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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Supreme Court - 'cause of loss' of Fire and its relevance

Policies are contract of Insurance – any claim is adjusted by Technical experts interpreting in their own way the fine prints of policy which are full of ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots’ – many a times Courts step in practically excusing a man for not reading or understanding them.   Innovations may not be needed but some old thinking will have to redefined.  The Court judgements sometimes are what common man would see it – the bulk opinion ie., the opinion of the vast majority of people. It is not for us to say whether they are right or wrong but they are interpretations given without any bias, rather interpreting against the originator of the contract.

In India, we have the Standard Fire & Special perils policy – which as the name suggests, insures the risk of Fire and some other allied perils that include some water and some wind as well.  In property insurance – there are named perils (SFSP) and coverage on All risks – rather exclusions driven.

To get indemnity under a named peril policy – the claimant needs to establish that the loss to the insured property was caused by a fortuity that is a peril named in the insurance policy.  (you may think it to be other after reading fully the recent judgement of the Supreme Court – but there are many finer aspects considered that are interesting and are learning to all concerned)

It is a case of an Appeal filed by PSU Insurer -   this appeal challenging the 10.8.2022 order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which partially allowed the consumer complaint directing the Insurance Company to pay Rs.6,57,55,155/- for a fire insurance claim with 9% interest from Page 2 of 33 claim denial date within 8 weeks, or face 12% interest beyond the stipulated 8 weeks.

The claim had been repudiated by the Insured to which the claimant protested.  The repudiation itself was based on some critical aspects

-          the insured premises not affected due to alleged fire. (stating that the part as described in the policy was not affected while the damaged part was not defined to be insured)

-           The root cause of the fire incident was due to the negligence on the part of the Management in not taking adequate precautions when the construction work was going on that too in a secured customs bonded warehouse where many hazardous chemicals were stored:

Stating the two important aspects, the Insurance Company sought to deny the claim on specific grounds  :  (i) that the location of fire was part of the premises not covered under the insurance policy, and (ii) that there was negligence on the part of the insured in carrying out repairs at the roof of the warehouse which caused the fire. 

The Apex Court dwelt at length various aspects of the case.  Court observed that looking at the policy documents, the Leave & License Agreement and various communications received from the customs, police, fire & electricity departments, it is reasonable to   conclude that the insured premises was the one that was identified and insured at Survey No. 9/3, by the insurance company. Needless to say, there is nothing to conclude that the area where the fire occurred on 14.03.2018 was not covered by the said insurance policy.

The Court then analysed the condition of the policy -  Clause 3(a) states that the insurance policy would cease to be applicable or cover the insured premises in certain cases where there is an increased risk of loss or damage to the insured premises or goods within it. In this case, the insured had undertaken repairs on the rooftop to prevent water leakage to the warehouse. Such essential repair work on the rooftop by itself, cannot be reasonably construed to be an alteration that would increase the risk of loss or damage, as has been urged by the insurance company. In our assessment, the said repair work would not fall in the category of an alteration which would increase the risk insured for the warehouse premises. Therefore, no infirmity is seen with the view taken by the NCDRC on the same. 

The Court came down heavily on multiple Survey reports / Investigation reports and other  tabulated summary of reports  which revealed multiple and conflicting findings. Seven of the reports suggest short-circuit as the cause for fire. The 23.04.2018 report of the Electrical Inspector highlighted that a short-circuit around 4:30 pm on 14.03.2018, led to sparks in M/s. Mudit Roadways' warehouse. Consequently, the falling electrical sparks ignited the boxes, papers, and chemicals. The Assistant Manager of the Jawaharlal Nehru Trust also affirmed that the fire was triggered by an electrical short-circuit, as observed by the fire-fighting teams at site. 

The learned counsel for the claimants relied on Canara Bank vs. United India Insurance Company to contend that the insurance company cannot escape its liability if there is nothing to prove that the fire was caused by the insured itself, irrespective of what the cause of fire was. Reliance was also placed on Khatema Fibres Ltd. vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.4 to argue that the surveyor’s report was not sacrosanct and therefore, could be departed from, if needed.

According to the Insurance Act 1938, an approved surveyor's assessment is necessary for a claim. The claimant however contended that the surveyor's report is not definitive. The key question is the extent to which the report is binding and under what conditions can it be overridden in. To address this, Section 64(UM)(4) of the Insurance Act, 1938 can be usefully read which concerns surveyors and loss assessors  64-UM. (4) No claim in respect of a loss which has occurred in India and requiring to be paid or settled in India equal to or exceeding twenty thousand rupees in value on any policy of insurance, arising or intimated to an insurer at any time after the expiry of a period of one year from the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1968, shall, unless otherwise directed by the Authority, be admitted for payment or settled by the insurer unless he has obtained a report, on the loss that has occurred, from a person who holds a licence issued under this section to act as a surveyor or loss assessor (hereafter referred to as “approved surveyor or loss assessor”): Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to take away or abridge the right of the insurer to pay or settle any claim at any amount different from the amount assessed by the approved surveyor or loss assessors”." The above provision mandates that claims above Rs. 20,000 must be initially assessed by an approved surveyor. It is noteworthy that the insurer has the discretion to settle the claim for a different amount, than what is assessed by the surveyor.

The Court unequivocally concluded that  the precise cause of a fire, whether attributed to a short-circuit or any alternative factor, remains immaterial, provided the claimant is not the instigator of the fire. This case underscored the fundamental principle that an insurance company’s obligation to the insured is of much greater import. The NCDRC’s judicious application of this binding precedent appears to be well-merited. 

The upshot of the above discussion is that the reports suggesting electrical short circuit as the trigger for the warehouse fire, is found to fit in with the attendant circumstances. As a corollary, the fire at the warehouse cannot be attributable to any negligent act of the insured. Moreover, the fire is found to have occurred within the insured warehouse and the appellant’s plea to the contrary, is not believable. Therefore, it is a case of wrongful repudiation by the appellants.

The following mention of the Court is noteworthy :  No legal infirmity is thus seen with the impugned decision favouring the respondent’s insurance claim. In the realm of risk and uncertainty, individuals and organisations seek solace in the bastion of insurance – a covenant forged on the bedrock of trust. Trust serves as the cornerstone, forming the essence of the insurer-insured relationship. The fundamental principle is that insurance is governed by the doctrine of uberrimae fidei – there must be complete good faith on the part of the insured.v The heart & soul of an insurance contract lies in the protection it accords to those who wish to be insured by it. This understanding encapsulates the foundational belief that insurance accords protection & indemnification, preserving the sanctity of trust within its clauses. Effectively, the insurer assumes a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and honour their commitment. This responsibility becomes particularly pronounced when the insured, in their actions, have not been negligent. In light of the vital role that trust plays in insurance contracts, it is important to ensure that the insurer adequately fulfils the duty that has been cast on it, by virtue of such a covenant. 

This may not go well with most Insurers who would be inclined to interpret the condition in a traditional manner.  May be as we read analyse and understand the finer aspects of judgements, more clarity would come to us.

With regards – S Sampathkumar
Citation : Supreme Court of India  Civil Appeao 339/2023 – New India Assurance Vs Mudit Roadways. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel - all 41 rescued !

A joyous day for the Nation -  all the  41 workers trapped underground in a tunnel in Uttarakhand's Silkyara have been rescued today. The breakthrough came after rat-miners were brought in last evening and manually dug the last stretch.  


A great moment for the Nation – time for gratitude – Nation is grateful to the concerted efforts of  our beloved PM,  Army, NDRF, SDRF, MoRTH, tunnel experts & everyone else  involved in the rescue operation of 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand. The resilience displayed by those trapped for over 17 days is an inspiration for us. Congratulations to all! 

The Silkyara Bend–Barkot tunnel was being constructed by Navayuga Engineering Construction Limited (NECL) as part of the Char Dham all-weather road project connecting four sacred sites, and it was located on the Yamunotri end of National Highway 134. That National Highway is planned to connect Dharasu on the south end to Yamunotri on the north end. The tunnel will shorten the route by about 20 kilometres (12 mi). It is planned to be 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) long.


At approximately 5:30 am on 12 November 2023, a section of the Silkyara tunnel under construction collapsed. The collapse occurred around 200 meters from the entrance of the tunnel, trapping 41 construction workers inside.  A team of geologists from the state government and educational institutions was sent to the location for analysis and rescue. Operation Zindagi was launched by the State government to save the trapped workers. Two tunnel boring machines were  deployed during the rescue efforts, the second (flown in three parts) after the progress of the first was not speedy enough The rescue team contacted the team that freed the students from the Tham Luang cave in Thailand in 2018 also. 

Drilling through the debris in the tunnel was stopped on 17 November after cracking sounds were heard. Alternative access tunnels were started parallel and adjacent to the existing main tunnel. Three pipes were drilled during the operation, one providing oxygen, one providing passage for dry food, and a 6 inches (15 cm)-wide pipe that was used to supply hot meals and allow the insertion of an endoscopic camera. 

As days progressed and as rescue operations were hit with more ordeals there was palpable tension and panic.   A few hours ago, comes the happy news that all forty-one workers  trapped inside Silkyari tunnel since November 12  have been  evacuated safely. The rescued workers were draped in orange marigold flower garlands and were greeted by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and Union Minister VK Singh. 

The trapped workers were pulled out through 57 metres of steel pipe on stretchers fitted with wheels. Rat-hole miners emerged as the heroes as they drilled with their hands to safely evacuate all 41 workers trapped in a collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel. The smiles on their faces hid all the exhaustion from digging in the cramped tunnel where even breathing becomes a challenge.  "The workers were so happy seeing us. They hugged us and offered us almonds," Devendra, one of the miners, told NDTV. "We cut 15 metres. We were very happy when we reached there and got a glimpse of them," said another. 

The rescuers resorted to rat-hole mining, a banned practice, after a high-tech, imported drilling machine broke down in the final stretch of the operation. The miners then began manually drilling their way to the trapped workers. After the heavy auger drilling machine broke down two days ago, the rat-hole miners retrieved the broken parts and began drilling the remaining stretch with their hands. Their escape tunnel reached the workers this evening and they were rolled out on stretchers. Meanwhile, vertical drilling was also underway as a secondary option in case the horizontal drilling faced another obstacle.


Those trapped for 17 days have undergone great ordeal and had shown exemplary resilence in keeping up their hopes – the efforts of all those involved in rescue, the planning, strategy and execution all deserves high praise.

With regards – S Sampathkumar


Red lips ! - கொவ்வை செவ்வாய் !!

கொவ்வை செவ்வாய் !!


அதரம் என்றால் உதடு - சினிமா கவிஞர்கள் இதன் சிவப்பை பலவாறாக வர்ணித்துள்ளனர்.  அவற்றில் ஒன்று கோவை வாயாள் - இது ஒன்றும் புது கற்பனையல்ல


கோவை அல்லது கொவ்வை (ivy gourd, Coccinia grandis) மருத்துவப் பயன்பாடுடைய தாவரமாகும். இக் கொடித் தாவரம் பற்றைக் காடுகள், வேலிகளில் வளர்கிறது.  இதன் பூ வெள்ளை நிறமானதாகும். இலை, காய், தண்டு, வேர் என எல்லாப் பாகங்களும் மருத்துவ குணமுடையனவாகும்.  இதன் பழங்கள் ஒரு கவனிக்கத்தக்க செந்நிறத்தில் இருக்கும். இதன் காரணமாக திருநாவுக்கரசர்  தனது பாடலில் சிவனின் வாய்நிறத்திற்கு உவமையாக இதைப் பயன்படுத்தி உள்ளார்


இங்கே நம் செல்ல அணிலின் சிவந்த நாக்கும் உதடுகளும்.


Sunday, November 26, 2023

26/11 Nation remembers horror, pain - the sacrifices !!

How much of respect do you give to a Police Constable – mostly unarmed, carries a woodenstick (lathi) and tries law enforcement !!  - heart would bleed for Tukaram Omble !


On the night of 26 November 2008, ten Kalashnikov-wielding terrorists attacked Mumbai. They stuck simultaneously at five locations, shooting dead 140 Indians and 25 foreign tourists. American and British passport-holders were executed in two luxury hotel complexes. At a Jewish cultural centre, Israeli nationals were tortured before being killed. A fourth location, a café frequented by Western backpackers, was enfiladed with automatic fire.  At the ever crowded  city’s main railway station, the site of the largest number of deaths,  all the victims were Indian.   

Treacherous cowardly terrorists waging war with the Nation killing innocents.  In the history of terrorism, the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks were as innovative as the 9/11 attacks on the US. While passenger airplanes were used for the first time as weapons of destruction during 9/11, the Mumbai attacks saw an unprecedented feature of live operational control of terrorist acts from foreign soil. 

.. .. and how shameful was the response of Indian press and to a large extent the then Government – there were live shows depicting the operations of the Commandos providing live data feed to terror handlers elsewhere !  they utilized  India’s  free electronic media for further killing and live feedback. Competitive Indian visual media covering the Mumbai attacks beamed minute-to-minute details to the domestic audience which served as a barometer of the damage inflicted on the Indian psyche and resultant panic, the two vital aims of any terrorist group. It enabled the Pakistani handlers to calibrate attacks using the cell phones of ground-level terrorists.  


US Senate Homeland Security Committee had held a hearing on the Mumbai 26/11 attack on January 9, 2009, to discuss how similar tactics would affect US security. One of the first persons to depose before the Committee was the then New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly who underlined the key features of 26/11. He said that the US counter terrorist agencies would need to rework their methodology on how panic could be curbed even in a free media ambience, how to disrupt terrorists’ communication network without adversely affecting the free milieu and how to re-deploy forces in the US since the 26/11 attacks had taken over 60 hours to terminate, a situation US had never experienced in urban areas. 

We see them in every street corner, at busy traffic intersections, some movies come ridiculing their efforts,   RED SALUTE  to them – the Army and Police are the real protectors and WE live happily and peacefully because of their sacrifices. The statue at the start is that of  Tukaram Omble, who died this day 15 years ago ! – must have been part of our history and school curriculum .. .. were you able to recognize him ?


From every angle, the Taj Palace near the Gate way of India, the imposing arch monument on the Arabic sea erected  to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911, prior to Delhi Durbar. The hotel preceded it – the Queen could have seen the hotel, but not the monument.  The historic Taj Mahal Palace hotel first opened its doors to guests 113 years ago, on December 16, 1903. Located in Colaba, Mumbai, the Taj Mahal hotel, or the Taj Palace hotel, was the country's first ever harbour landmark. Over the last century or so, the hotel has played host to royalty, several dignitaries, and eminent personalities from all over the world. A popular theory states that Jamshedji Tata built the hotel because he was refused entry at Watson Hotel, one of the grandest hotels of that time, which was for 'whites only.  

In the beautiful motherland, there have been debates on surgical strikes with politicians calling for proof !! -  Nation can never forget this day  26/11 when it was  under siege by militants from across the border.  How many felt sorrowed and spoke for those martyrs of Police and jawans of the motherland ??  .. .. and blatant media who were for ratings showing all the plan and movement of Army jawans !! – how mindless it was. 

The horrific memories of the night when the terrorists hijacked the police vehicle  and killed top cops and then went on shooting innocents haunts people.  The illustrious   Bhaskar Kadam, Hemant Bawdhankar, Sanjay Govilkar, Tukaram Omble,  Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte ,  Vijay Salaskar, Shashank Shinde, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Hawaldar Gajendra Singh – and the like should be the heroes whom the Nation must be reading and knowing.  There were so many unsung heroes too – for example the Fire Service of Mumbai whose personnel did not flinch once as they grabbed their gear and rushed to douse fire amid an intense gun battle.  

The unexpected capture of Ajmal Kasab by the Mumbai police by the heroism of Tukaram Omble  during the night of 26 November 2008 robbed the plan of its key asset – deniability. Kasab provided details of the training process that the gunmen had gone through in Pakistan. The next breakthrough was Headley’s arrest 11 months later.  Kasab was immediately questioned by Prashant Marde, an officer of the Mumbai police.  The gunman confirmed that there were nine other shooters in the city, and stated that all were Pakistani nationals. Aware of the international ramifications of these revelations, the Indian government permitted the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to interrogate Kasab directly. A team of FBI officials flew in from New York to learn what they could about the attack.  Kasab independently confirmed to the FBI what he had told the Indian police: he was a Pakistani citizen and a member of LeT, and the attack was being directed in real-time from the Pakistani port city of Karachi via mobile and internet telephony. This digital trail connecting the gunmen in Mumbai with controllers in Karachi proved crucial. 

India has had its deep impact because of this terror attack but still once a while some would rise their voice for the neighbouring terror abettor, stating that Sports are different and people must learn to forget ! – forget what.  

The abettor too is reeling under terrorism that they sought to grow.  The recent suicide attack on a Rabiul Awwal congregation in the Balochistan town left almost 60 people dead. At least five people were killed in a targeted attack in KP on the same day, swelling the number of fatalities.

It was one of the bloodiest days of the current year that has already recorded the highest number of casualties among security forces in the past eight years. Terrorist attacks have become almost a daily affair. The return of terrorism presents a most serious challenge to a nation mired in multiple crises. The spate of killings across the country demonstrates the expanding capacity of militant groups to carry out increasingly audacious operations. While the administration silently watches the situation drift toward anarchy, armed marauders carry out their deadly attacks with impunity. The pattern and scale of violence indicate that the militants are better armed than before and well organised.   

Miles away, in a US court, according to Headley’s testimony, he had been trained by the ISI in intelligence collection techniques. Of the $29,500 he received from Pakistani sponsors, $28,500 came from a serving ISI officer. This officer, identified as ‘Major Iqbal’ in American court documents, became the first Pakistani intelligence operative to ever be indicted by the US government for terrorism. The remainder of the money came to Headley from a LeT operative called Sajid Majeed,  deputy head of LeT’s external operations department and handled jihadists worldwide.  US Govt  convicted Headley on US soil but refused to extradite him to India.   

Nation still nurses its wounds of that unfortunate day in 2008 when  10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores.  The attack began on 26 November and lasted until 29 November. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre were some of the places targeted by the terrorists. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012. 

26.11.2008  – a sad day it was for the Nation.!
High respects and regards to our heroes – S. Sampathkumar
26.11. 2023 

Chittu Kuruvi is tiny !! - how big are we !?!?

                        நான் யார் தெரியுமா !  - பல மனிதர்கள், அகங்காரத்துடனும் ஆணவத்துடனும் ஆத்திரம் கொப்பளிக்க கேட்கும் கேள்வி !? 

என் கண்மணி, உன் காதலி,  இள மாங்கனி,

உன்னை பார்த்ததும் சிரிக்கின்றதேன்

என சிவகுமாரும் சுமித்ராவும் சிகப்பு வண்ண பல்லவன் பஸ்ஸில் டூயட் பாட, 'தேனாம்பேட்டை சூப்பர் மார்க்கெட் இறங்கு' என கண்டக்டர் குரல் கூட ஒலிக்க - இளையராஜா இசையில்  ஒலித்த பாடல் இடம் பெற்ற படம் 'சிட்டுக்குருவி".  நாம் அன்றாடம் காணும் இந்த பறவை -  சிட்டு குருவி -   சிட்டுக்குருவி ஒரு சிறிய பறவை !

சிறியது - நாம் காணும் உயிரினங்களில், நம்மை விட மிக சிறிய உடற்கூறு படைத்தது இந்த பறவை.  ஒவ்வொரு மனிதனும் அன்றாட வாழ்க்கையில் உண்டு உறங்கும்  போது தன்னைப் பற்றிய நினைவு இருப்பதில்லை, ஆழ்ந்த உறக்கத்தில் மறந்தும் விழித்த பின் "நான்" "எனது" உணர்வு உதிக்கிறது. உறங்கும் போது "நான்" என்கிற உணர்வு எங்கே போகிறது. ஆனால்  தான் பிறர் முன்னிலையில் பெரியவர் என்று காட்டிக்கொள்ள கேட்கும் கேள்வி, வெளிப்படும் மனோநிலை தான் -  "நான் யார்" ?  

                           Milky Way  is the galaxy that includes the Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye.    

In ‘Crazy thieves in Palavakkam’ drama – a middle class family (in 1970s) would build a small house in the outskirts of Chennai in an area called Palavakkam (now a richman’s place)  - they would be gleeful when they see another house in distance and more so, when an odd man walks on the street ! ~  who lives next door ? 0r whether there is life nearby has always a great curiosity of mankind !!  

So is there life nearby ! – in the nearest gruha  (not as nearby home but nearby galaxy !) .. ..  a  Galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter.    Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million (108) stars to giants with one hundred trillion  stars, each orbiting its galaxy's center of mass.     

Man is a tiny tot in earth .. to understand how big is Universe, we need to understand its size.  The observable universe is a ball-shaped region of the universe comprising all matter that can be observed from Earth or its space-based telescopes and exploratory probes at the present time; the electromagnetic radiation from these objects has had time to reach the Solar System and Earth since the beginning of the cosmological expansion. Initially, it was estimated that there may be 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe.  That number was reduced in 2021 to only several hundred billion based on data from New Horizons   

The comoving distance from Earth to the edge of the observable universe is about 14.26 gigaparsecs (46.5 billion light-years or 4.40×1026 m) in any direction. The observable universe is thus a sphere with a diameter of about 28.5 gigaparsecs  (93 billion light-years or 8.8×1026 m).     

Currently, the area of Chennai is 1,189 sq km,  India covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south.  Earth's widest point is the equator, which runs across the planet's center at zero degrees latitude.   According to NASA, Earth's radius at the equator is 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers), while the radius at the poles is 3,950 miles (6,356 km).  The surface area of Earth is about 197 million square miles (510 million square kilometers).   Earth is the fifth-largest planet in the solar system, behind Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.  With a diameter of 86,881 miles (139,822 km), Jupiter — the largest planet in the solar system — is 11 times wider than Earth.  

Our earth is a tiny tot in the Universe, part of a galaxy.  For starters, the Milky Way is really, really big! Not only does it measure some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter and about 1,000 light-years thick, but up to 400 billion stars are located within it  !!!   our galaxy is only a middle-weight when compared to other galaxies in the local Universe. Andromeda, the closest major galaxy to our own, is about twice as large as our own. It measures 220,000 light years in diameter, and has an estimated 400-800 billion stars within it.

Well somewhere I lost track of comparison – and yet we call others tinytots!!  - some stray thoughts from Aasami Sirippu Sinthanaiyaan  on a rainy Sunday !

With regards – S Sampathkumar

Thirukkarthigai Deepam 2023 - Thiruvannamalai

Today is Karthigai Deepam widely celebrated at Thiruvannamalai deepam.  Karthigai Deepam dates back to centuries as there are references to this festival of lights in the the age old literature of Tamils known as Ahananuru.   


At the holy Thiruvannamalai,  Eesan Siva Peruman is worshipped as the holy Annamalai hills.  A huge deepam is lit on the deepam on Karthigai day. On all days, and especially during Pournami devotees walk the 15 km odd path around the hills worshipping Thiruvannamalaiyaar.      Thiruvannamalai possesses one of the tallest gopurams, dedicated to Lord Siva worshipped as Agni lingam. His consort is   Unnamulai Amman.  The presiding deity is reverred in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, and is a Paadal Petra Sthalam.  Manikkavasagar composed Tiruvempaavai here.  The temple complex covers 10 hectares, and is one of the largest in India. The eastern Gopuram has 11 stories and measures a height of 66 metres (217 ft).


On Thirukarthigai day [today 26.11.2023], deepam is lit on the hill near the temple – thousands of devotees throng the temple to witness this glorious event and circumambulate the mountain, a distance of around 15 kms.  This festival of lights involves lighting lights everywhere dispelling darkness.     


கார்த்திகை தீப திருவிழா மிகப் பழங்காலம் தொட்டே தமிழ்நாட்டில் நடைபெற்று வருகிறது. இதை அகநானூறு, நற்றிணை ஆகிய சங்க நூல்களில் நக்கீரர், அவ்வையார் போன்றோரின் பாடல்களால் அறிய முடிகிறது. சைவ சமய நால்வர்களில் ஒருவரான திருஞான சம்பந்தப் பெருமானின் திருமயிலைத் திருப்பதிகத்திலும் கார்த்திகை தீபம் பற்றிய குறிப்பைக் காணலாம்.


Iconic aerial photo of the temple and Gopurams of Thiruvannamalai

taken by Sri Sankara Subramanian


இன்று 26.11.2023 கார்த்திகை தீபம் - திருவண்ணாமலை மகாதீபம்.   மகா தீபம் கார்த்திகை தீப திருவிழா நாளின் மாலையில் அண்ணாமலை மலையின் மீது ஏற்றப்படுகிறது. இம்மலை 2,668 அடி உயரமானதாகும். மாலை நேரத்தில் பஞ்சமூர்த்திகள் தீப மண்டபத்தில் எழுந்தருளியிருக்க, வருடத்திற்கு ஒருமுறை மட்டுமே காட்சிதருகின்ற அர்த்தநாரீசுவரர் உற்சவ கோலம் தீபமண்டபத்திற்கு எடுத்து வரப்படுகிறது. அவர் முன்பு அகண்ட தீபம் ஏற்றப்படுகிறது. இத்தீபம் ஏற்றப்படுகின்ற அதே நேரத்தில், மலையில் மகாதீபம் ஏற்றப்படுகிறது. 

நமது கலாச்சாரத்தில் 'விளக்கு' என்பது மிக முக்கியமானதாகும்.  இருளையும் மனத்து இருளான அங்ஞானத்தையும் விளக்கொளி போக்கி நல்வழி காட்டும்.  தூய நெய், அல்லது நல்லெண்ணெய் பெரும்பாலும் தீபம் ஏற்ற பயன் படுத்தப்படுகிறது.   மனிதனின் நல்வாழ்வு, அவனின் உள்நிலை வளர்ச்சிக்கு உதவுவதோடு, அவன் முக்தியை நாடி செல்வதற்கும் வழி செய்கிறது.   நாம் பார்த்து உணர்வதற்கு, ஒளி மிக அத்தியாவசியம். நம்மைச் சுற்றி இருக்கும் உலகத்தை நாம் புரிந்துகொள்வதில் நம் பார்வை பெரும் பங்கை வகிக்கிறது. வெளிச்சம் இல்லாவிட்டால், நம்மை சுற்றி இருக்கும் எதையும் நம்மால் உணர முடியாது.  

கார்த்திகை தீப நாளை ஒட்டி கார்த்திகை தீப பிரம்மோற்சவ திருவிழா அண்ணாமலையார் கோவிலில் நடைபெறுகிறது. இதில் பத்து நாட்கள் உற்றவர்களின் ஊர்வலங்களும், மூன்று நாள் தெப்ப திருவிழாவும் அதனையடுத்துச் சண்டிகேசுவர் உற்சவமும் நடைபெறுகிறது.  ஈசனாகிய சிவபெருமான்  கார்த்திகை மாத கிருத்திகை நட்சத்திரத்தில்,   அக்னி வடிவமாகக் காட்சி தந்தார். இந்நாளிலேயே தீபத்திருநாள் கொண்டாடப்படுகிறது. அன்று அதிகாலையில் அண்ணாமலையார் சன்னதியில் ஒரு தீபம் ஏற்றி, அதன் மூலம் மேலும் ஐந்து தீபங்கள் ஏற்றி பூசைசெய்வர். பின்பு அந்தத் தீபங்களை ஒன்றாக்கி அண்ணாமலையார் அருகில் வைத்து விடுவர். இதனை, ‘ஏகன் அநேகனாகி அநேகன் ஏகனாகுதல்’ தத்துவம் என்கிறார்கள். பரம்பொருளான சிவனே, பல வடிவங்களாக அருளுகிறார் என்பதே இந்நிகழ்ச்சியின் உட்கருத்தாகும்.


திருவண்ணாமலைத் தலம் நடுநாட்டுத் தலங்களுள் முதன்மையானது. பஞ்சபூதத் தலங்களுள் இது அக்னித் தலம். நால்வராலும் பாடப்பட்ட தலம். எங்கிருந்து நினைத்தாலும் முக்தி கொடுக்கும் தலம் இதுதான். இத்தலத்தில்தான் திருப்புகழ், கந்தர் அனுபூதி, திருவெம்பாவை, திருவம்மானை, அருணாச்சல அஷ்டகம் போன்ற புனித நூல்கள் பிறந்தன. மூர்த்தி, தலம், தீர்த்தம் என மூவகை சிறப்புகள் கொண்ட தலம் இது. பிரம்மன், திருமாலின் ஆணவம் அழிந்த தலம். அர்த்தநாரீஸ்வரர் கோலம் கொண்ட தலம்.  இத்தலத்தில் ஈசன் அண்ணாமலையார்; இறைவியார்: அபீத குசாம்பாள் .; தல மரம் – மகிழம்.     இங்கு மலையே இறைவனின் சொரூபம்.  உயர்ந்தோங்கிய அருணாசலத்தின் - அண்ணாமலையின் அடிவாரத்தில் கோயில் உள்ளது.  நினைக்க முத்தி அருளும் பதி. அருணகிரிநாதரின் வாழ்வில் அருள் திருப்பம் ஏற்படக் காரணமாக இருந்த பதி. 

            இத்திருக்கோயிலின் கிழக்குக் கோபுரம் 217 அடி உயரம் - தமிழகத்திலேயே உயர்ந்து விளங்குகிறது. தெற்கு கோபுரம் - திருமஞ்சன கோபுரம், மேலக்கோபுரம் - பேய்க் கோபுரம், வடக்குக் கோபுரம் - அம்மணியம்மாள் கோபுரம் என்றழைக்கப்படுகிறது. மலை வலம் (கிரிவலம்) இங்குச் சிறப்புடையது.  

பெருகும் புனல் அண்ணாமலை பிறைசேர்கடல் நஞ்சைப்

பருகுந்தனை துணிவார், பொடி அணிவார், அது பருகிக்

கருகும்மிடறு உடையார்,கமழ் சடையார்கழல் பரவி,

உருகும் மனம் உடையார்தமக்கு உறுநோய் அடையாவே.  

          பெருகிவரும் அருவி நீரை உடைய திருவண்ணாமலையில் பிறைமதி தோன்றிய பாற்கடலிடைத்தோன்றிய நஞ்சை உட் கொள்ளும் அளவிற்குத் துணிபுடையவரும், அந்நஞ்சினை உண்டு கண்டம் கறுத்தவரும், திருவெண்ணீற்றை அணிந்தவரும், மணம் கமழும் சடைமுடியை உடையவரும் ஆகிய சிவபிரானின் திருவடிகளை வாழ்த்தி உருகும் மனம் உடையவர்கட்கு மிக்க நோய்கள் எவையும் வாரா. 

Celebrate Karthigai Deepam at your houses too by lighting agal vilakku
S. Sampathkumar
Photos of yesteryears taken from net.


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Hibiscus flowers !!


சிறகடிக்கும் ஆசைகளை   சிறையில் பூட்டுவேன்

நீ சிரித்திருக்கும் காட்சியிலே  மனதைத் தேற்றுவேன்


திரு TM சௌந்தரராஜன், பி சுஷீலா  குரல்களில் இந்த பாடலை கேட்டதுண்டா !!  - எழுதியவர் சிவகங்கை மாவட்டம், காரைக்குடியை அடுத்த ஆலங்குடியில் பிறந்த சோமு.   சின்னப்ப தேவரின், யானைப்பாகன் படத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற, 'ஆம்பளைக்குப் பொம்பளை அவசியம் தான்...' என்ற நகைச்சுவை பாடல் தான், அவர் எழுதிய முதல் பாடல். 

மேலே உள்ள பாடல் இடம் பெற்ற திரைப்படம் MGR நரசிம்ம பல்லவனாக நடித்த 'காஞ்சித்தலைவன்'.   1963ல்  ஏ. காசிலிங்கம் இயக்கத்தில் வெளிவந்த இத்திரைப்படத்தில் எம். ஜி. ஆர், பி. பானுமதி, எஸ். எஸ். ராஜேந்திரன், விஜயகுமாரி மற்றும் பலரும் நடித்திருந்தனர்.   அந்த பாடலின் முதல் வரிகள் :

ஒரு கொடியில் (செடியில்)  இரு மலர்கள்

பிறந்ததம்மா பிறந்ததம்மா 

ஆலங்குடி சோமு பல பாடல்களை எழுதினார்.  அரசியல் மேடைகளில் தவறாமல் ஒலிக்கும் இந்த வரிகள் உங்களுக்கு நினைவுக்கு வரலாம். .   

ஆயிரம் கைகள் மறைத்து நின்றாலும் ஆதவன் மறைவதில்லை-

ஆணைகள் இட்டே யார் தடுத்தாலும் அலைகடல் ஓய்வதில்லை.. 

ஒரு செடியில் 2 செம்பருத்தி பூக்கள் 

அன்புடன் ஸ்ரீனிவாசன் சம்பத்குமார்


Rain gives hope ! - nourishes life !!

Rain is entertaining !!  -  Rain,  symbolizes  renewal and growth, gives and sustains natural life while causing the environment to flourish.   Life springs forth from the ground, bringing with it a sense of hope; a hope that what was once dead will be reborn to flourish once again.  Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth.  

மழை உலகிற்க்கு மிக அவசியம். மழைத்துளிகள் மனிதசமுதாயத்தை வாழ்விப்பன.  மழைநீர் மானுடர்களுக்கு இன்றிமையாதது.  செந்நாப்போதார் தம் திருக்குறளில் 'வான் சிறப்பு' என ஒரு அதிகாரமே  அளித்துள்ளார். தடிந்தெழிலி என்ன ஒரு அற்புதமான சொல்லாடல் !! எழிலி என்றால் மேகம். தடித்து என்பதற்குத் திரளுதல், மின்னல் என இரு பொருட்களையும்  கொள்ளலாம்.   திரண்டெழுந்த மின்னலடிக்கிற மேகம் என்று பொருளாகிறது இந்த சொல்.  “நல்குதல்” எனில் பெருங்கொடை. “தடிந்தெழிலி”யால் தான் கடலில் நீர் கொண்டு சேர்க்கும் பெருங்கொடையாகிய பெருமழையைத் தரமுடியும்.  இங்கே அவர்தம் குறள் ஒன்று :

நெடுங்கடலும் தன்நீர்மை குன்றும் தடிந்தெழிலி

தான்நல்கா தாகி விடின்.

மேகம் கடலிலிருந்து நீரைக் கொண்டு அதனிடத்திலே பெய்யாமல் விடுமானால், பெரிய கடலும் தன் வளம் குன்றிப் போகும்.  பரிமேலழகர் உரை: 

Bleev me !!- these 3 photos were taken in succession from the same spot with only zoom varying !!

Nature is astonishing !!

With regards – S Sampathkumar

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Justice Fathima Beevi is no more !

George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney, KB, PC (Ire) (1737 – 1806) was an Anglo-Irish statesman, colonial administrator and diplomat who served as the governor of Grenada, Madras and the British-occupied Cape Colony. He is often remembered for his observation following Britain's victory in the Seven Years' War and subsequent territorial expansion at the Treaty of Paris that Britain now controlled "a vast Empire, on which the sun never sets".  He was earlier President of British East India Company and later first Governor of Madras Presidency. 

Justice Fathima Beevi, India's first woman judge of the Supreme Court, and later Governor of Tamil Nadu  died today  at a private hospital in Kerala's Kollam. She was 96.  Tamil Nadu Governor Hon’ble R N Ravi said that he was deeply saddened at the passing away of Justice Beevi. “Her contributions to public service will always be remembered. My thoughts are with her family members in this sorrowful hour. May she rest in peace,” the Governor said.


“Her life is an inspiration to everyone, especially women,” the Kerala  chief minister said, adding that as a tribute to her, she has been chosen for the Kerala Prabha Award.  Kerala Health Minister Veena George  condoled her death by saying  "She was a brave woman who had many records to her name. She was a personality who through her own life showed that willpower and a sense of purpose can overcome any adversity,"   

          Justice Beevi was born in Kerala's Pathanamthitta in April 1927. She graduated from the University College, Trivandrum and studied law at the Law College in Trivandrum. She enrolled as an advocate in November 1950 and worked her way up to become a district and sessions judge in 1974.  In 1983, she was elevated to the High Court and became a permanent judge a year later. She made  was elevated to the Supreme Court and became the first  judge in 1989. She retired in 1992. After retiring, she served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission from 1993 to 1997, before becoming the Governor of Tamil Nadu till 2001. 

Margaret Elizabeth Cousins (1878 -1954) was an Irish-Indian educationist, suffragist and Theosophist, who established All India Women's Conference (AIWC) in 1927.  She was the wife of poet and literary critic James Cousins, with whom she moved to India in 1915. She is credited with preserving the tune of the Indian National Anthem Jana Gana Mana based on the notes provided by Tagore himself in February 1919, during Rabindranath Tagore's visit to the Madanapalle College.  She was a member of the Flag Presentation Committee which presented the National Flag to the Constituent Assembly on 14 August 1947.  In 1922, she became the first woman magistrate in India.   

Justice Anna Chandy (1905–1996),  was the first female judge (1937) and then High Court judge (1959) in India. She was, in fact, one of the first female judges in the British Empire next to Emily Murphy.  In 1937, Chandy was appointed as a munsif in Travancore by the Maharaja upon the advice of his Dewan (First Minister), Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer. This made Chandy the first female judge in India.  She became the first female judge in an Indian high court when she was appointed to the Kerala High Court in Feb 1959 

Marija Milutinović Punktatorka (1810-1875),  a Serbian lawyer, was the first female lawyer and attorney in Serbia and in the world. In 1847, she was given special permission to perform as a lawyer, which was unique not only in Serbia but in the world.  She exclusively did pro bono work for charity throughout her career.
With regards – S Sampathkumar