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Saturday, September 29, 2018

#Sabarimala is restriction; not discrimination ~ devotees are deeply anguished


To us Hinduism is a way of life  ~ it is with deep sense of anguish that we received the verdict which contravenes the  beliefs and conventions followed for thousands of years in Sabarimala overruled by a Court judgement ….this is no comment on the judicial position or questioning the verdict, yet – I like many millions of others believe, that such beliefs are supreme and are outside the purview of Courts (as has been held many a times, when it comes to questioning of practices of others religious beliefs.)

The argument that women are barred from entering the Sabarimala shrine is farcical and untrue. The absolute truth is that lakhs of women come to Sabarimala every year. That itself goes to prove that this whole debate is misplaced and based on a wrong premise. Restrictions are in place only for those women aged between 10 and 50 and this is primarily due to “Naishtika Brahmacharya Pratishta” wherein the reigning deity of the Sabarimala shrine is an absolute celibate.

Sanathana dharma ~ our religious protocol is well defined.  We worship idols (Archavatharam for Srivaishanvaites) – Our deities are present in both  physical/  temporal and philosophical form.  Our beloved deities are  capable of having different physical and spiritual forms or manifestations. Worship of each of these forms is unique, and not all forms are worshipped by all persons. The form of the deity in any temple is of paramount importance. For instance, Lord Krishna in the temple at Nathdwara, at Mathura, Guruvayur is infant ~ at Thiruvallikkeni divaydesam, He is the Supreme avatar – charioteer of Arjun hence, Sri Parthasarathi.

The holy Sabarimala draws millions of people – Lord Ayyappa,  the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn at Pandalam as the son of the King of Pandalam, known by the name of Manikandan, who found him as a radiant faced infant on the banks of the river Pampa, wearing a bead (‘mani’) around his neck. Manikandan’s feats and achievements convinced the King and others of his divine origin.  Few facts need to be understood even by people who are God believers but still support SC decision. Lord Iyappa is the Lord of masses -  the cult of Sabarimala broke the ‘divide’ created internally within the Hinduism and also created by ‘’divide and rule’’ model of invaders. During the Sabarimala season, you can see millions of people wearing coloured dhotis, wearing the mala and sandal paste on their foreheads. They observe strict ‘’brahmacharya’’,strictly follow food restrictions, live a dharmic path. These *Iyappa samis*  mingle freely with each other without any discrimination based on caste, age, social status etc etc.. address each other ‘Sami’.  Faith has been deeply rooted in  society's political and moral behaviour.  Any challenge to that  faith, offends followers and believers,  seriously threatens the very fabric of religious beliefs.   



Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala. The temple is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district, which is unique. One of the  unique aspects of this temple is that it is not open throughout the year. It is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku and Vishu.  Till a few decades, the path was strewn with all difficulties – pilgrims would encounter difficult weather, forest animals and more – they would endure everything for their Lord – to have darshan of that deity.  Devotees observe celibacy for 41 days before going to Sabarimala. Most devotees  take the traditional forest routes as well as the one from Pamba and reach the sannidhan, the place where Lord Ayyappa   meditated soon after killing the demon, Mahishi.  Before His darshan, pilgrims elatedly walk through the Holy 18 steps figuratively called *Ponnu Pathinettampadi*,  'Ponnu' being an epithet to denote the holy touch of lord's feet. Only those who observe 41 day's of austerity as ritual can only carry ‘Irumudi’ are allowed to pass through these steps.


Now comes the present judgment that threaten to put an end to centuries-old tradition.  Apex  Court on Friday ruled that women, irrespective of age, can enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. A five-judge Constitution bench, stated that  the rules of  1965, which authorised the restriction, violated the right of Hindu women to practice religion. It also said that patriarchy in religion cannot be allowed to trump the right to pray.   Justice Indu Malhotra, who penned a dissenting verdict, said the petition does not deserve to be entertained.

The whole thing became a political debate, a matter before Court, because of some specious arguments  put forward deliberately by left-leaning feminists, with the sole purpose of misleading the masses. Every temple has a unique "pratishta sankalpa" i.e. the choice of a particular aspect of a particular deity for worship. The rules & regulations of a particular temple or pilgrimage are based on who the reigning deity is and the sampradhaya followed in that specific temple.  We see God everywhere and worship our God in various forms in temples, which have significance of their timeline, who built, who worshipped, and many other religious aspects.  There are hundreds of Ayyappa temples which allow all women - age no bar - because those temples have a different “pratishta” concept. Just take a look at the Attukal Pongala – the female version of the Sabarimala pilgrimage. It has even found mention in the Guinness book of World records for being the largest congregation of women on earth with over 30 lakh women offering pongala to the Attukal Devi, a goddess worshipped in Kerala. Here, women enjoy a privilege that is given to no male.

A clutch of petitions had challenged the ban at Sabarimala, which was upheld by the Kerala High Court. The HC had ruled that only the “tantri (priest)” was empowered to decide on traditions. The petitioners, argued in court that the tradition is discriminatory in nature and stigmatised women, and that women should be allowed to pray at the place of their choice.  Four judges on the bench ruled in favour of lifting the ban on women entering Sabarimala temple. CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Khanwilkar, Nariman and Chandrachud found the practice discriminatory in nature and that it violates Hindu women's right to pray. Here are top quotes from the majority judgment:  CJI said devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination. "Patriarchal rules have to change. Patriarchy in religion cannot be allowed to trump right to pray and practise religion", he said. Justice Khanwilkar concurred with the CJI's verdict.

            All judges ruled that devotees of Lord Ayyappa do not constitute a separate religious denomination.  Hon’ble Justice  Indu Malhotra, the only woman on the bench, said that the petition does not deserve to be entertained. She was of the view that it is not for courts to determine which religious practices are to be struck down except in issues of social evil like ‘Sati’.  Adding that the issue is critical to various religions, she said, “Issues of deep religious sentiments should not be ordinarily be interfered by the court. The Sabarimala shrine and the deity is protected by Article 25 of the Constitution of India and the religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14.” “Notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion,” said Justice Malhotra, adding: “What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court. India is a diverse country. Constitutional morality would allow all to practise their beliefs. The court should not interfere unless if there is any aggrieved person from that section or religion.” “Present judgment won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into,” said Justice Malhotra further.

She also said that “Religious practices can’t solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality. It’s up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what’s religion’s essential practice.”  .. .. Court perhaps should not have intervened in this purely religious affair, however, even with this judgement in place, it seems unlikely that women believers will now suddenly break religious norms, and automatically break out of years of social conditioning, in order to enter Sabarimala temple. As  evinced by the now-resurgent #ReadyToWait campaign on social media, this judgement doesn’t grant the present generation of religious believers a right they themselves were actively asking for, nor does it say that women must now enter the temple. It merely intervenes to remove a religious ban in accordance with the Constitutional law of the land, allowing believers who choose to enter the temple to now do so. But will they?

Elsewhere,   article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights safeguards freedom of religion. This freedom is not confined to freedom to hold a religious belief. It includes the right to express and practise one's beliefs.  In our Country, Article 26 in The Constitution Of India states :
26. Freedom to manage religious affairs Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right: (a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion; (c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and (d) to administer such property in accordance with law.

Religious beliefs are held to be sacred by those who have faith.  Religion does not merely lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, but also includes rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral parts of the religion  In matters of religion and religious practises, Article 14 can be invoked only by persons who are similarly situated, that is, persons belonging to the same faith, creed, or sect. The Petitioners in the impugned case did not claim to be  devotees of Lord Ayyappa, who are aggrieved by the practises followed in the Sabarimala Temple. The right to equality under Article 14 in matters of religion and religious beliefs has to be viewed differently.    In deciding the question as to whether a given religious practise is an integral part of the religion or not, the test always would be whether it is regarded as such by the community following the religion or not.

So, this verdict has deeply anguished followers.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Sept. 2018.
Pic credit :  //sabarimala.tdb.org.in/


Friday, September 28, 2018

Air Niugini lands in sea ~ sinks ~ all passengers rescued


In Nov 2014, PNG (Papua New Guinea) became the latest entrants to ODIs as they played two official International matches against Hongkong  – a grand entry, winning both of them.   Hong Kong buckled under pressure as Papua New Guinea successfully chased down 261 to win the second ODI cricket match in Townsville, Australia.  Earlier  Papua New Guinea, beat  Hong Kong by three wickets in their first ever ODI.

The frequent traveller may not be perturbed and many not listen – airhostess would stand and start miming to the announcement – ‘please listen to the safety instructions’ – in case of air pressure, oxygen masks would descend.  Life jacket is placed below -  “in the event of an emergency, inflate your lifejacket’ – and would reel further to say that in the unlikely event of a landing in water (sea !) .. .. ..  do you feel scary or ever thought of whether it is useful safety instruction, whether one could remember them on emergency and whether plane could actually land on  sea ? ~ next time you hear this, you may feel different ! – if not with fear !!

Air Niugini Limited is the national airline of Papua New Guinea, based in  Port Moresby .   It operates a domestic network from Port Moresby and Lae, as well as international services in Asia, Oceania, and Australia.

Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of smaller islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.  Micronesia is divided politically among several sovereign countries. The Micronesia region encompasses five sovereign, independent nations—the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, and Nauru—as well as three U.S. territories in the northern part: Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Wake Island.

You are reading about all these as one ‘Air Niugini plane’ overshot runway in Micronesia and sank in sea lagoon.  Reports state that a  Papua New Guinean plane has sunk in a lagoon after overshooting the runway in the Federated States of Micronesia.  However, all  passengers were reportedly rescued safely from Air Niugini’s partially submerged Boeing 737-800. Flight 73 flies between Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia and Port Moresby, stopping in Chuuk State. One witness said the plane was coming in to land.

Videos posted to social media show dozens of people in boats around the wreckage. Local media said the 36 passengers and 11 crew members were safe. The Air Niugini plane which  landed in the ocean is stated to be Flight PX073 which is scheduled to fly Pohnpei - Chuuk - Port Moresby. Photos show small boats effecting rescue.  An eyewitness is stated as saying that he heard and saw the plane coming down and thought it to be normal landing but realized that the plane had overshot, went to sea and started sinking.

BBC adds that the  plane crashed and in around five minutes the rescuers were there, they were ordinary people, because there are plenty of boats around the shore. The officials were about 10 minutes. Another employee said the runway was known to be very short.  The good news is there was no human casualties – all  36 passengers and 11 crew were rescued from the plane before it sunk in the lagoon. They were taken to hospital, where eight remained, four in a serious condition with bone fractures and other injuries, according to a hospital spokesman.

Next time on board a plane, listen to the safety instructions more carefully !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Sept. 2018


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Clarion call ~ vultures in line of extinction !!


The population of vultures numbering only around 250 to 300 at Moyar Valley amidst the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve(MTR) buffer zone limits makes this place a very critical hub of the giant bird as vulture conservation, studies and research have been confined to this part of the state in the recent times. Vultures, nature's own sanitary squad, whose jungle scavenging works is helpful in keeping the woods clean and tidy, are also helpful to check spread of dreaded germs from the woods to the outside world. Though vultures dominated the Indian skies, over the decades the eco-toxicological factors played havoc with the life of vultures. Its population not only declined rapidly over the decades, but had become a critically endangered species which needed highest level of conservation efforts.

Heard of ‘clarion call’ : the noun (usually singular) would mean  - a very clear message or instruction about what action is needed.  Initially thought that to have originated about a bird like vulture but read that it came after -   clarion type of trumpet (used for battle signals) in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  The Clarión wren (Troglodytes tanneri) is a species of bird. The wrens are mostly small, the  family includes 88 species divided into 19 genera.

Then there is the - birds of prey, or raptors, species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have keen eyesight for detecting food at a distance or during flight, strong feet equipped with talons for grasping or killing prey, and powerful, curved beaks for tearing flesh.  Do you know that the  first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness Day. The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

Vultures are large to very large, robust raptors, generally known for their scavenging habits. They are strong fliers and are able to soar at great heights. Vultures can spot fresh meat from miles away. In fact, its vision is vastly advanced. Vultures also have an uncanny sense of smell. This kind of bird symbolism prompts us to use all of our senses to navigate in the pursuit of our highest benefit. In Roman mythology the vulture was the steed of the god Saturn (dominion over justice, agriculture, harvest and strength via control). The vulture was also associated with the god Mars (representative of strategy, military, masculinity, initiations, and protection).

Of all 23 species of vulture on the planet today, 16 are in danger of extinction and they could be history like the dinosaurs without you having known about them. Of that number, Africa has the most diversity having up to 11 species and nine being found in Southern Africa. In Africa today, vultures are faced with many threats to their populations. In Zimbabwe, one of the leading threats is intentional and unintentional poisoning done by poachers and some farmers trying to bait problem animals that prey on their livestock.  Commercialisation of traditional healing and divination also has become a major concern as poachers now trade in vulture parts for traditional medicines. To an African mind, the peculiar abilities of an animal or plant are spiritual and inherent in all its physical form and can be transferred to a human through possession or use of them.  This presents a big challenge to vultures and conservationists trying to protect them, the claims for clairvoyance are scientifically unfounded and faith-based, they stem from a misunderstanding of the ecology of vultures and how they locate food when they are foraging.

Another major threat in Africa today is power lines. Much of Africa still does not have a dense electricity network. Most power lines were designed without the consideration of vultures and other big birds. As a result, these big birds get electrocuted in their numbers on these unsafe structures or collide with the cables as they fly by.  Shrinking habitat  is a major threat too.

A vulture’s eyesight is needle-sharp: it can locate a recently-deceased animal carcass from as much as a mile away. And when we say recent, we mean recent. Vultures typically arrive on the scene within an hour of death, having roved as much as 200km that day in search of a meal. And then they get to work, picking the bones clean before disease has time to spread, far faster than scavengers such as feral dogs or rats can achieve. If you think about it, they are performing a huge humanitarian service. But for how long? ~ and are their days numbered !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Sept. 2o18.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Asia Cup 2018 : India Vs Afghan ~ a Tie


The dress code for  the Noble dinner is  ~ Gentlemen :  white tie and tails, while ladies should be dressed in an evening gown. This is the perfect time to dress up and look like royalty! Wearing your national costume is an alternative to white tie and tails or evening gown. 

A Tie !!  .. .. it was once a rarity – it has occurred only twice in Tests  - the first of its kind between Australia and West Indies in Dec 1960 and the other one at Chepauk Stadium in Sept 1986 when Greg Mathews got Maninder Singh out.   Yesterday at Dubai the score card would read :  Afghanistan 252 for 8 (Shahzad 124, Nabi 64, Jadeja 3-46) tied with India252 (Rahul 60, Nabi 2-40, Rashid 2-41) ~ more than the card, it was   an epic thriller when India's middle order unravelled, leaving them seven to get off the final over, bowled by Rashid Khan, with just one wicket in hand.

After refusing a single off the first ball, Ravindra Jadeja slog swept the second ball over midwicket. It seemingly hit the ad skirting on the full and had Rohit thinking it was a six in the dressing room, but after several replays TV umpire Rod Tucker ruled it a four. Jadeja then knocked the third ball to square leg for a single, leaving No. 11 Khaleel Ahmed, who was only playing his second ODI, exposed. Leaving cover open, Rashid unfurled a googly, which Khaleel inside-edged to short fine leg and hared across to the other end. Then, with one needed off two balls, Jadeja lost his head and slapped a rank half-tracker into the lap of Najibullah Zadran at deep midwicket - the only man in the deep on the leg side. A game of extremely fine margins resulted in the 36th tie in 4046 ODIs.

KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu had launched India's reply with a 110-run stand for the first wicket. But the middle order tapered off and two incorrect lbw decisions from umpire Gregory Brathwaite hurt them further. When Dhoni wore an offbreak from part-time spinner Javed Ahmadi on the pads, it seemed to be heading down the leg side, but he was given out for 8. Then, just as Dinesh Karthik was bedding in, he was given out lbw, too, for 44. This was a more glaring error from umpire Brathwaite, with ball-tracking suggesting Mohammad Nabi's offbreak would have probably missed an extra set of stumps down leg.

In One dayers there have been 36 and India has featured in 8 of them


Remember the 11th  match Group B of the WC 2011  - the  match was a real humdinger and went down till the last ball – a tall scoring match at that  676 runs – 18 wickets.  It was rank poor performance by Indian bowlers not able to defend 338.  The ground fielding was poor, slow movers, bad throwing arms, slackened attitude.   With only 12 balls to go, England were 310/7 – tail enders Bresnan and Swann at the crease and 29 required.   It was Piyush Chawla – a dot ball and then second was swept by Swann for a huge six.  The fifth ball Bresnan hoisted him over midwicket for another six.  15 conceded and in the last they required 14 off 6 with 2 wickets in hand.  That match also brought the comic 2.5m rule to the fore.

Earlier on 6th Dec 1991, at Perth – the falling West Indies with a line of Desmond Haynes, Philo Wallace, Richie Richardson, Brian Lara, Carl Hooper, Keith Arthurton, Malcolm Marshall, David Williams, Curtly Ambrose, Cummins and Big Patterson.. chased 127 – the fall of wickets were to read : Fall of wickets: 1-0 (DL Haynes), 2-23 (PA Wallace), 3-25 (RB Richardson), 4-55 (CL Hooper), 5-55 (KLT Arthurton), 6-61 (BC Lara), 7-69 (D Williams), 8-76 (MD Marshall), 9-113 (CEL Ambrose), 10-126 (AC Cummins)

To those who commented Kapil in making Chetan Sharma bowl that last over to Miandad at Sharjah – it was Perth – 50 over match – Kapil Dev had figures of 2/30; Manoj Prabhakar 1/30;  Javagal Srinath 2/27 & Subroto Banerjee 3/30 (and all of them had completed their quota of 10) – so 41st over – Sachin was called to bowl by Azharuddin, who had no control on what was happening. Sachin gave 5 in 5 and off the last ball had Cummins beautifully caught in slips by diving Azhar.  A tie at Perth !

On Apr 30, 2014 - Statistically, Rajasthan Royals made  152 for 5 (Rahane 72) tied with Kolkata Knight Riders 152 for 8 (Gambhir 45, Faulkner 3-11) ~ then came the Super Over….. KKR made 12 (yes only 12 in 6 balls) were all out – RR too made 12 – so tie in Super over too. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Sept 2018.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

size does not matter much - tweets Turbonator


‘size does not matter ~ the size of runs does’ tweeted the Turbonator !

The man who does not exactly look in great shape or fitness,  was in news yesterday is again in news albeit for different reasons.  Head of International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit (ACU) Alex Marshall confirmed on Monday that as many as five international captains have been approached for spot-fixing in the past one year.  Four  of them are from Full Member countries. Till date, only Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has publicly stated that an approach was made during Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka in 2017. "There have been 32 investigations in the last 12 months, eight involve players as suspects. Five of them involve administrators or non-playing personnel. Three of these individuals have been charged. Five internationals captains have also reported receiving approaches to spot-fix," Marshall said at an media event at ICC's headquarters in Dubai.

Before we read further, for those following Australian Cricket – Mick Malone may not be a household name. He played a solitary test and ten one dayers – after that breakthrough into Test cricket, he joined   World Series Cricket and ended up playing only  once for Australia at the end of their miserable 1977 England tour. He did open the attack in 2nd  ODI, at Birmingham, Jun 4 1977 – when England were bundled out for 171 – yet won by 101 runs.  Read a very interesting statistics today in ‘Ask Steve’ section in Cricinfo.

This was condemned to be a  dead-rubber ODI as the result will not change the fortune of both the teams – India has qualified – Afghan anyway knocked out – yet that would never take away the charm of Afghan innings.  Mercurial  MS Dhoni, having given up India's limited-overs captaincy in January 2017, was given the leadership once again because India rested Rohit Sharma among several other senior players. It then burst into life when Mohammad Shahzad - whose hero is Dhoni - smoked a record-equalling century to lead Afghanistan to 252 for 8. When Shahzad reached the landmark off his 88th ball with a gentle tickle to the fine-leg boundary - a shot that belied the ferocity of the innings - Afghanistan's score was 131 for 4. This was the joint lowest when a batsman had reached his hundred in ODIs since 2001.

Deepak Lokandersingh Chahar made his debut for India in ODI.  He was once rejected by Greg Chappell, who was director of the Rajasthan Cricket Association academy in 2008, Deepak Chahar roared back in style two years later.  I had posted on his extraordinary feat earlier.  At Sawai Mansingh stadium in Nov 2010 – Hyderabad were bowled out for a paltry 21… the score card read : 6;1;5;0;0;2;4;2;1;0;0 (Extras 0) – an inglorious end to a team  which holds record for the highest innings total of 944/6 against Andhra…. Deepak Chahar made is debut –  and the right hand pacer had  a great spell that read 7.3-2-10-8.

The previous Ranji record had been  set in the first season (1934-35), when Southern Punjab were bowled out for 22 chasing 114 against Northern India in Amritsar. Chahar was on a hat-trick once, removing MP Arjun and Alfred Absolem with the last ball of his seventh over and the first of his eighth. Pagadala Naidu, the No. 11, kept the hat-trick ball out but got out to the next one. He was not close to getting a perfect 10, though: Pankaj Singh claimed the second and fourth Hyderabad wickets.

Against England in Nov 1981, when Krish Srikkanth made his debut at Mumbai and was run out in uncharacteristic way, Kapil Dev and Madanlal shared it perfectly with 5 each in 2nd innings, leading India to win. In ‘Ask Steve’ in Cricinfo – the interesting Q was :  Has there ever been an ODI in which two bowlers from the same side took five wickets?

Steve Lynch answers that this too has happened once in ODIs – and the destroyers are most unlikely pair.  Aussies had Jeff Thomson, Mick Malone, Max Henry Walker and Ray Bright – with 5th bowler quota to be filled by Greg Chappel and ..  Gary Cosier.  Chappell had figures of 11-5-20-5, while more gentle Gary Cosier had 8.5-3-18-5 !! ~ this is not such a rare feet in Test Cricket and has happened 52 times with   Shahadat Hossain  5 for 71 and Shakib Al Hasan 5 for 62 for Bangladesh against India in Chittagong in 2009-10.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Sept. 2018.

Srilanka dismal performance ! ~ writing letter to CEO


After blowing away Pakistan on Sunday, India takes  on Afghanistan in the fifth Super Four match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE today. In the context of the tournament, this match is a dead rubber,  India in, Afghan out of finals.  Team India can afford to make a couple of changes - Deepak Chahar might get a go in place of Chahal or Kuldeep. Shikhar Dhawan might be rested and KL Rahul might get a look in.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert is suggesting a last-ditch effort to prevent a bankruptcy for the embattled department store chain, according to a proposal by major shareholder ESL Partners, Lampert's hedge fund. It matters a lot.  A debt payment is looming, and Sears is tight on cash. Lampert, whose hedge fund also owns Sears's debt, has a lot on the line should Sears go bankrupt. Chief executive officer (CEO) – in Corporate World is a very important post in most Organisations. CEOs lead a range of organizations, typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues, or another element.

Ajit Mohan, the chief executive officer of Star India's over-the-top video service Hotstar, has been named Facebook India's vice-president and managing director, according to multiple persons aware of the development. The development was announced by Star India CEO Uday Shankar in a company town hall, Hotstar sources told ET. Mohan's appointment ends Facebook's one-year search for an India head, a role which became vacant following former managing director Umang Bedi's departure in October last year.  Public sector Indian Bank on Monday said Padmaja Chunduru has assumed charge as its Managing Director and CEO with immediate effect. Earlier, she served State Bank of India as its deputy managing director (global markets), Mumbai, a press release said here. Ms Chunduru succeeds Kishor Kharat.

~  this post is not about Corporate World, but a letter written to a CEO ! – have you ever had a chance to meet, talk or exchange an email communication with your CEO ?
Angelo Mathews from FB page

Former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews hit out at his country’s cricket board (Sri Lanka Cricket) accusing  them of making him a scapegoat for his team’s failure at Asia Cup 2018. Stating that he was feeling ‘betrayed and let down’ Mathews also threatened to retire from the shorter formats of the game after being replaced by Dinesh Chandimal as the captain. In a letter published by Cricinfo, Mathews wrote to SLC CEO Ashley de Silva .. .. here is some excerpts of that letter

Dear CEO,

I write to you pursuant to the meeting at SLC premises, which was attended by all the selectors along with the National Cricket Coach Mr. Chandika Hathurusinghe. At this meeting the selection committee and the coach informed me to step down as Sri Lanka's captain of the ODI and T20 team. Though I was initially surprised, it was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka's dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. I'm willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me. As you know all decisions are taken through a mutual understanding with the Selectors and the Head Coach. And though I do not agree with the reasoning that the losses should be accrued single handed to the Captaincy, I however eagerly and wholeheartedly respect the request of the selection committee and the head coach in asking me to step down and do so with immediate effect.

You would recall that I relinquished my captaincy in all formats in July 2017, pursuant to captaining Sri Lanka continuously for a period of 5 years in all formats. During this tenure under my captaincy series wins were recorded against England, we whitewashed Australia 3-0 and winning the Asia Cup in 2014 were some memorable occasions. However in the team's best interest having felt that the time had come for new leadership I voluntarily resigned as Captain from all formats of the game in July 2017.

Thereafter, pursuant to Sri Lanka suffering heavy defeats in all formats and having several appointed Captains, namely Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Chamara Kapugedara, Lasith Malinga and Dinesh Chandimal during the tenure between July 2017 and December 2017 in the ODI and T20 formats, Mr Chandika Hathurusinghe immediately having been appointed as Head coach met with me in person, requested me to reconsider taking up the Captaincy until the World Cup in 2019. Though myself, my family and close friends discouraged me in taking up the mantle, being confident in Hathurusinghe and his plans to elevate the performances of the Sri Lankan team and in the best interest of my country I agreed to do so until the World Cup.

I wish to put it on record that though Sri Lanka suffered these heavy defeats in the Asia Cup, which is shocking to say the least, especially in the backdrop where we had a reasonable series against South Africa, I had no intention to quitting and running way from the issues at hand especially owing to the World Cup being only a dozen games away. Furthermore as an obligation of a player I will keep working hard in all aspects of the game and will be available to represent Sri Lanka at any given time with my fullest. I have played the game true to my conscience and have given my best at all times and have felt that I am fit enough to play the formats and also have performed adequately over a period of time to hold my place in the team. You will know that I was also the overall highest run scorer in the South Africa series from both teams.

In the given circumstances I thus resign as the Captain of the Sri Lankan ODI and T20 team with immediate effect in considering the request of the selection committee and the coach to resign. I thank the selectors and the National Coach for speaking to me in person and conveying your thoughts in respect of the Asia Cup and giving me the opportunity to step down in this manner. I wish all the successes to our National Cricket team and all of you.                                                                  Best wishes, Angelo Mathews

In case you wish to know, the CEO of Lankan Cricket is : Ashley Matthew de Silva, a wicketkeeper, played 3 Tests, aggregated 10 runs and in 4 one dayers made 12 runs  !

Any topic on Captain getting dropped would refer to that great Cricketer Srinivasan Venkatraghavan and the ignominy handed to him.  His  credentials stretched from 1965 – 1983 as a player  -  57 Tests – 156 wickets  - a brilliant close-in catcher,  was captain in five Tests and the first two World Cup competitions, a manager who doubled as a coach on the tours of Australia in 1985-86 and West Indies in 1989, was secretary of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association from 1986 to 1989, a national selector in 1991-92, a regular and respected columnist for newspapers and magazines for many years, expert commentator for television for innumerable Tests and one-day internationals, ICC match referee in the 90s, and ICC panel umpire from 1993 till date.  A man with resume straightaway qualifying for the topnotch CEO.

When Ajit Wadekar quit, he was the right man but when WI toured India in 1975, it was Pataudi – but for Delhi Test,  with VC Gavaskar too out with an injury, he was made Captain.  India lost that test by an innings (perhaps the result could have changed if Viv Richards had been given out !) – next Test, he was the 12th man.  India’s 1979 WC campaign was disastrous and returning after that Oval Test, media reports suggest that he came to know of his removal through an  announcement made on the flight.

Tidbit 1 :  In  1958-1959 Home series India versus West Indies:  India had 5 captains : First Test: Polly Umrigar;             Second Test: Gulam Ali; •     Third Test: Polly Umrigar;     Fourth Test: Vinoo Mankad;  Fifth Test: Hemu Adhikari ~ with D K Gaekwad as the captain for the England series that followed India had six captains in just over a year.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Sept. 2018.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Schizophrenia ~ SYMA Growth students hear on 'mental health'


In Mar 2016  Chief Minister Ms  J Jayalalithaa announced that Dr M Sarada Menon (92) was  chosen for Avvaiyar award of Tamil Nadu government ..  The award carries `1 lakh, a gold medal weighing eight grams, a certificate of merit and a shawl. (heard of her ?)

Srinivas Youngmens Association (popularly SYMA) has been running a full time tuition centre for X & + 2 students since 2008 and this is our 11th year of operation.  Almost all our students are from ‘economically suffering class’ and most of them are first generation students.  In the modern day World with rising prices, intense competition, not so conducive atmosphere for studies at home, the students are always under immense pressure.  Added could be peer pressure, sometimes not so well treated at school by teachers and fellow-students, parents being too harsh or not caring at all; parents who often compare and put their ward down – life is always challenging for some.  Today after an 1 ½ hour session, most students felt happy and thanked those 2 who spoke them passionately.

Not so easy to answer a simple Q ~ when physically ill – say, continued headache, fever, body pains, stomach disorder and anything similar, one would immediately rush to a Doctor – but what happens in the society, when for some reason, one is not too comfortable with their mental health.  ‘Mental health’ itself is seen as an ‘oxymoron’ !  ..

Random Harvest  - released in 1942 was based on  James Hilton novel of the same name, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. It starred Ronald Colman as a shell-shocked, amnesiac World War I soldier, and Greer Garson as his love interest.  In Tamil tinseldom, mental disorder is shown in very negative manner most times.  In ‘Deiva Thirumagal’ – Vikaram starred in a role of mentally disabled whose peaceful life in Ooty undergoes change when his daughter is born and wife dies during childbirth.  In Tamil movie, ‘Thillalangadi’ – Santhanam as Dr Paul an amnesiac is made to believe that he is a Doctor and starts diagnosing falsely.   

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment.  The state of a healthy mind could include -  emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. 

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of one’s  life, if one experiences mental health problems, thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: biological factors, life experiences and family history.
The word dreaded – ‘Schizophrenia’  is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.  There are several factors that contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia.

SCARF is the acronym for the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, a non governmental, non profit organization in Chennai, founded in 1984 by a group of philanthropists and mental health professionals led by Dr. M.Sarada Menon.  Today Dr R Padmavathi, Director  and  Dr D Vijayaraghavan, Psychiatrist,  were at NKT National Boys High School and spoke to our SYMA Growth tuition centre students (only X standard students.) it was a very interactive session, with students raising some doubts on the state of mental health.  Dr Vijayaraghavan & Dr Padmavathi patiently encouraged to understand these more, making them much relived of their stresses.

SYMA thanks SCARF, Dr R Padmavathi & Dr D Vijayaraghavan for their visit and time in talking to our students, which would change the life of students in a better way. SYMA is planning couple of more sessions for our + 2 Science & Commerce students as well.  Here are some photos taken in my mobile .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Sept. 2018.








Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kathmandu does well ~ to pay bonus !!


The Licchavis were the most famous clan amongst the ruling confederate clans of the VajjiMahajanapada of ancient India. Vaishali (a city in modern-day northern Bihar) the capital and homeland of the Licchavis, was the capital of the Vajjimahajanapada also. It was later occupied by Ajatashatru, who annexed the Vajji territory into his kingdom.  Kautilya in his Arthaśāstra, describes the Licchavis as a tribal confederation (gaasangha), whose leader uses the title of rājā(rājaśabdopajīvinah). The beautiful land of Nepal, the gateway to Himalayas (Mount Everest !)


Their website reads :  -  when we opened our first store in 1987, Kathmandu was a small specialist outdoor retailer, manufacturing many of our own products. We drew inspiration from our customers: people who saw themselves as travellers, not tourists; people who saw the outdoors as an invitation, rather than something to fear or conquer. We wanted to encourage our customers to get out and explore what the world has to offer – to Live the Dream – and designed products to give people the confidence to go anywhere in the world, whether they are intrepid explorers or backyard enthusiasts. During the 1990s, our focus on design intensified: we became a leader in designing products that are original, sustainable, engineered and adaptive.

It is that of Kathmandu Holdings Limited is a transnational chain of retail stores, selling travel and adventure outdoor apparel and equipment. Kathmandu is a leading retailer of clothing and equipment for travel and adventure in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.   Not sure of the reasoning of the name - Kathmandu was founded by John Pawson and Jan Cameron in 1987 following their sale of the ALP Sports Clothing label. The company set up its first retail outlets in Australia whilst manufacturing most of its original clothing range in New Zealand.  The company was in 2006 fully acquired by an Australasian private equity company and it was listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges in 2009. 

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal.   Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city which  stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal.  Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal's history, art, culture and economy.  Tourism is an important part of the economy. The city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas, and home to seven world heritage sites; the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur, the Stupas of Swayambhunath and Baudhanath, and the temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Historic areas of Kathmandu were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25th April 2015 and have since been reconstructed mostly.

The reason for this post is the news of bonus I read in NZ Herald.  Kathmandu Holdings is eyeing further expansion into the Northern Hemisphere following a record year in earnings and successfully acquiring Oboz Footwear. The outdoor equipment and clothing retailer posted a net profit after tax of $50.5 million for the 12 months ended July 21, up 32.9 per cent, or $12.5m, from the previous year. Sales increased by 11.7 per cent to $497m, and its gross profit increased by 14.2 per cent to $315.5m.  more importantly, Kathmandu is going to pay 1800 of its permanent staff a bonus of $1,000. The company employs 2000 staff.

Still a senior analyst  said the Christchurch-based company could have paid its staff a greater bonus. "A $2 million impact in earnings is very small," he said. "They still delivered a stellar result as well as a higher dividend with shareholders so they could have shared a little bit more of that with staff, which really is a key part of the customer experience."  It is stated that  Kathmandu's full-year earnings were a record result, offset from a turnaround in the Australian business.

~ one keeps reading such articles, day-dreaming something for their own !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Sept. 2018