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Friday, April 27, 2018

last over domination ~ new Capt Shreyas Iyer makes a big mark

The game is a great leveller and often produces great surprises – its unpredictability is its greatest attraction.  Watch the ball close, they would say, and perhaps it is what he is doing !!

An year back, in Mar 2017, the  climax of the gripping India-Australia Test Series was to  occur at Dharamsala, a city  in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh.  The Tibetan settlement of Dharamshala began in 1959, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and the Prime Minister of India allowed him and his followers to settle in McLeodGanj (in Upper Dharmshala), a former colonial British summer picnic spot. There they established the "government-in-exile" in 1960 and the Namgyal Monastery.

In a prematch interview Michael  Clarke said Kohli had hidden the true extent of the shoulder injury he suffered diving in the outfield on day one in Ranchi. There was  a call for  Shreyas Iyer, an attacking top-order batsman capable of making classical shots with brute force. Iyer made headlines when Delhi Daredevils bought him at the 2015 IPL auction for a whopping INR 2.6 crore, and he repaid the faith with interest. Opening the batting, he aggregated 439 runs from 14 matches and went to win the IPL emerging player of the year award.  He did not however debut in that Test, which was captained by Ajinkya Rahane.  He has represented India in 6 one dayers – making his debut at the same Dharamsala against Sri Lanka in Dec 2017 (3 each against Lanka and South Africa) making scores of : 9; 88; 65; 18; 30 & dnb.

Junior Dala, the South African fast bowler, has signed with the Delhi Daredevils as a replacement for the injured all-rounder Chris Morris.  Dala made his T20 International debut for South Africa against India earlier this year and has featured in three matches for his country so far. He impressed with his unique action - he takes off on his right foot in his pre-delivery stride and lands on the right foot again - and skiddy pace. He was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the three-match T20I series at home against India, claiming seven wickets at an economy rate of 9.16.

Junior Dala has replaced his injured South Africa team-mate Chris Morris who was the only overseas player to be retained by Daredevils, for INR 7.1 crore Dala had set a base price of INR 20 lakh - but found no takers in the auction in January. Daredevils have now bought him at that price, and this will be his first IPL stint. He will wear jersey no. 3 for the Delhi Daredevils.

Today, KKR won the toss, put DD in with disastrous result.  The openers young Prithvi Shaw and Colin Munro gave a flying start.  Shaw made 62 off 44 balls. Best was to come from their new Captain – as you would know, in Corporate style, Gautam Gambhir bade adieu to captaincy and was dropped for today’s match.   Delhi Daredevils posted a mammoth target of 220 for Kolkata Knight Riders as Shreyas Iyer made 93 runs from 40 balls.

The DD vs KKR contest is a crucial contest for the home team considering they are languishing at the bottom of the IPL 2018 points table with just one win from six matches. KKR, on the other hand, are in a comfortable position at the fourth position from three wins from six matches. Iyer took the match away with  93* off 40 balls - 10 sixes and 3 fours.

The final over domination will ever be talked about .. .. the  1st ball was swung over extra cover for a six; 2nd over wide long on for another 6; Maxwell run out – no run; next pulled over midwicket for 6; a wide; a 4 and last ball mightily heaved over long-off for another 6 – total of 29 runs. For sure Shreyas Iyer is bound to play with recognition for the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Apr 2018.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ankit Rajpoot takes 5 for ~!

Can you identify this bowler ? – would you have identified him before today’s match ??

Ashley Noffke bounced into a Cricket Australia contract and on to an Ashes tour in 2001 and debuted in ODI against India in  Nov 2008 ~ another debutant in that match was Manoj Tiwary whose career was nipped by pacey Bret Lee.  Years later, in an ODI in Colombo in July 2012, Capt Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni used 8 bowlers and among them Manoj Tiwary had figures of 10-1-61-4 ! ~ the good batsman who used to bowl leg spinners, today bowled with a slinging action much lower than Malinga or Kedar Jadhav – he bowled just 1 over for 10 runs though.

Today at Hyderabad, Kings XI captain R Ashwin called correctly at the toss and inserted Sunrisers Hyderabad.   Sun Risers were in all sorts of debut as they crawled for a low score of 132/6 in 20 overs.  The wrecker in chief was Ankit Rajpoot who  picked up the first five-wicket haul of IPL this year.  Rajpoot made his IPL debut in 2013 for CSK, played again only in 2016 and then in 2017. In between he moved to KKR.  In 2018, he has  played  three matches for KXIP.  Earlier for KX1 - Dimitri Mascarenhas had picked 5/25 against Pune Warriors back in 2012.

Rajpoot dismissed Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan in his first two overs. He then removed Wriddhiman Saha to finish with figures of 3/9 off his three overs.  Rajpoot returned to bowl the final over of the SRH innings and removed Manish Pandey and Mohammad Nabi to return figures of 5/14 off his four overs.

According to Smart Stats - ESPNcricinfo's new metric to make sense of numbers in the shortest format - Yuvraj has cost Kings XI 22.87 runs this season, and his scratchy 14 off 17 balls against Daredevils contributed to a below-par total on Monday.  Sunrisers,  retained the team that had defended 118 against Mumbai Indians. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had missed that game because of injury, hasn't recovered yet. When these two sides met last week, Chris Gayle shellacked 104 not out off 63 balls to consign Sunrisers to a 15-run defeat.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Apr 2018.

MS Dhoni and team CSK sail past RCB with sixers !!!

IPL is club Cricket ~ nothing greater than that ! – yet so many fans did not sleep till it was midnight and went to bed seeing that bludgeoning big hit that sailed over !!

Yesterday, it was appraisal time !! -  Gautam Gambhir stepped down as the skipper of the Delhi Daredevils in the VIVO IPL 2018 on the back of a string of losses. The team lost five of their six games and will have to play catch-up to qualify for the playoffs. Gambhir made the announcement in Delhi ahead of their second home game in the presence of coach Ricky Ponting and CEO Hemant Dua. “As the leader of the ship, I take complete responsibility for where we are in the points table and I have decided after seeing the points table and the performance of the team to step down.

It is all about strategies – RCB had a game plan – they have the best batting combination. At this year's auction, they snapped up the entire Kolkata Knight Riders 2017 attack - Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme and Nathan Coulter-Nile - that bowled them out for 49. With Coulter-Nile, the most successful among that lot, injured for the season, they opted for an oddball replacement in Corey Anderson!

MSD won the toss, decided to bowl at Bengaluru in the 24th match .. .. Quinton de Kock top edged in the 3rd over, ball went high, and we remembered Kapil running back – this time it was 36 year 293 days old MS Dhoni, who kept running (with pads on) and almost reached the skier, managed to pull the ball back, saving 2 runs – keeper running over the boundary line – and all spoke he is old – infact, the entire CSK is a bunch of oldies !!!

Match Summary is RCB aided by classy AB de Viliers 68 (off 30) and Quinton de Kock flier 53 (37)  posting 205/8 – still managed to lose to yellow CSK with 2 balls remaining.  Ambati Rayudu made 82 (53) and MSD remained unbeaten on 70 (34) including that winning hit. 

The pressure naturally was on the chasing team ~ but Dhoni has the knack of shifting it back. It was 30 off 12 – Mohammed Siraj the bowler – first 4 balls read 0-1-1-1 - : 27 off 8 ! ~ then Dhoni vanished one over point – Siraj was all nervous bowling 3 wides. But even otherwise, Anderson probably would not have contained .. .. the news is - Chennai Super Kings picked up their fifth victory through thunderous performances from two heroes - Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni - in an explosive performance. They made nearly half of the 206 target with the 17 sixes they hit at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.  
Dhoni the cool Champion  has made an entire career out of putting opponents under pressure and coming out on top from such situations, as was evident in the 19th  over when young Mohammad Siraj bowled a ten-ball over that went for 14 runs, with his side still marginally holding the upper hand. Siraj had gone for 19 off his previous two overs, and with 30 needed from 12, another such over would have made things difficult for Super Kings. As it turned out, Dhoni's sliced six over point upped the ante, forcing Siraj to miss his wide yorkers and slow bouncers.   At 21 required off seven balls, even if Mohammed Siraj had completed the penultimate over without needing four attempts at the last ball, Anderson didn't look like he would have defended the runs. The allrounder, had gone for 16 and 15 in his two overs before the last one, and conceded 17 runs off four balls to finish with figures of 3.4-0-58-0.

Statistically, Dhoni has a penchant for chase. Yet, in IPL, out of the 22 times MS Dhoni won the toss in IPL matches at Chennai , he has opted to bat first 20 times! – at Bengaluru it was different.  Virat Kohli completed his century of matches as captain in Twenty20 cricket. He became the third Indian after MS Dhoni (245) and Gautam Gambhir (170) to do so. Umesh Yadav in his  100th match took his 100th wicket.  ~and .. ..  MS Dhoni has finished an IPL match on winning note with a six 4 times.  33 sixers were scored in the match   – a new record for an IPL match. In all Twenty20 cricket there has been only one match where more sixes were hit – 34 in Central Districts – Otago match at New Plymouth in 2016 (33 sixes were also hit in Colts CC – Colombo CC match in 2016).

RCB losing was pathetic.   They had seven bowling options on the night to defend 206  and their two best bowlers - Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav - bowled out their overs for a combined 3 for 49. The two other spinners were given a combined four overs, the better bowler of their two allrounders - Colin de Grandhomme - didn't have a bowl, Washington Sundar 1 and, yet again, a glaring lack of a death-overs plan resulted in an embarrassing collapse. With 70 required off 28 balls, Umesh put down a simple chance at extra cover that would have ended Rayudu's innings. It was perhaps the only time Anderson's plan of sliding cross-seam length balls across came close to working. By the end of that over, he was truly found out - Rayudu hit balls from the same line outside off over extra cover and then over midwicket – and then there was Dhoni – the success.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Apr 2018.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Inuka, the polar bear put to sleep at Singapore

Peter Sleep debuted against Pak at Melbourne in Mar 1979 and played his last test against the  Pakis at the same Melbourne in Jan 1990 – in between he played 14 Tests – and took 31 wickets.  ‘Put to sleep’ is not simply making one sleep – by putting him on bed !!

Conceptually, right to die is based on the thought  that a human being is entitled to end his or her own life or to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to end his own life or to use assisted suicide or to decline life-prolonging treatment. The question of who, if anyone, should be empowered to make this decision is often central to debate ? Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering.

There are different euthanasia laws in each country. The British House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics defines euthanasia as "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”.  Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in some countries. Active euthanasia is illegal in India. The Supreme Court has recently approved passive euthanasia but the guidelines are to be formulated and the protocols are yet to be set. Presently, there exists a living will where a patient, when he is fully conscious can make a will stating that he would not want intensive care treatment and would not want to be given critical care and also would not like to be put through the rigors of palliative care. This living will has to be framed by a lawyer and also submitted in the magistrate court, where the magistrate would have to approve of the same. This is a very burdensome task and many patients are not even aware of these formalities.

Polar bears are classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellant coat that insulates them from the cold air and water. Considered talented swimmers, they can sustain a pace of six miles per hour by paddling with their front paws and holding their hind legs flat like a rudder. Polar bears spend over 50% of their time hunting for food. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. Polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time on the sea ice. Because of expected habitat loss caused by climate change, the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species.

Now to the age-old Q – should animals be left to live only in their habitats – and is it called preserving them, when they are kept isolated in Zoos thousands of miles away from their habitats ???

This morning, Singapore Zoo bade farewell to Inuka the polar bear, following a decision to put him down humanely.  It is reported that the  decision was made after a second medical examination revealed that despite intensive medical care and treatment, the bear's health condition and quality of life had not improved significantly. A joint decision was then made by a team of vets and keepers not to revive Inuka from anaesthesia on humane and welfare grounds. A preliminary medical examination on April 3 had revealed that the bear was in declining health.

Thus it was a conscious decision of its keepers that it shall no longer live ! – at  27 years old, Inuka surpassed the average life expectancy of polar bears, which typically live 15 to 18 years in the wild and 25 years under human care. Inuka would have been well into his 70s in human years.  The zoo keepers decided that it was not to fair to prolong its suffering. 

Inuka was the first polar bear to be born in the tropics on December 26, 1990. His name is Inuit for "Silent Stalker". The name was chosen through a nationwide naming contest, which received over 10,000 entries. He was born to much fanfare after his parents – Nanook and Sheba – were brought to Singapore in 1978. A third bear, Anana, joined Inuka's parents at the Singapore Zoo soon after. Inuka's father, Nanook, died in 1995 at the age of 18, while his mother, Sheba, died in 2012 at the age of 35, the second-oldest polar bear in the world then. Anana, a female polar bear, died in 1999.

WRS has reaffirmed that Inuka will be Singapore's last polar bear. This comes after the zoo announced in 2006 that it would not bring any more polar bears to Singapore, following discussions with its Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee ~ but was that a fairly ethical decision on the erstwhile marine mammals ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Apr 2018.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Paki disrespectful gesture at Wagah ~ stamp on Jhulan Goswami

At IPL, Prithvi Shaw the Indian U19 Captain sensation made his debut ~ there are so many of them – budding stars getting a chance in IPL – and a bunch is missing them most – the vociferous Pakis, rightfully kept out.   Last year, though it was told that they are eligible, the Franchisees did pick none.  Former captain Zaheer Abbas said the Pakistani players must realise that IPL is a private league. “The fact is the IPL is a private enterprise, and if their franchises are not willing to take our players, what can anyone do. But there is no doubt that our players and Pakistan cricket have been humiliated and insulted at such a big forum in a planned manner,” he stated.  Pakistan's interior minister has invited the England cricket team to tour the country for the first time since 2005, after a successful visit by the West Indies amid improved security boosted hopes of an international revival.

A visit by a major Test-playing nation such as England would be hugely significant, in terms of both cricket as well as Pakistan's wider security and the message it hopes to send about its crackdown on extremism and militancy ~ yet after International condemnation, their attitude does not appear to have changed in any manner.  In probably a first such occurrence, the sanctity of the daily ceremonial parade by Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers at Attari (India) and Wagah (Pakistan) international border was violated by Pakistan cricketer Hasan Ali making belligerent gestures at the Wagah border, triggering a sharp protest from the BSF.

 The Wagah border closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony  is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959.  The ceremony starts with a  parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.
Pic credit : //

Lot happening in India - VVS Laxman, a thorough gentleman of the game and now a commentator, has a heart of gold which he has showcased time and again. The former Indian great took to Twitter to applaud the honesty of a ragpicker, who apparently returned a purse containing Rs 33,000 to the woman to which it belonged. The ragpicker, named Dipchand Gupta, spotted a purse while doing his daily work of picking rags from unclean places. He found the purse and on opening it, realised that it had a large sum of money. He immediately handed over the purse to the Thane stationmaster, who later handed it over to the woman who had lost it. There are good people and some bad too !!

Across the border, the Pakistan cricket team visited Wagah border to witness the flag-lowering ceremony on Saturday. The team visited the ceremony on request of Pakistan Rangers after concluding their training camp for the Test tour of Ireland and England.  The immature  bowler Hasan Ali entertained the crowd with his trademark celebrations without realising ever that this is a different field altogether and his gestures had no meaning.   Hasan Ali entered the drill and performed his signature wicket-taking gesture towards the Indian armed force. In a video that has gone viral, Ali could be seen performing his popular act during the ceremony. He could be seen patting his thigh, raising arms like Rangers and celebrating just as he usually does after taking a wicket in a cricket match.

There is nothing to admire – only to be admonished.  Taking wickets in a match is an achievement, not any performance in thin air.  Ali's antics, however, have not gone down well with India's Border Security Force (BSF). The armed force has decided to lodge a formal protest with the Pakistani Rangers.  "The act has hit the sanctity of the parade. We will lodge a protest with Pakistan Rangers. Anyone can make any aggressive gesture in the viewers gallery on both sides but no public person can interfere in the parade. Before or after the parade, the people are free to do such things, but not in the middle of the parade," BSF Inspector General (Punjab Frontier) MukulGoel was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The pictures of Ali's antics were also tweeted by the official Twitter handle of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which again is in bad taste. Well, the Cricket-starved Nation can only end up doing all that – we are busy watching IPL matches, many of which boil down to last over. Yesterday, the  equation read 43 off 17 balls when an uncapped batsman walked in to play his fifth IPL innings. One of the best death bowlers in the world will take charge of the next over. His previous six balls produced two wickets and only one run. How do you think the game ends? 

With the batting team winning, of course. K Gowtham smashed an unbeaten 33 off 11 balls, helped swindle 18 runs off Jasprit Bumrah's final set alongside the other match-winner Jofra Archer, and capped it all off with the six that won the game. But the shot that grabbed the most attention was a perfectly executed slice over the heads of point and short third man off the second ball of the 20th over. The composure he showed in that moment, to merely react to what was coming and not blindly slog because the game was going down the wire, was impressive.  Earlier, Ambati Rayudu's masterclass was nearly outdone by one from Kane Williamson, but Chennai Super Kings survived that attack from Sunrisers' captain and then a Yusuf Pathan cameo to crawl to the top of the table. In a match where all the action happened at the back end of the two innings, the difference was only four runs.

Before concluding, Jhulan Goswami's illustrious career - which includes the distinction of being the leading wicket-taker in women's ODIs - has now found acknowledgment in the form of a commemorative stamp. Featuring Goswami's mugshot in India colours next to an image of Kolkata's iconic Victoria Memorial, it has been issued in honour of her claiming a record 200 wickets in women's ODIs. The unveiling of the stamp took place on Friday at the Calcutta Sports Journalists' Club, in the presence of former India men's captain Sourav Ganguly.

That is the tale of the two Nations in the game of Cricket and otherwise !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Apr 2018.

ace shuttler (CW Silver medalist) Kidambi Srikanth spurned celebrating his World No. 1

At Gold Coast Commonwealth Games came to an end and it's now four years until Birmingham 2022 but in light of one of the biggest events coming to the Australian shores, the games attracted so many.  Over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories made history over 11 unforgettable days of world class sporting action.  For the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games, there was an equal number of medal events for men and women across all sports.  There were 29 countries who claimed gold, with medals shared between 43 countries, beating the previous best of 39 which was set at Manchester 2002 and equalled at Melbourne 2006  ~ India had its moments under the Sun.
Kidambi Srikkanth conferred Padmashri award

                                        Indian badminton ace and newly crowned world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth lost his men’s singles final 21-19, 14-21, 14-21 in an hour and five minutes to Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Carrera Sports Arena onSunday. The Indian had beaten the three-time Olympic silver medallist earlier in the final of the mixed team event where India brushed aside the Malaysian challenge to win gold. However, Lee Chong Wei got the better of Srikanth to clinch his third men’s singles gold at the Commonwealth Games -- 2006, 2010 and 2018.

Kidambi Srikanth, who became World No. 1 two weeks back, thanked Sachin Tendulkarin a Twitter post for his ‘kind words’ back in 2015 that made him work hard to reach the top spot. Srikanth, who returned with a silver medal from Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia, posted a picture with the former cricketer and said, “I am honoured to meet you sir. I still remember in 2015 when you told me that I will become World No.1 and that made me work much harder. Thank you sir @sachin_rt for your kind words.”

The 25-year old joined the elite list by becoming World No. 1 in men’s singles category after Badminton World Federation (BWF) updated its weekly rankings. Srikanth joins Saina Nehwal to become only the second Indian and the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the feat in modern ranking system. Srikanth, who overtook World Champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of rankings with 76,895 points in men’s singles category, had missed out on the chance to become No. 1 in the world last year after suffering an injury.  The Andhra Pradesh player, who secured the World No. 2 ranking in November, won four Super Series titles – Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and France last year. The Indian shuttler became only the fourth in the world to achieve that feat.

Kidambi Srikanth reached the top of the world rankings during the Commonwealth Games 2018 and true to his nature, coach Pullela Gopichand did not allow his ward to celebrate the feat or even cut a cake. Gopichand is a tough and honourable man ~ a decade and half ago, he rejected the brand endorsement offer of soft drinks after he won the All England Badminton Championship in 2001. He was the second Indian to win the championship after the renowned Prakash Padukone, who won the title in 1980.

During the Commonwealth games,  historic event took place when Srikanth Kidambi reached the World No. 1 spot in the BWF rankings, making him the first Indian male to do so.  However, Pullela Gopichand, who is the chief national coach and is credited with changing the face of Indian badminton, later revealed that no celebrations were allowed for Srikanth's feat in Gold Coast. He told NDTV, "It was a big tournament and it was important to focus. It's very easy to get distracted. Then Srikanth was World No. 1 and they said let's celebrate, let's cut a cake. I said this can wait, you need to put your head down.  "Gopichand has often stressed the importance of remaining focused during events in the past and it was no surprise to see him assume the role of the tough taskmaster once again. He added that he cannot allow any celebration during the middle of the event.

The former All England champion also spoke about the historic women's singles final between his wards PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, where it was the latter who came up trumps. "I did not watch the Saina-Sindhu match," he said. "It was very prestigious that for the first time in final both were Indians. I was relaxed because we were getting both gold and silver."

Aerated soft drinks may be seen as cool by many, especially the youth with their role models from the movie and sports arenas pushing the products through advertisements, but for the all England badminton champion Pullela Gopichand, they are a strict no.  In 2002, fresh from basking in glory, the ace shuttler turned down a lucrative offer from a cola major in the country to feature in their advertisements.  "i am against aerated drinks as they are not good for health. just as i firmly believe that smoking and drinking (of alcoholic beverages) is bad for health, so is the case with aerated drinks," he was quoted as saying.

Principle over lucre ~ nothing to decide as most would fall for the latter ! ~ but champions are made of a different stuff.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Apr 2o18

Sunday, April 22, 2018

~ the oxen of Gir - at Triplicane

This post – started with a chance encounter in Thiruvallikkeni ..   இது நம்ம கோவில் மாடு !!

Talala is a city and a taluka in the famous  Somnath district in Gujarat, also known as capital of Gir, which for sure will make you read the subject-matter with some interest.  Talala, 75 km from Junagadh, is famous for Asiatic lions and its huge orchards of Kesar mangoes. Earlier Talala (Gir) was part of Junagadh district, but now it comes under Gir Somnath District. 

The Asian lion is  ‘mrigaraja’, the ‘king of the jungle’, but it was the prey of royalty, who displayed their valour as lion-slayers. During colonial raj, hunters armed with rifles wiped out all signs of the tawny cat from the country, across northwestern India, east to Bihar, and as far south as the Narmada. The hills of Kathiawar, saved its sorry roar.  It is stated that  Lord Curzon turned down an invitation from the Nawab of Junagadh to take down a lion or few, out of concern that the species was on its last legs. In 1920, Sir Patrick Cadell, the Diwan of Junagadh, counted 50 lions, and J.M. Ratnagar of the Bombay Forest Service said there were 100 left. The Indian government protected the 1,400 Gir forest, but the numbers wobbled up and down before beginning an upward climb that has not abated.  Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion, now famed for lions.  In 2015, the population has been 523 (27% up compared to previous census in 2010). The population was 411 in 2010 and 359 in 2005.

This is no post on lions or colonial Raj – but on another breed from Kathiawar – the Gir Ox.  The scientific name of zebu cattle was originally Bos indicus, but they are now more commonly classified within the species zebu, sometimes known as indicine cattle or humped cattle originating in the Indian Subcontinent. Zebu are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears. They are well adapted to withstanding high temperatures, and are farmed throughout the tropical countries, both as pure zebu and as hybrids with taurine cattle, the other main type of domestic cattle. Zebu are used as draught and riding animals, dairy cattle,  as well as for byproducts such as hides and dung for fuel and manure.

The Gir  type of cattle originating in India, are an important milk cattle breed now  in America, known for their milking prowess. The origin of the breed is in the Gir forest region and surrounding districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat State. It is a moderate to large size breed. The females average 385 kg with a height of 130 cm and the males average 545 kg with a height of 135 cm.

Generally the body colour of Gir cattle  is shining red to spotted white. The Gir is distinctive in appearance, typically having a rounded and domed forehead (being the only ultra convex breed in the world), long pendulous ears and horns which spiral out and back.  Gir was also one of the three Zebu breeds used in the development of the Brahman breed in North America. Two of the most famous foundation sires, Manso and Emperor, carried a high Gir content.

Back home, that is no great news as the breed had been driven to verge of extinction – reason : people of India using more of buffalo milk then the cow's milk.  Also there were not breeding programmes properly strategized.  At a time when cattle owners were finding difficulties in economies, awareness was created among people of Gujarat about saving this real pride breed of Gujarat. Mr. Mansukhbhai Suvagiya was one of those instrumental in that.  For this noble cause a trust too was  formed in Rajkot known as Jalkranti Trust. The trust has two main activities of Gir Gaay Breeding and Water conservation.  Many of the Swaminarayan Temples have also helped in preserving this high quality breed from Gujarat, which includes Charodi Swaminarayan gurukul at Ahmedabad, Bhuwneshwari pith gondal in the state of Rajkot, Sagwadi Education & gaushala Charitable trust at Bhavnagar etc.

A decade or so ago, some were exported to Brazil and some other countries.  There were reports that two containers with embryos of the breed were flown to Brazil to improve the stock of cows there. The embryos were developed in a laboratory in Bhavnagar which has been funded at a cost of Rs 2 crore by cattle breeders of Brazil.  "The last major export of the breed to Brazil took place in 1960, after which laws made import and export of animals difficult. The South American country has taken very good care of the breed, but they need fresh blood every three to four generations because of which the embryos were flown there," says Khachar. (AAU), Anand, Gujarat. 

But with the situation turning abnormal and the dawn of realization, it was reported a couple of years ago, the State Govt decided to import from Brazil 10,000 doses of Gir bull semen as the cow population of this prestigious breed has declined in Gujarat. Interestingly, the bulls whose semen are to be imported are descendants of those gifted to Brazil as a goodwill gesture by the maharaja of Bhavnagar before Independence.
Gir cows have long been the pride of Gujarat with their very high milk yield. The obsession with Jersey cows and indiscriminate breeding has led to the decline of Gir cow population in the State to nearly seven lakh out of the two crore milk-giving breeds.  Brazil, on the other hand, was careful to preserve the breed and now has a sizable population of Gir breed cows and bulls.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Apr 2018.

Tailpiece : .. .. .. the encounter described at the start is all about the beautiful bull that has recently come to Sri Parthasarathi swami temple and now leads the temple procession – all eyes ogled on the new arrival during Sri Ramanujar thiruvavathara Uthsavam.  Me too, got attracted – taking some photos of him  and having photo with this beautiful Ox.

the gory butchering at Jallianwala bagh

Often Indian freedom struggle gets described in one pithy statement  - Gandhi got us freedom without shedding blood !  ~ how much away from truth, and why the sacrifices and blood of martyrs was so deliberately buried under ? – how can the Nation forget the bloodshed on that day in Apr 1919 ??- at Amritsar.  People have died on battlefields but not on meeting platforms !

No event within living memory, can ever make so deep and painful an impression on the Indian subjects than the history or the very thought of massacre of innocents at Amritsar.  The ruthless execution has no parallels and this Nation suffered economically more severely from the World war despite no direct participation.   It was the cruel General Dyer who had earlier written  a spirited account of his campaign against some nomad tribes on the frontier of South- East Persia and Baluchistan in 1916. As an example of what can be done by courageous diplomacy, backed by an insignificant force, this campaign well deserved recording,  passed unnoticed amid the greater events of the war.

The Sarhad- literally meaning boundary—is a tangle of rough volcanic hills and salt desert which is not clearly marked on the latest Staff map of Persia. This Region had been giving British rulers more anxiety during those trouble days, menace from Afghanistan.  On 20th Feb 1919, Amir Habibullah was murdered at sleep in his tent in the Laghman valley.  He had long followed a policy of friendship with Britishers and had resisted the blandishments of Germany and Turkey.  A few weeks earlier to his death, he had entered into an alliance with the emir of Bokhara and several other Central Asian Princes to oppose the Moscow Soviet and the murder that way was a blow to Great Britain.

History further has it that in Dec 1912, while Lord Hardinge of Penshurst was Viceroy, O'Dwyer was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, a post which he held until 1919. When he assumed charge in May 1913, for which he was knighted with the KCSI in the King's Birthday Honours on 3 June,  he was cautioned by the Viceroy that "the Punjab was the Province about which the Government were then the most concerned; that there was much inflammable material lying about; which required very careful handling if an explosion was to be avoided". O'Dwyer was appointed a GCIE in the 1917 King's Birthday Honours list on 4 June 1917.

The gory massacre was to occur and make Baisakhi day April 13, 1919, a tragic day on that day, local residents in Amritsar decided to hold a meeting  to discuss and protest against the confinement of Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two leaders fighting for Independence. People were also protesting implementation of the Rowlatt Act, which armed the British government with powers to detain any person without trial. It was no violent crowd – it had a mix of men, women and children,  gathered in a park called the JallianwalaBagh, walled on all sides having  a few small gates.  It was to be a peaceful meeting of peasants and people and included pilgrims visiting the famous Golden temple. 

The otherwise serene public garden in Amritsar, ‘JallianwalaBagh’ would ever nurse the wounds and painful memory of those lives lost on that fateful day on 13th April 1919……… it now houses a memorial of national importance, established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre.  The brutal killings of British Raj statistically placed by their own historians as :  379 fatalities and 1100 wounded.  The true figures of fatalities may never be known  but certainly would far exceed the official figures. 

For one man it was not a peaceful assembly - Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer entertained to self,  thoughts of  a major insurrection and thus he banned all meetings. On hearing that thousands had gathered in the park,  Dyer went with fifty riflemen to a raised bank and ordered them to shoot at the crowd. Dyer continued the firing for about ten minutes, till the ammunition supply was almost exhausted; Dyer stated that 1,650 rounds had been fired, a number which seems to have been derived by counting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops. Dyer was removed from duty and forced to retire. He became a celebrated hero in Britain among people with connections to the British Raj.  For those of us with little knowledge of history – the names are confusing -   there were two of them.  Michael O'Dwyer, the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab who approved the action and Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer who executed the mindless massacre.

History as ordained by the British was to state that a  British investigation committee’s findings on the socio-economic and political conditions of Punjab in the backdrop of the JallianwalaBagh massacre reveal the apprehensions felt by British police official Miles Irving, who served as the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar during the massacre that resulted in the horrifying bloodbath on April 13, 1919.“There were causes arising directly out of the war (First World War), the general feeling of war-weariness… a great feeling of disappointment that the end of the war had not produced any relaxation of the stringency,” Irving explained to the committee when asked about the probability of a revolt against the British rule. Examining the economic situation of the Punjab at large, Lord Hunter, who presided over the committee session in Lahore on November 13, 1919, questioned Irving about the condition of Amritsar’s fabric business – a trade that marked the commercial landscape of contemporary Amritsar. “I think the piece-goods trade was hit too, and the piece goods merchants, I think, were discontented at having to pay high war taxes,” stated Irving in is reply.

The mindless butcher of Amritsar   General Dyer was removed from command and exiled to Britain not with fine but  with a gift of 26,000 pounds,  a huge sum in those days. He died in 1927 after suffering a series of heart strokes.  The gift that he got - of £26,000 sterling, emerged from a fund set up on his behalf by the Morning Post, a conservative, pro-imperialist newspaper, which later merged with the Daily Telegraph. A "Thirteen Women Committee" was constituted to present "the Saviour of the Punjab with the sword of honour and a purse". Large contributions to the fund were made by civil servants and by British Army and Indian Army officers, although serving members of the military were not allowed to donate to political funds under the King's Regulations.  The Morning Post had supported Dyer's action on grounds stating that the massacre was necessary to "Protect the honour of European Women".The Morning Post blamed Montagu, Secretary of State (India), and not Dyer for the massacre and asked for his court trial. Montagu, on the other hand, in a long letter to the Viceroy, passed the blame to Sir Michael O'Dwyer.

Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer CB (9 October 1864 – 23 July 1927) was an officer of the British Indian Army  as a temporary brigadier-general, was responsible for the JallianwalaBagh massacre in Amritsar.  Sir Michael Francis O'Dwyer GCIE KCSI (28 April 1864 – 13 March 1940) was Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab in India from 1912 until 1919. O'Dwyer endorsed General Reginald Dyer's action regarding the Amritsar massacre and termed it a "correct action". In 1940, aged 75, he was assassinated by Udham Singh.

The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer is a 2006 historical biography written by Nigel Collett, a former Gurkha officer, which covers the life of Reginald Dyer. The book's title refers to the 1919 massacre at JallianwalaBagh in which 379 people were shot by troops under the command of Dyer. It is the second biography written on Dyer, the first having been written in the 1930s with co-operation from Dyer's widow which was described by Saul David as an "unashamed hagiography".Collett had read Dyer's book Raiders of the Sarhad while he was serving in the army. He returned to it when writing his dissertation for his Master of Arts in biography at the University of Buckingham.

Reginald Harry Dyer came of a west country family long following the sea and long connected with India.  Vaguely, the origin placed to the village Pilton near Devon.  By some accounts John Dyer grandfather of Reginald married Julia at Calcutta.  In 1827, John Dyer was in the pilot service of East India Company and commanded one of the company’s brigs, fought with success those Dyak pirates who then infested the seas of Burma and Malay archipelago.  His son, Edward, father of Reginald was born on 7th July 1831 in Calcutta and was baptised there.

Dyer was initially lauded by conservative forces in the empire, but in July 1920 he was censured and forced to retire by the House of Commons. He became a celebrated hero in the UK among most of the people connected to the  House of Lords, but unpopular in the House of Commons, which voted against Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer. He was disciplined by being removed from his appointment, was passed over for promotion and was prohibited from further employment in India. Among his prominent supporters, Nobel Literature Prize winner Rudyard Kipling called Dyer "the man who saved India" and initiated collections for his homecoming prize.

~ and there is many a story hidden on the attitude of British towards India and the way many uprising were crushed brutally.  Yet, we instead of studying our own heroes, conclude that British left India peacefully, handing freedom on a platter to Gandhi, to be ruled by Jawaharlal Nehru.  History has its share of blood and freedom was obtained by many many martyrs.

Jai Hind

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Apr 19, 2018.  (next year it will be centenary of the brutal massacre)

Biblio :  The life of General Dyer by Ian Colvin 1929
Amritsar and our duty to India by BG Horniman
Massacre at Amrtisar by Rupert Furneaux

PS  : in 2013 - British Prime Minister David Cameron became the first serving British Prime Minister to voice regret about one of the bloodiest episodes in colonial India, a massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919. Writing in the visitor’s book of Jallianwalla Bagh, Cameron said, “This was a deeply shameful act in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as monstrous. We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests around the world”.  Cameron’s trip came 16 years after Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip visited Amritisar in 1997.  He paid floral tributes to the martyrs of Jallianwalla Bagh. He also stood for a few seconds before the Amar Joyti (burning flame) at Jallianwalla Bagh where he bowed his head to show respect to the martyrs. He spent nearly 25 minutes in the park.