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    August 31st, 2014adminEducation, Records, All

    Madurai :

    Establishment of a student complex with dining hall, kitchen and laundry at a cost of Rs 3 crore; alumni guest house for Rs 2 crore; golden jubilee arch for Rs 1.9 crore; state-of-the-art research laboratory at Rs 3 crore and a department of biotechnology with advanced lab facility at a cost of Rs 15 crore are some of the highlights that have been proposed to mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Agricultural College and Research Institute (AC&RI) in Madurai.

    Announcing this at a press meet here on Thursday, K Ramasamy, vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), to which the AC&RI is attached to, said the institution is gearing up to hold events all through the year. The golden jubilee year will commence with a colourful inauguration on August 19 with national and international seminars scheduled every month by the college’s 12 departments.

    Ramasamy, said that it was a major milestone for the institute which has produced thousands of professionals. “The institution has gained a place of eminence in the state spreading technical education to unreachable areas and at the same time bringing out thousands of professionals,” he mentioned.

    The agricultural college in Madurai was second institution after the one in Coimbatore which was later converted into TNAU. The college in Madurai played a very crucial role in its early stages empowering farmers of Tirunelveli to manage the Tamirabarani river, which till date remains the only river where they control it along with the public works department. Later, it provided crucial technical expertise to farmers of Periyar ? Vaigai irrigation command area in the southern districts and developed number of crop varieties more suitable for this region.

    The college also provided five paddy varieties, one blackgram variety, one kolingi (green fodder) variety along with a number of horticulture crops likes brinjal, snake gourd and bitter gourd, flowers like chrysanthemum and marigold. Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the college empowered farmers with its extension activities and many farmers from the region aided by its service rose to win number of awards, Ramasamy explained.

    It was established as agricultural college on August 19, 1965 and inaugurated by then Chief Minister of State, S Bakthavatsalam

    It was upgraded as Post Graduate Centre in 1969

    It became constituent unit of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University since 1971

    It was turned into research institute in 1980 with major disciplines as agronomy, plant breeding and genetics and agricultural entomology

    Spread over 154 hectares, it was one of biggest campus next to Coimbatore

    The institute produced 3142 under graduates, 1536 post graduates and 617 research scholars in this 50 years

    Alumni of college include 12 IAS officers, 12 IPS officers, 14 IFS (Forest) officers, 10 IRS (Revenue) Officers, 3 IFS (Foreign Service) and one from Indian Railway Service

    Sanila Velikeloth of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2013 was alumnus of AC & RI, Madurai

    Several alumni work as scientists in Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / August 15th, 2014

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    In the context of globalisation and liberalisation, history has become all the more relevant, chairman of Media Development Foundation Sashi Kumar said at ‘Historica’14, Chennai 375 years and Beyond’, at Ethiraj College for Women here on Wednesday.

    “During the process of homogenisation and cosmopolitanism, certain erasures are taking place in terms of cultural distinctiveness and indigenous values; hence, history will have to be constantly rediscovered,” he said.

    He spoke about how urban Madras in the 19 century, unlike today, was not a single central town but an agglomeration with a series of urban loci or several occupational castes around them. “The way Madras developed was very distinctive when compared to other British colonial cities in India such as Bombay or New Delhi,” he added.

    The premium stretch called the Choutry Lane in Madras comprised Nungambakkam, Egmore, Pudhupakkam, Royapettah and Teynampet, where everyone wanted to own a piece of land, Mr. Sashi Kumar said.

    “The Europeans owned a lot of land and at one point, the cost of land rose so much that even they could not afford it. You can imagine what Chennai would have looked like in those times,” he added.

    A. Nirmala, principal of the college, said reflecting on the past is essential to understand the present.

    “The young should be sensitised about the heritage of the city so that they feel proud of it. We are considering events in this regard,” she said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai> Madras 375 / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – August 14th, 2014

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    Tiruchy :

    ChildlineCF31aug2014In a bid to insulate children from crimes, Childline India Foundation (CIF) is to begin a  round-the-clock Childline care for the Southern States — Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh — from November 15 in Chennai.

    Officials of the Childline India Foundation (CIF) said that they would complete the recruitment process as soon as possible.

    Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has come forward to support the initiative by providing space and technology-related equipment.

    Child rights activists say that the new move would pave the way for comprehensive services to curb crimes against children in the southern States of India.

    Childline India Foundation (CIF) had last year sent a recommendation to the ministry of Women and Child Development for bringing all the Southern States’ Childline contact centres under one umbrella and they received a green signal to establish the centralised Childline call centre for the southern states.

    Jenishiya Priyanka, Programme Coordinator, Southern Regional Resource Centre (SRRC), Childline India Foundation (CIF)  said that they have already started connecting the Childline contact centres.

    “Childline care centres from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala would come under one umbrella in Chennai and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)  has assured us to provide space with network related services like telephones and connectivity at a  building in Thoraipakkam in Chennai, which houses several software and BPO companies,” she said.

    The Programme Coordinator  also added that they are in the process of completing recruitment. The candidates preferred as those with social work-related experience and proficiency in regional languages.

    Stating that they are gearing up to start the call centres, Jenishiya said that it has been confirmed that the Childline contact centres would start functioning from November 15.

    “As of now, around 30 telephones will be used in the new contact centres and will have 60 employees, who are proficient in both regional languages and English,” she said.

    The new move has been welcomed by child rights activists.

    “It is a welcome move and the new technology would not give any space for time lag. Most importantly, there would be no network problem and even if it is so, in can be rectified immediately,” says S Thyagarajan, a child rights activist and coordinator, Childline nodal agency.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Lenin R / August 31st, 2014

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    Pratap Sinha Raje Bhosale at the Sadar Mahal Palace, in Thanjavur. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Pratap Sinha Raje Bhosale at the Sadar Mahal Palace, in Thanjavur. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Pratap Sinha Rajebhosle, sixth descendant of Maharaja Serfoji II, has many ideas to create greater awareness about Thanjavur

    The general cacophony of urban life recedes into the shadows at the centuries-old Sadar Mahal, part of the residential-cum-museum complex of the erstwhile royal family in Thanjavur. The faded grandeur and haphazard (government-funded) restoration cannot deflect visitors’ attention from what would have once been a master class in stucco wall detailing.

    Showing some of us around on this hot afternoon is Pratap Sinha Rajebhosle, sixth descendant of Maharaja Serfoji II, who is convinced that the only way to promote Thanjavur’s heritage is “Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.”

    The young prince, who also leads another life as a Bachelor of Technology student in Chennai, admits that his interest in his royal lineage is pretty recent.

    “I used to come to Thanjavur during school holidays before, but for the past three years, I’ve become a regular visitor here. I am worried that very little of our heritage is left. That little bit has to be saved.”

    His Facebook page on the Maharaja Serfoji Memorial Hall Museum (established in 1997) was also done on a whim, but the royal (who prefers to be known simply as Pratap), decided to keep it going after the interest it evoked from readers.

    He refers to the city’s residents with the interesting Tamil-Marathi appellation “Thanjavur-kars”, and says many of the city’s expatriates from Singapore and Hong Kong got in touch after reading his online posts.

    Pratap has also written a book on the contributions of the Thanjavur-Maratha kings with the help of scholars and rare documents, which is being readied for publication by the Saraswathi Mahal Library Museum, itself a treasure trove of rare documents.

    A view of The Maharaja Serfoji Memorial Hall Museum at Sadar Mahal Palace. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    A view of The Maharaja Serfoji Memorial Hall Museum at Sadar Mahal Palace. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Personal museum

    The Maharaja Serfoji Memorial Hall Museum is located at the first floor of the Sadar Mahal palace. It is reached by climbing a dark stairwell of steep steps that leads off from a courtyard that is in urgent need of a lawn mower. Once known as the ‘anthapuram’, the courtyard used to house the private bathing pool of the royal women before the British decided to cover it up and re-lay it as a garden due to its weak foundation.

    Gold-inlaid religious artefacts at the museum. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Gold-inlaid religious artefacts at the museum. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Exhibits in glass cases line the hall, whose cement-less walls are held up by wrought iron pillars.

    The collection is a medley of what would have been considered novelties in those days – travel souvenirs and currency notes from around the world, pill boxes made of porcelain and crystal and a zinc-lined wooden ‘refrigerator’ that had to be cooled with external blocks of ice.

    Detail of an intricately carved silver box. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    Detail of an intricately carved silver box. Photo: M. Moorthy / The Hindu

    The more traditional artefacts include some of the personal effects of the royals – silk saris and turbans, huge utensils used during ‘bada khana’ (banquets) in the wood-fire fuelled kitchens, teakwood cupboards that once had silver beading in all the shelves and so on. Elaborately carved silver and wooden boxes to store the bath accessories of the queens are also on show.

    Pratap points out to the more contemporary part of his family history in the collage of rare photographs down the ages. “The Thanjavur royal family has done a lot of public service, but among the more recent are the donation of hundred acres of land to the Bhoodan Movement of Vinobha Bhave. We also gave our weapons, two lakh rupees and 40 sovereigns of gold to the war effort during the Indo-China and Indo-Pakistan campaigns in the 1960s,” says Pratap.

    The museum suffered a setback when it was burgled in April last year. As many as 14 articles, including lingams made of spatika (quartz) and maragatham (emerald), ivory idols of Krishna and old bronze knives were reported stolen in the daylight incident.

    As a result, security has been stepped up, though it hasn’t stopped visitors from defacing the walls of the historic structure with crude etchings of their names and their proclamations of love.

    Most of the glass cabinets have been sealed up, and the more precious artefacts (such as a gold dinner service used by the king), has been removed from public view.

    No special treatment

    Assimilating the ways of a life outside the royal cocoon has been an ongoing process from childhood says Pratap, who arrives for the interview on a decidedly plebeian two-wheeler.

    “Our family has always believed in mingling with the public irrespective of social status,” he says. “In Chennai, we have more exposure, and my friends are pretty cool about my family history. I don’t expect special treatment from anyone.”

    Most of the younger generation of the Thanjavur royal family has opted for graduate studies (most of Pratap’s cousins are engineers). Pratap has decided to supplement his regular course work with additional qualifications in document conservation and in the ancient Marathi language variant ‘Modi’.

    “I will try my best to improve and preserve my family’s heritage,” he concludes.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> Friday Review> History & Culture / Nahla Nainar / August 29th, 2014

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    Historian S Muthaiah (extreme left) at an event during the Madras Week celebrations in Chennai.

    Historian S Muthaiah (extreme left) at an event during the Madras Week celebrations in Chennai.

    Chennai  :

    Madras may have been founded by the British but it also has a long association with America, which historian S Muthaiah brought out in his talk about the city’s American connection at Women’s Christian College, during the Madras Week celebrations.

    “You are here because of the Rockerfellers,” he told the students — the college was founded with a grant by the Rockerfeller Foundation.

    The college functioned in a rented building before moving to the current 19-acre campus with the Doveton House building in 1916, using the donation money of `63,000. “The chapel too, was the gift of an unknown American. WCC still maintains connections with America through exchange programmes,” says Ridling Margaret Waller, Principal of the school.

    Apart from more modern associations like Dreamflower Talc that used to be manufactured in India and was taken over by Pond’s, Muthaiah spoke about the connections of people like Elihu Yale, Colonel Olcott and John Scudder.

    Elihu Yale’s connection to America is indirect — he came to India as a clerk with the East India Company and rose to the position of a governor in a mere 15 years. He returned to England an extremely wealthy man. He was approached by a representative of a small institution of learning in Connecticut for a grant. “Yale donated to the school, textiles, books and portraits worth 1,200 pounds. This may not seem like much money even for those days, but Harvard too was started with a similar sum,” Muthaiah says. And the college became what is today Yale University.

    Some more interesting connections with America involve textiles – the handkerchiefs of ‘Madras Checks’ can be seen in the bandannas of the cowboys of the Wild West. “It was even used as a turban in some places in the South,” says Muthaiah.

    Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, who was from New Jersey, founded the Theosophical Society along with Madam Blavatsy, with its headquarters in Madras, and John Scudder, who was also from New Jersey, was the first American medical missionary in India. Scudder has a whole family tree of missionaries, including the third generation Ida Scudder who founded the Christian Medical College, Vellore.

    The film industry too is not to be missed, with famous films like Meera and Sakuntalai being directed by the Ohio-born Ellis Dungan. “He never spoke a word of Tamil but contributed so many great films to the industry,” says Muthaiah.

    Representatives from the Indo-American Association and American expats also attended the talk that ended with the anthems of both countries.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Education> Student / by Express News Service / August 28th, 2014

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    Inner Ring Road (IRR), connecting SRP Tools and Manali, and running to a length of approximately 34 km, is one of the busiest stretches in the city, with vehicular traffic touching 1.5 lakh a day.

    But would you believe that the road did not even exist on the map of Madras until the early 1980s?

    The project to lay phase I of the road from Guindy to Padi began only in 1978, and was completed only by 1981. At that time, it was a two-lane road with cycle lanes and pavements.

    Until then, vehicles from Tambaram, and travelling to Vadapalani, had no other option but to take a circuitous route.

    K.V. Kanakambaran, president, Industrial Estate Manufacturer’s Association, Guindy, said, in the place where the road stands today, there used to be a narrow vandi paathai frequented by bullock carts, bicycles and tractors.

    “Apart from A, B, C and D blocks of the estate, the rest were agricultural plots. The industries and commerce department gave land for the formation of the road. Beyond the estate, there was a mango grove and an open ground,” he said, adding the road was a boon to various industrial units when it was laid.

    The 11.7-km-long phase-I was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.45 crore with World Bank funds.

    A former engineer of the highways department said the portion of IRR that runs through K.K. Nagar and Ashok Nagar was part of the Housing Board layout.

    “The road was formed following recommendations made by the Madras Area Traffic Study Unit in 1974. As far as the road from Vadapalani to Koyambedu was concerned, originally, the land belonged to the Madras Municipal Corporation, obtained for a drainage scheme. A portion was handed over to the highways department for the road,” he said.

    IRR was formed in four phases. Phase-II of the road is from Padi to Madhavaram, phase-III from Madhavaram to Manali and Phase-IV from OTA to SRP Tools. It now has six lanes and is called Jawaharlal Nehru Salai.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities / by Deepa H. RamaKrishnan / Chennai – August 22nd, 2014

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    Madurai :

    For I Mayandi Bharathi, a veteran freedom fighter, one of the issues that is constantly running in his mind is the large amounts of black money stashed in various banks abroad.

    Now, the 97-year-old freedom fighter wants the government to take concrete steps to bring back the money. Not only this, one of his other demands is to execute the Ganga-Cauvery rivers interlinking for the welfare of the farmers.

    Bharathi said this while attending the 68th Independence Day celebrations held in the AR ground on Friday.

    Bharathi himself has spent 13 years in various jails including Madurai, Trichy, Vellore, Coimbatore, Chennai and Palayamkottai along with many other veteran freedom fighters.

    Besides being a freedom fighter, Bharathi has also been a journalist for nearly 50 years and has served in various capacities for different publications.

    On Friday, he was seated in the row meant for freedom fighters and he had brought along his recent publication of his second edition of Tamil book “Porukku Thayar” (Ready for war). “He is very much interested in releasing books. So far, he has released 20 books,” said his assistant Manikandan.

    When asked about today’s scenario, Bharathi said the country has developed in many fields.

    “As far as the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach towards the neighbouring nations, he is doing well. At the same time, he should focus on domestic issues,” he said.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai /L. Saravanan, TNN / August 17th, 2014

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    Picture for representation purpose

    Picture for representation purpose


    A class 10 student from remote Krishnagiri district conceived an “artificial, imaginary” planet where human beings can live, and won a free trip to the National Aeronautics Space Administration in the United States. Kiruthika, the 14-year-old girl, student of a private school in Hosur, came up with the idea of imaginary planet, ‘Aparana Basaraya’, named after the great astronomers of India, Aryabhatta and Bhaskaracharya.

    The ‘Aparana Basaraya’ concept was sent as an entry for the space settlement design contest conducted annually by Nasa-Ames Research Centre for School Students. As many as 1,567 students in 18 countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, UAE, India, the United Kingdom and USA, sent in over 562 entries. Kiruthika’s entry did not make it to the top 10 in the contest but her idea recevied appreciation and she was offered a free trip to Nasa. Six students from Jalandhar in Punjab won the grand prize for conceiving ‘Vona’, a settlement in Mars.


    “My passion is biology but I decided to take part in the competition after my neighbour informed me about it,” says Kiruthika. Her project is about an artificial planet which can be positioned in space. It is cylindrical at the bottom and doughnut-shaped at the top. Humans can occupy the cylindrical shaped bottom area and the doughnut-shaped area can be used by cattle and others. Oxygen, water and other essentials reache the planet through less expensive sources. The project failed to impress but the jury accepted the idea and gave Kiruthika a chance to visit

    source: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Education / DC / Sanjeevi Anandan / August 27th, 2014

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    New Delhi :

    Economic growth or military strength alone won’t make India strong, a truly sustainable society, at the heart of which is the family, is very much necessary, argues former President A P J Abdul Kalam in his new book.

    Kalam and celebrated Jain thinker late Acharya Mahapragya in the book “The Family and the Nation” say that only a strong and happy family can lead to a strong and noble nation.

    In writing the book, the ideas of the two authors were shaped by their interaction during the past few decades with millions of countrymen hailing from different walks of life.

    “Each interaction enhanced our experience and added to our understanding of the development of a noble family, a noble society and a noble nation,” they write.

    While embarking on this journey of writing a book, we realised the magnitude of connectivities involved and the extent of our society’s evolution during the last few centuries,” they say.

    “It is true that all of us realise that today’s world is a connected one. Technology and travel have nearly made the world a global village. The world has to become a federation of nations.

    A nation is a federation of states, social groups, families and individuals. So what is needed is a situation of live and let live.

    “One’s needs, aspirations, accomplishments are all important. But there has to be a concept of a noble nation, where the welfare of the whole nation as a whole is ingrained in the thinking and actions of its people.

    This is the need of the hour. How do we achieve this idea of a noble nation,” the authors ask.             According to them, their visualisation of a noble nation is two-fold.

    “One is internal, concerned with the individual and encompassing the family, community and society. Another concerns enterprise and covers the issues of livelihood, business, distribution of wealth and respect for individual property and rights,” they say.

    The authors do not offer any new theory or postulate any new concept but draw from the heritage of our civilization.

    “The bottom line is that a citizen with a value system respects the family, respects society, and thereby respects the nation. Furthermore, the person is conscious that he or she is a part of the world family.

    “The operational line is the prosperity of people with adequate earning capacity. We call such a nation a developed nation. Economic prosperity and an embedded value system would promote a peaceful and prosperous society and thereby the evolution of a happy nation,” they write.

    The book, published by HarperCollins India, stresses on the values that make for a truly sustainable society, at the heart of which is the family. For it is not economic growth or military strength alone that will make India strong.

    Sustainable success comes from values, and these can sustain a society and a nation even in times of hardship. The book expresses an ideal by which Indian society may prosper and speaks of how spirituality can help create a noble nation and a better world. It provides a valuable counterpoint to the modern-day emphasis on consumerism and the philosophy of more is better, highlighting the sanctity of the natural world and its great power to evoke human creativity and love.

    The two writers bring their vast experience to bear on this important subject. As the authors put it, it’s only a strong and happy family that will lead to a noble nation, one that can be a true fulfilment of 5,000 years of India’s civilization.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Nation / by PTI / August 26th, 2014

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    August 27th, 2014adminEducation, Science & Technologies

    Vellore :

    The District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) centre at Ranipet has come out with a first of its kind ‘Smart Learning System’(SLS) for the benefit of middle school students.

    The multi-media based learning system packed in DVDs contains vivid explanations of lessons, add-on information and questions and answers as supplementary information for class 6, 7 and 8 textbooks, for the trimesters.

    DIET principal A Basheer Ahmed told Express that a group of 25 teachers from government schools had prepared the SLS under the guidance of the DIET.

    The purpose of the SLS is to make use of multi-media devices such as laptop and LCD projectors provided by the  State, while motivating teachers to make use of digital support, to explain the lessons to students better,  Basheer Ahmed said adding, “The SLS aims at overall development of students and teachers as well,” he added.

    Around 20 to 28 lessons for English, Tamil, Maths, Science and Social Science subjects for classes 6, 7, 8 for one trimester are packed in four DVDs. Pictures, videos, animations and additional explanations for each lessons would enhance the grasping capability of students, Basheer Ahmed added.

    The DIET would also prepare audio lessons for the visually-challenged children. We are in the process of handing over the DVD set to schools through the chief educational officer attached to the ‘Sarva Siksha Abyan’ Basheer Ahmed said while making a presentation of the DVDs to the CEO (SSA) on Monday. The CEO Anitha said, the distribution of DVDs to schools would begin soon after the nod from the government.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by V. NarayanaMurthi / August 27th, 2014

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