Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    Two former students of a college in Kodambakkam make it to a special list by Forbes, for their innovations in health care

    While he and his team have developed a compact affordable device to treat pre-natal jaundice, she is working on a software platform to help addicts free themselves of substance abuse.

    Meet Vivek Kopparthi and Akshaya Shanmugam, who now work in the United States.

    A few years ago, they went to the same college.

    Alumni of Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College in Kodambakkam, the two have made it to the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list, which recognises excellence in professionals aged under 30. Vivek is on the list released for 2017; and Akshaya, on the one for 2018.

    Social impact

    The son of Srinivasa Rao, a first-generation learner and Mangadevi, who believes employees in her small unit are family, Vivek says he hopes to make a social impact with the device, and is not interested in making money out of it.

    “The World Health Organisation says that in South East Asia India, Myanmar and Africa, roughly 5.4 million infants go untreated for jaundice, every year. Nine percent of them either die or suffer permanent brain damage, every day. Our device, which uses light to treat jaundice, would be among the most affordable in the market, as it based on simple plug-and-play technology that can run on solar power or batteries. The device has just four pieces, no complicated machinery and not much training is required to use it,” explains Vivek, who is co-founder and CEO of NeoLight, a healthcare company that engineers and designs solutions for newborns in need of neonatal medical care.

    Vivek is looking for organisations to tie up with him to supply the devices.

    Akshaya Shanmugam, CEO, Lumme Labs, an alumni of Meenakshi Sundarajan Engineering College in Chennai. Photo: Special Arangement | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Akshaya Shanmugam, CEO, Lumme Labs, an alumni of Meenakshi Sundarajan Engineering College in Chennai. Photo: Special Arangement | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Overcoming addiction

    His senior at college, Akshaya was part of team that was recognised for its work on creating a software platform to help addicts shake off their dependence.

    “What we have is a software platform that is capable of collecting data from wearable sensors like smartphones and watches, basically Android devices that help us understand the behaviour of addicts and the triggers associated with the behaviour. Finally, we also give them personalised interventions to help them recover,” explains Akshaya, who has co-founded Lumme Labs and whose first target are smokers.

    “This work is an outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts and the Yale School of Medicine. Our work is funded and overseen by the National Institutes of Health. We have conducted two national-scale clinical trials in which we demonstrated that we can automatically detect smoking with an accuracy of 95% and predict smoking events six minutes in advance,” she explains.

    Their college secretary K.S. Babai, says that she is very proud of the achievements of her students.

    “Both of them did very well in academics when they were with us. We recognise leadership qualities in students and encourage them to organise events where they can showcase their capabilities,” she says.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Deepa H. Ramakrishnan / December 08th, 2017

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    Recognising service: Activist Chezhian Ramu receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award from President Ram Nath Kovind.

    Recognising service: Activist Chezhian Ramu receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award from President Ram Nath Kovind.

    His organisation serves as a safe shelter for over 900 children across the State

    Chezhian Ramu, a social worker and child rights activist based in Tiruvannamalai district, was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award, instituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

    Mr. Chezhian received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind, on November 14, Children’s Day. He is among the three social workers selected across the country for the award.

    “It was a great honour to receive the award,” said Mr. Chezhian, who’s journey in protecting rights of underprivileged children began 25 years ago, when he lost his parents in a car accident. “I was left alone and moved to Tiruvannamalai. There I found an unreasonably high number of children begging. I began working for them without any organisation structure,” he said.

    For the next three years, Mr. Chezhian devoted his time working on eliminating child beggary and providing job opportunities to their families. “It was not easy as a lot of them were stuck in organised begging rackets. But we managed,” he said.

    He later joined the Swiss child relief agency, Terre Des Hommes, and worked on the rescue and rehabilitation of children affected during the 1993 Latur earthquake in Maharashtra. “The scene there moved me immensely and I decided to set up an organisation exclusively to protect children’s rights,” he said.

    In the year 1994, he set up TDH CORE – Terre Des Hommes Children Organisation for Relief and Education in Tiruvannamalai, and Lifeline in 1998, where over 900 children are currently being looked after in 16 homes across the State. Four of them are schools meant for disabled children.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 05th, 2017

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    Madhavi01CF30nov2017

    Undeterred by disabilities, Madhavi Latha knows how to fight back. A champion swimmer, she now heads the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India

    Polio at the age of seven months paralysed Madhavi Latha from the waist down. It left her with minimal movement in her hands and robbed her of her voice even. But with time and perseverance she managed to regain some control over her hands and her voice. The daughter of a school teacher father and a homemaker mother, Latha, was the youngest of four siblings in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana). The polio attack and her limited motor skills didn’t deter her from completing school and pursuing a college degree privately. After she completed her MSc in Math, she eventually got a job with a bank in Hyderabad, before moving on to Standard Chartered in Chennai

    And life seemed set for her, until 10 years ago when her limited movements led to a compression of her spinal cord and in turn compression of her lungs, leading doctors to give her not more than a year to live. Determined to fight back, as she always has since she was a baby, Latha turned to hydrotherapy to strengthen her muscles and ease the pressure on her spine. And that’s when she discovered her new love — swimming. Through sheer grit and determination, she began to swim competitively and went on to become the National Paralympic swimming champion when she won three gold medals in her category in 2011. No mean feat for someone with a disability as severe as hers and at the age of 40.

    Her win, silenced all the nay-sayers. “The first time I wanted to swim competitively at the corporate Olympiad, the organisers were not convinced. So, I had four people swimming around me for my security. In fact, when I first tried my hand at swimming, I didn’t have a coach. I self-learnt freestyle, which then convinced the coach to teach me the remaining styles. I wanted to set an example for other people with disabilities and so pushed myself further,” she says. Her tryst with swimming was a turning point in her life. “Moreover, being in water made my body light and the buoyancy helped me do all the things that I couldn’t outside of it,” she adds.

    Madhavi02CF30nov2017

    Swimming, was only the beginning for this determined woman. She is now heading the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India that she set up in conjunction with others in 2014. “This came about when a UK-based NGO introduced me to the sport and encouraged me to promote it. It intrigued me as it is rather energetic and inculcates a great sense of team spirit in those involved in the sport. In the last three years we’ve managed to enrol 600 players from 14 states in the country — from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” she says, adding that this venture is not without its fair share of challenges either. “One of the biggest challenges is convincing people to encourage this sport; often it is concerns over players’ safety that comes to fore, since people aren’t convinced about just how much people with disabilities are capable of. Also, sports wheelchairs are not manufactured in India and are often imported, thereby raising costs. We’re also working towards making sports arenas more accessible for those with disabilities. When tournaments take place there are concerns about accessibility in terms of transport and accommodation. And since we know that a lot of these aren’t inclusive in nature yet, we go prepared, so there are no rude shocks upon our arrival.”

    For the Asian Para games

    • While the WBFI has received an invitation from the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation — Asia Oceania Zone, Madhavi Latha and the teams are working towards raising support to help them participate in the qualifiers in Thailand.
    • To arrange a training camp in Chennai for the national team (for men and women) to prepare for the qualifiers and to select 12 players in each team.
    • A coach from abroad to run this camp.
    • To send both the men’s and women’s teams to Thailand and pay their registration fees which amounts to ₹ 3.7 lakhs.
    • Madhavi Latha can be contacted on 9841609601
    • __________________________________

    But this struggle is not new to Latha. “My parents always wanted me to be financially independent. So after completing my MSc in Mathematics, I even trained as a typist so I could get a typing job. That is when a cousin told me about jobs in banks that I could apply for. In 1991 I managed to land my first job with State Bank in Hyderabad; expectedly there was a lot of convincing to do. Having had to move to Hyderabad from my small town, I even learnt how to ride a scooter so I could commute and gradually moved on to driving a car. I eventually got an opportunity to join Standard Chartered and moved to Chennai for the new role in 2006,” she says.

    In the meantime, the lack of physical activity began taking a toll on her. “The exercises I’d been asked to do were rather painful and involved callipers being put from shoulder down. It felt like being in a cage and I neglected to follow up on them, not realising the seriousness of the consequences.”

    Even while she was pursuing her college degree privately, Latha began giving tuitions at home to students a couple of years younger than her. “I wanted to surround myself with people closer to my age so I didn’t miss college life as much,” she smiles.

    Today, she leads a busy life with her hands full with professional responsibilities at Standard Chartered and her role at the WBFI. “I want people to realise that people with disabilities can do a range of things as well. It’s important to sensitise people around them to lend adequate support. Currently our basketball team is gearing up for the qualifiers of the Asian Para Games that will be held in March 2018 in Bangkok. While our players have great potential, there’s a lot more we need in terms of support. And we are working towards ensuring that our teams qualify,” she says.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Ranjani Rajendra / November 27th, 2017

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    Vipulananda Adigalar

    Vipulananda Adigalar

    Film throws light on unknown facets of Vipulananda Adigalar’s life

    Tracing the unknown aspects of a prominent personality in the world of Tamil literature is quite a challenging task and Mu. Elangovan, a faculty in the Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate Studies, Puducherry, has travelled across the sea to do exactly that.

    After a year of research, documentation and interviews, Mr. Elangovan has brought out a 50-minute documentary to depict the life of Vipulananda Adigalar, who wrote the famous Yazh Nool (a book of stringed musical instruments), a principal research treatise on Isai Tamil.

    “I wanted to know more about his life. While I began collecting his books, manuscripts, photographs and letters, many unknown facts about him attracted my attention. I felt that a documentary film would be the proper medium to bring these facts before the public. SivamVeluppillai, who works in a private firm in Canada and Kasupathi Nataraja, an elderly person in Sri Lanka helped me complete this work,” said Mr.Elangovan.

    Taught in T.N.

    The famed Tamil scholar and educationist, who was born in Karaitivu near Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, in 1892, edited several magazines, translated works and played an instrumental role in establishing several academic institutions in Sri Lanka. On the invitation of Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, the founder of the Annamalai University, Vipulananda Adigalar even served there from 1931 to 1933 as Tamil Professor.

    While teaching in Annamalai University, he translated Vivekanandar’s Gnana deepamKarma YogamRaja yogam, Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutram. He was a pioneer in teaching and propagating Bharathiar’s Poems in the academic circle during the British rule. “He was the first scholar to recognise and appreciate Bharathiar’s poetic genius. He protested the visit of the English Governor to Annamalai University by hoisting black flag at his residence,” he added.

    Vipulananda had his early education at his native place Karaitivu, Kalmunai, Batticaloa, and later he studied Technical Education at Colombo, got his B.Sc Degree by passing the Cambridge University Examinations, and also ‘Pandithar’ title of the Madurai Tamil Sangam at the age of 24; served as a teacher at Colombo, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, received Mahatma Gandhi when he visited Jaffna and also hosted Maraimalai Adigal at Jaffna.

    Mr. Elangovan travelled to Sri Lanka and Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Chennai, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Mayavathi (the Himalayan foot) for making the documentary.

    “This documentary will remind the future generations about the excellence of Vipulananda Adigalar. It has interviews of those who have been his co-workers, friends and relatives, and addition to his writings, photographs. This film will be released first in Sri Lanka.”

    In Sri Lanka, he visited Colombo Tamil Sangam, Sri Lanka Ramakrishna Mutt Branches, Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies at Eastern University as well as his relatives and many other places including Karaithivu, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mandur, Thetratthivu, Colombo, Rosalla, Kandy, where evidences of his life and works are available.

    The documentary also depicts Vipulananda’s association with Ramakrishna Math and his visit to Chennai where he had his ascetic training from 1922 to 1924. His Brahmachariya name was Prabodha Saithanyer and got his spiritual initiation from Swamy Sivananda in 1924 and later he was called Vipulananda Adigalar. Vipulanandar established and superintended various schools in Sri Lanka from 1925 to 1931. He founded Sivananda Vidyalayam in memory of his Guru who initiated him in the spiritual order and thereby paved way for several thousand poor pupils to receive education.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Puducherry / by S. Senthalir / Puducherry – October 30th, 2017

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    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper

    Nanocellulose-based liquid dispersion that renders the coated surface extremely water repellent — superhydrophobic with water contact angle more than 160 degrees — has been developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. T. Pradeep from the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper. It has several distinct properties such as high mechanical durability and chemical stability. Like other superhydrophobic materials, the dispersion-coated surface exhibits microbial resistance thus preventing biofouling.

    The researchers used cellulose nanofibres (5-20 nm wide and more than 500 nm in length) and functionalised them with flurosilane in water over six-seven hours at room temperature. The linkage of fluorosilane with cellulose happens through the hydroxyl groups present on cellulose.

    The functionalisation makes the long fibres of cellulose, resembling bamboo poles of molecular dimensions, to be covered with fluoroalkyl groups. This reduces the surface energy of cellulose fibres. Low surface energy together with enhanced surface roughness at nanoscale renders the coated surface highly water-repellent. Tiny water droplets dropped from a height bounced off the coated surface attesting the extreme water-repellence. Other tests too confirmed superhydrophobicity.

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly. This science helps expand the use of sustainable materials. And similar to water, the dispersion is not sticky thus making it easy to coat or spray paint on any surface,” says Prof. Pradeep.

    Superior durability

    The coating exhibited superior mechanical durability even when subjected to a variety of abrasion tests — scratches using a knife, peel-off test and sand paper abrasion. “There was negligible reduction in water repellence even when subjected to wear and tear. The covalent linkages between the cellulose fibres provide superior mechanical stability to the coating,” Prof. Pradeep says. The coating also strongly adheres to the surface.

    Even when exposed to organic solvents such as hexane and ethanol, the coating exhibited chemical stability and retained its extreme water-repelling property. “The coating absorbs organic solvents. Once the coating dries, which happens very quickly, the water-repelling property returns,” says Avijit Baidya from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras and the first author of the paper published in the journal ACS Nano.

    “The coating remained stable even when subjected to extreme temperatures of 200 degree and –80 degree and exposed to direct sunlight,” says Baidya. “The longevity was also tested for two years under laboratory conditions.”

    Despite the extreme water repelling property, coated paper absorbs organic components. “Since ink has organic components, the coating allows the ink to diffuse. Unlike normal paper where the ink washes off when exposed to water, the ink on the coated paper remained intact even when in contact with water,” says Baidya.

    Though the coating strongly adheres to glass and exhibits all the desirable properties, light transmission gets compromised as the coating turns the glass white. “This material is truly not for glass. Better applications will be in paints and for coating the paper used for printing currency,” says Baidya.

    The team is already working to address the issue of light transmission by using a starting material other than cellulose. “We have nearly developed a superhydrophobic material that remains transparent once coated,” says Prof. Pradeep, who is the corresponding author.

    “We are willing to commercialise the product either through a start-up or by licensing it. We have already filed for a patent,” He says.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R Prasad / October 28th, 2017

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    File photo shows the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge. | Photo Credit: AP

    File photo shows the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge. | Photo Credit: AP

    The setting up of a Chair for Tamil will immensely contribute to Indology and also research on Tamil literature and culture, says Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

    In a fillip to a proposal to set up a Chair for Tamil studies at the prestigious Harvard University, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday announced a sum of ₹10 crore towards the plan mooted by two United States-based Tamil enthusiasts.

    The setting up of such a Chair would immensely contribute to Indology and also research on Tamil literature and culture, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said in a statement.

    Cardiologist Dr. Vijay Janakiraman and oncologist Dr. S.T. Sambandam had floated the idea and had personally contributed funds towards it.

    Following their request, then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had in her party’s election manifesto in 2016 announced that her government would take steps for setting up a Tamil Chair in Harvard University.

    Efforts are also on to mobilise funds from interested parties through the social media for setting up the Chair.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Dennis S. Jesudasan / Chennai – October 27th, 2017

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    DrShanmugamCF21oct2017

    Since 1967, a doctor in Perambur has been making medical care affordable for the economically underprivileged residents of the locality

    In 1967, Dr. D. Shanmugam opened Dr. Shanmugam Child Health Clinic on Patel Road in Perambur. The same year, an unexpected patient came knocking on his clinic.

    S. Vijayalakshmi, a resident of Perambur, was suffering from severe abdominal pain. With tablets proving futile in controlling the pain, she turned to Dr. Shanmugam. As he was running a clinic for children, the young and tall doctor was reluctant to treat her. He however broke the rule and treated her.

    Through this intervention, Dr. Shanmugam gained not only a new patient, but also received his life partner. Impressed with what he had done for their daughter, Vijayalakshmi’s parents were only too glad to give her in marriage to him the same year.

    Now 84 years old, Dr. Shanmugam completes 50 years of service in the neighbourhood this year.

    Born to M. Dharman and D. Nagammal, who worked at the Kolar Gold Mine Fields (KGF) in Karnataka, Shanmugam pursued his schooling in Kolar before coming to Chennai, where he was enrolled at Pachaiyappa’s Higher Secondary School. Later, in 1957, he pursued MBBS at the Government Stanley Medical College.

    With a meagre income, his family struggled to send him his monthly allowance of ₹15, let alone afford the education fee. Scholarships saw him through school and college.

    For a decade he studied medicine and later worked in a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Karunkalagudi village in Madurai and also spent a few years at the paediatric section of Madras Medical College (MMC) in Park Town.

    After serving at the PHC in Madurai for a few years, he was posted in various districts as government medical officer for child care.

    His longest stint was at the state-run Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children in Egmore, where he served the as Regional Medical Officer for 22 years.

    The clinic, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on October 15 with a free health camp, has maintained a ‘no-charge policy’ with its patients, many of whom are economically underprivileged. If the treatment went beyond consultation and basic treatment, he would refer the patient to government hospitals.

    Over the years, Dr. Shanmugam’s son Dr. S. Nagaderan, a pedestrian, has assisted his father at the clinic.

    “I was keen on having my own clinic as doing so would help residents receive timely treatment.

    “For nearly four decades, I had my clinic on Patel Road before shifting it to my house on Anandavelu Mudali Street in Perambur as the building on Patel Road was demolished,” he says.

    Patients from as far as Ambur, Vellore, Walajabhad, Tirupathi, Sulurpet near Gummudipoondi, Thiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram have come here to consult Dr. Shanmugam.

    For patients who can afford a fee, Dr. Shanmugam charges ₹200 for a consultation, while for those who cannot afford a fee, he offers free consultation and treatment.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News>Cities> Chennai / by D. Madhavan / October 19th, 2017

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    Chennai :

    The achievement of  Tamil Nadu’s power utility, providing connections in a single day, seems to have become a big hit, with may discoms keen on replicating the scheme in their states.

    The 16,000 connections, including domestic, provided by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company Ltd (Tangedco) so far figured prominently at the recent conference of chairmen of discoms in New Delhi.

    Under the scheme, consumers seeking a connection can apply and pay the required charges online and receive the new connection within 24 hours. Residents of Chennai region, which includes parts of Kancheepuram  and Tiruvallur districts, have benefited the most, receiving 8,036 connections.

    Only those consumers who are not part of any special or multi-storey buildings falling under the ‘mere service connection category’ are allowed to apply under the scheme. “The applicants of the LT domestic and commercial service connections can apply either through Tangedco’s web portal (www.tangedco.gov.in) or in person at the section office concerned. In online mode, the applicant has to fill all the details in the application and upload the scanned copies of the supporting documents,” a senior official told TOI.

    The applicants have to ensure that valid documents being uploaded are in complete shape before making online payments. They can pay the charges at the time of registering the application either online or in person at the office concerned.

    “We briefed the chairmen [of various discoms] about the scheme and immediately the Centre wanted states to implement it depending on their resources and availabilty of power,” said the official.

    At the meeting held on Saturday last in New Delhi, the financial turnaround that Tangedco had acheieved came up for discussion, with almost all the participating delegates expressing awe at the acheievement. The steps the discom had put in place to make itself financially viable even before it joined the Ujwal Discom Rejuvenation Yojana (Uday) scheme of the central government came in for praise.

    “A new domestic connection before the introduction of the scheme used to take 30 days and 60 days for new low tension industrial connection as it involved extension of the transformers or setting up new ones.

    But the delay has now been avoided with the introduction of new schemes in both the sectors,” said the official.

    All chief engineers of Tangedco have been asked to take necessary action to ensure that meters and other service connection material are available in the stores for effecting service connections without any delay.

    “Once an application for a new LT connection is received, the officials are expected to monitor the progress in providing the connection. Superintending engineers will be taken to task if there is any delay in providing the connection,” he said.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News> Civic News / by Sivakumar / July 28th, 2017

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    June 20th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Education, Records, All

    firstwomanengineerCF20jun2017

    When Dr Shantha Mohan, who is writing a book on the women graduates of the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), contacted me recently, seeking more information on May George (Miscellany, February 3, 2014 ), I got more information from her than I could give. I’d always thought that the College had admitted only two women students, its first, in 1940, but I learnt from her that three had been admitted. They were PK Thresia, Leelamma George and A Lalitha, all receiving their degrees in 1943 with the certificate having ‘He’ struck out and replaced with a handwritten ‘She’.

    A history of the College brought out by it in 1991 curiously states that the first women students were only two and one got her degree in Electrical Engineering, the other in Civil. Shantha Mohan provides me a wealth of detail about the Electrical Engineering student, Lalitha, so it must be presumed that the other two she mentions did Civil Engineering.

    Lalitha, married at 15, was 18 when she had her daughter. A few months later, in 1937, her husband passed away. Determined not to stay at home and mourn or to remarry, she decided to take up a professional course. Lalitha applied to CEG in 1939, an all-male institution at the time.

    It was her good fortune that her father, Pappu Subba Rao, was Professor of Electrical Engineering there and he persuaded Principal KC Chacko (the first Principal with a Doctorate) and Director of Public Instruction RM Statham, who was all for women’s education (Miscellany, August 24, 2015) that it was time the College admitted women students — and Lalitha became CEG’s first woman student, a widow and a mother at that. With the gates opened, Thresia and Leelamma followed her in. Lalitha stayed on a year after they left to get her Honours degree.

    firstwomanengineer02CF20jun2017

    After a stint with the Central Standards Organisation in Simla, Lalitha spent a few years with her father, helping him with his research. He patented a Jelectromonium (an electrical musical instrument), smokeless ovens and an electric flame producer. But the need to make a living on her own beckoned, and she joined Associated Electrical Industries, a British firm.

    She then began designing transmission lines, doing substation layouts and executing contracts. She was noteworthily associated with the work on electrical generators for the Bhakra Nangal Dam.

    After 30 years with AEL, including the time after it had been taken over by General Electric, Lalitha retired, much of the last years of her working life focused on supervising contract projects. She was the only woman engineer from India to attend the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists which was held in New York in 1964. Thereafter, she was active in international women’s engineering organisations internationally till she passed away in 1979.

    She had once said, “Electrical Engineering runs in my blood. My father, four brothers, nephew and son-in-law are all Electrical Engineers.”

    Shantha Mohan adds a request to all this information: “If you have information about women engineers from CEG from the 1940s to the 1960s, please let me know at shantha.rm@gmail.com.”

    The Philippines connection

    Many moons ago, on December 22, 2014, I had written about Tambaram railwayman Noel Fuller’s search for roots. At that time he had discovered that his great grandfather, Albert James Fuller of Madurai, had married Ellen Matilda Narcis, really a Narcisonian and an Armenian. Her line Noel traced back to Coja Sultan David who arrived in Madras from Isfahan in Persia around the 1720s.

    Coja Sultan David became a leader of the Armenian community in Madras and his son, Aga Shawmier Sultan, was the owner of that ‘Great House in Charles Street’ in the Fort known as Admiralty, or Clive House. Noel’s search for his Armenian ancestors’ tombstones led him to that of the wife of Coja Sultan David which he found on St Thomas’ Mount. The Aga Shawmier Sultans, husband and wife, are buried in the yard of the Armenian Church in Madras, a church raised on the site of the Shawmier chapel which the family gifted to the community. All Noel could discover at that time was that Coja Sultan David had died in Pondicherry in 1754 and had converted to Roman Catholicism just before he passed away so that he could be buried in consecrated ground, the Armenians having no church of their own in Pondicherry.

    Pondicherry yielded him no tombstones, but the information that after the English had taken the city in 1761 they had ravaged it, reducing even tombstones to rubble. The story then goes that in 1765, when the East Indiaman Earl Temple was to sail for Manila, it needed ballast and the rubble of Pondicherry was loaded on it. In the South China Sea, the ship hit a reef and sank. Salvagers in 1997 found in it, intact, the 1,335 kilogram tombstone of Coja Sultan David. There’s a missing link here, but the tombstone, its engraving still clear, is now in the Philippines, an exhibit in the Manila Museum.

    Wrong again

    My computer help once again sent out the wrong picture and, so, last week we had, with Subedar Subramanian, Brigadier K Sampath, one of the speakers, instead of the Subedar’s son Durailingam as mentioned. My apologies to Brig Sampath and Durailingam.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes, from today.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> Society / by S. Muthiah / June 19th, 2017

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    Tuticorin  :

    The 106th death anniversary of freedom fighter R Vanchinathan was observed at several places, including Vanchi Maniyachchi Maniyachchi Junction railway station and Kovilpatti in Tuticorin  district, on Saturday.

    The participants demanded the government to set up a memorial for Vanchinathan at Vanchi railway junction and also urged the rail department to erect Vanchi’s statue at the junction. It was at Vanchi Maniyachi junction where Vanchinathan shot dead the British government – appointed – Tirunelveli collector Robert William D’ Escourt Ashe dead, before killing himself on June 17, 1911.

    Tuticorin collector N Venkatesh garlanded the photo of Vanchinathan at the railway station and paid homages to it. In his speech, the collector recalled the history of the freedom fighter Vanchi. Vanchi was born to forest officer Regupathi Iyer and Rukmaniammal at Sengottai in Tirunelveli. He joined the freedom movement after hearing public speeches of veteran freedom fighters V O Chidambaram and Subramania Siva, said the collector, while asking students to involve themselves in public life.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / June 18th, 2017

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