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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Corona death .. .. this time for colossal giants on Sea ~ Ship breaking and Insurance

İzmir, a Port, is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia. It is the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara. In classical antiquity the city was known as Smyrna  – a name which remained in use in English and various other languages until around 1930, when government efforts led the original Greek name   to be gradually phased out internationally in favor of its Turkish counterpart İzmir.

The sight of a very large vessel floating on water, carrying goods from one place to another offers imagination beyond dreams. Man has conquered the ocean sailing across with the aid of ships and boats which developed alongside mankind. Vessels have borne the key in history’s greatest explorations. The cargo - from slaves to modern day containers, dry and wet, live, frozen and refrigerated, big machineries, bulk cargo, liquid cargo – the variety is endless.

 As of date (3.10.2020) a total of 34,621,100 cases are confirmed in more than 227 countries and territories, and 26 cruise and naval ships. Thus Covid pandemic is not contained to land or Countries alone  but had  spread to a number of cruise ships.  The British-registered Diamond Princess was the first cruise ship to have a major outbreak on board, with the ship quarantined at Yokohama from 4 Feb 2020 for approximately one month. Over 700 people became infected, and 14 people died. At the time, the ship accounted for over half the reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 outside of mainland China. Governments and ports responded by preventing many cruise ships from docking and advising people to avoid travelling on cruise ships. Similarly, many cruise lines suspended their operations to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.  Covid has thus affected economically the operation of Cruise liners also affecting its passengers, crew too ..

But just as most things have a shelf life, ships also have a limited span of life. The most interesting part of insurance – the Marine insurance offers infinite variety and offers coverage from cradle to grave. Depending upon the type of vessel and nature of goods carried, generally after 25-30 years ships are at the end of their sailing life. These vessels who have outlived its existence are sold and dismantled to recover the valuable steel. A very major % of the vessel consists of steel which can be rerolled besides valuable machinery such as generators, marine engines etc., There are various other miscellaneous material as well. 

The birth of a vessel is more celebrated that the arrival of a kid. Ships are launched in big ceremonies and ceremonially named.  Its demise – ship breaking is a crude industry.  The breaking unit was a small piece of land with a make shift office. The vessel would run on full stream and in high tide run on the shore at full blast. Obviously would get struck in the sands at some level and there sighed its final breath. From then it would be hammer and tongs and gas cutting.  But to those who love sea and the sea creature – the ship, it would represent the death of an animate object which did so much for the humanity.


The pandemic outcome is early demise of Cruise ships.  MailOnline and many other media report in detail that Cruise ships from Britain and the United States are being scrapped at a Turkish dock after the multi-billion pound industry was smashed by the coronavirus crisis. The coronavirus cruise liner graveyard at the port in Aliaga, a town 30 miles north of Izmir on Turkey's west coast, bustled with work again on Friday as scrapyard workers stripped walls, windows and railings from five vessels.  Cruise ships were home to the some of the earliest clusters of COVID-19 as the pandemic spread globally early this year. In March, U.S. authorities issued a no-sail order for all cruise ships that remains in place, and many other countries, including the United Kingdom, have issued specific advice against travelling on the vessels.

One of the five ships in the scrapyard is the Carnival Fantasy formerly operated by the American giant Carnival Cruise Line. The vessel took her maiden voyage in 1990 and had only just been refurbished last year. In July, Carnival Corporation's CEO Arnold Donald revealed that it would remove 13 ships from its fleets in 2020. Donald insisted that the scrapping be referred to as 'recycling.' Photos sadly depict five  luxury cruise ships being broken down for scrap metal at the Aliaga ship recycling port, 30 miles north of Izmir on Turkey's west coast.  

The mighty ones that housed crazy golf courses and drained swimming pools now wear a deserted look as they fall under the hammer and would eventually be destroyed without a trace.    With the global coronavirus pandemic pushing the multi-billion dollar cruise industry into crisis, some cruise operators have been forced to cut losses and retire ships earlier than planned.  These ships do look colossal but the hit has been hardest for the cruise tourism industry that they fear that it might take longer years to be back in business. Hence the sounding of death-knell for the giants. 

Before the pandemic, Turkey's ship-breaking yards typically handled cargo and container ships  but now they have been inundated with cruise vessels. So while the World would talk of economic slowdown, business is booming for the ship breaking industry at Aliaga, Turkey.  It is reported that sooner three  more ships are set to join those already being dismantled.  It is stated that some 2,500 people worked at the yard in teams that take around six months to dismantle a full passenger ship. The vessels arrived from Britain, Italy and the United States. The shipyard aims to increase the volume of dismantled steel to 1.1 million tonnes by the end of the year, from 700,000 tonnes in January !   crisis turning  into an opportunity for those involved in breaking.  Even the ships' non-metal fittings do not go to waste as hotel operators  come to the yard to buy useful materials !

From the Insurance perspective, this was a goldmine of opportunity for generation of premium – though experts maintained this to be very risky. Some held that there was so much of profit for the person breaking – the insured value could only be the purchase price and the party would realise huge profits by cutting and selling and thereby may not manipulate a claim. This remains a mystery ~~!!


The Marine Hull Tariff provided ways of covering this under two different sections. Sec V of the erstwhile Marine Hull Tariff provided for coverage of funeral voyages from a place in a Port to the breakup yard or vessels lying at sheltered places awaiting break up. The SI was to represent the actual purchase price + mark up + customs duty – with voyages on vessels own power and on tow being one of the criteria for rating. This was more of transit insurance and would cease upon beaching or starting up of breaking operations.  

Sec 17 provided for Ship breaking insurance – insurance of vessels in the course of being broken up. Here the Sum insured was to be Full purchase price + customs duty + port charges + any other government levy. The period was not on voyage basis but was to be reckoned in period of full months, arrived at the basis of actual LDT of the vessel. The proposal was provide break up details in Metric tonnes & rate of Iron & steel, Non ferrous articles, Machinery including generators, main engine, panels etc., Spares, Timber & furniture, miscellaneous items which could include maps, books etc.,  

The policy though issued in Hull Department was more or less Fire Policy ‘C’ cover of the erstwhile Fire Tariff  providing coverage against Fire, Lightning, Explosion / Implosion, Impact damage, Aircraft damage, Riot, strike, malicious damage and additional cover against Earthquake, STFI perils etc.,   

For those who owned and operated such colossal giants, it would be too painful to see them getting reduced to a skeleton and eventually vanishing ! Sad !!


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Friday, October 2, 2020

Irish Congress woman's Triplicane connection !!

 There are many roads that lead to Mount Road  (aka Anna Salai) from Kamarajar Salai (aka Beach Road) – Flag Mast Road near Island Grounds, Sivanandha Salai (TV Station road), Wallajah Road, Bharathiyar Salai (Pycrofts Road) .. .. and this road – from near Vivekananda House towards Royapettah Hospital (with the other half called Peters Road); Dr Radhakrishnan Salai (housing IG Office) .. .. this is no post on Chennai Roads but the name of this Road or the person after whom it is named after is .. .. 

The woman was born this day  173 years ago in London and now stands forlorn on the Beach road at Thiruvallikkeni,  giving the road its name.  Earlier there was a traffic island or park uncared for and she was not all that recognisable – now with the park cut in size making way for a busbay – she could be seen well and yet, not many would have noticed that the statue had been garlanded and a few flower petals strewn around ! 

In 1867, Annie, at age 20, married Frank Besant, a clergyman, and they had two children. However, Annie's increasingly unconventional religious views led to their legal separation in 1873.  She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (NSS), as well as a writer, and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was subsequently elected M.P. for Northampton in 1880.  The book claimed  that working-class families could never be happy until they were able to decide how many children they wanted. It also suggested ways to limit the size of their families. The Knowlton book was highly controversial, and was vigorously opposed by the Church.    

The pair were arrested and put on trial for publishing the Knowlton book. They were found guilty, but released pending appeal. As well as great opposition, Besant and Bradlaugh also received a great deal of support in the Liberal press. Arguments raged back and forth in the letters and comment columns as well as in the courtroom. Besant was instrumental in founding the Malthusian League during the trial, which would go on to advocate for the abolition of penalties for the promotion of contraception.  The scandal cost Annie  custody of her children. Her husband was able to persuade the court that she was unfit to look after them, and they were handed over to him permanently. 

Indian National Congress is going through its worst phase in the history of Independent India.  It is evaporating and does not have a base in many States.   The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the Hathras incident and issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government.  High drama prevailed  after Uttar Pradesh Police personnel after the claims and ridicule following the claim of  former Congress President Rahul Gandhi being pushed  to the ground on the Yamuna Expressway.  He was later  detained  .. .. .. 

The day  [1st Oct] has some connection to Congress and Triplicane too….. through the daughter of William Wood and Emily Morris, born in 1847. Her  father, a doctor, died when she was only five years old. Without any savings, her mother found it difficult to care and  persuaded a friend, Ellen Marryat, to take responsibility for her upbringing.  This girl married a clergy in 1866 when she was 19 – years later, her spirit clashed with the traditional views of her husband – a legal separation followed.  She reportedly rejected Christianity and in 1874 joined the Secular Society. 

It may not be easy to relate what is written above to the statue that stands nearer Vivekakandar Illam on the Marina beach ~the road that starts from there is also named after her.  It is Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.  A few years  back, when I took this photo, the statue looked forlorn and uncared for.

In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1907 she became President of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters is  in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).  She joined the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917.  After  the All India Home Rule League, Annie was imprisoned by the authorities. A campaign began to see her released, one of the most prominent of these campaigners was Mahatma Gandhi.   

She wrote many and was concerned about the health of young women workers at the Bryant & May match factory. In 1988, Annie published an article White Slavery in London where she drew attention to the dangers of phosphorus fumes and complained about the low wages paid to the women who worked at Bryant & May.Three women who provided information for Annie's article were sacked.  After strikes, the company was forced to make significant concessions including the re-employment the three victimized women.  

She founded the Central Hindu College at Benares (Varanasi) in 1898. She herself received a degree in Sanskrit literature, English literature and Indian history from this institution. She continued to write letters to British newspapers arguing the case for women's suffrage (i.e. voting rights) and in 1911 was one of the main speakers at an important Suffrage rally in London. President of the Theosophical Society from 1907, she wrote an enormous number of books and pamphlets on theosophy. She travelled to England and the United States with her protégé Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom she announced as the new Messiah.   

Annie Besant died in Adyar in Madras  in 1933 at the age of 86.  After her death, colleagues Jiddu Krishnamurti, Aldous Huxley, Guido Ferrando, and Rosalind Rajagopal, built Happy Valley School, now renamed Besant Hill School in her honour. Besant opined that for centuries the leaders of Christian thought spoke of women as a necessary evil, and that the greatest saints of the Church were those who despised women the most.  

With the passage of time, if we are to ask say 100 people who we might meet on Besant Road at Ice House, Triplicane today – possibly a very high % may not know the reason for the name of the street nor of the statue ! – ask Congressmen of this leader of their party, even a smaller % is  not likely to know her !!


So Annie Besant stands at Triplicane, this time garlanded but !! ~ a couple of photos taken today are posted here .. …  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Ambuli mama artiste - Sankaran mama is no more ! - Vikramaditya brought to our eyes


சிறு வயதில் நாம் அனைவரும் தவறாமல் படித்த புத்தகம் - 'அம்புலிமாமா'! .. .. அந்த காலத்தில், நமது பொருளாதார நிலைமையில், புத்தகங்கள் வாங்குவது அவ்வளவு எளிதல்ல. கங்கைகொண்டான் மண்டபத்தின் ஒரு பக்கத்தில், காய்கறி அங்காடிகளுக்கு எதிரில் பழைய புத்தக கடையில் - அம்புலி மாமா இதழ்கள் (பழையன) பல தொங்கும்.  பழையதோ, புதியதோ - கதை ஒன்றுதானே !  ... விறுவிறுப்பு சற்றும் குறையாது.

புத்தகத்தின் கவரும் அட்டைப்படத்தை புரட்டி உள்ளே சென்றால், இரண்டாவது கதை எப்போதுமே - விக்ரமாதித்தன் - வேதாளம்' கதை !

தன் முயற்சியில் சற்றும் தளராத விக்கிரமன் மரத்தில் ஏறி அதில் தொங்கிய வேதாளத்தை  கீழே வீழ்த்தினான். பின்னர் அவன் கீழேயிறங்கி, அதைத் தூக்கிக் கொண்டு  செல்லுகையில், வேதாளம், “மன்னா! இரவு பகலாக இவ்வாறு காட்டிலும், மேட்டிலும் நடு நிசியில் திரியும் உன்னைக் கண்டு பரிதாபமாக இருக்கிறது - இப்படித்தான் முன்னொரு காலத்தில் ... ஒரு நாட்டில் .. என கதையை ஆரம்பித்து, ஒரு கேள்வி கேட்கும்.  கதை முடிவில் மன்னன் மிகச்சரியான பதிலை அளிப்பான்.  விக்கிரமனது சரியான பதிலினால் அவன் மௌனம் கலையவே,  தான் தங்கியிருந்த உடலுடன் பறந்து சென்று வேதாளம் மீண்டும் முருங்கை மரத்தில் ஏறிக் கொண்டது- என கதை முடியும்.  மற்றோரு கதை அடுத்த இதழில் தொடரும்.

போஜராஜன் என்பவனுக்கு ஒரு காட்டில் கனகமணி சிம்மாசனம் கிடைக்கப்பெறுகிறது.  அந்த சிம்மாசனத்தில் 32 படிகள் இருக்கின்றன. அந்த சிம்மாசனத்தின் மீது ஏறி அமர்ந்து ஆட்சி செய்ய விரும்பும் போஜராஜன் அதன் மீது ஏறப் போகும் போது அந்தப் படிகளில் இருக்கும் பதுமைகள் கைகொட்டிச் சிரிக்கின்றன. "இந்த சிம்மாசனம் வீரமும் அறிவும் பராக்கிரமும் ஒருங்கே அமையப் பெற்றிருந்த விக்கிரமாதித்ய மகாராஜா அமர்ந்திருந்தது. இதில் ஏறி அமர உனக்குத் தகுதி இருக்கிறதா என்று பார்த்துக் கொள்" என்று கேலி பேசுகின்றன. அந்தப் பதுமைகளில் முதல் பதுமை விக்கிரமாதித்ய ராஜா பற்றியும் அவனுடைய மதியூக மந்திரி பட்டி பற்றியும் இந்த சிம்மாசனம் இந்திரனிடமிருந்து அவனுக்குக் கிடைத்த கதையையும் சொல்கிறது.

காளி தேவியின் பக்தனான விக்கிரமாதித்தன் வடநாட்டில் உள்ள உஜ்ஜைனியை ஆண்டு வந்தான். ஆறுமாதம் நாடு, ஆறு மாதம் காடு என்று அவன் ஆண்டுவந்த அவன், காடாறு மாத சமயத்தில் ஒவ்வொரு முறையும் வெவ்வேறு இடங்களுக்குச் செல்வான். மகா பராக்கிரம சாலியான மன்னன் விக்ரமாதித்தன்.


As described in Tamil, the book that we read with great interest was ‘Ambuli Mama’ (lit. Moon Uncle) and in that in every issue would be featured the story of King Vikramathithya and Vethalam.  


The hugely popular Chandamama  (Ambuli Mama in Tamil) magazine was a classic Indian monthly magazine for children which depicted mythological and historical stories. It was famous for its illustrations. Originally started in Telugu by B.Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani, well known Telugu Film producers; it was on Tamil right from the start.  It later got printed  in twelve Indian languages as well as English. The last issue of the magazine was published in March 2013 !.    Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao, a very close friend of Chakrapani and a literary colossus in Telugu Literature,  edited it for 28 years, till his death in August 1980.


In 2007, Chandamama was bought by Geodesic, a Mumbai-based software services provider company. They planned to take the then 60 year old magazine into the digital era. However the magazine is currently defunct  

The story of Vikramaditya and Vedal would be lucidly written with great illustrations bringing it to life.  It was the handiwork of KC Shiva Shankaran, fondly Sankar mama, to its readers.  Sankaran studied at Muthialpet High School when the drawing teacher discovered his innate talent.    

Sad to know the passing away of the artiste Sankar mama due to old age today  – he was 94

With grief – S. Sampathkumar


Pic credit : Tamil Indian Express 



Music festival ..........and .. ...... .. rotting apples !!

This is a post on ‘Apples’ (fruit) and Music season ! ~ what do you imagine ?


Utterance of Music season would take us to Carnatic music bonanza. There are so many famous  sabhas - The Madras Music Academy, The Indian Fine Arts Society, Tamil Isai Sangam, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Naradha Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Nungambakkam Fine Arts Academy, Rasika Ranjana Sabha, Sri Parthasarathi Swami sabha and more.  Some of the regulars include Sudha Raghunathan, Bombay Jayashree, Priya Sisters,  Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Padma Subramanian, Shashank Subrahmanyan, Malladi Brothers, Roja Kannan, Neyveli Santhana Gopalan, Aruna Sairam, Chitra Visweswaran, Dr. S Sowmya, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam and many  others.

Every December, Chennai witnesses the music season called the Margazhi festival, where classical music artists around the world get a chance to showcase their talent. More than 500 organisations put up over 2,000 music performances in the city.  No other city celebrates the December music season the way Chennai does. It is a marquee event, one that has people not just from the city, but from across the world, waiting in anticipation, and planning for months in advance.  The Margazhi Kutcheri season had its origin in the 1920s, when musicians residing in Chennai (then known as Madras) decided to dedicate the month of Margazhi to music and prayer. During those days, music was often in the form of devotional offerings commonly known as ‘nama sangeerthanam’ or ‘bhajans’. Over the years, Margazhi season has evolved into a comprehensive festival for performing arts. Junior artistes put up performances during the afternoons between 2 pm and 4 pm, while established and senior artistes give performances during the prime slot in the evenings between 6 pm and 8 pm. In certain cases, senior artistes may also be given the morning slot for their performances.  

Miles away, Somerset  has traditions of art, music and literature. William Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote while staying in Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey. Somerset  is a county in South West England that has Taunton too.  According to British,  human occupation here dates back to Paleolithic times, and of subsequent settlement by the Celts, Romans and Anglo-Saxons. For us, reference to Somerset is Cricket, more so – King Viv.  On June 1, 1985 Viv Richards plundered 322 runs in a single day against Warwickshire at Taunton.  Under Brian Rose,   Somerset won their first ever silverware by taking the Gillette Cup and the Sunday League in 1979. Controversy returned to Somerset in the mid-1980s. With the successful side ageing, new captain Peter Roebuck led the move to make changes and the overseas stars Viv Richards and Joel Garner were sacked, replaced by the New Zealander Martin Crowe. Ian Botham resigned from Somerset in protest and moved to Worcestershire.

In UK too there is music – at the top end of the scale is the world famous Glastonbury Music Festival. Reportedly  250,000 music lovers gather at Worthy Farm. In 2020, this incredible music festival will have been in existence for 50 years!  This festival doesn’t take place every year. The land and local residents are given a break every 5 years or so.  Glastonbury Festival  is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, in England. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts.  Regarded as a major event in British culture, the festival is inspired by the ethos of the hippie, counterculture, and free festival movements.   The festival's record crowd is 300,000 people, set at the 1994 festival, when headliners the Levellers performed a set on The Pyramid Stage.  There are some other festivals like : Shindig Weekender; the Bath Festival finale; Pub in the Park Royal Victoria Park in Bath;  Smoked and Uncut; ArcTanGent .. .

It is not about the festivals or names .. .. but the news that millions of apples will be left to rot and orchards chainsawed after cancellation of music festivals leaves cider lake undrunk.   The cancellation of music festivals this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to a huge surplus of cider which is devastating apple growers. Farmers in the West Country say that millions of cider apples that are now ready to be picked and pressed to make the traditional drink will be left to rot instead. The problem has been compounded by the vast amounts of left-over barrels and bottles of cider produced 12 months ago which have gone unsold and are collecting dust on shelves.

According to the owner of  Somerset Cider Brandy in Kingsbury Episcopi near Martock, Somerset,   his staff will produce about 50,000 gallons of cider this year, half of what they usually make.  The closure of festivals such as Glastonbury as well as pubs and restaurants led to demand for traditional apple cider to dry up this year.  One leading West Country cider producer fears some farmers will be hit so hard that may end up axing their apple orchards to grow other crops instead.  He said he is lucky as he can use the rest of the apples to make cider brandy which can last for years in barrels, but other farmers will have to bin their stock. He added: 'Normally at this time of the year the smell of apples hits you when you enter the village, but it will be a smell of rotten fruit this year.

Apple growers feel that this year is one of  the worst crises they have ever had – that is the economic effect of Corona virus.  'If you have apples in orchards that can't be sold then you will probably find the grower reaching for the chainsaw as they may as well grow barley instead and the world will be a poorer place for it. But on the plus side overwintering birds like thrushes and starlings will have a 'field day' this autumn by feasting on the rotten apples left on the ground.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Ishan Kishan 99 ~ Ever heard of a Cricketer who bowled 115 mph and whacked over 130 yards !!!

IPL is all about opportunities –  Ishan Pranav Kumar Pandey Kishan, what an innings he played yesterday !   Ever imagined a bowler delivering 115 mph and whacking ball for 130 yards !!!!

A day after IPL 2020 delivered an incredible thriller with the highest ever successful chase, the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore went one better. They were still behind even when Kieron Pollard smacked Adam Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal for an imagination-defying 49 runs in two overs during his unbeaten 60 off 24 balls. At the other end was  Ishan Kishan - back in the XI due to a Saurabh Tiwary niggle – played an innings of life -  out for 99 to make it five needed off the last ball. Pollard hit a four, to bring the match to a Super Over.

Today, when teams have AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Jos Butler, Pooran, John Bairstow,  MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik Wriddhiman Saha, Rishab Pant, KL Rahul keeping, there is still place for the likes of Josh Philippe, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and others to play !!  .. .. ..  

I grew up watching Farokh Engineer, (heard of P Krishnamurthi) – when he settled elsewhere, Syed Kirmani came and dominated for a decade or more – though Barath Reddy, Surinder Khanna, Sadanand Viswanath got few chances – it was a settled team with Kiri behind – Kiran More too was stable, and then Nayan Mongia.  Later there were many who played -  Sabha Karim, Vijay Yadav,  MSK Prasad, Vijay Dahiya, Sameer Dighe, Deep Dasgupta, Ajay Ratra, Parthiv Patel,  Mahendra Singh Dhoni,  Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Rishab Pant. MSD was a saga .. .. the point is it is tough breaking into a side.

Moving away from IPL and India, have read the neighbouring Paki always is embroiled in controversies.  Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khalid Mahmood, while criticising incumbent PCB set-up, says that by not fully implementing the new constitution despite passage of one-year the body has made a mockery of law and the system. In an exclusive interview with Dawn, Khalid said what was going on in PCB’s affairs was amazing noting the cricket infrastructure at the grassroots level had been destroyed because of non-existent provincial associations, city associations and after abolishment of departmental cricket.

I have seen Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Sikhandhar Bakht, Azeem Hafeez, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed, .. .. have never head of Farooq Hamid. Read this in Dawn -  Former fast bowler Farooq Hamid, an unsung hero of Pakistan cricket history, on Saturday said he left cricket in 1969 at the age of 25 in utter disappointment due to dirty politics which continue to plague Pakistan cricket.

Farooq, who could play just one Test match against Australia, and claimed the only wicket of Ian Chappell in 1964 in Melbourne, in an exclusive interview to Dawn said: “All my colleagues know what sort of treatment I was meted out from my captains, topping that list is great Hanif Mohammad — may God bless his soul — and his brother Wazir Mohammad, who made sure I never played international cricket after the tour to Australia.

“When I took seven wickets for 16 runs against Wellington in a match (on the New Zealand tour), they were dismissed for 53 runs in just ten overs.” recalled Farooq, whose nickname was Tooty. “However, everyone was surprised to see that I was not in the Pakistan team for the Test match that was played at the same venue after a couple of days. And neither was I included for the other two Tests played against New Zealand in that series,” he said. “In 1963 when I was part of the Pakistan Eaglets team touring England, I had taken five wickets in three overs but my captain Wazir Mohammad did not give me the ball for further bowling against Lancashire at the old Trafford ground,” said Farooq. “Later, Secretary MCC Mr. Howard told my manager that, “today Farooq bowled a yard quicker than Truman at his best.”

“This and much more of the same treatment disheartened and demoralised me so much that I decided to quit cricket at the young age of just 25,” he said. Farooq added that his bouncers during his peak cricketing days were ferocious and quite unplayable that unnerved a lot of fine batsmen. “Wazir, while facing me in a trophy match, was hit right on the mouth by my bouncer and four of his teeth were broken and his lip got ten stitches. “Hanif, while facing me in 1969 final in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, was bowled with an out swinging yorker on the very third ball he faced. Many international cricket personalities such as great Sir Don Bradman besides or own Imtiaz Ahmed, Zaheer Abbas and others considered me as the fastest bowler, even faster than Charlie Griffith of the West Indies,” he said.

“Many leading cricketers were scared of my bouncers, but former Test batsman Mohammad Ilyas is one of those who could face my bouncers with better technique. Ilyas also proved a better hooker against Griffith, who toured Pakistan in 1963 with the Commonwealth team ” he recalled. “On that tour, great batsman Rohan Kanhai was floored by my lethal bouncer. Later, the commentators said that I was much quicker than Griffith. I must have been bowling at around 110-115 miles per hour I think,” he said.

 Asked if his aggressive attitude was one of the reasons behind his short international career, Farooq replied: “Every fast bowler should be aggressive , it was the job of the team management to handle fast bowlers carefully. “Yes, the same politics is going on and harming our cricket. But we are lucky now that we have legendary all-rounder Imran Khan as Prime Minister and hopefully cricket will improve under him,” observed Farooq. “However, if Imran Khan fails to correct the system then only God can save our cricket.”  Farooq disclosed that he also coached Sarfraz Nawaz in the early stage of his career and later they both played domestic cricket together.

During his early days, Farooq also earned a name as an International athlete, winning gold and silver medals in Pakistan National Games from 1961-1970 and his total points in decathlon were 6700 in National Games when the Asian champion in then Asian Games could muster 6300 points. As a batsman too, Farooq could do a fair job when in form. He said that he might be the only cricketer who hit maximum big sixes in Sydney and at the Gaddafi Stadium. “My six at the Sydney cricket ground went out of the stadium over the ladies pavilion into the car park. Approximately over 130 yards,” he said. The Australian newspaper termed him ‘Farooq The king hitter of the world’. The one at Gaddafi Stadium landed on top of the stairs of the stadium.

Farooq also suggested the PCB should make amendments in its pension package for the old cricketers. “I want to suggest that PCB follow the policy of the Defence Forces, where after the age of 72 the pension is doubled automatically,” he said. He added that very few cricketers are living to 70-plus age, so their pension should be more than doubled,” he said. Farooq’s sister Tahira Hamid also helped Pakistan in setting up the Women cricket association in 1978 and she was the first secretary of the association.

Reading the article published in Dawn this week, it does appear that this man was immensely talented but was given a raw deal – sad, politics in sports have kept people out !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


PS: news on Farooq - reproduced from the Dawn.

take a bow ! ~ fairtale finish by Rahul Tewatia !

 We have seen 100s of matches and many fairytale finishes .. .. there was a time in 1980s when score of close to 200 (in 50 overs) was considered defendable and score of 240+ - certain win !! .. .. never in life, one would have imagined the hero being a player who had just played 21 matches till the game, had aggregated 121 runs – having hit 4 sixers in all – would make the Cricket world sing paens on him !! – he is a leg-spinner bowling allrounder !!
Perhaps before 10 pm on 27.9.2020, he was trolled as badly or more than what Murali Vijay has been receiving – he himself had to say – ‘that was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played. I was hitting the ball very good in the nets, so I had belief in myself and kept going’ – natural that people would mock him.  Leg-spin bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Tewatia, who had made his IPL debut with RR in 2014! ~ ever heard him before.

Before that what a game KingX1 Punjab had – only  21 balls remained in the innings when Glenn Maxwell walked in, and only 12 when Nicholas Pooran came to the crease. It can be difficult to come in at that sort of time and find the boundary immediately, but both managed it to varying degrees of success. Rajpoot and Tom Curran managed to tie Maxwell down to an extent, but he created a couple of boundaries with his movement around the crease. Pooran, however, got a few balls in his slot and dispatched all of them ruthlessly - he hit three sixes and a four in just eight balls, three of those boundaries coming in an 18-run final over from Jofra Archer. But none would talk about them as on that day, KL  Rahul and Mayank Agarwal seemed to tire as their partnership progressed, and from 172 for no loss at the 15-over mark, Kings XI scored 22 off the next 18 balls - a period in which they lost both openers.

A great innings from young Mayank Agarwal, whose  sparkling form allowed him to achieve a control percentage of 80 - which is pretty high for an innings achieving a strike rate of 212.00. At the other end, Rahul faced 54 balls - four more than Agarwal - and pulled off a control percentage of 85, but only struck at 127.77. Aside from a hat-trick of fours against Jofra Archer in the fourth over, he seemed to almost consciously play second fiddle to Agarwal, giving him the strike whenever possible. Yet, Mayank’s brilliant 100 too was buried.

As it unfolded, it felt like a chase that defied logic in every way possible. But by the time the Rajasthan Royals were done mowing down a target of 224 - an IPL record - the scorecard reflected one bit of cold, hard T20 logic: the team that hits more sixes usually wins. Kings XI Punjab hit 11 sixes - seven coming off the bat of Mayank Agarwal, who made a scintillating 106 off 50 balls - and the Royals hit 18.

Player of the match, Sanju Samson hit seven of those sixes while scoring a second successive half-century for the first time in his IPL career. His 42-ball 85 stunned everybody as he put on 81 for the second wicket with Steven Smith in just 40 balls, putting the Royals well in touch with their asking rate. They then promoted Rahul Tewatia - their only left-hander - to No. 4, and the move was beginning to look like one of the most ill-judged tactical interventions in IPL history when he struggled to hit the ball off the square and crawled to 8 off 19 balls. But the six-hitting ability that he possesses came into view just when the Royals seemed out of it. Tewatia smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in a match-turning, match-defining 18th over, and an improbable 51 off 18 balls turned into a far more straightforward 21 off 12.

The cricketing world, on Sunday, perhaps watched the greatest turnaround in a player’s fortune thanks to Rahul Tewatia’s stunning match-winning knock for Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab.  Rahul Tewatia  batting on 17 off 23 balls changed the destiny in one over of Cottrell, hitting five sixes to script a stunning come-from-behind win for his side by four wickets. He hit one more six to reach his fifty off 30 balls before departing in the 19th over. Tom Curran then hit a four to take the Royals home with three balls remaining.

Great game – well played – Rahul, Mayank, Sanju and Tewatia !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Containers containing medical waste being returned !

                                                                  Director Hari’s Singam 3 starring  Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Thakur Anoop Singh, focussed  Durai Singam's attempt to solve the murder case of Visakhapatnam police commissioner Ramakrishna, motivated by much more disastrous activities masterminded all the way from Australia. 

Lot happening in logistics, movement of cargo ships and containers across the globe.  The UK’s port of Felixstowe has issued an apology to customers for “inconvenience”, admitting “service standards are not currently where they  would like them to be”. On its website, the port attributed its problems to “a sharp spike in import container volumes, along with a high proportion of late vessel arrivals”. The port also did a U-turn on its ban on the restitution of empty containers to the port.  Maersk, OOCL and other carriers had had to warn Felixstowe customers of delays discharging containers from vessels and longer turnaround times for trucks, as well as import containers missing rail connections.

Carriers have also been looking to divert ships to London Gateway or Southampton, including the 2M’s Asia-North Europe AE7/Condor loop vessel, the 17,816 teu Eleonora Maersk, which will now discharge its UK cargo at London Gateway.   It is reported that the vessel will load some exports redirected to Gateway, along with a “substantial number of empties”.

Back home, Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive about 30 per cent during April-August, while JNPT and Kolkata logged a drop of over 20 per cent. Container cargo handling at India’s major ports fell about 25 per cent during April-August amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ports body IPA data. Container cargo in terms of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) at India’s 12 major ports dropped 25 per cent to 3.25 million in the the April-August period of the current fiscal, showed the latest data from the Indian Ports’ Association (IPA).  In terms of tonnage, the container cargo declined 22.45 per cent to 49.26 million tonnes (MT) during the period.

A container shortage in India is causing long delays for exporters, especially on US trades. Earlier this month, The Loadstar reported the operational impact from the creeping equipment shortage in Asia – dominant headhaul traffic has caused empties to pile-up at ports in the US and Australia, for example, prompting carriers to plead for the swift return of used import boxes. According to New Jersey-based Worldwide Logistics (WL), the equipment shortage has spread to India, partly due to a drop in import volumes from China after trade restrictions were imposed by the government. “The shortage is most critical at Inland Container Depots (ICD) but also evident at port-side locations,” the forwarder noted.  

Emphasising the fact that Thoothukudi sits right between the east and west international trade routes, industrialists of southern districts have urged the Union government to declare Thoothukudi V O Chidambaranar Port as an International Container Transhipment Hub. A transhipment hub in Thoothukudi would get the containers directly shipped to India as against the existing system of containers being transhipped at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port.  

Now something more on Singam 3 ~ the story occurs few months after Durai Singham arrested  international drug lord Danny.   Visakhapatnam City Police Commissioner  had been murdered and the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh proposes recruiting Singam from Tamil Nadu to Vizag as the new DCP, by order under the CBI. As Singam arrives in Vizag station, he fends off an attack from goon Gun Ravi, who works for Vizag's most influential and powerful don Madhusudhana Reddy. It gets revealed by a  local schoolteacher   that a toxic smoke attack from the nearby dump killed his 32 students, including his grandchildren. Singam realizes that Ramakrishna intended to expose illegal dumping of mediwaste and electronic waste, which included recycled tablets being sold to the public and the smoke attack on the school. The garbage is being imported by Vizag Scraps owner   in exchange for free metal scrap delivery to steel companies in Australia.  .. .. ..’e waste and bio-waste’ in containers getting dumped was the crime theme of the movie !! – perhaps the movie was not screened in Sri Lanka !?!

Media reports state that Sri Lanka has sent back 21 containers full of ‘recycling’ to UK for they were full of rotting medical waste !.   The Sri Lankan government said container-loads of waste were brought into the island in violation of international laws governing the shipping of hazardous material. Previous illegally imported containers had included rags, bandages and body parts from mortuaries, according to officials.  The 21 containers were holding up to 260 tonnes of rubbish were brought into the island in violation of international laws governing the shipping of hazardous material.  The type of hospital waste was not revealed, but they departed Sri Lanka on Saturday according to customs.  Interestingly, they were not a single shipment but the rubbish had   first arrived by ship in the capital Colombo's main port between Sept 2017 and Mar 2018.

representational picture 

The containers were meant to carry used mattresses, carpets and rugs, but had also contained hospital waste, officials said.  Reportedly, the shipper had agreed to take back these 21 containers. Another 242 containers from Britain remain abandoned at the same port and at a free trade zone outside the capital.  In the past two years several Asian countries have turned back container-loads of waste from foreign shores.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Covid 19 - deaths, people reaction, games ~ elections in Romania !!

                                 Ion Aliman victory  as   mayor,   in Romania's local elections, is indeed unique ! This election is being viewed as an indicator of how an upcoming General Election in December might unfold for the country's minority government, currently led by the National Liberal Party.

It is 30 years since Romania ousted communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in a revolution that ended decades of communist rule in the country. The dictator and his wife were killed by a firing squad on December 25, 1989, after days of a bloody national uprising. The Communist regime in Romania, a totalitarian system from its establishment until its collapse, was one based on the constant violation of human rights, on the supremacy of a hostile ideology to open society, on the monopoly of power exercised by a small group of individuals, on repression, intimidation and corruption," says a report.  

Some 19 million registered voters across Romania are choosing local officials, council presidents and mayors to fill more than 43,000 positions across the EU member state. The most closely-watched race will be for the next mayor of the capital, Bucharest, a race between the National Liberal Party challenger Nicusor Dan and Social Democrats' incumbent Gabriela Firea. Other candidates include former Romanian president Traian Băsescu and former Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, now leader of the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals (ALDE). The election is expected to reveal the strength of the NLP which has led the government since the Social Democratic Party (PSD) fell from power late last year.

Moving away, in UK, over  six months of the coronavirus crisis, community relations have been strained to the point that one concerned retiree in the south-west told the Guardian: “It’s like the English civil war.” Now, with control measures ramping up once more and fears that a second wave is here, mediators who work to resolve disputes through the ceiling or over the garden fence say they are seeing a surge in requests for help – and expect a lockdown in winter to push tensions to a new high.

On January 11, the first coronavirus death was officially recorded in China. Eight months after the identification of the disease that appeared in Wuhan in December 2019, the world has recorded over one million deaths. On a global scale, the deadliest week was April 13 to 19 when more than 7,460 coronavirus deaths were officially reported every day. By then the total number of deaths worldwide had risen to nearly 170,000, or double the level reported on March 31. Since the start of June, the average number of deaths per day has hovered around 5,000.  In June, the epicentre of the pandemic shifted to Latin America and the Caribbean. From July 15 to August 15, recorded deaths in the region did not drop below an average of 2,500 per day.

Brazil became the country with the most deaths in total after the United States (more than 140,000). Taking into account the size of their populations, Peru (975 deaths per one million inhabitants) and Bolivia (671), are among the worst-affected countries worldwide, alongside European countries like Belgium (861) and Spain (668).

Amidst all the melee, games are on – Test Cricket was first played in England between the home team and visiting West Indies, then Pakistan and Australia and now IPL is on at UAE.  Meantime,  Organisers for   Tokyo 2020 Olympics have proposed more than 50 measures to make the games "fit for a post-corona world," including ways to reduce staff and cut costs. The measures were proposed by the IOC Coordination Commission at a virtual news conference Friday between the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 officials.

Initial measures to be taken in an effort to reduce the number of people at the games include hosting pre-games meetings virtually, streamlining transportation services, adjusting spectator activities at competition venues and limiting stakeholder personnel attending the games. Additional measures include reducing invitations for the opening and closing ceremonies, not holding team welcoming ceremonies at the Olympic village, shortening the opening time of training venues and permitting fewer officials access to official bus services.  "The unique task of reorganizing an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment," he continued. "The 'Tokyo Model' will not only deliver a games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future organizing committees for many years to come."

The Tokyo Games were originally scheduled for July 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were postponed until July 2021. Japan has more than 81,000 cases of the coronavirus, with more than 24,850 cases in Tokyo. More than 1,540 people have died across the country. 

Now getting back to Romanian elections at the start -  after  handing Ion Aliman victory in the election for their local mayor, residents of a small village in southern Romania went to his grave to light candles for him.  Aliman was reelected in a landslide for an unprecedented third term as mayor of the village of Deveselu despite having died from COVID-19 complications 10 days prior to the country’s municipal elections. His death came too late to remove his name from Sunday’s ballot, but the news of his passing spread fast through the village, home to just over 3,000 people. The popular incumbent would have celebrated his 57th birthday on election day.

                                           To honor the man they admired, hundreds of Deveselu villagers went to the polling stations Sunday and voted for Aliman anyway. After preliminary election results showed late Sunday that Aliman had won 1,057 out of the 1,600 votes cast in Deveselu, a large group of villagers visited his grave to light candles and pay their respects.   The election victory in Deveselu was a bit of sweet news, but only a little comfort for the PSD as partial preliminary results showed Monday that they had lost the most closely watched contest — the one for the mayor of the capital, Bucharest.  

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar