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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Harish Salve gets paid in full (in cash) for appearance in International Court of Justice


Bollywood actor Salman Khan has given a summons in the Jodhpur court for the blackbuck case a miss ! ~ instead of appearing before the Judge,  Salman Khan's lawyer has filed two application in the court. The next date of hearing has been fixed for December 19.  Salman Khan had filed a plea against his conviction by a lower court, which had sentenced him to five years in jail in the infamous blackbuck poaching case of 1998 in which he was accused of killing two blackbucks during the shooting of 'Hum Saath Saath Hai'.

He was convicted but did not spend even a single night at Arthur Road jail,  thanks to the Senior Advocate.  Just moments after Khan was convicted of culpable homicide and handed a sentence of five years in prison, his advocate, a former Solicitor General of India, had framed his appeal. Hours later, Salman was being driven home.

Salman could employ a Senior lawyer, who first qualified as Chartered accountant and practiced in taxation. He began his legal career in 1980 at J. B. Dadachandji & Co., first as an intern, and later as a full-time lawyer.  He went on to specialise  in constitutional, commercial and taxation law.  ~ the man Harish Salve.

Harish Salve served as the Solicitor General of India from Nov  1999 to Nover 2002. He was born into a Marathi family. His father, NKP Salve too was a Chartered Accountant, Union Minister and President of BCCI.  His grand father too was a lawyer.  In 2013, Salve was admitted to the English Bar and subsequently joined the Blackstone Chambers.

He has appeared in many high profile cases – anti-dumping case; represented Mukesh Ambani in KG basis gas dispute against Anil Ambani. Salve represented Vodafone in its $2.5 billion tax dispute with the Indian government. Salve appeared for Bilkis Bano.. .. ..He was also named in the Panama Papers.

Whilst none of this attracts me – there is one which is worthy of appreciation.  In May 2017, he represented India before the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying. Due to his efforts, the International Court of Justice has ordered a provisional stay on Jadhav's execution until a final verdict is declared.

Senior lawyer Harish Salve's strong arguments to defend India's stand on Kulbhushan Jadhav at the International Court of Justice were widely appreciated by one and all.  It was widely appreciated when Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted  that he  charged just Re 1 for the appearance in Kulbhushan Jadhav case.  .. .. and now comes the news that his fees has been paid in full by cash ! Bansuri, daughter of Ms Sushma Swaraj  has fulfilled her  last wish, by personally calling on  Harish Salve and presenting  the One Rupee coin as fees for Kulbhushan Jadhav's case.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was  arrested in the Pakistani province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.  Indian Foreign Ministry claimed that he had been kidnapped.   On 10 April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial in Pakistan.  With India fighting this, on 18.5.2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the execution pending the final judgement on the case. On 17 July 2019, the court rejected India's appeal for Jadhav's release and ordered Pakistan to suspend the execution. It ruled that Pakistan will have to review the entire process of trial and conviction of Kulbhushan Jadhav and provide India with consular access.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Sept. 2019

Friday, September 27, 2019

Google doodle on Google's 21st birthday


Not a single day passes out ! ~ without our searching something on ‘Google’.  The word ‘google’ has become a verb and is synonymous with searching something - on all and sundry information that one thinks of knowing ! .. ..

Of course there is much more than the simple search engine.  Earlier this week, Google unveiled "Google Play Pass." For one, monthly price, Android users have access to hundreds of premium games and apps, with no ads and no in-app purchases. Here's what you need to know about the service and some answers to questions you may have about Play Pass.  Google is currently running a limited-time offer where you can subscribe to Play Pass for only $1.99 per month.  Google Play Pass allows you to download a variety of games and apps that would normally cost anywhere from $0.99 to $9.99 per download. The subscription also allows you to unlock in-app purchases and expansion packs that would normally gamers an additional cost.

Intellectuals often talk about ‘quantum physics !’ .. .. In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework that combines classical field theory, special relativity, and quantum mechanics and is used to construct physical models of subatomic particles (in particle physics) and quasiparticles (in condensed matter physics) !!  Google appears to have reached an impressive milestone known as quantum supremacy, where a quantum computer is able to perform a calculation that is practically impossible for a classical one. But there are plenty of hurdles left to jump over before the technology hits the big time. For a start the processors need to be more powerful. Unlike classical computers which store data as either a 0 or a 1, quantum computers handle data as a mixture of these two states.

Away from all this ~ Google is celebrating its 21st  birthday today  with a special Doodle. The search engine was founded in Sept 1998 by two PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in their dormitories at California’s Stanford University. Having developed a search algorithm known as ‘Backrub’ two years earlier, Page and Brin chose the name Google for their new project because it recalled the word ‘googol’ – a mathematical term meaning ‘10 raised to the power of 100’.

At a time when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy, Page and Brin’s lofty goal was to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  Now it is a very big Company, a great money spinner ! .. .. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, alongside Amazon, Apple and Facebook. Together  Page & Brin, own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a California privately held company on Sept 4, 1998 in California. An initial public offering (IPO) followed in  2004, and Google moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex. In August 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is Alphabet's leading subsidiary and will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet's Internet interests. Mr Sundar Pichai was appointed CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page who became the CEO of Alphabet.

The company's rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail/Inbox), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), instant messaging and video chat (Google Allo, Duo, Hangouts), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth, Street View), video sharing (YouTube), note-taking (Google Keep), and photo organizing and editing (Google Photos).  Google.com is the most visited website in the world. Several other Google services also figure in the top 100 most visited websites, including YouTube and Blogger.

Though we fail to notice, lots of changes do happen.  According to a Reddit thread on /r/google, the search engine has quietly removed a button that allowed users of Google Image Search to quickly find results within a custom time frame. Now, the date filter on Google's Image search only has buttons that allow users to find images from the past year and newer on the fly. This is not the first set of filter buttons Google has removed from the image search engine this year: Last month, the company removed the ability for users to filter results by "minimum size," "exact size," and "full color." These feature buttons, however, are still available in "advanced search." Custom date range is not yet available as a button within advanced.

Another article citing Quick Heal security labs  says that 29  malicious apps have been discovered on Google Play Store with a collective download count of more than 10 million. The apps were removed by Google soon after. One of the malicious apps from this set named 'multiapp multiple accounts simultaneously' has crossed 5 million installs and out of the 29 apps, 24 are from 'HiddAd' category that hides the icon after first launch and create a shortcut on home screen of the phone. "The remaining 5 apps are of 'Adware' category and would generally get into your Android phones through advertisements. Users see many advertisements every time they visit social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, etc, which promote different mobile applications. The 'Adware' apps pretend to offer a functionality of magnifying the view, but in reality these show heavy advertisement on user's mobile, eventually draining phone battery and causing heavy data usage and productivity loss.

Google announced yesterday that they will not be showing links to new stories in France due to the EU Copyright Laws that were announced earlier this year. Instead of showing snippets of European news stories, Google News feed will now only display previews and thumbnail images from the news stories unless the publishers agree to provide them with the content for free. It is a major disappointment for France, which is the first country for the law to be implemented, as they were expecting additional revenue in concurrence with the new copyright law. With the new EU copyright law approved by the European Parliament the expectation was that Google would have to pay publishers to use snippets of their content with a term they referred to as "link tax."  Google says that they do not pay for news content as a matter of policy. In fact, in 2014 they shut down Google News in Spain after a law passed that mandated payments on sharing news content.

These and much more ~ Google offers so much of interesting things ! ~ Happy birthday Google

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Sept 2019.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Women in Cricket - TNCA set to have a lady President !!


The Madras Presidency Matches were annual first-class cricket matches played in Madras from the 1915–16 season to 1951–52 between the cricket teams of Indians and the Europeans (i.e., Europeans who were living in India). The matches were played in the Chepauk Grounds mainly during Pongal times. Of the 33 matches played, Indians won 15 and the Europeans 8 with 10 draws.  The name of RD Richmond appears in some of these. 

The list is short and reads :  RD Richmond, Dr P Subbarayan, CP Johnstone, CR Pattabhiraman, MA Chidambaram, Balu Alagannan, N Shankar, Dr AC Muthiah and the popular N Srinivasan ~ obvious that not all of them were Cricketers ~ and to the list gets added a lady !!  - in case you are wondering ! – it is the list of the Presidents of TNCA.  Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is the governing body of Cricket activities in the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Tamil Nadu cricket team. It is affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Woman in Cricket circles is not new ! ~ am not talking about Mayanti Langer.  Remember seeing Indian womens’ play at Chepauk – captained by Shanta Rangaswamy, the first woman to lead an Indian cricket team, the first woman to win a Test series and the first woman to receive a lifetime achievement award from the BCCI, Shanta Rangaswamy was nothing short of a pioneer. But if she had to be broken down in the simplest terms, she was a batting allrounder, who ran in with the new ball and later made others run after it. She captained 12 out of the 16 Tests she played in since making her debut in Oct 1976.  She scored India's first Test century and smashed the first six as well.

There are other women too.  Australia's Claire Polosak is  the first female umpire to officiate in a men's one-day international.   She stood in the final between ICC members  Namibia and Oman.  Former India women cricketer GS Lakshmi  became the first female to be appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees.

Organized league cricket in the State began in Madras in 1932. The Indian Cricket Federation staged what is now acknowledged as the first cricket league in India when it conducted a competition for the clubs of Madras in 1932. The Madras Cricket Association was formally constituted on April 30, 1935. The Association was shortly thereafter affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.  The famous Chepauk stadium named as ‘M A Chidambaram Stadium’ had its beginnings even earlier in 1916.   In June 2009, reconstruction work of the stadium was taken up at the cost of 175 crore  and plans included constructing three new reinforced concrete stands designated I, J, and K accommodating 10,000 spectators and 24 hospitality boxes under translucent PTFE membrane roofs. It ran into trouble as there was no building permission and some IPL matches were conducted with these stands kept empty. 

Besides being the home ground for the yellow ‘Chennai Super Kings’ – TNCA, inaugurated Tamil Nadu Premier League in 2016. This has taken cricket in TN to much interior parts fo the State too.  The news is about TNCA getting a new women President. 
Media reports are abuzz that former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N. Srinivasan''s daughter Ms Rupa Gurunath is all set to become the first woman President of a BCCI state body at the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association''s (TNCA) annual general meeting on September 26. As per sources in the know of things, the decision was taken at TNCA''s executive committee meeting on Sunday, and Ms Rupa  is unlikely to face any opposition with the last date for filing nomination being September 24. The other candidates who are front runners to form the panel are R.S. Ramaswamy for Vice President, K.A. Shankar for Joint Secretary and J. Parthasarathy for Treasurer.
Ms Rupe seen talking with MS Dhoni

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the TNCA to hold polls to elect its office bearers. A bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao said that the election results will be subject to the final order. Senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, who is assisting the apex court as amicus curiae, contended that only four out of the 38 cricket associations in the country had failed to adopt the new BCCI constitution. But the SC allowed the state body to go ahead with the elections. On Saturday, Jaydev Shah was named the President of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) as electoral officer Varesh Sinha declared the name of the five office bearers of the SCA along with 11 apex council members duly elected to their respective posts. While Shah was elected President, Dipak Lakhani was named the Vice President, Himanshu Shah the Secretary, Karan Shah the Joint Secretary and Shyam Raichura the Treasurer.

Son of former BCCI official Niranjan Shah, Jaydev Shah has played 120 first-class matches and captained Saurashtra for a record 110 times. Saurashtra were runners-up in the Ranji Trophy in 2012-13 and 2015-16 and also won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2007-08 under his captaincy. He announced retirement from all formats of the game in 2018. Meanwhile, former India captain Sourav Ganguly is also set to be re-elected unopposed as the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). Ganguly''s five-member panel did not meet any opposition till the deadline for filing nomination, which was Saturday.

There are some reports on twitter that TNCA EC meeting has ended and formally Ms Rupa Gurunath is to become the first women president of a BCCI State Unit.  Tamil Nadu leads the way in having a new President, a woman at that.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Sept. 2019 @ 0800am.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Google Doodle celebrates first woman climber of Mount Everest


The obvious reference is today’s Google doodle. 

Is it really a Sport – certainly one of a physical pursuit demanding an affinity for suffering. Where it is cerebral is in its requirement of good judgment, most importantly in extreme situations when the mind is most clouded and consequences of bad decision-making tend to multiply.  Considering the level of  risks of what the participants call the objective level, it  involves assessing dangers one may encounter – weather, avalanches, poor rock, and many unthought of ! – really very tough challenges experienced and willfully pursued  by mankind.  .. .. it is conquering Mount Everest called ‘mountaineering’ !

The world’s highest mountain peak Mount Everest is called Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmāthā  in Nepali.  Mount Everest, located on the top of the world, attracts people.  Sagarmāthā is Earth's highest mountain. Its peak is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft)  ~ although more than 4,000 people have scaled the summit since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953, hundreds have also perished.  Statistics reveal that scaling Everest is much easier than it used to be. In 1990 just 18 per cent of summit attempts were successful, but in 2012 that figure was 56 per cent.

Turning the annals of History, in  1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time, who named it after his predecessor in the post, and former chief, Sir George Everest. It is stated that Waugh was unable to propose an established local name !  but why he chose not to name the Tibetan or Nepali name ? – remember the others Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri etc.,  the name Chomolungma,  reportedly appears on a 1733 map published in Paris.  It had been the practice to assign to every geographical object its true local or native appellation but the highest peak was given a British name, despite the fact it could not be written in native languages.

The highest mountain in the world  has challenged climbers – it is stated that technically climbing  K2 or Nanga Parbat are more difficult. Yet, Hundreds have perished unable to complete the expedition.  The last days of Mount Everest’s spring window for 2019 witnessed the deaths of 11 climbers. Images of hundreds of mountaineers queuing to reach the summit and reports of climbers stepping over dead bodies dismayed people around the world, many wondering how human beings had got it so wrong.  After the conquest of Annapurna and Everest in the 1950s, mountaineering became popular among the more privileged. But in the past two decades, mountaineering has taken on a increasingly commercial angle with disastrous results.

New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese guide, Tenzing Norgay, were the first people confirmed to have reached the top of Everest, in 1953. In the decades that followed, only the most experienced climbers set out for the summit, often after years of training. But the 1990s brought the commercial era to the mountain—with catastrophic results at times. Hundreds of people have died over the years.  Some recent climbers have stated that climbing Everest is climbing over dead bodies.  It’s not hard to see why. As the expedition company Seven Summit Treks advertises: “If you want to experience what it feels like to be on the highest point on the planet and have strong economic background to compensate for your old age and your fear of risks you can sign up for the VVIP Mount Everest Expedition Service.” You need the “strong economic background” because it will cost you $130,000. There are less expensive ways to climb Everest, but they all start with the $11,000 fee that the Nepalese government charges for a permit.  There cannot be any objection to Nepal Govt seeking revenue   from wealthy foreign climbers. But even with the best support money can buy, in the thin air above 8,000 meters, people die  ~ there are at least 200 bodies still on the mountain, some in crevasses, others buried by avalanches.

The photograph of a traffic jam of climbers leading to the summit of Mount Everest in May went viral, evidence of the mountain’s surging appeal among thrill-seekers and the overcrowding that has caused deaths and pollution. The photographer — Nirmal Purja, known as Nims — is a Nepali mountaineer who has been on a journey to climb the world’s tallest peaks in rapid succession, showcasing local climbers as central actors in the history of Himalayan feats. He and his all-star Sherpa team call the mission Project Possible, with a goal of summiting all 14 of the world’s peaks higher than 8,000 meters (a little more than 26,000 feet) in seven months. So far, since beginning in April, he has climbed 11 of them, sometimes reaching the top of mighty peaks like K2 and Broad Peak in the span of a weekend, something that took previous generations of mountaineers months, if not years, to accomplish.  Sadly, this year overcrowding on the mountain caused human traffic jams along the narrow ridge leading to the top, contributing to the high death toll.

Today Google celebrates 80th birthday of a woman who was the first to scale Mount Everest. Her group  used the same route to ascend the mountain that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had taken in 1953. In early May, the group was camping at 6,300 meters when an avalanche struck their camp. The women and their guides were buried under the snow. Tabei lost consciousness for approximately six minutes until her sherpa guide dug her out. Twelve days after the avalanche, on 16 May 1975, with her sherpa guide, Ang Tsering, Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Everest.

Even though Junko Tabei was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, the Japanese mountaineer was never comfortable with that distinction. "I was the 36th person to climb Everest," she told Sports Illustrated in 1996. She was also the first woman to complete the Seven Summits, reaching the highest peaks on each of the seven continents in 1992. Although she was the first to summit Everest, it's apparently for the latter achievement that Google is honoring Tabei on this  Sunday with an animated Doodle on her 80th birthday. For almost as long as Google has been around, it's livened up its bare-bones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. It typically embellished the letters in its Doodle with other objects that resemble the letters, but this time the six letters in Google have been replaced with seven peaks being conquered by a cartoon version of Tabei.

Born on this day in Miharu, Fukushima, in 1939, Tabei began climbing at the age of 10, even though she was considered a frail child. In 1969, she founded a women's climbing club after being treated poorly by male mountaineers, some of whom refused to climb with her. The club's slogan was "Let's go on an overseas expedition by ourselves."  In 1975, she defied Japanese societal norms again when she left her young daughter with her husband while she traveled to Nepal to lead a group climbing Everest. "Back in 1970s Japan, it was still widely considered that men were the ones to work outside and women would stay at home," Tabei told the Japan Times in 2012. "Even women who had jobs -- they were asked just to serve tea. So it was unthinkable for them to be promoted in their workplaces.

But her greatest hurdle on the journey came when she was pinned under four climbing companions by an avalanche at their camp more than 20,000 feet up the mountain. She lost consciousness for about six minutes before her Sherpa guides dragged her out of the snow by her ankles. "As soon as I knew everyone was alive, I was determined to continue," she told SI. Her injuries prevented her from being able to stand until two days after the avalanche, but 12 days after the disaster, Tabei would become the first woman to stand on the Earth's highest peak.

She stayed active in the climbing community for the rest of her life, focusing her energies on the environmental damage Everest suffers from waste left behind by climbers and participating in many climbs designed to clean up that litter. In all, Tabei climbed 69 major mountains in more than 60 countries and continued to climb after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. She died four years later, on Oct. 20, 2016, at the age of 77.

Salute her spirit of adventure .. and her accomplishment of conquering Mount Everest

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Sept. 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019

BCCC reprimands Sun TV for obscene display in Kalyana Veedu Serial


Do you see TV Serials ? - is that Q itself innately wrong ??

Doordarshan, which began as an experiment on Sept 15, 1959, and became a service in 1965, turned 60 last Sunday. .. .. modern day youth can never imagine that DD in Tamil (from 15.8.1975) – was in B&W – single channel – that too for restricted hours ! ~ those days entertainment was ‘Oliyum & Oliyum’ [up to 6 songs on Fridays]; movie on Sunday and a drama [sometimes extending for 2 / 3 parts on Tuesday.  In ‘Ethiroli’ – the previous week’s programmes would be reviewed – and there could be a Q on how the Director missed out the Clock [in the background of a hero or heroine speaking] not showing time properly !

In Hindi side, TV Czarina Ekta Kapoor and AnkitaLokhande got nostalgic as their ‘PavitraRishta’ completed ten years on Saturday (June 1). ‘PavitraRishta’ is one of the most loved and longest running shows on Indian television. The daily soap, which started airing from June 1, 2009 on Zee TV, has telecasted over 1400 episodes.‘PavitraRishta’ was the Hindi TV remake of Tamil soap opera ‘Thirumathi Selvam’. Interestingly, the on-screen name of the female character in the Tamil show was also Archana.  In between, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’  completed 3000 episodes.  Shivangi Joshi and Mohsin Khan celebrated 3000 episodes of their television soap opera along with the rest of the team of the fourth longest running Indian television soap opera. The first episode premiered on 12th January ten years ago and followed the life of Akshara Maheshwari, played by Hina Khan, and NaitikSinghania, played by Karan Mehra.

Kalyana Veedu (Wedding house) is Tamil TV serial aired in Sun TV since  2018.  This  family soap opera is directed by Thirumurugan, R.Sundarajan and N. Sundareshwaran. The show replaced Kula Deivam and is on air from Monday to Saturday on Sun TV.This show crossed 400 episodes on 5 Aug 2019.This show's 405th episode has been shot without any background music, with no break-shots and with the camera acting as a character in the serial, which is a record in the history of Tamil TV serials, it is claimed! ~ the Serial is in news for totally wrong reasons.

A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama and sentimentality. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers. BBC Radio's The Archers, first broadcast in 1950, is the world's longest-running radio soap opera; the world's longest-running television soap opera is Coronation Street, first broadcast on ITV in 1960. A crucial element that defines the soap opera is the open-ended serial nature of the narrative, with stories spanning several episodes.

The news is : Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has reprimanded Sun TV for the telecast of a sexual assault sequence in KalyanaVeedu serial. The BCCC has reportedly ordered the channel to pay a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh, and demanded that the channel carry an apology before each episode for a week (September 23 to September 28).

The serial is directed by Metti Oli-fame Thirumurugan M, who also stars as its protagonist.The controversial KalyanaVeedu episodes, which aired on May 14 and 15, showed the female antagonist graphically explaining to four henchmen how to gang-rape her own sister.Then, tables turn on her, when the leader of the gang decides to enact the instructions on her.The ghastly scene continues to get worse, and in a later episode on June 28, these rapists are punished with extreme violence, including setting the perpetrators’ genitals on fire.The scenes were condemned widely on social media, and following complaints from viewers, the BCCC took cognizance, and sent a notice to Sun TV, and producers Thiru Pictures.

In the hearing, held last month, both parties defended the serial and argued that the necessary precautions were in place to ensure the family-oriented serial remained so, and that the scene was taken out of context.However, the BCCC found the episodes to be problematic and has punished the channel.A compliance report, along with the original clips of the apology, is now to be submitted at BCCC’s Secretariat on or before October 7.  BCCC also  imposed a financial penalty of 2.5 lakh on Sun TV as well as directed them to run a video apology after examining complaints from viewers about the content in the serial Kalyana Veedu.

The complaints which the Council had received noted that such content would encourage atrocities against women and should not have been aired in a channel being watched by millions.The council, on examining the video clips based on the complaints, has said in their order that the content violated the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) guidelines which bars content that glorifies violence, as well as incite or encourage viewers to obscene or indecent behaviour.

~ the levels that these people have descended in attracting audience and raising their rating ! – shame on Sun TV, Thirumurugan and all those involved in these media making, shame also on the viewers of these type of serials.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Sept 2019.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Chiranjeevi brings back history of freedom struggle ~ Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy


We read in our books ‘the uprising of 1857’ not as a National movement, not as a freedom struggle but as sepoy mutiny, an uprising by a group of soldiers.  .. .. and then read that Gandhiji  [Nehruji and Congressmen] got us freedom without spilling blood !! ~ British were so kind and noble that they gave freedom on a platter !!


Perhaps sons of cow belt soil would remember the movie  - Mangal Pandey - The Rising (The Rising - Ballad Of Mangal Pandey)  and the hero of the movie.   .. .. .. he was not the first man though, and Uprising – the National struggle of 1857 was not the first fight against British East India Company.  Down under, we have read about the exploit of Poligars (Nayakars) – the name and exploits became legendary more because of the 1959 tamil film “Veerapandiya Kattabomman”  written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy and directed by B. R. Panthulu. Everybody aspiring to become an actor would try to repeat those immortal dialogues uttered by Sivaji Ganesan.  There have been many rulers in this part of land, around the 15th  century it was Pandyan dynasty, then Nayakas,  as the Vijayanagara Telugus were called. Madura was fortified Nayakas; the constitution of the Polygars.  Among the many, the man who fought 304 years ago (1st Sept 1715) “Puli thevar” and his hq  Nelkattum Seval would stand out ! .. rather than reading the Battle of Plassey, we should have,  in our schools and colleges  read the real-life stories of  Pulithevan, Veerapandiya Kattabomman,  Veeran Azhagu Muthukone to later day freedom fighters like VoC, Vanchinathan, Barathiyar, Subrahmanya Siva and many many more ! ~ and sadly, my thoughts too were constrained with people from Tinnevely and down South .. there had been many more patriots who fought against the savage British.

How well do you know ? - Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad, who was  Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for a couple of years.  Chennai and tinseldom is where he grew early.    He is one of the co-owners of the Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC.  Sure one would not need any clues to guess !  ~  it is actor Chiranjeevi.

Around 25 years ago or so, I saw Mutha mestri in Kakinada starring Chiru, Meena & Roja.  I was not too impressed but kept mum as my good colleague was a great fan of him and even his walking and other moments seemed to imitate and remind me of Chiru.   At that time -  Gharana Mogudu, directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, was a super hit and was touted as  the first Telugu film to gross over 10 crore at the box office. It made Chiranjeevi the highest-paid actor in India at the time catapulting him to the cover pages of national weekly magazines in India.  Interestingly, in 2002, Chiranjeevi was given the Samman Award for the Highest Income Tax Payer for the 1999–2000 assessment year by the Minister of State for Finance.. .. no post on Chiranjeevi but on his upcoming film trailer of which is now trending in You Tube and social media. 

The film  also stars Amitabh Bachchan and Vijay Sethupathi,  due to be released on October 2, 2019   ~ the  trailer of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s multi-lingual period film Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy released on Wednesday evening to much fanfare, promising an epic war film on the scale of the Baahubali series. Opening with an insight into the background of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy who led a rebellion against the British East India Company, the film terms him ‘a monk’, ‘a warrior’, ‘not a common person’, until the presence of Amitabh Bachchan who declares that this is India’s first war for freedom. History has it that Narasimha Reddy led a peasant uprising in Kurnool in the 1840s, much before Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. Tamannaah Bhatia and Nayanthara both appear in the trailer as well, vying for the warrior’s affection, but the majority of the footage is dedicated to impressive action sequences and depictions of brutality by the British against the villagers, which incites Reddy to start a war.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, produced by Ram Charan under Konidela Productions, is one of the biggest Tollywood films. Touted to be produced on a huge budget of Rs 200 crore, the film starring Chiranjeevi, Amitabh Bachchan and Nayanthara is directed by Surender Reddy.  The teaser launch of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, the latest movie of one of the biggest stars of Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi was a grand affair. The trailer was released in five different languages.   

Here is something on the real hero on whom the film is based.  Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy  was at the heart of a rebellion in 1846, where 5000 peasants rose up against the British East India Company (EIC) in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, then in Madras Presidency. They were protesting changes to the traditional agrarian system introduced by the British in the first half of the nineteenth century. Those changes, which included the introduction of the ryotwari system and other attempts to maximize revenue impacted lower-status cultivators by depleting their crops and leaving them impoverished.

The father of Narasimha Reddy was related to the Polygar family of Uyyalawada in Koilkuntla taluk, Kurnool district, and had married two daughters of the Polygar of Nossam. He had three sons, of whom Naramsimha was the youngest.  The people by the wiles of British East India Co  were dispossessed of their lands. Many landowners were jailed too.  As the old order collapsed into disarray, the once-authoritative Polygars, including Narasimha Reddy, became the focus of attention from sufferers, whose pleas fell on deaf British ears. The Polygars mobilized the peasants and fought against the invaders who had no right to take away lands.

The Rayalaseema region had been transferred to the British by the Nizam and Reddy refused pay taxes directly to the British. [sounds another Kattabomman !]  On 10 June 1846 he raided the treasury at Koilakuntla and marched towards Kambham, Andhra Pradesh (Prakasam District).  When he killed a Govt official,   Collector Thomas Monroe issued orders to arrest him. The EIC put a price on his head Rs. 5000 and Rs. 10,000 for his head.

Reddy, with his army mounted a serious attack on the British forces camped at Giddaluru on 23 July 1846 and defeated them. Unable to capture him, the British deceptively imprisoned his family at Kadapa. Narasimha Reddy moved to Nallamala forest to save his family but the British forces were tipped off by someone about the hideout of Mr. Reddy. To avoid being caught by the British in the Nallamala area, Narasimha Reddy returned to Koilkuntla area and hid in Jagannatha Konda. Unable to be at large for a long period, Reddy was caught as the army moved in upon a tip-off and arrested him and his followers at mid night of 6 October 1846. The EIC put heavy fetters on him and paraded him right in the streets of Koilkuntla before his people with blood-stained clothes so that it would be a warning to them. Around 112 of his followers were arrested and convicted for 5 to 14 years and some of them were jailed in Andaman. The special commissioner of Kadapa conducted the trial and Narasimha Reddy was charged with revolt, murder and being a dacoit and was convicted on all charges. He was publicly hanged on 22 Feb 1847, on the banks of nearby river in the presence of Collector Kokcrane. His head was kept on the fort wall in public view for 30 years from 1847 to 1877 to instill fear in the people so that another rebellion won’t be tried by others against the British.

Thus a local who fought for the rights of peasants was   dubbed as a murderer and robber and, at last, was mercilessly killed by the early British rulers. His revolt in India against the British occupation was 10 years earlier than India’s First War of Independence of 1857.  Now this epic historic story is being made as a feature film for the prestigious 151st film of Megastar Chiranjeevi. The story has been penned down by Sai Madhav Burra, Vema Reddy and Paruchuri brother on Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy who bared his chest and dared the British.

I would love to see the movie for the theme itself ~ though some could immediately write that there has been some distortion of facts, as this happens often with movies. Look forward to the movie ~ would happily get guided by my Telugu sotharalu!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Sept. 2019.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Kallidaikurichi Nataraja returns by Tamil Nadu Express, flown from Oz


We go to temples ~ .. .. the administration of the Temple (managing the funds received and administering the various functional activities) lies with the Govt. – done through Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) – that way you have the State Govt celebrating the birth of ex-CM in Temples, though this activity would have absolutely no connection with the Temple, Lord, its devotees and more so, in respect of the donations offered in Hundis and other ways – as these are specific towards the temple and not for anything else. ~ and sadly there have been cases of Temple Idols the Murthis which are worshipped being stolen and taken to foreign countries as a show-piece. 

In the time machine, and an year back ! ~ shouts of சோழ மண்டலாதிபதி மாமன்னர் வீராதிவீரர் ராஜராஜசோழன் வருகிறார் -  பராக் ! பராக்!! !!  rant the air .. ..  to the delight of huge crowds.  It was a reverential home coming for the two icons of King Raja RajaChola, who built the Big temple at Thanjavur and his queen Lokamadevi, when they were brought by Idol wing police headed by Pon. Manikavel, IG, to the court which deals with idol theft cases at Kumbakonam on Friday, 1st June 2018. People gathered in large numbers and welcomed the icons by shouting “Raja Raja Chola Vaazhga” when they were brought by the police at Bhakthapri rountana at Kumbakonam for presenting before the court.

Down under, Kallidaikurichi is a dusty  town on the right banks of the Thamiraparani river in Ambasamudram Taluk of Tirunelveli district.  Like some other villages in Thirunelveli, this place too is steeped in tradition and is rich in heritage, but struggling to hold on to its past glories. Kallidaikurichi's Hindu shrines are of ancient temple architecture style, having high-rise gopurams (ornamental gateways of temples) with sculptures that herald the past glory of this region.  Muthuswami Dikshitar, the carnatic composer, whose songs abound with geographic and iconographic references, sings of the curative properties of the river Thamiraparani. To him, the Goddess at Tirunelveli, is Hima-saila-sutaa (daughter of the mountain snow). This town is located about 70 km north of Kanyakumari (Cape Comerin). The twin cities of Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai are about 35 km away.

This is no post on the Temple or its surrounding but of its idol – Swami Nataraja returning after 4 decades from Oz.    On Friday, it is stated that the platforms of Puratchithalaivar Dr MGR Central railway station was abuzz as Tamilnadu Express arrived.  It had brought back  16th century Nataraja panchaloha idol stolen from a Tirunelveli temple ~  still  the return of the lost idol could not rid hostility or smoothen divisions.Lord  Nataraja has completed a long journey overseas.  The idol, which belongs to a temple in Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, was on Wednesday flown down to New Delhi from the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA)where it had been displayed for several years. It had been stolen from the Tirunelveli shrine in 1982.

Australian Press had written about this 600-year-old Dancing Shiva owned by the Art Gallery of South Australia, at Adelaide having been identified as stolen from India, with authorities  commencing a bid for its return.The statue is the first antiquity India has claimed from 24 potentially problematic pieces identified by AGSA in 2014.  Five years after suspicions were raised over the origins of the statue, Indian police this week linked it to a temple in the southern Indian city of Nellai, where a photograph shows it in place in 1958.It is understood the bronze, bought in 2001 with $436,000 in donated funds and weighing 100 kilograms, was reported missing in July 1982.

The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) was not named in the police statement but its acting director, Lisa Slade, confirmed the statue was the one identified by Indian officers.The Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the largest art museum collections in Australia, comprising  of almost 45,000 works of art spanning 2000 years. Their collection includes paintings, prints and drawings, photographs and videos, textiles and clothing, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, furniture – a n d .. .. ‘sculptures’ what they call as work of art – to us ‘idol of Gods’. Their website claims that in  1939 the Gallery became the first Australian art museum to acquire a work by an Aboriginal artist and today, the traditional and the contemporary unite a diverse collection which includes desert paintings on canvas, bark paintings in ochre, photography, video, textiles, ceramics, glass and sculpture.

A team of police officers from the idol wing led by court-appointed special officer Pon Manickavel brought the packed and sealed idol by Tamil Nadu Express from New Delhi. The officer accused the state government of not extending his team cooperation and financial assistance in bringing back rare idols stolen from various temples in Tamil Nadu and housed in galleries abroad. “We have written to the state government seeking its support to bring back 20 stolen idols in art galleries in Australia, Singapore and other countries. But so far, we have not got a positive reply,” Manickavel told TOI.He said not less than 1,000 temple idols stolen from the State were currently being showcased in art galleries abroad. “We could not bring the Nataraja idol by flight as we did not get support from the government,” he said. Had there been support from the government, the first batch of 20 idols in Australia, Singapore and other countries could have been brought back to India, he added.

Around 7.10am on Friday, a musical band and artists playing the thavil and nadaswaram synchronized to drown the sound of train entering platform six at the Central station. Oduvars and priests sang Tamil hymns praising the deity. Emotions ran high as flowers were strewn over the sealed box containing the idol. It was placed on a table and a carpenter used tools to open it.After the idol was taken out of the box, head priest of the Kallidaikurichi temple M Krishnamurthi draped a silk veshti and towel around it before lovingly decorating it with flowers and garlands given to him by several devotees from Chennai. After a small pooja, a grand arati was performed with devotees and police officers singing Tamil hymns in praise of the deity.

The entrance to the Central station was crowded with people, eager to catch a glimpse of the idol and take part in the ritual.“We will take care of the idol once it reaches our temple and ensure its safety. We are excited to have our Lord back,” said Krishnamurthi. The statue was taken by road to Trichy. It will be presented in a Kumbakonam court before being taken home.

According to sources, the 600-year-old idol, weighing around 100 kg, was stolen after the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were broken open on July 5, 1982. Along with it, a 2.5-foot tall panchaloka idol of Sivakami, 1.5-foot tall Manickavasagar idol and 1-foot tall Sribali idol were also stolen.A complaint was filed by the then trustee of the temple, following which the Kallidaikurichi police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on July 6, 1982. However, two years later the Kallidaikurichi police closed the case concluding that the idol was untraceable.

To the fortune of devotees,  a few years ago, the case was handed over to the court-appointed Idol Wing special team, led by Manickavel. After investigation, the case was reopened and taken up for investigation by the wing’s Additional SP Rajaram. The  idol which was kept in the gallery in Adelaide, Australia for 17 years was traced a year ago. As a result of the Idol Wing special officer and retired Inspector-General of Police A.G. Pon Manickavel’s persistent effort to bring the Indian heritage back to the country, the Australian authorities formally handed over the idol to officers of the wing in New Delhi on September 11 (Wednesday).  Mr PonManickavel revealed that after locating and convincing the Australian authorities and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) by producing the records substantiating that the temple is the original owner of the idol with photographs taken before the theft of the idol, that the idol belonged to India, they agreed to return the idol. However, the Tamil Nadu State government refused funds to bring back the idol for the last 330 days.

Feeling happy on the return of Nataraja .. .. the return drowns the sorrow of the way of people, the burglary, the reaction, closure of file, the return by Tamil Nadu Express train and .. having to go to Court at Kumbakonam .. .. 

Before concluding, the Madras high court has granted interim stay on the lower court’s order cancelling bail for HR&CE additional commissioner N Thirumagal, an accused in the Kapaleeswarar temple idol theft case. She said the idol case was registered in 2018 and she was the second accused. She was granted bail later but the idol wing police filed an application seeking to cancel her bail, which was granted.

Away in the town of Lord Nataraja, a  wedding ceremony inside the 1,000-pillar hall of the historic Chidambaram Nataraja temple in Cuddalore district recently  has kicked up a row.  This is the first time a wedding was conducted in the 1,000-pillar hall of the 12th-century temple. The hall traditionally served as a sacred place for performing abhishegam for the presiding deity Lord Nataraja and Sivagami Amman during the Tamil months of Aani and Margazhi.

We the devotees, bow in obeisance to the Lord to protect us and ensure that we take all measures in protecting the glory of culture and our Temples.  .. .. and one would fail if not to mention the efforts of ayya Pon Manickavel ~ a real gem.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Sept. 2019.