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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Devki, Saroj, Purnima - in the middle of Vizag One day ~ some history too

M. Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi, starring Jayam Ravi, Asin and Prakash Raj, released in 2004 was a commercial success.   Heard of Vizzy Trophy ? ~ what is Purnima, Saroj, Devki, doing in the middle !!

At the time of posting this @ 04.25 pm, India are 190/3 – Dhoni just got out – honestly did not expect that this series would become 2-2 and a decided will be played here at Visakhapatnam (popularly Vizag),  located on the coast of Bay of Bengal in the north eastern region of the state of Andhra.  The city was ruled by Andhra Kings of Vengi and Pallavas. The city is named after Sri Vishaka Varma. The British captured Visakhapatnam after the 1804 Battle of Vizagapatam, and it remained under British colonial rule until India's independence in 1947 which was a part of the Northern Circars.  Part of the city is known by its colonial British name, Waltair; during the colonial era, the city's hub was the Waltair railway station and the surrounding part of the city is still called Waltair.

Nearer is another historic place with - Nagavali, Vegavathi, Gomukhi, Suvarnamukhi, Champavathi and Gosthani rivers flowing through.   The 5th ODI is on (no. 3780) at VDCA Cricket stadium, Visakhapatnam – and before I could move on, Manish Pandey got out in a silly fashion without opening his account.  The stadium has ends named as :  Vizzy End, DV Subba Rao End.  Today, offspinner Jayant Yadav is making his debut replacing  Hardik Pandya in India's line-up, while fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the fourth ODI, coming back into the side in place of Dhawal Kulkarni.

The city that has so many rivers is Vizianagaram, once  ruled by different Hindu emperors of Kalinga.  The area including Srikakulam in the north was integral part of the domain of Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi during the rule of Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624- 641). During his rule the Vengi kingdom  expanded from Srikakulam in the north to Nellore in the south. They patronised Telugu. Later the areas were under the rule of Kakatiya Dynasty of Warangal.   There was  the rule of illustrious Krishna Deva Raya too. During last century,  the area was a part of British – Northern Circars.  One important event is te Bobbili yuddam fought between the MahaRaja of Vizianagaram and the Rajah of Bobbili in  1757. Rulers of this princely state belonged to the Pusapati family.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju [1905-1965] famously  Maharajkumar of Vizianagram or Vizzy, an administrator and politician, played Cricket too.  Vizzy was the second son of Pusapati Vijaya Rama Gajapathi Raju, the ruler of Vizianagaram. He had the  title Maharajkumar (prince) – and he  married the eldest daughter of the ruler of the zamindari estate of Kashipur.

Vizzy organised his cricket team in 1926 and constructed a ground in his palace compounds. He recruited players from India and abroad. When MCC cancelled the tour of India in 1930–31 owing to political problems, he organised a team of his own and toured India and Ceylon – a la, Indian Premier League of last century.   He succeeded in drafting Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe for the team.  He could not make it to the first tour to England but was named the Captain for the 1936 tour of England,  and there are some references to lobbying and not cricketing reasons.  The team reportedly was divided and there were some controversies too, the one involving Lala Amarnath, much spoken about.   Though India lost the series, Vizzy was knighted.  Vizzy was to later renounce his knighthood in July 1947.  He played 3 tests in that tour aggregating 33 runs. 

The Women’s Selection Committee on Saturday announced the squads for West Indies Women’s Tour of India for three ODIs and three Twenty 20 matches and Asia Cup Women’s Championship 2016. .. .. to get back the names at the start are not those of Women Cricket players, but the names one can read on the jerseys of Indian players.  Yes, members of the Indian cricket team are sporting a different style of jerseys -  Instead of the usual customary practice of wearing their last names on the back of the shirt – as is the trend across the world and in multiple sports – the team is wearing  the names of their mothers as a tribute to an important member of the family which doesn’t get as much attention as the father does.  Speaking about it at the toss, MS Dhoni said, “We are quite used to having the surnames from the Dad’s side, and what’s important is to appreciate the stuff that Mothers have done for us. It’s a very emotional connect and it’s good that it is put on a public platform. I would like to request the whole of India keeps this in mind every day and appreciate them everyday.”

That film M Kumaran is all about hero’s love and adulation for his mother, who lives separated from her husband  due to differences in their priorities in life. As could be read from the title, the hero has the name of mother (M Kumaran, s/0 of Mahalakshmi) and not that of father.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Oct 2016 @ 04.40 pm.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

cyclone Kyant ~ Mon language and more ...

Deepavali, the festival of Lights enthuses everyone.  The festival is grandly celebrated all over the country.  People wear new clothes, eat lot of sweets and celebrate with crackers. 

Last year, rains played spoilsport in Tamilnadu.  On 8th Nov 2015, a depression laid centred near latitude 10.7° N and longitude 83.7° E, about 460 km southeast of Chennai, it brought torrential rains, and it kept raining for more than couple of days – then came the Dec 2015 rains, which inundated, threw city life out of gear. 

There  approximately are a hundred languages spoken in Myanmar; Burmese, spoken by two thirds of the population, is the official language. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar people and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as that of some ethnic minorities in Burma like the Mon.  The Mon are an ethnic group from Burma (Myanmar) living mostly in Mon State, Bago Region, the Irrawaddy Delta and along the southern border of Thailand and Burma.  Mon were a major source of influence on the culture of Burma. They speak the Mon language. The legendary Queen Camadevi from the Chao Phraya River Valley,  came to rule as the first queen of Hariphunchai (modern Lamphun) kingdom around 800 AD.

Meteorological and other reports put that ‘Cyclonic Storm Kyant’  will unleash heavy rain and gusty winds on parts of eastern India later this week. The storm could put Diwali celebrations at risk from Friday through the weekend is what media says.

Prior to Kyant, the northern Indian Ocean did not have a named cyclone since May. The storm will continue to track westward through Thursday before turning more to the southwest and approaching the southern coastline of Andhra Pradesh on Friday and Saturday.  Conditions could worsen as the storm approaches the coast likely indicated to be between Ongole and Chennai when there will be gusty winds and rains when they make landfall. There could be flooding also – whether city is geared up, to meet the challenges – answer is known to all !!

If the reports of India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday were to occur,  Cyclone Kyant over the Bay of Bengal is unlikely to make a landfall, but the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha may expect a wet Diwali.   This means it will not hit the coast. A cyclone making a landfall usually wreaks havoc and causes damage to life and property. Kyant is expected to fade into a deep depression on October 29. The sea condition would be “rough to very rough” along and off south Odisha on October 27. Similar conditions would persist off the Andhra Pradesh coast during October 27 to 30, it is stated and fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea off the Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27.

On Tuesday, the  deep depression  intensified into a cyclonic storm, Kyant, - a name that would mean ‘crocodile’ in Mon language about which you read in earlier paras.   In the early days of meteorology, tropical cyclones were named by the places or things they hit or the days that it occurred.  For example, the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States was the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900. At least 8,000 people died in that storm.  One of most intense hurricanes to occur in the United States was the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that smashed into the Florida Keys. 

“Tropical cyclones” is the generic term for an organized system of convective clouds that rotate around an area of low pressure over tropical or subtropical waters. Tropical cyclones usually have catastrophic consequences, causing immense damage to life and property. Storms are seasonal phenomenon appearing in post and pre-Monsoon seasons in India.  Prior to 2000, there was no practice of naming cyclones in the Indian seas. However, the 1999 cyclonic storm which ripped Odisha, triggered the necessity of naming storms. The WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) envisaged a panel, comprising of members from 8 countries, to assign names to storms forming in the Indian Ocean. These countries have prepared 64 names which have been in use on a rotational basis. The names of the countries are listed alphabetically and names given by them are used sequentially column-wise.

Within this basin, a tropical cyclone is assigned a name when it is judged to have reached Cyclonic Storm intensity with winds of 65 km/h (40 mph). The next six available names from the List of North Indian Ocean storm names are :   Roany, Kyant, Nada, Vardah, Maarutha, Mora.

Today’s IMD report states that the deep depression over west central Bay of Bengal moved further west-southwestwards in past 06 hours with speed 17 kmph and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST of 27th  October, 2016 over westcentral Bay of Bengal, near Latitude 15.7º N and Longitude 85.5º E, about 320 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 460 km east of Machilipatnam and 600 km east-northeast of Nellore. It is most likely to move west-southwestwards and weaken further into a depression during next 24 hours. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th Oct 2016.

Today’s (28.10.2016) update :
The Depression over westcentral Bay of Bengal moved further west-southwestwards during past 06 hours with speed 10 kmph, and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of 27th  October, 2016 over westcentral Bay of Bengal, near Latitude 15.3º N and Longitude 83.0º E, about 260 km southsouthwest of Vishakhapatnam and 220 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and 330 km eastnortheast of Nellore.  It is most likely to move west-southwestwards and weaken further into a well marked low pressure area during next 24 hours.

(i) Wind: Squally winds speed reaching 35-45 kmph gusting to 55 kmph is very likely to prevail along & off Andhra Pradesh coast during next 24 hours.
(ii) Sea condition: Sea condition will be rough along & off Andhra Pradesh coast during next 24 hours.
(iii) Fishermen Warning: Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along & off Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 24 hours.
(iv) Rainfall:  Light to moderate rainfall (1-4 cm) at many places is very likely to occur over coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 72 hours with heavy rainfall (65mm or more) at isolated places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during 28th to 30th October 2016
 Light to moderate rainfall (1-6 cm) at many places with isolated heavy

Source :

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tata group in news ~ the founding and village called Sakchi becoming Jamshedpur

Decades ago, in every Deepavali Special issues – there will be jokes on ‘bridegrooms sought’ – it was  considered that persons in lower cadre of Govt too were considered best – as the thinking was ‘Govt. job is permanent and hence most preferred’.  Now it is fortified by the tweets that ‘whatever be the position ~ jobs security is there only in Government !’

A couple of decades back, IT revolution created the thinking that ‘IT & ITES’ are the most earning group and hence the elites. Is life in a Private Company always ‘plush’ – or does the sword of Damocles hangs always ? – the truth could be in between and for some – closer to one of the extremes and there cannot be any generalisation !  Those in their middle ages can easily recall that most of their neighbours / relatives joined in small Companies in the bylanes of Parrys and happily retired there too – and yet brought up their families providing them the basic necessities. In Private Companies, there will be income disparities – there is possibility of people negotiating a better deal over those in higher cadre – those getting incentive by hardwork, good presentation and better negotiation skills. For those who compare, life could be constant hell – giving no peace of mind at all. ~ and then there is the dreaded ‘pink slip’ – they say that the Company may suddenly think that ‘skillsets’ of one are no longer required and if that person does not adapt to changing needs – would find neglected and nearer exit path. Is that fair ? – should loyalty be punished ? – how to find an alternative employment after spending donkey years ? – Qs and more Qs – there will be no answers.  

Asian shares tumbled in early trade on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of Wall Street, which pulled back on disappointing earnings, while the dollar inched down from a seven-month high and oil prices slid. U.S. stocks ended Tuesday down between 0.3 and 0.5 percent, as results and forecasts from companies in sectors including housing and consumer products missed expectations. Back home in India, the ruling  Samajwadi Party was hogging media limelight on Monday, an abrupt high-profile resignation shifted all the cameras towards the Tata Group. In a very sudden ouster, Cyrus Mistry was sacked as the chairman of the Tata Group  Mr Ratan Tata back  as the interim head.

Tata would need no introduction to common man, the multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, is seen and found everywhere right from the buses that we travel.  It was founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata and gained international recognition after purchasing several global companies. It is India's largest conglomerate. There are 30 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalisation of about $116 billion as of March 2016.  Its founder -   Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata (1839 –  1904) was a  pioneer industrialist, born in Navsari then part of the princely state of Baroda.

Jamsetji Tata’s vision and business acumen would have been enough to mark him as an extraordinary figure, but what made him truly unique, the quality that places him in the pantheon of modern India’s greatest sons, was his humaneness.  Their website reads : ‘had Mr Jamsetji Tata lived in Europe or America, his name would have been more familiar to the public.’ ”This is what Frank Harris wrote about the Founder of the Tata group in his book, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata: A Chronicle of his Life.

          The visionary  Jamsetji Tata laid the foundation of the group that was to become a sprawling multinational conglomerate — that today has over 6,00,000 employees and revenue over $100 billion in the past financial year. Tata  setup several textile mills in India. In 1877, the famous Empress mill in Nagpur came into existence, which went on to become the seed that sprouted the present day Tata group. He also set up The Indian Hotels Company and built the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, India's first luxury hotel, which opened in 1903. He also established the JN Tata Endowment to encourage Indian scholars to take up higher studies. It was the first of many philanthropic trusts by the Tata Group.

The group is in news because of a development that can trigger a confrontation between the single-largest shareholder and the company's founding family. Mistry's family firm Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which has 18.4 percent in Tata Sons.  In the surprise development, the board of Tata Sons, where 66 percent shares are held by philanthropic trusts endowed by members of Tata family, ousted chairman Mistry saying it was acting "for the long-term interest" of the firm. Their communiqué directs  firms to focus on their business and enhancing returns to shareholders without being distracted by change in top leadership.

The boardroom battle at Tata group appeared to be heading for a legal tussle with Tatas filing caveats in the Supreme Court, Bombay High Court and the National Company Law Tribunal against Cyrus Mistry moving for relief against his ouster as chairman. In a bid to prevent Mistry from getting any ex-parte relief from any legal forum, Tata Sons and a Tata Trust, among others, filed the caveats that they should be heard before grant of any relief to the ousted chairman. The petitions included one by Ratan Tata and others against Mistry.

In 1919 Lord Chelmsford named the city, which was earlier a village called Sakchi, to Jamshedpur in honour of its founder, Jamsetji Tata.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Oct 2016.

Monday, October 24, 2016

valour of mother of Gurnam Singh keeping her promise ~ boycott enemy artists !!

Though thoughts wander ~ the subject matter of this post is the Valiant mother whose stoic attitude makes us cry !!

Deepavali, the festival of lights is round the corner.  A few decades ago, Deepavali release movies would create great expectations.  In 1980, Balachandar and Barathiraja both dwelt on unemployment issues – VarumaiyinSirappu and Nizhalgal. There have been some movies which became hit due to some controversies.  AeDilHaiMushkil (This Heart is Complicated) directed by Karan Johar  has created more ripples prior to its release.  There are some speaking in favour of its cast including Pak actor Fawad Khan – with many actors trying to justify stating ‘art is above frontiers’. 

It is primarily revenue generation and obviously, who apprehend loss of revenue would try to justify themselves.  Some are not emotional.  Congratulating the Indian Army on the surgical attacks conducted on terrorist camps along the Line of Control, cutting across partylines, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that “the real message has been sent to Pakistan” “I am very proud of the Indian Army, the real message has been sent to Pakistan. Well done,” ANI quoted Shashi Tharoor as saying. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani joined issue with those opposing the ban on Pakistan artistes in India, saying the nation should come first and not arts and culture."I am absolutely clear about one thing -that for me it is always country first. I am not an intellectual so I don't understand all this. But, undoubtedly, like for all Indians, India is first for me," Ambani is quoted as saying. 

Won’t cry on son’s martyrdom, will keep promise: Jawan Gurnam Singh’s mother

Pic credit : Indian Express
As the body of BSF braveheart Gurnam Singh wrapped in the tricolour arrived at his home, his mother Jaswant Kaur kept the promise made to her son not to cry over his martyrdom. The family is proud of the sacrifice made by the 26-year-old in the line of duty but demanded a specialised hospital in his name for the border guards and troops injured on IB and LoC to help save their lives. The jawan’s father also asked the Prime Minister to give a befitting reply to Pakistan.

Gurnam Singh succumbed to injures at a hospital in Jammu last night after he was injured in a sniping incident on the International Border in Kathua sector on Friday. A pall of gloom descended on Gurnam’s native village Bhalesar Magowali in R S Pura tehsil, which is close to the Indo-Pakistan border as the body of the jawan arrived. Holding back her tears, Gurnam’s mother said, “I will not cry. I have promised this to my son. Gurnam once said mummy, don’t cry if I sacrifice my life for the nation. I said I won’t…he made us proud. We are proud of his martyrdom”. As the news of his death spread last night, people thronged his house and raised slogans such as “Gurnam Amar Rahe”.

It is our duty we respect and extol such martyrs, but for whom, we will never be able to live peacefully. Everything else can wait ~ there need not be Cricket matches, Movies, trade – when our neighbour is bent on creating trouble and not allowing us to live peacefully, when our soldiers are spilling blood on the border. Let there not be any veiled attempt to sell and earn money ! – why should Pak artistes be allowed – will there not be entertainment without them ? ; if only, they can provide us happiness from the stress that we only face (and not those who stand on the border and freezing Himalayas) – then there need not be entertainment at all. 

This is what history tells us :  The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in Dec 1979 spurred US President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum that Soviet troops should  withdraw within a  month. On  January 26, 1980, Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark announced that like the US, Canada would boycott the Olympics if the Soviets didn't leave Afghanistan by February 20, 1980.  Boxer Muhammad Ali was dispatched by the US administration to Tanzania, Nigeria, and Senegal to convince their leaders to join the boycott. US and some other Nations boycotted ~ a   firm enemy of the US under Ayatollah Khomeini's new theocracy, Iran also boycotted the Moscow Games after Khomeini joined the condemnation by the United Nations and the Islamic Conference of the invasion of Afghanistan.  : that was not all :   the next Olympics in 1984 at  Los Angeles saw reaction.  This time, the  boycott involved 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies, led by the Soviet Union.  The boycott affected a large number of Olympic events that were normally dominated by the absent countries. Boycotting countries organized another major event, called the Friendship Games, in July and August 1984.

Now more news.. ..  Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman has stated that a request has been sent to the federal government for a complete ban on airing of Indian content. The Pemra chairman insisted that as India has banned films starring Pakistani artists, "we will have to do the same". Alam also said a crackdown was initiated against illegal Indian Direct-to-Home (DTH) sets on Oct 15, adding that action is being taken against cable operators who do not comply with the instructions.  As per the prevalent  law, only 10pc of airtime is allowed for foreign content, while the maximum limit for Indian content is 6pc in 24 hours.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Oct 2016.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kabaddi World Cup 2016 - Ajay Thakur ensures Championship >>!!

Feeling ecstatic   ~ 

Feeling very happy  ~ India has won the Kabaddi World Cup 2016 – win, yet another time.  This time it was the brilliance of Ajay Thakur that enabled finish, beating  Iran 38-29- a win by 9 matches, in a match that had tense moments and Iran leading comfortably at one stage.

The swashbuckler, instant hitter – Virender Sehwag has already tweeted : ‘Yeh Jazba ,yeh Spirit ,Hamka De De Thakur. Ajay Thakur, you are a rockstar. Haar ke Jeetne waale ko Team India kehta hain.Champions#INDvIRN’ …

What a win ~ and that means a lot to Kabaddi fans. I remember that day of 25th June 1983 – late night, when Kapil Devils, written off by the media, beat the mighty West Indies – getting India much needed credibility and that win, perhaps changed the way, Indians have been regarded in the Cricket field.  This win may not be the same ~ Indians have won Kabaddi World Cups and were indeed the favourites, yet the match was not won easily, in fact for sometime, Iran were perched on top.

It all happened well for Team India at  ‘the Arena by TransStadia’ situate in the heart of Ahmedabad, a first-of-its-kind multi-purpose stadium in India with state-of-the-art facilities, built as a Public Private Partnership project with the Department of Tourism and approved by the then Chief Minister, Shri  Narendra Modiji. Kabaddi World Cup has been  running since 2004. India has always won Gold Medals in Both men's and women's teams. The 1st  Kabaddi World Cup was held in 2004, 2nd was in 2007, and then annually from 2010 onwards.  Last year it could not be held and now Indians are the undisputed Champions.

India team led by Anup Kumar has always dominated this event by winning all the gold medals in both categories of men's and women's.  The mens’ team has won all the 7 World Cups.  This year Kabaddi world cup  was contested by  12 teams : Poland made its debut – the others are : United States of America, Canada, England, Australia, Iran, Poland, Argentina, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan and Kenya.

In the final of last edition of the Kabaddi world cup India defeated Pakistan to win the gold medal.  This version began with a shock defeat.  In the inaugural match, India looked comfortably closing in – but in dying moments, they were stunned by Korea.   The finish came with a grand move by  Jan Kun Lee at the death.  The stadium fell silent as  Korea  upset the starter  winning 34-32 in the first match of the competition.  Today, there was so much noise as the entire stadium filled in, supported the National team. 

The final result is a 9 point win – India beats Iran 38-29. Pardeep Narwal had some poor day today – was unable to take points despite many raids.  At a stage when Iran were up 20-17, it was Ajay Thakur’s sterling performance.  With his upper part of the body grabbed upon by the Iranian player, he used his foot to equal things. 20-20! ~ and from that time, India never looked back. The dying moments were a bit tense for the fan, not for the Captain and the team – they kept adding points. With close to  six minutes left in the contest Nitin Tomar with an impeccable raid  picked up two points;  Iran were down to two; another raid two points + all out points – and Indians were clearly breathing easy, exhibiting their clear dominance with talent and strategy.

22nd Oct 2016 – a day to remember for fans ! – Well done, Team India.

A happy fan – S. Sampathkumar

22nd Oct 2o16 # 21.40 hrs.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Perspex ~ Kotla - Kiwi win and that long over of Martin Guptill

Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), also known as acrylic or acrylic glass as well as by the trade names Plexiglas, Acrylite, Lucite, and Perspex among several others, is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The same material can be utilised as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and has many other uses.Although not a type of familiar silica-based glass, the substance, like many thermoplastics, is often technically classified as a type of glass. PMMA is an economical alternative to polycarbonate (PC) when extreme strength is not necessary. Perspex is a tradename of Lucite International and is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) acrylic sheet which is manufactured from methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA).

You have seen it recently – wonder what this is all about ??  -  Perspex and acrylic are essentially the same thing. Perspex is a premium branded acrylic and, as such, is manufactured to the highest industry standards possible.  It has high shock, abrasion and flex resistance.

At  Kotla, Kiwis struck a purple patch - Kane Williamson made the  first hundred for the Black Caps on their tour of India and was named man of the match in his side's thrilling six-run victory.  His fine century, 118 off 128 balls at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla, gave New Zealand just enough runs to hold off India and put themselves on the board for the first time on tour. It was his eighth ODI century, level with Stephen Fleming and with only Nathan Astle (16), Ross Taylor (15) and Martin Guptill (10) ahead of him.

Most importantly, the result has given life to a series that was in danger of slipping away. No wonder the New Zealanders punched the air in delight and hugged each other in relief after pulling off their first win of their Indian tour.The five-match one-day series is now level 1-1 with the third game at Mohali on Sunday, and comes on the back of the 3-0 hammering New Zealand received in the test series.

India would not have expected a target of 243 to trouble them. But it did. Their top order tends to finish games off. Not this time. That left the job to MS Dhoni and a set of batsmen not accustomed to finishing an innings. New Zealand exploited that weakness to pull off a six-run victory and level the five-match series at 1-1. It was a chaotic scrap at the finish, even at 172 for 6 when Dhoni got out, there was real chance.  Then a goofy over from Martin Guptill - four wides, ten balls, and two wickets - brought Hardik Pandya front and centre for the second match in a row. He wrestled an equation of 48 off 36 balls down to 11 off eight. India had two wickets left. The 9th wicket partnership made  49 at a run-a-ball. In the end all that was not enough.

Last time, I wrote about Bruce Oxenford and his innovative arm-guard for Umpire safety.  This guard is made of Perspex, details of which you read in the 1st para. 

Yesterday there was a shot by Latham straight back of Umesh Yadav, which threatened Anil Chaudhary taking ungainly action, only to be saved by Yadav deflecting it.  He perhaps thought Bruce was well protected – but is guard on one hand enough ??  - perhaps not.  Corey Anderson's throw from the deep at the bowler's end headed straight at him and he was struck on the box. This time, he was not facing the incoming throw and the armoured left hand just could not come in the line of the ball, keeping him exposed to that hit.

The 41st over was a comedy – Martin Guptill drifted down leg side to left handed Axar Patel, followed up once again; then of a donkey-drop got Axar hitting to longon; his third ODI wicket in his 131st match; another wide down the leg side, this time to Amit Mishra. Struck again with Mishra  top edging a swipe to be caught by substitute fielder Doug Bracewell at short fine leg.  There was another leg side wide there after –a 10 delivery over at crunch, yet his 2 wickets turned the match. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st Oct 2016.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

India play New Zealand at Kotla ~ some history; some int tweets

Unlike the Southern parts of India, Delhi has seen much of occupation and wars.  By some accounts Delhi is  known to have been continuously inhabited since 6th  century BC ~ and in most of its history, it has been the capital of many kingdoms, starting from the days of Pandavas when it was Indraprastha.   In AD 1639, the Mughal emperor Shahjahan built a new walled city in Delhi which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1649  which was later captured by British. The Feroz Shah Kotla  is a fortress built by Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq to house his version of Delhi city called Ferozabad. It was the new capital of the Sultan of Delhi on the banks of Yamuna river.  History states that  most classical music performances were staged here.

Kotla ground is different ~ mostly no music to bowlers – reportedly smaller where batsmen make merry.  The Feroz Shah Kotla Ground was established as a cricket ground in colonial days of 1883. It is the second oldest international cricket stadium still functional in India, only after the Eden Gardens in Kolkata

In a normal Indian season, this ODI would have been played on Wednesday and not Thursday, but it  was  postponed to accommodate the festival of Karva Chauth. This is festival season in India; the Kolkata Test was advanced to avoid a clash with Durga Puja and Diwali, one of the biggest pan-Indian festivals, takes place during the ODI series. For India, the festivities seem to have extended to the field - they have beaten New Zealand in all four matches of the tour, the Dharamsala ODI being the latest. But it is easier to recover from a loss in ODIs than it is in Tests, even a comprehensive one. For today match too, illness keeps Suresh Raina out.

Remember New Zealand played so well in the last World Cup and were the runners-up. India played NZ first in inaugural World Cup in ODI no. 28 – and lost the match.  It was a 60 overs a side match on 14th June 1975 at Manchester.  Abid Ali made 70 and his grand partnership with Srinivasa Venkatraghavan (26) gave some respect to the total, after the first six batsmen had gone for 101 runs in face of accurate but by no means hostile pace bowling by the Hadlee brothers, Dayle and Richard. Chasing 231, mammoth those days, New Zealand won rather comfortably with  a superb century by their captain, Glenn Turner, who batted stylishly and productively for three hours. He hit thirteen boundaries and remained unbeaten for 114.

The next One dayer was at Lancaster Park, Christchurch in Feb 1976.  In the 35 overs match, helped by Gundappa Viswanath’s 56, India made 154.  Richard Collinge took 5 for 22.  NZ knocked off the required runs losing G Edwards (42); Glenn Turner (53) and Bevan Congdon 45 remained not out. 

Virupa is a smasher and continues to be so entertaining  after his retirement also.  One of his tweets after Ashwin’s great performance at Holkar, read Congrats, Only a married man can understand d urgency of going home early.. Ash quickly thanked him.  The casual exchange took a hilarious turn when Ashwin's better half, Prithi Ashwin  tweeted - hahaha I didn't do much :) – and  Viru's wife Aarti Sehwag joined the party :  Neither did I. Both in a hurry as always ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Oct 2016.

cheap publicity in tweeting PM on Pak artistes ~ National interest is always above individuals

Even commoners cannot forget the wounds of that fateful day 26/11(2008) – days of horror and anguish when Mumbai relented under the terror attack carnage of killing spree. Hundreds of people died and some martyred their lives in saving common man and property.  Sad, the perpetrators are still at large. It is no fresh news that investigations led to Pakistani hand not only in this terror attack but also for the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and the July 2006 suburban train bombings. 26/11 attack  was carried out by Pakistani nationals who hit civilian targets and foreign nationals with calculated brutality.

A decade later, Pakistan has asked India to send all the 24 Indian witnesses to depose before the anti-terrorism court holding the Mumbai attacks trial !  further news suggest that an  ATC judge  heard the Mumbai attack case and accepted a request filed by the Federal Investigation Agency to inspect the boat "Alfoz" in the port city. The FIA had requested the court to send a judicial commission to examine the boat as it was difficult to produce it before the court, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported. .. .. ..
Across the Nation, their popularity descends barriers and apart from the common folk, even Govts recognise them by presenting awards to actors and seating them on par with Industrialists and Scientists !!   I am never a great fan ~ yet cannot deny that it is a mass media and is immensely popular.  Those associated with the cine industry can influence the thoughts of the Nation.

A few decades ago, there were many who had never visited the Capital city of Chennai, living peacefully in villages.  That time, there were reports that every day hundreds of boys and girls set their foot on to the city  through the Central and Egmore Railway stations coming  from nook corners of villages dreaming to be a Hero.  Cinema is indeed   ‘Dream Factory’ – manufacturing dreams or a factory only in dreams !  Punch dialogues are powerful weapons.  People hero worship actors and follow their footsteps.  The cine world is considered as a path to politicaldom and one can cite numerous examples of heroes nurturing political ambitions and becoming rulers too !

In one perspective as they also claim it to be ‘Cinema, is a powerful entertainer’ ~ and just that.  For some it is just trade ! – Movies are produced not to educate people or change the lives – simply to earn money. When that be the case, why should the Govt. support it and provide tax concessions. All along, the flourishing film makers irrespective of whatever content they exhibited, walked away without paying taxes.  It was 15% tax exemption; those who were rich became richer.  The State kept losing a good amount for the benefit of some individual producers – for the regular cine goer, the amount was pittance but collective the loss of revenue was huge indeed.  The exemption, if at all to be considered should be for the contents and not for the title – as they say, you cannot tell the story of the film by looking at the poster, nay title.

Movie certainly exploits common man’s anger.  When the Nation burned on 26/11, couple of them tried minting money showing the operations as the background ! A software architect returning back to native land thinking of doing good to his land but ends up beaten by the system and corrupt people. A film on  black money and its harmful effect – was Rajnikant starrer – ‘Sivaji- the boss’.   That was not the first or the only film. In ‘Kanthasamy’, Vikram plays a sleuth in CBI, granting the wishes of the needy who write letters to Lord Muruga at Thirporur temple by disguising himself as an anthropomorphic chicken. He goes on to discover a stash of black money, travels places to take out the hidden riches for the benefit of Indian poor.  In Anniyan, Ambi an innocent and honest lawyer fights and kills lawbreakers by torturing them and is shown as a person with multiple personality disorder. 

All those  dealing with corruption and black money were big hits with the people, so was the  2011 Indian anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare and his followers.  Black is not the colour of money but the money earned to ill-gotten means – everyone have their own estimates of black money stashed in tax-havens abroad.  .. there is also a strong perception that high % of this lies in those benefitted by tinseldom.

Moving away, read some news of an angry director speaking against the ban on Pakistani artists.  He can exercise his individual freedom – but this man has gone too far, comparing his films with the visit of the Prime Minister of the Nation, conveniently hiding the fact that what is he sought is simple personal gain, enriching his coffer – the visit was aimed at bi-lateral relations. Perhaps one cannot expect understanding from angry insane persons.  This man took to twitter ranting series of tweets to PM Shri  Narendra Modi asking  questions about why an art form should suffer ? and some reports suggest that he demanded an apology from the PM.  Utter foolishness and some attempt in sensationalism.

Another editorial read – ever since calls for banning Pakistani actors broke out, an issue has been rankling in my mind. Why exactly are Pakistani actors silent and not offering their sympathies and prayers at the loss of Indian lives in Uri? Have they never reacted at the loss of innocent foreign lives in terror attacks? A look at the Twitter timelines of three prominent Pakistani actors in Bollywood currently – Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Ali Zafar – reveal otherwise. All three were quick to denounce Paris terror attacks. Fawad tweeted, “Shocked and saddened; praying for Paris, praying for humanity #Parisattacks.”  .. Indian lives are not that important though their moolah comes from here.

"When a war is taking place, you have someone doing a drama with that country, that is not expected." Information and broadcasting minister M. Venkaiah Naidu is quoted as sating  on the controversy over Pakistani artists, surgical strikes and triple talaq. He clarified that for the Govt the ranting by film director and the like are non-issues and rightly asked the Q -  how can you compare your commercial activity or entertainment activity to the visit of the Prime Minister to a neighbouring country?  Pakistan is our neighbour [and] we have been having business with Pakistan, exchanges, trade and cultural ties. We want a good relationship with our neighbour, but the neighbour should also behave accordingly. Behave in the sense that they should not allow their land to be used for terror activities against us. Nowadays, it has become the state policy of Pakistan to aid, abet, fund and train terrorists.  In all sincerity, our Prime Minister invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister to his swearing-in ceremony, something unusual that hadn’t happened in a long time. National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks were held; later, Foreign Secretary level talks were held too. Also, in an unusual manner, when the Prime Minister was visiting Afghanistan and he greeted the Pakistan Prime Minister on his birthday, he stopped over at Lahore, went over to his family home and greeted him in person.  But Pak continues to  speak a different language, and then again it is encouraging all sorts of terror activities.

Naturally, there is a sort of an anger and unrest in the minds of the people. This decision to boycott hasn’t been taken by the government or even advised by the government. The people who decided [on] the boycott are also from the film industry. Making comments against the Prime Minister is uncalled for and has been done for cheap publicity.

In what could be seen as a clear line of distinction – in USA, sports activities are encouraged and backed to hilt – yet even US medallists of Rio Olympics  are subject to a so-called "victory tax" - a tax on both the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning and on the value of the Olympic medal. It is not money and endorsements, but medals too – medals gotten are also given a value and taxed.
With  Pakistan brazenly encouraging terror against India, cultural ties at this stage are not required. Remember in IPL, Pak players were banned – and have not played since, though couple of them have been commentators and show hosts.   There is flowing sentiment of the people and film makers better understand that.  Simple, if cine-goers decide boycotting such films, there would be none taking them too. that time none would talk about ‘art beyond boundary !’.

Our Army jawans have died – the media must understand what is in the national interest. Every  citizen has a responsibility to the country, that way the Hero Motors commercial – “hero salutes real heores” is refreshing, though there could be some incongruities like people asking why did not the bus driver stop at first place, forgive him – let us do our bit.  In that Advt, the  camera rolls by showing a soldier running behind a bus. A man in a Hero two-wheeler, comes from behind, overtakes the bus, and stops it to ensure that the soldier hops into it. As the soldier is about to enter the bus, he thanks the man, who in turn salutes him. All the passengers inside the bus too salute the soldier as he takes his seat. A voiceover says: Hero salutes the real heroes.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Oct 2016.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Income Tax Dept hands over medals ! in US, even Olympic medals are taxable !!

# Nothing is certain but death and taxes # ~ an oft repeated  fatalistic and sardonic proverb. It draws on the actual inevitability of death to highlight the difficulty in avoiding the burden of taxes.  Though this is attributed to many – Benjamin Franklin is widely believed to have authored the present form.

There are Direct and Indirect Taxes – prominent among the Direct is Income Taxation, a good source of revenue to the Government from time immemorial. There is no measure of time as to when money (material wealth) became more important even in spiritual kingdoms.   According to Kautilya'sArthashastra - the art of governance and foreign policy - artha has a much wider significance than wealth. An important part of the Arthashastra is the `science of economics', which, inter alia, includes taxation, revenue collections, budget and accounts.  In Raghu Vamsa, poet Kalidasa eulogizing King Dileepa said .. ``it was only for the good of his subjects that he collected taxes from them just as the sun draws moisture from the earth to give it back a thousand time.''

After the great Independent uprising [Mutiny of 1857], British Govt faced acute financial crisis.  To fill up the treasury, the first Income-tax Act was introduced in February, 1860 by James Wilson, who became British-India's first Finance Minister. Income was classified as  under -  income from:  landed property; professions and trade;   from securities, annuities and dividends; and from salaries and pensions. Later Agricultural income too was subjected to tax.  After Independence, a new enactment titled  `Income-tax Act, 1961'  came into being.

Taxation falls in the realm of public finance, the most rapidly developing branch of economic theory.  The basic objective of taxation is to raise money needed to finance government expenditure. But taxes have other effects too. As a factor affecting the pricing of goods, they determine what to produce and in what measure. By taxing the affluent sections of society more, they change the distribution of incomes and wealth.  There is always a feeling that salaried people by force contribute to tax more than some professional earners, who hide their salary and do not pay tax fully !

For the middle income group of salaried tax payers, month of March has been menacing with higher cut in salary to Income tax (primarily because it was not well planned or failure to comply with the tax based savings commitment) – over the years, the Income tax department has come to acquire an image of an agency that usually harasses taxpayers, including the honest ones.

That image is changing ! – now many of us file Tax returns Online and get refunds within days of filing ~ and to add more,  in the last few days several individuals are surprised to receive a 'Certificate of Appreciation' in their mailbox, with some even mistaking it for a spam mail.

Yes it is an Appreciatory Certificate – issued by Ministry of Finance, Central Board of Direct Taxes – that of the Government acknowledging  the contribution of individual tax payers in paying taxes within the prescribed time and prompt filing of Income Tax Returns.  Recently, the  Honourable Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley  handed over certificates of appreciation issued by CBDT honoring select tax payers for such contribution.  This step marks the first effort by the Government to directly communicate to the tax payer its appreciation for that contribution. CBDT has started  sending out  certificates of appreciation to individual tax payers by e-mail in various categories on the basis of the level of taxes paid by them for the current Assessment Year 2016-17 where taxes have been paid in full and tax payers have no outstanding tax liabilities and where the return is e-filed within the prescribed due date.

The tax payers may display these certificates in their homes / offices. The categories for individual taxpayers and the number of certificates being issued in the first round are: i. Platinum : Tax contributed Rs. 1 Crore and above ii. Gold : Tax contributed Rs. 50Lakh to Rs. 1 Crore iii. Silver : Tax contributed Rs. 10Lakh to Rs.50 Lakh iv. Bronze : Tax contributed Rs. 1Lakh to Rs.10 Lakh The CBDT urges taxpayers to e-file their returns in time and verify their return by submitting the Electronic Verification Code online or sending their ITR-V within the 120 day period so that they can be also acknowledged for their contribution.

On the subject of personal taxes – do you ever feel, burdened, having done something great yet ended up paying taxes, read more !  She has flipped, tumbled and leapt her way into the hearts of millions over the course of the Rio Olympic games, but  when Simone Biles returned home, she was not only part of celebrations but also had to pay hefty tax !!  The 19-year-old  won five Olympic medals - four gold and one bronze. She cemented her title as the world's best gymnast by taking home the gold in the all-around after three successive world championship titles - a feat only accomplished by three others in history.  However, the Winning did cost her.   She reportedly had a tax bill close to $43,560 (Rs.29 lakhs approx) – that is an estimated tax liability based on the reported $2m that she  accumulated in endorsement deals and assuming she is charged in the highest income tax bracket in the US - 39.6%.

Biles is not alone, her fellow US medallists too were slapped with tax bills for their victories as well. American Olympians are subject to a so-called "victory tax" - a tax on both the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning and on the value of the Olympic medal. US athletes who won a medal at the Rio games took with them the hardware and a cash bonus from the US Olympic Committee. Gold medallists received $25,000, silver medallists got $15,000, and bronze winners  $10,000. Those winnings are taxed as income, the same way Americans are taxed on other prize money, like lottery winnings.

It is not money and endorsements, but medals too – medals are also given a value and taxed. The value is based on the value of the materials the medals are made of. Gold medals - which are mostly made of silver with a gold plating - are worth roughly $600 based on current commodity prices, silver medals are worth close to $300, bronze medals - which consist mostly of copper - have barely any monetary value, approximately $4. For US athletes like Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, who secured multiple victories, including multiple gold medals that bill perhaps was much higher.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th Oct 2016.