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    Delegates of the first all India women's conference in Pune, which the WIA was part of

    Delegates of the first all India women’s conference in Pune, which the WIA was part of

    Chennai :

    It was in the gardens of the Theosophical Society that the idea of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) came to be in 1917, and so it is only befitting that 100 years later, the association chose the venue to celebrate its centenary.

    The 100th year celebrations will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukerjee on Friday, with Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam having been invited to present the invocation song.

    Founded on May 7, 1917, by women’s rights activists such as Annie Beasant, Margaret Cousins,  Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy, Sister Subbalaskmi and Sarojini Naidu, who referred to themselves as the “daughters of India”, the mission of the association to empower women hasn’t changed over the years.

    “Times though have changed as have the issues that women have to contend with,” says WIA chairperson Padma Venkataraman, daughter of former president R Venkatraman.

    In the early 20th century, WIA battled against the social evils – which ranged from a lack of education of girls, child marriage, and the denial of voting rights.

    The WIA took an active part in the political movements of the time. In 1917, for instance, when Besant was arrested and interned, branches of the WIA took active part in obtaining her release.

    The WIA also published a monthly journal in English named ‘Stri-Dharma’, which was edited by freedom fighter Muthulakshmi Reddy from 1931 to 1940. WIA was the first women’s association in India to present a memorandum to the Round Table Conference on Women’s Franchise and her Constitutional rights as well as the initiator of the first All Asian Women’s Conference.

    From a single branch that fought to make its voice heard, the WIA today has more than 40 branches and affiliations, 9000 members, and looks after the welfare of more than 5000 women.

    At the WIA’s present premises in RA Puram, women learn computer science, nursing, and tailoring, and are provided a hostel “We are no longer an association but a federation,” says M Bargavi Devendra, honorary secretary.

    “While our monthly activities and programmes change, our sole aim is to work for the socio-economic benefit of women.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / March 03rd, 2017

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    The two faces of the Galapra period coin | Express

    The two faces of the Galapra period coin | Express

    Chennai :

    After a gap of several years, a ‘Galapra’ period coin has been discovered and deciphered in Tamil Nadu, thanks to the efforts of R Krishnamurthy, president, South Indian Numismatic Society (SINS).

    The coin was collected from the Amaravathi river bed Karur in 1986. The period immediately after Sangam Age in the Tamil Country is called the Kalabhra (also Galapra) Interregnum and  an alien tribe occupied the Tamil Country throwing out the  ancient Chera, Chola and  Pandya kingdoms and ruled for some period for which there is no proper evidence.

    “This is an accidental discovery. When I was rearranging my old collection of Pallava Coins six months ago, I saw a coin which has a different texture not at all connected with the Pallava coin. In the coin holder,  I have written in 1986 that the coin was collected from the Amaravathi river bed, Karur,” Krishnamurthy, an expert in deciphering Brahmi scripts, told Express.

    He also recalled that in 1986 he had published a square copper coin with  an elephant on the obverse and a legend in Brahmi-script  “I read the legend as ‘GALAPIRA’.   Many scholars did not accept  my reading because of some reasons,” he recalled. Krishnamurthy had presented a paper on his recent discovery at the recent conference of SINS at Hyderabad.

    Regarding the date of the coin, Krishnamurthy said, “The coin is die struck and the minting is of high quality. It looks similar to the Roman bronze coin of Third century AD. On going through a Roman Coin  catalogue, I found a coin similar in diameter and weight. The Galapra coin die might have been designed and made by Roman coin die-makers.”

    He further said the ‘Galapra’ coin had four symbols on the obverse top right near the border  which are usually seen in Sangam Age Tamil coins.

    “So, the coin may have been minted  at the fag end of Sangam  Age,” Krishnamurthy said.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Express News Service / March 02nd, 2017

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    Avudaiyar Kovil in Pudukottai holds magnificent sculptures

    There is no happiness for him who does not travel, Rohita!… The feet of the wanderer are like the flower, his soul is growing and reaping fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering. Therefore, wander!/The fortune of him who is sitting, sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander!’

    Indra in Aitareya Brahmana


    About ten years ago, I made a trip to Avudaiyar Kovil, also known as Tirupperunthurai (near Aranthangi in the Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu), simply because I had booked for the whole family on the only convenient train to Karaikkudi from Chennai, but everyone else dropped out for one reason or other. So I decided to go on my own, a first for a trip that wasn’t related to work. Mainly, I did not want to pass up the chance to see the never-before-or-since stone cornices at the Athmanathaswamy Temple.

    I spent most of my day on the road, checking into a modest hotel in Karaikkudi for just long enough to freshen up, bussing my way to the hamlet that takes its name from the temple. Avudaiyar Kovil turned out to be little besides its legendary temple, set in the middle of pretty agrarian vistas, the priests given to calm diffidence.

    A chattering guide introduced me to the wonders of the shrine to Siva in which there is no lingam, only the avudaiyar (the base to it), with the deity imagined in the steam that rises from offerings of freshly cooked rice, greens and bitter gourd.

    I hung around till well after the mid-day ritual (Uchchi Kaala Seva), the quietude of the temple seeping into me as I walked around undisturbed. The adjacent Tyagaraja and Oonjal mandapams in the third prakaram, to the east, hold the most magnificent sculptural riches. Cavalrymen set off to battle, their horses so life-like that flared nostrils and taut sinews rear to gallop beneath enormous stone chains hanging from the ceiling. The famous cornices, their beams, rods and bolts crafted entirely and unfathomably in stone, are here.

    Elsewhere in the temple, the immaculately preserved detail in stone is breathtaking — whether in the musical pillars or the royals and nobility bearing swords, bows and spears, each of them rendered uniquely in their facial features, build and attire, . Motes of dust float surreally in the rays of light that enter the cool darkness from holes in the roof, falling upon a fabulously embellished pillar or the regal figure fronting it. I would reach for my camera but never get a picture that came close to what I was seeing. I have returned to Avudaiyar Kovil twice and its preternatural aesthetic never failed to hold me in thrall.

    I took the night train back, rather quieter than I was when I had arrived, stilled not so much by lassitude as the wonders of what I had seen and the cordiality of the people I had met.

    A montly column on places of religious interest

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / by Lalitha Sridhar / February 23rd, 2017

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    Believe it or not, there are a few who want to change the name of Yale University! It was initially named Yale College after Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras (1687-1692), who had, in 1715 and 1721, gifted about £800 worth of textiles and books to what was the Collegiate School of Connecticut. Their reason: The donor had not only kept slaves in Madras but had also encouraged slave exports.

    These liberals of the anti-Trump brigade cite precedent. Yale in February re-named its Calhoun College, Hopper College because John Calhoun, a Vice President of America, had been “a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately supported slavery”, according to Yale’s President who amplified, “He was fundamentally in conflict with Yale’s mission and values.” So was Yale, say the liberals pointing to Yale’s Madras record of dubiously enriching himself and supporting slavery.

    Writing about the last year of Yale’s Governorship, historian HD Love says, “The use of slaves for domestic purposes in Madras had always been recognised and sales and purchases were invariably registered at the Choultry (a Government office). The iniquitous practice of stealing children for export was, of course, illegal… (In 1683 there was) absolute prohibition against the exportation of slaves of any age. In 1687 (Yale’s first year as Governor), however, the trade was sanctioned under regulation, a duty of one pagoda being exacted for each slave sent from Madras by sea.” In September that year, 665 slaves were exported, giving an idea of the trade. The next year, the export of slaves was prohibited. The Council’s policy kept chopping and changing till, in 1790, the Council “resolved that any Traffic in the sale or purchase of Slaves be prohibited by public Proclamation”.


    Yale, whether involved in the trade or not, was, as Governor, permissive about it, it would appear. The records state he permitted 10 slaves to be sent on every ship to England. Citing Yale’s own involvement, the pro-changers refer to three paintings of Yale in the Yale Library collection showing a dark-skinned boy in them. But, the picture seen in all sources and which I found in the first authoritative biography of Yale (by Hiram Bingham) says the boy is the “page boy of the Duke of Devonshire” whose brother Yale’s daughter Anne was to marry.

    As for slavery in the Madras Presidency, a 19th Century report says it was commonplace, affecting about 20 per cent of the population (the figure in 1930 was still 12 per cent!). But this slavery was what continues to this day as ‘bonded labour’. The poor borrowed from the landowners and when they could not pay back they entered into a bond to work for the lender for so many years. Laws against such practices were enacted in 1811, 1812, 1823 and 1843, when total abolition was decreed. Selling of slaves became a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code of 1862.

    But to get back to the Yale issue; it’s been said that virtually every old private college in the US was endowed by men from slave-owning families.

    Last ‘great white hunter’?

    Joshua Mathew from Bengaluru, an IT professional and history buff, tells me that he has the rights for all the books by Kenneth Anderson, the Jim Corbett of the South, who tracked and killed man-eating leopards and tigers and then wrote about them and the southern terrain they flourished in. Anderson, of five-generation British lineage, and his wife Blossom, of Australian and Ceylon Burgher parentage, called Bangalore home. Their son Donald, whom Mathew calls “the last great white hunter-author”, is the subject of a book by Mathew awaiting publication.

    Many Andersons married in St Andrew’s Kirk in Madras, says Mathew, but Kenneth Anderson’s greater connection with Madras was his friendship with Wiele the photographer. They hunted and, later, photographed in the wild together, leading Anderson to spend his post-hunting years ‘shooting’ with the camera. His pictures of the Nilgiris in the early 20th Century brought Mathew to my door after reading of Albert Penn, the photographer of the Nilgiris, in this paper.


    Wiele, of German origin but who may have been British — I’ve found no mention of his being interned during the First World War — opened a photographic studio in Madras in the 1880s. Around 1890, Theodor Klein, also German, joined him. Their Wiele and Klein photographic studio was at 11, Mount Road, facing Round Tana (later the G Venkatapathi Naidu building). Branches in Ooty and Coonoor were added. Wiele later sold his share to Klein, moved to Bangalore and successfully ran a studio there in the early 1900s (Mathew tells me Wiele’s daughter visits Bangalore every year). In Madras, Klein hired young Michael Peyerl, another German, as assistant, then took him as partner.

    Klein died during the Second World War internment. His widow Valeska inherited his share and ran the business with Peyerl till after Independence when they sold it to Indian interests and moved together to Europe. Klein and Peyerl remained a well-known name in Madras till 1987 when a fire wrote finis to it.

    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> Society> History & Culture> Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / February 27th, 2017

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    The building is now being used as a telephone exchange. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

    The building is now being used as a telephone exchange. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

    The inspection bungalow built by the British more than a century ago in Kendala, near Selas, from where engineers oversaw the construction of one of India’s first hydroelectric systems, still stands today. Though the main inspection bungalow is in a dilapidated condition, it continues to function as a telephone exchange, where most visitors fail to appreciate its role in the history of the Nilgiris.

    The building still possesses a great amount of charm, with the teak roofs and wooden floors of the building still standing strong. Apart from the main inspection bungalows, the smaller buildings, believed to be staff quarters and also stables for horses still remain, although they have fallen into a state of extreme disrepair.

    The building has been functioning as a telephone exchange for the last decade, with a sign at the top of the entrance of the building, stating its year of construction as 1902, being the only reminder of its historical significance. Venugopal Dharmalingam, the honorary director of the Nilgiris Documentation Center, said that the bungalow overlooking the Kattery waterfalls and the hydroelectric system was known popularly as the “Kattery bungalow.”

    “When the dam was being built in the early 1900’s, it would have been used by the British to oversee the construction” he said. The entire project was designed to power the cordite factory in Aravankadu.

    “Kattery itself was a popular picnicking spot for the British, and there are old pictures attesting to its natural beauty. Now, the landscape itself is under threat due to the construction of too many resorts and private buildings,” said Mr. Venugopal.

    Apart from the main inspection bungalow, there are also a couple of other bungalows nearby built around the year 1906. Though these buildings are in a relatively good condition, they too require maintenance. These buildings are being used as quarters for Cordite factory workers.

    source: / The Hindu / News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Rohan Premkumar / Udhagamandalam – February 24th, 2017

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    The 65-year-old former STF chief does push-ups on the Marina in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: Dinesh Krishnan

    The 65-year-old former STF chief does push-ups on the Marina in Chennai. | Photo Credit: Dinesh Krishnan

    But the country’s most famous bandit-catcher still can’t get his wife to read his book

    This is not in his book but Veerappan, India’s most notorious bandit, had K. Vijay Kumar, India’s most famous bandit-catcher, who had been on his trail for most of his uniformed life, in his sights on three occasions. Not more than 500 yards away. All Veerappan had to do was squeeze the trigger, and with even a standard issue .303, which can take a target down at 500 metres, Vijay Kumar may not have got to write a book about how he killed the bandit.

    Veerappan was a good marksman, Vijay Kumar says at the Police Club in Egmore, Chennai, where he is hours away from launching his book, Veerappan, Chasing the Brigand. At the back of the Police Club, where he stays in Room 108 every time he visits the city, stretches a lawn that now has shamianas erected to serve, as he puts it, “high tea” to the 300 people he expects in the evening. Many of them will be gun-toting buddies from his Veerappan days. The dais is green like the backdrop, which has hills painted over it; in the foreground are male mannequins wearing camouflage combat fatigues and pith hats with leaves sticking out of them.

    As he walks me through the programme for the evening, I can’t help mentally picturing one heavily moustachioed policeman chasing another excessively moustachioed brigand—is this quaintly archaic term the right word for someone who killed 124 people?—through 1,200 square kilometres of forests in three States over several years, each taking turns to scope the other through the business end of a gun. The forensic specialist told Vijay Kumar that Veerappan at 52 had the body of a 25-year-old. At 65, the cop looks just as fit.

    Vijay Kumar was lucky he lived to tell the tale, unlike some other policemen. He is not superstitious, just lucky. His lucky charm is about as big as an old 25 paisa coin, maybe a little bigger, with the image of the Hindu god, Ayyappa, whose temple he has been visiting from the time he was in college studying Shakespeare, Milton and Thomas Hardy. He pulls it out of his black wallet and shows it to me. He has carried this charm around for as long as he can remember. He got this particular one after he lost a similar one 10 years ago. There have been times when the wallet had no money, but the charm would always be comfortingly there.

    Roughly how many times has he visited Sabarimala, I ask. “More than 35 times,” he says unhesitatingly, “maybe 40”. Sometimes he goes twice a year. And does he follow all the procedures? Ayyappa demands a stringent pre-visit regimen. “Yes,” says Kumar. “So you didn’t have a drink to celebrate the night you finally killed Veerappan?” “No,” he says, “I am fairly abstemious. I had a drink much later, maybe two months later. At that time, I was going to Sabarimala.” I consider his response and say, “That certainly qualifies you for sainthood.” He laughs uproariously and shoots it down, “No, hardly!”

    Ultimately, when Vijay Kumar closed the file on Veerappan on Monday, October 18, 2004, at 11.10 pm, he did so without exchanging a single word with the bandit who died under the impression that the policeman who kept chasing him was related to MGR’s nephew, a rumour then floating around.

    The mission

    By the count of ballistics experts, in the encounter that began at 10.50 pm and lasted some 20 minutes, 24 policemen fired 338 bullets on the vehicle that carried Veerappan and three members of his gang after they had been lured into the kill area, out of the forest and on to the road at Padi, 12 km from Dharmapuri. Only three bullets found the bandit. Of the three, one went clean through the left eye. Veerappan’s moustache, which spread like a tarantula sitting on his face, remained untouched.

    I ask Vijay Kumar why so few bullets found the mark. He says that Veerappan might have been hit early on in the ambush and fallen down even as the other bullets slammed all around him. He should have been killed instantly but he wasn’t. Veerappan was still dying when the policemen yanked open the vehicle door. It was the only face-to-face moment between the two foes. No words were exchanged. No words could be. Veerappan was on the verge of death, his remaining eye already losing focus.

    Was there anything he would have told Veerappan had he had the opportunity? It is not exactly superstition, but as long as Veerappan was his target Vijay Kumar had always kept a picture of the bandit at hand to remind him of his mission. He now tells me that he would have told Veerappan that it would be a relief to finally throw away the picture; over the years, it had weighed heavier and heavier, like an albatross.

    Being a cop

    What was easier, I ask. Killing Veerappan? Or writing a book about it? “Both were equally formidable missions,” Vijay Kumar says, laughing. In fact, the joke in his “immediate circle” of friends is that he took almost as long writing about Veerappan as he took to hunt him down. Vijay Kumar had a version of the book ready two years after the mission, but it then became a protracted struggle. Maybe, he told himself, he was too busy for the book. He says, “You know that Wordsworthian quote? The one about the parent hen? I guess in my case the egg took too long.”

    My Wordsworth is rusty, but the picture is vivid. As vivid as the frustration that comes through in the book when the reward on Veerappan’s head touches Rs. 5 crore and yet no one comes forward with information. Picture this:

    Police officer: You will get five crore if you can help us catch Veerappan.

    Villager: Five crore? How much is that in goats?

    Police officer: If one goat costs Rs. 2,500, that would be 20,000 goats.

    Villager: What would I do with so many goats? They will be unmanageable. It’s better to hold on to my life.

    I ask Vijay Kumar if there is anything he put into the book but took out later because he thought better of it. He thinks, then tells me how one night after eating poha, his stomach started rumbling at one in the morning. When he could bear it no longer, he rushed over and shook his buddy awake and both set out. In the jungle, they always followed the buddy system: each had to look out for the other. The buddy kept watch while Vijay Kumar went to answer the call of nature. After he’d squatted, he realised that the spot he’d picked had elephant dung everywhere. It was too late to go elsewhere and he hoped it would be okay. But almost immediately he heard his buddy hissing insistently, “Aiyaaa! Aiyaa! Yaanai! Yaanai!” (Sir, elephant!) He knew if it was a single elephant, he would be done for, but then, barely a few feet ahead, out of the inky black night, several elephant forms began to emerge like dark mountains on the move.

    I probe no further, but I realise the episode had a happy ending because it isn’t in the book.

    I ask instead: what does your wife Meena think about your book? He begins to smile. “She hasn’t read it,” he says. He intends to try other means to get her to read it but he isn’t sure he will succeed. She usually can’t get beyond five pages, he says. “If she does finally read your book,” I ask, “will you go to to Sabarimala?” He laughs uproariously again. “Of course, I’ll be happy to go again to Sabarimala but I doubt whether even Lord Ayyappa can make Meena read my book.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by V. Sudarshan / February 25th, 2017

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    February 26th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All

    The PSBB Group of schools celebrated their diamond jubilee on Wednesday in an event where the the history of the school and its journey so far was brought to the fore.

    R. Ravichander, Group President (Business & Development) South, YES Bank, who presided over the event, recalled the growth of the school from a thatched roof at the home of the founder Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy, with just 15 students, to the institution that it is today with 7,600 students.

    “Mrs. YGP will always be the lady of many firsts as she was the first entrepreneur in education,” he said. Mr. Ravichander was a part of the first batch of students at PSBB.

    S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean of Sastra University, and another alumnus of the school, donated ₹9 lakh towards a corpus fund for Sastra PSBB Action For Refreshing Knowledge (SPARK).

    Speaking at the event, Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy, credited the teachers of the institutions for the school’s journey.

    A diamond jubilee planner was unveiled by Deputy Dean and Director of the institutions Sheela Rajendraa. Along with it, a logo to commemorate the milestone. A video screening presented some of the notable alumni who passed from the school, a press release said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – February 23rd, 2017

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    February 25th, 2017adminRecords, All, Sports, World Opinion
    Prashanth Kota in action at Helios Academy of Marshal Arts in Adyar | Photo Credit: special arrangement

    Prashanth Kota in action at Helios Academy of Marshal Arts in Adyar | Photo Credit: special arrangement

    Prashanth Kota promotes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is based on the philosophy that strength does not guarantee success

    People often find their life mission in the school of hard knocks. For Prashanth Kota, there is a literality to this statement.

    “There was a point in my life when it was all about wanting to be the biggest and strongest guy in the gym,” recalls Prashanth. This goal ceased to be appealing to Prashanth when he began to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

    “On the first day, Cary Edwards, my BJJ trainer at First Impact MMA, tossed me around like my size didn’t matter at all,” he says.

    Following that ‘walloping’ from his trainer, Prashanth knew in his bones that BJJ would make up a big part of his life. And it has. For, today, Prashanth holds a blue belt in BJJ and has competed in international BJJ tournaments. He has won a silver medal at the national level and a bronze medal at the Central Asian level. BJJ has done much for Prashanth and the most significant lesson it has taught him is that the “conventional big body” is not necessary to succeed in martial arts/ sports. BJJ is not about being the strongest and biggest. It’s about having the right technique, timing and leverage, explains Prashanth.

    Driven by the desire to share with others what he has learnt from BJJ, Prashanth started Helios in Adyar.

    Affiliated to the Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Association, Helios trains people for tournaments and also helps them develop strength irrespective of their build. For his students, Prashanth demystifies the complex sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, breaking it into simple steps that could be easily learnt and practised.

    For Prashanth, BJJ is a way of life, not just a sport. He calls it the ‘BJJ lifestyle’. The ‘sensei’ says, “Taking up BJJ as my full time job is the best decision I have ever made in my life.” Prashanth can be contacted at 8939115522.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Varsha Saraogi / February 24th, 2017

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    February 25th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All, Sports
    Srikrishna recieving the Young Achiever award

    Srikrishna recieving the Young Achiever award

    Did you know that the current World Amateur Snooker Champion is a school student  from Chennai?. CE chats with Shrikrishna S on beginning out with tennis and ending up with cue sports

    Chennai :

    From slamming forehands on the tennis court to potting cue balls at the snooker table, young Shrikrishna S has straddled two different games successfully. The Class 11 student of National Public School is the current World Amateur Snooker Champion, the latest addition to his achievements in a short cue sports career. He was recently awarded the Young Achiever Award by Rotary Club of Madras East, where CE caught up with him for a quick chat.

    His foray into cue sports happened by chance. As a child, he was more of a tennis player, but didn’t want to run a lot! He chuckles, and adds. “I chanced upon billiards when I was at the Mylapore Club where I saw my father play. I wanted to give it a try but I was told that children under 12 weren’t allowed in the room.” After some sweet talking, the member-in-charge allowed him to attempt a few balls, which he fortunately potted into the pockets. “After that, they changed the rules and height requirement for me,” he grins.

    Shrikrishna’s father coached him for the first 10 months. When he started showing more promise, Nadeem Ahmed, a professional coach, took over. “He kept pushing me to improve my game and I owe a lot to him. Often, he would discuss techniques with my father and let him teach me rather than do it himself. This helped since my father had his own ideas and techniques,” says Shrikrishna.
    The cueist’s record is testament to his talent. He has won a hat-trick of titles at the National U18 Billiards Championships (2015, 2016, and 2017), the National U18 Snooker Championships (2016, 2017) and also won all 6 titles in State Championships for the second consecutive year. He recently won gold at the IBSF World U21 Billiards Championship in Adelaide, Australia. “Representing the country at an international championship was a novel experience,” he shares. “I always make it a point to set targets for myself. I always try to outperform myself. Even if I lose a match, I will be satisfied if I play to my targets.”

    Shrikrishna also has a regular fitness regimen, swimming daily for two hours. He attributes his weight loss and improvement in game to this and his swimming coach Shanmugham. He acknowledges the sacrifices his parents have made and says they are his personal role models. “Without them, I wouldn’t be a champion — they are my biggest supporters. I’ve also received lots of support from my teachers and faculty at school, where they’ve been very accommodative about studies and exams,” smiles the young champion. For the same reason, his first priority is on finishing his schooling, though he plans to go professional.
    He is also inspired by two great contemporary sportspersons. “My role model is Christiano Ronaldo because he is a good human being. He refuses to have a tattoo because he donates blood, and he’s a lover of all sports! And even though I’ve stopped tennis, I am a big fan of Roger Federer. I often get excited watching his matches!” he grins. “Maybe once I finish with billiards, I can take it up again…” he adds thoughtfully.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Gokul M Nair / Express News Service / February 24th, 2017

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    February 24th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All

    Madurai :

    A 27-foot-long machete or ‘aruval’ manufactured in Thirupuvanam, the town famous for its huge knives, will be the major attraction of the Sivarathri festival in a village near Usilampatti. The showpiece will also promote Thirupuvanam as a serious competitor to Thirupacheti, the town which is even more famous for its ‘aruval’.

    Often, these famous knives are preserved in many homes in the southern districts as an heirloom though their sharpness makes them good for use after many years. Thirupuvanam is being sought-after mainly for the huge machetes that are kept as show pieces in temples to redeem vows rather than to be used as tools or weapons.

    Thirupachethi, just 10 kilometres away, enjoyed a big reputation even during the pre-Independence days. It was said that the Marudhu Pandiyar brothers, who fought the British, sourced their weapons, knives and spears from there. They are unique in their shape, size and sharpness and the manufacturers say that they never get blunt. Even today, the manufacturers give a guarantee of 20 years for their products.

    Predominantly populated by agriculturists, the town was filled with smithies which made machetes in large numbers till about two decades ago. The business which fell drastically thereafter is now seen to be picking up. There was a period when police cracked down on this region and imposed restrictions on their manufacture, as many criminals who had used ‘aruvals’ for fights and murders confessed to having bought them from here.
    S Nagendran, the vice-president of Vishwakarma Association, of blacksmiths, says that Thirupuvanam aruvals have gained a name for themselves now. At present, the town has 15 smithies like Thirupachethi. They also make agricultural implements like spades, digging bars and knives in a variety of sizes. But now they have been asked to restrict the size of their aruvals to 2 feet or less to ensure that they are not misused by criminals. The aruvals are made manually by heating steel to red hot condition and hammering the blade to make it sharp. A single aruval has to be heated about 12 to 15 times to be shaped into a weapon.

    Satish Kumar who is a third generation manufacturer of aruvals, is making the 27-foot-long aruval for a customer from Usilampatti in Madurai. The machete weighs 250 kilograms and costs about Rs 40,000 at Rs 1,500 a foot. The biggest this town had made was an 18-foot-long machete last year. Though ordinary weapons are made of steel, these showpieces are made using iron. Around five to ten persons have been involved in making the weapon for the past one week.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Madurai News / TNN / February 24th, 2017

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