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    July 31st, 2015adminLeaders, Records, All

    Chennai :

    Senior superintendent of police K Bhavaneeshwari has been appointed chief security officer (CSO) of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL), a newly created post.

    After the Koyambedu- Alandur metro rail line was inaugurated by chief minister J Jayalalithaa on June 29, director general of police Ashok Kumar, state intelligence chief P Kannappan and city police commissioner S George discussed security arrangements at the metro stations.

    Sources said Bhavaneeshwari, now SP, ‘Q’ branch, has been deputed to the new post. She will assist CMRL officials in cooperation with the city and state police. She will be paid by CMRL and will be responsible for setting up a team and deciding the roles of its members.

    “She will be in charge of providing safety and security to the assets of the metro rail. She will also carry out anti-terror drills and anti-sabotage checks,” a police officer said.

    Bhavaneeshwari will be responsible for maintaining law and order and tackling crime on metro rail property, including at work sites. Two private agencies currently handle security at metro rail stations and are monitored by a retired superintendent of police.

    The 10-km stretch Koyambedu-Alandur metro rail line has seven stations and there will 32 stations along two corridors when the entire network becomes operational.

    Once completed, there could be five to six metro rail police stations for the network, each with six to seven metro rail stations under its control.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / TNN / July 31st, 2015

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    ANI Photo

    ANI Photo

    Rameswaram :

    Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was laid to rest on Thursday here with full military honours in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other leaders.

    The People’s President’s body, draped in the Indian tricolour was brought to the burial site at Pei Karumbu in a flower-bedecked gun carriage, escorted by columns of the three armed services.

    A gun salute was accorded to the former supreme commander of the armed forces and a military band played the haunting Last Post.

    Modi, who arrived here on Thursday morning, paid his last respects to the country’s youth icon and most popular president by laying a wreath.

    Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah, union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parrikar and Pon Radhakrishnan, Tamil Nadu ministers like O.Panneerselvam, Natham R. Viswanathan and others also paid their last respects to Kalam.

    Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy were also present, as was Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

    Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders also paid their last respects to Kalam – also known as India’s Missile Man.

    Earlier the mortal remains of Kalam were taken to the family mosque for prayers.

    His family members also reached here.

    “All our relatives have also arrived to attend the last rites,” A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president’s brother’s grandson, told IANS.

    The Tamil Nadu government declared a public holiday on Thursday under the Negotiable Instruments Act. Banks, insurance companies, schools and colleges are closed throughout the state.

    The government has also ordered closure of liquor shops and bars throughout the state.

    Around 30,000 jewellery shops would also remain closed, while petrol bunks stopped sales for an hour between 10-11 a.m. as a mark of respect for Kalam.

    Movie-theatre owners too have decided to shut down for the day while fishermen have decided not to venture into the sea.

    Political parties like the DMK and the AIADMK have cancelled their functions.

    Interestingly, the decision of private sector organisations to voluntarily shut shows that Kalam was truly a People’s President.

    Born in Rameswaram on October 15, 1931, Kalam, as a boy, hawked newspapers to supplement his family’s income. His father owned a boat and his mother constantly struggled to keep the family sufficiently fed and clothed.

    His sister pawned jewellery with a moneylender so that the studious Kalam could carry Rs.600 when he left Rameswaram to join the Madras Institute of Technology.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by  IANS / July 30th, 2015

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    July 27th, 2015adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All
    Wheat varkey being prepared in a bakery in Udhagamandalam.- Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

    Wheat varkey being prepared in a bakery in Udhagamandalam.- Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

    Rajkumar starts work at 3 a.m. every day at his baking station, preparing and baking the “Ooty Varkey” for nearly six hours daily. Their family has been making varkey in Ooty for more than seven decades now and they have customers coming in from different parts of the State and also from Bangalore and Puducherry. They make about 100 kg of Varkey a day and have added more varieties to cater to the demands of the customers.

    This is one of the popular products that tourists to the Nilgiris want to take home. There are nearly 150 bakers in Ooty who make Varkey and they plan to submit details soon to get the Geographical Indication certificate for “Ooty Varkey”. Some of them, such as Rajkumar, follow the recipe that the family has used for several years now.

    K. Mohammed Farook, President of Ooty Bakery Owners Association, told The Hindu that there were many in the plains who sell the product as “Ooty Varkey”. Getting the certificate will benefit the bakers in Ooty. The bakers in the Nilgiris procure the raw materials locally.

    The quality of water and the weather in the Nilgiris give a special taste to the Varkey, he says. “We have collected the details and will submit the final copy to the officials soon for the GI certificate,” he said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by M. Soundariya Preetha / Coimbatore – July 27th, 2015

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    July 26th, 2015adminGreen Initiatives/ Environment, Nature
    GREEN HOUSE:The terrace garden with herbs in the premises of Perungalathur Town Panchayat.Photo: G.Krishnaswamy.

    GREEN HOUSE:The terrace garden with herbs in the premises of Perungalathur Town Panchayat.Photo: G.Krishnaswamy.

    The local body in the outskirts of Chennai uses waste materials

    It is not often that visitors walk into a government office, to be greeted by the scent of herbs. In Perungalathur town panchayat, a suburban local body near Tambaram, the sight of lush green herbs on the office terrace is a welcome relief to the eyes.

    Staff in the town panchayat office tend plants such as tulsi, mint, cayenne, thyme, cilantro and aloe vera. This they do in addition to their routine daily work.

    The town panchayat has set up a model roof garden using waste materials and nourished by organic manure generated from its solid waste management and this has become the centre of attraction to people who visit the office.

    “This helps to promote cultivation of chemical-free vegetables and herbs at home. A team of our staff were keen on improving the model garden with innovative methods,” said the Executive officer, M. Kesavan.

    Plastic containers and bags produced by Horticulture Department are used to grow the plants. “Organic materials in vegetable wastes seep into the soil through the holes and enrich the soil,” he said.

    Mr. Kesavan said the garden had been frequently visited by students’ teams and officials from other local bodies. The room temperature on the ground floor office has cooled down considerably. The town panchayat has been motivating residents to visit the garden and get a hands-on experience. They could use only fertilizer bags and waste containers to raise plants and dry wood for ‘pandhals’.

    Using organic wastes generated within the house and wastewater discharged from kitchen is enough to harvest chemical residue-free vegetables.

    Above all, it will also provide an excellent green cover to the house, he added. Workshops and training programmes by horticulture experts will be arranged if groups approached them, Mr. Kesavan added.

    source: http:/www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by T. Madhavan / Chennai – July 26th, 2015

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    July 25th, 2015adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    M. Srinivasan, art teacher, seen with the carvings made by him in Vellore.Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

    M. Srinivasan, art teacher, seen with the carvings made by him in Vellore.Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

    Differently abled teacher a symbol of sincerity, dedication

    Sculpture is an art. But miniature sculpture is a fine art. The miniature sculptural carvings of the figures of great leaders such as Swami Vivekananda and Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, carved on little chalk pieces by 33-year-old Srinivasan, give an insight into the sincerity, dedication and perseverance that has gone into their making. He is working as a part-time art teacher in the Government High School in Erthangal village in Gudiyatham taluk and Aditya Vidyashram Matriculation School in Kannikapuram in the same taluk.

    “It took one-and-a-half hours for me to carve the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” said Mr. Srinivasan. .

    Having completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in the College of Fine Arts, Chennai, he has carved more than 300 chalk-piece sculptures in the last five years that he has been engaged in this art.

    Besides, he has drawn `kirukkal oviyangal’ (`scribbling drawings’) on paper, which included the drawings of the pictures of leaders such as Gandhi, Nehru, Nethaji, Swamy Vivekananda and B.R. Ambedkar. He has also drawn different pictures of Lord Ganesa through his scribbling art.

    Born to a coolie residing in Erthangal village, Mr. Srinivasan has also penned more than 500 Tamil poems, an area which interests him a lot. “I want to publish my poems, and also my scribbling pictures as books. But, because of my poverty, I am unable to get any help in my effort,” he said.

    Mr. Srinivasan can be contacted in this number: 9585168049.

    “It took one-and-a-half hours for me to carve the Leaning Tower of Pisa”

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Tamil Nadu / Vellore – July 25th, 2015

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    Chennai :

    At the core of ancient Indian poetry and music, there is lot of mathematics. Mystical as they are, many theorised and recurring number patterns are found in places we wouldn’t expect – in stems shooting out from a sapling, in logs of wood found in a beam, in the number of petals found in a flower and also, in our very own relics – Sanskrit poetry. This was revealed by celebrated Mathematician and Field’s medalist winner, Manjul Bhargava, who spoke on the subject ‘Poetry, Drumming and Mathematics’, drawing interesting correlations between them.

    Recently the math behind Michelangelo’s iconic ‘Creation of Adam’ was decoded. The Sistine Chapel painting follows the ‘golden rule’, a famous mathematical rule. Maths textbooks in India pack in many mathematical theories like this, for instance, the ‘Fibonacci numbers’. Any student is at least vaguely aware of its existence. But what comes as a shocker is that a century before the Italian mathematician Fibonacci, an Indian linguist by the name Hemachandra discovered this.

    He strung a series of numbers together, wherein each number in a series is the sum of two preceding numbers*, forming the basis of this ‘Hemachandra theory’ as our textbooks should be rightfully calling it. (Hemachandrandra no.s – 1,2,3,5,8,13, 21,34 and so on)

    Although all this could sound like Greek to layman, it’s practical and simple for Manjul Bhargava.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express/ Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by  Express News Service / July 24th, 2015

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    July 23rd, 2015adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    by M D Muthukumaraswamy

    Inside the tranquil Besant Nagar residence-cum-studio of K Muralidharan, his new modernist painting of the Vaishnavite poetess Andal startles you with its alluring imagery as a piece of folk art. On a closer look at the familiar features of Andal -the side hair bun, the parrot and the flower garland -you become aware of the rich texture of the painting. The armored body of Andal in geometrical shapes of black and white makes her figure stand out against the lyricism of the “Tiruppavai”, written as if the canvas were a stone of inscriptions. The helplessness of her slender hands matches the dreamy big eyes and the mysterious half-smile hidden behind her lips.

    Masked in crimson, a large peacock, a miniature of a reclining Vishnu, Garuda, and numerous little creatures divine and natural share their colours with the flower in Andal’s hand. When you realize that behind the painting’s charm there lies a mastery of portraiture you begin to wonder whether the semblance of his works to folk arts is only a pretense. Muralidharan says in one of his exhibition brochures, “I wouldn’t call mine folk art, and it would be more appropriate to call it naive art”.

    The goddess Meenakshi painting shares several of the stylistic features of Andal but it appears to be more fantastic with Meenakshi’s wild Medusa-like hair, and the hands making a magical appearance from the masked universe of the crimson background. Comparing the paintings of Andal and Meenakshi one would discern that what Muralidharan calls his naivete is actually an innocence with which he approaches his subjects, the popular images of religious folklore.

    Muralidharan’s present sets of paintings are, in fact, a culmination of his long creative journey as a painter. In his very early works, immediately after his graduation from the College of Arts and Crafts in the late 1970s, one can see his tendencies towards creating involved portraits and surfaces with rich textures.

    Muralidharan says that his shift in the choice of themes occurred in the mid-1980s when he was visiting Hampi. Sitting in the sprawling ruins of Hampi, Muralidharan decided that the conversation between conservation of tradition and chronicle of change would be integral to his paintings.He found the inventory of his fantasies in his immediate environment and neighbourhoods: the elephants of Thiruvallikeni temple, the qualities of the graphics of Tamil alpha bets, the idea that goddesses could be sittin g on lotuses while cows are wandering in the busy streets, and animals, birds, and humans coexisting on the same plane.

    In Muralidharan’s paintings of the 1990s we see his impressionist portrayals of gods, goddesses, and elephants on flat surfaces that lend a surreal and dreamy quality to his paintings. As years pass by, Muralidharan grows more innocent in his approach and in his paintings at the turn of the millennium we see his works approximating popular imagination and providing us a chance to examine our traditional images.Every decade seems to have added a layer of meaning and elegance to Muralidharan’s paintings and his accumulated learning is evident in his new paintings.

    The artistic achievement of Muralidharan’s present set of paintings is spectacular not only for himself but also for his methodological inheritance from the Madras school of art which set out to discover our cultural roots and their modern expressions. Muralidharan’s folkloric motifs, and the images of popular religious folklore such as goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati do not abandon the traditional decorative patterning but they reinvent them and reposition them.

    Another characteristic of Muralidharan’s paintings is that he does a series of paintings on the same subject. Whether it is an elephant or a Kamadhenu, Muralidharan presents a set of variations on the same theme, accentuating the play on our unconscious perceptions of them. He says, “I also learnt that I must continue to evolve, continue to experiment, if I should be relevant and meaningful to the society I live in. To me artistic achievement, success and being different is not a fixed point from where you can talk down to people. It is a state of flux and I am part of it.” The good news is that K Muralidharan’s Andal is a masterpiece.

    (The author is a folklorist, Tamil writer and director of National Folklore Support Centre)

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / July 22nd, 2015

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    Voctronica at The Park ahead of their performance. Photo: V. Ganesan / The Hindu

    Voctronica at The Park ahead of their performance. Photo: V. Ganesan / The Hindu

    India’s first acapella band talks about the challenges of making music without instruments.

    It was a particularly high-energy performance in Goa. While most members of the audience were enjoying the music, the sound engineer in the wings was having a tough time. Not only had he to concentrate on the ongoing concert, he also had to fend off a bunch of sceptics wanting to know where the drum kit, amplifier and guitar were hidden. Just one of the many reactions Voctronica, the all-vocal band, receives at their many performances across India. The first acapella and beat-boxing band in the country, Voctronica relies exclusively on voice modulation and body percussion to perform covers of popular songs and enthral their audience. In the city to perform at The Leather Bar, the band speaks about what keeps them ticking.

    “Reactions to our performances range from shock, awe and curiosity to amazement. People find it hard to believe that we’re able to create music without any instruments. Once we had a member of the cleaning staff look around in bewilderment while we were practising ahead of a performance and we slowly saw his jaw drop in amazement when he realised what we were doing,” says Avinash Tewari.

    At their maiden performance in Chennai, the band had in store for the audience a good number of English covers along with some local flavour. Voctronica was put together over three years ago, when eight of the band members were chosen after a 15-day workshop. “Creative differences and a couple of other issues cropped up, which is why we decided to give it a rest. Two years ago though, Raj and I decided to restart the band. We knew Arjun, Clyde and Warsha through the music space and soon the three came on board. We got lucky at every level; things fell into place when we decided to relaunch Voctronica. You meet a lot of musicians, but to find a bunch that you gel with and can work with like a dream is rare. We jam every other week, three hours of which is spent just chilling,” says Avinash.

    That camaraderie is evident as the band members share an easy laugh and break into random beat-boxing and jams, mid-conversation. A lot of their music is instinctive and about playing off of each other, according to Arjun Nair. “We anticipate what the other is going to perform and sort of take off from that. Based on this, we’ve also included a segment called the Circle Jam in our performances, where we compose numbers on the spot taking cues from the audience. It could be a random word or a name like organ, P.T. Usha or Nirma and we come up with a track. We have no idea what we’ll perform in that segment; it’s a leap of faith,” he says.

    While Raj and Avinash do the beats, Arjun does the vocal base and sings and Clyde Rodrigues and Warsha take turns to sing. Though Voctronica has performed to a mixed range of audiences, from large crowds to an intimate set of people, they say the best performances are where they are able to make the crowd dance. “It happened at the Kala Ghoda Festival. We had children and the old alike dancing to our numbers. At the end of the day, it’s all we want; to touch people with our music,” says Warsha Easwar.

    The fact that the band relies only on vocal modulation to create music does throw up its share of challenges. Like Raj Verma says, “People simply assume that we won’t need time for a sound check since there are no instruments involved, while the truth is the complete opposite.”

    Avinash pipes in, “Also we don’t have the flexibility of using instruments where you know there are so many octaves to work with. There’s only so much the voice can do. We just have to learn to work our way around it.”

    While most of the band members are largely self-taught and come with different musical sensibilities, they find a way to bridge that gap. “I think it helps that we have five different vocal ranges. It makes it that easier to create a new sound,” says Warsha, who has trained in Carnatic.

    They’re however, not limited to the stage. The band has in the past done two tracks; ‘Y U No Vote’ and ‘A Tribute to Classic Indian Ads’; the latter in collaboration with All India Bakchod. The videos were Internet sensations and the band plans to channel their efforts in this direction.

    “We want to bring out a lot of original content. There will still be covers; but it will be safe to say that even those covers will have our flavour and twist to them. That apart, you might just find us doing some more desi tracks, maybe something with a southern connect soon,” says Arjun, before heading for a sound check.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Ranjani Rajendra / Chennai – July 16th, 2015

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    Madurai :

    With the success of brinjal cultivation under the Indo-Israel project by the Horticulture Department in Dindigul, the farmers in the region are showing interest in the scheme.

    S Thangavel, a farmer from the region said he was impressed with the cultivation method used in the farm when he visited it recently. “I will take it once the trial is completed,” he said.

    K Srinivasan, the project officer said Reddiarchathiram in Dindigul is the only place in Tamil Nadu that has been selected as the centre of excellence for vegetables under the project. Also, nine places in nine states have been selected for the same purpose.

    Speaking about the project, he said by open cultivation method, the seeds of the Indo-American brinjal in 45 cents of land were cultivated in Reddiarchathiram.

    He also said techniques like mulching and minimize evaporation, powered by Israel were implemented in the project for a cost of Rs 10.8 crore.

    Ten grams of seeds is priced at Rs 300. According to him, 100 gms would suffice an acre and its yield is expected to be not less than 25 tonnes.

    The presence of pesticide residue is less in vegetables as they are sprayed once in 15 days. However, in farmers’ conventional method, they are sprayed once a week.

    To prevent wastage and monitor seedlings, a few special techniques like pro tray seedling production will be used.

    The brinjals cultivated in this method would weigh between 100gms and 150gms. Srinivasan said in the next phase, they have planned to implement cultivation of organic crops in a section of the test area under the protected net house cultivation method. Polyhouse cultivation will also be started soon, he added.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India /Home> City> Madurai / by Padmini Sivarajah, TNN / July 16th, 2015

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    The walls of Wellesley's House, Fort St George

    The walls of Wellesley’s House, Fort St George

    It was on June 18, 1815, that the French, under Napoleon, were defeated at Waterloo, Belgium. The battle’s bicentenary was observed in England last month, though the French understandably refused to be part of it. It required a combination of strongly inimical countries to bring Napoleon down but much credit is given to the British general Arthur Wellesley.

    Immediately after the war, he suggested that Napoleon be sent in exile to Fort St. George, Madras. Wellesley was familiar with our city. Joining the British army at 17, he was a colonel by 27. His brother Lord Mornington becoming the Governor-General of India meant that Wellesley and his regiment were transferred here.

    Having been in Calcutta for two years, he came to Madras in 1798, moving into a vast house as befitting the brother of a Governor- General, on Charles Street, Fort St. George. His chief occupation here appears to have been to write letters to his brother on the incapability of the Governor — Edward, Second Lord Clive.

    Napoleon, then at the height of his powers, landed in Egypt and was believed to be on his way to India, ostensibly at the invitation of Tipu Sultan. This proved a sufficient excuse to launch a siege of Mysore. Mornington and Wellesley were convinced that Lord Clive would not be able to handle this. The Governor-General arrived in Madras to personally supervise the war. An unholy alliance was brokered between the East India Company and its traditional enemies — the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad. Wellesley led the combined army and Tipu was killed on May 4, 1799. Mornington was made a marquis for his success. His brother, returning to England, rose to greater heights, becoming the General of the British Army and defeating Napoleon.

    His success at Waterloo notwithstanding, his idea of sending Napoleon to Madras was shot down, the proximity of French Pondicherry being a deterrent, perhaps. The former French Emperor was sent to the remote island of St. Helena’s, off the African coast where he died. Wellesley became a national hero and was made the Duke of Wellington. Greater glory was to follow, for he became Prime Minister of England, not once, but twice. A plaque was let into the wall of his house in Fort St. George to commemorate this. A portrait of his hung at the Banqueting (now Rajaji) Hall, till 1947.

    Today, however, not many Chennaiites would know of the Duke of Wellington or Arthur Wellesley. His name is often confused with that of a later Governor of Madras and Viceroy of India — Lord Willingdon. The house where he lived in at the Fort collapsed a decade ago and the Archaeological Survey of India has done little about it beyond putting up its regulation blue board that invokes some obscure law. The plaque commemorating his achievements still survives with faded lettering among the ruins.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Sriram V. / July 03rd, 2015

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