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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

remembering Hockey legend Balbir Singh

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Minister of State in the Ministry of Minority Affairs of India is seen with the legend.   Nation is paying homage to the legend !

Can you identify the player in suit ? – had he been a Cricket player of IPL fame, most of us would have identified him in a trice.

India had last made it to the knockout stages in 1980 Moscow Olympics. This was also the Games in which it won last of their eight gold medals in hockey. India have won a record eight gold medals at the Olympics. Could read that way back in  1932 Olympics,   the Indian team put in a fine performance though the field was reduced to just three contenders, United States and Japan being the other two. India notched a record 24-1 win against the hosts and drubbed Japan 11-1 to win their second Olympic gold medal.

Hockey had debuted much earlier.  At the 1908 Summer Olympics, a field hockey tournament was contested for the first time. Six teams entered from three states. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was represented by a team from each of the four Home Nations: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Germany sent a championship club team, while France sent a team composed of players from three clubs.  England won the gold medal, Ireland the silver, and Scotland and Wales the bronze medals.  The Summer Olympics in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was golden for India as India took its first ever gold in the sport of field hockey, beginning a streak of six consecutive gold medals in the sport.

The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XV Olympiad, were held in Helsinki, Finland, from July 19 to August 3, 1952. Helsinki had been earlier selected to host the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II. It is the northernmost city at which a summer Olympic Games have been held.

The indian team was : Kunwar Digvijai Singh - Captain, Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt, Chinadorai Deshmutu, Randhir Singh Gentle, Grahanandan Singh, Ranganandhan Francis, Jaswant Rai, Balbir Singh Sr., Dharam Singh, Govind Perumal, Raghbir Lal, Udham Singh, and Muniswamy Rajgopal — Field hockey, Men's Team Competition.  Team India won the Gold and Khashaba Jadhav, won Individual Bronze medal in  Wrestling, Men's Freestyle Bantamweight.

Balbir Singh was vice-captain of 1952 Olympic team, with K. D. Singh as the Captain. Balbir was India's flag bearer in the opening ceremony. He scored a hat trick against Britain in semi-final, which India won 3–1. He scored five goals in India's 6–1 win against the Netherlands setting a new Olympic record for most goals scored by an individual in an Olympic final in men's field hockey. The previous holder of this record was England's Reggie Pridmore with his four goals in England's 8–1 victory over Ireland in the 1908 Olympic final. Singh scored nine of the India's total 13 goals at the Helsinki Olympics, 69.23% of the team's goals.

A goal-scoring machine from the days when hockey was played on grass, Balbir won three Olympic golds — 1948, 1952 and 1956 — and was India’s most-decorated athlete ever. The legend is no more – he passed away on 25.5.2020 after battling multiple health issues. The iconic player was 95 and is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, Gurbir. "He died at around 6:30 this morning," Abhijit Singh, Director Fortis Hospital, Mohali, where he was admitted on May 8, told PTI. Balbir Sr was in a semi-comatose state since May 18 and had developed a blood clot in his brain after being first admitted to the hospital for bronchial pneumonia with high fever.

One of the country's greatest athletes, Balbir Sr was the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympic history. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men's hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten.

Balbir Singh Dosanjh (1923 - 2020)  played a key role  in India's wins in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) (as vice captain), and Melbourne (1956) (as captain) Olympics. He is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time, a modern-day Dhyan Chand, a legend regarded as  greatest ever centre-forward.  Singh was the Manager and chief coach of the Indian team for the 1975 Men's Hockey World Cup, which India won, and the 1971 Men's Hockey World Cup, where India earned a bronze medal. During the London Olympics in 2012, Singh was honoured in the Olympic Museum exhibition, "The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games” held at the Royal Opera House.  The exhibition told the story of the Olympic Games from its creation in 776BC through to the London 2012 Olympic Games. He was one of the 16 iconic Olympians chosen  whose example "tells of human strength and endeavour, of passion, determination, hard work and achievement and demonstrates the values of the Olympic Movement.

Son of a freedom fighter, Balbir had a difficult initiation into hockey. He grew up in Moga, detesting the police who had jailed his father multiple times. The same police force, as fate would have it, would shape his hockey career. At Wembley stadium on 12th Aug 1948, a just born Nation (India) beat its earlier colonisers securing a Gold with a sense of pride.   
Balbir at Melbourne

He may not be a household name like Dhyan Chand or others from that era, but Balbir will remain the ultimate grand old man of Indian hockey, both in terms of stature and the warmth he effused.

Before concluding the man walking in that photo is another Hockey legend – Dhanraj Pillay, a fine player.  He became a National player in  1989, represented India in four Olympic Games, World Cups and Champion Trophies each. He made 339 appearances for the national team and is recorded, to have scored 170 goals. He also played for clubs in countries such as Malaysia, France, England and Germany. Recognizing his achievements, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India in 2000.

Tributes to Hockey legend Balbir Singh

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, May 21, 2020

the assassination that shook the Nation ! ~ this day 29 years ago !!

Brutal killings have been part of History -    ever read about the Battle of Samugarh,  a decisive battle in the struggle for the throne during the Mughal war of succession (1658–1659) between the sons of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after the emperor's serious illness in  1657.  It was fought between his sons Dara Shikoh (the eldest son and heir apparent) and his two younger brothers Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh (third and fourth sons of Shah Jahan).

There have been political assassinations too – and you may not have read about : - James Garfield and Charles J. Guiteau

What we failed to read and what should have been part of History in schools was the killing by Madanlal Dhingra of Curzon Wylie in 1909 in London.  William Hutt Curzon Wyllie KCIE CVO,  was a British Indian army officer, and later an official of the British Indian Government. Over a career spanning three decades, Curzon Wyllie rose to be Lieutenant Colonel in the British Indian Army and occupied a number of administrative and diplomatic posts.

On 6 Feb 1965, he was on his way from Delhi to Chandigarh when he was waylaid near Rasoi village, Sonipat district, and shot dead along with his personal assistant — ex Chief Minister and a man who participated in Indian freedom struggle.  Partap Singh Kairon (1901 – 1965)  was the Chief Minister of the Punjab province (then comprising Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh), and is widely acknowledged as the architect of post-Independence Punjab Province.  He was jailed twice by the British Empire, once for five years for organizing protests against British rule. His political influence and views are still considered to dominate politics in Punjab.

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 !

One may not concur with his political views and ideologies but for sure would be outraged by the way he was eliminated.

He was born in  1944, sent to London, joined engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not obtain a degree. He returned to India in 1966,  became a member of the Flying Club, where he was trained as a pilot. In 1970, he was employed as a pilot by Air India.    On 23 June 1980, his  younger brother  died unexpectedly in an aeroplane crash.  70 members of the Congress party signed a proposal and went to Indira, urging Rajiv to enter politics and he plunged into politics inevitably after the sad assassination in 31.10.1984 of Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi.

Politics continues over the convicts in former PM  Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case. Perhaps his own party too – which once stated that they had forgiven the killers and are silent on the death of League Munusamy and 18 others on that fateful day.  His rule was marred by the politically sensitive Rs 64-crore Bofors pay-off case.  The Bofors deal, signed in 1986, was believed to be one of primary reasons for the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress' defeat in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections.

August 15, 1991. It was a pleasant morning in Konanakunte, people did not know that the day would change their lives .. ..!  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

1.     Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva was a Sri Lankan sailor and an astrologer. On 30 July 1987 at President's House, Colombo, he assaulted Rajiv Gandhi while he was taking the guard of honour. .  Years  later, he  contested a general election under the Sihala Urumaya party in 2000.   Vijitha Rohana faced a court martial headed by K.R.L. Perera, Group Captain Buddhi Siriwardhen and Colonel Vijaya Wimalaratne. He was charged with attempted murder and acting contrary to navy discipline and insulting a state leader.  The defence implied that Rohana was not aiming to kill since he could have stabbed the premier with the bayonet affixed to his Lee–Enfield rifle at the time. The court martial found him guilty of attempted culpable homicide not amounting to murder and insulting the Indian Prime Minister. He was sentenced to six years in prison, however President Premadasa gave him a presidential pardon after two and a half years.  He later became an astrologer and claimed that President Maithripala Sirisena would die by 26 January 2017. This was seen as a part of a conspiracy to assassinate the president and he was arrested again.

2.     Charles Julius Guiteau (1841 – 1882)  was an American writer and lawyer who assassinated United States President James A. Garfield on July 2, 1881. Guiteau falsely believed he had played a major role in Garfield's victory, for which he should be rewarded with a consulship. He was so offended by the Garfield administration's rejections of his applications to serve in Vienna or Paris that he decided to kill Garfield, and shot him at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Garfield died two months later from infections related to the wounds. In January 1882, Guiteau was sentenced to death for the crime, and was hanged five months later.  Guiteau's trial was one of the first high-profile cases in the United States where a defense based on a claim of temporary insanity was considered. Guiteau vehemently insisted that while he had been legally insane at the time of the shooting (because God had taken away his free will), he was not really medically insane, which was one of the major causes of the rift between him and his defense lawyers. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st May 2019.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

plight of migrant workers and the politics played over ! Dutch example !!

When Indian Prime Minister Modiji appeared on TV and announced lockdown –  I stopped print edition of Times of India & Dinamalar  getting delivered – and for past two months or so have not been reading newspapers, mostly do not see TV especially news as one vies with another to deliver more depressing news on Covid-19.  Mostly I don’t read Corona related statistics and bulletins  sent on WA / FB too.

Isolated in a recent European Union council of ministers, with attitudes described by European leaders past and present as “repugnant”. It sounds like an old script of Britain in the EU. Yet it is the Netherlands that has found itself at the heart of the union’s most bitter row during the coronavirus pandemic. As EU leaders meet on Thursday for their fourth virtual crisis summit in seven weeks, the Dutch will once again be in the vanguard of opposition to plans for big spending on the recovery.  British parallels only go so far. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European club and single currency, and does three-quarters of its trade with the EU. A year ago the prime minister, Mark Rutte, gave a sweeping vision of a savvier, more realpolitik-positioned EU in the world. Surveying “the chaos of Brexit”, Rutte said, “there is no such thing as splendid isolation”. Dutch Eurosceptic parties have quietly shelved visions of “Nexit”.

So the Dutch are in news ! ~ the Netherlands,  informally Holland,  is a country in Western Europe along the North Sea coast. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany, Belgium, North Sea and United Kingdom.  Together with the Caribbean Netherlands, consisting of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country's official language is Dutch, with English and Papiamentu as secondary official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands, and West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland.

They are good in many sports especially Hockey. The Netherlands' national women's field hockey team is currently number one on the FIH world rankings and the reigning world champion. The Netherlands is the most successful team in World Cup history, having won the title a record eight times. The team has also won eight Olympic medals.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed that all sorts of public events in the country will be canceled till Sept 1. He said so at a press conference as quoted by Voetbal International. That, in particular, concerns football games. The national football federation has not yet responded to this statement, but the decision actually means that the current season is over, ahead of the schedue. The season was supposed to be over on the schedule, the way UEFA previously recommended to do; the Association considers the option not to let the teams from the countries that ended the season early play in European cub competitions. So far, only Belgium claimed that the season was over early due to the spread of Covid-19. Germany, on the contrary, plans to resume the games of Bundesliga and the championships in England, Italy and Spain may follow in June.

A couple of months back when Covid struck - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte surprised everyone with appointment of  opposition MP as the country’s new health minister to help combat the spread of   coronavirus. Martin van Rijn, the former Labour party health secretary, was  appointed the Minister for Medical Care on a temporary basis for 3 months. He has years of experience in healthcare and knows the Ministry well,” Mark Rutte said.

Now today a casual search on something else led me to the same subject written differently by Deccan Herald, Times of India and Indian Express – topic ‘migrant crisis’.

Desperate to strengthen the Congress in the state, Priyanka not only outfoxed the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP but also pushed the BJP government into a corner and virtually forced it to accept her offer, wrote   Deccan herald.  It stated that finding  themselves outwitted, SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati were also forced to join the issues with the Congress leader. The BJP government, not wanting to be seen opposing the help, was forced to accept the offer of the Congress general secretary though reluctantly.   

Mayawati, who had also initially termed Priyanka's offer as a ''political ploy'', asked the Congress leader to send the buses to Lucknow so that they could be used to send the migrant workers home. Akhilesh Yadav, however, asked the state government to utilise thousands of school buses to ferry the workers home. Political observers here see Priyanka's ''bus move'' an attempt to send across a message among the workers, that the Congress, despite being in the opposition, was ready to help them.

That is not over as yet !  the  BJP on Tuesday alleged that the list of 1,000 buses sent to the UP government by Priyanka Gandhi’s Congress also includes smaller vehicles like auto-rickshaws and cars. Uttar Pradesh Minister Sidharth Nath Singh said there are registration numbers of three-wheelers, scooters and goods carriers in the Congress list of buses given to the Uttar Pradesh government of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “We have done preliminary inquiry and it has come to surface that out of the buses for which they sent details, many are turning out to be two-wheelers, autos and goods carriers. It is unfortunate. Sonia Gandhi should answer why they are committing this fraud,” Singh said. The minister alleged that the Congress has no intention to help the migrants who are stuck in various states. He described the Congress as a 'farziwada party', adding that it has been known for long to commit scams. (

Indian Express was to state that the Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday found registration numbers of bikes, autos, cars, and ambulances in the list of '1000 buses' arranged by Congress to facilitate transportation of migrants to their native places from the UP border. The list was provided by the UP Congress to state government on Monday night.

Shambolic is the plight of migrant workers caught in a political web.  In Tamil Nadu they were haunted and hurt by locals calling them ‘panipuriwallahs’ but now when they want to attack the Central Govt, they put memes stating that the plight of migrant workers is so pathetic.

Politics !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Gautam Gambhir hits back at Shahid Afridi - clean shot over mid wicket !

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) historically belonged to the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after the partition of India in 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession, thereby acceding to the Indian Union. By every account, POK is legitimately an inherent part of India. This territory has been under Pakistan’s unlawful control ever since the Pakistan Army orchestrated the tribal invasion of the territory in Oct 1947. POK comprises the so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and has remained an amorphous entity for six decades now.

The rise of women’s cricket in this decade has been remarkable. However, there is one person who has had a problem with that and thinks that women should be bound to the kitchen. Shahid Afridi was the centre  of trouble  when he was asked about his views on Pakistan women’s cricket. Afridi was being interviewed by ARY News TV and it was aired in Mar 2016. When he was asked about his perspective on women’s cricket and Pakistan’s women’s team playing in Peshawar, Afridi left everyone amused with his answer. He said, “Our women have magic in their hands; they are good cooks.”

IPL 2008 was the only edition in which 11 Pakistan players took part in the cash rich tournament. From the 2009 edition due to political tensions, Pakistani cricketers were barred from further taking part in the tournament – and that has been a great right move.  There obviously have been rantings and Afirdi was the most vociferous amongst them.  Shahid Afridi displayed his  deep hurt and  appealed to the Indian cricket board that Pakistan players shouldn't be treated as "untouchables" when it comes to including them in the cash-rich Indian Premier League.  Clearly it was no love for the game or for India but for the cash – in fact there have been very many occasions when he had spoken badly against India and against Indian Cricketers too.   

2020 year has been different for the World.  Since the start of this year, the whole world is fighting  COVID-19 Crisis and countries like India are trying their level best to tackle it. However, certain Pakistanis are still busy in mongering their propaganda on the Kashmir issue. This time it is former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi who was caught spreading hate and fake propaganda against the Indian Army and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whilst making a show of himself at PoK.  In the name of providing relief material to the people living in illegally occupied PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), Afridi paid a visit to the territory and addressed the locals. He said, "Modi deployed 7 lakh soldiers in Kashmir, same as the total strength of Pakistani forces." He also said that Kashmiris from India were also supporting the Pakistani Army. Afridi didn't stop there and continued to spread his well known fake narrative that Kashmiris are oppressed by PM Modi, which Pakistan has long used to continue its deep state military-directed ISI-led regime.

In a widely circulated video, Afridi is heard saying "the world is infected by a deadly disease, but what's more dangerous is in Modi's heart and mind." On Saturday, Afridi took to Twitter to share photos of his visit to POK with a caption which read: "Humbled by the response in Bagh and amazed at the resilience of Kashmiris. It's an honor for @SAFoundationN to serve these people. Efforts of local administration in containing COVID 19 are remarkable. #DonateKaroNa #HopeNotOut".

This is not the first time that the former Pakistan all-rounder has raised the issue of Kashmir. In fact, he had been involved in a number of Twitter wars over the Kashmir issue with former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir. On May 8, 2020,  the Information and Broadcasting Ministry announced that DD News and All India Radio will start broadcasting temperatures and weather reports of Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit in POK in their prime-time news bulletins.

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir today  hit back at former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi over his recently reported remarks against India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to a video clip reported by ABP news which is being shared on social media, Afridi was heard criticising PM Modi. In reply to Afridi’s remarks, Gambhir wrote: “Pak has 7 lakh force backed by 20 Cr ppl says 16 yr old man @SAfridiOfficial. Yet begging for Kashmir for 70 yrs.” “Jokers like Afridi, Imran & Bajwa can spew venom against India & PM @narendramodi ji to fool Pak ppl but won’t get Kashmir till judgment day! Remember Bangladesh?” he added.

Gambhir and Afridi shared intense cricket rivalry when the two were playing for their respective countries. The former Pakistan allrounder in his autobiography ‘The Gamechanger’, which was published in April last year, had given his opinion about Gambhir, someone with whom he clashed several times on field during his career. “Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude,” Afridi had written in his autobiography. In April, Gambhir had replied to Afridi and said: “Someone who doesn’t remember his age how will he remember my records! ok. Shahid Afridi let me remind you one: 2007 T20 WC final, Ind vs Pak Gambhir 75 off 54 balls vs Afridi 0 off 1 ball. Most important: We won the Cup. And yes, I’ve attitude towards liars, traitors & opportunists,” he had said.

Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi is getting slammed in India for his latest controversial tweet on Kashmir. Like politicians from across the border, Shahid Afridi had alleged that "innocents (were) being shot down by oppressive regime (in Kashmir) to clamp voice of self determination and independence." But this is not the first time that Shahid Afridi has spoken about Kashmir. In March 2016, when Pakistan cricket team came to India to play T20 World Cup, Shahid Afridi referred to Kashmir saying, "A lot of people, a lot of people are here from Kashmir as well (to support him)." He has raised the Kashmir issue on a few other occasions as well.

India Today reports that Shahid Afridi's constant rant over Kashmir flows from his family's connection with militancy in the Valley. His cousin was shot dead by the security forces in 2003 in an encounter in Anantnag. Identified as Shaquib, Shahid Afridi's first cousin, was killed in an encounter with the BSF on Sep 7, 2003. The BSF had described Shaquib after the encounter as a battalion commander of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, which later took the name of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, another front of Jamaat-ud-Dawa of Hafiz Saeed, the designated global terrorist. Documents recovered from Shaquib proved his connection with Shahid Afridi's family, the BSF had then said. Shaquib hailed from Peshawar and had been operating in the Anantnag area for about a-year-and-half before he was killed.

Shahid Afridi then, a regular in Pakistan's national cricket team, had denied having any knowledge about his terrorist cousin. "Pathan families are very large and I have literally lost track of the many cousins I have," Afridi was quoted as saying in newspapers. Then there is another connection that primes Shahid Afridi as a supporter of Kashmiri militants. When India was partitioned by the British colonial regime in August 1947, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir decided to stay independent - at least for some time. While New Delhi was dithering about India's claim over Kashmir, Pakistan sent Afridi tribesmen to occupy Kashmir with the intent to annex it. Afridis along with mercenaries from Wazir, Mahsud, Turi, Mohmand and Malakand Yusufzai tribes invaded Kashmir. The leadership was provided by Pakistan Army officer named Major General Akbar Khan. Afridis had been lured to attack Kashmir for "wealth and women". They came in truckloads and were more interested in raping women and looting properties. Unable to fight back on his own the then King of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh signed the accession treaty with India, which then sent its troops to push back tribal invaders and Pakistan armymen. These tribesmen, having accumulated enormous property, had to haul all the loot to Peshawar.

While many are criticising the former Pakistan cricketer, some have even included Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh into this controversy after the two cricketers had pledged support to Afridi's foundation in the fight against coronavirus. Yuvraj Singh had posted a video on Twitter asking people to donate to Afridi's foundation. Seeing all the backlash, Yuvraj Singh had to even put out a post saying that he won't stop doing good for humanity and that he is truly an Indian.

Well played Gambhir – we loved the way you played 4154 test runs, 5238 ODI runs and 932 T20I .. and enjoying your form now too.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Covid 19 ~ the doomsday predictions and the reality !

Covid 19 and the lockdowns ensured that people remained at home – while some were busy glued to entertainment and reading books, the others were engaged in seeing news channels and reading Corona virus updates. .. .. while some more were actively engaged in forwarding and sharing all that got about Corona, the news, views, statistics, doomsday predictions and more – which category do you belong ?

The 16th-century physician and writer Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, is believed by many to have been the greatest clairvoyant to ever live. Nostradamus' followers and conspiracy theorists credit the French mystic with predicting future world events, penned in cryptic passages called quatrains. There have been many other predictions too !

"It's now estimated that by the year 2020, there will be no glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro," Christian Lambrechts, an officer at the U.N. Environment Program, told CNN in 2003. The Associated Press also reported in 2007 that “in 2001, [glaciologist Lonnie] Thompson predicted the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania would disappear within the next 20 years.” But today, Kilimanjaro's glaciers are still there, according to a 2019 paper in the Journal Ecology and Evolution that includes photos and a new timetable: "most of glaciers on Kilimanjaro ... will most likely disappear within 25 years."

There was a time not long ago, when body language was considered the most important and that included – hug, handshake, standing closer, eye-to-eye contact and more.  We  were all impressed by touch screens and all they enabled us to do. COVID-19 has made most of us hyper-aware of every touchable surface that could transmit the disease, so in a post- Covid 19 World, it’s expected that we’ll have fewer touch screens and more voice interfaces and machine vision interfaces. Prior to the pandemic, we saw the rollout of contactless payment options through mobile devices. However, with the increase in people wanting to limit what they touch, an option to pay for goods and services that does not require any physical contact is likely to gain traction. Machine vision interfaces are already used today to apply social media filters and to offer autonomous checkout at some stores. Expect there to be an expansion of voice and machine vision interfaces that recognize faces and gestures throughout several industries to limit the amount of physical contact.

Cricket is never pure Maths or Economics… an ordinary person might see a scoreline and think that one team is certain to lose – while to a pundit who know the bowling attack, the conditions, the stage of the match, batting line-up, past performances, ground, weather conditions, the captain’s tactic and more… the result could appear different and the Cricket pundit who analyses is more like to predict it more correct… !!! ~ and it is the middle overs which is always challenging for the analyst as the game could turn either way…. The most important and interesting aspect of  Cricket has always been its ‘unpredictability’………..

Sky Sports thanks to  University of Canterbury (UC) research,  tried coming  closer to provide an answer to the `who’s winning’ question. In the one day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 games shown on Sky Sport a couple of years back, statistical information included the WASP—the `winning and score predictor’ .  In the first innings, the WASP was given as a predicted score. In the second innings, it was the probability of the batting team winning the match – in terms of %. This was based on models developed by UC PhD graduate Dr Scott Brooker and his supervisor Dr Seamus Hogan. According to its makers, WASP is not a forecast that could be used to set TAB betting odds. Rather they are estimates about how well the average batting team would go against the average bowling team in the conditions under which the game is being played given the current state of the game.

Now with the onset of Covid19, more than 50 economists were polled by Reuters, asking for their predictions for economic recovery after the coronavirus. Will be it a U? A V? Maybe a W? Predictions for economic recovery after coronavirus-linked lockdowns are throwing up a medley of letters to indicate whether we can expect a bounceback, a slow-burn recovery or relapse. Of more than 50 economists polled by Reuters, some forecast the world economy will shrink as much as 6% in 2020. The other extreme was a prediction for 0.7% growth. The average was a 1.2% contraction.

Since first being recorded late last year in China, the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread around the world, and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. However, differences in testing mean that the number of cases may be understated for some countries. The number of deaths is a more dependable indicator. The disease has hit certain countries, including Italy, Spain, the UK and the US, with particular cruelty.

India recorded the highest single-day spike in Covid-19 infections with 4,987 new cases in the last 24 hours as the national tally crossed the 90,000-mark on Saturday, according to the Union health ministry. The jump in the number of Covid-19 cases comes closer to closure of  third round of the lockdown, which was first imposed from March 25. It is scheduled to end on Sunday night (today) and the norms for the next round would be announced before that.  As of now,  the cases in India stood at 90,927, the number of deaths at 2,872 and the number of those recovered at 34,108.  Maharashtra has been on top with Mumbai reporting 18396 cases.  To tackle the spike in the number of cases, two more emergency hospitals will be opened next week to handle the grim situation. Meanwhile, three APMC markets will reopen in the coming week. The APMC in Navi Mumbai, which includes vegetable, grain-pulses and spices markets, will open its doors on Monday. After an increasing number of traders and workers contracted the virus, the five wholesale markets had been shut for the past one week.

Tamil Nadu reported 477 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday even as 939 patients were discharged from hospitals across the state. The total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 till date is 10,585 while that of patients who have been discharged from hospitals is 3,538.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had this week told chief ministers that the Centre would opt for another spell of the national lockdown but made it clear that lockdown 4.0 would be very different from the earlier three versions. PM Modi had also indicated that the Centre would let the states decide how to ease the restrictions this time.

If you are among the ones, who remained at home and read all projections on Covid, here is something read in Indian Express of 23.4.2020 stating that there would be a steep rise in Covid deaths by mid-May with a scientific model projecting a grim picture.  

In the worst-case scenario, mortality was projected to increase to 38,220 from present 652, while the number of positive patients is predicted to touch nearly 30 lakh and over 76,000 ICU beds in hospitals will be required to handle the projected load. (in reality it is 90927 cases reported and no. of deaths put at 2870)

The projections were based on a statistical model ‘COVID-19 Med Inventory’ — an academic initiative by Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore, IIT-Bombay and Armed Forces Medical College-Pune. The researchers said that the projections of infections and deaths in Italy and New York State, based on this model, closely match the actual outcomes.

Happy that the projections failed abysmally – things are far different and we hope that normalcy returns sooner.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, May 16, 2020

How many have hit century in T20I ? - heard of Sivakumar Periyalwar

The uber rich Elon Musk and singer Grimes announced the birth of their first child together on Tuesday, telling fans their son's name is X Æ A-12.The unusual choice immediately had fans guessing what it might mean, and how to pronounce the series of letters and numbers. 

                               In the Shankar directed Kamal starred movie ‘Indian’ [Bharatheeyudu] -  amidst a crowd jostling  in front of Regional Transport Office, Goundamani will at first sight tell  Crazy Mohan,  his name as   Parthasarathi – indicating that it is so typical a brahminical name !! –  Of course, there are many  Parthasarathis’ from Triplicane,  Ranganathans  and Ranganayakis     from Thiruvarangam;  Perundevis from Kanchipuram !!  Periyazhwaar in his ‘Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi’  (Nankam Pathu – Aaram Thirumozhi) devotes 10 songs on the need to name the children after Sriman Narayanan – those who are named after Maha Vishnu will be bestowed with all goodness and their parents will not go to hell is a firm belief.  That is for the believer – do you know any person with the name ‘Periyazhvar’ ? – the name is the subject matter of this post, as also T20I no. 869.

To the most ardent Cricket lovers – can you say what groups these Nations together :  Afghanistan; Australia; Austria; Bangladesh; Canada; Czech Rep.; England; Hong Kong; India; Ireland; Kuwait; Namibia;  Nepal; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea;  Pakistan; Romania; Scotland; Serbia; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; U.A.E.; Vanuatu & West Indies – do you know that these Nations have all been featured in T20 Internationals. 

The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji was a peace treaty signed on 21 July 1774, in Küçük Kaynarca (today Kaynardzha, Bulgaria) between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Following the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Kozludzha, the document ended the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74 and marked a defeat of the Ottomans in their struggle against Russia. The Russians were represented by Field-Marshal Count Pyotr Rumyantsev while the Ottoman side was represented by Musul Zade Mehmed Pasha. The treaty was a most humiliating blow to the once-mighty Ottoman realm.

Ilfov is the county that surrounds Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It used to be largely rural, but, after the fall of communism, many of the county's villages and communes developed into high-income commuter towns, which act like suburbs or satellites of Bucharest. The gentrification of the county is continuing, with many towns in Ilfov, such as Otopeni, having some of the highest GDP per capita levels in the country.

The 2019 Continental Cup, also referred to as the 2019 Romania T20 Cup, was a Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tournament held in Romania in 2019. The hosts were the defending champions, having the previous edition in 2018. The format was originally to be two groups of three teams played over the first two days, followed by a series of play-off matches. However, after Russia withdrew two days before the tournament, the format was changed to a single round-robin stage followed by a final. The participating teams were hosts Romania, along with Austria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Turkey. All five teams played their first matches with T20I status during this tournament, following the decision of the ICC to grant full Twenty20 International status to all its members from 1 January 2019. Austria topped the round-robin stage and went on to defeat the Czech Republic in the final.

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia   and Moldova and has its opening to the Black sea.  Romania is the 12th-largest country in Europe and the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having approximately 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest.  The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a generally southeasterly direction coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta.  Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, after declaring its neutrality in 1914, Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers beginning in 1916.

On Aug 2019, in the Continental Cup Romania played Turkey.  Sivakumar Periyalwar only 21 years of age scored a scintillating century taking Romania to 226/6 and then they bowled out Turkey for 53.  Sivakumar Periyalwar is a right handed bat and right arm medium fast bowler.    
** the list at the start is the Nations whose players have scored a century in T20 Internationals.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar