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


    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.


    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”

    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: / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> Society / by S. Muthiah / June 19th, 2017

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    Involves 3D electroanatomical mapping of the heart

    For 10 years, 53-year-old Baaskaran Subramaniam suffered from palpitation and dizziness, which made him tense and angry. A family member said he had speech difficulty.

    Mr. Baaskaran, a Malaysian resident, was suffering from arrhythmia, irregular rhythm of the heart. With no drugs yet to treat the condition, doctors rely on the conventional method of radiofrequency ablation.

    Though accurate, the method exposes patients to irradiation.

    Ulhas M. Pandurangi, chief of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing, arrhythmia-heart failure academy, Madras Medical Mission, opted for a new method of 3D electroanatomical mapping of the heart. The method dispensed with fleuroscopy and use of defibrillators.

    “In the conventional radiofrequency ablation, we have to insert several catheters. It was like exploring inside the heart blindly. But the new method allows us to make just two incisions in the groin to insert two catheters. On contact, the image of the heart rhythm pattern is visible on the monitor and the physician can guide the catheter towards where the electrical impulse is created,” he explained.

    “It is an experience to be able to go into the heart and find the exact place where the electric impulse is created,” he said. The Ensite Precision cardiac mapping system allows for a high level of automation, flexibility and precision that helps cardiologists to effectively diagnose a wide range of arrhythmias.

    Dr. Pandurangi said the therapy is curative and the patient does not require medication post-procedure. It also reduces cost for the patient as using defibrillator could set back the patient by ₹7 lakh.

    Mr. Baaskaran, who underwent the procedure two days ago, said the treatment cost of ₹4.8 lakh was covered by the insurance company in Malaysia.

    During its meeting, the Tamil Nadu Electrophysiology Council had resolved that some of the therapies be covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Insurance Scheme, Dr. Pandurangi said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – June 17th, 2017

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    June 16th, 2017adminRecords, All, Science & Technologies

    A first of its kind at a taluk hospital, says Chief Medical Officer

    Rajapalayam :

    A total hip replacement surgery was performed on a 24-year-old youth, N. Saravanan of Avarampatti, at Rajapalayam Taluk Government Hospital on Thursday.

    “This is the first time that a taluk hospital in the State has performed such an advanced surgery, with a costlier implant for the patient,” Chief Medical Officer N. Babuji said.

    Mr. Saravanan developed septic arthritis, an infection in the bone, on his right hip joint three years back, and found it difficult to walk.

    “When he came to us last month, we decided to conduct a total hip replacement, though we had not done it before at taluk hospitals,” Dr. Babuji said. The surgery was planned under Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

    “Under the scheme, the patient was eligible only for a cheaper prosthesis that is normally used on aged patients. However, considering the young age of the patient, who needed to have artificial joints of longer life, we went for a costlier prosthesis. The additional cost for the prosthesis was borne by Rajapalayam MLA Thangapandian,” Dr. Babuji said.

    A team of medical officers, led by Dr. Babuji, two orthopaedic surgeons, Murali and Jagan, and two anaesthetists, Mariappan and Rajesh Khanna, performed the surgery that lasted for three hours. The patient would be back on his feet within 10 days, he added.

    Such an advanced surgery was possible at the taluk-level hospital only because of the availability of two sophisticated equipment – C-arm and digital X-ray machine. “The equipment, each costing ₹10 lakh, were donated by former chairman of Ramco Group Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha two years back,” the CMO said.

    Since then, the taluk hospital had been performing hemiarthroplasty surgeries on aged patients of osteoporosis as well as road accident victims. “We have been doing at least four such surgeries every month, thanks to the C-arm and digital X-ray machine,” Dr. Babuji said.

    The State Government had proposed to set up a full-fledged orthopaedic ward at the taluk hospital soon. Funds to the tune of ₹1.5 crore for a CT-scan had already been sanctioned. Besides, ₹1.20 crore would be spent to establish a 10-bedded trauma ward, he added.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by S Sundar / June 15th, 2017

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    June 16th, 2017adminRecords, All, Science & Technologies
    Chairman and Managing Director of Ganga Hospital J.G. Shanmuganathan (third left), Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority Subroto Bagchi (third right) and historian Ramachandra Guha (second right) during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the hospital in Coimbatore on Saturday. S. Siva Saravan | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

    Chairman and Managing Director of Ganga Hospital J.G. Shanmuganathan (third left), Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority Subroto Bagchi (third right) and historian Ramachandra Guha (second right) during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the hospital in Coimbatore on Saturday. S. Siva Saravan | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

    Ganga Medical Centre and Hospitals celebrates silver jubilee

    Ethics and integrity must be the two important pillars on which good institutions are to be built, said Subroto Bagchi, Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority, at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Ganga Medical Centre and Hospitals Private Limited on Saturday.

    Mr. Bagchi said that competence will alone not take an institution to greater heights if lacked integrity. Respect of law and the quality of fair judgment will help institutions to grow in the long run.

    Speaking at the event, noted historian Ramachandra Guha said that institutions of quality and integrity are difficult to build.

    “Ganga Hospital is the institution where I was restored, rehabilitated and which made my family happy,” said Mr. Guha, recalling his treatment at the hospital following an accident he met with at Kalhatti ghat road while travelling with family in April, 2012. Mr. Guha said that institutions and individuals must hold the theme of patriotism close to heart.

    “Patriotism also involves loving and nurturing one’s city and State. The hospital has shown the same regional, state and national level,” he said.

    Patient care

    S. Rajasekaran, Clinical Director and Head of the Department of Orthopaedics of Ganga Hospital, said that the institution is committed to taking forward its excellence in patient care, research and academics.

    S. Raja Sabapathy, chairman of the Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery and Burns, Ganga Hospital and J. Dheenadayalan, senior consultant, Department of Orthopaedics, also spoke.

    Founders of the hospital J.G. Shanmuganathan and his wife Kanakavalli Shanmuganathan were present at the function.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Staff Reporter / Coimbatore – June 11th, 2017

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    Chennai :

    More than 120 seed conserving farmers from 15 states across the country have congregated on the Anna University campus here to showcase a variety of quality seeds of different crops such as paddy, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables besides cotton as part a three-day National Seed Diversity Festival.

    The festival began on Friday.

    Stalls in the festival display rare varieties of seeds with exceptional qualities such as drought tolerance, submergence tolerance and nutritional superiority across different types of crops.

    In all, more than 3,000 varieties of seeds are on exhibition at the venue.

    The festival is organised by Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), and this is the fourth edition of the festival. The first three editions of the festival were held in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Hyderabad during the last three years.

    Highlighting the importance of crop diversity and traditional seed varieties, both for farmer’s livelihood and consumer health, are the two main objectives with which the festival is being organized.

    Experts will talk about agriculture and health during the festival. It also has traditional food, stalls, terrace gardening session, pottery training and sales, natural dyeing, hand spinning, seed ball making, drinking water purification, composting techniques, traditional games and activity spaces for children.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by P. Oppili / June 09th, 2017

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    June 7th, 2017adminRecords, All, Sports, World Opinion
    Indian beach volleyball player Master Robin, belongs to a fisherman family at Pazhaiyar village, who got second place, returned from France. | Photo Credit: G. Krishnaswamy

    Indian beach volleyball player Master Robin, belongs to a fisherman family at Pazhaiyar village, who got second place, returned from France. | Photo Credit: G. Krishnaswamy

    Robin’s team returns with runners-up trophy in beach volleyball

    Even after a long journey, R. Robin did not feel tired for a minute talking about his team winning silver medal in beach volleyball competition at Tahiti. The class 11 student and his team-mates, Dharun and Swagath, were runners-up playing against Brazil in the championship conducted by the International School Sports Federation.

    Hailing from a family of fishermen from Pazhaiyar near Sirkazhi, his father V. Ravi is a fish worker, playing beach volleyball came naturally to the youngster. “Having come in 3rd at the national level, we were sent to play at the international level. We made small blunders, which was the reason the other team won. Next time, I will practise harder and win gold,” said the youngster, whose elder brother R. Radhan too came in runners-up in beach volleyball in the State-level recently.

    Robin has been playing beach volleyball for the past three years. “I used to play regular volleyball at school and then someone told us about the beach version. Initially it was difficult playing in the sand and required more energy. We are now used to it. We practise at Nagapattinam in 10-day-long camps,” he said.

    In his first international trip, Robin had the opportunity to go around Tahiti. “It was a very beautiful place,” he added.

    M. Ilango, president, National Fisherfolk Forum, said the government must recognise the students as they have represented the country at the international level. “The children are both from the State and the Chief Minister should appreciate the under-16 winners. The encouragement would help them go to the next step,” he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – June 07th, 2017

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    The honorary director of the Nilgiri Documentation Center, Venugopal Dharmalingam, laid a wreath at the grave of the first Commissioner of the separate Nilgiris, James Wilkinson Breeks at the St. Stephens Church on Tuesday.

    Mr. Venugopal said that June 6 marks the anniversary of the tragic death of Mr. Breeks 145 years ago in 1872.

    “The Nilgiris, which was a taluk of the Coimbatore district from 1800, was made a separate district in 1872 and placed under a Commissioner. Mr. Breeks was the Private Secretary and later the son in law of Governor Dennison,” he said.

    He said that Mr. Breeks’ lasting legacy was his tireless excavations of the pre-historic grave sites on the Nilgiri hills which revealed a human history of over 3,000 years of the hills. “The collection includes pottery, animal and human figurines, ornaments in iron, bronze, gold and a magnificent bronze bowl,” he added.

    Mr. Breeks apparently died due to the emission of some poisonous gas while opening one of the grave sites, and died at the age of 42.

    “The work of the NDC is to bring to light, the history literally buried in the Nilgiris,” said Mr. Venugopal. Murali Kumar, the general manager of Sullivan Court, accompanied him.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / Staff Reporter / Udhagamandalam – June 06th, 2017

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    May 31st, 2017adminEducation, Records, All


    Chennai :

    Aakash Jajoo, from Thiruvanmyur’s Shishya School stood first in Tamil Nadu in the ICSE Class X board exam, results for which were declared on Monday.

    The Council for The Indian School Certificate Examination announced the Class XII (ISC) results as well. While the pass percentage in Tamil Nadu for ICSE was 99.72 per cent, for ISC it was 99.34 per cent. There were three toppers in ICSE from Tamil Nadu of which one was from Chennai and two others from Vellore. ICS had four toppers from the State, all of whom were from Chennai.

    Jajoo scored 493 out of 500. He scored 94 in English, 94 in Hindi and 99 in History, Civics and Geography and 100 in Maths, 100 in Science and 100 in Computer Application. “I spent four to five hours in studies every day. I want to take up science in Class XI and XII. I have not thought of as of now what I want to pursue after XII. I received lot of support from my teachers for which I am grateful,” he said.

    His mother said he was very consistent in studies. “He had a planned schedule. He’d solve sample papers every day for two hours. Besides, he would focus on sports like tennis, badminton and cricket. He also spent time on drama, debate and dancing and would also watch television,” she said.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / May 30th, 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: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by M. Sabari / Express News Service / May 29th, 2017

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    Digging deeper: P.S. Sriraman, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, launching the third phase of the excavation work at Keezhadi on Saturday. | Photo Credit: S. James

    Digging deeper: P.S. Sriraman, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, launching the third phase of the excavation work at Keezhadi on Saturday. | Photo Credit: S. James

    Four trenches to be dug in an area of 400 square metres

    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Saturday began the third phase of excavation at Keezhadi in Sivaganga district, roughly 12 km from here.

    P.S. Sriraman, Superintending Archaeologist, Excavations Branch (Bengaluru), ASI, who is now in-charge of the Keezhadi site, told reporters here that the excavation would continue through the end of September.

    “We are hoping to make more interesting findings in this phase,” he said.

    Four trenches in an area of around 400 square metres would be dug initially at the coconut groves at Pallichanthai Thidal in Keezhadi, where the excavation has been on since 2015, and the area will gradually be expanded throughout the third phase depending on the findings, he said.

    Saying that ₹40 lakh had been allocated by the ASI for the third phase, Mr. Sriraman stressed that there was no shortage of funds.

    On-site museum

    He said that shifting of artefacts, likely to be discovered at the excavation site, to ASI offices elsewhere could not be ruled out for advanced analysis and ensure preservation of the artefacts.

    “However, setting up an on-site museum, similar to the ones set up at various ASI sites, is under consideration. If that happens, all the artefacts will be brought here itself,” he said.

    Highlighting that carbon-dating of two samples of charcoal from the excavation site has indicated that the human settlement at the site was around 200 BC, Mr. Sriraman said more samples would be sent abroad for carbon dating.

    A total of 5,800 artefacts were found in the last two phases of excavation.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Arunachalam  / Madurai – May 27th, 2017

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