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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Chennai :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Ranjani Rajendra / Chennai – July 16th, 2015

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    The walls of Wellesley's House, Fort St George

    The walls of Wellesley’s House, Fort St George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    July 13th, 2015adminRecords, All, Sports

    Two games up and again 6-2 in the fourth game, defending champion Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu seemed to have got into the groove for another tilt at the title, but the wily Ghosal came up with an outstanding fight back and pushed the match into the decisive fifth which he won comfortably for his 10th national title.

    Saurav Ghosal in action during Asian Games. / © AFP

    Saurav Ghosal in action during Asian Games. / © AFP


    Saurav Ghosal regained the men’s title while Joshna Chinappa took the women’s crown in the 63rd Senior National Squash Championship here on Sunday.

    Two games up and again 6-2 in the fourth game, defending champion Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu seemed to have got into the groove for another tilt at the title, but the wily Ghosal came up with an outstanding fight back and pushed the match into the decisive fifth which he won comfortably for his 10th national title.

    The women’s final too was well contested though the score line would not suggest that. Chinappa showed experience mattered while dousing the challenge of national junior champion Harshit Kaur Jawanda in three games.

    It was Chinappa’s 14th national title as she is well on way to reach that magical number of 16, which is the number of titles that Bhuveneswari Kumari had won for a record total.

    Final results:

    Men: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (TN) 8-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.

    Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Harshit Kaur Jawanda (Del) 11-6, 12-10, 11-5.

    source: / NDTV Sports / NDTV Sports> News / by Indo-Asian News Service / Sunday – July 12th, 2015

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    Madurai :

    The stone structure could be taken for an ordinary boulder if one does not pay close attention, but the lone dolmen inside the Sirumalai forest in Madurai district is an ancient artefact pointing to possible human habitation in the area several centuries ago. Situated some 2km above Kutladampatti Falls in an area called Thadagainachi kovil, the stone walls with a flat stone on top possibly dates back to prehistoric Iron Age, according to scholars.

    The dolmen was an accidental discovery, found when officials from the district forest office were charting out nature trails inside forest areas to promote eco-tourism and provide livelihood to tribal youth. The department carved out four trails- Bison Trail, Deer Trail, Hare Trail and Snake Trail. The dolmen was found on the 18km-long Bison Trail, which descends from upper Sirumalai to Kutladampatti falls.

    “It was an added feature on our Bison Trail,” said Madurai district forest officer (DFO) Nihar Ranjan.

    A dolmen in the middle of the forest means that there was human settlement in the area once, according to archaeologists. Such structures were burial places in the prehistoric Iron Age. The dolmens in the region are scattered across Palani Hills. Thandikudi is a prominent site. Dolmens were also spotted in Pandrimalai near Dindigul, scholars said.

    “There is every possibility for a dolmen in Sirumalai because there are many dolmens spread across the hillocks of the region,” said V Vedachalam, retired archaeologist in the city. Such archaeological structures of anthropological importance should be protected well, archaeologists feel.

    The DFO said anyone who wants to pay a visit to the place should get prior permission from the department as it falls under protected area.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / by J. Arockiaraj, TNN / July 10th, 2015

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    July 11th, 2015adminRecords, All, Sports, World Opinion

    by Krishnakanta Chakraborty

    When he ignored a national camp to join the Madras team on an exposure trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong in 1967, Krishnamurthy Perumal never thought his gamble would pay off. A few months later, when he was a standby for the national camp and could not travel with the team heading for a Europe trip, he decided to skip the pre-Olympic camp, thinking he wouldn’t be selected.

    “I was doing well in the domestic tournaments and also had an impressive camp in Jalandhar but I don’t know why I was not selected for the tour to Europe. But Mohinderlal Singh suddenly fell sick three days before the team’s departure to London, and I got a call from the selectors and made my international debut, in the pre-Olympics,” says Krishnamurthy , who represented India from 1967 to 1977. A student of Wesley Higher Secondary School in Royapettah, he played all sports before taking to hockey , inspired by his uncle K Raman (four years his senior). He excelled in school tournaments, broke into the Madras University team, and turned out for Madras Blues, before making the state side.

    “It was more of a passion as there was no money for a hockey player those days. Yes, getting a job wasn’t that difficult but you wouldn’t become rich playing hockey all your life. But I never thought that way since it was a great honour for me to represent India at the international level,” says the 74-year-old.

    Krishnamurthy says the culture in the city was in stark contrast ity was in stark contrast to what it is now and most households in Royapettah, where Wesley Higher Sec ondary School was situated, produced a player. “It was a different Madras.Every student at Wesley took part in sports and many made it to the Indian sides in various disciplines. We did not have a proper hockey stick and we used to cut a tree branch and make a stick out of it. I even practised with an umbrella handle. School tournaments were big those days and we took the competitions pretty seriously . They had a great fan following. It helped us hone our skills and prepare ourselves for sterner battles,” the former India skipper recollects.

    Krishnamurthy’s exit, however, was unceremonious. He was captaining the national side and was preparing for the 1977 World Cup in Holland when he was dropped.

    “It came as a shocker and even today, I don’t have any clue why I was dropped from the team before such a big event despite having a great season. I don’t want to blame anybody but I think the selectors had a grudge against me and they wanted to teach me a lesson. I would have loved to know the reason behind my omission but alas nobody even conveyed any message to me. I felt humiliated and decided to call it quits,” says Krishnamurthy, who later served the Tamil Nadu Hockey Association as an administrator.

    (A weekly column on famous sportspersons whose first playing field was Chennai and its neighbourhood)

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / TNN / July 11th, 2015

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    The 36-year-old can speak Italian, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. (TOI photo)

    The 36-year-old can speak Italian, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. (TOI photo)

    Coimbatore :

    For a decade, Aravind P was a tourist guide in Italy. His pursuit to learn European languages introduced him to several memory-developing techniques. That may have got him the job of a foreign language teacher in the city, but the best reward came in the form of his most proud possession now – his Guiness World Record for memorising the longest binary sequence of  270 digits.

    Aravind received his certificate from the Guinness authorities last week.

    The 36-year-old can speak Italian, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. “I had to learn the languages as quickly as possible because it would help me guide more tourists. So, to improve my learning abilities, I had to develop my memory,” said Aravind. After returning to India, Aravind started researching about records related to memory. “I then came across this record for memorising the longest binary digit sequence. The record was then held by Jayasimha Ravirala of Hyderabad, who memorised 264 digits in one minute in March 2011,” he said.

    Aravind registered with the Guinness World Records in March 2014. In October 2014, Guinness had set the criteria for Aravind’s attempt to break Jayasimha’s record. On April 3, 2015 Arvaind attempted the record and Guinness had appointed Dr D Srinivasan, psychiatrist from Kovai Medical Centre and Hospitals and R Prakasam, principal of PPG College of Technology as jury to witness it. The random binary sequence was generated by R Prakasam said, “Aravind was given one minute to observe the binary sequence, and was then asked to shut his eyes and recall the sequence. There was no time limit set for recalling the sequence,” he said. It is a great achievement for an Indian.”

    Aravind began attempting to break the record at 10.30am in front of 270 people, and failed in four attempts. In his fifth attempt, Aravind broke the record by recalling six more digits than Jayasimha. His memory-enhancing technique is called ‘Journey Method’, where he replaces alphabets or numbers with objects.

    Aravind wants to start a memory club and spread his memory-enhancing techniques to students and youth who will be appearing for board exams and competitive exams.

    source: / The Times of India / Home. City> Coimbatore / by Adarsh Jain, TNN /July 08th, 2015

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    Vellore :

    An alumnus of  Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), graduating with a doctorate in management from VIT in 2010, has been appointed the Minister for Education in the Rwanda government. Dr Papias Musafiri  Malimba was awarded his Ph.D after working under Dr P Ganesan, his research supervisor, for five years at VIT.  VIT Chancellor Viswanathan expressed his happiness and congratulated Dr Malimba on assuming his new role as the Minister for Education.

    Dr Papias Musafiri Malimba

    Dr Papias Musafiri Malimba

    Dr Malimba graduated with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and management from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and has a master’s degree in business administration majoring in Finance and Information Technology from the School of Business, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.

    With over 14 years of experience in the academic work arena, Dr Malimba was serving as the Principal of the College of Business and Economics of the University of Rwanda. Earlier, Dr Musafiri was actively involved in teaching, research and consultancy and held several senior management positions including that of director of administration and human resources, acting dean, faculty of management, vice rector academics and acting rector, in several higher learning institutions in Rwanda.

    During his stint at VIT University, Dr Musafiri was actively involved in research and presented several research articles in national and international seminars and conferences. Dr. Musafiri has also published papers in several reputable journals including the International Journal of Social Economics and the Journal of Financial Services, which he co-authored with his research supervisor Dr. P. Ganesan.

    Dr  Malimba replaces Professor Silas Lwakabamba as the education minister last month.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / July 10th, 2015

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    Nagercoil :

    A stone tablet bearing inscriptions, which was recently found in a small Vishnu temple in Kanyakumari district, has revealed that Devadasis served even in small temples.

    One of the stone tablets found at the Alagiya Manavala Perumal temple | Express

    One of the stone tablets found at the Alagiya Manavala Perumal temple | Express

    During renovation work at the centuries-old Alagiya Manavala Perumal temple (Vishnu temple) in Puthugramam, a small village about 5 km from Nagercoil, three stone inscriptions were found. Two of them were found in the south-side wall of the temple’s ‘Karuvarai’ (sanctum) and the third in the south side outer wall of the temple, said Chenthee Natarajan, director of the Chembavalam Research Base and member of Epigraphical Society of India from Nagercoil, who began a detailed study on the inscriptions. The first two inscriptions were complete, but the third was incomplete. The stone inscriptions were written using Tamil and Grantha script. The pattern of the script indicated that the stone tablets belonged to the 18th Century but the years mentioned in inscriptions 1 and 2 is 1362 and 1365. “The matter inscribed on the stone tablets might have first been written on palm leaf manuscripts or on copper plates (in 1362 and 1365) and later (in the 18th Century) it might have been copied onto the stone tablets,” said Chenthee Natarajan.

    On the stone inscription 1, the main deity of the temple was mentioned as Udaya Marthanda Vinnagar Emperuman and the village’s name mentioned as Puthugramamaana Raaja Narayana Sathurvedhi Mangalam. The tablet recorded information about a king gifting 2 ‘Maa’ (land measurement used during that period) to the deity for the temple. Though the name of the king was not mentioned, Venad King Ravi Varma ruled during that period, so it could be assumed that he gifted the land, said Chenthee Natarajan. The king’s brother had gifted one more ‘Maa’ to the deity and this information was found on tablet 2. The inscription 3 was incomplete and it contains information about Devadasis, added Chenthee Natarajan.

    Several inscriptions found earlier in the district revealed the services rendered by Devadasis in big temples like Suchinduram, Boothapandy, Kanyakumari nd Parakkai. But Devadasi’s serving even in small temples was revealed only through this inscription, said folklorist and treasurer of Chembavalam Research Base, Dr A K Perumal. Devadasis were also referred to as ‘Kudikarigal’ and ‘Devar Adiyaar’.

    The stone inscription 3 found at the Puthugramam temple mentions the presence of ‘Rendam Kudi’ (second category) and ‘Munaam Kudi’ (third category) of Devadasis at this temple, added A K Perumal.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by S. Mahesh / July 08th, 2015

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