashtamudi Kayal in July 1988.    Island Express was running between Bangalore and Kanyakumari.  Delhi bowling was in the hands of Madanlal, Mohinder Amarnath,  Maninder (who went for 204 runs), Shukla and Kirti Azad.  Chasing  706 is certainly daunting though Delhi had other plans.  Raman Lamba scored 36, Gursharan Singh made 101; Surinder Amarnath fell cheaply.  Kirti Azad,  Surinder Khanna, Madanlal all made useful runs – Mohinder was rock steady and made 185.  At one stage Delhi were 589 for 8 -  116 short……….   Shulka made an unbeaten 69 and Rajesh Peter made 67 in an unbroken stand  as Delhi took the lead.  Hapless  Binny, Khanvilkar, Vijaykrishna, Raghuram Bhat all went for 100 +   As there was no rule for unfinished match, the match went into the sixth day enabling the hosts to gain first innings lead and mercifully stopped at that. 

At Chepauk at end of day 2, Vineet Saxena remained unconquered for the second successive day as he notched his career-best score and became the 21st batsman to score a double-century in a Ranji Trophy final, breaking the drought after fourteen years.   There has been some criticism on the Team on their 2+ per over run rate but it was patience which subdued performance on these 2 days.   Chopra could not complete his century and only 15 runs were scored in the first hour.  TN cannot criticize the opposition but only blame themselves for the poor bowling, absence of any strategy and surrendering meekly.

Understand that the Rules state that in the  event of incomplete first innings, the winner will be decided on the run rate, provided the team batting second plays at least 30 overs.

As I post this now, Rajasthan were finally all out for 621  with J Kaushik (3), Aushik Srinivas (4), Sunny Gupta (3) taking wickets.  Aushik Srinivas gave 192 in 85 overs while Balaji and Yo Mahesh went wicketless.  Now what will Tamilnadu do and what will be their game plan ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.