Friday, May 21, 2021

the assassination that shook the Nation ! ~ this day 30 years ago !!

the assassination that shook the Nation ! ~ this day 30 years ago !!

Literally the heart of Uttar Pradesh, Amethi had been the citadel of the Nehru-Gandhi family. The constituency has voted for the Congress most times  since its formation in 1967,  Amethi’s first tryst with the Nehru-Gandhi family happened in 1980 when Sanjay Gandhi won the seat. In the next three decades, the constituency changed hands across three other members of the family, with Rahul Gandhi representing the seat since 2004. This time though, Smriti Irani of  BJP won the seat with a margin of 35,000 votes. While she received 49.02 per cent of vote share, Gandhi trailed behind with 44.44 per cent.  Though Sanjay Gandhi won, sadly he died in an accident and in the by-elections, (a reluctant) Rajiv Gandhi stood and won the elections.



In the 1981 by-election:  Rajiv Gandhi secured 258884 votes (84.18%) while his nearest rival Sharad Yadav got 21188 (6.89%) – margin was 237696 !  

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

There have been political assassinations too – and you may not have read about : - James Garfield and Charles J. Guiteau.  What we failed to read and what should have been part of History in schools was the killing by Madanlal Dhingra of Curzon Wylie in 1909 in London.  William Hutt Curzon Wyllie KCIE CVO,  was a British Indian army officer, and later an official of the British Indian Government. Over a career spanning three decades, Curzon Wyllie rose to be Lieutenant Colonel in the British Indian Army and occupied a number of administrative and diplomatic posts.

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

On this day in 1939,  the National War Memorial (titled The Response)  a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939 was opened. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial     ~ 21st May is remembered by Indians for different reasons though ! 

One may not concur with his political views and ideologies, may not support dynasty, may not support his party, may not like Bofors !  but for sure would be outraged by the way he was eliminated.

He was born in  1944, sent to London, joined engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not obtain a degree. He returned to India in 1966,  became a member of the Flying Club, where he was trained as a pilot. In 1970, he was employed as a pilot by Air India.   On 23 June 1980, Rajiv's younger brother Sanjay Gandhi died unexpectedly in an aeroplane crash. At that time, Rajiv Gandhi was in London as part of his foreign tour. Hearing the news, he returned to Delhi and cremated Sanjay's body.   Rajiv entered politics on 16 February 1981, when he addressed a national farmers' rally in Delhi.    70 members of the Congress party signed a proposal and went to Indira, urging Rajiv to enter politics and he plunged into politics inevitably after the sad assassination in 31.10.1984 of Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi.

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

August 15, 1991. It was a pleasant morning in Konanakunte, people did not know that the day would change their lives .. ..!  1991 too was an election year – held in 2 phases – each had a different impact.  Maragatham Chandrasekar was to win by a margin of 180572 and the man lost his life campaigning for her this day.  

Visitors to Chennai would not miss the landmark as they come out Central Railway station – the imposing  Government General Hospital, visited by more than 12000 outpatients everyday.   This premier institution dates back to 1664, started  as a small Hospital to treat the sick soldiers of the East India Company. It was the untiring inspired efforts of Sir Edward Winter who was the agent of the company that materialised in the first British Hospital at Madras. In its early days the Hospital was housed at the Fort St. George and in the next 25 years grew into a formal medical facility. Governor Sir. Elihy Yale was instrumental in the development of the Hospital and gave it a new premises with in the Fort in 1690.  In 1842 the Hospital opened its doors to Indians.     In the 19th century, medical college got annexed to it and in 2011, the hospital was renamed after Rajiv Gandhi, sadly because his body was brought here after his assassination in May 1991.

This place (Sriperumpudur) is famous for being the birthplace of our greatest Acharyar – Sri Ramanujar ~ life has changed a lot in the past couple of decades after that fatefulday…..  one may not ardently believe in ‘fate or destiny’…….in the prelude to General elections, there were far too varied predictions …… the National Front was still nursing some hopes, there was a wave predicting return of Rajiv Gandhi.  In that melee, was this person, who had retired from active politics  – not any ordinary person for sure~ a man who had been the CM too…. in 1984 in the aftermath of assassination of Indira Gandhi saw routing of all political parties.  Bharatiya Janata Party could win only 2 seats. One in Mehsana and the other was in South ~ the Hanamkonda constituency where M. Chandupatla Janga Reddy of BJP defeated his nearest Congress rival by 54198 votes.  The man who lost so at a time when Congress swept to power was 70 by the 1991 elections, could not get a ticket and had chosen to retire to peace…….. destiny thought otherwise….. he became the PM in 1991 – Sri PV Narasimha Rao.

 

The night of 21st  May 1991 changed it all ~ on a campaign trail, he arrived from Vizag, garlanded Nehru at Kathipara, even the Press chose not to travel along for that meeting at Sriperumpudur – and rest is bloody history – the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.  About two hours after arriving in Madras), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues. When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he got out of his car and began to walk towards the dais where he would deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. The assassin, Dhanu, approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress at exactly 10:10 PM.  Rajiv, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed, along with 43 others who were grievously injured. .. .. a very sad day as the Nation lost its ex-Prime Minister assassinated in his own land and a host of innocent Tamilians who had gathered too died in that blast.

Beeroota, a tiny village near picturesque Muthathi on the banks of the Cauvery,  came to news as it was here  LTTE cadres including Sivarasan hid themselves  after the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. The village also played a prominent role in the gunning down of Sivarasan (the ‘one-eyed-jack’ mastermind behind the assassination); Dhanu alias Anbu; and others, in Bengaluru’s Konanakunte in Aug 15,  1991. With just three houses and some huts, nearly three decades ago, Beeroota was one of the most backward villages in the State when the LTTE arrived.

The trial was conducted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. On 28 January 1998, the designated TADA court in Chennai gave death sentences to all the 26 accused. Ms A. Athirai, an accused, was 17 years old when she was arrested. Under the TADA an accused can appeal only to the Supreme Court.  On appeal to the Supreme Court, only four of the accused were sentenced to death and the others to various jail terms.  

Nation sadly remembers and pays tribute to Rajiv Gandhi this day !! 

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

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

3.   The Bofors scandal was a major weapons-contract political scandal that occurred between India and Sweden during the 1980s and 1990s, initiated by Indian National Congress politicians and implicating the Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and several other members of the Indian and Swedish governments who were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB, an arms manufacturer principally financed by the Wallenberg family's Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken for winning a bid to supply to India their 155 mm field howitzer.  It was the biggest arms deal ever in Sweden, and money marked for development projects was diverted to secure this contract at any cost.   

4. in 1984 Lok Sabha elections when Rajiv swept to power at Hanamkonda in Andhra Pradesh, Chandupatla Janga Reddy of BJP secured 263762 beating Mr PV Narasimha Rao of Congress who got 209564.   At Mehesana, Amritlal Kalidas Patel  won the other seat that returned BJP to Lok sabha

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st May 2021

  

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Pollard's blitz takes the match away from CSK

IPL is entertaining – matches go down the wire – last ball finish need not be a six or four !  .. .. and yesterday Mumbai Indians played the last ball better to win over Chennai super Kings.  Not often, a 50 off 28; 58 off 36; 72 off a mere 27 get overshadowed – and people do not even talk about – 38 off 25; 35 off 24 & 32 0ff 23 but speak about only one man’s innings !! – 87 off 34 with 6 fours and 8 sixers ! the teams he has played for is a very big list – and perhaps he would have had dozen passport books to record his travels to so many places !!


 

Do you know or remember that Tamil Nadu played in Ranji finals held in Apr 1973  and lost by 123 runs .. .. the TN team read :  PK Belliappa (keeper), R Mirza, MK Dalvi, Abdul Jabbar, P Mukund, AG Satwender Singh, LJ Edmonds, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan (Capt), R Prabhakar, B Kalyanasundaram & VV Kumar.   The highest score was Ashok Mankad’s 38 !. 

The famed batting line up of Bombay was :  Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar, Ajit Wadekar, Ashok Mankad, Sudhir Naik, Dilip Sardesai, Eknath Solkar,  &  AD Naik, RD Tandon, PK Shivalkar & SK Hazare (keeper).  Venkat’s 5 for 60 and VV Kumar’s 5 for 48 contained Mumbai to 151 but TN scored only 80. Padmakar Shivalkar had figures of – 17.5-10-16-8.   In the 2nd   Kalyanasundaram (4); P Mukund (2), Venkat (3) and Kumar 1 bowled Bombay out for 113.  Needing 185, TN folded for 61 with Eknath Solkar taking 5/23 and Shivalkar 5/18.  Leftarm spinner Padmakar Shivalkar took 589 Ranji wickets but never played for India [and we always think that every player from Bombay rose to play for India even if they were not great performers !]

Yesterday clearly belonged to towering Kieron Adrian Pollard  who generally comes when 20 odd balls are left and scores 3 or 4 sixers  !  



At the time of IPL auction in Jan 2010, Pollard was not known to many – he had a batting average of 11.30 from 15 ODIs and 17.20 from 10 T20Is  BUT  became the joint-biggest buy - Mumbai Indians weren't paying $750,000 (plus an undisclosed amount to break a tie with three other franchises) for Pollard's international record; they were shelling out all that money for the fearsome hitting power he had shown in domestic T20 action - most notably while smashing 54 off 18 balls for T&T against New South Wales during the 2009 Champions League T20. 

A decade later, Kieron Pollard is overall the 6th batter to get past 200 sixes in the IPL. Chris Gayle leads the list by a big margin as he has hit 351 sixes, 114 more than 2nd-placed AB de Villiers. Rohit Sharma is third on the list followed by MS Dhoni. Pollard went level with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli after finishing the Mumbai Indians innings on Saturday with 201 sixes – he added 8 more yesterday.  Last year he created history becoming  the first fielder to take 300 catches in T20 cricket history.

Mumbai Indians allrounder Hardik Pandya on Saturday announced that his entire family, including brother Krunal Pandya, will donate 200 oxygen concentrators to help the rural areas of the country fight the raging Covid-19 pandemic. Talking ahead of his team's match against the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, Hardik said his family had been looking for ways to help those in need.

Ruturaj Gaikwad started this season with scores of 5, 5 and 10, but even with Robin Uthappa available in the squad, Dhoni stuck with Gaikwad - which he didn't do last season.  Against MI he started with a flourish but was out of the 4th ball – then came a good partnership between Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali and at 11.6 Suresh Raina too got out with score at 116/4. , when Gaikwad started similarly poorly.  Ambati Rayudu played a lusty knock   blazing 72 not out off 27 balls.  Rayudu smashed seven sixes and four fours to propel the Super Kings to 218 for 4.  Jadeja crawled a run a ball 22 but the duo added 102 in 48 balls.  In all, the Super Kings hit 16 sixes - the most by any team against Mumbai. Jasprit Bumrah went for 56 from his four overs, his most expensive spell in T20 cricket.  Pollard was also the most successful bowler for Mumbai, registering figures of 2-0-12-2.

 

Rohit Sharma and De kock started well - Shardul Thakur broke the stand in the eighth over when Sharma holed out to deep extra cover for 35. In the next over, MS Dhoni latched onto Yadav's inside edge off Jadeja. When Ali had de Kock caught and bowled for 38, Mumbai had slipped from 71 for no loss to 81 for 3 in the space of 13 balls.

Chasing 219, Pollard smashed an unbeaten 87 off just 34 balls, studded with eight sixes and six fours, to take the Mumbai Indians to an improbable win against the Chennai Super Kings.  When  Pollard came out to bat, the task was  daunting. Mumbai had lost three quick wickets and needed 132 runs from 62 balls.  MI need 16 off the last over, to be bowled by Ngidi.  

Statistically, 138 runs were scored by MI in the last 10 overs – astonishing pace.   Lungi Ngidi was hit for 62 – more than the 58 by Mohit Sharma vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015, and Sam Curran earlier this season against KKR.

After 10 overs – MI were  81/3 and needed  138 runs from 60balls;  11th over by Ravi Jadeja only 3 runs came ; 12th over  Shardul Thakur 10; 13th Jadeja hit for 20 – 105 runs from 42 balls !; 14th Ngidi – 15 runs; 15th Shardul Thakur taken for 23 runs-  66 off 30; 16th Ngidi – 16 runs; 17th brilliant over by Sam Curran – just 2 runs and a wicket – 48 from 18 balls; 18th over Thakur 17 – 31 from 12; 19th over 15 runs – 2 wickets leaving 16 to be scored off the last over.   Last over of Lungi Ngidi -   0-4-4-0-6-2

.. .. and this tall powerful hitter Kieron Pollard changed the result almost single-handedly.

Great match it was !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd May 2021.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

they stand and serve ~ but most adore glitz and glamour !!

I have seen too few movies and my knowledge of cinema can be written on the back of a postal stamp!  .. .. I googled to find out details of that villain in Chandramukhi, who fights with Rajnikanth and later read he had a significant role in Kallazhagar movie too.   .. .. and this actor I could hardly recognize ! but they are the ones who deserve great adulation !  We waited endlessly for one to enter politics – he backdropped and is busy shooting; another entered but is busy acting on road ! .. . we were so engrossed on how an actor comes for voting ! another one crafts his way from political heirdom, to cinema to ensure that he is seen more by the people to candidature  - are these the heroes ! – why do we adore them ?? and spend our hard-earned money, while they earn in crores, mostly do not pay taxes but nurse political ambitions. 



Much has been spoken about the economic impact of Covid – perhaps it has affected all industries – hitting hard, daily wage earners more.  The glitz and glamour industry too claims badly affected.  Across the world and to varying degrees, cinemas and movie theaters have been closed, festivals have been cancelled or postponed, and film releases have been moved to future dates or delayed indefinitely. Back home, there were chinnathirai shootings and film shooting and relases too – even at the height of pandemic, theatres slowly opened with 50% capacity – later when some big actor’s films were scheduled, people with their clout ensured that Govt allowed 100 per cent seating in halls.  With so many Cricketers like Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Jaydev Unadkat and foreigners like Brett Lee, Pat Cummins, Nicholas Pooran donating huge sums, we have not heard anything from the actors who mint crores of rupees with every release of theirs ! 



Sometime back villain actor Sonu Sood tested COVID-19 positive making many worred because this has  proved to be a superhero amidst the pandemic. Last year when the situation worsened and there was a complete lockdown, Sonu Sood had helped hundreds of daily wage workers to commute back home. He arranged transportation, food and even flight journey.   He had also helped several COVID-19 positive patients to organise beds and safe places to isolate themselves. Sonu Sood is truly a superhero indeed.  Recently, there was news of his helping a woman suffering an acute infection  airlifted from Nagpur to Hyderabad by a Bengaluru-based extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) air ambulance team.  He has repeated this help to another villager in Jhansi by name Kailash Agarwal.   Kailash Agarwal has tested positive for Covid-19 four days ago and his oxygen saturation levels is between 60-70. When the relatives of Kailash tried to admit him to the hospital, there are no beds available.  When this reached Sonu on twitter, he ensured  that Agarwal was moved from his home to Jhansi Airport  to Begumpet by air ambulance and by road ambulance to Hyderguda Apollo Hospital.  Oh, what a man !! 

Today read about another hero – this time from Karnataka - Actor Arjun Gowda is, as his social media status says, ‘Fulllll Busy’, with the role he has chosen to play off-screen.  For the past 10 days, the 27-year-old Mandya-born actor has been driving Covid-19 patients to the hospital and also taking the bodies of those who didn't survive the disease for their last rites. The trigger for him was the death of the elderly woman who supplied milk to them every day. She died of Covid and he heard that when her grandson tried to arrange for an ambulance to take her body from the hospital to the crematorium, they were charged Rs 12,000. “This disturbed me a lot,” says Gowda, who has acted in films such as Odeya, Rustum, and Yuvarathnaa. Gowda then approached Project Smile Trust and volunteered to be a driver.  Although the situation is painful, Gowda feels a sense of satisfaction in being able to help people.  A staunch believer of Lord Shiva, Gowda has visited Kashi several times.  “I have a lot of friends at Manikarnika Ghat, whom I have assisted during the performance of last rites,” he says.  Arjun  wears PPE suit, has isolated himself from his family and has lost track of how many Covid tests he has undergone.  Based on the experience of the last 10 days, Gowda just has one thing to say to people: “Maintain your health with good food, focus on fitness and think positive.” oh what a Man !



The Madras high court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to actor Mansoor Ali Khan who apprehended arrest in connection with a case registered against him for spreading misinformation against Covid-19 vaccine. However, Justice M Dhandapani directed the actor to pay Rs 2 lakh to the Tamil Nadu health secretary to purchase Covishield as a condition for bail. The issue pertains to statements made by Mansoor Ali Khan before a private hospital where comedian  Vivek was admitted after he suffered a heart attack on April 16.

Khan alleged that Vivek had suffered a heart attack only because of the Covid-19 vaccine that he took on April 15. The video of the actor making such statements went viral in social media. Subsequently, based on a complaint filed by a health officer of the Chennai Corporation, the Vadapalani police registered an FIR under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation), 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 505 (1)(b) (intent to cause fear to the public) of the IPC besides invoking provisions of the Epidemics Act and the Disaster Management Act. According to Mansoor Ali Khan, the statement he made at the entrance of the private hospital was due to an emotional outburst and was never intended to hurt anyone. “The interview should never be taken by the authorities to be the one capable of creating panic and confusion among the members of the public,” he added.

Cheap politics ! and craving for publicity just another small time failed actor is doing dirty tricks on Twitter.

The world goes on – let us look only at the positives

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1.5.2021 

Harpreet Brar's day out ! .... bails not falling - clean Bowled

IPL 2021 has been a great entertainer – so many varied results – tall scores being chased,  teams folding smaller targets – choking closer to the end – some great innings, great catches, good bowling performances – a mixed bag indeed.  You would have observed that the games are now played  at neutral venues within India for the first time – no team plays on their home ground.  Six cities — Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata — hosting the tournament.    Chennai and Mumbai hosting the first leg from April 9 to April 25, followed by Delhi and Ahmedabad from April 26 to May 8. The third and final leg will be held in Bengaluru and Kolkata from May 9 to May 23 before the action moves to Ahmedabad for the play-offs, starting on May 25.

Riley Meredith became the fifth-most expensive uncapped player signed in IPL auction history on Thursday, when the Punjab Kings paid INR 8 crores. A 24-year-old fast bowler from Tasmania, Meredith has long been talked up as a future prospect for Australia - particularly by Shane Warne .. .. yesterday he bowled fast and did rattle some.  Devdutt Padikkal [7 off 6 balls] carved Meredith for an audacious six over extra-cover on the 2nd ball but Meredith sent his off-stump for a cartwheel.  Clean Bowled ! – stumps flying !!



Ravi Bishnoi is another revelation – took a sensational catch in the deep – in the early stages, Bishnoi let go a fast spinning googly towards Rajat Patidar, who completely miss read the ball as he went for a slog sweep. Replays showed that the ball snuck under Patidar’s bat and brushed past the leg stump while going into keeper Prabhsimran’s gloves. The keeper appealed and umpires had to refer it to the third umpire. The replays also found that the ball had actually hit the leg stump on its way to the keeper, but neither the lights came on, nor the bails were disturbed.

WG Grace, with his flowing beard and cricketing stature as huge as his enormous frame, has been the subject matter for many a anecdotes – on a windy day, he was bowled as bails were dislodged.  He coolly turned back, placed the bails back on stumps, remarking – there is a strong Westerly wind ! – the Umpire reportedly responded, yes, Doctor, I hope it helps you on your way back to the pavilion.  But by strange rules of the game, a batsman is not declared out even when the balls hits the stumps – but, if the bails are not dislodged. 

In 2019, the bad weather conditions at Old Trafford in Manchester forced the first day’s play of the fourth Ashes Test to cut short. The wind and rain interrupted the game on few occasions resulting in only 44 overs bowled on the opening day. In the 32nd over of the Australian inning, objects like beach-ball and chips packet gained access to the pitch due to strong winds. The powerful winds also knocked off the bails, causing frustration and delay.  So the Umpires decided that game would be played without bails on the stumps!

Here are the rules explained:

32.1 Out Bowled

32.1.1 The striker is out Bowled if his/her wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler, not being a No ball, even if it first touches the striker’s bat or person.

29.1.1  The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground,

29.1.1.1 by the ball,

29.1.1.2 by the striker’s bat if held or by any part of the bat that he/she is holding, 

DRS has proved to a boon for some batsman and some bowlers – while Captains struggle on when to use their trump card.  In 2017, it was a howler – Bangladesh’s Soumya Sarkar  took  review after getting bowled during Bangladesh’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. The astonishing event happened on the second ball of the fifth day with Sarkar batting on 53. He failed to judge the line of a delivery from right-arm medium pacer Asela Gunaratne as the ball clipped the top of his off stump.  

Regular Cricket views know it too well – in recent times, when the delivery or throw or the keeper’s glouse hits the stumps – and when the bails goes off, they flash aluminous red. They are not ordinary wooden bails but ‘zing bails’.    Traditionally stumps and bails are made from wood, but the new flashing wickets are made from a composite plastic, which are embedded with LED lights. The use of flashing wickets in international matches has been in vogue for more than 5 years now.   A bail is only completely dislodged when both spigots have separated from their stump grooves. A microprocessor in each Zing detects when BOTH spigots have become dislodged from the stump grooves. The Zing illuminates within 1/1000th of a second.

It would appear watching pacers like Meredith, Jamieson, Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Kagiso Rabada,   and some more are bowling so fast, that the bails could fall on their own with the balls whizzhing past the stumps and perhaps there is no need to hit them even !!  ~ but factually they are not falling even when getting hit is the moot Q ..  In the World cup, Adil Rashid was aghast when Quinton de Kock, tried reverse sweep from outside leg  - zing bails did not come off, ball went for 4 ! Boult express to Karunaratne brushed the stumps, zing bails did not come off.   Mitchell Starc had the same agony, Chris Gayle being the batsman, Mohammad Saifuddin survived against Ben Stokes and David Warner dragged back a Bumrah delivery onto the stumps, but the bails refused  to budge. The balls hit the base of leg stump courtesy a deflection off the boot, but Warner could continue playing !

Yesterday it was a great match offering wholesome entertainment.  The score card : Punjab Kings 179 for 5 (Rahul 91*, Gayle 46, Jamieson 2-32) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 145 for 8 (Kohli 35, Brar 3-19, Bishnoi 2-17) by 34 runs -  would never capture the innate nuances of the game just as Ravi Bishnoi beating Patidar – nicking to leg stump but bails not falling.  

The first delivery that Glenn Maxwell faced stunned him – the ball pitched near middle, danced, turned and ended up hitting top of off stump.  Both the bails had fallen making commentators think whether keeper Prabhsimran had any hand ? – Maxwell who was bamboozled stood his ground, was reluctant to walk out – Umpires referred checking the cleanliness and were convinced at first replay itself on ball hitting stumps.  10.2 that was a ripper from Harpreer Brar – who ?



A left-arm spinner and a hard-hitting lower-order batter, Brar hails from Moga, a small city in Punjab, which is also the hometown of Harmanpreet Kaur.  He  was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the 2019 IPL auction for his base price of INR 20 lakh at the age of 23.  Brar made is T20 debut in the 2019 IPL against the Delhi Capitals, when his captain R Ashwin described him as a "mystery spinner" at the toss. Brar impressed with an unbeaten 20 off 12, that included a six off a Kagiso Rabada bouncer,  but was struck for a six first ball by Shikhar Dhawan in a 17-run over, and he went on to play just one more game for a wicketless five overs that season.

After losing four of their first six IPL games this season, the Kings made three changes against the Royal Challengers, and gave Brar his fourth IPL game. Brar first batted with his captain KL Rahul to finish on an unbeaten 25 from 17 at No. 7 that included 18 runs off five balls against Harshal Patel, this IPL's highest wicket-taker, with the help of two sixes and a four, that took the Kings to a challenging 179 for 5.  More of his magic was to come.  After getting struck for a 6 by Virat Kohli – he bowled out Kohli and off the very next ball, had Glenn Maxwell too bowled.   In  his next and last over, he had de Villiers caught at extra cover for a fairytale ending that left the chase at 69 for 4 from where the Royal Challengers never recovered.

His first 11 overs in the IPL starting from 2019 went for a wicketless 106 runs, and his next seven balls didn't concede a single run while removing not one but three big fish.  It was nice to see Virat Kohli appreciating Brar and greeting him after the match.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
01.05.2021

  

May Day ~ recalling those lunch hour demonstrations and dreaded strikes !!

Today is 1st day of the month of May – celebrated as May Day.

In Oct 2014,  in  an extraordinary and unprecedented move, West Indies players came  out strongly against the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president and chief executive Wavell Hinds, who they claim "hoodwinked" them and did not take their inputs while signing a new memorandum of understanding with West Indies Cricket Board last month, under which they would suffer a significant cut in their payment.  .. somehow that ‘strike’ by WI Cricketers could be averted.



Kapil Dev striking hard the leather was always enjoyable – but sadly, many industrial strikes ended up with riots and violence, mayhem.

Half a century or so ago, industrial activities were at their peak at Ambattur – a blooming Industrial estate with mushrooming small scale units. Sadly, strikers broke the backbone of small upcoming entrepreneurs – by those orchestrated strikes by Left Unions, the worst sufferers were the workers themselves, as one after the other Units started closing.  Now the Estate is struggling more so with migrant workers not being available due to Covid 19. A couple of decades ago, in Banks and PSUs – Unions could threaten the management calling strikes too often – all that has changed ! totally.  One would remember witnessing – ‘agitations / demonstrations at lunch or at the start of the day itself – workers shouting – worker’s unity zindabad ! management murdabad !!’.

The right to strike in the Indian constitution set up is not absolute right but it flow from the fundamental right to form union. As every other fundamental right is subject to reasonable restrictions, the same is also the case to form trade unions to give a call to the workers to go on strike and the state can impose reasonable restrictions.

Section 2(gg)(q) in The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 – defines :  " strike" means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in combination or a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding, of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment;

                      Whenever employees want to go on strike they have to follow the procedure provided by the Act otherwise there strike deemed to be an illegal strike. Section 22(1) of the  Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 put certain prohibitions on the right to strike. It provides that no person employed in public utility service shall go on strike in breach of contract:

a.       Without giving to employer notice of strike within six weeks before striking; or

b.       Within fourteen days of giving such notice; or

c.       Before the expiry of the date of strike specified in any such notice as aforesaid; or

d.       During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and seven days after the conclusion of such proceedings.

It is to be noted that these provisions do not prohibit the workmen from going on strike but require them to fulfill the condition before going on strike. Further these provisions apply to a public utility service only.   

1st of May is of importance to many in different ways.  For some  it is the May Day synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organised by communists, anarchists, socialists, unionists, and other activist groups.   The Haymarket massacre   was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago.  It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers.  An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded. In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy.  The Haymarket Affair is generally considered significant as the origin of International Workers' Day held on May 1  



Back home in India, the  Great Famine of 1876–1878 (also the Southern India famine of 1876–1878 or the Madras famine of 1877) was a famine that swept parts of  India under Crown rule.  The death toll from this famine is estimated to be in the range of 5.5 to 10.3 million people. The famine occurred at a time when the colonial government was attempting to reduce expenses on welfare. Earlier, in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, severe mortality had been avoided by importing rice from Burma. The Government of Bengal and its Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Richard Temple, were criticised for excessive expenditure on charitable relief. The insistence on more rigorous tests for qualification, however, led to strikes by "relief workers" in the Bombay presidency. In Jan 1877, Temple reduced the wage for a day's hard work in the relief camps in Madras and Bombay —this 'Temple wage' consisted of 450 grams (1 lb) of grain plus one anna for a man, and a slightly reduced amount for a woman or working child, for a "long day of hard labour without shade or rest." 

Rather than Haymarket square, Indians should be remembering those martyrs behind the freedom struggle and labour unions involved in freedom movement such as Bombay workers and that agitation at Tuticorin that changed the life of VoC, Subramania Siva, Vanchinathan and more !

On 23 February 1908 Chidambaram gave a speech at Thoothukudi, encouraging the workers at Coral Mill  to protest against their low wages and harsh working conditions. Four days later, the workers of the Coral Mill went on strike. Chidambaram and Subramanya Siva led the strike. Their demands included incremental earnings, weekly holidays and other leave facilities. Chidambaram ensured the strike was widely publicised, and it quickly gained popular support.  The outcome of the strike encouraged the workers of other European companies, who also gained increased wages and better treatment. But harsh measures of British ended in arrest of Subramaniya Siva and Chidambaranar on  12 March 1908.

The arrest was followed by widespread protest. In Thirunelveli shops, schools and colleges were closed in protest, and rioting broke out. The Thirunelveli municipal office, post offices, police stations and municipal courts were attacked. A general strike was declared in Thoothukudi, which was the first political strike in India.  Public meetings and processions were held, and four people were killed by the police. Although his supporters were able to raise sufficient funds for bail, Chidambaram refused to leave the jail without the release of Siva and his other comrades. Subramanya Bharathi and Subramanya Siva also appeared in the court for questioning for the case instituted against Chidambaram. He was charged under sections 123-A and 153-A of the Indian Penal Code for speaking against the British and giving shelter to Siva.  They were  charged with sedition, and a sentence of two life imprisonments. 

The collective force of Bombay’s working class citizens – dock workers, textile mill workers, labourers, small merchants and traders, the informal sector workers – had shaped the city. Their involvement in the freedom movement was natural and, for decades later, their stories became oral narratives of the movement in working class areas. As scholars recorded, workers’ strikes and links between the labour class and nationalist politics were key aspects of the early years of the movement and had become common by early 20th century. The textile mill workers’ earliest strikes in 1892-93 were focussed on payments and working conditions but the general strikes across the industry in 1919, 1920, 1924-25, 1928 had resonances of the freedom struggle. The week-long strike of 1908 had set the tone for mill workers’ involvement.

Thousands of mill workers had grown restive in June 1908 when Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested on charges of sedition. A month later, when he was convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, Bombay shut down. “All markets in Bombay city were closed on July 22 and remained closed for a week,” wrote noted historian Bipan Chandra in “India’s Struggle for Independence”, “The workers of all textile mills and railway workshops went on strike for six days…

 
With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st May 2021.

  

the costliest flower ! - not from any garden though !!

You may have read this saying -  “April Showers bring May Flowers” -  is there any truth to it?  .. .. at a time, when you are more likely to read that ‘flowers remain unplucked – not finding market et. al’ – here is something on the costliest flower perhaps ! – not a fragrant variety though !!



Bizarre patterns, vibrant colours, heady scents — flowers present a buffet of choices to draw pollinators. In fact, studies have shown that bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects have particular preferences in the flowers they visit. Researchers found that the female common emigrant butterfly, found widely across India, had an innate inclination to the colour yellow, while the males preferred both blue and yellow. To some extent, the butterflies could also be trained to change their colour preferences. Odour is also an important deciding factor, and an attractive enough scent can drastically alter or even reverse any learned preferences for colour. Flowers, too, are known to alter their characteristics to attract more pollinators.  

‘Malligai en mannan mayangum ponnana malar allavo’ was a popular song of the 1970s – from the movie Dheerga Sumangali featuring Muthuraman, KR. Vijaya – MS Viswanathan being the Music Director.  

Flowers are beautiful, make a pretty sight – whether they are singular, in a bunch, on the plant / creeper / tree, in a strand and more ... many of them provide fragrance and some claim that they have magical powers of healing too.........  most of them are passionately worn by women, especially in South India.  Right from Sangam literature, flowers have been integral part of Tamil lore – Malligai, Mullai, Sengagam, Lotus, Magizham, Rose, Lily, Vruchi, Senkanthal, Aambal, Anicham, Kurinji, Vaagai, Vagulam, Kongam ......  and more ….

At Chennai in Parrys area, there is the Pookkadai [flower bazaar] nearer Kothawal chavadi [once the vegetable hub] – the Police station on NSC Bose road is also named ‘Pookadai Police Station’.  The place once occupied by the wholesale flower trade is now a parking bay for State transport corporation buses. There are still a handful of flower sellers on the pavement in that area. Just opposite lies Badrian Street where you would find Stationery shops.   As you walk inside there is the flower market [though the wholesale market is shifted to Koyambedu] – here many flowers, especially Malli and rose would be sold.  One can buy Jasmine in strands or buy in kgs.  Walking inside narrow streets would by itself be an experience – yet there was so much fragrance around.

“முப்பது பைசா மூணு முழம்...... முல்லை மல்லிகை கனகாம்பரம்” – was a hit song of 1970s from film “Pookkari”  (written by Vaali) – descriptive of not only the fragrance but also the economy – in that song, heroine (as flower seller) – would dance and sing, selling flowers – the lyrics – ‘3 measures of flowers – Mullai, Malligai, Kanakambaram – for 30 paise’ – yes,  a measure for 10 paise  !

                 In England, the month of April brings huge weather swings with the jet stream lifting northward at the start of spring. The saying itself has only grown being used in other types of writing and movies. With the sun shining bright and all the flowers in bloom, it is a great time to visit your backyard, pluck, grind and smear them on your skin and hair for that summer glow.

Two days before the NFL draft, the Washington Football Team found a reinforcement for its offensive line by reaching a trade agreement with the Miami Dolphins to acquire Ereck Flowers, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. The deal includes a swap of late-round picks — Washington gave up its 244th selection in the seventh round and received Miami’s 258th pick — and the Dolphins converted $6 million of Flowers’s 2021 pay into a bonus to leave Washington a salary cap charge of only $3 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Flowers’s $9.975 million salary in 2022, the final year of his contract, is not guaranteed, meaning Washington could cut ties with him after one year and face no cap repercussions. Flowers, who spent the 2019 season as Washington’s left guard, is expected to compete to start at the same position this season. Washington cycled through three starters last year, beginning with Wes Martin and finishing with Wes Schweitzer. Saahdiq Charles, a 2020 fourth-round pick, started one game and played two snaps before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and while Charles is expected to return to health and compete for a starting job, it’s unclear if the team intends to use him at left tackle or guard.



Ereck Flowers, is an American football offensive guard for the Washington Football Team of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Miami and was drafted ninth overall by the New York Giants in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins. He began his career as an offensive tackle prior to switching to guard in 2019.

Moving away from the news, this lockdown and the time that it allows you to be at home, is – boon to try your hand in garden at home, or at housetop – we have some and the pleasure that one gets in seeing blooming flower is indescribable !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.4.2021. 

Nicholas Pooran's yet another duck made me unhappy !!

Sad to see people still loitering on roads – some off them not wearing a mask, some around their necks ! – why do not these people understand, don’t they read, don’t they see around – Covid 19 is deeeeply impacting humanity.

Tamil Nadu recorded 18,692 positive cases this day, bringing the state tally to 11,66,756. Among these, Chennai reported 5473 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 333804.  Karnataka has reported a record high of 48296 new  cases on April 29, out of which 26756 cases are from Bengaluru alone.  Please – please be at home, stay home, stay safe !!

                    At Ahmedabad - Harpreet Brar smacked Harshal Patel over midwicket for a 6 off the final ball – KL Rahul’s 4-6-4 – totalled 22 runs in that over – a good one after what Chris Gayle smacked Jamieson for 5 fours in the 6th over off the match. Kyle Jamieson is tall – at 6'8", he is one of the tallest fast bowlers in the circuit.  He was born in Auckland, played for Canterbury and rose high.  He made his international debut in Feb 2020 against India.  Today Universal Boss Gayle tore into him, nonchalantly pulling and hitting him all over for 5 fours.

Today Nicholas Pooran was out for a duck and now  has a duck this season off 0, 1, 2 and 3 balls.   It was a Test match-like ball Jamieson served him a short one, that rose uncomfortably took the bat and went to backward point – and this duck made me sad.  Shahrukh Khan too made a duck – KL Rahul’s unbeaten 91 ensured a fighting total of 179/5.



Remember in Nov 11,2018 at Chepauk – T20I   – India Vs once mighty West Indies –  I could not recognize most players in the line-up that read : Hope, Hetmeyer, Darren Bravo, Dinesh Ramdin,  Pooran (who !); KA Pollard, CR Brathwaite (c), FA Allen, KMA Paul, K Pierre, O Thomas .. ..  on that day, was impressed to see Nicholas Pooran play   some audacious shots – he scored 50 off 25 balls – later  read that he is a wicket-keeper from Trinidad & Tobago. 

In Jan 2014,   Pooran was involved in a road accident, a very nasty one at that. That accident left him with a torn patella tendon, fractured tibia and fractured ankle.  He underwent  two surgeries; the  first was less than 24 hours after the accident, to repair the left patellar tendon. The second, on his right leg to repair the ankle fracture, had to wait another week, till after the swelling from the injury subsided. The surgeries, though, were a minor detail in the process to figure out the answer to the question Pooran had put to his doctors. It took Pooran until July, six months after the accident, before he could walk without assistance. 

Great resilience – he was back, up and running and scoring runs but this season had found runs too difficult to come by.  On 12.4 against Royals at Mumbai he was out for a duck; on 16.4 another duck against CSK and on 18.4 against Delhi Capitals scored 9 !  .. .. on 21.4 against Sunrisers he was run out for a duck without even facing a ball.  On 23.4 against Mumbai Indians he was not required to bat and on 26.4 against KKR he scored 19 with a four and a six ! – and another duck today !! 

.. .. let us read something good that Cricketers are doing too. 

India and Delhi Capitals batsman Shikhar Dhawan will donate Rs 20 lakh and "money from all post-match individual performance awards" that he receives during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 towards "Mission Oxygen."   Dhawan follows former India captain Sachin Tendulkar, who had donated Rs 1 crore to the group on Thursday.

India cricketer Jaydev Unadkat said in a tweet  that he will be contributing 10 per cent of his salary from the Indian Premier League (IPL) towards "providing essential medical resources for those in need" at a time India battles a deady second wave of Covid-19 infections. Unadkat, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, was bought by Rajasthan for Rs 3 crore at the IPL 2020 auction. West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran, also took to social media to announce that he will be donating a portion of his IPL salary to support India's fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Pooran, who has played in all the  matches for PBKS so far in IPL 2021, posted a video message on his social media accounts in which he made the announcement of his donation and also urged everyone to help in whatever way they can to help the country fight against the coronavirus crisis. "To all my fans and supporters around the world and back home, I realise I am in a safe and privileged position here in India at the IPL. "But it's also heartbreaking to be so close to such tragedy that's unfolding around us. For a country that has shown us so much love and support over the years, all I can do is join hands with my fellow players to help bring some awareness to this situation in India. "If you can get vaccinated please do, I will also do my part which is continue to pray for India but not only that, I would also like to donate a portion of my IPL salary towards this crisis," Pooran said in the video.

While Cummins pledged $50,000 to PM Cares Fund, Unadkat and Pooran donated part of their IPL salaries through other channels. Former Australia cricketer Brett Lee, IPL teams Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals among others have also made donations.

With Covid peaking .. .. please do not loiter, stay at home, stay safe ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.4.2021 

Michael Collins who famously orbited moon - but did not land is no more !

In this beautiful world, now marooned by Covid 19 and the media highlighting the deaths, one can be forgiven if they had not read about this powerful obituary!

 


It is all about the man, the son of  James Collins, a soldier, and his wife, Virginia (nee Stewart),  born in Rome, where his father was serving, and was later relieved that this saved him from any astronautical hometown parade. Collins Sr retired as a two-star general, one of Michael’s uncles was a sometime army chief of staff, and another was a brigadier. His brother became a colonel, and a cousin a major.

It is almost 52 years of that significant event and the whole World is talking about ~ the primary objective of the mission was to  complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth. Additional flight objectives included scientific exploration by the lunar module, or LM, crew; deployment of a television camera to transmit signals to Earth; and deployment of a solar wind composition experiment, seismic experiment package and a Laser Ranging Retroreflector. During the exploration, the two astronauts were to gather samples of lunar-surface materials for return to Earth. They also were to extensively photograph the lunar terrain, the deployed scientific equipment, the LM spacecraft, and each other, both with still and motion picture cameras. – ‘Apollo 11’.

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the sun and light, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all gods.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles. An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong's televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took "...one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" on July 20, 1969. 

On 20 July 1969, Michael Collins, who has died on 28.4.2021   aged 90, became the most solitary human in the universe – even if he derided that categorisation as “phony philosophy”. He orbited the moon alone, inside Apollo 11’s command module Columbia, and out of touch with ground control for 48 minutes on each orbit. Meanwhile, and more famously, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were becoming the first men to set foot on that rock, some 240,000 miles away from Earth.

As the command module pilot, on $17,000 a year, Collins was, he later wrote half-jokingly, “the navigator, the guidance and control expert, the base-camp operator, the owner of the leaky plumbing – all the things I was least interested in doing”. He was also, thought Aldrin, probably Nasa’s best-trained command module pilot. A back operation had precluded him from Apollo 8, which orbited the moon at Christmas 1968. In January 1969 Collins was assigned to Apollo 11. The moon landing attempt was confirmed only after the successful Earth orbit testing of Apollo 9, and the 31 moon orbits of Apollo 10 that May. The Apollo 11 landing was more than a step in history, the New York Times would editorialise, it was a step in evolution. “We were our nation’s envoys ...” Collins wrote, “and it would be a national disgrace if we screwed up.”

First Armstrong emerged from the Eagle and deployed the TV camera for the transmission of the event to Earth. At about 109 hours, 42 minutes after launch, Armstrong stepped onto the moon. About 20 minutes later, Aldrin followed him. The camera was then positioned on a tripod about 30 feet from the LM. Half an hour later, President Nixon spoke by telephone link with the astronauts.  For the Quizz enthusiasts, the details are :

Crew  :  Neil Armstrong, Commander; Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot & Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot

Backup Crew : James A. Lovell, Commander; Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module Pilot & William A. Anders, Command Module Pilot

USA is a Nation where achievements as also conspiracy theories galore.  ‘We  Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle!’ – was one such mocking the events of  July 20, 1969, the day when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on Earth's moon for the first time in human history. Four days later, they — along with Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins — were locked up on an American battleship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The triumphant astronauts were in quarantine. Per a NASA safety protocol written half a decade earlier, the three lunar visitors were escorted directly from their splashdown site in the central Pacific to a modified trailer aboard the USS Hornet, where a 21-day isolation period began. That was to  ensure that no potentially hazardous lunar microbes hitchhiked back to Earth with them.

Michael Collins the hero is no more -  (October 31, 1930 – April 28, 2021) was an American astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969. Collins graduated from the United States Military Academy with the Class of 1952. He joined the United States Air Force, and flew F-86 Sabre fighters at Chambley-Bussières Air Base, France. He was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1960, also graduating from the Aerospace Research Pilot School (Class III). Selected as part of NASA's third group of 14 astronauts in 1963, Collins flew in space twice. His first spaceflight was on Gemini 10 in 1966, in which he and Command Pilot John Young performed orbital rendezvous with two spacecraft and undertook two extravehicular activities (EVAs, also known as spacewalks). On the 1969 Apollo 11 mission he became one of 24 people to fly to the Moon, which he orbited thirty times. He was the fourth person (and third American) to perform a spacewalk, the first person to have performed more than one spacewalk, and, after Young, who flew the command module on Apollo 10, the second person to orbit the Moon alone.

After retiring from NASA in 1970, Collins took a job in the Department of State as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. An year later, he became the director of the National Air and Space Museum, and held this position until 1978, when he stepped down to become undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1980, he took a job as vice president of LTV Aerospace. He resigned in 1985 to start his own consulting firm. Along with his Apollo 11 crewmates, Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29.4.2021