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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

remembering Dr APJ - honouring his Dreams !!!

Dr APJ – a day after his death, it is more sinking …  a google search ‘Dr Abdul Kalam’  on autocomplete shows – Abdul Kalam – house, history, biography, speech – do it on any other name, you will find the difference on how clean and simple he has been ……..

As soon as the news of Kalam's death hit the Nation,  as expected- every social media including  Facebook and Twitter were flooded with RIP messages. However, this wave of mourning was strikingly different from the usual waves of RIP updates that course through social media when a famous personality dies.  First strikingly – nothing negative – exhibiting the fact that this man perhaps had no enemies at all !!! ….. the  RIP messages were accompanied by anecdotes - some personal, some second-hand, some remembered from books and speeches. These were real stories, not just Googled quotes. Another amazing feature was many multitudes have pictured themselves with the great Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the noble Bharat Ratna man.   Many have recalled  how Kalamji, during their brief interactions didn't seem like a political figure with a huge presidential chip on his shoulder.

Abdul Kalam Sir,  began his career as a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was truly an aam aadmi icon, much before aam aadmi became a vote-bait. We have had leaders who used the history of their humble beginnings as political tools - to lure voters, to accuse the opposition of nursing biases, to suggest that the aam aadmi too can aim for the kind of power they have amassed.

Amidst all the melee, how much of his message we are taking forward is the important Q –  there was a time when the Scientist turned ex-President of the Nation visited the nuclear facility at Kudankulam and declared that was safe for the Nation.  A group of arrogant self-styled activists had the audacity to question his understanding and commitment to this nuclear facility  stating that he was not a nuclear scientist and almost all politicians remained dumb without asking what was the qualification of those questioning him. 

A friend of mine wrote of his desire to have a college at his birth place – the island of Rameswaram and wondered whether the Govt of India and Tamilnadu State would take initiative.   Kalam breathed desire for children and their development through education throughout his life.  Ramanathapuram district has one of the lowest literacy rates in the state of Tamil Nadu and Rameswaram, following the district statistics has a lower literacy rate.  It is stated that there are a couple of Government high schools, one each for boys and girls.  There are seven other schools namely,  of which he studied at  ‘ Mandapam Panchayat Union  school’  at Traders street.   I had taken a photo of this school during my visit in 2011.  

Alagappa University Evening College is  stated to be the only college present in the town and all the nearest colleges are located in Ramanathapuram andParamakudi.  It would be proper to have some good educational institutions built at his place, which would be in tune with what he held closer to his heart.

At Triplicane today, SYMA organised homage – floral tribute – the response was spontaneous – large no. of Triplicanites participating.  This will continue for the while day tomorrow at SYMA medical centre, opp to Bharathiyar illam.

Some photos are placed here

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th July 2015.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nations mourns the passing away of Dr APJ

This simple looking building is justifiably proud – for it was here the great person, eternally simple, Dr APJ studied at Rameswaram.

Every one of us would  rever ‘Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam’ for his many facets of a   a renowned aerospace engineer, Professor, Chancellor, President of India, man with a noble mind, clean habits, straight talks, his love to children, his inspirational writings and more.  By awarding Bharat Ratna to him, the Nation  rejoiced.   

He was a certain role model to every Indian citizen and his words have been  so inspirational.  He once said about teaching : -  “  To enable development of youth first and foremost, the teacher’s love for teaching is essential, with teaching as the soul of the teacher. The teacher must realize that they are responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youth who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. ………. Teacher should celebrate the success of the students”

Sad to read that our former President APJ Abdul Kalam is no more.  Today, he passed away  at a hospital in Meghalaya, where he had gone to deliver a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong. He was 83.  He died doing what he loved most – teaching - Dr Kalam reportedly collapsed on stage at the IIM at around 6.30 pm  and was rushed to the Bethany hospital. Doctors say he suffered from a massive cardiac arrest.

Dr Kalam was  the 11th President on India between 2002 and 2007.  He hailed from the beautiful holy island of Rameswaram- born  on October 15, 1931, to the family of a boatman.  He played a pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the test by India in 1974.

The Nation is saddened by the death of the missile man – he was rightly awarded Bharat Ratna.  In his passing away, the Nation has a lost a great jewel

With profound sadness

Sunday, July 26, 2015

3 container ships cross new Suez Canal in test run !

The Cape of Good Hope, is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.  Although commonly believed to be the southern tip of Africa, the southern-most tip is stated to be Cape Agulhas.  When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, however, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Thus, the first modern rounding of the cape in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was a milestone in the attempts by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East.

The Suez Canal, is an artificial sea-level waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world's most heavily used shipping lanes. Considered to be the most important waterway, this canal is extensively used by modern ships , as it is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean . Tolls paid by the vessels represent an important source of income for the Egyptian government.

The  artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, was opened in Nov 1869, and allows ships to travel between Europe and eastern Asia without navigating around Africa thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometres.   The Canal runs between Port Said harbor and the Gulf of Suez , through soils which vary according to the region. The navigable channel is bordered by light and reflecting buoys as navigational aids to night traffic. Most of the canal is limited to a single lane of traffic, but the canal has 4 doubled zone with 6 bypasses ( total length 80.5 Km ) located along the Canal, allowing  transit of ships in both directions at these places.

BBC reports that the first cargo ships have passed through Egypt's second Suez Canal, amid tight security, ahead of the new waterway's official opening next month. Construction on the new lane, which runs alongside part of the existing canal, started less than a year ago. The 72km (44 mile) route allows two-way traffic and can accommodate larger vessels. Reports suggest that several container ships from around the world successfully navigated it on Saturday as part of a trial run. Helicopters and naval vessels escorted the ships as part of the security operation.

The Sinai Peninsula, which borders the canal, is a base for Islamic militants, who have killed hundreds of people since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.  The New Suez Canal is the name of a waterway project in Egypt, expanding the existing Suez Canal between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It was launched simultaneously with plans to build six new tunnels under the canal and to transform a 76,000 km2 area on both banks of the canal into an international logistics, commercial and industrial hub that would "create one million jobs".

The enlarged canal will allow ships to sail in both directions at the same time over much of the canal's length. This is expected to decrease waiting hours from 11 to 3 hours for most ships and to double the capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day.  Works across the news 72 km canal involves dry digging, expansion and deep digging.  Six new tunnels for cars and trains are also planned to end the isolation of the Sinai peninsula, connecting it better to the Egyptian heartland.  The construction of the new canal itself was initially scheduled to take five years. It was then first reduced to three years and finally ordered by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to be completed in one year only.

Now according to media reports, the container ships  passed through Egypt's New Suez Canal on Saturday in a test-run before it opens next month, state media reported, 11 months after the army began constructing the $8 billion canal alongside the existing 145-year-old Suez Canal. The new waterway, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will help expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, will be formally inaugurated on Aug. 6. Sisi wants the canal to become a symbol of national pride and to help combat Egypt's double-digit unemployment. The old Suez Canal is already a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, which has seen tourism and foreign investment drain away in the years of turmoil since a 2011 uprising.

Three container ships crossed the new waterway, state news agency MENA reported. One was an American ship heading to Egypt's Port Said from Saudi Arabia, another was a Danish ship sailing to the United States from Singapore, and a Bahraini ship going to Italy from Saudi Arabia.  Egypt deserves all praise for their innovative thinking and execution in such a short period.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th July 2015-07-26

Photo credit : BBC

Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila acquitted by Court !!!

Kapil Dev running backwards to take a great catch getting rid of Viv Richards off the bowling of Madanlal on 25th June 1983 – and this scoop on 24th Sept 2007 remain etched in memories of Indian Cricket lover. 

We have now seen that ‘ who will bowl that last over ’ – umpteen times – having been at the helm for only 22 days Mahendra Singh Dhoni took that crucial decision to go ahead with Joginder Sharma in T 20 no. 46 at New Wanderers.  A finals and the first twist came before toss - Virender Sehwag's name was missing due to a  groin strain – and his replacement  was not Dinesh Karthik -  but Yusuf Pathan,  whom many did not know – and he opened, launched Mohammad Asif for a six and got out !  It was a cracker – 13 off last over.  Misbah on strike – Joginder the bowler, who bowled a poor wide – big one at that ! – then came a dot ball; 19.2 full toss, hit straight back for a six reducing the target to a simple 6 off 4.   Then came that fatal scoop that Misbah would rue for rest of life – moved in, tried hitting over fine leg, ball went up in air and came down into the waiting hands of Santhakumaran Sreesanth, who too became part of history. 

Sreesanth is back in news - charges against Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, who had been chargesheeted by the Delhi Police for the IPL 2013 corruption scandal, were dropped by a trial court in Delhi on Saturday. The court's decision, however, did not have an impact on the life bans imposed by the BCCI on Sreesanth and Chavan. The three were among 42 individuals acquitted by the court on grounds of lack of sufficient evidence for prosecution under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).  The three cricketers were arrested in May-June 2013 for their alleged involvement in betting and spot-fixing during the IPL. While Sreesanth and Chavan were granted bail within a month, Chandila had to spend more than three months in prison before he was released on bail. The BCCI banned Sreesanth and Chavan in September 2013, while Chandila's case is pending before the board's disciplinary committee.

Over these years, life certainly was tough for Sreesanth – the news about him were more of him shaking leg in parties and acting in movies ! and some Quiz Qs like – who took that all important catch in T20 finals in 2007 or who is the only Kerala bowelr to have taken a hat-trick in Ranji.  Sreesanth had seen some Ups and many downs primarily due to his injuries and attitude !  portrayed as one with aggressive approach, a wicket taking bowler once had Sarwan and Brian Lara [for duck] in successive overs.   He is also being remembered for that ‘ slapgate ’ – Harbhajan Singh slapping him in an IPL match.  The biggest shock in his volatile career came when he was among three Rajasthan Royals players arrested in May 2013, along with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, for the alleged fulfilling of promises made to bookmakers in the IPL. In September, the BCCI's disciplinary committee found him guilty of spot-fixing and banned him for life.

Remember that he featured in the famous 100th Test win for India – coming as it did against Sri Lanka in Test no. 1935 at Kanpur in Nov. 2009.  India made 642 (Gambhir 167, Dravid 144, Sehwag 131, Herath 5-121) beat Sri Lanka 229 (Sreesanth 5-75) and 269 (Samaraweera 78*) by an innings and 144 runs .  Sreesanth bowled with fire !

In 7th ODI against visiting England at Indore in Apr 2006,  England made 288 – bowling was in the hands of Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Rudrapratap Singh, VRV Singh, Romesh Powar, and Yuvraj.  Sreesanth had figures of 10-1-55-6 helping India to win by 7 wickets.  Uthappa made 86; Dravid, Yuvraj, Raina all made 50s. Civil consequences will continue to affect cricketers.

While IPL showered money on many, for some like Sreesanth it spelled doom – now after 3 years in oblivion, he has been acquitted [for want of evidence] and not sure what exactly this means – but his career was affected badly for sure.  BCCI sources are quoted as saying that the trial court's decision would have little impact on the 'civil consequences' faced by the cricketers. "They were charged under a law that was meant to deal with organised crime in Maharashtra and the charges have been cleared because the prosecution was unable to produce before the court sufficient evidence to prove their charges," "In criminal law, the kind of evidence the prosecution needs to bring to court is a kind of evidence that shows beyond reasonable doubt that these individuals had committed the offences under the MCOCA. Obviously the Delhi Police was unable to do it in this case and therefore the court has cleared them of all these charges. This does not mean that the other civil consequences that Sreesanth and the other cricketers would face follow. Those would continue to apply.

With the absence of a specific criminal law to deal with spot-fixing in India, the cricketers were chargesheeted for offences under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the MCOCA. The court, however, said there was not enough evidence for charges to be framed under the MCOCA, a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism which contains far stricter provisions relating to bail and admissibility of confessions compared to the Indian Penal Code. In its reaction to the court's decision, the BCCI said its disciplinary action would remain unaltered. "Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal proceeding and has no bearing. The decisions of the BCCI, based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered," the board said in a press release.

The three cricketers, were, however, hopeful of returning to the game. Sreesanth said he wanted to start training as soon as possible to get back into the selection process. "I'm very, very happy. I want to thank God," he said. "I will try to start training properly as soon as possible, I wasn't allowed anything. Hopefully I can get permission from BCCI to use their facilities so that I can get fit and come into the selection process."

For less informed, Ankeet Chavan has been growing as a reliable  left-arm orthodox spinner and a useful batsman lower down the order.  Against Punjab, he once had a 9 for 23 haul.  Ajit Chandila is a Haryana offspinner who struggled to make his state side but hit the headlines with a hat-trick in the 2012 IPL.  In an IPL match, he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in succession.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th July 2015.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dale Steyn waits to join the elite 400 club !! - Muralitharan on top by all means

Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Glen McGrath, Courtney Walsh, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee, Shaun Pollock, Harbhajan Singh, Wasim Akram, James Anderson and Curtly Ambrose.
-           Another man was closer but now will have to wait for a few more days at least… no prizes for guessing – it is the elite 400 club in Test Cricket.  Murali stands on top with 800; Warne (708); Kumble 619; Kapil 434;

Interestingly, none of the eight tests  between South Africa and Bangladesh before this one had gone to a fifth day, and this one didn't  albeit different reasons.   Bangladesh on a roll following One day victories over visiting teams, pinned South Africa and the score card reads : South Africa 61 for 0 (Van Zyl 33*, Elgar 28*) & 248 (Bavuma 54, Mustafizur 4-37) l drew with Bangladesh 326 (Mahmudullah 67, Steyn 3-78)

Perhaps the Board should take the flak for the timing of the match – the  monsoon rains, which had washed out the fourth day ensured the fifth met the same fate and poured a wet blanket over what was set up for an intriguing finale.  Bangla can have pride in having a 17 run lead.

One from South Africa is ruing the fate – it is Dale Steyn  left waiting for his 400th Test wicket having claimed Mustafizur Rahman as victim 399 on Thursday.  The fierce pacer now has 399 from 79 tests /148 innings at an average of 22.58 and best of 7/51 – add another 162 ODI wickets in 104 matches. 

At a time, when I developed interest in the game, Lance Gibbs took the mantle from Fred Trueman in Dec 1981 becoming the 2nd bowler to take 300 wickets.  Dennis Lillee retired with 355 scalps, broken by Ian Botham’s 373… then at Bangalore in Nov 1988, the first ball of the third over, Hadlee had Arunlal caught in the slips by Chris Kuggeleijn to surpass Botham.  Hadlee stopped at 431 becoming the 1st to cross 400 barrier.  In Feb 1994, the greatest allrounder of India, Kapil Dev  dismissed Hashan Tillakaratne caught at forward short-leg by Sanjay Manjrekar to reach wicket No 432. By then people were braying for his blood and he played just one more test thereafter.  That was to be broken by Walsh 519, Warne 708 and topped by Murali with 800 – which perhaps will remain unsurpassed for a long long time.

Muralitharan is also the fastest to the 400 club having achieved it in 72 tests; while the 2nd, Hadlee took 80 tests.  Steyn has played 79 tests and is all set to equal Hadlee.  In One dayers, it is again Murali at the top with 534 in 350 matches; followed by Wasim Akram 502, Waqar Younis 416 and Chaminda Vaas 400.  Shahid Afridi missed it narrowly finishing at 395 in 398 matches.   Afridi is still hoping to play World T20 WC – he retired from Test Cricket in 2020 and bowed out of ODI following Pak’s QF defeat in WC in 2015 at Australia.

The 2nd Test between Bangladesh and South Africa begins at Dhaka on 30th July and sure Steyn would be waiting for that …

With regards – S Sampathkumar

25th July 2015.

Remembering our Heroes on Kargil Diwas ~ the Vir Chakra winner Capt. Vijayant Thapar

We have seen Cine heroes donning role of  Army Jawans and applaud them too – you may not instantly identify this good looking man – he is the real hero !  In our history books, we have read about 3 battles of Panipat, Plassey, Arcot and more …..will we ever read of Tololing or even Kargil ! ~ on every 26th of July, I circulate something on Kargil – this year it is done a day in advance !

The Battle of Tololing was one of the pivotal battles in the Kargil War between India's armed forces and troops from the Northern Light Infantry aided by other Pakistan backed irregulars in 1999. The Tololing is a dominant position overlooking the Srinagar - Leh Highway (NH 1D) and was a vital link. The Indian army's casualties on the Tololing peak were half of the entire losses in the whole war. Much of the losses had to do with the nature of the terrain as World War I style frontal charges had to be mounted to reclaim the peaks to dislodge the intruders. The 3 week assault finally culminated with India taking control of the peak and changing the course of the war. 23 Indian Soldiers were killed in the final assault, resulting in one of the costliest battles of the entire war.

We have National Holidays;  We celebrate important days for the Nation including The Independence Day (Aug 15th ) Republic Day (26th  Jan) – we recall the birth and death days of important National leaders.    A day  more important than most of them is … 26th  July…. The Kargil Diwas..  in very many countries, Victory day is a much celebrated day commemorating the victory in an important  battle for the honour of the Nation.

On that sad day, a sea of humanity poured out on the streets of Noida bidding farewell to Lt Vijayant Thapar, "hero of operation Vijay", who laid down his life, along with two other officers and 17 jawans, in the Dras sub- sector of Kargil on the night of June 28-29- 1999. Tens Of thousands of people - a majority of them unknown to the bereaved family –  the young hero  Vijyant after getting commissioned on   Dec'98 joined the 2 Rajputana Rifles at Gwalior. The battalion stayed barely for a month before they move to Kashmir to check counter insurgency.  He died young for the Nation, for providing a comfortable life for You and Me.

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav – all should feature  in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list is not full only some of those 527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are only some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil.

The Indian Army observes July 26 as Vijay Diwas every year to commemorate the sacrifices of its soldiers and also celebrate its victory in the 60-day-long Kargil War in 1999. Kargil Vijay Diwas, is  the day   of successful completion of Operation Vijay. On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.  This did result in the loss of lives but not the honour of the Nation.

The town of Kargil is located 205 km from Srinagar, and faces Pakistan's so-called Northern Areas across the Line of Control. From April 1999, the Pakistan Army along with elements of Mujahadeen (irregulars) crossed the 168km Line of Control (LoC), along Kargil and occupied high ground and vantage points. The intrusion was announced by the Indian Army by May 7-8 and had come as a complete surprise to the military as well as intelligence agencies.  Though IAF was inducted, it was emphasised that the IAF must not cross the LoC.  The tide turned from the middle of June 1999. At this time, the areas of occupation became known. The Army was now in a position to make an attack plan versus the target systems. As a consequence, the Air Force was able to coordinate with the Army the "close Air support" requirements.

In the final analysis, Kargil was a military, diplomatic and political success for India. However, the loss of nearly 500 military men and over 1,100 serious casualties, subdues the success. During this Kargil Diwas, we must remember those  great uniformed personnel who gave their today for our tomorrow.

On 28 June 1999 Captain Vijyant Thapar was commanding the leading platoon of Alfa Company, which was tasked to assault area Knoll in Drass Sector from the north during Operation Vijay While advancing, the platoon was hit by accurate enemy artillery barrage and it suffered heavy casualties. Captain Thapar organized evacuation of the casualties and quickly rallied his shell-shocked platoon for the attack. Personally leading the attack from the Northern face against enemy's Medium Machine Gun fire, which was holding up the Company's assault, he fearlessly charged at the enemy position firing from the hip and throwing grenades. During this act, he was grievously injured in the hand and stomach but continued to advance ordering his men to follow him. Roused by the actions of their young Platoon Commander barely out of the Academy, the platoon charged up the hill against the dominating enemy position. This audacious action unnerved and forced the enemy to abandon a tactically superior position. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries.

Captain Vijyant Thapar, [the real hero] displayed remarkable cool, raw courage and exemplary valour and made the supreme sacrifice while facing the enemy. He was posthumously awarded Vir Chakra.  Smt. Sumitra Devi, grandmother of Late. Capt. Vijyant Thapar received the Vir Chakra on behalf of her grandson, at the Defence Investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Every time we see an Army Jawan, it is our duty to salute them.

Today, is the time, we remember the martyrs of Kargil. Jai Jawan, Jai Hind………
Saluting the Warriors saving our Nation….

With Great respect to Soldiers – S. Sampathkumar.

25th July 2015.

Photos and inputs taken from :

Friday, July 24, 2015

importance of going to School - leopard too visits in Chikmagaluru

Education is most important  - only it can raise the standards of people and society. Importance of going to school needs no elaboration – but this school entry is different !
Leopards are graceful and powerful big cats closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars. They live in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India, and China. However, many of their populations are endangered, especially outside of Africa.The leopard is so strong and comfortable in trees that it often hauls its kills into the branches. By dragging the bodies of large animals aloft it hopes to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas. Leopards can also hunt from trees, where their spotted coats allow them to blend with the leaves until they spring with a deadly pounce. Compared to other members of Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull.  Here is a photo of leopard on a tree – photo credit – National Geographic.

Chikkamagaluru is a town in Karnataka,  located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri range,famous for its serene environment, lush green forests and tall mountains. Chikamagalur is also famous for coffee and is known as the 'coffee land' of Karnataka. National Highway 173 passes through the city.  The word translates to "younger daughter's town" in Kannada language, said to have been given as dowry to the youngest daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna (now in Kadurtaluk of Chikkamagaluru District)

In villages / cities closer to forests, entry of animals in human habitat  are not totally new – yet  here at Chikmagalur, a fierce animal pounced on three people and injured them before treading into school premises.To the shock of students and teachers, the  leopard entered into the premises of a private school in Chikkamagaluru.

The Hindu of date reports that the  leopard is currently locked inside a room.Forest Department staff have put a cage at the door and a team of veterinarians with tranquilizers are arriving from Shivamogga.The leopard was spotted early in the morning at Kadur club premises in the heart of the city. Later it moved to TMS School. A person, who spotted the animal near the club, suffered minor injuries as it pounced on him in the morning.  Upon entering the school premises, the leopard entered a room.   A forest official also suffered injuries when the animal caught his hand as he tried to close a window of the room.
photo credit : the Hindu

The school management had to  declare a  holiday. As the news of the leopard entering TMS School premises spread, hundreds of people gathered around the school and the police were kept busy managing the mob.

Chikmagalur was the constituency that elected Indira Gandhi in a by-election in 1978 after she lost the 1977 election in Rae Bareli, thereby paving the way for her eventual return to power in 1980.  ChikmagalurLokSabha constituency was a former LokSabha (parliamentary) constituency in Karnataka which no longer exists after the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies in 2008.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th July 2015.

when a Train ran backwards .... reverse gear in train ??

Indian Railways runs thousands of trains daily and millions travel daily – trains running in time catering to passengers do not make news and here is something on those aberrations !!... before that here is a trivia – there are Express Trains, Super Past, Passengers and Mails ….. understand that Mail trains originally were trains that actually carried bags of mail to be delivered between their termini or at intermediate stations, under special contracts with the Post Office.

In Apr 2009,  4 passengers were killed and 11 others injured when an “unidentified” person hijacked a suburban train and drove it at high speed, resulting in a head-on collision with a goods train hauling empty oil wagons at VyasarpadiJiva railway station.  In Apr 2011  Railway officials in Jammu & Kashmir were caught napping as a train from Qazigund in the Kashmir valley plied for over 20 kilometres without a driver, leading to an inquiry for action against officials on duty. The train stationed at Qazigund, started moving towards Anantnag without a driver at around 2.00am, official sources said. After traversing a distance of 20kms, the train came to a halt due to a steep gradient near Anantnag station, they said.

In July 2014, in a shocking incident, a Delhi metro train ran with all its left gates open between two stations on Thursday morning. It was reported in Indian Express that the gates remained open for close to a minute and 25 seconds.The incident took place on Yellow Line  trainbwtweenArjangarh to Ghitorni station at around 9:30 am.  DMRC was quoted as saying that it appeared to be an error by operator who reportedly was suspended.

DNA reported in Aug 2014, that the first double-decker train service between Mumbai and Goa got off to an inauspicious start after the driver of the train halted it at Roha for over an hour. The driver was slotted to pilot the train till Ratnagiri. The train was stranded at Roha for over an hour, the drama having started at 8:40pm. The train finally left for its destination at 9:50pm, by which it had affected the schedules of other trains.As passengers in the train fumed, an embarrassed Central Railway operations team had to send an SOS to Konkan Railways to send in a replacement driver, called 'reliever', in railway parlance.

In another reported instance in Oct 2014, Lucknow-Vindhyachal City Express moved a kilometre in reverse direction  on slanted railway track.  It was reported that the  passengers of the Lucknow- Vindhyachal Inter- City Express (14210) were in for a shock on Thursday when the train reached the Vindhyachal Railway Station around 2.25 pm.

As the train halted at the station, officials removed its engine to attach it to the other side. However, its 20 coaches started rolling down the slanted track towards Mirzapur before the officials could connect the engine to the other side of the train.  Fearing some untoward incident, several passengers, who boarded the Lucknow- bound train, jumped off the coaches and sustained severe injuries. The train finally came to a halt only after it travelled for around one kilometer without the engine.  The fear was more as three days earlier two trains had collided in Gorakhpur, killing 14 passengers and leaving 45 injured. That accident  happened when Krishak Express that was going from Varanasi to Gorakhpur hit Baraunibound train from behind at a place near Gorakhpur.

Notwithstanding incidents of a like nature, Indian Railways with such a vast network, is generally efficient.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th July 2015.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Amit Mishra spins back to Indian Team - not another Jason Gillespie !!

Perhaps Amit Mishra is not India’s Jason Gillespie – there are fair chances that he might get to play another test.

Legspinner Amit Mishra has been recalled to India's Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka in August.   Amit, 32, last played a Test in 2011 and he took leg spinner Karn Sharma's place in the team that had travelled to Bangladesh in June. It was the only change to India's 15-man squad.  Mishra has not played a Test since the 2011 tour of England, where he played two matches and took three wickets at an average of 106.66. In the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season, Mishra played six matches for Haryana and took 10 wickets at an average of 20.40.  "Amit Mishra has always been part of our thinking," India's chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said in Delhi.

Opener KL Rahul had missed the Test in Bangladesh because of dengue fever and his replacement Shikhar Dhawan made a hundred in that game, leaving India with three openers - M Vijay being the third - to choose from in Sri Lanka. The selectors have not picked a reserve wicketkeeper in the squad as back up for Wriddhiman Saha. "We have a standby wicketkeeper we have nominated," Patil said.

Amit Mishra has a fine action.  He has played 13 Tests taking 43 wickets at an economy of 3.19; average of 43.30 and SR of 81.3; besides he has 45 One day wickets in 27 matches and 11 T20 wickets too.   In Apr 2013, he became the first bowler in IPL to get 3 hat-tricks after helping Sunrisers Hyderabd clinch a win against PUne Warriors.  In the 19th over, Pune were comfortably placed with 14 runs to get with 4 wickets in hand.  Mishra picked up a hattrick enabling a win.

His last Test was in Aug 2011 at Kennington Oval, London Test no. 2004 when Indians were defeated by an innings and 8 runs. He had a good 144 run partnership with Sachin, whose missing a century was much talked about.  In that test Bell (235) and Pietersen (175) amassed runs to pile a total of 591/6 decl.  Mishra had forgettable figures of 38-3-170-0.  In the 1st Innings, Indians were bowled out for 300 – Rahul Dravid opening and carrying his bat through for 146.

Following on, India lost Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman at 118 and Amit was sent as a night watchman to join Tendulkar.  After battling for long, and when it appeared a draw was the most likely result – Amit got out at 262 making 84; Sachin too followed at the same score having made 91 and India folded for 283.

He made his Test debut at Mohali in Test no. 1889 against Australians in Oct 2008. Sourav Ganguly’s century and Sachin’s 88 took India to 469.  Ponting led Aussies were bowled out for 268.  Debutant Mishra had figures of 26.4-8-71-5 which remains his best bowling performance in a Test.

His entry in to ODI was in Apr 2003 when India beat South Africa by 153 runs at Dhaka in TVS Cup.  In Oct 2002, he was picked up in the National team to play visiting West Indies when Cricinfo wrote -   If the Indian team picked this afternoon lined up in a row - Usual Suspects style - Amit Mishra would be the Kevin Spacey character, the complete misfit. In a gallery of stars, he is the anonymous man - but one who might conceivably be an inspired selection. There are two very distinct schools of thought when it comes to his inclusion in the 14.   The first suggests that he is a pick for the future - having taken wickets against Zimbabwe in a tour game a few months ago - and that being in the same squad as Anil Kumble, the country's premier legspinner, will help him to further hone his craft. The second view is more interesting, if you're the sort that enjoys conspiracy theories. Cast your mind back 14 summers to the Chennai Test match against West Indies and a virtual unknown named Narendra Hirwani decimating what was then easily the most formidable team in the world - Viv Richards growling, "One swallow doesn't a summer make" afterwards (with great prescience as it turned out, when you consider Hirwani's plummeting career graph). There is a feeling that the selectors might intend for Mishra to be a similar lightning flash, especially against a team packed with left-handers and missing Brian Lara. There are certainly similarities in the way he bowls. Mishra is neat and organised, a tad conservative in his approach and not one to experiment drastically with length and flight.

Now if you are to connect : Jason Gillespie, Mark Boucher, Tony Mann, Syed Kirmani, Nasim ul Ghani….they are all batsmen who came in as nightwatchmen and scored a century.  Mark Boucher did it twice. Tony Mann did against Bedi’s Indians at Perth in 1977.  Alex Tudor (England) was close to making a century as a nightwatchman; he made 99 not out against New Zealand in 1999 at Edgbaston, and was stranded one run short of a maiden test century when the target of 208 runs for victory was achieved.
Remember that way back in 1978, Kapil Dev was sent out as a night watchman – hit a towering six and when he got back at the close of play, the captain Bishan Bedi chided him for doing what he did – scoring runs – hitting a six !!!  ~ so theoretically, nightwatchman is expected to defensively bat it out and not try to score runs – ruling out any risks  !!!  (no risks and nothing associated with Insurance !!!!)
Jason Neil Gillespie played for Ahmedabad Rockets in ICL… played with distinction for Australia in 71 tests and 97 One dayers taking 259 test wickets and 142 ODI wickets… he made 1218 runs including an unbeaten 201 against Bangladesh, which unfortunately was the last Test he ever played.   In Test No. 1799 at Chittagong stadium in April 2006 –Australia won by an innings and 80 runs.  Jason Gillespie walked in as a nightwatchman at 120/2 – scored unbeaten at 201, taking the total to 581/4.... he thus has the unique distinction of the  first  (and only one thus far) nightwatchman to score a double-century. Bangladesh made 197 and 304.  His figures of 3/11 & 0/14 with that double ton won him the Man of the match as also the Player of the Series….after that series he went in to oblivion and never played for Australia again is the irony !!!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

23rd July 2015

'Ashes' - and the Australian tour of England 1968 [by aborigines]

The modern kit bags are appealing and costly too …. Can you associate these primitive implements to Cricket – to a tour that preceded even the first one of Ashes !!

Australia came back very strongly in the 2nd Test at Lords humiliating their old enemy at the home of Cricket – the margin of 405 is too strong…. The players stepped out of their London base at the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington to treat themselves to the late-night snack.The rivalry dates back to that timeless  Test No. 1 played at Melbourne in March 1877 or even earlier.  Alfred Shaw bowled the first Test delivery to Charles Bannerman, who went on to become the first Test centurion. Hill had both the first Test wicket and the first catch. Midwinter picked up the first 5 wicket haul, and Blackham had the first stumping.Southerton who was among the 22 debutants,  is still the oldest Test debutant at 49 years 119 days.

At 1.05 p.m. on 15 March 1877, the first Test began. It was dominated by Charles Bannerman, who scored the first single in Test history off Alfred Shaw's second ball, was dropped on ten by Tom Armitage off the same bowler (who himself would drop Bannerman twice).   Wikipedia reports that on the second day, the attendance of about 4,000 spectators was found to include "a large number of spectators...supposed to have got in free, by means of tickets not sold at the gates, but procured illegitimately somewhere else", and about 500 heads watching over the fence from outside the ground. Bannerman’s performance so impressed the public that a subscription was initiated, which raised £83 7s 6d for him.  The report states that Aussie fielding was reckless in contrast with that of the "well-drilled Englishmen", and the batsmen amused the crowd by running quick singles after tapping the ball a few yards. Australia  won by 45 runs, Captain Dave Gregory, was given a gold medal by the Victorian Cricket Association, while his team-mates received silver medals.

The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. The Ashes are regarded as being held by the team that most recently won the Test series.The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia's 1882 victory at The Oval, their first Test win on English soil. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882–83 series played in Australia, before which the English captainIvo Bligh had vowed to "regain those ashes". The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.

After England had won two of the three Tests on the tour, a small urn was presented to Bligh by a group of Melbourne women includingFlorence Morphy, whom Bligh married within a year. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of a wooden bail, and were humorously described as "the ashes of Australian cricket.” The urn has never been the official trophy of the Ashes series, having been a personal gift to Bligh. However, replicas of the urn are often held aloft by victorious teams as a symbol of their victory in an Ashes series. Since the 1998–99 Ashes series, a Waterford Crystal representation of the Ashes urn (called the Ashes Trophy) has been presented to the winners of an Ashes series as the official trophy of that series. Whichever side holds the Ashes, the urn remains in the MCC Museum at Lord's; it has however been taken to Australia to be put on touring display on two occasions: as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations in 1988, and to accompany the Ashes series in 2006–07.

While there had already been four major tours by English sides to Australia, the team arranged and captained by James Lillywhite that left England in November 1876 was the first to visit as a business venture rather than following an invitation.Three years earlier WG Grace had led a similar venture, but there had been deep divisions within the group and Lillywhite's Cricketers Companion had noted that it was unlikely that any attempt to mix amateurs and professionals would happen again.  Lillywhite's side played eight odds matches in New Zealand. While there, they lost wicketkeeper Ted Pooley, an inveterate gambler, who was left languishing in a Christchurch jail after a betting scandal, and so they returned to Australia with the core 11 players.

The margin of Australia's victory in that 1stTest  was 45 runs, a result remarkably repeated in the Centenary Test in March 1977.   Though Ashes is associated with 1882-83 tour, there appears to have been earlier tours too by Australia, not by professionals but by the  visiting Aborigine cricket team who amazed Victorian crowds with bat, ball and boomerang.  MailOnline reports that team of 13 Aborigines visited England in 1868 and played with local sides; and after  matches they would impress the crowds by showing off their traditional skills such as spear-throwing.

MailOnline reports that an astonishing haul of Aborigine artefacts has come to light which tells the story of the first ever cricket matches between England and Australia.As well as playing 47 different cricket matches, the group of 13 Aborigines showed off traditional pursuits such as throwing spears and boomerangs in their tour in 1868.

A  boomerang is one of a number of mementoes from the tour which were recently discovered - although the team brought a variety of tribal objects with them on the 1868 tour, it was long thought that just a single club, now in the British Museum, had survived - until the discovery of a long-lost historical collection earlier this month.When the Aborigines toured England, they were viewed as a curiosity with many spectators wondering how they would cope with the British climate.The 13 players from Victoria were all given quirky nicknames such as 'Dick-a-Dick', 'Sundown' and 'Jimmy Mosquito' to help them appeal to the public.Museum curators have only just found out that the objects are linked to the 1868 tour.

They spent three months sailing from Sydney to Gravesend, arriving in May 1868, and then travelled all around the country facing a variety of teams.The team was coached by William Hayman, originally from Devon, and Tom Wills, a leading figure in cricket and Australian football who spoke an Aboriginal language.Reaction to the players was initially sceptical - The Times described them as 'a travesty upon cricketing at Lord's', while the Daily Telegraph wrote of Australia: 'Nothing of interest comes from there except gold nuggets and black cricketers.'However, the players' performance went some way to changing people's minds, with a crowd of 7,000 turning out to watch their first match against Surrey at the Oval in London.Overall the side won 14 matches, drew 19 and lost 14, while after matches they would show off their athletic skills to the crowd with throwing competitions.

Among the team's leading players were all-rounder Johnny Mullagh, known as 'the W.G. Grace of Aboriginal cricketers', and fearsome fast bowler Johnny Cuzens. At the end of the tour, the Sporting Life wrote: 'No eleven has in one season ever played so many matches so successfully - never playing less than two matches in each week, and frequently three, bearing an amount of fatigue that now seems incredible.'The Telegraph added: 'It is highly interesting and curious, to see mixed in a friendly game on the most historically Saxon part of our island, representatives of two races so far removed from each other as the modern Englishman and the Aboriginal Australian.'Although several of them are native bushmen, and all are as black as night, these Indian fellows are, to all intents and purposes, clothed and in their right minds.'Despite the success of the tour, one player died of tuberculosis during the team's stay and two more were forced to return home early due to ill-health.

The Aborigines arrived home in February 1869 - but because of new restrictions on their movements imposed by the Australian government, no Aboriginal team returned to Britain until 1988.Until recently, the only known memento of their visit was a club now owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club and on loan to the British Museum.But a haul of objects which has languished in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon has now come to light nearly 150 years later.Gaye Sculthorpe from the British Museum noticed that the items, including firesticks, spears, and a boomerang, bore the signature of William Hayman, the tour manager.The team was apparently visiting the area on holiday at the time the Exeter museum opened, so Hayman donated the mementoes to help start the collection.

Dr Sculthorpe said: 'Until 9 July 2015, the club associated with Jungunjinuke was the only known artefact associated with the cricket tour known to have survived.The newly discovered items include two spears, two spearthrowers, one boomerang, four clubs and some firesticks. The objects have remained in the museum since then, but only now has their significance been uncovered.

To have identified these Aboriginal artefacts is an amazing discovery that adds tangible evidence to this historic event ~and here is the list of 13 aborgines who pioneered a visit to England for playing Cricket.  :  Johnny Mullagh - traditional name: Unaarrimin; Bullocky - traditional name: Bullchanach; Sundown - traditional name: Ballrin; Dick-a-Dick - traditional name: Jungunjinanuke; Johnny Cuzens - traditional name: Zellanach; King Cole - traditional name: Bripumyarrimin; Red Cap - traditional name: Brimbunyah;  Twopenny - traditional name: Murrumgunarriman; Charley Dumas - traditional name: Pripumuarraman; Jimmy Mosquito - traditional name: Grougarrong; Tiger - traditional name: Boninbarngeet; Peter - traditional name: Arrahmunijarrimun; Jim Crow - traditional name: Jallachniurrimin.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd July 2015.