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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Barbados removes Queen, becomes a Republic !!

It is a ground where India has played nine tests and won none ! (drawn two) – remember that test in Mar 1976 at  Bridgetown (Barbados), when  West Indies won by an innings and 97 runs with two days to spare.  Traditionally, Indian teams have always yielded to pace bowlers on this ground, but that year  they were ousted in the first innings by the leg-spin of Holford and, ironically, all his five wickets were obtained through poor shots at loose balls !!  .. ..  Barbados has produced many great cricketers that would include  Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Gordon Greenidge, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Joel Garner, Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall. Rugby is also popular in Barbados. 

Prince Charles landed in Barbados last night ahead of a historic ceremony removing his mother, the queen, as head of state after 55 years.   Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is 34 kilometres (21 miles) in length and up to 23 km (14 mi) in width, covering an area of 432 km2 (167 sq mi). It is in the western part of the North Atlantic,  outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. 

Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Spanish navigators took possession of Barbados in the late 15th century and claimed for the Crown of Castile. It first appeared on a Spanish map in 1511.  The Portuguese Empire claimed the island between 1532 and 1536, but later abandoned it in 1620 with their only remnants being an introduction of wild boars for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados on 14 May 1625; its men took possession of the island in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and Barbados became an English and later British colony. During this period, the colony operated on a plantation economy, relying on the labour of enslaved Africans who worked on the island's plantations. The slave trade to the island continued until it was outlawed by the Slave Trade Act 1807, with final emancipation of the enslaved population in Barbados occurring over a period of five years following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. 

Dame Sandra Prunella Mason, GCMG, DA, QC is a Barbadian politician, lawyer, and diplomat who was the eighth and last governor-general of Barbados since 2018 and the president-elect of Barbados. She becomes the first president of Barbados today as the Country ceases to be a constitutional monarchy and becomes  a republic. Mason was a practising attorney-at-law who has served as a High Court judge in Saint Lucia and a Court of Appeal judge in Barbados, and was the first woman admitted to the Bar in Barbados.    The Caribbean island becomes  the world's newest republic as it swears in its first president, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, today  - who has pointedly chosen the anniversary of its independence from Britain in 1966.  

Chinese pressure is said to be fuelling a drive to remove the Queen as head of state in Barbados, British MPs have warned. Beijing has pumped at least $490million dollars into the island's tourism industry in recent years - and even more in low interest loans. The money has forced Dame Sandra to deny China is the driving force behind ending 400 years of loyalty to the British crown since King James I without any referendum of the population.  

The Prince of Wales arrived in Barbados amid turmoil for the Royal Family as the Queen, Charles, and Prince William threatened to bring in the lawyers to take action against the BBC over the final instalment of its inflammatory documentary series probing their relations with the media during Megxit.  The heir to the throne flew into the Caribbean on the ministerial jet Voyager late on Sunday night, and was greeted by a large diplomatic party led by Britain's high commissioner to Barbados, Scott Furssedonn-Wood.  Barbadian prime minister Mia Motley and military chiefs lined a red carpet and were introduced to the prince. Also part of the welcoming group was a Guard of Honour and military band, and a deafening 21-gun salute rang out across the Grantley Adams International Airport to mark the prince's arrival.  

In a speech at just after midnight in Bridgetown tonight, the Prince of Wales will highlight the shared goals and enduring bonds between Barbados and the UK during a ceremony marking the Caribbean country's transition to a republic. The Royal Standard will then be lowered and the Presidential Standard will fly from the flag pole instead. The prince was present during the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 and he represented the Queen when Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.   

China has pumped at least $7billion in investment into the Caribbean since 2005, records show, though the true figure - when taking into account soft loan deals and private investment - is thought to run well into the tens of billions. Showpiece projects have included a cricket stadium in Grenada, a casino and resort in the Bahamas, and acquiring Jamaica's largest port.  The country has established beneficial tax deals with Beijing in recent years in an attempt to make itself a hub for Chinese financial firms looking to invest in South America. In 2019, a permanent branch of Invest Barbados was established in Beijing to help attract this investment. Also last year, Barbados signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China, making it part of the country's Belt and Road initiative - otherwise known as the new Silk Road. 

However, not everyone has welcomed China's increased presence in the region. Trade and investment with the likes of Belize, St Lucia, St Kitts, Haiti and St Vincent is still non-existent, largely due to their recognition of Taiwan as a state. 

Barbados will remain a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, a organisation of former British colonies which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II. Charles will also receive the Freedom of Barbados, awarded for extraordinary service to the country, the Caribbean diaspora or to humanity at large. But demonstrations are also expected during the day with some Bajans demanding an apology and reparations from the monarchy and UK Government for slavery. However, there are also concerns among some of the island's population that the issue was not put to a referendum. Barbados' constitution allowed its political leaders to pursue independence without a vote.   

The Queen has been Barbados's head of state since it became independent in 1966 but the issue of becoming a republic has been discussed at national level during the following decades with the process beginning in 1998. Until Tuesday, Barbados is one of the Queen's 16 realms – countries where she is head of state – and in the Caribbean region other countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent.  The heir to the throne will deliver his address just after midnight, local time, as Barbados begins a new chapter in its history on November 30 – the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain – after its first president Dame Sandra Mason is sworn in. Barbados's decision to remove the Queen as head of state will be watched closely by other members of the Commonwealth especially in the Caribbean region. 

There was someone who quipped some decades back that Sun never sets in British empire.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Nov. 2021.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

fully saffron at Tripura - once a bastion of commies !

The Sanskrit name of the state is linked to the Goddess of beauty; Tripura Sundari,  popularly known as Matabari, the presiding deity of the Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaipur, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.   There existed a King by name Tripur too who  was the 39th descendant of Druhyu, who belonged to the lineage of Yayati, a king of the Lunar Dynasty.  Rajmala is a chronicle of the Kings of Tripura, written in Bengali verse in the 15th century under Dharma Manikya. This temple was built by Maharaja Govinda Manikya, during 1660-1675 A.D. The temple is immortalised in two of Rabindranath Tagore's plays namely Rajarshi and Bisharjan.

Kirāta is a generic term in Sanskrit for people who lived in the mountains, particularly in the Himalayas and North-East India and who are postulated to have been Mongoloid in origin. Some theories hold that the word Kirata,  means people with lion nature, suggesting possible relation to the mythical lion-headed tribe called Kimpurusha.  Kirata Kingdom in Sanskrit literature and Hindu mythology refers kingdom of  dwellers in Himalayas; they took part in the Kurukshetra War along with Parvatas.  An ancient name of this State which became a State on this day in 1972 [21st Jan 1972] is Kirat Desh.  The Twipra Kingdom ruled the region for centuries; the Rajmala, a chronicle of Tripuri kings which was first penned in the 15th century, provides a list of 179 kings. 

It is a State with long chequered history.  The Kingdom in its peak included the whole eastern region of Bengal from the Brahmaputra river in the north and west, the Bay of Bengal in the south and Burma to the east during the 14th and 15th centuries AD. The last ruler of the princely state was Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur who reigned from 1947-1949 Agartala after whom the kingdom was merged with India on 9 September 1949 and the administration was taken over on 15 October 1949.  It is the State now known as Tripura. After Indian independence, the princely state of Tripura was merged with the Union of India in 1949. Tripura became a Union Territory on 1 July 1963 and attained the status of a full-fledged state on 21 January 1972.  

Tripura spreads over an area of 10,491.69; has  its capital at Agartala.  The languages spoken are : Bengali & Kokborok.  Tripura  is a state in North East India and is the third-smallest state in the country.  Tripura is bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west, while the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to its east.   Bamboo and cane forests are common, while Tripura has the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. Tripura lies in a geographically disadvantageous location in India, as only one major highway connects it with the rest of the country. This hinders the economic prospects of the state.    

Today’s breaking news is -  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  has secured a thumping victory in Tripura civic polls by bagging 329 of 334 seats on November 25. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) - (CPM), the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Tipra Motha won one seat each.   The Agartala Municipal Corporation has become opponent less, with all 51 wards going to the BJP.

In the urban local bodies, polls were conducted for 334 seats, which includes Agartala Municipal Corporation (51 wards), 13 municipal councils, and six Nagar panchayats in Tripura. The election was majorly contested between three parties - the BJP, the TMC and CPI(M). Of the total 334 seats in the state, elections were held in 222 seats across six nagar panchayats, seven municipal councils and the Agartala Municipal Corporation. The total voter turnout recorded was 81.54 per cent.  

BJP has virtually blanked its opponents of Communists and Trinamool.  Also, BJP won in all 13 civic bodies and secured all 51 seats for the Agartala Municipal Corporation.  The BJP supporters took to the streets of Agartala to celebrate the saffron party’s win in the Tripura civic polls.   

Tripura, was considered to be a Left bastion till recent decades.  Tripura goes to polls in 2023, and there still seems to be multiple parties fighting after the civic poll results.  Biplab Kumar Deb  is  the current Chief Minister of Tripura. He has been the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Tripura 2016 till 2018 and led the BJP to victory in the 2018 Legislative Assembly Election, defeating 25 years rule of the Left Front government led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He took  oath as the 10th Chief Minister of Tripura on 9 March 2018. 

It is a saffron avalanche … and everybody else got washed away. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Nov. 2021. 

Come On !! - Ash !!! - another great milestone beckons .. .. just 1 away.

Ravichandran  Ashwin  got young !is this grammatically correct statement ?  

For ardent Cricket fan, the game is more intriguing than the language and its grammar – Ashwin  is on the verge of another personal milestone ! and We wish him getting this sooner tomorrow morning and that would take India closer to another Test victory at Kanpur. 

Today morning session – Team India was in jitters -  Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Ajaz Patel had reduced India to 51 for 5, and with such a dramatic collapse, Kiwis held the upper hand.  As a Senior Pro opined, is this the last test for some seniors – some pundits referred this to : Cheteswar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma and the Captain Ajinkya Rahane, who had another failure.  Ravi Ashwin strode in, stood tall, played some elegant shots and together with debutant Shreyas Iyer eased the nerves.. .. then  Iyer and Saha added 64 for the seventh wicket to take India's lead past 200. India finally declared on 234 for 7, and in the four overs possible before bad light forced stumps, Ashwin dismissed Will Young lbw with the one that kept low. Had Young opted for the review in time, he would have survived as replays showed the ball was spinning past leg stump. 

So India has one day to get 9 wickets – NZ 280 more and Ashwin – first one more wicket.  .. .. he is on the verge with 417 wickets now! Just one needed to whizz past Harbhajan Singh’s tally.  

In the first innings  Ashwin had Latham too.   It was another Ash beauty – tossed up, spun, beat the outside edge and rapped Latham on the pads. Umpire Nitin Menon, turned down the vociferous appeal for lbw – stand-in keeper Sreekar Bharat was not conclusive and Ajinkya Rahane not smart enough to review - replays showed  categorically that all 3 parameters had been ticked and Latham would have been on his way back -  was on 66 then.  A little later, there was some fireworks – not from the bat.  Umpire Nitin  Menon and Ashwin were involved in hard argument in  what seemed like an intervention on Ashwin's follow-through.  While the Umpire can certainly penalize any bowler for infringement, for running on danger area – that was not to be.  When bowling from around the wicket, the offspinner was delivering from close to the stumps and then moving across towards the left-hander's leg side to avoid stepping on to the danger area. In the process, he seemed to be obstructing the umpire's view and that of the non-striker too.  Feel that Umpire has no role in directing how the bowler should deliver and Umpire had a chat with Captain Rahane too.  Ashwin was clearly frustrated.  India's coach Rahul Dravid, too, was seen making a visit to match referee Javagal Srinath's room.  

At the start of the year, in Feb 2021,  nine years and 110 days after he made his debut against the West Indies Ravichandran Ashwin, 34 - reached the landmark with Jofra Archer's wicket in the 24th  over on day Two of the fourth Test match in Ahmedabad. The previous  12 months had been phenomenal for the Tamil Nadu spinner as he went about picking 39 wickets in just seven Test matches. Such has been the pace that when India's Test series in Australia started, Nathan Lyon was on 390 wickets and Ashwin on 365 - both in the race to 400. While Lyon is  still static  at 399-  Ashwin  zoomed past the mark.  

India’s best bowler was improperly treated and kept out during England Series – before the start of this Test   - Ravichandran Ashwin has taken 413 in 79 tests; Wasim Akram 414/104; Harbhajan 417/103; Shaun Pollock 421/108; Richard Hadlee 431/86; Ranganna Herath 433/93, legendary Kapil Dev 434/131 … .. to Kumble 619; Jimmy Anderson 630; shane Warne 708 and the pinnacle of Muthiah Muralitharan 800 in 133 tests  

Ashwin’s rise sounds so meteoric - 6th fastest to 100 wickets; 3rd fastest to 200 wickets; 1 fastest to 300 wickets; 1st  fastest to 350 (combined)  & 2nd fastest to 400 – among all bowlers that would include all time greats like Muthiah Muralitharan, legendary Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and all those who played Test Cricket !  

Now at 417 in his 80th test only 2 Indian Bowlers are above him.  The great Kapil Dev with 434 in 131 tests and Anil Kumble 619 in 132 tests. For those of us interested in statistics, only 23 Indian bowlers have taken 100 wickets or more in Test Cricket – of the list – there are 7 left arm spinners, 3 leg spinners, 8 pace bowlers and 5 off spinners.  Among the Offies – Ashwin has 417 in his 80th; Harbhajan Singh 417 in 103 tests; Erapalli Anandasundara Prasanna 189/ 49; Srinivasan Venkatraghavan 156/57 and Shivlal Yadav 102/35 tests.  

So wishing Ashwin all the best to go past Harbhajan Singh tomorrow morning and .. .. .. overtake Anil Kumble too in his career.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Nov. 2021. 

Cashew crime .. .. !!

Do you know  what this is ? ! ? 

Decades ago ! there were few claims worth lakhs of Rupees (big amount those days) – on cargo exported to Malaysia from Chennai on board ship - attributed to shortage of  cargo –noticed at destination.   

·         The claimants attributed the shortage to theft, calling it a peril and claimed insurance under Policy coverage being on ICC (A) terms

·         Consignments being laden on FCL/ FCL containers – insurers wanted the losses to be established

·         Claimants submitted FIR – lodged at Port area PS stating that there had been loss and most likely someone had stolen from containers

·         Later it was observed that the Indian exporter who had taken insurance coverage had sold them on ‘FOB Madras’ terms – with their obligation ceasing on placing containers across ship’s rails – the policy coverage also did not extend beyond, it was argued

·         In a quirk turn of events (afterthought !) – Police officials arrested two drivers in a lane near Port – in connection with the crime

·         They made confession that they had delayed the transit of container from the loading point – to entry in to the port

·         Took the container on a deviant route and colluded with some in skillfully tampering container seal and stealing contents

·         They deposited a meager amount in the Court stating that they possessed only this value now and had luxuriously spent couple of days with the ill-gotten money !!

·         It was a consignment of ‘Cashew nuts’ .. .. …


Cashew nut is a delicious popular snack – its rich flavour is liked by many and often eaten raw, roasted, lightly salted, sugared or covered in chocolate.  It is a great accompaniment for  tea,  soft drinks and hard drinks.   It is also very commonly used in Indian cuisine, lavishly used in dishes like Pongal, sweet payasam, kesari and more.  Can you imagine that they add cashew nut with brinjal and make a special  veg dish (vankai kaju) in Andhra !  The nut can be used whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries  or some sweets.   There is also a popular country liquor in Goa known as Fenny or Feni, which is made from the juice of cashew apple.    


Cashew  is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae; it derives its name from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju [it is kaju in Telegu also].  The cashew-nut tree is a fast grower and an evergreen tropical tree. It grows to a height of 12 m. Blossoming takes place between November and January. Seedling trees flower in the third year after planting. The fruit ripens fully within 2 months.  The nut is attached to the lower portion of the cashew apple which is conically shaped. The cashew nut (seed) hangs at the bottom of the apple, and is c-shaped.   The cashew seed has within the outside shell the edible kernel or nut.  Cashew apples and cashew nuts are excellent sources of nutrition. The cashew apple contains five times more vitamin C than an orange and contains more calcium, iron and vitamin B1 than other fruit such as citrus, avocados and bananas.  Cashew shell oil extracted from the shells is caustic and causes burns on the skin. 

Not a post on agriculture or cookery but on a crime .. .. .. Police arrested seven men, including in Namakkal district on Friday night for robbing a container truck carrying 12 tonne of cashew nuts, worth Rs 1.1 crore. The arrest  reportedly was made at Thimmanayakan Patti near Rasipuram by the Namakkal district police in coordination with the Tuticorin Police. 

According to police, the container truck carrying cashew nuts meant to be exported to Japan - was going to the Tuticorin port from a cashew factory at Thuckalay in Kanyakumari district. Driver Hari was waylaid on the Tirunelveli - Tuticorin National Highway by an unidentified gang when the truck was near Pudukottai in Tuticorin district. The gang members threatened him at knifepoint and drove away the container truck. Hari informed the manager of the firm, who in turn lodged a complaint in the Pudukottai police on Friday morning. Special teams were formed to track the truck and nab the miscreants. The miscreants damaged the GPS devise in the truck, making the chase challenging. Learning that the truck had headed to Namakkal district, the Tuticorin district police alerted their counterparts there, who traced the vehicle and nabbed the accused. 

Gnanaraj Jebasingh, 38, and his 6  accomplices were arrested and  quizzed by the local police. They were handed over to a special team from Tuticorin district. The Tuticorin police arrested the accused and took possession of a car used by the accused. Incidentally, the first accused is the son of Mr ST Chellapandian, a former Minister of Labour in Tamil Nadu cabinet (2011-2016). He lost the election to DMK’s P Geetha Jeevan in 2016. 

Whether the cargo was insured and whether a claim had been lodged are not known.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

dark rain clouds over Chennai Marina !!


Dark clouds !!  rain-bearing clouds !! Chennaites now would only have adverse reaction to more rain !! 

"கரு முகில் என வளர் கருணை அம் கடல் பொருது" -  கரிய  மேகம்  போல (பாற்கடலில்)

கண்வளர்கின்ற    கருணைக்    கடலாகிய     திருமால்.   கம்ப இராமாயணம் திருவவதாரப்படலம்.  

The Latin word nimbus means “dark cloud” or “rain storm,”  Nimbus clouds get their intimidating look from the scattering of sunlight at their upper reaches and margins, and the absorption of sunlight by large water droplets.   

Friday, November 26, 2021

Torrential rains ! time to appreciate Conservancy workers & others !!

It rained so heavily (especially mid-noon – continuous heavy showers for approx 40 mins !) leaving many places inundated and water-logged .. .. with so many weather bloggers mushrooming – perhaps it is worth a try stating the obvious ‘it may rain heavily’.  [remember Idi Amin aka Madhan Bob in Mazhai movie] – the official reports are readily available at IMD Chennai and this picture does instill fear. 

Rain causes great inconvenience, especially in a metropolis like Chennai which remains always not ready for the challenges of the torrential showers.  When it pounded Chennai, traffic is hit as rainwater finds little or no way to go into the drain – an officer was heard recently explaining technically that the river at Saidapet was overflowing higher than the exit points of drainage from Mambalam and hence the water stagnation .. .. plausible, but what could have been done and what was done! 

Then there is problem of garbage .. .. According to Chennai Corporation data, 6,407 tonnes of waste was collected across the city on a Saturday, apart from 511 tonnes of debris, when it rained.  The rain presents a massive problem and conservancy workers (as also Electricity, Forest, Fire fighting, Police, Corporation and many others) work extensively clearing the debris / tree branches (sometimes they have to be cut to be removed and without electricity it becomes tedious) – we could see such workers fighting the rain and other odds in helping us out and is it not our duty to be kind and friendly with them.  Here is a photo of a conservancy worker in our area happily posing in normal times ! and SYMA honouring conservancy staff of Urbaser Sumeet at Triplicane on an earlier occasion.  The civic body intensified the conservancy operations soon after the rains by deploying workers to carry out night conservancy and additional machinery to collect and transport the waste. 

What goes out – comes back too !!  - the floods triggered by heavy rain in the last few days may have flushed out waste from the Cooum and Adyar rivers, but the currents have pushed it all back to land, in particular to the Elliot's and Marina beaches. A team from city-based National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) visited the two beaches on November 21 and found large quantities of garbage on the Elliot's beach at Besant Nagar, while the Marina had puddles of water mixed with sewage.  In a 2018 article published in 'Current Science', NCCR scientists said nearly one lakh tonnes of debris including plastic, rubber and thermacol were pushed to the Chennai coast during the December 2015 floods. Similarly, after a heavy spell in November 2017 triggered a flood-like situation, measurements at the mouths of the two rivers and the Marina, Elliot's and Thiruvanmiyur beaches revealed a majority of the waste was plastic.   

Then to the ethereal Q – does such massive volume of rain solve City’s water problem.  Sadly a BIG NO as this report in The New  Indian Express captioned “Chennai wastes nearly 2 years’ water supply in just 20 days” states. Some excerpts. 

             The amount of water let into the sea over the past three weeks could have catered to Chennai’s water needs for one-and-a-half years. According to official sources, over 20 thousand million cubic ft (TMC) of water was released from five major reservoirs in the city (which supply drinking water) since November 6. With Chennai’s water requirement being 1 TMC per month, about 20 months’ supply was wasted. Even on Thursday, as much as 2,000 cusecs of water continued to be released from the Chembarambakkam and Red Hills reservoirs.  Public Works Department officials said they would wait for the rains to subside before beginning desilting work. Currently, water is being released in phases to avoid inundation in the low-lying areas, officials said.  

However, experts pointed out that no lessons were learnt after the 2015 deluge, when drinking water that would suffice for 25 years was wasted. “After facing the worst drought in 2019, the reservoirs were neither desilted nor deepened even when they were bone dry. Moreover, the run-off (the amount of rainwater wasted) is 80 per cent,” said S Janakarajan, water conservation expert. Chennai has nearly 4,200 small waterbodies and an average annual rainfall of 140 cm. A retired professor from the State Water Resources department, P Ramachandran said, with such heavy rainfall, if water is stored, there would be no need for desalination plants to meet drinking water needs.  

Sad is the state of affairs – no political post this .. .. heavy rains are predicted, stay safe, help others, try to keep your surroundings clean, do not litter garbage, and support Conservancy and other workers who do yeoman service in making our lives easy. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Yogi's magical magnificence - Jewar International Airport

The imposing structure ‘Thanjai Periya Kovil’  Brihadeeswaram  “Peruvudaiyar Kovil” (தஞ்சைப் பெருவுடையார் கோயில்) is one of India's most prized architectural sites. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, Brihadeeswarar  Temple of Lord Shiva is  popularly known as the Thanjai Periya kovil  ('Big Temple)', turned 1000 years ancient  in 2010. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples".


Miles away lies – Jewar, a nagar panchayat in Gautam Buddha Nagar District in the Uttar Pradesh.  History records that the town was named after the sage Maharshi Jaawali.  In the west of Jewar at a distance of 1 km. is an ashram and an old temple of the Maharshi.  Jewar is located in the suburbs of Greater Noida about 60 km. from Noida, 40 km from Greater Noida, 33 km from Gautam Buddha University and 35 km. from Khair. It is in news – Internationally !! 

The idea for an airport in Jewar was mooted during Rajnath Singh’s tenure as UP CM in 2001. In 2010, the then CM, Mayawati, proposed a Taj Aviation Hub, which did not make any headway.  The foundation stone of the Noida International Airport at Jewar in Uttar Pradesh was laid by Prime Minister  Shri Narendra Modiji with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Jyothiraditya Scindia present.  

Once completed, the airport will be India’s largest. With the foundation-laying ceremony for the Noida International Airport, Uttar Pradesh is now on its way to having five international airports, the highest for any state in India. In perspective, the state had only two international airports since 2012 when Varanasi got this distinction after Lucknow. The international airport at Kushinagar became operational after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th Nov   2021, while work on the international airport in Ayodhya is in full swing and air services are expected to start early next year. The fifth international airport is to come up at Jewar near Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR). The airport will also be the country's "first net zero emissions airport". 

At present, Uttar Pradesh has 8 operational airports, while 13 airports and 7 airstrips are being developed. The operational airports handling commercial flights in Uttar Pradesh are Lucknow, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Agra, Kanpur, Prayagraj and Hindon (Ghaziabad). The unique distinction of Uttar Pradesh in providing unmatched air connectivity in the country is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to ensure uninterrupted multi-modal connectivity on land, railways, water and air. The ambitious Prime Minister’s GatiShakti National Master Plan has infused a sense of urgency into the plans for infrastructure development in the state. 

The Noida International Airport at Jewar is spread across an area of 5,000 acres and is being developed by Zurich International Airport AG at an estimated cost of Rs 29,560 crore. The Swiss Airport company had won the bid in November 2019 following which a concessionaire agreement had been signed with the state government. 

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has hailed the airport project as “monumental” for residents in Western UP and the NCR region. The airport is part of the government’s aviation push to bring operational flights to smaller cities. A concession agreement was signed in October last year with the concessionaire, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), an SPV of the bid winner Zurich International Airport AG. In 2019, The Zurich Airport offered a bid of Rs 400.97 per passenger followed by a bid of Rs 360 by Adani Group and emerged as the winner. Noida International Airport Limited, a joint venture, was incorporated as a government organisation in which UP government has 35%, Noida Authority 35%, Greater Noida Industrial Authority 12.5% while Yamuna Expressway Industrial Authority has 12.5% share holding. 

Jewar Airport is located about 72 km from the existing IGI Airport in New Delhi, 40 km from Noida, and about 40 km from the multi-modal logistics hub at Dadri. The airport will have multi-modal connectivity owing to its proximity to the existing Yamuna Expressway (Greater Noida to Agra), close to Eastern Peripheral Expressway and it will be linked with Delhi-Mumbai Expressway at Ballabhgarh, Khurja-Jewar NH 91, dedicated freight corridor, Metro Extension from Noida to NIA and the proposed High Speed Rail (Delhi-Varanasi) at airport terminal. A 60-meter wide road parallel to the Expressway proposed to be widened to 100 metres. The Jewar airport will be developed in four phases over the next 30 years. As per initial calculations, phase 1 will witness an approximate traffic of 12 million passengers per annum, which is expected to increase to 70 million passengers per annum by the end of phase 4. The cost of the Jewar airport from the first phase is set to increase from Rs 4,588 crore to Rs 29,560 crore.

Great events happen when great people are at the reign !  .. .. now read the news part too .. .. that of a jinx.  While former Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati were scared of visiting Noida, CM Yogi Adityanth on Thursday reached the state’s urban hub, breaking the famous Noida ‘jinx’ yet again. ‘Noida jinx‘ is a superstitious belief among political parties and Chief ministers in Uttar Pradesh that a person who goes to Noida during his/her chief ministership loses the next elections. However, CM Adityanath, along with Prime Minister  Shri  Narendra Modiji, visited Noida on November 25 for the groundbreaking (Bhoomi Pujan) ceremony of Noida International Airport in Jewar, Uttar Pradesh.  This is not the first time, earlier in 2017 - Mr. Adityanath had visited Noida accompanying  the Prime Minister   for the inauguration of the new Metro line that reduces  travel time to parts of south Delhi by at least 30 minutes.

“There must be no space of superstition in governance. Government must not be driven by superstition . A good administrator must avoid such practices and I congratulate Yogi Adityanath that he has set an example,” Shri Modiji said at that time.   

It is believed that the Noida jinx has been the reason for several U.P. Chief Ministers, including Veer Bahadur Singh, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Kalyan Singh and Mayawati losing power after a visit to Noida. Rumours about the jinx started in 1988 when Chief Minister Veer Bahadur Singh lost power within days of visiting Noida. Later in 1997 and again in 2012, Ms. Mayawati lost power after visiting Noida. In 1989, N.D. Tiwari and 10 years later, in 1999, Kalyan Singh seemed to be hit by the same jinx. In 1995, Mulayam was out of power within months of his Noida visit. Ms. Mayawati lost in the 2012 Assembly elections after she flew to Noida in October 2011 to inaugurate the Dalit Prerna Sthal. In August 2012, CM Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the Yamuna Expressway from Lucknow and avoided travelling to Noida. The following year, he inaugurated infrastructure projects in Gautam Buddh Nagar without visiting the city. 

For some anything on UP would evoke derisive comments and none would expect Saffron clad monk Administrator to be so daring .. .. before you wish to comment anything on superstition / jinx – there is something associated with Thanjai periya kovil too, which turned 1000 in 2010, and should have been celebrated with gay and gaiety. 

In 2010,  facing a crucial Assembly elections in about seven months the then  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister played it safe by entering the ‘Big Temple’   for its millennium year celebrations from a side entrance in the North. A special make-shift entrance with permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had been provided for the 87-year-old Mr Karunanidhi, an avowed skeptic in religious matters, to enter the temple in his battery-driven mini-car to participate in the celebrations. The jinx was related to the fate that befell former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had visited the ‘Big Temple’ in 1984 for a celebration to commemorate the great Chola King along with former TN Chief Minister M G Ramachandran. Shortly later that year, Ms Indira Gandhi was killed by her own bodyguards in Delhi, while MGR fell seriously ill from which he never fully recovered. However, one of the senior DMK Ministers and Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi defended stating “our leader was dissuaded by many not to attend the function connected with Raja Raja Cholan, but he being a stout follower of the rationalist leader EVR, ignored them all and still participated in this function to mark the Big Temple’s 1000th year” 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                            
26th Nov. 2021.

Shreyas Iyer's makes it a dream debut !

At Kanpur, today Tim Southee delivered one of the great Test-match spells by a visiting fast bowler in India to drag New Zealand back into the Kanpur Test, before Will Young and Tom Latham put on a resolute and unbroken 129 to ensure all four results were still in play after two engrossing days and this young man basked in glory !! 

Sometimes some get things easily – during previous tour Cheteswar Pujara’s presence in team was questioned @ at the same time, Ajinkya Rahane is hailed as future and groomed as Captaincy material.  Here is pure statistics of his performance in year 2021 :  22,4 (Sydney); 37, 24 (Brisbane); 1,0 (Chennai); 67,10 (Chennai); 7, dnb (Ahmbd); 27 (Ahmbd); 49,15 (Southampton); 1,61 (Lords); 18,10 (Leeds); 14,0(Oval) and 35 today at Kanpur – 2>50s in 20 innings  !!!  

At Lords – in July 2021 -  Test no. 2422  Devon Conway basked  in glory at Lords after joining a long list of 111 players –  there were 15 of them who have made it for India at that time.  ‘Century on debut’ – Conway garnered more glory. 

AT Kanpur   there were two debutants – one had been around since 2017, having played 22 ODI / 813 runs including a century  & 32 T2oI/ 580 runs  -  Shreyas Santosh Iyer.    In Feb 2015, Iyer was signed in the 2015 IPL players auction by the Delhi Daredevils for 2.6 crores! Becoming  the highest-earning uncapped player in the tournament. He scored 439 runs in 14 matches, with a 33.76 average and a strike rate of 128.36, making Iyer the 9th most consistent player and Emerging Player of 2015 IPL.  In the 2020 season, he continued as the captain for Delhi Capitals and he also led them to their maiden IPL final against the Mumbai Indians.   He missed the half season of IPL 2021 due to an injury in his left Shoulder while playing for India in the first   ODI series against England but made successful comeback within a span of 6 months of Delhi Capitals.  

Yesterday he was unbeaten on 75* - and today went on to join the list of :  Lala Amarnath; RH Shodhan; AG Kripal Singh; Abbas Ali Baig; Hanumant Singh; Gundappa Viswanath; Surinder Amarnath; M Azharuddin; Pravin Amre; Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina; Shikhar Dhawan; Rohit Sharma & Prithvi Shaw.  Now reading this list, can you tell – who was the first Indian to make a century on debut as also the Second Indian to do so ?

The first batsman to achieve this feat was Charles Bannerman playing for Australia against England in the very first test in Mar 1877 – scoring 165*

One may be interested ! to read that: Lala Amararnath; RH Shodhan; AG Kripal Singh; Abbas Ali Baig; Hanumant Singh; Surinder Amarnath; Pravin Amre; Suresh Raina; & Prithvi Shaw did not add any after that solitary start. (Shaw is still playing and possibly would score more !).  Gundappa Vishwanath scored 14; Azharuddin 22; Prince Sourav Ganguly 16; Virender Sehwag 23; Dhawais still playing and possibly would score more !).  Gundappa Vishwanath scored 14; Azharuddin 22; Prince Sourav Ganguly 16; Virender Sehwag 23; Dhawan 7 and Rohit Sharma 8 (more waiting to come!) and Rohit Sharma 8 (more waiting to come!)

Now if you had answered the Q at the start.  The first and second Indians to score a century on debut is none from that list of 15 starting from Lala Amarnath.

The senior Nawab of Pataudi, Iftikhar Ali Khan, is the only Test cricketer to have played for both England and India. Educated at Aitchison's College, Lahore and Balliol College, Oxford, he made the England squad for the 1932-33 Bodyline series.  Though he scored a century on debut (the Second Indian to make a century on debut), he was dropped after the next Test, apparently because he disagreed with the tactics of Douglas Jardine, and returned home before the end of the tour.  That was Test no. 220 at Sydney in Dec 1932.  He played for England against Australia. 

The first Indian to score a century on debut was KS Ranjit Sinhji. Ranji, an Indian prince, was probably one of the finest batsmen of all time, not only in terms of runs scored but also because he brought new strokes to the game  He arrived at Cambridge in 1891 (where he acquired the nickname "Smith") never having played an organised game and won a Blue in his final summer. After serving his qualification, he marked his debut for Sussex at Lord's in May 1895.  He made his debut at Manchester in July 1896 playing for England against Australia scoring 62 and 154 not out.  

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

PS: the same Q I had put earlier too !!


rains in Triplicane


திருவல்லிக்கேணியில்  அடை மழை !; கனமழை! .. அரைமணி நேரம் கொட்டியது .. .. இன்னமும் பெய்கிறது !!  @ 0100 pm on 26.11.2021