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Saturday, October 30, 2021

capturing a flying bird !!


To the uninformed – almost all white-birds are Crane (கொக்கு) – photo taken not in Vedanthangal or any sanctuary – not even marsh lands of pallikaranai but from the mottaimadi @ Thiruvallikkeni.

Patiently standing alone gazing the sky, occasional spotting of a bird, and by the time you ready your camera, it is gone ! or even when seen in lens, camera would not adjust to lighting and may not click … .. at times, when you get a click – it is bliss !!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Pichavaram beckoning !!

Nearer the holy Thillai Thiruchitrakoodam aka Chidambaram, the heavenly abode of dancing Lord Nataraja and sayana thirukkola Govinda Rajar lies Pichavaram. Pichavaram mangroves, being the largest in the world, are home to 200 species of birds as well as seaweed, prawns, crabs, fish, oysters, turtles and otters. The  mangroves were originally called Thillai Vana as the rishis lived here.  Vast expanses of big and small canals and a few islands amaze the visitors here. Silence pervades this region, barring the sound paddles, presence of chirpy birds, and gushing waters of the sea at a distance.

               Pichavaram mangrove forest is located between two prominent estuaries, the Vellar estuary in the north and Coleroon estuary in the south. The Vellar-Coleroon estuarine complex forms the Killai backwater and Pichavaram mangroves.  

Here is a short video taken by me :  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

the inspiring life-history of Marudhu Pandiyar .. .. .. 'Sivagangai Seemaiyile'

Another one – Indian History – terse statement – freedom was gotten by Gandhi, Nehru and Congress without dropping blood !  (and the real life stories of so many who gave their blood and life for the Nation was forgotten – the first war of Independence – the act of total defiance was ridiculed as mere Sepoy mutiny!!) – have you ever heard of these warriors astride horse ?

How and why our minds were poisoned that the colonial rulers were kind, merciful – as they looted Nation’s wealth, butchered, maimed and cruelly treated our leaders, and used our country men in some wars in far away places in extremely unkind weather – not knowing what they were fighting for !!

October 24, 1801 was most gruesome – at the centre was the public hanging of  two middle-aged brothers – and alongside scores of those associated with them - their commanders and servants, their sons and even their young grandsons  hanged alongside them, supposedly from palmyra trees around the fort.  As we read this small piece of History of inspiring real-life story of two brothers – some prescripts too.  They were adept in Valari – sort of boomerang !

·         Robert Clive is well known to us through History books - Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis, PC (1754 – 1839), was a member of House of Commons. He  was the eldest son of Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive ("Clive of India"),  the British appointed him as Governor of Madras from 1798 to 1803

·         A Tamil bio-pic produced by Kavignar Kannadasan, directed by K Shankar, starring SS Rajendran, S Varalakshmi, MN Rajam hit the screens in 1959 !

·         The Govt owned bus service in the city (now State Transport Corpn) was earlier called Pallavan Transport.  Those days there were transport Corporations named as :-   Pallavan, Cheran,  Chozhan, Pandiyan;  Thiruvalluvar, Mahakavi Bharatiyar, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Marudhu Pandiar, Kattabomman, Rani Mangammal, Rajiv Gandhi and more………..

·         In Oct 1799 a proclamation by Major Bannerman, addressed to the inhabitants of the Tinnevelley Palayams after the rebellion of the Tinnevelly Palayagars, ordered the surrender of arms and threatened those who retained them, with death.  In conformity with these instructions, Lord Olive in  1801 issued a proclamation addressed to the Palayagars, Sherogars and inhabitants of the Southern Provinces announcing the determination of the Government to suppress the use and exercise of all weapons of offence without the 'authority of the British Government.

After the execution of Kattabomman on 16th October 1799 at Kayatharu,  Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman's brother Oomathurai. British used this reason to invade and attack Sivaganga in 1801 with a powerful army. The Maruthu Pandiyars and their allies were quite successful and captured three districts from the British. The British considered it as a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down the Maruthu Pandiyars' rebellion.  It is the real-life story of Marudhu Pandiyars (Periya Marudhu and Chinna marudhu) – who ruled as Kings of Sivagangai and fought the British East India Company and were hanged by the British.

Periya and Chinna are direct references to the elder and younger brothers – the elder was actually Vellai Marudhu – who hailed in the family of Servaikara who were mentioned in English texts as Sherogars !! By some accounts, Marudu was a family title and not a personal name, perhaps reference to Marudu tree -  the Terminalia Arjuna - worshipped as the living symbol of Lord Subramanya and Marutha malai (hill of Arjun Tree) – at the temple of Nainarkoil, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Marudappar or Marudeswarar.  It is also recorded that periya Marudu was an able sportsperson of valour – good in hunting and shooting.  Chinna Marudu was sovereign of an extensive and fertile country, and his general residence was at Sherewele (Siruvayal).

After the death of the Pradhani, (Thandavaraya Pillai) the Marudhu brothers who were with the Queen (Velu Nachiyar) became prominent. The Marudhu brothers took a lead in the affairs of the occupied territory. Second Mysore War in 1780 provided the right opportunity. When Hyder Ali fell upon Arcot in 1780, the Marudhus desolated the Nawab’s territories at Madurai.  The regions around Sivaganga came under complete control of Marudhu brothers.  Though  the widow of Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, Velu Nachiar was in the reins,  the de-facto rulers were the Marudhu brothers. Determined to suppress the Marudus, the Nawab in 1786 sought military assistance from Fort St. George on the alleged ground that the Marudus refused the payment of the tribute of two lakhs of rupees, that they neglected the administration of their territory and that they committed depredations upon Ramanathapuram. Mohammad Ali  despatched a body of troops but were defeated. Mohammad Ali in 1789 again appealed to the Madras Council for aid. John Holland, the successor of Sir Archibald Campbell in the Presidency, furnished an army for operation in Sivaganga. 

On the 29th April, 1789 the British forces led by Colonel James Stuart arrived at Tirupattur in Sivaganga.  Marudhus fought valiantly.  Stuart won the allegiance of Du Pre, a French General and the allied forces  advanced to Kalayarkoil, and captured it after a short cannonade. The outbreak of the Third Mysore War in 1790 led to the assumption of the revenue administration of the Carnatic. After signing the Treaty of 1787 the Nawab made no attempt to improve the administration. His efforts to put down the defiant poligars invited more financial embarrassment. The Carnatic treaty of 1792 was very advantageous to the Company. It gave the English the military and financial control over the Nawab.

With some of the  chaotic local Chieftains supporting the allied forces and with the support of traitors, Marudhu Pandiyars fell victims and were captured and later hanged at Tirupattur fort on 24th October 1801.  They are locally worshipped BUT Nation perhaps has not recognized the warriors – students should be reading such inspirational uprisings and the Nation’s military response to ruling East India Company, the French, Dutch and British rulers.

The movie produced by Kavignar Kannadasan referred earlier was titled “Sivagangai Seemai” and was based on the history of Marudu brothers.  Here is a song from the movie :


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Oct 2021.


Friday, October 22, 2021

ICC T20I WC - maukha, maukha ! .. .. Namibia in the fray !!

How good is your memory ?  - do you remember that 25th Match of ICC World Cup played at  Pietermaritzburg, on  Feb 23 2003- India won by 181 runs !

Today at Sharjah I saw Ackermann smash Lahiru Kumara for a 6 and thought it would a good match .. .. but Netherland’s innings lasted just 10 overs and Lahiru conceded just 7 runs (that 6 included). 

Young Sri Lankan duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana spun their web around Netherlands to bundle them out for a paltry 44 in their last first round game of the T20 World Cup – meantime,  Namibia became the fourth and final team to qualify for the Super 12 stage from Round 1 of the ICC T20 World Cup with victory over Ireland in Sharjah. Namibia beat Ireland by eight wickets in the winner-takes-all clash in Group A to seal a spot in the Super 12 stage at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021. Set 126 to win, the African nation took their time in the chase before upping the scoring rate dramatically late on thanks to another fast-paced knock from all-rounder David Wiese and a brilliant half-century from skipper Gerhard Erasmus. The win sees Namibia qualify ahead of Ireland from Group A, moving into Group 2 alongside India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland.

The ICC Men's T20 World Cup is run by  cricket's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the tournament currently consists of 16 teams, comprising the top ten teams from the rankings at the given deadline and six other teams chosen through the T20 World Cup Qualifier.  The 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup is the seventh ICC Men's T20 World Cup tournament, with the matches taking place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from 17 October to 14 November 2021.  West Indies are the defending champions.

The tournament could not be held in 2020  due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the ICC confirmed that India would host the 2021 tournament as planned, with Australia being named as the host for the succeeding 2022 tournament. However, in June 2021, the ICC announced that the tournament had been moved to the United Arab Emirates due to growing concerns over the  pandemic situation in India, and a possible third wave.

As of 31 December 2018, the top nine ranked ICC Full Members, alongside hosts India, qualified directly for the 2021 tournament. Of those ten teams, the top eight ranked sides qualified for the Super 12s stage of the tournament.  Sri Lanka and Bangladesh did not qualify for the Super 12s, and were  in the group stage of the competition. They were joined by the six teams who had qualified for the tournament via the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier:  Papua New Guinea were the first team to secure their position via the Qualifier, after they won Group A of the tournament, finishing above the Netherlands on net run rate. ] It was the first time that Papua New Guinea had qualified for a World Cup in any format

Now from the Group stage, Bangladesh, Namibia, Scotland & Sri Lanka have marched on to 12.   Gerhard Erasmus' anchoring half-century and David Wiese's whirlwind 28* off 14 balls steered Namibia into the Super 12s of the 2021 T20 World Cup. This eight-wicket win over Ireland also meant Namibia have booked their spot in next year's edition as well, which will be played in Australia.

Now : Australia, England, South Africa, West Indies, Srilanka, Bangladesh are in one group while – India, New Zealand, Afganisthan, Pakistan, Scotland, Namibia are in the other.

If you still remember the Q at the start India scored 311/2 in 50 overs against Namibia – after Virender Sehwag was out at 24 – Sachin Tendulkar 152 and Sourav Ganguly 112* forged a big partnership .. .. Yuvraj who remained unbeaten on 7 had figures of 4.3-2-6-4 !

So ‘maukha, maukha’ again for Men in Blue .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Oct 2021. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mahan Bharat accomplishes - more than 100 crore vaccine doses administered

A great day for the Nation – every citizen of INDIA can feel justifiably proud and immensely thank the Hero  with foresight – our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.

An year  and few months ago on 19.3.2020  @ 8 pm, the Nation heard with awe – the speech of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji – extremely balanced, explaining the situation, measures, expectations and plan of action.  Among others – Janata Curfew  `~ social distancing and clapping those rendering services @ 5pm on 22.3.2020 was announced !!  At that time – globally 217,845 Covid-19 cases had been confirmed, resulting in 9,177 fatalities worldwide. After its discovery in Dec 2019, in Wuhan, China, the virus started to spread around the world, causing panic.

Life was to change violently for most people of the globe as millions were afflicted by the dreaded Corona virus named Covid 19 by WHO defending China in its every step.  A cursory search on web reveals that 21,94,56,675 people have been affected across the globe.  USA leading with 452,07,116, India 3,41,27,450 & Brazil 2,16,80,488.  Statistics can often be misleading – for one has to read and understand this and more so the no. of deaths, considering the total population and the area they live ! the death toll globally is 45,47,782 ! – USA 731512; Brazil 604228, India 452811.

If we are to drill down within India – of its 3,42,27,450 cases – the top contributors are:  Maharashtra 6596645; 2nd is the State the Global award winning, actor recommended model state Kerala 4879790; Karnataka 2984484; Tamil Nadu 2690633, Andhra Pradesh 2061810

Last year when the World was grappling .. .. Russia announced that it has approved vaccine for Covid.  To  get the pandemic under control, introduction of a vaccine was seen as the only savior.  A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease.   Vaccines save millions of lives each year. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences --- the immune system--- to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target.  If the body is exposed to those disease-causing germs later, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.   Immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles. There are now vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, and work is ongoing at unprecedented speed to also make COVID-19 a vaccine-preventable disease.

Today is a day of great significance - In a landmark achievement, India's cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 100 crore doses.  A total of 100 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the Cowin portal at 9:47 am today.

India's COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only. From February 2, front-line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included State and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence & Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.

          The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has crossed 100 crores on October 2, 2021. The one billion landmark came in the face of several hurdles, including supply shortages, distribution problems and prevailing vaccine hesitancy in several parts of the country. According to the Business Insider and ABP News, about 75% of the population above 18 years of age in India have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, while about 31% have taken both doses.

As India scripts history and reaches the 1 billion vaccination landmark, PM Shri Narendra Modiji calls it a triumph of Indian science and expresses gratitude to all the healthcare workers who worked towards achieving this feat.  

According to the latest data provided in the CoWIN portal, the total doses administered on Friday was  : Total Vaccination Doses - 1,00,60,69,878; Dose 1 - 71,08,72,214; Dose 2 - 29,51,97,664.

The historic achievement of effectively administering vaccines to many people comes amidst the massive political campaign against the centre over its vaccination policy. Prominent political leaders, businessmen, lawyers, and journalists led a nefarious online campaign not only to discredit the Modi Government’s vaccination drive but also to create panic and cast aspersions about the efficacy of the Coronavirus vaccine. 

In his hurry to target the centre over its vaccine policy, Rahul Gandhi  indulged in propagating rampant misinformation against the centre, thus creating vaccine hesitancy in the minds of the common masses. Just this week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had created a wave of panic in the minds of people after he had claimed that the government was busy with sales and instead people should take care of themselves. Furthermore, the Gandhi-scion claimed that there was a rise in Covid-19 infections in the country, and hence vaccination must pick up to avoid serious outcomes in the next wave.

.. .. .. and then there were self-proclaimed genius like Chetan Bhagat  whose prediction on twitter read :   What's likely to happen: 1. Rich countries will vaccinate their people first. 2. Their leftovers will finally make their way to us. 3. We'll vaccinate, and then chest thump on how great we are. 4. We'll get ok and go back to being unscientific and hating others who aren't like us.

Nation is above everything and every citizen should feel great and proud of its achievements.  100 Crore is really a BIG NUMBER AND GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT and this is what it is statistically.

Long Live our Nation and its true leaders – Mera Bharat Mahan hai!

With reverence to the Nation – Nation loving citizen S. Sampathkumar
21st Oct 2o21. 

troubles for Aussie test cap 356 !!

Domestic violence (also named family violence) is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which is committed by one of the people in an intimate relationship against the other person- in  its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, parents, or the elderly. It takes multiple forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms .. .. …

The Australian government is offering one-off payments to help people leave violent relationships. It was stated recently that victims can apply for a payment of 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,700), which includes cash and direct payments for expenses such as school fees. The scheme is open to all genders. However women are expected to make up the bulk of applicants in a country where one woman is killed by a partner every nine days, according to government data.

While the payment has been welcomed by advocates, some say it doesn't address the root causes of family violence in Australia. Mary Crooks, executive director of the Victorian Women's Trust, says the country needs to have a larger debate about the "blokey" culture that places men at the head of the family and in most positions of government and corporate power. She also said questions need to be asked about why women are the ones being forced to leave the family home. "There is a big moral and ethical and policy issue here. Why does she have to further go through that extraordinary trauma and dislocation to her life when she hasn't, in fact, been the one perpetrating the harm?" Crooks said. "Why does she have to be the one to pick up the kids and pets quickly, and possibly not be able to get a place in a refuge?"

Australia scores poorly on international rankings of gender equality, which can contribute to an uneven power dynamic in relationships and make women economically vulnerable. The World Economic Forum's 2021 Global Gender Gap Report ranks Australia at 50 -- well below the United States, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand. The trouble got fuelled as the pandemic worsened,  the economic disparity chasm got deeper  as more women lost their jobs or had their hours cut .. ..

Way back in Dec 9 1993, at Melbourne – debuted the frail young bowler who went on to spearhead the Aussie attack – Glenn McGrath by name and alongside debuted an aggressive right handed opener who scored well in that match which Australia lost because of a good innings by Hansie Cronje.  The man played 42 One dayers but was not considered a One-day specialist !  .. ..

Torvill and Dean's Dancing on Ice was an Australian reality television series which was based on the original British version, Dancing on Ice. The series premiered on the Nine Network in 2006 at 7:30 and involved celebrities ice dancing on a specially constructed ice rink located in Sydney's north-west suburbs. The series ran for one season before being cancelled, and the winner of the competition was model Jake Wall. The series reportedly cost several million dollars to produce and received above-average ratings. During training almost every contestant suffered an injury of some sort, the most serious of which being this Opening batsman  severing a tendon in his hand after it was accidentally skated over by his partner.  

The man in news for wrong reasons – “Michael Jonathon Slater” is an ex-Cricketer and former television presenter. Slater made his debut in the 1993 Ashes series at the Old Trafford alongside another debutant, Brendon Julian. With Australia batting first, and Slater, an opener, being the first of the two debutants to play a role in the game, it was communicated to him that he was Test cap number 356.  A passionate individual, Slater was desperate to display his love for the Baggy Green. He tattooed the number on his body and ordered a special number plate inscribed with “MS356” for his brand new Ferrari.

He played in 74 Test matches and 42 One Day Internationals for the Australia national cricket team.. Slater went on to test cricket, opening the batting with mixed-success, scoring 5,312 runs and 14 centuries at an average of 42. He was generally not successful in One Day International games, averaging a lowly 24.07 and was dropped from one day teams. Throughout his career, Slater was susceptible to the "nervous nineties": he was dismissed in the nineties 9 out of the 23 times.

Remember that Chepauk test 2001 when India bounced back to win the series, thanks to Harbhajan Singh blazing.  It was a tricky 155 target in the 4th innings in that test no. 1539 at Chepauk in Mar 2001 – Aussies batted first; Slater fell early – Aussies made 326/3 on day 1 with Hayden blazing with a century.  They were eventually all out for 391; Hayden making 203. Harbhajan took 7 for 133.  In that test Samir Dighe and Sairaj Bahutule made their debuts  adding to the strong Bombay contingent of Sachin, Zahir and Nilesh KUlkarni. Sadagopan Ramesh opened with SS Das and made some delectable shots.  In the chase, when Ramesh was run out it was 76/2 after 19.3 overs; suddenly pressure built up ~ it was 122-5 [Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid gone] Laxman batted beautifully making 66 and when he was out it was 135 and in the same over Miller removed Bahutule too…. 20 to go – 3 wickets in hands, seemed dicey. Sameer Dighe the debutant was solid and Harbhajan scored the winning runs which was a great relief to all of us present in the stadium and those watching on TV.  The last session was so tense, that all results were possible – people did not speak to the other; some did not change their seats, some smoked, some were baiting their nails.. as it ended Indian way.

In  June this year,  David Warner and Michael Slater  were in a group of 39 Australians, comprising players, coaches and support staff, to have flown to Maldives  on a charter flight organised by the BCCI.  Star opener David Warner and cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Slater denied reports of their involvement in a drunken bar brawl in Male, where Australian cricketers competing in the half-suspended IPL had to wait  to board a flight home.    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 were 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.

Now comes the news that  Michael Slater has been arrested over an alleged domestic violence incident. NSW Police have confirmed a 51-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday at a home in Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches. He was taken to Manly police station and has not been charged. Officers began investigating on Tuesday after receiving reports of an alleged domestic violence incident. He was recently dropped from Channel Seven’s commentary team for the upcoming summer cricket season, with the broadcaster citing financial pressures.

Years later after he made his debut -  in late 2001 – he was informed  that he was actually cap No.357, as it wasn’t the batting order that determined cap number; instead it was the alphabetical order. The ACB called up the debutants from the game and after a discussion settled upon making an exception for Slater. James Sutherland, the ACB CEO at the time, stated, “We understand that Michael was told he was 356 and as a result has always behaved accordingly. He has obviously gone to great lengths to demonstrate his pride not only in that cap number but also in playing for Australia and that is something to be applauded. Given these fairly exceptional circumstances, we are happy to allow Michael to retain the number 356.”

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

‘Sudarshan Bharat Parikrama‘ reaches Chennai

It was just a great chance to witness a grand parade of Tata Harrier vehicles – the significance is not the vehicles but the personnel as I stood in salute !

Dressed in catchy black – some standing atop with National flag the vehicles whizzed past Kamarajar Salai .. .. they were no ordinary men – the Nation’s Elitist force – NSG Commandos **

Celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, that commemorates the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, an elite group of 47 National Security Guard (NSG) commandos,  are on  ‘Sudarshan Bharat Parikrama‘ to cover the length and breadth of India. 

As you would know, the National Security Guard (NSG) is an elite counter-terrorism unit under the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).  It was founded under the National Security Guard Act,  following Operation Blue Star, the Golden Temple attack and the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, "for combating terrorist activities and protect states against internal disturbances".  NSG crack commandos are fondly referred as ‘Black Cats’.

Driven in 15 Tata Dark Harriers, this landmark rally is traversing  through 18 prominent cities to cover a distance of 7500 km in less than a month. Currently, the rally has travelled through Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi, Gaya, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Vishakapatnam, arriving in Chennai today.    The rally was earlier flagged off by Union Home Minister Amit Shah   from the Red Fort in Delhi.  On the occasion of 37th Raising Day of National Security Guards (NSG), Amit Shah described NSG as a world-class trained force, which can deal with all types of terrorism. The Home Minister said in his tweet, ‘Congratulations to our brave NSG personnel on 37th Raising Day. NSG is a world class trained force, which can deal with all types of terrorism (NSG Commandos in India). This brave force has left no stone unturned to live up to its motto ‘Sarvartra Best Security’. India is proud of NSG Black Cats.

The car rally of the Black Cat commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) has reached Chennai today i.e. on Tuesday.  Giving information about this, NSG commando Lt Col Umesh Rathod said that the car rally is part of ‘Sudarshan Bharat Parikrama’ and would  cover 18 cities in a journey of 7,500 kms.  

NSG was formed in the year 1984. NSG Rising Day is celebrated every year on 16 October  .. the uniformed personnel paid tributes at Tilak Ghat, one of the satyagraha sites at Marina beach here, an official press release said.

Later, Colonel Umesh Rathod, who heads the team, interacted with NCC cadets and motivated them, it said.  

WE salute our Jawans .. .. .. Jai Jawan, Jai Hind

With great regards to our armed forces – S. Sampathkumar
20th Oct 2021.

PS : the photos with watermark are the ones taken by me – rest from twitter. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Colin Powell - the face of US in Iraq war is no more !!

          The man became an instant hero as he made  his presentation making the case for war with Iraq at the United Nations on February 5, 2003.

He  noted that Iraq harbored a terrorist network headed by al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (in a small region controlled by Ansar al-Islam). He also claimed that Iraqis visited Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and provided training to al-Qaeda members.  As much criticism as Powell received for this — he’s called it “painful” and something that will “always be a part of my record” — it hasn’t been close to what’s justified. The man who  was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, was much more than just horribly mistaken: He fabricated “evidence” and ignored repeated warnings that what he was saying was false.

Unfortunately, Congress never investigated his use of the intelligence he was given, so public did not  know many of the specifics. Even so, what did reach the public record in other ways is extremely damning.  My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.  

Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants who became a US war hero and the first Black secretary of state but saw his legacy tarnished when he made the case for war in Iraq in 2003, died today of Covid-19 complications. He was 84. The retired four-star general and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served four presidents made his reputation as a man of honor distant from the political fray -- an asset in the corridors of power.

"General Powell is an American hero, an American example, and a great American story," George W. Bush said as he announced Powell's nomination as secretary of state in 2000.  In December 1989, Bush ordered Gen Colin Powell, then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to launch Operation Just Cause, sending 26,000 invasion troops into Panama in a rehearsal of the Powell “doctrine of overwhelming force” that was next employed two years later in the first Gulf war. "In directness of speech, his towering integrity, his deep respect for our democracy, and his soldier's sense of duty and honor, Colin Powell demonstrates ... qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people of this country."  His infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- the evidence he presented was later proven to be false and remained a blot.

Born April 5, 1937 in Harlem, Powell's "American Journey" -- the title of his autobiography -- started in New York, where he grew up and earned a degree in geology.  Along with earning his degree Powell graduated college in 1958 as a second lieutenant in the US Army.  That led to a 35-year career in the Army, including leading the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  While stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Powell met his wife Alma Johnson. They married in 1962 and went on to have two daughters and a son.

Powell's overseas service began in Vietnam that same year, where he was sent by John F. Kennedy to train South Vietnamese forces.   He was injured soon after in 1963 when he stepped on a booby trapped stake while on patrol, earning a Purple Heart award. Powell went back to Vietnam in 1968 for a second tour, where he famously escaped a helicopter crash and returned to the burning wreckage multiple times to rescue his fellow soldiers. 'With complete disregard for his own safety and while injured himself, Major Powell returned several times to the smoldering aircraft which was in danger of bursting into flames,' his subsequent Soldier's Medal commendation read. 

Upon his return Powell worked toward a Masters of Business Administration at George Washington University.  From there Powell embarked on a career in government service when he earned a prestigious White House Fellowship under the Nixon administration in 1972. Ronald Reagan appointed him his national security adviser in 1987.    His Army service culminated in George H.W. Bush naming Powell as the first black person to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989, where he was confirmed unanimously.

Powell's first big test came soon after he took office when the Gulf War began in 1990. As the nation's highest-ranking military adviser he guided US forces through Operation Desert Storm. The US's successful Middle East campaign had then received rare public praise for the government's handling of a conflict and earned Powell a parade in his hometown of New York.  He stayed on the job for most of Bill Clinton's first year in office but clashed with Clinton officials on a number of social and strategic military fronts.

For many Americans, he was the public face of the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. Powell was initially lukewarm about going into the country, but his reputation soared in the aftermath of the blitzkrieg that ejected Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait. For a while, he even considered a run for the presidency.

Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State who formulated foreign policy under several presidents, died Monday morning at the age of 84 of complications from COVID.   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th Oct 2021. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Rich, wealthy ... whither money - how much is required in life ? Who is the richest person ??

பணம் தேவையா ! அல்லது தேவையற்றதா ! or how much of wealth is required !! – can you identify this rich person ?!?!?  This is no post on whether the earnings of some is really worth and justified !!

'காசு இல்லாமல் ஹோட்டலில் சாப்பிட்டால், மாவாட்ட வேண்டி வரும்' - பல பழைய படங்களில் நெஞ்சை பிழியும் வகையில் வறுமையை காட்ட  ~ சாப்பிட்டுவிட்டு பணம் தர வக்கில்லாமல் தவிக்கும்படி காட்சி அமைப்பை கண்டு இருப்பீர்கள் !  ஏனோ பணம் என்பது நல்லதல்ல ! - பணக்காரன் நல்ல ஆரோக்கியத்துடன் இருக்கமாட்டான் ! பணக்காரர்கள் சரியான தூக்கமில்லாமல் பரிதவிப்பர் போன்ற கிளிஷே கருத்துகள் தமிழ் திரைப்படங்களில் விரவி இருப்பதை பார்த்து இருப்பீர்கள் !! 

அந்தமான் காதலி படத்தில் சிவாஜி பாட்டு :  'பணம் என்னடா பணம் பணம்!  குணம் தானடா நிரந்தரம்; .. .. ..என்னிடத்தில் இல்லாததா !!  - இரக்க மனத்தை கெடுக்கும் அரக்கன்.. பணம் பணம் பணம் ஆ... 

சமீபத்திய சூது கவ்வும் படத்தில் :  காசு பணம் துட்டு மணி மணி; காசு பணம் துட்டு மணி மணி ;  கொடை புடிச்சி நைட்டுல; பறக்க போறேன் ஹைட்டுல; தல காலு புரியல ; தலை கீழா நடக்குறேன்; நல்ல வாயன் சம்பாதிச்சத - நார வாயன் துன்னுறான் ! கணக்கு போட தெரியாதவன் - காச வாரி இறைக்குறான்  

Whether one likes it or not – fact of life is ‘money is certainly needed’ and most people run after money though financial targets can never give absolute satisfaction !!  - People want to be rich, some want to become rich overnight ! 

Richness is a quality or characteristic, either of having a lot of money or of being plentiful. Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions. The modern concept of wealth is of significance in all areas of economics, and clearly so for growth economics and development economics, yet the meaning of wealth is context-dependent. An individual possessing a substantial net worth is known as wealthy. Net worth is defined as the current value of one's assets less liabilities. 

Adam Smith was a famous  Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics.  Smith laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory. The Wealth of Nations was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of economics. In this and other works, he developed the concept of division of labour and expounded upon how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity.  

Stop .. .. How much is 230 billion? Do you really know, how many digits or cyohers it has ?  - if written in numbers, it would be :  230,000,000,000.  Yes,  – it would be : 2,30,00,00,00,000 [Twenty three thousand crores !!]  … contain your astonishment – if one were to convert the same into Indian Rupees, it would be:  Rs.172,58,58,31,04,511/- 

Elon Musk's net worth has surpassed $230 billion making him the richest man on the planet after shares at Space X soar by 33 percent and sell for more than $100 billion, after only joining the Forbes top ten billionaire list in the middle of last year. The Tesla CEO has now outstripped former richest person, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and is currently wealthier than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined. 

The Tesla founder saw his and his SpaceX company's wealth swell after a share sale at SpaceX on October 8 worth $100 billion in a secondary offering. The company had an agreement with both new and existing investors to sell up to $755 million in SpaceX stock from insiders at $560 per share, multiple people close with the deal told CNBC.    The 33 percent increase in its new share price brings the company’s valuation to $100.3 billion after initially offering the deal to investors in February, when SpaceX's valuation stood at $74 billion at 419.19 a share. The first round of offerings raised nearly $1.2 billion, the outlet reports.  

The company's new increased valuation places it in the rare company of a private 'centicorn' or 'hectocorn,' which are companies with a valuation of $1 billion unicorns 100 times over.  Forbes Real-Time Top six  Billionaires List reads :  1.Elon Musk - $214 billion; 2. Jeff Bezos -$197 billion; 3. Bernard Arnault and family - $185 billion; 4. Bill Gates - $132 billion; 5. Mark Zuckerberg -  $116 billion; 6. Larry Ellison - $125 billion 

SpaceX is now the second-most valuable private company worldwide behind only China’s Bytedance, according to CB Insights. That's a far cry from just over a year ago, when Musk didn't even make Forbes top ten billionaires list, which Bezos dominated at number one with a then-net worth of $113 billion. The SpaceX founder was quick to boast about taking the number one spot on the rich list, tweeting a second place medal at Bezos after the Blue Origin and Amazon founder shared some motivational words about his company.

Bezos had previously held the title of world's richest person at $197.8 billion as of 2021, after the pandemic and lockdowns saw a boom in online sales.  In April of this year, Musk pledged to give away $150 million, including a $100 million prize in a carbon removal contest, where the billionaire asked participants to create workable solutions for reducing the planet's CO2 emissions at scale in a 'durable and sustainable way.' The contest started on Earth Day and will run for four years, ending on Earth Day 2025. Since beginning that contest in April, his wealth has increased by around $60 billion, with Bloomberg reporting that the SpaceX deal alone added $11 billion to Musk's net worth. 

The 50-year-old began his career co-founding PayPal before moving on to found SpaceX and Tesla Motors in the early 2000s.  Musk has seen his own net worth soar thanks to Tesla and SpaceX's rising valuations, with the latter having raised billions in an effort to fund two capital-intensive projects, Starlink and Starship. Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access to most of the Earth, while Starship is a fully reusable launch system currently in development.  SpaceX has already launched 1,740 Starlink satellites to date, currently providing an internet network to over 100,000 users in 14 different countries who are a part of the project's public beta, with service priced at $99 a month. 

Don’t lose sleep over all these – we do not need such riches to be happy- for those who live with contentment, good money is what is good enough to take care of one’s basic needs.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Oct 2021.


Triplicane heritage - Dwaram House

Dwaram in Telegu means ‘doorway’ !!  - it is not a simple peephole or gap as understood in Tamil – a cursory reading takes us to one man whose very mention initiates a sojourn in to the World of Instrumental Carnatic music.  Unlikely that many Triplicanites ever understand his association with Thiruvallikkeni. This is a photo of a statue at Visakhapatnam [credit Wiki commons – thotfulspot]

He is no ordinary person .. .. Maharajah's Government College of Music and Dance (మహారాజా ప్రభుత్వ సంగీత నృత్య కళాశాల) is an educational institution in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh. Vizianagaram around 850 km away from Chennai - was ruled by different Hindu emperors of Kalinga and it was an integral part of Kalinga. The area including Srikakulam in the north was under the domain of Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi.  The area was under the rule of Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire too. The Maharaja college is the first music college of South India.  Its first President was  Ajjada Adibhatla Narayana Dasu  & the second was the famous - Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu whose statue is above.

The month of November can be dedicated to the legendary violinist Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu (November 8, 1893 - November 25, 1964). Dwaram Naidu, popularly known as ‘fidelu’ Naidu was the first person to bring violin to the forefront of Carnatic music. He performed his first solo in Vellore in 1938. As he mastered the nuances, infused the techniques of both western and Hindustani music into his playing without compromising on the Carnatic music tradition. Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu was partially blind. He played at the National Physical Laboratory auditorium, New Delhi in 1952, to raise funds for the Blind Relief Association was related to the famous kuchipudi dancer Padma sri Dr Shoba Naidu.  The  famous playback singer Ghantasala learned Carnatic music under Naidu.  

Thiruvallikkeni aka Triplicane is a famed land… It is a place where religion, nationalistic fervour, patriotism, sports, education and the individual dignity have interspersed for the benefit of the State and the larger interests of the Nation.  Triplicane was the seat of freedom struggle –  it is a place of rich history and heritage…. There existed  many famous people   .. .. ..

From the Icehouse which became Vivekananda House, as you travel in Dr Besant Road (named after Annie Besant) … there are smaller lanes and one such is BV Street [there are two BV – Bandi Venkatesa Naicken Street nearer Gangaikondan Mandapam and this Bandala Venugopala Naidu Street]  … in the Bandala Venugopala street, there is one ancient house, one may not attach any significance now – a house with a compound and a garden too.  It is ‘Dwaram house ’  ……..  Way back in March 2006, our Bliss (newsletter of SYMA) featured a post on its famed resident and Yours Truly interviewed that frail women, a reverred violinist.   

One need to travel back to 1800s, in 1893, was born Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, who went on to be an inspiration to many aspiring musicians.  Raised in  Vishakapatnam, he was appointed Professor of violin in the Maharaja's Music College in Vijayanagaram, at the young age of 26, and became its principal in 1936. Have read that Dwaram accompanied almost all the stalwarts of the time,  listened to Western and Hindustani music and even gave Hindustani touches to ragas.  In early 1950s, Dwaram bought a house in Bandala Venugopala Street in Triplicane, and moved to Madras. The awards and titles that Dwaram won were legion  yet this post is not about this man too…..

‘Dwaram Mangathayaru’,  was born on 29th Aug 1937 at Vizianagaram in a family which boasts generations of Carnatic musicians. She was the daughter of renowned violinist Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, who at that time was  the principal of the music college of Vizianagaram.  This unassuming great personality was embellished with many titles & awards– Nadha kanal, Nadha Jyothi, Sangeetha Kala Jyothi, Thirupugazh Mamani, Nadha kala nidhi, Violin Vara gana sudha vani, Sangeetha nadha mani, TTK Award, Gangadevi Eminent Citizen award, Hyderabad to name a few and the conferment of Kalaimamani award on 25/2/06 was really another feather.

In her early age, She studied vocal music under the guidance of Janardhanachari, a renowned veena player. Even in her schooling curriculum she studied music as a special subject. At a very young age of 14 she made a remarkable debut performance on stage as an accompanist of Chembai Vaidhyanatha bagavathar at Vizianagaram. She contined her studies in Waltair obtaining a diploma of violin playing as main subject. During early 1950s their family shifted to Chennai and she had intensive lessons from her father – Great Violin Maestro Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu. At her tender age, she accompanied her father on concert platform before elite audiences that include – Presidents : Babu Rajendra Prasad, Radhakrishnan, Sanjiva Reddy; Premiers – Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv and many other noted personalities.

She studied vocal music from Sri Sandhyavandhanam Sreenivasa Rao. She was a recipient of scholarship for 3 years from the Govt of India under the tutelage of Sri Varahur Muthu Swami Iyer another violin vidwan of yesteryears. She imparted music to many as a Professor of Karnatic music in Maharaja college at Vizianagaram for few years and for over 15 years as a staff artist in All India Radio. In her later part of her career, she taught violin as HOD at Music Academy, Chennai. She  adorned many podiums as a professional accompanist and solo artist. Initially, she played violin in hundreds of concerts with the legend flautist TR Mahalingam. She performed duet concerts with her brother Dwaram Sathyanarayana moorthy. She has played alongside many vidwans on stage, the long list which includes – DK Pattammal, MSS, MLV, Veena Doraiswamy Iyengar, DK Jayaraman, Dr Balamurali Krishna, Oleti Venkateswaralu, S Ramanathan, Radha Jayalakshmi, Bombay sisters, Prema Hariharan, Mani Krishnaswamy & more.  Here is a rendition of hers available on Youtube.

This sublime artist lived in our midst in Triplicane imparting her talents to the young generation that  included some foreigners also. I was fortunate to sit nearer and talk to her for SYMA Bliss and during the conversation she felt that the young generation has less of patience and is drawn to the fast food culture sans nutrition. She was to say that they  devote less time to music and many seek to learn through rapid courses.   

Vivid remembrances !  .. .. .. the Dwaram house now-a-days is seen locked. There are rumours that none lives over there and the property had been sold !  .. .. perhaps sooner it would fall under the hammer and some new apartment would come at that place with its occupants blissfully unaware of its glorious past and association with music – that of Violin flow !! – what a pity.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Oct 2021. 

PS 1:  excerpted from my earlier article based on personal interview with Dwaram Mangatayaru in Apr 2006.  At that time itself, Kumari Mangathayaramma was close to 70 and age was taking its toll.  When the talk centered about SYMA running a Public convenience at the erstwhile place for Temple elephant – she told that she was under the impression that the majestic tusker was still there [Azhwan, the beautiful yanai passed away in 1977 !!]

2: Lt. Col. Pusapati Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju  better known as the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram or Vizzy, played Test Cricket for India and was in fact the Captain of the  team that  toured England in the 1936 -  played 28 first-class fixtures, winning four of them.  The test series was lost 0-2 with 2nd test ending in a draw. The team included -  Lala Amarnath,  Vijay Merchant, Mushtaq Ali,  C. K. Nayudu,  MJ Gopalan, Cotah Ramaswami .. .. …