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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    What do you know about Campbellabad, I was asked the other day. Thinking I still knew the Political Geography I had once specialised in, “It’s a town in Pakistan,” I casually answered. Only to be told it’s a 300-year-old village in Tuticorin District. When my caller wanted to know whether what the locals had told him, that it was named after a Madras Governor, was correct, I was a little more careful. “I think Governor Campbell was some time later but let me check,” I hesitantly answered.

    So achecking I went. And found Sir Archibald Campbell was Governor from 1786 to 1789, not quite 300 years ago. But I also found that there was another Archibald Campbell, a Madras Civilian from 1896 to 1937. He has been involved with the raising of the Mettur Dam (1925-934), retired as Chief Secretary and had served on the Boards of Revenue and Irrigation. He was more likely to have had something to do with land settlement for which the Muslim settlers could have named their new village after him. But that was just 100 years ago.

    CampbellCF31jul2017

    Later that day, who should I bump into but Civilian Campbell — or at least a bust of him in the 1901 banqueting hall of the Freemasons of Madras. He had been an ardent Freemason and started the Sir Arthur Campbell Lodge in Madras in 1930. This was the first Lodge where both Europeans and Indians could be members, on condition each spent at least six months a year in the others’ country (Miscellany, March 11, 2013).

    While the bust and I looked each other in the eye, the voices swirling around us talked of the August celebration of 300 years of English Freemasonry with the consecration of the first Grand Lodge of the English Order in London. There was that number again, but this time the records showed the date was indeed 1717. Thirty-five years later, the Grand Lodge of Madras was consecrated. From then on, till the British left India, virtually every British official who was anyone in Madras was a Freemason, it would seem.

    Two winners of honours

    Two residents of Madras many decades ago whom I met recently were on quick visits to the city. To me the link between them were the honours they’d won, rather more distinguished and national in the case of one, rather more local in the case of the other. But both were greeted with the same warmth and enthusiasm by their former colleagues on the occasion of the 150th year celebrations of their respective affiliations.

    It was while visiting his old school, Lawrence of

    Lovedale, as a distinguished guest that Paul Sabapathy from Birmingham heard that he had been honoured for the third time by the Queen of England. An OBE in 1995 for urban regeneration, a CBE in 2004 for his contribution to business and higher education was being followed by a CVO (Companion of the Royal Victorian Order) for his services as Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands.

    LtSabapathyCF31jul20176

    As Lord Lieutenant, he was the Queen’s personal representative in the area from 2007 to 2015. It could well have been a knighthood if an email of his had not been leaked. In it, after a visit to the Pakistan consulate in the city, he was critical of the Pakistani community of Birmingham. Apologising, then stepping down was not enough.

    Sabapathy, who went to Birmingham 53 years ago, soon after graduating from Madras Christian College, had a rather remarkable record in Britain. He was the first non-white to be a Lord Lieutenant (a 550-year-old institution), chairman of a British University (Birmingham City U), and a President of the Walsall Chamber of Commerce.

    Unlike Sabapathy, Demitrius Sarandis was no public figure except in the small world of rowing in India. And in the even smaller world of the Madras Boat Club (MBC) he was welcomed for all he had achieved when he was a member (1958-1962).

    SarandisCF31jul2017

     

    Sarandis, from Greece, came out as a 22-year-old to Madras in 1957 to monitor the machinery that his company in the UK had supplied to the South India Flour Mills. While first living in that legendary chummery Chesney Hall, and then closer to the Club, he established an enviable record becoming the MBC’s Captain of Boats within three years. He’d never rowed in his life till a fellow resident at the chummery made him a member of the Boat Club. There, some thought him too small, others, seeing his scanty hair and luxuriant moustache, thought him more aged than he was and too old (35) to row successfully. But taught by the boat boys, he rowed competitively for the first time in 1959. Beating KR Ramachandran, reckoned till then the best Club sculler, Sarandis went on to team with him and win the Pairs too. In three years, his trophy cupboard was full. But then, faced with visa problems, he had to go back — and greater honours were not to be his.

    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 / July 31st, 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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    Left Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE), center Harsha Prabakaran, right Sumir Kumar Jha

    Left Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE), center Harsha Prabakaran, right Sumir Kumar Jha

    Chennai :

    Chennai-based student Harsha Prabakaran has got an opportunity to represent India in the electronics category at Worldskills 2017, more popularly known as “Skill Olympics .”

    Worldskills 2017 will take place in Abu Dhabi in October. It will see participation from over 77 countries across the globe in 50 different skills.

    The runner-up in the selection is Sumir Kumar Jha from Delhi.

    Prabakaran is an electronics engineer from the Chennai Institute Of Technology.

    The four-day pre-selection for the championship was organised by Electronics Sector Skill Council of India (ESSCI), Emtech Foundation and Delhi Technological University, New Delhi.

    The two contenders had to prove their mettle over a 17-hour task, which included schematic design, PCB design, embedded system programming, fault finding, repair and measurement.

    The ceremony for felicitating the winners saw participation of Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE) , S K Garg, pro-vice Chancellor, DTU, N K Mohapatra, CEO-ESSCI, Yogender Pal Singh, electronics expert and Naveen Kumar, technical consultant, ESSCI.

    Before the final event, Prabhakaran will undergo training at international electronics manufacturing firms to meet Skill Olympics’ standards

    Prabhakaran will meet PM Narendera Modi on July 15 before the final event.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City News> Chennai News / by Rachel Chitra / TNN / July 04th, 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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    Dharshana (PTI Photo)

    Dharshana (PTI Photo)

    Krishnagiri :

    The nation was busy celebrating toppers who scored over 99 per cent in the CBSE Class XII exams, and Dharshana’s journey to scoring 96.6 per cent got less attention than it deserved. But her story is worth telling, for she overcame a different set of challenges on her way to success.

    A student of Nalanda International Public Sc­­h­o­ol in Krishnagiri, Dharshana, who has only parti­al vision, came third in the persons-with-disabilities cate­g­ory of CBSE exams, scoring 483 marks out of 500. Dharshana has no vision in her left eye and partial v­ision in the right. “She worked really hard right, but we did not ex­pect her to grab the third position,” says her father R Mohan, a businessman. “Her hard work to­ok her to this position. Dhars­h­ana wrote the exam herself, wi­th additional time of one ho­ur.”

    Parents of children with disabilities should spend more time with them, says Mohan. His wife Vijayalaskhmi is a stay-at-home mother and Dharshana is the second of their two daughters. “They expect this because they do not have many friends. So parents have to step up and spend time with them, be their friends, their guide… and they definitely will achieve their goals.”

    “I want to become an entrepreneur,” says Dharshana, thanking her parents, friends and teachers who were happy to hear about her achievement. “I want to study BCom. My father is a businessman and so I naturally like business,” she says.

    How the students fared
    Overall Pass Percentage
    2016: 83.05%
    2017: 82.02%

    Region-wise pass percentage
    95.62% Trivandrum
    92.6% Chennai
    88.37% Delhi

    Gender-wise pass percentage
    87.5% -Girls

    78% – Boys

    63,247 students scored above 90%
    10,091 students scored above 95%

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by M. Sabari / Express News Service / May 29th, 2017

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    In the past few weeks — as well as at a celebration — we’ve heard much about the splendid growth of the Chemplast Sanmar Group from scratch 50 years ago and of how over those years it had nurtured and then been nurtured by N Sankar, whose first job, unpaid apprentice, was on the day Chemicals and Plastics India opened its doors. To me, the happiest part of that success has been how the Group has returned much back to society, promoting education and training, community welfare and healthcare, greening and nature, sport and art, and even saving failing journals like Madras Musings. But one thing I missed in all this was the seeding of the group.

    (Clockwise) KS Narayanan (extreme left) and TS Narayanaswami (extreme right) at the Indo-Commercial Bank’s Vizianagaram branch in 1938

    (Clockwise) KS Narayanan (extreme left) and TS Narayanaswami (extreme right) at the Indo-Commercial Bank’s Vizianagaram branch in 1938

    Those seeds were first sown in the back of beyond, in the village of Kallidaikurichi in Tinnevelly District when Nanu Sastrigal entered textile retailing, then moved into financing. His eldest son SNN Sankaralingam Iyer took the business further and with landowners in Tanjore helped found the Indo-Commercial Bank in Mayavaram in 1932. SNN’s eldest son KS Narayanan (KSN) joined the bank in 1936, gaining experience while moving from branch to branch. He also became a close friend of TS Narayanaswami (TSN), who was with the bank. The two enjoyed a warm working relationship till Narayanaswami passed away in 1968. By then, they had moved beyond banking.

    In fact, KSN moved earlier. In the late 1930s, he was Madras-bound to shepherd a failing ink manufacturing unit, Nanco, that had been acquired. By 1941, it was a success. With a War on, he next turned to a commodity in short supply, rubber, acquiring a re-treading unit in Coimbatore. There followed the first foray into chemicals, a sick unit there making calcium carbide, Industrial Chemicals, being taken over.

    Meanwhile, SNN who had bought substantial acreage in Tinnevelly to farm, found it was limestone-rich. His thoughts turned to cement. And so was born India Cements in 1949, with Narayanaswami helping SNN set it up while KSN went to Denmark to train with cement major FL Smidth. At a time when India was yet to industrialise, this was a major venture. When TSN died, KSN headed India Cements till retiring at 60, in 1980.

    Why KSN and TSN decided to get into chemical products we’ll never know, but in 1962 they thought of manufacturing PVC. TSN went to the US and negotiated a joint venture agreement with BF Goodrich, a PVC major. Agreement led to starting Chemicals and Plastics India Ltd in Mettur, near Mettur Chemicals which would supply the necessary chlorine. The plant went on stream on May 4, 1967, the date the Golden Jubilee celebrations recalled. This was one of the first Indo-American joint ventures, also among the first with a multinational in South India. The story only grows from thereon.

    *****

    The death of a trainer

    Few knew him outside the two worlds he’ll sorely be missed in, those of printers and Salesians. They merged for Bro Julian Santi, who passed away recently, in the Salesian Institute of Graphic Arts he set up in Kilpauk in the late 1960s with help from friends and Salesians in Italy from where he arrived in 1957.

    We first met years later and, even after, it was infrequently, but for over 40 years I would meet ex-students of his. And they were generally a class apart. Most of us printers, and several abroad, preferred them when recruiting, because they came with two advantages: More machine experience than those from other printing schools, and they considered themselves craftsmen, not ready-made white collar supervisors, which many from elsewhere thought they should be because they’d got a few letters as suffixes. Training on the job and a strong work ethic, that a printer had to be a hands-on person, not necessarily a whiz in theory, was what Santi taught his wards. Few of our training institutions look at students that way.

    Was Santi a printer himself, was he SIGA’s Principal, I never discovered, but I did find out he was a trainer par excellence, a man who taught his wards the dignity of working with their hands. I hope he has rooted that culture deep in SIGA.

    *****

    When the postman knocked…

    Several items over the last six weeks have brought much mail and, happily, several noteworthy pictures. They’ll appear over the following weeks, one at a time, starting today to supplement the earliest, Marmalong Bridge.

    The Marmalong Bridge seen c.1900

    The Marmalong Bridge seen c.1900

    DH Rao for whom bridges, lighthouses and the Buckingham Canal are passions, sent me today’s picture. Rao had seen it at a Corporation of Madras exhibition where it was dated to 1900. Its caption added, “In 1966 it was dismantled and replaced with today’s bridge.” The caption also said that a plaque was removed and re-positioned at the bridge’s north end. That plaque, recalling Uscan’s contribution, is little cared for today and is almost hidden by road-raising.

    Rao adds he came across the following, written in 1829, by a French naval officer, J Dumont D’Urville: “An entire neighbourhood is reserved for Muslims and we go there by the Armenian bridge (Saidapet?) built on the river Mylapore. This bridge 395 metres in length (has) 29 arches of various sizes.”

    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> Society> Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / May 15th, 2017

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    Palm leaf manuscript. | Photo Credit: Handout

    Palm leaf manuscript. | Photo Credit: Handout

    Palm leaf manuscripts reveal a history of slavery in Nanjil Nadu, now part of Kanniyakumari district

    “The severe drought has left us with nothing, not even gruel. Our legs and calf muscles have become swollen and we are not able to walk. So as suggested by the head of our family, we sold ourselves to Raman Iyappan.”

    A 1459 palm leaf manuscript faithfully records the grim story of a Kerala Samban magan, Avayan, his nephew Thadiyan and his sister Nalli, in the note prepared for their sale as slaves.

    The lush green fields of Nanjil Nadu, the rice bowl of erstwhile South Travancore and now part of Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, hide a history that cut across the social spectrum. Slavery was common in the region as recently as 200 years ago.

    Interestingly, while members of the Vellalas, a land holding community that wielded enormous influence during the reign of the Travancore kings, were sold as slaves, Dalits, who were also often sold as slaves, also owned land.

    A collection of 19 palm leaf manuscripts, part of the so-called Mudaliar Olaigal, reveals details of the practice. Written in Tamil script, the language of the manuscripts is mixture of Malayalam and Tamil, reflecting the composite culture of the region.

    “A manuscript recorded in 1601 that records the sale of land by two Dalits — Avaiathan and Konathan, who belong to the Pallar community — proves the claim that Dalits also owned lands,” said folklorist A.K. Perumal, who has translated and edited Mudaliar Olaigal, published by Kalachuvadu.

    The term ‘Mudaliar’ refers to the head of the family in Azhagiyapandiapuram in Kanniyakumari district. The community of Saiva Vellalas were conferred the title ‘Mudaliar’ by the Travancore kings and they ruled Nanjil Nadu on behalf of the kings.

    Late poet Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai copied a few manuscripts in 1903. In addition to records on slave auctions, they contain a wealth of detail on the revenue system, maintenance of irrigation tanks and rivers and professions of many communities.

    Chronicling a reality very different from the present, the manuscripts speak of wealthy Dalits.

    A manuscript from 1462 says one Sundarapandian Chetti borrowed four ‘kaliyuga Raman panam’ (money used in that period), from one Kesavan of ‘sambavar’ caste, a sub-sect of Dalits. A 1484 manuscript, when referring to the border of a piece of land, says it lies “south of [the property of] Perumparaian”, a big land owner from the community.

    Women punished

    “But in the case of Vellalas, the women sold as slaves were used as maids in their owners’ houses. Only a Vellala was allowed to own another member of his community as a slave and this was openly announced before the commencement of an auction,” said Dr. Perumal.

    The women slaves from the Vellalas were known as ‘Vellatti’. According to the Madras University Lexicon, ‘Vellati’ means a servant maid or slave.

    “Slaves from the upper caste were clearly differentiated from Dalit slaves. Vellattis were used for the housekeeping,” explains said Dr. Perumal, who collected the manuscripts from the Thiruvananthapuram archives.

    Women from upper castes were often sold as slaves after they were found to have had relationships with men from lower castes.

    Dr. Perumal said slave markets existed in Aloor ( present day Kalkulam taluk), Aralvaimozhi, Thazhakudi (Thovalam taluk) and Rajakkamangalam (Agastheeswaram taluk).

    K.K. Kusuman, who has studied the history of slavery in Travancore, had recorded that the price of a slave depended on the social hierarchy.

    The manuscripts contain records of the prices fixed for slaves. In the records, the caste of a slave is used as a prefix unlike the modern day practice in which a caste title is used as a suffix.

    Dr. Perumal said poverty was the reason for slavery.

    A 1458 manuscript records a slave as saying: “We sold ourselves because of poverty.” Another one, recorded in 1472, records the poignant story of a man pledging himself and his daughter as he was unable to repay a loan and interest due on it. Subsequently he is recorded as having become a permanent slave.

    Slavery was abolished in Travancore on July 18, 1853 by a declaration made by the King Uthiram Thirunal.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – May 08th, 2017

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    PadmaCF03may2017

    Chennai :

    Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday presented Avvaiyar award for 2017 to Padma Venkataraman, chairperson, Women’s Indian Association (WIA) and daughter of former President R Venkataraman.

    The award which has been instituted to encourage women excel in social reforms, women’s development, communal harmony, arts, science, culture, journalism and administration, carries `1 lakh, a gold medal and a citation. She was chosen for the award in appreciation of her services to rehabilitation of the leprosy-affected for over 30 years.

    Thanking the Chief Minister, Padma Venkatraman recalled the services of WIA to the leprosy-affected and its work with the State government covering all 10 government-run homes, colonies and the community-based people.

    She said the award would strengthen WIA’s resolve to service society further.

    She lived for many years in Vienna, Austria, where she was, among other positions she held, a permanent representative of All India Women’s Conference to the UN, member of several non-profit panels accredited to the UN, such as Committee on Narcotics and  Committee on Disabled. She was also vice-president of a non-profit organisation, Committee on Women and president, United Nations Women’s Guild.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / May 03rd, 2017

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    That was a question I was recently asked in connection with a reference I had made to Umda Bagh and its links with education in the city for nearly 125 years. Good question, and off I went ahunting for information.

    Into the Umda Bagh campus moved c.1895 the Madrasa-I-Azam, the chief Muslim school in the South and which was established in 1849. This developed partially into a Government Muhammadan College with its own buildings in 1934.

    In 1948, the College was reconstituted as the Government Arts College for Men. The College moved to Nandanam in 1972 and a women’s college opened in its stead in 1974. This was named the Quaid-E-Millat Government College for Women, leaving many a student puzzling over the prefixed name, which I’m told means ‘Leader of the Nation’.

    A Tirunelveli Rowther, Mohammed Ismail went into business in the 1920s and became a leader in the worlds of leather and Madras commerce. That leadership led him into politics, in which he had shown interest from when, as a 13-year-old, he started in 1909 the Young Muslim Society in Tirunelveli.

    Nine years later, he founded the Council of Islamic Scholars and joined the Indian Muslim League. In 1946, he led the League’s Madras unit in the Assembly elections and became Leader of the Opposition. He was also elected to the first Lok Sabha, which simultaneously served as the Indian Constituent Assembly. And, an intriguing election that year was as the founding President of the Madras State Mutton Dealers’ Association, which he remained till his death 26 years later.

    When Pakistan was born in 1947, the Muslim League divided and an Indian Union Muslim League came into being. Mohammed Ismail was elected its first President. After serving in the Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 1958, he moved into Kerala politics with States’ Reorganisation in 1956. Leading the IUML, he won Lok Sabha seats in 1962, 1967 and 1971. He died a year after his last election, revered in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala as the Quaid-E-Millat, a leader who ensured communal harmony. Interestingly, his education had been in Hindu, Catholic and Protestant schools and colleges!

    Perhaps the greatest tribute paid to him was by Congress Chief Minister M Bhaktavatsalam who, describing his dignified and conciliatory behaviour in the Legislature, said he was “a model for all Opposition leaders”.

    ————–

    When the postman knocked…

    V Mahalingam writes (Miscellany, April 17): “N Kannayiram went to the West Indies as a replacement for G Kasturirangan of Mysore who cried off because of groin injury and not as replacement for CD Gopinath.

    Also CDG didn’t opt out as he was not happy with the cricket board’s ways. He pulled out as he was suffering from collar bone injuries and he was replaced by L Adisesh of Mysore who also pulled out. Totally there were four replacements before the tour.”

    With this column’s word length now abbreviated, I don’t have the luxury of elaboration. But even then, there was no reason to link two entirely different sentences about Kannayiram and Gopinath except for the fact that they were adjacent to each other. Juxtaposition is not the equivalent of replacement! More interesting is my correspondent saying it was “collarbone injuries” that made Gopinath skip the tour.

    Reporting a long interview with Gopinath for the book Office Chai, Planter’s Brew — Gopinath approving every word of the final text — this writer stated: “(In 1952) Gopinath, being South Indian, was ‘rather strangely called Madrasi in a rather contemptuous way’ by other members of the team. This was an era when cricket essentially meant Bombay — and in Gopinath’s words, ‘…it was almost as if, if you came from Madras, you had no business to play cricket…’ He goes on that around then Gordon Woodroffe’s offered him a job — it was a time when the first Indians were being recruited by British firms — and he was mulling over it because he felt the remuneration was inadequate given his academic and sporting record.

    But his father, an old Imperial Bank hand, pointed out he’d get fair treatment in a British firm and could go far (he did; he became its first Indian Chairman). The interview then records, “Musing on the advice and his issues with (Indian) cricket, Gopinath decided to refuse the West Indian tour.” No mention of collar bone injuries anywhere.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Ramesh Kumar, who’s kept the Beehive Foundry name going in its original Oakes & Co. premises on Popham’s Broadway (Miscellany, June 2, 2014), now Prakasam Salai, sends me today’s picture of yesteryear. It’s of Subhas Chandra Bose being hosted at tea at the Beehive premises on September 3, 1939. With him are Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao, the founder of the group that owns the premises, and his partner C Audikesavalu Chettiar, Ramesh Kumar’s grandfather. To Rao’s right is a person whom I wonder how many recognise, despite his being a well-known name in Tamil Nadu. He is Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

    Rao founded the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangh (Orthodox National League) in 1913 for the “revival of the declining spiritual and cultural values of Bharateeya life, dharma and religion”, I wonder how much Bose or Thevar had in common with it? I also wonder, given the date of the felicitation, whether Bose fled to Germany from Madras; that was the day India was dragged into a World War.

    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> Society> History & Culture / Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / May 01st, 2017

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    The sensors are placed on the segments of each finger.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

    The sensors are placed on the segments of each finger. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

    15 sensors that help gather data on kinematics or hand motion

    A data glove, which measures the individual joint angles of all the five fingers to understand the activity of daily living, developed by Nayan Bhatt, Research Scholar from the Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, recently won the Budding Innovators Award given by the Delhi-based National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). Mr. Bhatt has been working on developing models for studying finger kinematics for the past three years.

    The data glove has 15 sensors (plus an additional reference sensor) that help in gathering information about kinematics or hand motion. The sensors are placed on the segments of a finger — each finger has three segments and the junction between two segments forms a joint. Each sensor is connected to a microcontroller board using a flexible wire to collect data.

    “The sensors measure the joint angles through the change in orientation information. We are interested in gathering information about motion of the fingers excluding the wrist,” said Mr. Bhatt. “In the case of people with Parkinson’s disease, the data glove will provide information about hand kinematics and help clinicians assess the severity of disease. It will complement the traditionally used Universal Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.”

    Avoiding deformation

    The development may find application in animation and other industries.

    Unlike in the case of the conventional data glove, the sensors are placed directly on each segment of the finger to avoid any deformation. “We placed the sensors directly on the segments of fingers as the use of cloth like in a traditional data glove can hinder natural movements and also cause slippage or deformation,” he said.

    Efforts are on to reduce the number of sensors used. “We will first use all the 15 sensors to perform some training postures, which will then be used for developing an algorithm that will reduce the number of sensors used. Currently, with the machine learning algorithm developed by Mr. Bhatt we can use as few as eight sensors. We want to reduce it to six,” said Dr. Varadhan S.K.M. from the Biomedical Engineering Division of the Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras.

    “We are using the prototype to develop products for speech-related disability,” Dr. Varadhan said. “By using specific movements of a finger for specific words, the data glove can help speech-disabled people to communicate. We can use a speech synthesiser and speaker to generate sound.” Work has to be done to first map specific words to specific movements of the finger.

    21 angles

    One finger can move in different directions. So the total number of joint angles is about 21. Sensors have been used to sense all the 21 angles. “Ten predicted angles have large errors of more than two degree, and the remaining angles have less than 2 degree error. The average is five degrees. In a few months, with advanced algorithms, we might be able to reduce the average prediction error to two-three degrees,” Dr. Varadhan said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Technology / by R. Prasad / Chennai – April 26th, 2017

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