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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

remembering the bravery and martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev


After independence, on 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru assumed office as the first Prime Minister of India and chose fifteen ministers to form the first ministry in Independent India. Earlier an Interim Govt had been  formed on September 2, 1946  from the newly elected Constituent Assembly. …….   ….        ..  that included the Viceroy & Governor General The Viscount Wavell; Sir Claude Auchinleck – and many representing the Congress including Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad, C Rajagopalachari, Baldev Singh, Jagjivan Ram, Asaf Ali, CH Bhabhax.  History is no doubt very important ! .. .. yet what we studied was more of merciful Cawning; Dalhousie reforms, Minto-Morley, Simon commission, Montaug-Chelmsford and more – missed out so many important aspects and personalities of our freedom struggle. 

A  bomb was thrown "to make the deaf hear and to give the headless a timely warning" ~ the perpetrators did not run away – but like our own Veera Vanchinathan, offered themselves to Police arrest, as was planned by the Central Committee of Hindustan Socialistic Republic Association being headed by Chander Shekhar.. .. .. today is the day to remember them .. .. .. and a web search led me to another Bengal activist who was arrested and hanged in Mar 1924 (sad even the date is not recorded and not much of history we ever studied about this hero – more on him in a separate post) 

Today 23rd March  marks the 90th   year of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. They symbolise the best example of sacrifice to free India from the imperial clutches of British rule. Indian history books perhaps have provided lesser  exposure to their visionary battle against British rule. These revolutionaries envisioned India’s future were not in the same stream of Congress and did not garner that attention that the party gotten. 

They are the very  definition of martyr and would eternally motivate the youngsters for the Nation Cause.   Before that have you heard of Kartar Singh Sarabha.  In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 9 April 1929, he stated: "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived.   While in prison,  he and his 2 friends wrote to Lord Irwin,  asking to be treated as prisoners of war and consequently to be executed by firing squad and not by hanging.  He declined to sign letter for clemency…….  -        that is Shaheed Bhagat Singh 

From his early days, he had been attracted by revolutionary activities against oppressive British Raj.  Seeking revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai at the hands of the police, Singh was involved in the assassination of British police officer John Saunders. He eluded efforts by the police to capture him. Together with Batukeshwar Dutt, he undertook a successful effort to throw two bombs and leaflets inside the Central Legislative Assembly while shouting slogans of Inquilab Zindabad. Subsequently they volunteered to surrender and be arrested. Held on this charge, he gained widespread national support when he underwent a 116 day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for British and Indian political prisoners. He was convicted and subsequently hanged for his participation in the murder, aged 23. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and he continues to be a youth idol in modern India. 

Bhagat Singh and B.K.Dutt were sentenced to transportation for life on June 12, 1929 and both were sent to Multan jail and Lahore jail on l31h June 1929 by train. According to different files of Home Department of India related with J.P.Saundres Murder Case of Lahore, the Punjab Police and C.I.D. of Punjab Govt. was unable to trace the killer up to May 1929. Even the Police could not name the culprits. The Police was haunting in the dark but successfully made a strong case linking Browning Pistol No.l68096.  

We often attach great importance to the soil or the place and that way Khatkar Kalan is a historic village for it has given many famous patriots and freedom fighters like Sardar Kishan Singh, Sardar Ajit Singh, Sardar Swaran Singh, Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh.   Nawanshahr  situtated on the banks of river Sutlej is a city in Punjab which was upgraded as a district in 1995, now it is a municipal council in the district named after the revolutionary and is called Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab.  It reportedly was built during the reign of  Khilji (1295-1316).  In Sept 2008, in commemoration of Shahid’s 101st birth anniversary, Punjab CM Prakashsingh Badal announced the formation of a district after him.   

                     Bhagat  & Dutt were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing on 12 June 1929. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder.   On 1st   May 1930, by declaring an emergency, an ordinance was passed by Lord Irwin, that shifted the Lahore Conspiracy Case Trial from the court of Rai Sahib Pandit Sri Kishan to a Special Tribunal of three judges. On 7 October 1930, this tribunal convicted Singh among others and sentenced him to be hanged till death.  On 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev.  Bhagat Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river. 

The court framed charges under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act. Bhagat Singh and Dutt were accused of throwing bombs ‘to kill or cause injuries to the King Majesty’s subjects’. The magistrate committed both of the revolutionaries’ to the sessions court, which was presided over by Judge Leonard Middleton. The trial started in the first week of June, 1929. Here also, Bhagat Singh and Dutt were irked by the allegation that they had fired shots from a gun. It was apparent that the government was not limiting the case to the bombs thrown in the Assembly. The two were persuaded to file an appeal which was rejected and they were sent for fourteen years. The judge was in a hurry to close the case and claimed that the police had gathered ‘substantial evidence’ against Bhagat Singh and that he was charged with involvement in the killings of Saunders. The case proceeded at a snails pace and hence the government got so exasperated that it approached the Lahore High Court for directions to the magistrate. When the case opened on 5 May 1930, Rajguru challenged the very constitution of the tribunal and said that it was illegal ultra vires. He argued that  the Viceroy did not have the power to cut short the normal legal procedure. 

Sadly, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931; but Singh was informed that his execution had been advanced by 11 hours on 23 March 1931, just a few hours before his execution.  Singh was hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm in Lahore jail with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. It is reported that no magistrate of the time was willing to supervise his hanging. The jail authorities then broke the rear wall of the jail and secretly cremated the three martyrs under cover of darkness outside Ganda Singh Wala village, and then threw the ashes into the Sutlej river.  An ex-parte trial was against the principles of natural justice that no man shall be held guilty unless given an opportunity to defend in a hearing.  It was probably for the first time, that executions were carried out in the evening, by advancing the date of execution. The families of the accused were not allowed to meet them before the execution nor were they informed about it, even the bodies of the three were not given to their relatives after the execution to perform last rites. 

Even lesser is known about the other two daring colleagues of Bhagat Singh.  Shivaram Hari Rajguru (24 August 1908 – 23 March 1931) was  born at Khed, near Pune.  Years later, his  birthplace of Khed has since been renamed as Rajgurunagar in his honour. Rajguru Market, a shopping complex at Hisar, Haryana, was named in his honour in 1953. 

Almost a century ago, there were different ideologies - the paths Gandhi and Bhagat Singh.  Were they complementary could not be commented now ..   in some ways, the Gandhian path was focussed on the transfer of political power but Bhagat Singh's vision was to transform independent India into better society.  There has been criticism that Gandhi and other national leaders of that time, did not do much to prevent or reduce the sentence of 3 martyrs.  Lord Irwin, in a report to the Secretary of State, penned his position on the issue of commutation: He (Mahatma Gandhi) did not plead for commutation, although he would, being opposed to all taking of life, take that course himself. He also thought it would have an influence for peace. But he did ask for postponement in present circumstances. I contented myself with saying that, whatever might be the decision as to exact dates, I could not think there was any case for commutation which might not be made with equal force in the case of any other violent crime. 

Sad ~ politicians and rulers of those years and those who followed failed to honour such great sacrifices of martyrs but for whom, we will not be celebrating our freedom. 

The pistol that Bhagat Singh had used to fire the bullet killing Saunders was  found after 90 years and half a century of being lost in a storeroom in CSWT museum. According to reports by Times of India, the .32 mm Colt automatic was sitting on public display at the Reoti firing range of the Border Security Force in Indore on Tuesday. It must be noted that on February 15, 1931, that the Viceroy, Lord Irwin had rejected the final mercy petition filed by Congress President Madan Mohan Malviya. According to reports, many people saw the gun placed in a glass case on daily basis but were never aware of its significance. It was only after the museum authorities removed the black paint from the pistol and matched the serial number on it (168896) that they recognised the owner and the significance of the pistol. The  bravery and sacrifice that ultimately inspired generations, Shaheed Bhagat Singh was only declared a martyr by the central government in its records in 2012. 

                                 Salutes to those great martyrs

 ~ with regards – S. Sampathkumar
Pistol pic from twitter page : @IndiaHistorypic. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

Mithali Raj makes 10000 International runs .. well played !!

I vividly remember seeing that Test no. 1071 at Ahmedabad (same stadium) – 34 years ago .. .. Pak  395 & 135/2 drew with India 323.   As the test which Sunil Gavaskar and Ijaz Faqih would remember meandered into a draw, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Maninder Singh, Gopal Sharma,  Shivlal Yadav, Ravi Shastri, Krish Srikkanth & Sunil Gavaskar bowled [Azharuddin, Vengsarkar & Kiran More did not bowl] .. .. that Test was of historic significance !!

The focus shifted from Tests to T20I today .. .. and India clearly erred in playing 3 spinners.  England captain Eoin Morgan opted to chase,  citing the dew factor. His opposite number Virat Kohli was wary of the dew, too, which made chasing easier at this venue in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - India's domestic T20 tournament - in January. While England picked just one spinner in Adil Rashid, India packed their attack with three - legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal and fingerspin-bowling allrounders Washington Sundar and Axar Patel. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned for his first international since December 2019. Shardul Thakur was selected as the second seamer ahead of Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini. England chose the rapid pace of Mark Wood,  restricted India to 124/7 and chased the total with ridiculous ease in 15.3 overs losing just 2 wickets !!

Elsewhere in Abu Dhabi – Zimbabwe were forced to follow-on after making 287 in reply to Afghanistan’s 545/4 decl.   Hashmatullah Shahidi (200*) became the first Afghanistan player to score a double-century in Test cricket. Asghar Afghan briefly held the record for the highest individual score for Afghanistan with his 164 before Shahidi overtook him. Before Thursday, Rahmat Shah's 102 against Bangladesh in the 2019 Chattogram was Afghanistan's only hundred in their first five Tests.

Back home, Lizelle Lee described her match-winning 132* as "one of the best innings I've played", but credited South Africa's bowlers for setting up the win that gave them a 2-1 lead in the five-match series in India. South Africa won by six runs in a DLS-determined finish because of rain, and it was due in large measure to India scoring only 55 in the last ten overs and 27 in the last five, as Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Tumi Sekhukhune and Marizanne Kapp kept things tight.

The mercurial Mithali Raj  rose to Himalayan heights, becoming the  first Indian batter, and only the second overall, to score 10,000 runs in women's international cricket. Raj went past the mark during her innings of 36 in the third ODI against South Africa this day, getting there with a flicked boundary off the bowling of Anne Bosch.  Mithali was  dismissed off the next ball, which means she will have to wait a little longer to reach another major milestone - she is now 26 runs away from becoming the first batter to 7000 runs in women's ODIs. England's Charlotte Edwards, who ended her career with 5992 ODI runs, is a distant second on that list. Charlotte Edwards, Mithali Raj, Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor and Meg Lanning are the top five run-getters in women's cricket.  Charlotte Edwards, incidentally,  has  made 10,273 runs overall, in a career that stretched from 1996 to 2016.

Raj has enjoyed  longer career. She made her India debut back in June 1999, in an ODI in Lucknow against England, and has so far played 10 Tests, 212 ODIs and 89 T20Is. She now has 663 Test runs at an average of 51.00, 6974 ODI runs at 50.53, and 2364 T20I runs at 37.52.  Speaking to the media ahead of the third ODI, India opener Smriti Mandhana had reflected on the significance of Raj reaching the milestone. "Getting to 10,000 runs first or second is a huge thing," Mandhana said. "She is the first Indian to do that, so I think it is something that shows how consistent she has been throughout her career. We have looked up to her, definitely a very proud feeling for all of us in the team."

In that Ahmedabad test on 7.3.1987 – little master Sunil Gavaskar nudged Ijah Faqih moving from 57 to 58 .. .. and that single run at Motera lifted Gavaskar to a territory where none had ever ventured before – that was the first time a batsman had scored 10000 runs in Test Cricket.   Ijah Faqih who ended up playing only 5 tests was the Man of the match in that drawn match.

Statistically -  Sachin Tendulkar  stands at the top with 15921 test runs; Ricky Ponting 13378; Kallis 13289; Rahul Dravid 13288; Alistair Cook 12472; Kumara Sangakkara 12400; Brian Lara 11953l; Shivnaraine Chanderpaul 11867; Mahela Jayawardene 11814; Alan Border 11174; Steve Waugh 10927; Sunil Gavaskar 10122 & Younis Khan 10099 are in that 10000  Test runs club.

To add more statistics – here are the highest aggregate International runs – the 20000 men’s club – again headed by Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar 34357; Kumara Sangakkara 28016; Ricky Ponting 27483; Mahela Jayawardene 25957; Jacques Kallis 25534, Rahul Dravid 24208; Virat Kohli 22458; Brian Lara 22358; Sanath Jayasuriya 21032; Shivnaraine Chanderpaul 20988; Inzamam ul-Haq 20580 & AB de Villiers 20014.

Interesting !  .. .. well played Mithali Raj !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



Thursday, March 11, 2021

SYMA appreciates Urbaser Sumeet conservancy workers


Great value is often associated with a clean place.  A clean city is a strong reflection of our moral and civic values. They do not just come by chance. They require – good strategy, execution, responsibility and dedicated maintenance.  .. .. and in ensuring that WE all have a role .. .. sad, in a city of literates, people throw waste from their housetops, fling garbage bags from their two wheelers and generally do not deposit them in bins or handover them to conservancy workers. 

Almost everyone of us would feel bad on seeing things unclean and many would complain too – we expect that workers should be around 24 X 7, keep things clean and tidy – yet not many would appreciate the good work (when done) – recognize those unrecognized faces who ensure the tidiness.  SYMA chose to be different.  .. for WE have a role in appreciating the good work of unsung heroes

Srinivas Youngmen’s Association has been doing service to the society ever since 1977.  The medical services and laboratory which remained closed during Covid 19 are open to public now.  Our Educational service (free tuition centre) is yet to function in this educational year.  SYMA started with cleaning Thiruvallikkeni thirukulam ‘Kairavini pushkarini’ and had been associated in civic awareness and cleanliness.


Thiruvallikkeni, the abode of Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman is eternal bliss.  On Mar 20,2020, Temple had to be closed on the wake of rise of Corona and remained inaccessible to devotees for few months.  The doors opened on Sept 7 for darshan of all and on Nov 30,  Thirukarthigai deepam, Emperuman stepped out of the eastern vasal.  On 6.1.2021 there was Andal purappadu [Neeratta Utsavam]. 2021  has been a bonanza !  .. Feb 2021 was conducted 10 day grand Special Brahmothsavam for Sri Parthasarathi Perumal and in Mar 21 – special brahmothsavam for Sri Azhagiya Singar.  Thousands had darshan of Emperuman on various vahanams including thiruther and felt blessed.

Brahmothsavam are grand, congregation of thousands and to keep the streets clean and tidy requires herculean effort.  The Uthsavams could be conducted grandly with so many kainkaryabarargal – Battacharyargal; Adhyabargal & Arulicheyal goshti; Sripadham thangigal; Temple ulthurai and admin staff,  mangala vadhyam; theevatti and so many other kainkaryabarargal – then there were the Police authorities and .. .. ‘the conservancy workers’.   Employees of Urbaser Sumeet did a great job in ensuring the cleanliness of kulakkarai and madaveethigal during the purappadu. 

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, campaign was launched on 2nd Oct 2014   by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.  The mastermind scheme  was India's largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,041 cities, towns, and rural areas.  In Chennai as in  most other cities -  cleanliness and conservancy is a major issue.      Urbaser-Sumeet has now taken over solid waste management in  most zones in the city. 

In decades earlier,  household would generate some waste like vegetable leftovers which would only be placed in the bin next to their home, now imagine the volume of solid waste generated by us, either after a shopping spree or after an order of Pizza or lunch from hotel – and most of us do not want a bin nearby house stating that it would pollute our environ.  WE can make a difference to the place around us – all that is required is ‘indomitable will, few leading from the front and people cooperating ’ – let us hope that the new Agency does solid waste management professionally and the city is kept clean and tidy. ~ and let us vow to cooperate in keeping our place, the city clean, just as we strive to keep our houses clean.

.. .. .. .. and yesterday morning SYMA honoured Police officials and staff of Urbaser Sumeet for keeping Thiruvallikkeni clean and playing a big role during Brahmothsavam.  They were honoured with towels and sweet boxes – they were happy and so are WE.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day 2021 - Appreciating all women I know !!

Today (8th of March) is International Women’s Day .. ..  Appreciating all Women I know ! and special greetings to all of them  ~ International Women's Day 2021


March 8 last year, (2020) was a Red letter day  for  Indian women's cricket. India's maiden appearance in a T20 World Cup final, against defending champions Australia, drew 86,174 spectators at the MCG - the most ever at a women's or men's T20 World Cup final and for a women's sporting event in Australia.  India lost that match !  .. ..

Yesterday : South Africa 178 for 2 (Lee 83*, Goswami 2-38) beat India 177 for 9 (Raj 50, Ismail 3-28) by eight wickets.  Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee put on a 169-run opening stand and made a half-century apiece as South Africa eased their way to a win over India in the opening ODI in Lucknow. Only two other batters were needed to chase a small target after a disciplined effort from the visitors' bowling attack and an energetic display in the field kept India to an under-par score on a good pitch. On the way, Wolvaardt also became the youngest South African to 2000 ODI runs.  

Hima Das  nicknamed Dhing Express, is an ace sprinter from the state of Assam. She holds the current Indian national record in 400 meters with a timing of 50.79 s that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.   She was in news recently . .. …

In some ways this is a western concept – marking a day and attaching all importance to it by marketing it. Our literature has good place for women and traditionally we are taught to respect elders and mother. Our moral stories are replete with instances of obeisance to mother and femininity holding them in high regard; yet 8th Mar would be a special day.

Elections to TN State Assembly are around the corner and there are talks that Ms Kushboo Sundar is the likely candidate representing BJP in alliance with the ruling AIADMK – women power in politics is nothing new.    From  Triplicane assembly constituency was elected Ms Bader Sayeed in 2006.    Earlier ace Bharatnatyam dancer Ms Vijayanthimala Bali represented South Madras constituency twice (Triplicane was part thence)

Thousands of miles away, Anne ascended power to become the  Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland from  8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

Any reference to women of fame would not be complete with writing about ‘Avvaiyar’ -  great tamil poetess  whose statue also stands in the marina closer to Queen Mary’s college. She  lived in the southern parts attributed to sangam period. Reverred to be noble besides her extraordinary poetic skills, the term means ' respected old woman' or 'Grandmother'. Her works include Purananuru and Aathichoodi. She had cordial relations with the Kings Pari and Athiaman. Aathichoodi is a collection of single-line quotes written by Avvaiyar and organized in alphabetical order.

Indian sprinter Hima Das  recently was  inducted as Deputy Superintendent of Assam Police and referred to the moment as a childhood dream coming true. In a ceremony organised in Guwahati, the Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal handed her the appointment letter and top functionaries of the state government as well as from the police department, including the Director General of police attended it. Addressing the gathering after her induction, Hima revealed that she had dreamt of becoming a police officer when she was young and therefore this was a very special moment for her.

According to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, King Janaka of Videha Kingdom held a Rajasuya Yagna and invited all the learned sages, kings and princess of India to participate. The yagna lasted for many days. The galaxy of scholars, included the renowned sage Yajnavalkya.  There  were eight renowned sages who challenged him for a debate, which included Gargi, the only lady in the assembled gathering of the learned.  Gargi and Yajnavalkya's exchange centered on the ultimate "warp" of reality ("warp" means "the basic foundation or material of a structure or entity).  This is a post on ‘wonder woman’ ~ it would not require a Nobel for a woman to be impressive and an influencer    before you read further, this post is dedicated to all the Women known and those who influenced me – the list would start with my mother, sister, wife – my teachers at elementary school,  my female colleagues, my women bosses and my dear friends).. ..

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

486  years ago this month in 1535 occurred the siege by Bahadur Shah who attacked Chittor Fort.  Rani Karnavati, wife of the late Rana Sangha fought valiantly, was expecting help from Humayun, who betrayed and .. ..   13,000 women including Rani Karnavati committed Jauhar and 3,200 soldiers committed Saka.    In Nov 2014, Our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, on a visit,  gave his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott a rather interesting gift ~ and to us something to glance through the annals of history – connected to an Australian lawyer and novelist by name John Lang [1816-1864]… and this has direct reference to a great Indian woman ?  ~ yes, Jhansi Rani.

Can you think of one sport where men and women compete against each other as equals? – in Tennis – the mixed-doubles !!Stumped?  It is  horse racing, where female jockeys regularly jump in the hot seat alongside their male counterparts ~ and it is not riders alone .. it is the horses too.   The horses carrying them towards the finish line are locked in their own battle of the sexes.   

A couple of years ago, President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented three Padma Vibhushan, six Padma Bhushan and forty-eight Padma Shri Awards at a Civil Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan,  the women seen in the photo at the start of the post -  a Padma Shri recipient – Saalumarada Thimmakka, by name; she  was 105 years of age at that time ~  had no formal education and worked as a casual labourer in a quarry ! ~ great person !.

Saalumarada Thimmakka also known as Alada Marada Timakka is an environmentalist from the state of Karnataka, noted for her work in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway between Hulikal and Kudur.  Not many of us have cared to know that a  U.S. environmental organisation based in Los Angeles and Oakland, California called Thimmakka's Resources for Environmental Education is named after her.

Appreciations and greetings to all  Women known and those who influenced me

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Saturday, March 6, 2021

Covid Vaccine - India leads the way - and TN administers the drive so well


Under National Urban Health Mission scheme, Greater Chennai Corporation is running 138 Urban Primary Health Centres.  The Chennai Municipal Corporation (formerly known as the Corporation of Madras), is the civic body that governs the city of Chennai. Inaugurated on 29 September 1688, under a Royal Charter issued by King James II on 30 December 1687 as the Corporation of Madras, it is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside Great Britain.

On the busy Besant Road, nearer Vivekananda House bus terminus, there are a host of Govt facilities, that of Metrowater & Sewerage and Corporation office that houses facility for Aadhar and the like and here runs a Medical centre of the Corporation too.  Have you ever visited one such centre and before that what is your perception – are you one among those who would say – in general, such Govt places would not be tidy ?  

Coronavirus cases rise unabated across the globe with 116,659,203 infected by the deadly contagion. While 92,272,972 have recovered, 2,591,291 have died so far. The US remains the worst-hit country with 29,593,161, followed by India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom. However, if you are to view the statistics differently by the total number of active cases, US tops the charts, followed by France, UK, Brazil and Belgium.  With a daily increase of 18,327 in total cases, India’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 11,192,088. Death toll has reached 157,693, with 109 fatalities in a day.   The country continues to be second-most-affected globally, and ranks 13th among worst-hit nations by active cases. Maharashtra, the most affected state overall, has reported 9,000 new cases. The state has added nearly 80,000 cases in the past 10 days. The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (2,198,399), Kerala (1,072,437), Karnataka (953,813), Andhra Pradesh (890,441), and Tamil Nadu (853,992).

Vaccines for Corona virus Covid 19 has come as a great relief for the humanity.  However, the World appears to be grappling by non-availability and improper distribution and lot of politics behind .. .. and fortunately, none of these in India as the Govt has ensured that vaccine is available to most of its citizen nearer their places, free of cost !  .. what an effort. Appreciate the Central Govt, Our Prime Minister, State Govt, Health Ministry, Department, Health workers and more.



Canada on Friday authorized a fourth Covid-19 vaccine, adding Johnson & Johnson's candidate to is approved list alongside AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots. It is the first single-dose Covid-19 vaccine to be authorized in the country, and has been cleared for use by people over 18 years of age, said Health Canada.  Like many countries, Canada does not have domestic production and has struggled with an immediate shortage of vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is what’s called a viral vector vaccine. To create this vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson team took a harmless adenovirus – the viral vector – and replaced a small piece of its genetic instructions with coronavirus genes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden announced that Merck & Co. will help make Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine -- a collaboration between rivals as the immunization race narrows and governments race to ramp up supply before dangerous new variants of the virus further erupt. 

Four top Republicans Senator on Friday urged US President Joe Biden not to accept a proposal by India and South Africa to the World Trade Organisation to waive anti-Covid vaccine patents to boost its supply. "India, South Africa and other countries are presenting a proposal at the World Trade Organisation to waive all intellectual property rights for any innovation related to COVID-19," the group of four Republican Senators wrote in a letter to Biden.  "The proponents of this scheme argue that if we just destroy the intellectual property developed by American companies, we will suddenly have more manufacturers producing COVID-19 vaccines," they said.

Europe could be on the brink of a roaring twenties-style summer to remember, with budget airline flights packed and beachside bars brim-full of happy tourists. Or, it faces another gloomy holiday season of travel restrictions, quarantine rules and a locked-down leisure industry. In a few weeks from now we will know which it is to be - but the policy decisions which will shape the outcome are already being taken. One big question is whether EU member states will be content to leave decision-making to the European Commission in Brussels - which has bungled the vaccine-buying programme - or simply take matters into their own hands. Greece, for example, has already struck a deal to welcome tourists from Israel if they have a vaccine passport. And Cyprus has said it will welcome British tourists from 1 May, as long as they have had two doses of any vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EU has struggled to distribute Covid-19 shots across the 27-member region and is lagging other advanced economies in the number of inoculations per citizen. There are complaints that regulators are too slow to approve vaccines, there has been manufacturing and delivery issues and national red tape, hindering the process. But new questions were raised on Thursday when Italy became the first EU country to use the bloc’s new regulations that allow exports to be stopped if needs be. The move stopped around 250,000 doses of the vaccine from its Anagni, Italy, plant being shipped to Australia.

India has gone miles ahead in handling Covid vaccines. India began its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ to supply Covid vaccine to different nations almost a one-and-a-half-month ago.   India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ drive is reaping diplomatic benefits for the country with the 79-member African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) group and the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) praising India at the WTO for facilitating vaccine supplies to those in need. These countries also suggested that other vaccine-producing countries should also follow suit.

The COVID vaccine was launched on 16th January, 2021. The first group of beneficiaries in India were  healthcare and frontline workers. The second group is persons  over 60 years of age as of January 1st, 2022 and persons between 45 and 59 years with comorbid conditions.  ]

At the Health Centre, run by Chennai Corporation in Besant Road – Covid vaccine is being administered.  The premises is clean and Health workers are doing the work with enthusiasm and efficiency.  Those coming are checked for their blood-pressure, medical details are enquired into and with Aadhar and another proof of residence – one could have Covid vaccine in few minutes.

On 4.3.2021, I had the Covid vaccine [Covishield] and on Friday, 5.3.2021 my wife had the vaccine. My parents [Father 84 & Mother 79] have also got the vaccine at another place.   Many of my friends of the locality and SYMA office bearers too have been inoculated.  In all it took less than half-an-hour for completion of verification formalities and a 2 sec painless jab.  After the administration of vaccine, recipients need to remain in the premises for 30 minutes for observation and then can leave for their homes to have their normal daily routine.

Good job by the Govt, Corporation and special thanks to Mrs Sulakshana, Medical Officer & Mrs Shyamala, Urban Health of 116 Ward and the other Health Workers. Urge the Triplicane residents to utilize this facility and have covid inoculation done immediately.  It is for our own safety and there need not any apprehensions on this.   Even after the vaccine, continue to follow social distancing, sanitizing and wearing masks.

With thanks – S. Sampathkumar






so near and yet so far .. .. Washington Sundar stranded at 96*


Sure, you rode a bi-cycle in your life… as all of us know, it is the roller chain that transfers power from the pedals to the back wheel, driving the cycle forward ~ and as could be seen the pedal has teeth … is it the available teeth or those missing teeth that moves the cycle forward ?  Year 2021 has been great for this 21 year old .. .. yet, would this youngster remember this day for the runs he made or the ones he missed ?

At Ahmedabad, after bowling out England for 205,  Indians were struggling at 146/6 .. .. then  Sundar and Pant came together !    Pant was classy, rule for thyself as he  reverse-swept Anderson from the line of the stumps, falling away to the leg side as he did so, and watched the ball fly over the leaping first slip fielder. It was audacious, it was gloriously disrespectful, and it was in every way what we've come to expect from Pant.  Pant scored a glorious 100 in the circumstances ensuring Indian lead.  At Close of play, Washington Sundar 60* and Axar Patel were together.

One may remember that 1st Test at Colombo in Sept 1985 – a drawn match.  India made : 218 & 251- while Lankans made  347 & 61/4 as also that famous Chepauk Pongal Test in 1975.  .. .. reasons !!

Steve Waugh (10); Rahul Dravid (10); Sachin Tendulkar (90); Michael Slater (9); Alwin Issac Kalicharan (8), AB de Villiers (8); Inzamam ul Haq (8) top that list – players with highest 90s.  Getting a ton is every batsmen’s dream.  Some one getting out in 90s is sad but getting stranded at 90s is sadder still.

‘nervous nineties’ is oft heard in Cricket.  It is a sort of  analysis paralysis, felt by a batsman when he has scored more than 90 runs in an innings, and is nervous because of the pressure and desire to convert it to a milestone century.   Batsmen tend to bat in a more conservative manner when they are close to their century, in order to avoid getting out and thus missing out on the milestone. Batsmen dismissed on 99 are considered the unluckiest of the nervous nineties victims.  Fielders could be sledging, opposing Captain would make changes in the field, bowling and do all that to distract, delay and get the batsman out – and sometimes, your own team could fail you.   

On day 3, just before lunch - Washington Sundar was left agonisingly short of a maiden Test hundred but his unbeaten 96 helped India to carve out a dominant position in the fourth Test. Team India  lost their last three wickets without adding to the score, by that stage their first-innings lead over England had swelled to 160… .. and Washie was stranded at 96 in 174 balls with 10 fours and 1 six !  In his very short Test Career thus far (4 tests in 2021) he has seen in all – a good 62 in 1st innings at Brisbane; cameo 22 and getting out to a bad shot in 2nd at Brisbane when India won; 85* in tough circumstances at Chepauk; 0 & 0 at Ahmedabad in 3rd test and 96* running out of partners today.  

Today there was no drama, India was increasing its lead with both Sundar and Axar looking composed and making runs in their 8th wicket stand of 106.   Axar made 43 [statistically scoring more runs than his test wickets now at 22 !!] ..  suddenly in a gush – Patel was out of crease looking for a non-existent single, Jhonny Bairstow caught him marginally out of crease.  Then .. .. Ishant Sharma was out for a first ball duck to Ben Stokes and as one feared the worst, Mohammed Siraj was castled for a duck leaving Sundar stranded at 96 not out.

It was sad to watch Sundar nonplussed and not displaying any emotions at all as he acknowledged the applause on his way back to pavilion.  India has a good lead but that 4 runs were elusive !  

Getting back to that Colombo test in 1985, Dilip Vengsarkar was unbeaten on 98* when Indians were bowled out.  Then at Kandy in Aug 2001, Sourav Ganguly too was stranded at 98* .. .. and there was this classy 97* by Gundappa Viswanath at Chepauk on 11th Jan 1975.  Any reference to Test No. 752 will flood memories of that  classy knock of Gundappa Viswanath -  great bowling of Andy Roberts and the defeat (100 runs at that) suffered by Clive Lloyd against Pataudi led Indians in 1975.  Those days Pongal tests were great festivities and tension would build up couple of days before the match – India opening with Eknath Solkar and FArokh Engineer – lost both and were 24/2; Gaekwad went cheaply, so did MAK Pataudi; (41/4); Ashok Mankad hooked Roberts -  at 76/6 Mankad and Madanlal too gone, Vishy had only the tail – whether it was Andy Roberts 20.5-5-64-7 or the fluent 97 n.o. of Vishy that was brilliant will be an endless debate.  Roberts was to take another 57/5 in the second innings too. 

Well played Sundar .. ..sure you would get to that maiden Test hundred sooner !


With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Nation inoculates its people - vaccines made available to citizens easily

I love My Nation – Mera Bharat Mahan hai ! .. .. I appreciate and thank millions of Health workers; I appreciate TN Govt, CM, Health Minister and Health Secretary.  I thank and appreciate our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, our Central Govt and officials for the way they have handled Corona.  Initially there were reports that rich countries with their improved medical care and riches would handle Covid well, while 3rd world countries would find it extremely to contain the spread and provide health care for its citizens.

India has with the strategic plans, implementation and strict lockdown in the initial days has contained Corona well.  .. .. now Vaccines have come and the way India is handling it – distributing life-saving drugs to so many countries and in seamless distribution across the Country has really stood out.  The world's largest vaccination drive in India, which began on January 16, has cumulatively inoculated over 1.63 crore people, as of March 3. President Ram Nath Kovind,  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, Mr Rajnath Singh, aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri,  and the likes of veteran cricketer Kapil Dev were also administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines.

For so many decades – life was simple – individuals had their own problems but collectively we only thought of inflation, price rise, and something like that .. 2020 changed the way, the Globe thought and lived !  ..  Corona .. threatened humanity as it wiped out millions.   The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League has been postponed after a spate of positive Covid-19 tests - as many as seven players or officials have now returned positive tests in less than a week. Last season, as the pandemic began, the league had to cut short its fifth season, although it rescheduled the remaining matches and staged them in November 2020. This season has seen instances gradually build before the dramatic events of today eventually forced the tournament to be suspended, with less than half of its 34 games completed. Here is a timeline of how events came to a head.

Tamil Nadu recorded 489 positive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the state tally to 8,52,967. Among these, Chennai reported 184 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 2,36,072. The state recorded two deaths on Wednesday, putting the state toll at 12,504. Both of them had succumbed due to comorbidities. A total of 494 patients were discharged following treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 8,36,473. Ever imagined these numbers a few months back ? ? ?

Globally 11,51,28,349 people had been affected by Covid 19 with 25,58,059 deaths.  USA tops the list with 2,88,04,121 / 5,18,079; followed by India 1,11,56,923/ 1,57,435; Brazil 1,07,18,630 / 2,59,271; Russia, 42,30,705/85,901; United Kingdom  41,94,785/ 1,23,783 deaths. Globally, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has affected more than 115 million people, as per the John Hopkins Covid-19 tracker.

Miles away, the UK vaccine programme has entered the second part of its first phase after everyone in the first four priority groups - those aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers and people required to shield - were offered a jab by mid-February. The rollout is now being expanded to include those aged 60 and above and those with underlying health conditions. The rest of the over-50s will follow, with the government aiming to offer everyone in priority groups five to nine a jab by 15 April.

Across the globe, as could be read and understood, it is so tough to get vaccination.  In UK – one needs to complete   vaccine request form, and get added to the database of those requesting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.     The database will allow Health authorities to  send invitations for vaccine appointments based on the recommended phased distribution.  Each day, UK HealthCare will assess the individual requests based on their priority as outlined above. Once your request is prioritized, you will receive your invitation and will be able to select a date and time to receive your vaccine.

Back home the Union Govt with its strategic management has ensured that vaccines are available for the masses and that too free in Govt centres; at a very low cost in nominated Private hospitals.  The COVID vaccine was launched on 16th January, 2021. The first group was intended only for  healthcare and frontline workers. The second group was to be persons  over 60 years of age as of January 1st, 2022 and persons between 45 and 59 years with comorbid conditions. This group  became eligible for vaccinations from March 1st 2021

.. .. .. and now it is so freely available in Chennai that I just walked in and had my jab within half an hour. Today I walked in to a Corporation Health Centre – it was so well organized and such a simple process.  Walk in with Aadhar and another ID proof – for 60+ that completes the process.  For 45 – 59 some proof of their comorbidity, as simple as a medical prescription .. .. .. few minutes of waiting, 2 second painless jab, 10 tablets of Paracetamol (in case one gets fever or pain), 30 mins of waiting and .. .. .. need for another visit after 28 days for the 2nd dose .. .. can it be more simple anywhere else in the World.

Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting one-self against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.  More than 1.63 crore people have received  coronavirus vaccine in India so far. While there has been no case  of  any adverse effect on anyone, some recipients have reported some side-effects or mild illness. A large number of experts have underlined that these are expected in a small number of cases — and that these ought not to dissuade people from taking the shot.  Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force, said both the vaccines being used in India, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, are absolutely safe — and minor side-effects are expected in some cases, not just for these particular vaccines, but any other vaccine as well.

Here is some do’s and don’t’s  extracted from the Indian Express of date :

Before vaccination

·         In case a person has allergies to medication, or drugs, it is important to get an all-clear from a medical practitioner. A complete blood count (CBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), or Immunoglobulin-E (IgE) levels can be checked under medical advice.

·         One should eat well and take medicines, if prescribed, ahead of vaccination. One should try to be as relaxed as possible; counselling can help people who are feeling anxious.

·         People with diabetes or blood pressure need to keep these in check. Cancer patients, especially those on chemotherapy, must act on medical advice.

·         People who have received blood plasma or monoclonal antibodies as part of Covid-19 treatment, or those who have been infected in the last one and a half months are advised to not take the vaccine right now.

After vaccination

·         A recipient of the vaccine is monitored at the vaccine centre itself to guard against any immediate severe allergic reaction. People are allowed to leave only after it has been ascertained that this is not the case.

·         Side effects like pain at the injection site and fever are common. This is no reason to panic. Some other side effects like chills and fatigue might also be expected, but these go away in a few days.


Vaccines teach our immune system how to recognise and fight an external threat — in this case, the virus that causes Covid-19. It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus.  This means that a person could still get infected by Covid-19 in the few days immediately following the vaccination, because the person would not have had enough time to develop immunity.  Therefore, basic precautionary measures must be followed even after vaccination. Face masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing in public places must not be abandoned just because a vaccine has been taken. Cough/sneeze etiquette also needs to be followed.

Hail our Nation, Appreciate our front line fighters – the health workers, appreciate TN Health Dept (Minister, Secretary and others)- appreciate the State and Central Governments.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
~from a humble Nation loving citizen