Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Horses .. .. .. Mustang .. .. famous owners !!


Other than my self-professed love for elephants, there were couple of animals that formed the trio in Thiruvallikkeni Perumal purappadu – a beautiful white horse and majestic Ox.  There were rumours that ‘the white horse’ was once a racing pedigree and was later retired and presented to Temple ! – now there is none !!

Horse  is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. Humans domesticated horses and needed them to perform a variety of duties.  There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior. One type of horse-powered work was the hauling of heavy loads, plowing fields, and other tasks that required pulling ability. 

Mustang Caves or Sky Caves of Nepal are a collection of some 10,000 man-made caves dug into the sides of valleys in the Mustang District of Nepal. Maharajadhiraja Prithivi Narayan Shah (1723–1775) was the last ruler of the Gorkha Kingdom and first monarch of Kingdom of Nepal, also called Kingdom of Gorkha.  Prithvi Narayan Shah is credited for starting the campaign for the unification of Nepal. He proclaimed his kingdom  as Asal Hindustan ("Real Land of Hindus") due to North India being ruled by the Islamic Mughal rulers.  He followed Hindu social code Dharmaśāstra.  His rule extended over Mustang District  is in Dhawalagiri Zone of northern Nepal.  The district, with Jomsom as its headquarters, covers an area of 3,573 km²  and is the gateway of our holy Salagrammam (Mukthinath divyadesam)

This is no divine post but one on horses -  Mustang horses are descendants of escaped, domestic Spanish horses that were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The name is derived from the Spanish words "mestengo" and "mostrenco" — meaning "wild or masterless cattle," according to the Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.  Mustangs are not technically wild horses because they came from a domesticated population, and so the mustangs living in the wild are considered feral, according to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). They can be found roaming free across the western United States but are also kept by humans in captivity and ridden like other horses. Mustangs have muscular bodies and hard hooves, which makes them suitable for scouting and trail riding, according to Horse Canada, a government-run equine website.

Mustangs, which like other horses, are typically measured in hands,  stand 14 to 15 hands tall. This measurement equals 56 inches to 60 inches (140 to 150 centimeters). They weigh around 800 pounds (360 kilograms), according to the America's Mustang program. Mustangs can be a wide variety of different colors and, according to Oklahoma State University, their coats show the entire range of colors found in all horses. Usually, they are bay, which is a reddish-brown, or sorrel, which is a chestnut color. They can also have a variety of patches, spots and stripes. Most mustang horses can run, or gallop, at speeds of 25 to 30 mph (40 to 48 km/h), although a mustang has been recorded reaching 55 mph (88 km/h) over a short distance, according to Horse Canada. 

We are reading about horses because couple of very famous people now own them ! .. ..  thala MS Dhoni, whose love for big dogs is well known, added to his list of pets when he bought a black stallion soon after arriving at his seven-acre farmhouse on the outskirts of Ranchi. The Chennai Super Kings skipper flew in from Delhi where he was leading his franchise before the tournament was potsponed due to Covid-19 cases in the bio-bubble. Dhoni's wife, Sakshi posted a video of the horse on her Instagram account and captioned it, "Welcome home Chetak! A true gentleman! Happily accepted in our pack!" Dhoni already has a Belgian Malinois, a white husky and a German Shepherd.

Dhoni is the second cricketer after CSK team-mate Ravindra Jadeja to keep a horse as pet. Soon after reaching home from Delhi, allrounder Jadeja too had posted pictures of his three horses on twitter, captioning it "Back to the place where I feel safe."

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th May 2021.

Monday, May 10, 2021

fight, riots, killings - between fans on who acts better ?

A deadly riot occurred on this day 172 years ago ! resulting in large civilian casualties too – and its genesis was a dispute between two actors – which one of them was better in doing major roles of Shakespeare !!!

An year and few months ago, at Triplicane, people would converge in street corners – in front of homes and happily speak / discuss / hotly debate on various topics ranging from Cricket, Sampradhayam, Temple affairs, Cinema, History, Politics and more .. .. very rarely they would become mud-slinging, and mostly people remained friendly.

In pandemic, people spend more time in social media – and in forums and e-platforms  – often we see people criticize, say harsh things, fill their heart’s hatred and suddenly become sworn enemies blocking each other – criticizing the person, their personal traits and more ..

Cinemas are intended to be medium of entertainment – actors and actresses earn money, celebrity status and more.  MG Ramachandran and NT Ramarao rose to become Chief Ministers primarily with their movie fame while a popular actor Sivaji Ganesan failed in politics ! 

In my school days in late 1970s – there used to hot exchanges between benches -  Sunil Gavaskar Vs Gundappa Vishwanath; Bjorn Borg Vs John Mcenroe; Illayaraja Vs MS Viswanathan; Rajni Vs Kamal; Balachander Vs Barathiraja.  Those days films would be released on Fridays – on Thursdays, one can see posters being pasted on streets.  Deepavali would be a bonanza for movie goers – a dozen films or more were released for 1980 Deepavali  including – Viswaroopam (Sivaji); Varumaiyin niram sivappu (Kamal / Balachander); Polladhavan (Rajni); Nizhalgal (Barathiraja).  My knowledge of cinema was slightly above zero and hence was a passive spectator in those arguments !    remember that in our school class room, one vividly portrayed Barathiraja calling Balachander – a week prior to Deepavali release, exclaiming that both of them had dwelt on the same subject [Unemployment – Nizhalgal & Varumaiyin niram sigappu] – he went on to say that an unperturbed Balachander replied that both had unique styles and need not worry about the other ~ not sure of its authencity – incidentally both flopped . ..

Those days it was intense rivalry between fans of Rajni vs Kamal.  Shivaji Rao(Rajinikanth) debuted in Tamil cinema with K Balachander's Apoorva Raagangal in 1975,  Kamal Haasan was already a seasoned actor.  Then for some time, it was Thala – thalapathi [Ajitkumar V Vijay] – there were some reports of skirmishes in theatre complex when both actor’s film were released. In neighbouring Kerala, the Malayalam film industry has been obsessed with two men in particular for nearly three decades now, much to their acting versatility and immense crowd pull. Mammootty and Mohanlal, have often locked horns at the box-office, but their cinematic rivalry has never affected their real-life friendship, which has spanned and survived the course of their respective careers.

The Astor Place Riot occurred on May 10, 1849, at the now-demolished Astor Opera House in Manhattan and left between 22 and 31 rioters dead, and more than 120 people injured. It was the deadliest to that date of a number of civic disturbances in Manhattan, which generally pitted immigrants and nativists against each other, or together against the wealthy who controlled the city's police and the state militia. The riot resulted in the largest number of civilian casualties due to military action in the United States since the American Revolutionary War, and led to increased police militarization (for example, riot control training and larger, heavier batons). Its ostensible genesis was a dispute between Edwin Forrest, one of the best-known American actors of that time, and William Charles Macready, a similarly notable English actor, which largely revolved around which of them was better than the other at acting the major roles of Shakespeare.

On May 7, 1849, three nights before the riot, Forrest's supporters bought hundreds of tickets to the top level of the Astor Opera House, and brought Macready's performance of Macbeth to a grinding halt by throwing at the stage rotten eggs, potatoes, apples, lemons, shoes, bottles of stinking liquid, and ripped up seats. The performers persisted in the face of hissing, groans, and cries of "Shame, shame!" and "Down with the codfish aristocracy!", but were forced to perform in pantomime, as they could not make themselves heard over the crowd. Meanwhile, at Forrest's May 7 performance, the audience rose and cheered when Forrest spoke Macbeth's line "What rhubarb, senna or what purgative drug will scour these English hence?"

After his disastrous performance, Macready announced his intention to leave for Britain on the next boat, but he was persuaded to stay and perform again by a petition signed by 47 well-heeled New Yorkers – including authors Herman Melville and Washington Irving – who informed the actor that "the good sense and respect for order prevailing in this community will sustain you on the subsequent nights of your performance”.

On the day of the riot, police chief George Washington Matsell informed Caleb S. Woodhull, the new Whig mayor, that there was not sufficient manpower to quell a serious riot, and Woodhull called out the militia.   By the time the play opened at 7:30 as scheduled, up to 10,000 people filled the streets around the theatre. One of the most prominent among those who supported Forrest's cause was Ned Buntline, a dime novelist who was Rynders' chief assistant.  Buntline and his followers had set up relays to bombard the theater with stones, and fought running battles with the police. They and others inside tried (but failed) to set fire to the building, many of the anti-Macready ticket-holders having been screened and prevented from coming inside in the first place.  The audience was in a state of siege; nonetheless, Macready finished the play, again in "dumb show", and only then slipped out in disguise !

Fearing they had lost control of the city, the authorities called out the troops, who arrived at 9:15, only to be jostled, attacked, and injured. Finally, the soldiers lined up and, after unheard warnings, opened fire, first into the air and then several times at point blank range into the crowd. Many of those killed were innocent bystanders, and almost all of the casualties were from the working class; seven of the dead were Irish immigrants. Dozens of injured and dead were laid out in nearby saloons and shops, and the next morning mothers and wives combed the streets and morgues for their loved ones.

Between 22 and 31 rioters were killed, and 48 were wounded. Fifty to 70 policemen were injured. Of the militia, 141 were injured by the various missiles.  Three judges presided over a related trial, including Charles Patrick Daly, a judge on the New York Court of Common Pleas, who pressed for convictions. The city's elite were unanimous in their praise of the authorities for taking a hard line against the rioters.  

To an outsider, it would sound – how insane ? – what is one actor was better than another ? – and by which yardstick – should people fight, kill, lose lives over such bickerings !!

Rhyming with MGR, NTR, SSR, there was KRR -  Kumbakonam Ramabadra Ramasamy  who worked mainly in Tamil theatre and cinema. He was born in Kumbakonam and was active during the early days of Tamil cinema.  His notable films include Velaikkaari, Gumasthavin Penn and Poompaavai. KRR acted in numerous stage plays and around 25 films in Tamil. He was also instrumental in funding DMK in its early days and later became a Member of the Legislative Council of the party in 1960.

So, no fight .. in the name of heroes !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Chinese Long March 5B uncontrolled re-entry - somewhere near Maldives !!

Maldives is 1344km away from Chennai and would take  6.30 hrs by flight to reach. 

David Warner and Michael Slater are in a group of 39 Australians, comprising players, coaches and support staff, to have flown to Maldives on Thursday on a charter flight organised by the BCCI.  Star opener David Warner and cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Slater have denied reports of their involvement in a drunken bar brawl in Male, where Australian cricketers competing in the now-suspended IPL are waiting to board a flight home in a few days’ time. According to the ‘Daily Telegraph’, Warner and Slater got into a late night physical altercation after a heated argument at the Taj Coral Resort where they are in quarantine.  Slater had made headlines after he lambasted threats of jail time and fines for returning Australians put in place by his government as a “disgrace” and said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had “blood” on his hands.

Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres (430 mi) from the Asian continent's mainland. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south (across the Equator). Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi), Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and, with around 557,426 inhabitants, the 2nd least populous country in Asia. Malé is the capital and the most populated city.

The Long March 5B successfully launched a 22.5-metric-ton core module of China’s first space station last week. During the launch, the first stage of the Long March 5B also reached orbital velocity instead of falling downrange as is common practice. That placed the empty rocket body in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days.  Sounds an innocuous statement but was in fact a threat to humanity, downplayed!

The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) was in news for its tracking the reentry path of the rocket body from the Chinese Long March 5B (CZ-5B) launch of April 29. The CORDS’ graphic has generated a lot of questions such as, “what exactly am I looking at?” and “am I in the path of debris?”  .. …. as it often happens, people like us could make out nothing but could get some solace seeing that the curves did not touch India !!

The good news is that the  bulk of the rocket was destroyed as it re-entered the atmosphere, but state media reported that debris landed just west of the Maldives this morning IST. There have been days of speculation over where the rocket might land, and US officials and other experts warned its return risked potential casualties.  There were some reports too that US would shoot it with a missile if it were to come anywhere closer to their land !

But China insisted the risk was low. The news is Long March-5b vehicle re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 Beijing time (02:24 GMT) on Sunday, state media reported, citing the Chinese Manned Space Engineering office. There were no reports of injuries or damage. U.S. Space Command  too stated that it can confirm the Chinese Long March 5B re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 p.m. EDT on May 8. (around 745 am IST) but added that it is  unknown if the debris impacted land or water.  More to follow with a very terse statement - USSPACECOM does not conduct direct notifications to individual governments. The exact location of the impact and the span of debris, both of which are unknown at this time, will not be released by U.S. Space Command.

It said debris from the 18-tonne rocket, one of the largest items in decades to have an undirected dive into the atmosphere, landed in the Indian Ocean at a point 72.47° East and 2.65° North.  The monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said the rocket was recorded above Saudi Arabia before it fell into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives and stated that it would not be releasing any further statements on this. .. …  . the  uncontrolled return of the rocket led to pointed criticism from the US amid fears that it could land in an inhabited area. US and European websites tracked its return, and there was much speculation on social media about where the debris might land.

"Spacefaring nations must minimise the risks to people and property on Earth," US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. "It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris." The main segment from the Long March-5b vehicle was used to launch the first module of China's new space station last month. Originally injected into an elliptical orbit approximately 160km by 375km (99 miles by 233 miles) above the Earth's surface on 29 April, the Long March-5b core stage soon began to lose height.

NASA has lambasted China for its failure to "meet responsible standards" after debris from its out-of-control rocket likely plunged into the Indian Ocean.  "Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations," said NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson in a statement released on the space agency's website Sunday. "China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," he added.  Generally, the international space community tries to avoid such scenarios. Most rockets used to lift satellites and other objects into space conduct more controlled reentries that aim for the ocean, or they're left in so-called "graveyard" orbits that keep them in space for decades or centuries. But the Long March rocket is designed in a way that "leaves these big stages in low orbit," said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University. 

It is stated that the threat was real and Chinese rocket debris crashing into Earth is not the first time and perhaps not the last too.  The threat to populated areas of land was not negligible, but fortunately the vast majority of Earth's surface area is consumed by oceans, so the odds of avoiding a catastrophic run-in were slim. The rocket is one of the largest objects in recent memory to strike the Earth after falling out of orbit, following a 2018 incident in which a piece of a Chinese space lab broke up over the Pacific Ocean and the 2020 reentry of an 18-metric-ton Long March 5B rocket.

Despite recent efforts to better regulate and mitigate space debris, Earth's orbit is littered with hundreds of thousands of pieces of uncontrolled junk, most of which are smaller than 10 centimeters. Objects are constantly falling out of orbit, though most pieces burn up in the Earth's atmosphere before having a chance to make an impact on the surface. But parts of larger objects, like the Long March rocket in this instance, can survive reentry and threaten structures and people on the ground.

"There's no international law or rule — nothing specific — but the practice of countries around the world has been: 'Yeah, for the bigger rockets, let's not leave our trash in orbit in this way.'"  . .. .. and when bigger Nations commit harm, it would get buried – but the same Nations would talk of green gas emission and other pollution as though committed only by Third world countries.  The loud and clear message is – ‘ you are expected to put down your airconditioners, refrigerators and every other thing of utility while the big brothers would experiment and leave the results untested’.

S a d .. .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th May 2021.

Bharat Insurance Building !!

Mount Road aka Anna Salai is one of the busiest arterial roads of the Chennai city – in olden days, every Tamil movie, to show that heroine has landed in MadraS would show Central Railway Station and then ‘the tallest 14 storeyed LIC building’.  As you travel from Santhi theatre signal – Mount Road, around 100 meters in front of LIC has road on the left – “General Patters Road’ and dead on that intersection an old building stands ! [one could wonder how is it standing still!]  Remember that upon joining Insurance industry in 1985, I had been to that building – for Madras Insurance Institute (as also some branch of LIC) used to function from there !

Even that time, it was close dilapidation .. .. the staircase would be creepy .. it is ‘Bharat Insurance building’ a structure dating back to  1897.  Searching its history read that it was earlier known as Kardyl Building, inaugurated in 1897 taking 3 years for completion, and is an example of the Indo-Saracenic architecture.  Constructed for W E Smith and Company, it was bought by Bharat Insurance in 1934. This insurance company became part of  Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).   The Madras High Court in 2010  restrained LIC’s  move to pull down the structure. The building with stained glass panels, domes, spires, arches, verandahs and 100-ft minarets was once perhaps a  lively commercial centre, but deteriorated over the years due to poor maintenance.   In 1998, tenants were asked to vacate the premises due to the weakness of the structure, and LIC planned to demolish the building in 2006.

The building when seen last a few months ago ! and photographed in Sept 2020 by me [the first set photos date back to Aug 2012] was ‘a dangerous building’ – people not allowed to go near and certainly not allowed to enter the premises !

Away from the once landmark building, here is an interesting case decided by High Court of Uttarakhand on 11th Jan 2019 – Amarnath Seth being the petitioner; Union of India and others being the Respondents.  The petitioner's case, as stated in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, is that he had taken the subject premises  at Dehradun on lease from Bharat Insurance Company Limited in 1956 at a rent of Rs.37.50 per month and, as proof thereof, receipt dated 07.09.1956, issued by Bharat Insurance Company Limited, was being filed; he had made an application to the Rent Control and Eviction Officer, under Section 3-A of the U.P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947, on 10.06.1959 for determination of the annual reasonable rent of the premises occupied by the tenants of the building; the Rent Controller had passed an order dated 17.02.1961 holding that the building, in which the subject premises was included, was constructed prior to the year 1951, and fell within the purview of the 1947 Act; the said order of the Rent Controller was challenged by the LIC in Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No. 1605 of 1961 wherein they admitted that the petitioner was a tenant, and his tenancy had commenced when the building was owned by Bharat Insurance Company Limited; the said writ petition was allowed, by order dated 11.01.1965, holding that the said building had not been completely constructed prior to 01.01.1951, and the provisions of the 1947 Act was excluded from operation over the said building by reason of Section 1-A of the Act; and the said building was not governed by the provisions of the 1947 Act. The order passed by the Rent Controller was, therefore, set- aside.

It is the petitioner's case that, even after the assets and liabilities of Bharat Insurance Company Limited stood transferred to the LIC in 1960, he continued to be in occupation of the premises; the petitioner took out an agency of LIC in July, 1958, and was attached to the Dehradun branch; after the building stood transferred to the LIC, he submitted a letter asking them to deduct the rent of the building from the commission payable to him; the agency of the petitioner was kept in abeyance by the LIC with effect from the date of his appointment as a Development Officer of the LIC on 09.07.1963; his services as a Development Officer was, however, terminated by order dated 21.11.1964; a notice was issued on 11.05.1977 stating that the petitioner was allowed to occupy the premises as a licensee of the LIC, and as he had made alterations and additions in the premises without the consent of the LIC, they no longer wanted to keep him as a licensee and, as such, the notice of revocation of the licence, and for vacating the premises was issued.

As the petitioner did not choose to file a copy of the rent receipt, which he now seeks to place reliance upon, (rent receipt allegedly issued by Bharat Insurance Company Ltd. on 07.09.1956), before the District Judge, Dehradun, he cannot, in proceedings under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, place reliance thereupon, and thereby claim to be a tenant of the premises before the 1971 Act came into force w.e.f. 16.09.1958. It matters little even if it is presumed that the petitioner was in occupation of the premises, as a tenant of Bharat Insurance Company, before the 1971 Act came into force w.e.f. 16.09.1958. LIC became the owner of the subject premises, under Section 45 of the Life Insurance Corporation Act, on the assets of Bharat Insurance Company Ltd. vesting in it, during the year 1960. The petitioner has, by claiming to be a tenant of the LIC and not to be a licensee, has admitted that the LIC is his landlord.  

Attornment is one mode of recognising a person as one's landlord, just as payment of rent is another mode for the purpose. The tenant is not allowed to impeach the title of a person to whom he has paid rent, or whose title he has otherwise recognized. Simply by attornment, the tenant is estopped from questioning the derivative title of the landlord's successor.  

The jurisdiction of this Court, under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, has been invoked by the petitioner seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the orders dated 21.10.1982 and 17.01.1983 passed by the third respondent; and the orders dated 23.02.1984 and 27.02.1984 passed by the second respondent.

Bharat Insurance building is more than a century old and this case under reference is more than 50 years old !! – a building previously owned by M/s Mansa Ram & sons who sold the property to Bharat Insurance Co. Ltd on 22.04.1955. The said premises were broken into five different numbers, and nearly a dozen multi-storied blocks were constructed thereupon. After the property was purchased by Bharat Insurance Co. Ltd., they continued to let out the shops and quarters. The petitioner herein (Sri A.N. Seth) claimed to be the tenant of one of the shops from 1956. As he was a permanent defaulter, Suit for ejectment and recovery of arrears of rent was filed against him.

The merit of the judgment  and the legal intricacies of 11.1.2019 may not attract us .. .. but the dispute arising out of tenancy dating back to 1956 becoming a subject matter of various Courts and finally getting adjudicated in 2019 – with one of the parties no longer in scene – the Bharat Insurance Co – makes us think of the long pendency, delay and the way some cases get dragged in Courts of Law. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th May 2021.



Saturday, May 8, 2021

good gestures of a Collector

A District Magistrate and Collector, is an officer who is in-charge of a district, the basic unit of administration, in India.  India has approximately 741 districts. Each one of them is headed by a DM. District Collector is almost always a member of the Indian Administrative Service, recruited by the Union Public Service Commission.

Collectors can be transferred Nation-wide and when it was brought to the notice of Ratnagiri collector Laxminarayan Mishra that a letter appointing 35-year-old Arjun Sankapal as his replacement came, he was not amused as he had not heard anything about his transfer.  The brief order on the letterhead of the state government’s general administration department was in the usual format and signed by the deputy secretary (GAD).

On a closer scrutiny, the  letter was found to be fake and he knocked on the doors of the police superintendent. An offence was registered against the Kolhapur-based Sankapal, who was arrested and later released on bail.   The arts graduate had attempted the civil services examination five years ago. He did not succeed, but he told his family he had passed and would soon take over as a district collector. A huge procession was taken out in his Karvir village in Kolhapur district to celebrate the achievement. After that he left Kolhapur district and would occasionally visit his village in swanky cars. He misled villagers, saying he had been appointed collector but never gave the name of the district. From the days when he was preparing for his UPSC examination, Sankapal used to teach IAS and IPS aspirants. Subsequently, he got married to a student, whose father was a retired police officer, said a senior official. When his in-laws buttonholed him on his posting, he created four fake orders with the help of a friend in Kolhapur and pacified them.

The fake order for his appointment as Ratnagiri collector was made on the basis of past orders issued by the GAD. “He just inserted his own name in the appointment order signed by the deputy secretary,” the official said. The forgery was good enough for many in the Konkan region to believe Mishra had been transferred and Sankapal appointed in his place. Mishra, himself, finally burst Sankapal’s balloon.

This is post is about another Collector who was painted bad and as a good Samaritan on different occasions !!  .. in Oct 2020, effecting   a reshuffle in the State bureaucracy, the Tamil Nadu Govt  transferred P. Shankar, Director of Information and Public Relation – at the same time,  Karur Collector was transferred to Madurai. 

In the backdrop of the Manaparai incident, a social activist from Sembiyanatham village of Tharagampatti panchayat in Kulithalai union had reportedly contacted the Collector oover phone  and alerted him on a defunct borewell in his village. The caller said that they had passed on the information to the officials about the abandoned borewell soon after the tragedy of Sujith Wilson, but no action has been initiated so far.  The audio went viral as the Collector  Anbalagan goes on saying that there is a BDO (Block Development Officer) for your taluk and you should've gone and met him directly on this issue. Responding to the caller in a very rude manner, the Collector asks, “Do you think that I am a Saravana Bhavan Hotel server to you? Cut the call, you rascal.” The Collector then suspended the call.


In an earlier instance, Collector and Returning Officer T Anbalagan and Congress candidate Jothimani lodged cases against each other after a heated exchange of words over the phone, a purported audio clip of was  doing the rounds on social media. In the audio clip, Anbalagan is heard telling Jothimani that he would recommend the cancellation of the Lok Sabha election to the Karur parliamentary constituency. “Your advocate Senthil Kumar along with 100 others assembled at my house around 11 in the night and said he wanted to submit a petition. There is more to read !

Mr T.Anbalagan, I.A.S., was the Collector of Karur District. He belongs to 2011 IAS Batch. He graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University in Mining Engineering discipline. He took over charge of Karur in Mar 2018.    

In 2018 – 80 year -old Raakammal, living alone in her small house at Chinnamanaikkenpatti, had a surprise high-profile guest for lunch.  A well dressed man came calling with home-cooked meal for her. After serving on a banana leaf for her, the man  sat on the floor besides her and had his food. Raakammal, who poured her heart. It was at a grievance redress meeting two days before the District collector was told about the woman living alone in extreme poverty by people who requested him to arrange financial aid for her.  The collector  ordered a monthly old-age pension of Rs. 1,000 for her, visited her home, had lunch with her and shared her the good news.  A Great gesture indeed.  More to follow


On April 30,  2018, after 35 years of service, Paramasivam retired from his post as the Karur district collector's driver. And on that day, in a thoughtful gesture, his boss took the wheel to drive him home. Karur Collector T Anbazhagan, who had taken charge of the Tamil Nadu district in March, insisted on driving Paramasivam and his wife back home on the day of his retirement, reported The News Minute. On realising that Monday would be the last day that Paramasivam would come to work after over three decades of service, Mr Anbazhagan asked him to bring his wife Banumathi to the Collector's chamber in the afternoon and organised a retirement party for him. After presenting a gold coin and a shawl to the couple, the bureaucrat asked them to take the back seat for once so he could drive them home.

Paramasivam, who has driven multiple cars for several bureaucrats over his years of service, said  he was "completely shocked" when the collector announced that he would be driving him home.  After driving Paramasivam and his wife to their home, the collector sat down with them to have tea.

May be little gestures, but big for the recipients – hearty wishes to Mr Anbazhagan and people of his ilk.  Salutes sir.  Good news and grand gestures are never old to be shared.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th May 2021. 

Birthday celebrations ~ remembering Tagore and .. an insensitive tweet by Bangla Tigers

This post is all about an insensitive tweet made by : Bangladesh Cricket @BCBtigers  

Tributes to any person remembering their great deeds on their Birth day is understandable but why do people celebrate birthdays of people who are no more! – there cannot be a better inspiration for keeping a beard than .. ..

Today, 7th May 2021, marked the 160th  birth anniversary of India's pride, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. He was a poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, painter and most importantly, an inspiration for generations to come.  A real polymath. 

Rabindranath Tagore  was born this day 160 years ago – in 1861 and breathed his last on 7th August 1941.   He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse" of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European as well as the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The Bard of Bengali was a Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta with ancestral gentry roots in Burdwan district and Jessore, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old.  At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiha ("Sun Lion"), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. By 1877 he graduated to his first short stories and dramas, published under his real name.  He  founded, Visva-Bharati University.   His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India's "Jana Gana Mana" and Bangladesh's "Amar Shonar Bangla". The Sri Lankan national anthem too  was inspired by his work. 

During this pandemic, Cricket is still on at Harare.  Centuries from Abid Ali and Azhar Ali put Pakistan in firm command of the second Test at stumps in Harare. The pair combined for a 236-run second wicket partnership - a record at this venue - which spanned nearly the entirety of the day. The visitors opted to bat after winning the toss, with the most striking bit of news the decision to hand a debut to 36-year old Tabish Khan. The reasons for excluding Faheem Ashraf, entering perhaps the most promising phase of a young Test career, weren't quite satisfactorily explained, and the omission meant Pakistan's tail was somewhat extended.

One is reminded of Dilip Doshi who made his debut at 32 – having been unable to break the era of famous quartet – Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Some like Dhiraj Parsanna, Rakesh Shukla  & Raghuram Bhatt got a couple of chances while some highly successful Ranji Cricketers like Padmakar Shivalkar, Rajinder Hans, Rajinder Singh Goel, Vijaykrishna, Ramnarayan .. .. never got a chance to play for the Nation. Tabish Khan has 598 first class wickets, the most by any player before a Test debut for an Asian Team.   The previous highest was 558 wickets by Malinda Pushpakumara before making his Test debut for Sri Lanka in 2017 against India. Tim Murtagh had 712 first-class wickets before Ireland's Test debut in 2018.

After Varun Chakravarthi’s and Sandeep Warrier’s  positive turned off the IPL – more cases have been reported.  New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Tim Seifert, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad at the curtailed 2021 edition of the IPL, has tested positive for Covid-19. As a result, he will not be on the charter flight with other members of the New Zealand contingent at the IPL. Instead, he will stay in isolation in Ahmedabad as he awaits transfer to Chennai, where he will be treated at a private hospital. Seifert failed both his pre-departure PCR tests, according to a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) press release issued on Saturday, and "is experiencing moderate symptoms". The statement said that Seifert had returned seven negative tests in the ten days leading up to his pre-departure protocols.   Seifert had joined the Knight Riders as a replacement for the injured USA bowler Ali Khan during IPL 2020. He was retained ahead of the auction in February this year but did not get a game in IPL 2021.

India Women batter Veda Krishnamurthy, whose mother died of Covid-19 on April 23, has been bereaved a second time in a fortnight with her elder sister succumbing to complications caused by the virus on Wednesday. Krishnamurthy's sister, Vatsala Shivakumar, who was admitted in a hospital in Chikmagalur, around 245 kilometres from Bengaluru, is understood to have shown decided signs of improvement earlier this week, but she breathed her last around 5.45pm on Wednesday. Former Rajasthan spinner, Vivek Yadav, passed away recently  due to COVID-19. He was 36. 

Deaths are bad .. .. that too when young people are snatched away – earlier it used to be accidents but now it is the cruel Covid.  Dhruv Mahender Pandove  made his first-class debut at the age of 13 and was considered to be an "exceptionally gifted batsman" and a "prodigy".  He became the youngest Indian and one of the youngest players in the world to score a century in first-class cricket, with his 137 against Jammu and Kashmir in 1988 coming at the age of 14 years and 294 days.  He was the youngest player to reach the 1000-run mark in Ranji Trophy, reaching the milestone at the age of 17 years and 341 days. But at 18 years of age – in  1992, Pandove was killed in a road accident in Ambala.

May 4th happened to the birthday of Manjural Islam Rana   who played six Tests and 25 One Day Internationals for Bangladesh.   Rana played his first Test against Zimbabwe in 2003. On 16 March 2007, he died of severe head injuries sustained in a road traffic accident at the age of 22. The ill-worded tweet of BCBtigers   @BCBtigers read :  Happy Birthday to Manjural Rana, youngest Test Cricketer to die at the age of 22 years and 316 days. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th May 2021.



Friday, May 7, 2021

Chinese Long March 5B crashing back to Universe : Insurance and liability aspects !!

Comparing India and China is commonplace. But comparisons can often be odious.  The  social media post of the Chinese Communist Party comparing Indian funeral pyres with the images of its Long March 5B rocket’s launch was unabashed shame. The extremely distasteful caption of the post on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, read: “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire.” .. .. then there is ‘Karma’ – what goes up ! comes cracking down !!!

Decades ago in 1979 – rumours ran so high that most people in globe feared a mighty fall from the sky a la Chicken do little – across India, especially Andhrapradesh, fear was high as according to some reports that object from the sky could hurtle in Karimnagar.  Some of them hid their wealth in the wells and some spent all the money they had saved for their enjoyment since they feared that lives would come to an end soon. Reportedly some sold their property and cattle at low prices ! – eventually some pieces were scattered across Australia, but no one on the ground was hit and no property damage was reported.

2020 was all about the Corona virus that emanated from China – WHO ensured that it was named Covid 19 with no reflection of its origin but the variants could have the name as British, Indian, South African .. .. et.al. .. now amidst the strong 2nd wave there is another fear – that of a large Chinese rocket stage reentering Earth’s atmosphere in the coming days and the potential impact of the falling debris. !! 

The Long March 5B successfully launched a 22.5-metric-ton core module of China’s first space station last week. During the launch, the first stage of the Long March 5B also reached orbital velocity instead of falling downrange as is common practice. That placed the empty rocket body in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days. [very clearly a failed launch but no one is talking about that !] The rocket stage’s orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees means that reentry can be as far north as Chicago, New York City, Rome and Beijing and as far south as New Zealand and Chile. That places any of the locations within the potential reentry path of this giant piece of space junk measuring 98 feet long by 16.5 feet wide and weighing 21 metric tons.  

Space debris (also known as space junk,  space garbage) is defunct human-made objects in space—principally in Earth orbit—which no longer serve a useful function. These include derelict spacecraft—nonfunctional spacecraft and abandoned launch vehicle stages—mission-related debris, and particularly numerous in Earth orbit, fragmentation debris from the breakup of derelict rocket bodies and spacecraft. In addition to derelict human-built objects left in orbit, other examples of space debris include fragments from their disintegration, erosion and collisions.  The fact is that such space debris can fall on you and the threat is this space junk measures 98 feet long by 16.5 feet wide and weighing 21 metric tons.  .. .. and that can cause colossal damage!   The innate fears that it creates in mankind (already frightened by Covid) is :

1)   can it cause physical harm meaning will it kill people

2)   will it damage my property – in which case will my Property insurance come to my rescue ! 

If you know Insurance and have taken a Property policy covering your assets (house property) – the coverage would be provided as per the  Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy (Material damage) which came into effect from April 2003.  These are annual policies and you will have to check when you paid premium last – if the cover is in force – the Fire Policy as it is called covers specified 12 perils from Fire / riots / floods / storm and without elaborating names ‘Aircraft damage’ too.   The standard definition of coverage here would be ‘fire and other damage caused to the property insured caused   directly by aircraft or any aerial device, (would damage caused by their falling) however,  damages due to pressure waves caused by aircraft traveling at supersonic speed are taken out from the policy,


Whether Insurers would indemnify such losses or would interpret that spacecrafts and articles falling from space are not intended to be covered – there cannot be a straight and definitive answer.   Interestingly effective 1st Apr 2021, Indian market has ‘Bharat Griha Raksha’ replacing Standard fire & special perils policy !


The introductory definition of this policy reads that ‘ the policy offers cover against a wide range of perils, namely Fire, Natural Catastrophes (Storm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado, Tsunami, Flood, Inundation, Earthquake, Subsidence, Landslide, Rockslide), Forest, Jungle and Bush fires, Impact Damage of any kind, Riot, Strike, Malicious Damages, Acts of terrorism, Bursting and overflowing of water tanks, apparatus and pipes, Leakage from automatic sprinkler installations and Theft within 7 days from the occurrence of any of the aforesaid events.  .. .. ‘aircraft damage’ does not appear here but the definition of Impact damage reads  :  Impact damage of any kind, i.e., damage caused by impact of, or collision caused by any external physical object (e.g. vehicle, falling trees, aircraft, wall etc.)  .. this could put the cause squarely within the parameters of coverage is a solace.


Then comes a larger Q – whether there would be liability for China to any party be it an individual or Nation for the damages caused arising out of falling rocket launched by it and whether Insurance coverage exists for such liability !!


Satellite Insurance would be an elitist subject unlikely to be understood by lesser mortals.  It was reported in 2019 that  Space rockets and satellites are likely to cost more to insure after the European Vega rocket crash which hit insurers with a record space market loss of 369 million euros ($411.21 million), insurance industry sources stated. The Vega rocket carrying a military observation satellite for the United Arab Emirates veered off course shortly after take-off and crashed. Prior to the accident, Italian aerospace company Avio Aero AVI.MI, which built the Vega, said it had a 100% success rate. 


The insurance loss for the rocket and satellite represented the largest recorded loss in the space market, it was reported. Till such instance, insurance premiums for commercial satellite and rocket accidents had been  falling due to strong competition among insurers and improved rocket reliability.  Vega crash, changed that course  leading to higher costs for space rocket launches.


Besides the gargantuan costs of the Satellites and its launches, there is aspect of probably liability out of its falling and causing damages.  The  issue of liability is framed by the general framework developed at the international level by means, principally, of Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty  and the Liability Convention.  The starting point in this respect is the principled allocation of liability for damage caused by a space object to the “launching State” or “launching States” of that space object. Article II of the Liability Convention provides in this respect: “A launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space object on the surface of the Earth or to aircraft in flight,”  whereas Article III along the same lines provides: “In the event of damage being caused elsewhere than on the surface of the Earth to a space object of one launching State or to persons or property on board such a space object by a space object of another launching State, the latter shall be liable only if the damage is due to its fault or the fault of persons for whom it is responsible.”


The Liability Convention defines the “launching State” for the purposes of these clauses as: “(i) A State which launches or procures the launching of a space object; (ii) A State from whose territory or facility a space object is launched.”  The fact that this definition may result in several states being liable for the same damage-causing event—a space object may be launched by one state on behalf of another, which thus has “procured” the launch in question —does not take away any liability but merely results in liability being joint and several.


The Liability Convention was considered and negotiated by the Legal subcommittee from 1963 to 1972. Agreement was reached in the General Assembly in 1971 and the Convention entered into force in September 1972. Elaborating on Article 7 of the Outer Space Treaty, the Liability Convention provides that a launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space objects on the surface of the Earth or to aircraft, and liable for damage due to its faults in space. The Convention also provides for procedures for the settlement of claims for damages.  The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, also known as the Space Liability Convention, is a treaty from 1972 that expands on the liability rules created in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. In 1978, the crash of the nuclear-powered Soviet satellite Kosmos 954 in Canadian territory led to the only claim filed under the Convention.


Before concluding the odious comparison of the social media post comparing Indian funeral pyres with Long March 5B rocket launch fire,  the biggest blowback came from the Chinese public, who derided the post by the CCP’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, or Zhongyang Zhengfawei, as “inappropriate”, and called for a nationwide expression of sympathy for India, in line with President Xi Jinping’s own remarks a day earlier. The original post was subsequently deleted, surviving only in screenshots circulated across Weibo and global social media platforms. But karma can be quite a leveller. Because the story doesn’t end here. The international media’s focus has shifted from the Zhongyang Zhengfawei’s social media faux pas to that Long March 5B rocket featured in the post.  No matter what becomes of China’s space debris, this turn of event makes the timing and nature of that Sina Weibo post doubly unfortunate, and represents egg on the face of Guo Shengkun, a prominent CCP official and head of Zhongyang Zhengfawei.


But knowing China well, it is has perhaps planted sleeper cells so well that such incidents will not mar its reputation nor prevent their recurrence ! Sad ! – the immediate solace is that according to present reports ‘India reportedly is off the radar of the falling debris’


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th May 2021.


uncontrolled reentry of Chinese 'Long March 5B' threatens humanity

In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and warns everyone to run for their lives. This sends the whole town into a frenzy. Eventually, the Head of the Fire Department calms down enough to ask him what is happening. Chicken Little says that a piece of the sky shaped like a stop sign had fallen on his head, but he is unable to find the piece. His father, Buck Cluck, assumes that this "piece of sky" was just an acorn that had fallen from the tree, making Chicken Little the laughingstock of the town.  That was ‘Chicken Little’ movie.

Decades ago in 1979 – rumours ran so high that most people in globe feared a mighty fall from the sky a la Chicken do little – across India, especially Andhrapradesh, fear was high as according to some reports that object from the sky could hurtle in Karimnagar.  Some of them hid their wealth in the wells and some spent all the money they had saved for their enjoyment since they feared that lives would come to an end soon. Reportedly some sold their property and cattle at low prices ! – eventually some pieces were scattered across Australia, but no one on the ground was hit and no property damage was reported

2020 was all about the Corona virus that emanated from China – WHO ensured that it was named Covid 19 with no reflection of its origin but the variants could have the name as British, Indian, South African .. .. et.al. .. now amidst the strong 2nd wave there is another fear – that of a large Chinese rocket stage reentering Earth’s atmosphere in the coming days and the potential impact of the falling debris. !! 

The Long March 5B successfully launched a 22.5-metric-ton core module of China’s first space station last week. During the launch, the first stage of the Long March 5B also reached orbital velocity instead of falling downrange as is common practice. That placed the empty rocket body in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days. [very clearly a failed launch but no one is talking about that !]

The rocket stage’s orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees means that reentry can be as far north as Chicago, New York City, Rome and Beijing and as far south as New Zealand and Chile. That places any of the locations within the potential reentry path of this giant piece of space junk measuring 98 feet long by 16.5 feet wide and weighing 21 metric tons. The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) at the Aerospace Corporation is tracking the Long March 5B reentry. Here is something from   Marlon Sorge, CORDS principal engineer about how the situation developed and what happens next.

This stage and its predecessor last May are the sixth and seventh largest objects to ever reenter. The mass of this core stage is 21 metric tons. The list of other comparably-sized objects that have reentered includes early space stations — like Mir, Skylab, Salyut 6 and 7 — and the Saturn V second stage that launched Skylab. These represent a mix of controlled and uncontrolled reentries, however.

Normally the first stage of a rocket and its strap-on boosters are not designed to reach orbit. Their trajectories are planned so that the stage and any strap-on boosters fall into a safe area, usually in the ocean. In this case the first stage core of the rocket reached orbit. That means that it was no longer able to control where it would reenter without a deorbit maneuver. A deorbit maneuver uses a satellite or rocket stage’s engines to drop the low point of its orbit to choose where it hits the earth. This is called a controlled reentry. By doing this a large object can be targeted for an unpopulated region of the ocean where its debris will not injure anyone. The ability to conduct a deorbit maneuver is dependent on the design of the vehicle and the mission.  

The probability that any random reentry will land in the ocean is about 3:4, since the Earth is about 75% covered by oceans. Also, the majority of the land mass is either uninhabited or lightly inhabited: deserts, mountains, forests, and open prairie, farms, or grasslands. The probability that a piece of space debris will land on a city or a densely populated area is usually relatively small. What makes this reentry particularly noteworthy is that it will occur between 41.5 deg N and 41.5 deg S latitudes, where the vast bulk of the world’s population lives !  The 41st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 41 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The chances of it hitting a populated area are small, but not zero. That has raised questions about how the country’s space program designs its missions. That said, the chances are not zero. Part of China’s largest rocket, the Long March 5B, is tumbling out of control in orbit after launching a section of the country’s new space station last week. The rocket is expected to fall to Earth in what is called “an uncontrolled re-entry” sometime on Saturday or Sunday. Whether it splashes harmlessly in the ocean or impacts land where people live, why China’s space program let this happen — again — remains unclear. And given China’s planned schedule of launches, more such uncontrolled rocket re-entries in the years to come are possible.  On Thursday, the Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit largely financed by the federal government that performs research and analysis, predicts re-entry will occur on Saturday at 11:43 p.m. Eastern time. If that is accurate, debris could shower down over northeastern Africa, over Sudan.

Uncertainty over the time — give or take 16 hours — and location remain large. A day before, Aerospace’s prediction put re-entry more than one hour earlier, over the eastern Indian Ocean.  The United States Space Command and Russia’s space agency are both tracking the rocket core. The Russian statement noted that the re-entry would not “affect the territory of the Russian Federation.” The Space Command promised regular updates ahead of a potential re-entry.

Because the booster is traveling at 18,000 miles per hour, a change of minutes shifts the debris by hundreds or thousands of miles. It is only a few hours before re-entry that the predictions become more precise. China plans many more launches in the coming months as it completes construction of the country’s third space station, called Tiangong, or “heavenly palace.” That will require additional flights of the mammoth rocket and the possibility of more uncontrolled re-entries that people on the ground will watch nervously, even if the risk from any single rocket stage is tiny.

In March 2021, a rocket stage from a SpaceX Falcon 9 lit up the night skies over Seattle and later dropped debris over a farm in Washington State when a planned firing of the engine of the second stage to bring it down safely did not occur as planned. China, by contrast, has a long history of letting pieces of its space equipment come down where they may. Rockets from one of China’s principal launch sites, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, routinely fell on rural areas downrange, occasionally causing damage. China has since moved many of its launches, including last week’s, to a new site in Wenchang, a city on Hainan, an island off the southeastern coast. From there rocket stages can fall harmlessly into the sea.  China’s first space station, called Tiangong-1 and launched in 2011, also fell back to Earth in an uncontrolled descent in 2018 before ultimately crashing harmlessly in the South Pacific.  

Worrisome, but the World is combatting some other worry immersed neck-deep and perhaps has no space for worrying on this.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                           
7th May 2021.

Collated from many sources with specific reference to a scholarly article :https://aerospacecorp.medium.com/a-massive-chinese-rocket-is-falling-uncontrollably-to-earth-db7c7b32d773