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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

remembering that gruesome assassination of 1991

On this day in 1939,  the National War Memorial (titled The Response)  a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939 was opened. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial     ~ 21st May is remembered by Indians for different reasons though !

August 15, 1991. It was a pleasant morning in Konanakunte, people did not know that the day would change their lives .. .. can you connect it with this day 28 years ago !  Just as we await results of Lok Sabha elections, 1991 too was an election year – held in 2 phases – each had a different impact.  Maragatham Chandrasekar was to win by a margin of 180572 and the man lost his life campaigning for her this day.   

Visitors to Chennai would not miss the landmark as they come out Central Railway station – the imposing  Government General Hospital, visited by more than 12000 outpatients everyday.   This premier institution dates back to 1664, started  as a small Hospital to treat the sick soldiers of the East India Company. It was the untiring inspired efforts of Sir Edward Winter who was the agent of the company that materialised in the first British Hospital at Madras. In its early days the Hospital was housed at the Fort St. George and in the next 25 years grew into a formal medical facility. Governor Sir. Elihy Yale was instrumental in the development of the Hospital and gave it a new premises with in the Fort in 1690.  In 1842 the Hospital opened its doors to Indians.     In the 19th century, medical college got annexed to it and in 2011, the hospital was renamed after Rajiv Gandhi, sadly because his body was brought here after his assassination in May 1991.

This place (Sriperumpudur) is famous for being the birthplace of our greatest Acharyar – Sri Ramanujar ~ life has changed a lot in the past couple of decades after that fatefulday…..  one may not ardently believe in ‘fate or destiny’…….in the prelude to General elections, there were far too varied predictions …… the National Front was still nursing some hopes, there was a wave predicting return of Rajiv Gandhi.  In that melee, was this person, who had retired from active politics  – not any ordinary person for sure~ a man who had been the CM too…. in 1984 in the aftermath of assassination of Indira Gandhi saw routing of all political parties.  Bharatiya Janata Party could win only 2 seats. One in Mehsana and the other was in South ~ the Hanamkonda constituency where M. Chandupatla Janga Reddy of BJP defeated his nearest Congress rival by 54198 votes.  The man who lost so at a time when Congress swept to power was 70 by the 1991 elections, could not get a ticket and had chosen to retire to peace…….. destiny thought otherwise….. he became the PM in 1991 – Sri PV Narasimha Rao.

The night of 21st  May 1991 changed it all ~ on a campaign trail, he arrived from Vizag, garlanded Nehru at Kathipara, even the Press chose not to travel along for that meeting at Sriperumpudur – and rest is bloody history – the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.  About two hours after arriving in Madras), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues. When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he got out of his car and began to walk towards the dais where he would deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. The assassin, Dhanu, approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress at exactly 10:10 PM.  Rajiv, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed, along with 43 others who were grievously injured. .. .. a very sad day as the Nation lost its ex-Prime Minister assassinated in his own land and a host of innocent Tamilians who had gathered too died in that blast.

Beeroota, a tiny village near picturesque Muthathi on the banks of the Cauvery,  came to news as it was here  LTTE cadres including Sivarasan hid themselves  after the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. The village also played a prominent role in the gunning down of Sivarasan (the ‘one-eyed-jack’ mastermind behind the assassination); Dhanu alias Anbu; and others, in Bengaluru’s Konanakunte in Aug 15,  1991. With just three houses and some huts, nearly three decades ago, Beeroota was one of the most backward villages in the State when the LTTE arrived.

Nation sadly remembers and pays tribute to Rajiv Gandhi

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st May 2019.

Monday, May 20, 2019

secret video leads to downfall in Austria !

A total of 543 constituencies, seven phases spanned over a month, millions of voters — India's battle for the ballot has reached its final stage on Sunday. All eyes are set on May 23 when the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be declared.   ~  and before that, there are numerous exit polls predicting them results.   These are  post-voting polls, conducted just after a voter walks out after casting his or her vote.   The basic step to predict exit polls is sampling ~ and do not ask whether a small sample will give a skewed prediction or real one ?  .. ..

After nearly two months of high-pitch campaigning and seven phase of hectic poll schedule, most exit polls have predicated a clear majority to BJP-led NDA with many more than  300 seats, out of total 542 Lok Sabha seats. Polls are also predicting a clean sweep by NDA in several key states including Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.  Most have concluded that North India is giving Narendra Modiji  and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a sweeping mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The South, according to the exit poll, has slowed the saffron sweep.  Quite obvious – Kerala, Tamil Nadu may throw different results. 

In 654 BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port on Ibiza. With the decline of Phoenicia after the Assyrian invasions, Ibiza came under the control of Carthage, also a former Phoenician colony. The island produced dye, salt, fish sauce (garum), and wool. A shrine with offerings to the goddess Tanit was established in the cave at Es Cuieram, and the rest of the Balearic Islands entered Eivissa's commercial orbit after 400 BC. Ibiza was a major trading post along the Mediterranean routes. 
                      Ibiza, now in news and becoming most searched one on web -  is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the city of Valencia. Ibiza has become well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music, and for the summer club scene, all of which attract large numbers of tourists drawn to that type of holiday. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – you are reading about it because of ‘Ibiza affair’ !

Austria is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. It is bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps.  The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century. Austria was involved in both world wars; it started the first one under Emperor Franz Joseph and served as the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, who provoked the second one. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of government.

The Ibiza affair is a  political scandal in Austria involving Heinz-Christian Strache, the Vice-Chancellor of Austria and leader of the Freedom Party (FPÖ); Johann Gudenus, a deputy leader of the Freedom Party; and both the Austrian Freedom Party and political landscape in general.  The scandal was triggered on 17 May 2019 by the publication of the content of a secretly recorded video of a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza, Spain, which appears to show the then opposition politicians Strache and Gudenus discussing their party's underhanded practices and intentions.  In the video, both politicians appeared receptive to proposals by a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch, discussing providing the FPÖ positive news coverage in return for business contracts. Strache and Gudenus also hinted at corrupt political practices involving other wealthy donors to the FPÖ in Europe and elsewhere. The video also revealed the party's authoritarian intents to suppress the freedom of the press in Austria and replacing it with a compliant media, with a view to turning the country's largest-circulation tabloid, Kronen Zeitung, into a mouthpiece of the FPÖ.  The scandal has now  caused the collapse of the Austrian governing coalition and the announcement of the early election.

Five people took part in the videotaped meeting, according to the German news outlets, which had examined the tapes but had not released the full recordings. Those persons included Heinz-Christian Strache; a woman who said she was the niece of a Russian oligarch; an interpreter (the woman's company); another Freedom Party official, Johann Gudenus, who appears to have set up the meeting; and Gudenus’s wife, Tajana. The persons spoke in English, German, and Russian.  During the conversation in the footage, Strache said he had contacts with Israelis who opposed left-wing politics in Israel, and that he had been invited to China to promote business between Austria and China. Strache also said that Hans Peter Haselsteiner, a major shareholder of the construction company Strabag, would no longer receive commissions by government.

The highly professional setup of the apparent trap, the amount of time and money expended on preparing and realising it, made Germany's Die Welt wonder who might have been behind this operation meant to create what the newspaper referred to as Kompromat (incriminating material to be used at the right moment to undermine one's enemy), which had been held back for two years and made public days before the 2019 European Parliament election.  This has led to the resignation on 18.5.19 by   Heinz-Christian Strache  as Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Chairman of the Freedom Party at a press conference. He stated that he offered Chancellor Sebastian Kurz his resignation from the office of Vice-Chancellor at 11 o'clock that day, shortly before attending the press conference – Kurz accepted his withdrawal and will advise President Alexander Van der Bellen to formally dismiss him. At the press conference, Strache portrayed the recording of the video as an illegal and immoral act by the press and announced that he would take any legal action possible against the organizers, recorders and publishers of the video. However, he later admitted and recognized his wrongdoing.  Shortly after Strache's announced resignation, Johann Gudenus followed up and officially announced his withdrawal from all political posts as well.

We have seen this in cinemas and now a video has turned the applecart of politicians and changed the political atmosphere in Austria

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th May 2019.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Battle of Gallipoli ~ a century ago ! - disaster for Allies - visit by Aussie team

Is distance a factor now ! ~ and how was that a century ago !!

On 27 Oct 1914, two former German warships, the Ottoman Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, still under the command of German officers, conducted the Black Sea Raid, in which they bombarded the Russian port of Odessa and sank several ships.  On 31 October, the Ottomans entered the war and began the Caucasus Campaign against Russia. The British briefly bombarded forts in Gallipoli, invaded Mesopotamia and studied the possibility of forcing the Dardanelles. The Ottoman Empire, literally "The Exalted Ottoman State"; historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries.  One might wonder what is the relevance to the Cricket World Cup 2019.

Australian fast bowler, Jhye Richardson, was withdrawn from Australia’s World Cup Squad as he continues to recover from the shoulder dislocation he suffered in the UAE in March. After a recent scan and testing with the team’s medical staff, it was determined that Jhye was not going to be ready to bowl at the level required for him to be considered for selection at the start of the World Cup.     Australia's squad of : Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa have traversed 15000 odd kilo meters from Australia to England for the cup .. .. and they had a stopover at a historical place is the subject matter of this post.

Donning casual get-up including baseball caps and compression pants rather than the regular team uniform, Australia's 15-man squad plus support staff retraced the footsteps of their countrymen from more than a century ago. It was a rare extended sojourn from professional routine, and a fair logistical feat given the proximity to their June 1 World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol. Their visit is the first by an Australian cricket team since Steve Waugh's side made the trip ahead of the 2001 Ashes. Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa laid a wreath at the Lone Pine Memorial, with its yellow and peach flowers.. ..

The Gallipoli Campaign,  the Battle of Gallipoli was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey). The Entente powers, Britain, France and the Russian Empire, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers, by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia. The invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul). The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn. It was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors, especially Winston Churchill.

The campaign was a great Ottoman victory. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated.  The campaign is often considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness; 25 April, the anniversary of the landings, is known as ANZAC Day, the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in the two countries, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).

After the failure of the naval attacks, troops were assembled to eliminate the Ottoman mobile artillery, which was preventing the Allied minesweepers from clearing the way for the larger vessels. Kitchener appointed General Sir Ian Hamilton to command the 78,000 men of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.  Soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force(NZEF) were encamped in Egypt, undergoing training prior to being sent to France.  The Australian and New Zealand troops were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), commanded by Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, comprising the volunteer 1st Australian Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division.  The  troops, were subsequently placed under Hamilton's command. Over the following month, Hamilton prepared his plan and the British and French divisions joined the Australians in Egypt. Hamilton chose to concentrate on the southern part of the Gallipoli peninsula at Cape Helles and Seddülbahir, where an unopposed landing was expected. The Allies sadly had  discounted the fighting ability of the Ottoman soldiers. The underestimation of Ottoman military potential stemmed from a "sense of superiority" among the Allies, because of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and its poor performance in Libya in 1911 and the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913.

The Allied fleet and British and French troops assembled at Mudros, ready for the landings but poor weather from 19 March grounded Allied aircraft for nine days and on 24 days only a partial programme of reconnaissance flights were possible. Allocated the northern landing, Birdwood's force   was to land and advance inland to cut the lines of communication to the Ottoman forces in the south.  The troops would disembark from the transports into ships' boats and be towed close to the shore by steamboats and then row ashore.  The landing was more difficult, over ground which rose steeply from the beaches, unlike the objective to the south, which was more open. The landing site was garrisoned by only two Ottoman companies but from positions on commanding ground the Ottomans inflicted numerous casualties on the Australians before being overcome.  It was a disaster - ANZAC casualties on the first day numbered around 2,000 men killed or wounded. Casualty figures for the campaign vary between sources but in 2001, Edward J. Erickson wrote that in the Gallipoli Campaign over 100,000 men were killed, including 56,000–68,000 Ottoman and around 53,000 British and French soldiers. Using the Ottoman Archives, Erickson estimated that Ottoman casualties in the Gallipoli Campaign were 56,643 men died from all causes, 97,007 troops were wounded or injured and 11,178 men went missing or were captured.  

Australians and New Zealanders coming from tens of thousands of miles away suffered worst casualties mainly due to poor strategy and lack of knowledge of the conditions.

Anzac Day  is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".  Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War(1914–1918).  This is the place now visited by Australian Cricket team

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th May 2019.

Friday, May 17, 2019

blabbering actor needs to know history of 1926 and earlier too !

 One should not pay any attention to the blabbering of actor turned politician – his views has never been stable – a person known for making long sentences, without fullstop and from the start till end – only confusing.  He and his supporters for sure, would know history and certainly not this piece of history of the killing of 1926 – nor that of the case before Calcutta High Court in 1927 titled – ‘ Ishwari Prasad Sharma And Anr. vs King-Emperor on 13 July, 1927’.  For ease of reference, it was a petition by an editor of a weekly newspaper published in the Debnagri character in Calcutta called "Hindi Punch"; and the printer of that.  They had been convicted by the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta under Section 153A, I.P.C., and sentenced .. …

Swami Shraddhanand (22 Feb 1856 – 23 Dec 1926), also known as Mahatma Munshi Ram Vij, was an Indian educationist and an Arya Samaj missionary who propagated the teachings of Dayananda Saraswati. This included the establishment of educational institutions, like the Gurukul Kangri University, and played a key role on the Sangathan(consolidation and organization) and the Shuddhi (re-conversion), in the 1920s.

 He was born in  1856 in the village of Talwan in the Jalandhar District of the Punjab Province of India. He was the youngest child in the family of Lala Nanak Chand, who was a Police Inspector in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), then administered by the East India Company.  He first met Dayanand Saraswati when Dayanand visited Bareilly to give lectures.  He after  completing his studies practised as lawyer.   He headed the 'Punjab Arya Pratinidhi Sabha', and started its monthly journal, Arya Musafir.  In 1902 he established a Gurukul in Kangri, Indianear Haridwar. This school is now recognized as Gurukul Kangri University.   In 1917, Mahatma Munshi Ram took sanyas as "Swami Shradhanand  Saraswati".

He was actively involved in reforms as also in Independence movement.   He also joined the nationwide protest against the Rowlatt Act. In the early 1920s he emerged as an important force in the Hindu Sangathan (consolidation) movement.  Wikipedia reports that Swami Shradhanand was the only Hindu Sanyasi who addressed a huge gathering from the minarets of the main Jama Masjid New Delhi, for national solidarity and vedic dharma starting his speech with the recitation of ved mantras.  He wrote on religious issues in both Hindi and Urdu. He published newspapers in the two languages as well. He promoted Hindi in the Devanagri script, helped the poor and promoted the education of women.  

On 23 Dec 1926 he was assassinated by a person named  Abdul Rashid. Two days after his death,  Gandhi moved a condolence motion at the Guwahati session of the Congress.  An excerpt from the speech in relevant part reads "If you hold dear the memory of Swami Shraddhanandji, you would help in purging the atmosphere of mutual hatred and calumny. You would help in boycotting papers which foment hatred and spread misrepresentation. I am sure that India would lose nothing if 90 per cent of the papers were to cease today. . . Now you will perhaps understand why I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji's murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another. .. it reads that Gandhi did not condemn the killing but spoke of hatred !
A statue of him was placed in front of Delhi Town Hall after independence, replacing a statue of Queen Victoria.

Pic  :  By Varun Shiv Kapur from New Delhi, India - Town Hall, CC BY 2.0,

Now the case AIR  1927 Cal 747 before Calcutta High Court - Ishwari Prasad Sharma And Anr. vs King-Emperor on 13 July, 1927

The petition had been made by   Iswari Prashad Sharma, the editor of a weekly newspaper published in the Debnagri character in Calcutta called "Hindi Punch"; and Mukund Lall Burman, its printer thereof. They had been convicted by the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta under Section 153A, I.P.C., and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonments.

The subject-matter of the charge against the two petitioners was  the publication of an article in the form of a drama called Balidan (sacrifice) at page 109 in the issue of the newspaper in question dated the 27th Jan 1927. The immediate occasion, as claimed by the Govt for the publication of the drama in question was the murder of Swami Shradhanand at Delhi in 1926. The murder according to the Magistrate was an event which deeply moved the Hindu world and not only the Hindu world but all classes and conditions of men, and there can be no question that the Hindu community in particular all over India was intensely agitated after the assassination.   In the drama the murder of Pandit Lekhram in Lahore in 1897 by a Mahomedan is recalled apropos of the assassination of Swami Shradhanand, and the writer after indulging in an attack on the miscreants, urges in support of his argument that the salvation of India lies in what is called the Suddhi movement, the fact that at diverse times the Hindus have not received at the hands of Mahomedans the treatment which they thought they had a right to receive from them. The last words are our paraphrase of many of the expressions used by the writer in the drama.

The Judge held that  the intention of the writer has to be judged not only from the words used in scene 4 of the drama but from the drama taken as a whole. The drama taken as a whole, as has been pointed out, is one which was written at a time of great public excitement. It is possible that the writer may have without any malicious intention and honestly thought that he should express himself in the manner in which he did with a view to the removal of causes which according to him were promoting or had a tendency to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of His Majesty's Indian subjects, to wit, the Hindus and Mahomedans. Bearing that in mind and reading the article as a whole from that point of view it is difficult to say that the intension of the writer of this drama was to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of His Majesty's Indian subjects. We think that the writer was quite honest in the view which he took (it may be that it was a wrong view) that the only way to prevent murders like those referred to above was to take steps in the direction indicated in the concluding portion of the drama. If that was so, the writer could not in our opinion be brought within the mischief of Section 153A, I.P.C.; at any rate there is much in the drama which entitles to us to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused.

The Court opined that the conviction and sentence of the petitioners must be set aside. The petitioners who are on bail should be  discharged from their bail bonds.

Interesting but forgotten piece of history ~ also makes us understand the views of Gandhi, Congress, the way our history has been written and more !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th May 2019.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tennis Andy Murray knighted

Viv Richards was the star of those days ~ would walk in with a swagger, swat the bowlers to all part of the ground.  He was knighted ! and became Sir  Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards.  Lara too was knighted and became Sir Brian Lara. A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch.  Historically, in Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings.

Sir is a formal English honorific address for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Traditionally, as governed by law and custom, Sir is used for men titled knights i.e. of orders of chivalry, and later also to baronets, and other offices. As the female equivalent for knighthood is damehood, the suo jure female equivalent term is typically Dame. The wife of a knight or baronet tends to be addressed Lady, although a few exceptions and interchanges of these uses exist.  However, in common parlance, ‘Sir’ is used to address a Man  in a respectful way with its feminine equivalent being Madam. 

Tennis ace Sir Andy Murray said he wished his two young daughters had been old enough to see him receive his knighthood from the Prince of Wales.  Sir Andy was knighted by Prince Charles during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace following a glittering tennis career that has seen him win three Grand Slam titles.  He issued a brief statement about the knighthood, saying: 'I'm very proud to receive it. It's a nice day to spend with my family; my wife and parents are here.  'I'd have liked to [have brought] my kids but I think they're a bit young. I'll show them the medal when I get home.' Andy's proud mother Judy Murray later posted a mocked-up photograph to Twitter in which her son appeared as King Arthur pulling a tennis racquet from the stone.

Sir Andy and wife Kim are the proud parents of three-year-old Sophia Olivia and 18-month-old Edie.  Dark Materials author Sir Philip Pullman was also knighted today, for his services to literature. He said he was 'very surprised and honoured' to have been recognised by the Queen and paid tribute to other writers who have previously collected awards. Broadcaster Chris Packham, who received death threats over his campaign on bird shooting last month, was also be awarded a CBE for services to nature conservation. The BBC Springwatch presenter said the honour was a 'silent thanks' from the animals he has defended, after he was named on the New Years Honours list in 2018.

Andy Murray's career-defining moment came in the summer of 2013 when he ended Britain's 77-year wait for a male singles champion at Wimbledon. The knighthood was announced in the 2016 New Year Honours, capping a momentous 12 months which saw him win a second Wimbledon title. In the same year, he also retained his Olympic crown, was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the third time, and finish the season as world number one.

Recipients are allowed to choose when to collect their honour and it is thought the delay was due to Sir Andy having a busy overseas playing schedule, but in the intervening two years he has suffered a career-threatening hip problem. Sir Andy announced during a tearful press conference at the Australian Open in January that he plans to retire after Wimbledon this year due to the pain in the joint. But after a monumental five-set tussle with Roberto Bautista Agut, where  Andy Murray showed he still has the ability and desire to compete at the top level, he said he would do everything he could to keep playing.  He sounded upbeat about his tennis prospects when he spoke about his hip rehabilitation in April during the London Marathon, where he fired the starting pistol for the elite men's race.

Sir Andy, who is a Unicef UK ambassador, received the knighthood for services to tennis and charity.  The player connected with the wider British public when he took gold at the London 2012 Olympics, beating Roger Federer in straight sets. A few weeks later he became the first British man to win a grand slam final in 76 years, defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open. His efforts earned him the OBE for services to tennis but more glory on the court was to follow.

Rabindranath Tagore won  Nobel Prize in Literature:  and was awarded a knighthood by King George V in the 1915 Birthday Honours.  However, Tagore renounced ‘Sir title’  after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.  In the repudiation letter to the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, he wrote :  “the time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance, are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings.”

The great England all-rounder Ian Terrance Botham too was knighted but not for Cricket. It was in recognition of his services to charity, in the year 2007.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th May  2019.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

remembering the great martyr born this day 112 years ago ! ~ Sukhdev Thapar

The post starts with a sad pre-note – ‘how badly we have missed out knowing the real martyrs who gave their lives in earning freedom’.  Recently, when I circulated one of my posts on Indian freedom struggle, a respected senior surveyor wrote back stating ‘I feel proud of my family on true contribution to freedom struggle – my maternal uncle, a revolutionary of North West Province (Inder Muni Bhatia) was shot dead by British at young age of 21 and my uncle remained in prison with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and awarded Tamrapatra …

Indian history has denied them any place ~ not at all surprising as we read history as dictated by the British, further refined by commies – and in fact have not given the right place for those great martyrs who have immortalised in history and whose deeds are still recorded and available – natural that many remain unsung, unknown martyrs.  Most of us do not even know that lion Lala Rajpat Rai actually succumbed to murderous attack made by British Police !!  ~  Indian freedom struggle is much much more than Gandhi, Nehru, and Congress.

Almost 90 years ago, on 8th Nov 1927 – Viceroy of India  announced that a high level Commission had been appointed by Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister. The members would tour India and submit a report to the Government, including suggestions on the administrative reforms. The seven member Commission was headed by Sir Elsbrook John Simon, a famous London Barrister. One of the members of the Commission, Clement Attlee later became the Prime Minister of Britain at the time of independence of India. The Commission was opposed all over India, including Congress as it did not have any Indian as its member. Barring only a few moderates, everyone in India was shouting, “Simon, go back.”

There were protests everywhere they went ..  at Lahore on 30.10.1928, there was total strike, a crowd of 5000 odd persons had  gathered at Lahore Railway Station, though the administration had enforced Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, banning such gathering of protestors.J.A. Scott, Superintendent of Police, Lahore, along with Saunders, his Additional S.P. and other officers was present at the station. He ordered the lathi charge but there was hardly any impact. An infuriated Scott  let his force loose on unarmed people. Saunders, directly attacked Lalaji – the  aged lion fell down in great pain, bleeding heavily from the wounds. The wounded lion Lalaji undaunted by this, addressed the protest meeting held the same evening at Mori Gate  roaring “I declare that the blows struck at me will be the last nails in the coffin of the British rule in India.”

Lalaji was hospitalized for the treatment of his injuries. He, after 18 days, succumbed to the injuries on 17th Nov, 1928. There was deep anger inside everyone’s heart as death was directly attributed to the injuries inflicted.

Moving away to the sad day on Mar 23, 1931 at Lahore Central Jail.   When the day broke out, the Sun’s radiance too was dull.  The ever present frightening silence inside the perimeter seemed to make the prisoners even more desperate. All inmates had anxiety and despair written over their ashen faces, as if some big storm was coming.  It was most melancholic moment as in   barrack number fourteen housed Sardar Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. They all emanated an aura ofpeaceful calm and good health. They were quiet, yet cheerful, free from all worries and unaffected by what was happening around them. This was an astonishing sight for jail authorities as everybody knew that their hanging had been scheduled  and they were hanged at 7.33 pm.  Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev took their last bath and put on black clothes provided by the jail officials. The doctor recorded their weight and was surprised to note that all three had gained weight since last recording. The lions moved out of their cages, had a good look at each other and then leaped to have a warm embrace.

That is tragic story of hanging on 23.3.1931 of - Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru.. .. .. (pictured here real gallows at Andamans Cellular jail)

Flashback:   .. when LalaLajpat Rai died, a group of youngsters  decided to avenge the insult to the nation by killing Scott. Many came forward, Sukhdev was chosen by the group as the coordinator for this mission. Sukhdev,  named Azad, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Jai Gopal as his accomplices to accomplish the task. Sukhdev Thapar (15 May 1907 – 23 Mar 1931) the revolutionary,  was a senior member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

Sukhdev should ever be remembered for his patriotic zeal and for  his involvement in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 18 Dec 1928 and its aftermath.  The strategists were on alert - the man given the task had never seen Scott himself so he took the European for Scott, in reality, he was Saunders, Assistant SP, clad in almost identical uniform. Scott had not come as he was on leave that day. Upon getting the signal, Rajguru came in the path and fired. The shot was accurate. The bullet pierced the chest and Saunders collapsed on the ground, with one leg under the running motorcycle.

Sukhdev was the prime accused in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 1930, whose title reads "Crown versus Sukhdev and others". The first information report (FIR) of the Lahore Conspiracy Case, filed by Hamilton Harding, senior superintendent of police, in the court of R.S. Pandit, special magistrate in April 1929, mentions Sukhdev as accused number 1.  In the long list of 25 accused, Bhagat Singh was 12th while Rajguru was 20th.   After the Central Assembly Hall bombings in New Delhi (8 April 1929), Sukhdev and his accomplices were arrested and convicted of their crime, going through the loss of life sentence as the verdict.

On 23 March 1931, the 3 revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh, SukhdevThapar and Shivaram Rajguru hanged in Lahore jail. Their bodies were secretly cremated at the banks of the River Sutlej.  Though the plan perhaps was to kill JA Scott, karma had that  Saunders who was directly responsible for the killing of Lalaji got killed.

Nation should remember the great martyr Sukhdev who was born this day 112 years ago !.  Long live the Nation ~ glory to all martyrs.

With heavy heart- S. Sampathkumar
15th May 2019.
the house pictured at the start - Sukhdev home at Ludhiana pic credit :

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

music prayers for rain ~ morsing instrument !!

Music is divine ~ in our culture, Temples & divinity have always been associated with music. On Sunday 12.5.2019, Srinivas YOungmens Association (SYMA) alongwith Brahmins Welfare Assocaition (Triplicane) organized a music-fete praying for rains.  Had occasion to be near to the artistes who performed and took some photos of too.   I could not but  wonder how a small iron instrument held on teeth could produce sweet music .. .. wonder-struck, took some photos of that odd looking instrument ~ now I realize the greatness of the person who played it and produced stirring music ! ~ the post is on  ‘morsing’ played by Chennai K Raguraman.

The ability to express thoughts through sounds has evolved into an art which we call music.  Carnatic music emphasizes the voice and singing, accompanied by the tambura, violin, mridangam, gadam, Veena and more.  The raga style is commonly used, and improvisation is common.  Three forms are hailed : Iyal, Isai, Nattiyam [Prose, Poetry and Drama] .. There are 2 sets of people ~ connoisseurs of music, especially the Carnatic one, who know the nuances; others who know nothing !! ~ … ~  I belong to the latter variety and hence this post may not be anything to the first category people. 

The mysticism of ragas often finds avenues of expression when rendered by sensitive musicians. Vedic hymns to propitiate the rain God are set to reverberate in major temples across Tamil Nadu soon with a desperate government turning to the divine power for overcoming acute water scarcity faced in several parts of the state. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR and CE), which administers temples in the state, has asked officials of important shrines to conduct special 'yagams' among other rituals for pleasing Lord Varuna, the God of rains. Besides, the temples have also been asked to organise musicians to play 'ragas' such as "Amrithavarshini", divine ragas in Carnatic music that are said to bring showers when played.

The State of Tamilnadu and specifically Chennai city is experiencing heat waves.  Water crisis is felt everywhere. In the last two years, northeast monsoon rainfall had been lower than the normal quantum and several parts of the state, including this metropolis, are facing severe water scarcity. Major lakes in the suburbs that cater to the drinking water needs of the city are having poor storage. Cyclone 'Fani', which was initially expected to hit the state,  moved away and did not bring in rains too.

At Gangaikondan mandapam – the ‘nadha sangamam for rains’ – started with 108 times rendering of Sri Gothapiratti Thiruppavai pasuram ‘aazhimazhaikkanna onnu nee kai karavel’ by Soundarya Rathnamala, Munithraya Bajana Mandali and others assembled there’.  Around 6 pm, everyone around the mantap were attracted by the blistering divine music ensemble of ‘Siva vadhyam’ by those rendering music service at Thiruvatteeswarar thirukovil.  Then came the main programme – divine music rendered by :  Injikudi EM Mariyappan (Nathaswaram) Ennapuram KS Kamaraj (Thavil); B Venkatramana (Flute); Amainthapuram Boovaraghan (Mridangam); Madurai D Kishore (Violin) and Chennai K Raguraman (Morsing)

Have never had occasion to be so close to the performers ~  a  morsing (Telugu: మోర్సింగ్, , Tamil: நாமுழவு அல்லது முகச்சங்கு) , [jaw harp] is an instrument similar to the Jew's harp, mainly used in Rajasthan, in the Carnatic music of South India, and in Sindh, Pakistan. It can be categorized under lamellophones, which is in the category of plucked idiophones. It consists of a metal ring in the shape of a horseshoe with two parallel forks which form the frame, and a metal tongue in the middle, between the forks, fixed to the ring at one end and free to vibrate at the other. The metal tongue is bent at the free end in a plane perpendicular to the circular ring so that it can be struck and is made to vibrate. This bent part is called the trigger.

By some accounts morsing is an instrument with a history of 1500 years, its exact origin in India is not well documented. In the tradition of the Indian gurukul system of teaching, thus folk tales are a secondary source of its history. In South India, it features in Carnatic concerts and percussion ensembles. It is said to be the percursor to subsequent instruments such as the harmonica and the harmonium.

The morsing is placed on the front teeth, with slightly pouted lips and held firmly in the hand. It is struck using the index finger of the other hand to produce sound. Movement of the player's tongue while making nasal sounds is used to change the pitch.  While this is sounded through the nose,  air is pushed out or pulled in through the mouth. This aids the meditation process and thus some players use it as a form of practising pranayama. Movement of the player's tongue with constant plucking can produce very fast patterns of sound. It certainly looked and is a tough one to perform, though Sri Raghuraman played it with ease, matching nadaswaram and violin.  Together they made a great team and treated us all to divine music for nearly 2 hours. 

While traditionally morsing is made of iron, variants can be made from brass, wood, bone, and even plastic and credit cards.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th May 2019.
PS : handful of recipients of this mail are acclaimed critics of Carnatic music.  To some of you this could be no news at all ..  request you to please  ignore this post…

Gift, Ownership, Insurable Interest and claim on vehicle taken back

Insurance gives peace of mind, by protecting the property and providing financial support at the time of loss or damage. The primary criterion for taking out insurance is ‘insurable interest’ – right to insure / take out policy.  Ownership casts a right to protect the property though not the only thing.  A person or entity has an insurable interest in an item, event or action when the damage or loss of the object would cause a financial loss or other hardships. Insurable interest is an essential requirement for issuing an insurance policy which makes the contract of insurance – valid, legal and right.   In Motor Insurance, Insurers check the RC of the book to ensure that policy is taken by the individual / entity that owns the vehicle.  It is a requirement that ‘insurable interest’ should exist throughout the policy period, i.e., at the inception / taking out the policy as also at the time of claim.

Ownership may not require a lengthy explanation – it is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex: one can gain, transfer, and lose ownership of property in a number of ways. To acquire property one can purchase it with money, trade it for other property, win it in a bet, receive it as a gift, inherit it, find it, receive it as damages, earn it by doing work or performing services, make it, or homestead it. Ownership is self-propagating in that the owner of any property will also own the economic benefits of that property.

Willing or voluntary transfer of property could be for consideration or by gift or by will.   A Gift Deed is a legal document that describes voluntary transfer of gift from donor (owner of property) to donee (receiver of gift) without any exchange of money. The donor must be solvent and should not use this tool for tax evasion and illegal gains.

Motor  Insurance is a contract between the policy holder (invariably the owner of the vehicle) and the Insurer.  Vehicles like any other property are sold and ownership gets transferred.  By rule, such transfers need to be intimated and recorded with Road Transport authorities and Registration Certificate [RC] of the vehicle endorsed suitably.  All India Motor Tariff clearly deals with transfer of insurance ~ primarily the transfer of insurance is not automatic.

General regulation 17 reads :On transfer of ownership, the Liability Only cover, either under a Liability Only policy or under a Package policy, is deemed to have been transferred  in favour of the   person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred with effect from the date of transfer.[this is to take protect the third party]..the  transferee shall apply within fourteen days from the date of transfer in writing under recorded delivery  to the insurer who has insured the vehicle, with the details of the registration of the vehicle, the date of transfer of the vehicle, the previous owner of the vehicle and the number and date of the insurance policy so that the insurer may make the necessary changes in his record and issue fresh Certificate of  Insurance.

In case of  Package Policies, transfer of the “Own Damage” section of the policy in favour of the transferee, shall be made by the insurer only on receipt of a specific request from the transferee along with consent of the transferor. If the transferee is not entitled to the benefit of the No Claim Bonus (NCB) shown on the policy, or is entitled to a lesser percentage of NCB than that existing in the policy, recovery of the difference between the transferee’s entitlement, if any, and that shown on the policy shall be made before effecting the transfer.A fresh Proposal Form duly completed is to be obtained from the transferee in respect of  both Liability Only and Package Policies.Transfer of Package Policy in the name of the transferee can be done only on getting acceptable evidence of sale and a fresh proposal form duly filled and signed. 

Thus categorically, transfer of insurance (own damage portion) is not automatic – Insurer has the right to revalidate the contract (can deny the cover also) – however, in the event  of the death of the sole insured,  policy  coverage will not immediately  lapse  but will remain valid for a period of three months from the date of the death of insured or until the expiry of this policy (whichever is earlier). 

With this lengthy background read this interesting decision of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.  Insurers filed application seeking condonation of delay of 136 days – Forum condoned delay in revision petition subjecting it to deposit of Rs.20000/- as cost.

The parents of Respondent 2 purchased a vehicle in the name of R1 for gifting the same in the marriage.  The vehicle was duly insured with the petitioner.  On 13.3.2012, vehicle met with an accident, surveyor assessed it to be a total loss.  Thereafter, the marriage was dissolved and vehicle returned to complainant no. 2.  The claim was not paid and a case was filed before Dist Forum as a consumer complaint.   Insurer resisted on the grounds that accident occurred on 19.1.2012 and not 13.3.2012; on the material date complainants did not have insurable interest as vehicle had been sold (C1 to C2) on 9.3.2012.

The Dist. Forum allowed the complaint, Insurer approached State Commission by way of appeal which was dismissed and hence appeal before National Commission. 

The order of State Commission tookt he date of accident to be 13.3.2012; affidavit sworn by complainant no.1 revealed that vehicle had already been sold by him to C2 – the said affidavit was executed on 9.3.12 and hence vehicle obviously was sold on or before that date.  C1 had no insurable interest on the date of accident – he had also confirmed to have received sale proceeds and delivered possession.  C2 (the lady) had got the vehicle transferred in her name at the date of accident – but insurance transfer had not been effected and insurance still stood in the name of C1.   The forum decided that as no transfer of insurance had been effected in the name of C2 or a fresh insurance obtained, there was no valid contract between the owner and the Insurer.  The Forum drew reference to Apex court decree in Complete Insulations P Ltd Vs New India which cited Sec 157 of MV Act. 

The Forum concluded that the insurance claim for damage to vehicle was not payable either to complainant no. 1 or no.2.   It was not payable to C1 as he did not have insurable interest and C2 because there was no contract of insurance between her and the petitioner (Insurer) on the material date.  The consumer complaint was dismissed with no order as to costs.

Interesting .. and there are learning for all connected with insurance

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Case citation : RP 3373/2018 against first appeal of 545/2017 of Punjab SCDRC