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    V. Chandrasekar, a key member of the Forum, is assisted by his wife Vijayalakshmi in sorting out the books meant for distribution. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

    V. Chandrasekar, a key member of the Forum, is assisted by his wife Vijayalakshmi in sorting out the books meant for distribution. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

    In a role reversal, a few seniors in Besant Nagar are caring for youngsters.

    We tend to picture senior citizens as helpless and leaning heavily on others. And therefore, we are surprised when we see them serve people considerably younger than themselves.

    And I should admit I was more than surprised to discover such a group of seniors in Besant Nagar.

    Senior Citizens Group of Besant Nagar, founded in 2012, collects and distributes books to college students. Chandrasekhar, honorary president of the forum, says, “We sent a press release about our initiative to neighbourhood tabloids and made a few calls — that’s all it took to get started. Many came forward to donate their books. Many students from families with low incomes came to receive these free books.”

    Around 2,000 books on various subjects were collected in a week. Each student was allowed to take a single book.

    Similarly, during the last monsoon, we collected and distributed blankets to pavement dwellers in Besant Nagar. “It is not possible to go far away and distribute the blankets. So we restricted ourselves to Besant Nagar. Seven young volunteers helped us in the distribution of blankets, ,” says Chandrasekhar

    “Most of the forum members are pensioners and we set aside a part of our pension for this work,” says Chandrasekhar.

    This Forum for seniors encourages similar initiatives in other neighbourhoods. Chandrasekhar says, “Someone from Tambaram called to say he wanted to donate the books of his children. I asked him to distribute the books to deserving students in Tambaram. The idea is to serve the poor wherever they are found. Our forum is not registered and does not have a bank account. We accept assistance only in kind.”

    The Forum’s next plan is to collect and distribute walking sticks.

    “It also has plans to offer training in spoken English, group discussion and attending interviews for students from economically weak sections. Also, career counselling sessions will be organised,” he adds.

    The sessions will be conducted by V. Chandrasekhar, an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a retired professor from Anna University and his wife C. Vijayalakshmi, an English teacher. V. Chandrasekhar is now a visiting professor at Anna University.

    Those keen on assisting the forum may call V. Chandrasekhar at 9884224480 or write to

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> Downtown / by L. Kanthimathi  / Chennai – January 31st, 2015

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    Chennai  :

    In a move that turns investment banker into an investor by itself, MAPE Advisory Group and auto-component maker Igarashi Electric Works of Japan have bought out the entire 97.9% stake held by Blackstone Capital (Singapore) and BFIP (CAYMAN) in Agile Electric Sub Assembly for $106.4 million. Agile owns Igarashi Motors.

    The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and upon successful completion of transaction, Igarashi Electric Works and MAPE Advisory Group will be the new promoters of the company.

    Agile Electric is involved in production of DC motor sub-assemblies, micro motors. It later started to make AC motors in 2012. The company can produce nearly 40 million components from its plant inside Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ). Agile exports majority of its products to Delphi Automotive, Inteva Products and Bosch.

    Igarashi Motors was the original promoter of the company along with Crompton Greaves. “Igarashi stepped out of the company in favour of HBL Power Systems, after there was some financial stress back home,” sources said. HBL sold the company to Blackstone in July 2013. Blackstone completed a management buy-out with an investment of $74 million. Interestingly, Mape Advisory was the investment banker who facilitated Blackstone transaction. “Igarashi wanted a local partner and we decided we will join them,” said M Ramprasad, chairman, Mape Advisory.

    With Blackstone exiting the company, Igarashi and Mape will make an open offer to the public shareholders of lgarashi Motors India as per the applicable provisions of SEBI SAST Regulations 2011 for acquisition of upto 26% of the voting share capital of Igarashi Motors. The obligation to acquire shares pursuant to the open offer will be triggered only on the successful closure of the transaction of Agile Electric Sub Assembly as this would lead to an indirect change in control of Igarashi Motors, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

    Religare Capital Markets has been appointed as the Manager to the open offer and the offer price as per applicable regulations is expected to be in the range of Rs 307-308 per share. The estimated size of the open offer will be about $ 41 million, the company said.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / TNN / January 31st, 2015

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    He impressed the Mahatma with his stentorian voice. Gandhiji affectionately referred to him as his ‘loud speaker’!

    He impressed the Mahatma with his stentorian voice. Gandhiji affectionately referred to him as his ‘loud speaker’!

    Subri was closely associated with the freedom movement and along with his wife Kamala courted arrest several times

    V. R. Krishna Iyer, a leading advocate in Coimbatore and his devout wife Parvathi named their fifth child Subramaniam, after the deity at Chennimalai. The young boy grew up to be better known as Kovai Subri. Subri was drawn to the ideals of Gandhiji and he quit college in order to join the freedom movement.

    In 1921, the town Congress committee was born and textile pioneer G. Kuppuswamy Naidu officiated as the President and Subri (1898 – 1993) became its Secretary.

    Freedom fighter C. P. Subbiah (1895 – 1967) also joined them and remained a lifelong friend of Subri.

    Subri was imprisoned when he joined the flag Satyagraha at Nagpur under Sardar Vallabhai Patel in 1923 and he spent a year in prison. He was imprisoned on five other occasions and cumulatively spent more than five years of his life in prison.

    It was during his years in prison that Subri composed songs which were later compiled into a book called Desiya Geethangal. He composed Muruga Ganam which consisted of 426 songs classified into 12 volumes.

    He started a khadi centre at Padiyur near Uthukuli and Gandhiji has praised Subri for his stellar role in the freedom movement in the pages of Young India.

    When Gandhiji toured in Coimbatore and Nilgiris district Subri was his translator and he impressed the Mahatma with his stentorian voice. Gandhiji affectionately referred to him as his ‘loud speaker!

    Subri was the Municipal Chairman between 1938 and 1942. It was due to his efforts that Gandhi Park came into being. He was an MLA who represented the Coimbatore City Constituency between 1947 and 1952.

    He married Kamala (1911 – 1993), the young daughter of A. Naatesa Iyer who was an advocate-cum teacher from Pollachi. Subri warned Kamala about the risks involved in marrying a freedom fighter, but they nevertheless got married on the 14 November 1926. Kamala also courted imprisonment in front of the Municipal office for participating in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 along with their six month old daughter. She was imprisoned again for participating in the Satyagraha in 1932 along with her colleagues Padmavathy Asher (Tirupur), Ambujam Raghavachari, Muthulakshmi (Satyamangalam), Govindammal Ayyamuthu and Kamala Krishnaswamy.

    Subri’s home at 91, Karuppa Gounder Street was always a beehive of activity. He was close to Rajaji, M. P. Sivagnanam, C. Subramaniam, Kalki, Sadasivam, S. N. R. Chinnaswamy Naidu, Kovai Khadar Ayyamuthu, Chinna Annamalai, Dr. C. Nanjapapa, T. A. Ramalingam Chettiar, T. S. Avinashilingam

    Chettiar,T. Raghavachari, R. Venkataswamy Naidu and Rasikamani T. K. Chidambaranathan.

    Post independence, when Rajaji took the lead to launch a new national party – The Swatantra Party, Subri joined the same.

    G. K. Sundaram described Subri’s life as one of sacrifice, which he gave unstintingly to the nation. He said, “Such men are the salt of the earth”.

    (Rajesh is passionate about his city and is always looking for ways of documenting its history)

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus> Hidden Histories / by Rajesh Goivindarajulu / January 30th, 2015

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    Chennai :

    If you think poetry and mathematics don’t get along, you are wrong. An interesting feature of Indian mathematics is that it is composed in verse, said K, noted mathematician and a professor at IIT Bombay. “Mathematicians successfully managed to couch a variety of formulae in beautiful verses. Among the Indian mathematicians, Bhaskaracarya is held very high,” he said.

    Ramasubramanian said Bhaskaracarya, whose main treatise on mathematics is ‘Lilavati’ written in 1150AD, systematically developed a topic – whether it is arithmetic, geometry, algebra or astronomy. He would build on what had been already introduced.

    “Lucid exposition of the subject was his hallmark. The examples presented by him are quite appealing, rich and varied. It involved characters from mythology and nature. He also drew a number of incidents from day-to-day life to solve problems in maths,” he said. was speaking at a two-day workshop on Bhaskaracarya’s contributions to mathematics and astronomy on the eve of his 900th birth anniversary.

    Talking on ‘The Lila of Lilavati’, said when he started learning mathematics, the teacher would simply ‘teach’ a solution and present a set of formulae. “We were expected to learn the technique, memorise the formulae, and then work out those problems given at the end of the chapter, repeatedly.

    I do not recall a single problem that could be related to practical life – as given in ‘Lilavati’. Texts on Indian mathematics, soon after enunciating a rule or principle, present plenty of examples from day-to-day life – all in the form of beautiful verses. Making students aware of the major achievements of their own civilization is the need of the hour,” he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> City> Chennai / TNN / January 30th, 2015

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    January 29th, 2015adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    V.V. Sadagopan

    V.V. Sadagopan


    The story of his life reads like a blockbuster.

    He was a man of many accomplishments: a university rank-holder, ICS aspirant, film actor, music teacher, performer and composer. However, the mystic in Veeravanallur Vedantam Sadagopan, better known as V.V. Sadagopan, chose to give up all quests and simply vanished into the night. His birth centenary falls on January 29.

    “He got off the train at Gudur [in Andhra Pradesh] on April 11, 1980, on his way from Delhi to Chennai. Afterwards there was no information about his whereabouts. His family still believes that he lives somewhere,” said T.K. Venkatasubramanaian, retired Professor of History of the Delhi University, who had also accompanied V.V. Sadagopan on the mridangam .

    Born in Veeravanallur, a small town in Tirunelveli district, on January 29, 1915, Sadagopan, son of an insurance agent, Vedantam Iyengar, stood first in English, Maths and Sanskrit in 1934 and came to Chennai to prepare for the ICS examinations. Instead his association with Tamil writer Va. Ramasamy alias Vaara, first landed him in the world of journalism and later films. He has written for Ananda Vikatan .

    “He was a star, handsome and charismatic. He was a graduate and an acclaimed Carnatic musician. When I learnt that the producers of the new film were planning to have him as the hero, I knew that I stood no chance of being considered for the role,” wrote MGR about V.V. Sadagopan, and the words of the former actor-turned-Chief Minister speak volumes for his talent and personality.

    After acting in a few films including Navayuvan , Athisayam and Madanakamarajan , he returned to the concert platform.

    When Soundaram Ramachandaran, a Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet, launched the Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI), she appointed Sadagopan as the director of Music Studies.

    “When Nehru visited the institution in 1959, he got a chance to watch the Kuravanji dance-drama of Sadagopan. So impressed was Nehru with Sadagopan’s talents that he appointed him as Professor of Music in Delhi University. He continued in the job till 1975,” said Mr. Venkatasubramanian, whose father T.V. Kuppusamy was also a student of Sadagopan.

    He delved deep into Vaishnavite literature and had given full-fledged concerts comprising verses from the Kambaramayanam .

    Teaching music to children was a subject close to his heart and he launched the Tyaga Bharathi, a movement to carry out his mission.

    “An ardent devotee of Thyagaraja’s music and admirer of Subramania Bharati’s ideas, he combined both to teach values to children. We used to visit schools and would sing and dance with children. They are not nursery rhymes, but penned and tuned to Carnatic music with the objective of moulding children,” said Devika Raman, daughter of Sadagopan.

    While his family released two CDs of the songs of Tyaga Bharathi , his student Srirama Bharathi built a temple at Jalladaiampet on the outskirts of Chennai and propagated his ideas through music.

    The tradition still continues.

    Admired by MGR and Nehru, V.V. Sadagopan loved to impart values through music to children

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai /by B. Kolappan / Chennai – January 29th, 2015

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    Activists of Rasipuram People’s Forum and residents paying tributes to R K Laxman on Tuesday | express

    Activists of Rasipuram People’s Forum and residents paying tributes to R K Laxman on Tuesday | express

    Namakkal :

    Condoling the demise of R K Laxman, residents in his ancestral town, Rasipuram in Namakkal district, paid floral tributes to him on Tuesday.

    Activists of the Rasipuram People’s Forum paid  homage to Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman who passed away in Pune on Monday. They showered flowers on a portrait of the cartoonist at the old bus stand in Rasipuram.

    Laxman’s grandfather had lived in Rasipuram and the cartoonist’s father moved to Chennai before shifting to Mysore.

    “Rasipuram is the ancestral town of R K Laxman and his brother R K Narayan. Both had made the town proud by their works,” said Nalvinai Viswaraj, secretary of Rasipuram People’s Forum.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / January 28th, 2015

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    This was the second time Capt. Divya participated in the Republic Day parade after marching as an NCC cadet in 2008. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan / The Hindu

    This was the second time Capt. Divya participated in the Republic Day parade after marching as an NCC cadet in 2008. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan / The Hindu

    Chennaiite Capt. Divya Ajith Kumar led the widely-celebrated first all-woman Army contingent in the Republic Day parade

    On a chilly winter Monday, amidst a light drizzle, history was made as an all-woman Army contingent marched on the stretch in Rajpath, New Delhi, during the Republic Day parade.

    Seated in the audience, in gallery no. 14, was Binah Ajith Kumar. A resident of Madipakkam, her heart overflowed with pride as the women officers marched by. After all, the contingent was led by her daughter Capt. Divya Ajith Kumar.

    “Her contingent was the first to march after the display of military firepower, machines and vehicles. When it was announced that the first ever all-woman Army contingent was marching by, everyone in the audience rose and applauded. When my daughter’s name was announced as contingent commander, I was overjoyed; it was the most memorable moment in my life,” Ms. Binah recalls.

    Belonging to the Corps of Army Air Defence, Capt. Divya marched past the dignitaries and audience, flanked by two woman officers. They were followed by 144 serving woman officers from the Army and trainee lady cadets from OTA.

    This is not the first time Capt. Divya is marching on the Rajpath stretch. She had also led the all-India contingent of National Cadet Corps’s senior division girls wing for the Republic Day parade in 2008, when she won the All India Best Girl Cadet and best parade commander awards. Capt. Divya was a student of Good Shepherd Convent and a B. Com graduate from Stella Maris College.

    Her NCC officer from college, Dolly Thomas, remembers her as very focussed and hardworking. “She was very responsible and used to single-handedly take care of Cadostar, our annual inter-college NCC festival,” Prof. Thomas says.

    Capt. Divya graduated from college in 2009, cleared the Combined Defence Services Examination and joined OTA the same year. She passed out in 2010, bagging the sword of honour – the first woman to receive it in the history of the academy, where she is now an instructor. She had earlier served in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir.

    “It was a terrific feeling and I got a lot of calls of appreciation. I want more young women, especially from Tamil Nadu, to join the army,” adds the 25-year-old, who, like any true Chennaiite, is a fan of the Marina Beach.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai> Society / by K Manikandan / January 28th, 2015

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    Chennai :

    Tamil Nadu Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society (Co-optex) is slowly gaining the attention of tech-savvy customers. Its e-commerce facility has sold products worth Rs 2.36 lakh in the last two months, with cotton saris the most popular.

    The new initiative on has impressed many. N Swaminathan of Trichy said, “I never thought a government product would be available online. I thought I will try the quality and design and it was very impressive.” About 2.54 lakh weavers are part of Co-optex, which was established in 1935 and has more than 200 showrooms, including 60 outlets outside Tamil Nadu.

    “Co-optex products are sought after, especially during weddings and functions because of the quality. We are trying to use technology to give a new experience to customers, especially youth. We are also focusing on the global market,” said managing director T N Venkatesh, who was instrumental in the makeover.

    He said they introduced soft silk sarees with designs and patterns inspired by ancient temples, monuments and historical places. and “also came up with new generation shirts, especially for youth.”

    Online figures show customers from other states and foreign countries ordered Co-optex sarees and shirts online. Products are delivered within 24 hours for customers in TN and upto 72 hours for those in other states.

    An official said they held discussions with private e-commercial firms to increase sales. “Purchasing online is a trend. Online sales are important especially when real estate costs are going up”. On, officials interact with customers and showcase their products. A shopping facility introduced by Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation, or Poompuhar, on has also received good response with shoppers able to choose nearly 1,600 items, including bronze, brass, wood and stone carvings.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / TNN / January 28th, 2015

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    STILL AS STONE: Akshintha La Se Shu Babu has already entered the Limca Book of Records

    STILL AS STONE: Akshintha La Se Shu Babu has already entered the Limca Book of Records

    Madurai :

    On Monday, people attending the Republic Day celebrations at NMSS Vellaichamy Nadar College were surprised to find what was, at first glance, a brand new statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Till Sunday evening, no such statue had been spotted on the premises, and many believed that an Aluminium structure had been mounted for the special occasion.

    In fact, the Gandhi ‘statue’ was Akshinthala Seshu Babu, a 44-year-old man from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, who is attempting to set a new record by standing still for at least 36 hours at a stretch. Dressing in Bapu’s attire, Seshu Babu began his stillness feat at 10.30 am on Monday here, and is aiming to continue in the pose till 10.30 pm on Tuesday.

    Sesha Babu, who began standing still in public in 1993, when he stood motionless for four hours at a function in Vijayawada, has already entered the Limca Book of Records and has won several competitions. With the latest stunt, he is hoping to break his own record of 35 hours which again, he performed dressed as the Mahatma.

    According to Sesha Babu, standing still is not as easy task. It requires painful preparation, and being a regular yoga practitioner has helped him a lot, he said. Moreover, he tried to keep his physique fit by running and cycling, he said.

    He had been fascinated by Gandhi since childhood, Babu added, and the objective of his performance was to demonstrate the principles of Gandhi to the nation’s youth, which he hoped might influence them to fight the evils in the society in a non-violent way.

    “Most people know about Gandhi but remain ignorant of the principles he stood for. Since there is a lot of violence in the world today, I want to create this record and spread the message of living in harmony,” he said.

    Besides, the performance would also demonstrate the importance of leading a healthy life, he said, without which such a feat would be impossible to achieve.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / January 27th, 2015

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    Major Mukund Varadharajan

    Major Mukund Varadharajan

    Indu Rebecca Varghese, wife of martyred officer Major Mukund Varadharajan is in New Delhi to receive the Ashok Chakra award bestowed on her husband, on Monday.

    Maj. Mukund’s father R. Varadharajan, who has accompanied his daughter-in-law to the national capital, told The Hindu that it was a proud moment for their family as many of his son’s colleagues called on them to congratulate.

    Mr. Varadharajan, who spoke over phone, said: “When Maj. Ashutosh Pandey, the officer who substituted Mukund’s place in the  44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles (22 Rajput) narrated tales of Mukund’s bravery and subtleness in handling crisis in the battle to fight terrorism, it brought tears to my eyes,” he said.

    Mukund’s four-year-old daughter Arshea is also in New Delhi for the award ceremony on Tuesday.

    Tambaram resident, Mukund Varadharajan, who laid down his life fighting insurgents in Kashmir, has been posthumously awarded the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award ‘Ashok Chakra’.

    Major Mukund Varadarajan, of 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles (22 Rajput) was leading an anti-terrorist search operation in Shopian in South Kashmir. He was killed in an encounter with Hizbul Mujahideen militants in April last year.

    He gunned down two heavily armed terrorists before breathing his last.

    Maj. Mukund’s mother, Geetha Varadharajan said: “we take this award as a reward for our son’s bravery in combating terrorism and it will give us courage to bear the loss.”

    “We take this award as a reward for our son’s bravery”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by T. Madhavan / Chennai – January 26th, 2015

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