The Gulabi Gang – The Fearless Women in Pink


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Sampat Pal Devi and her Gulabi Gang members  (Source: i.facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi)

Sampat Pal Devi and her Gulabi Gang members (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi)

These women dressed in pink and with laathi (bamboo stick) in their hands are fearless!

Their leader Sampat Pal Devi is a mother of five children and a former government health worker. She has a long list of criminal charges against her: unlawful assembly, rioting, attacking government employees, obstructing officers in the discharge of duty, beating a policeman for abusing her, and so on. Once she even went underground to hide from the law. However, her actions have secured notable victories for the community.

Sampat Pal Devi (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi

Sampat Pal Devi (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi

Sampat Pal Devi (born 1960) is a tough woman with a commanding personality. She hails from the Bundelkhand area in the state of Uttar Pradesh - one of the poorest region in India and notorious for its rebels-turned-armed bandits. Sampat is a vigilante and activist fighting for the rights of women in the villages.

She was given in marriage to an ice-cream vendor at the tender age of 12. She bore her first child, a girl, at 15.

In 2006, responding to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women, Sampat Pal Devi formed the Gulabi Gang (Hindi गुलाबी gulabī, “pink”), a group of Indian women vigilantes. Most Gulabi members dress in pink and carry laathis in their hand.

Despite being born into a traditional family and married off early, Sampat evolved into a charismatic leader who acts as judge and jury for girls and women who are being abused by outlawed patriarchal traditions and the caste system.

Sampat and her gang are constantly on the move fighting causes for the betterment of the community. They crusade against child marriages, dowry, and female illiteracy.

To demand their rights, the rebellious women gang submits petitions and verbally attacks corrupt officials, sneering policemen and complaisant bureaucrats. They visit abusive husbands and beat them up with laathis and warn them to stop abusing their wives in the future.

They usually travel by cart and tractor. At times, they undertake long journeys by bus and train, to fight for justice for women and dalits and other untouchable people.

In 2008, when her village was deprived of electricity because the officials of the department expected to extract bribes and sexual favours from the women, she and her stick-wielding Gulabi Gang stormed the premises of the electricity department, locked the concerned officials in a room until they cried for mercy. An hour after they left the premises, the power was on in their village.

In 2008, the group was reported to have 20,000 members as well as a chapter in Paris, France. Now, the Gulabi Gang has taken root in Banda, Mahoba, Chitrakot, Fatehpur, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Etawah and Bijnore and has about 300,000 women members.

The Gulabi gang is the subject of the 2010 movie Pink Saris by Kim Longinotto as is the 2012 documentary Gulabi Gang by Nishtha Jain.

Initially, it was reported that the Bollywood film, Gulaab Gang, starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla as leads, is based on Sampat Pal’s life, but the director denied this, saying that he recognizes the work done by Sampat, but his movie is not based on her life.

Gulabi Gang's esrtwhile leader Sampat Pal (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Gulabi Gang’s esrtwhile leader Sampat Pal (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Now, the all-women Gulabi Gang is heading for a split as there is a tussle in leadership. On Sunday, March 2, 2014, six years after its inception, the group’s founder commander Sampat Pal Devi was dethroned by the Maharashtra based national convener of Gulabi gang Jayprakash Shivhare at a meeting in Banda following allegations of financial irregularities - “taking money for resolving the problems of poor and suffering women,” and “involvement in self promotion” at the cost of the organization’s mission.

The national convener of Gulabi Gang, Jayprakash Shivhare said:

“There is huge resentment in the organization against Pal. She had been playing in the hands of the Congress party… She had stopped holding meetings of the group and used to take decisions autocratically. She contested Assembly elections on
Congress ticket without taking any suggestion from other members of the group… Later, she decided to visit Rae Bareli along with other members and campaign in support of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and against Aam Aadmi Party.”

“She also went to TV reality show Bigg Boss without consulting the working committee of the group. She had gradually become extremely selfish and minting money at the cost of the organization… Removing her from all posts was the only option left with us. Since she has been defying decisions of the group, it was decided that she would no longer be its primary member.”

Suman Singh Chauhan, commander of Mahoba unit has been appointed as interim commander of the group and a seven-member committee has been constituted to run the organization as of now. A meeting of the group has been convened on March 23 to elect a full-time commander.

However, Sampat Pal Devi, asserted her authority saying she was still the leader of the Gulabi Gang.

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Is José Mujica The World’s Poorest and Humblest President?


. Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj. .

“I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice.” – José Mujica,  President of Uruguay

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José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano, President of Uruguay.

José Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano, President of Uruguay.

On September 20, 2012, in the article “‘Poorest president’ donates 90% of his salary” published in Yahoo! News, Claudine Zap wrote:

How’s this as a man of the people: The president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has earned a nickname, “el presidente mas pobre” (translation: “the poorest president”).

The 77-year-old recently admitted to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that he donates almost all of his presidential salary, making him the poorest, or, as Univision pointed out, most generous president, in the world.

El presidente explained he receives $12,500 a month but keeps only $1,250. The public servant told the newspaper, “I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less.”

He and his wife—a senator who also donates part of her salary—live in a farmhouse in Montevideo. His biggest expense is his Volkswagen Beetle, valued at $1,945.

Perhaps not surprisingly, under the former guerrilla fighter, who was elected in 2010 as a member of the left-wing coalition, the Broad Front, the country has become known for being one of the least corrupt on the continent.

Mujica has no bank accounts and no debt, and he enjoys one thing money can’t buy: the companionship of his dog, Manuela…”

The author of an article published in The Economist wrote that some Uruguayans see him as “a roly-poly former guerrilla who grows flowers on a small farm and swears by vegetarianism.”

In the article “After Years in Solitary, an Austere Life as Uruguay’s President“, published in The New York Times on January 4, 2013, Simon Romero, wrote:

“Some world leaders live in palaces. Some enjoy perks like having a discreet butler, a fleet of yachts or a wine cellar with vintage Champagnes. Then there is José Mujica, the former guerrilla who is Uruguay’s president. He lives in a run-down house on Montevideo’s outskirts with no servants at all. His security detail: two plainclothes officers parked on a dirt road.

In a deliberate statement to this cattle-exporting nation of 3.3 million people, Mr. Mujica, 77, shunned the opulent Suárez y Reyes presidential mansion, with its staff of 42, remaining instead in the home where he and his wife have lived for years, on a plot of land where they grow chrysanthemums for sale in local markets.

Under Mr. Mujica, who took office in 2010, Uruguay has drawn attention for seeking to legalize marijuana and same-sex marriage, while also enacting one of the region’s most sweeping abortion rights laws and sharply boosting the use of
renewable energy sources like wind and biomass.”

A 1987 VW Beetle - All the president's wealth (Photo - bbc.co.uk)

A 1987 VW Beetle – All the president’s wealth (Photo – bbc.co.uk)

An article titled “José Mujica – The Simple Living President of Uruguay” published about 10 months ago in rewordit.org, the author wrote:

“Being selected as the fortieth President of Uruguay must have really been a proud moment for José Mujica, but this appointment was far different than the rest of politicians we’re accustomed to seeing in the world. At such a juncture, when anyone else would have loved driving into an elaborately manned and chauffeur-driven vehicle to reach La Residencia de Suarez – the presidential palace, Mujica was better off driving his 87 model of Volkswagen himself together with wife Lucia and spend some solacing moments at Montevideo.”

The above is what most media say about the 78-year-old José Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano.

However, Mujica has his share of detractors in his own country. Adolfo Castells in his article “Folclórico deslumbramiento primer mundista” (Dazzling Folklore of first-world) says:

Mujica se presenta como ejemplo de político austero y abnegado, cuando en realidad sacrificio no hace ninguno porque no le gusta vivir confortablemente. Lo cual estaría en su perfecto derecho si no hiciese una suerte de exhibicionismo de la pobreza.

Translation: “Mujica presents himself as an example of austere and self-sacrificing politician, when actually sacrifice has nothing to do here because he does not like living comfortably. This would be in his perfect right if he did not use it to create a sort of exhibitionism of poverty.”

Castells scoffs at the media that says Mujica is a vegetarian:

“… en el colmo de la desinformación— afirma que nuestro Presidente es vegetariano. Seguramente piensa que los chorizos del Quincho de Varela están rellenos de berenjena y soja.

Translation: “… in the height of the disinformation — affirmed that our president is vegetarian. Surely they think that the sausages of Quincho de Varela are stuffed with eggplant and soya.”

Castells says that Mujica has successfully created the character ‘The poorest president’ like José Joaquín de Olmedo, who on October 9, 1820, declared the city of Guayaquil independent from Spain, and was Vice-President of Ecuador from 1830 to 1831. Castells says:

Ese personaje se disfraza de pobre, llama a la prensa cuando va a comprar la tapa de un WC,

Translation: “Mujica is so poor that he called the press when purchasing a lid for his WC,”

On January 8, 2013, Gerardo Sotelo in his article titled “Ejemplo” (Example) published in El País wrote:

“Suddenly, Jose Mujica appears in the New York Times and Korean television as ‘the world’s poorest president’. His austere lifestyle, which is in contrast to the pomp that surrounds most of their leaders, surprises foreign columnists. This international recognition leaves his followers spellbound, and his detractors full of resentment.”

Sotelo then goes on to compare José Mujica with Mahatma Gandhi:

“Are we witnessing the reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi or a skilled politician who hides behind his austerity, a life devoted body and soul to gain power?

For now, there is nothing to compare the testimony of the life of the Uruguayan president travelling in a [Volkswagen] Fusca and cooking his own stew, with Gandhi.

The Indian leader lacked all material goods, except sandals, a pair of glasses, a prayer book, and a covered bowl to eat his lean food. Much more important was that, even though Gandhi was able to gather all the political and religious power he wanted he did not accept any position. His detachment [from possessions] and did what his conscience dictated was the way to his freedom, and he knew the same could help his people to achieve their own freedom.

Detachment makes sense when it affects something that is treasured. Unlike most of his colleagues, including several left leaders, Mujica can live with very little because he does not find value in the comfort that some material possessions offer. Therefore, he spends part of his valuable time on more mundane chores such as cooking food for his bitch Manuela. So, what value does his renunciation achieve?

Gandhi fasted to urge his compatriots to fight unitedly for freedom.  His renunciation had enormous spiritual value because it was something that was necessary. We have not seen Mujica do anything like that.”

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 Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay -

Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay -

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Dr. Bill Cosby’s “Pound Cake” / “We can’t blame white people” Speech


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Dr. William Henry "Bill" Cosby Jr. (born July 12, 1937)

Dr. William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. (born July 12, 1937)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an African American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 with the mission:

“To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”

On May 17, 2004, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision on Brown vs Topeka Board of Education that struck down school segregation. At this gala event, Dr. Bill Cosby, the American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist gave a speech on the theme of blacks in America taking responsibility for their own lives.

In this speech, Bill Cosby said that African Americans should no longer blame discrimination, segregation, governmental institutions, or others for higher unemployment rates among Blacks or the racial achievement gap; rather, they have their own culture of poverty to blame.

While Cosby’s speech was much appreciated, it also evoked severe criticism from various quarters.

Michael Eric Dyson - American academic, author, and radio host.

Michael Eric Dyson – American academic, author, and radio host.

In his book “Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?“, published in 2005, sociologist Michael Eric Dyson criticized Bill Cosby. Dyson said that Cosby, who built up years of mainstream credibility by ignoring race in his comedy routines and in his television programs, had chosen to address the issues of race by chastising poor Blacks instead of defending them.

On May 19, 2004, a write up in the “Reliable Source” column of the Washington Post, that was reprinted in several news media in the United States, overlooked a significant part of the information from Cosby’s statements. The article in the Post failed to point out that Cosby’s statements were explicitly in the context of focusing on the epidemic of nearly 50% of African American males in the inner city, dropping out of school. The Post article incorrectly ascertained Cosby’s statements as an overall assessment of the lower economic classes of the Blacks.

Bill Cosby explained that his comments were intended to be a call to action, to “turn the mirror around on ourselves.”

“I think that it is time for concerned African Americans to march, galvanize and raise the awareness about this epidemic to transform our helplessness, frustration and righteous indignation into a sense of shared responsibility and action.”

“I travel the country and see these patterns in every community-stories of 12-year-old children killed in the crossfire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14-year-olds with a sealed envelope as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English.”

Since 2004, this famous “Pound Cake Speech” also known as “We can’t blame white people” speech has frequently surfaced on the internet and many times important pieces of information from the speech had been left out. There is a version on Snopes.com, and today I came across another version on Facebook.

Here is a version (edited) of the “Pound Cake Speech” I found on YouTube:

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I searched the net for the original version and found the following transcript provided by Bill Cosby’s public relations representatives. Due to audio to text software resolution issues there may be some minor typographical inaccuracies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing.”

Ladies and gentlemen, these people set — they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you. You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you. God was there when they won all those cases — fifty in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it — I’m making this up. But it sounds like what God would do.

We cannot blame white people. White people — White people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well — they stay open 24 hours.

I’m looking and I see a man named Kenneth Clark, he and his wife Mamie. Kenneth’s still alive. I have to apologize to him for these people because Kenneth said it straight. He said you have to strengthen yourselves, and we’ve got to have that black doll. And everybody said it. Julian Bond said it. Dick Gregory said it. All these lawyers said it. And you wouldn’t know that anybody had done a damned thing. 

Fifty percent drop out rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. Under what excuse? I want somebody to love me. And as soon as you have it, you forget to parent. Grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them. All this child knows is “gimme, gimme, gimme.” These people want to buy the friendship of a child, and the child couldn’t care less. Those of us sitting out here who have gone on to some college or whatever we’ve done, we still fear our parents. And these people are not parenting. They’re buying things for the kid — $500 sneakers — for what? They won’t buy or spend $250 on Hooked on Phonics. 

Kenneth Clark, somewhere in his home in upstate New York — just looking ahead. Thank God he doesn’t know what’s going on. Thank God. But these people — the ones up here in the balcony fought so hard. Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said if you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother.” Not, “You’re going to get your butt kicked.” No. “You’re going to embarrass your mother.” “You’re going to embarrass your family.” If you knock that girl up, you’re going to have to run away because it’s going to be too embarrassing for your family. In the old days, a girl getting pregnant had to go down South, and then her mother would go down to get her. But the mother had the baby. I said the mother had the baby. The girl didn’t have a baby. The mother had the baby in two weeks. We are not parenting.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to these people. They are showing you what’s wrong. People putting their clothes on backwards. Isn’t that a sign of something going on wrong? Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack — and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail. (When we give these kinds names to our children, we give them the strength and inspiration in the meaning of those names. What’s the point of giving them strong names if there is not parenting and values backing it up).

Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: “Why you ain’t where you is go ra?” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they’re moving ahead on this. Well, they know they’re not; they’re just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you’re just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.

Now, look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.

They sit there and the cousin says, “What are you doing here?”

“I just killed somebody, man.”

“What?”

“I just killed somebody; I’ve got to stay here.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Well, give me some money, I’ll go….”

 “Where are you going?”

“North Carolina.”

Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record.

Five or six different children — same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t who this is. It might be your grandmother. I’m telling you, they’re young enough. Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.

I’m saying Brown versus the Board of Education. We’ve got to hit the streets, ladies and gentlemen. I’m winding up, now — no more applause. I’m saying, look at the Black Muslims. There are Black Muslims standing on the street corners and they say so forth and so on, and we’re laughing at them because they have bean pies and all that, but you don’t read, “Black Muslim gunned down while chastising drug dealer.” You don’t read that. They don’t shoot down Black Muslims. You understand me. Muslims tell you to get out of the neighborhood. When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all. And your neighborhood is then clear. The police can’t do it.

I’m telling you Christians, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you hit the streets? Why can’t you clean it out yourselves? It’s our time now, ladies and gentlemen. It is our time. And I’ve got good news for you. It’s not about money. It’s about you doing something ordinarily that we do — get in somebody else’s business. It’s time for you to not accept the language that these people are speaking, which will take them nowhere. What the hell good is Brown v. Board of Education if nobody wants it? 

What is it with young girls getting after some girl who wants to still remain a virgin. Who are these sick black people and where did they come from and why haven’t they been parented to shut up? To go up to girls and try to get a club where “you are nobody….” This is a sickness, ladies and gentlemen, and we are not paying attention to these children. These are children. They don’t know anything. They don’t have anything. They’re homeless people. All they know how to do is beg. And you give it to them, trying to win their friendship. And what are they good for? And then they stand there in an orange suit and you drop to your knees: “He didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything.” Yes, he did do it. And you need to have an orange suit on, too.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the award — and giving me an opportunity to speak because, I mean, this is the future, and all of these people who lined up and done — they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown V. Board of Education — these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. I know that you all know it. I just want to get you as angry that you ought to be. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see this stuff, that stuff’s not funny. These people are not funny anymore. And that‘s not my brother. And that’s not my sister. They’re faking and they’re dragging me way down because the state, the city, and all these people have to pick up the tab on them because they don’t want to accept that they have to study to get an education.

We have to begin to build in the neighborhood, have restaurants, have cleaners, have pharmacies, have real estate, have medical buildings instead of trying to rob them all. And so, ladies and gentlemen, please, Dorothy Height, where ever she’s sitting, she didn’t do all that stuff so that she could hear somebody say “I can’t stand algebra, I can’t stand…” and “what you is.” It’s horrible.

Basketball players — multimillionaires can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? It’s there. They paved the way. What did we do with it? The White Man, he’s laughing — got to be laughing. 50 percent drop out — rest of them in prison.

You got to tell me that if there was parenting — help me — if there was parenting, he wouldn’t have picked up the Coca Cola bottle and walked out with it to get shot in the back of the head. He wouldn’t have. Not if he loved his parents. And not if they were parenting! Not if the father would come home. Not if the boy hadn’t dropped the sperm cell inside of the girl and the girl had said, “No, you have to come back here and be the father of this child.” Not ..“I don’t have to.”

Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature — raised by no one. Give them presents. You’re raising pimps. That’s what a pimp is. A pimp will act nasty to you so you have to go out and get them something. And then you bring it back and maybe he or she hugs you. And that’s why pimp is so famous. They’ve got a drink called the “Pimp-something.” You all wonder what that’s about, don’t you? Well, you’re probably going to let Jesus figure it out for you. Well, I’ve got something to tell you about Jesus. When you go to the church, look at the stained glass things of Jesus. Look at them. Is Jesus smiling? Not in one picture. So, tell your friends. Let’s try to do something. Let’s try to make Jesus smile. Let’s start parenting. Thank you, thank you.

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Paul Walker, Star of the “Fast and Furious” Movies Dies in a Car Crash.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Paul Walker

Paul Walker

I love the action-packed “Fast and Furious” series of movie films and the lead characters Paul Walker and Vin Diesel of “XXX” fame. Yesterday (December 1, 2013), I was shocked when I heard the news that Paul Walker, who played the role of the undercover agent Brian O’Connor in the “Fast and Furious” movies, died in a violent, blazing car crash in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California.

When massive earthquakes devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, Paul Walker saw the need for skilled personnel and resources in post-disaster situations. After that trip, he contacted his friends to help him in forming “Reach Out Worldwide” (ROWW) - a non-profit registered organization.

Roger Rodas 38, had met Paul Walker 40, at a race track and became his financial advisor in 2007. He helped Walker to set up ROWW, a network of committed
professionals with first responder skill-set. ROWW operates on the philosophy that “by making a difference in just one person’s life, the world has been changed for the
better.

Paul Walker, the star of the 'Fast & Furious movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person outside of Los Angeles. He was 40. (Source: Deccan Chronicle)

Paul Walker, the star of the ‘Fast & Furious movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person outside of Los Angeles. He was 40. (Source: Deccan Chronicle)

On November 30, 2013, around 3:30 pm PST, Paul Walker and Roger Rodas left in Rodas’ red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT after an event to raise money for “Reach Out Worldwide” to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Rodas was driving the car. Shortly after leaving, Rodas lost control and the car crashed into a light pole and a tree. Within seconds, the vehicle burst into flames. The Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County declared the two dead at the scene of the accident.

The local Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper reported that witnesses recognized Walker and one person even tried to extract him from the wreckage.

Walker had described himself on Twitter as an ‘outdoorsman, ocean addict‘, and ‘adrenaline junkie‘. He raced cars and he fearlessly executed many stunts in his own films.

The late Paul Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter Meadow.

Fans pay tribute to actor Paul Walker at crash site in Valencia, California on December 1 - AFP

Fans paid tribute to actor Paul Walker at crash site in Valencia, California on December 1, 2013 (Photo: AFP)

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International Cricketers Tweet Tribute to Sachin Tendulkar


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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 “I don’t know about cricket but I watch to see Sachin play, as I want to know why my country’s production goes down 5% when he bats” – Tweet by Barack Obama.

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Sachin Tendulkar (Source: thehindubusinessline.com)

Sachin Tendulkar (Source: thehindubusinessline.com)

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Here are some of the tweets from cricketers all around the world who paid their tribute to Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar :

AB de Villiers (cricresults.com)

AB de Villiers (cricresults.com)

AB de Villiers (Abraham Benjamin de Villiers) is a South African cricketer, who captains the South African One Day International team:

“Now that things have settled down a bit, I’d just like to take this opportunity to congratulate @sachin_rt on an amazing career!”

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Alan Wilkins (123people.com)

Alan Wilkins (123people.com)

Alan Wilkins or ‘Wilko’ as he is known in the industry is an experienced sports broadcaster having taken up broadcasting after a career as a professional cricketer playing for Glamorgan and Gloucestershire. He is also a first-class rugby player:

“This is a Test Match like no other! Let Sachin enjoy it as much as he can…this is a celebration of the greatest Cricket Career of all time.”

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Alviro Petersen (trialx.com)

Alviro Petersen (trialx.com)

Alviro Petersen (Alviro Nathan Petersen) is a South African cricketer who plays his domestic cricket in England for Somerset and in South Africa for the Highveld Lions:

“A legend of the game says goodbye… #SachinTendulkar . An honour to have played against him.”

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Brett Lee (fanpop.com)

Brett Lee (fanpop.com)

Brett Lee is a former Australian cricketer and a Channel Nine cricket commentator. During his international career, Lee was recognised as one of the fastest bowlers in the world of cricket:

“All the best to the little Master Sachin. A true legend of the game @sachin_rt Best Ever!”

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Chris Gayle (fanphobia.net)

Chris Gayle (fanphobia.net)

Chris Gayle (Christopher Henry “Chris” Gayle) is a Jamaican cricketer who plays international cricket for the West Indies. He captained the West Indies’ Test side from 2007 to 2010:

“Was absolutely a pleasure being a part of history Sachin Tendulkar 200 Test Match. #legends #Lara…”

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Daniel Vettori (thesun.co.uk)

Daniel Vettori (thesun.co.uk)

Daniel Vettori (Daniel Luca Vettori, ONZM) is a cricketer for the New Zealand cricket team. He is the eighth player in Test history to take 300 wickets and score 3,000 runs:

“He has been in form longer than some of our guys have been alive.”

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Dinesh Karthik (espncricinfo.com)

Dinesh Karthik (espncricinfo.com)

Dinesh Karthik (Krishna Kumar Dinesh Karthik) is a wicketkeeper-batsman who made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 2004 and has been a regular member of the team for varying periods:

“Wishing Sachin paji a grt test match,will be watching it only for the legend. #ThankYouSachin”

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Graeme Swann (Rui Vieira - PA)

Graeme Swann (Rui Vieira/ PA)

Graeme Swann (Graeme Peter Swann) is an English international cricketer:

“I’m not sure if you heard but Sachin Tendulkar retired today! What a great little player and lovely bloke #ThankYouSachin”

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Harbhajan Singh (Reuters)

Harbhajan Singh (Reuters)

Harbhajan Singh (Harbhajan Singh Plaha) born 3 July 1980 in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, commonly known as Harbhajan Singh, is an Indian cricketer and former captain of IPL team Mumbai Indians and Punjab state for the 2012–13 Ranji Trophy season:

“Let’s salute the master.cricket won’t be the same without u.for me u r cricket.thank u paji for everything.”

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Harsha Bhogle (hindu.com)

Harsha Bhogle (hindu.com)

Harsha Bhogle is an Indian cricket commentator and journalist. Bhogle has recently become a freelance TV presenter:

“Sachin, i’ll say this again, you were a great habit. i’ll live every moment of these last two games.”

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Ian Bell (ecb.co.uk)

Ian Bell (ecb.co.uk)

Ian Bell (Ian Ronald Bell, MBE) is an English cricketer who plays international cricket for the England cricket team. He also plays county cricket for Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

“The atmosphere in Mumbai right now must be immense!! #ThankYouSachin #LittleMaster”

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Irfan Pathan (skysports.com)

Irfan Pathan (skysports.com)

Irfan Pathan (Irfan Khan Pathan) is an Indian cricketer who made his debut for India in late-2003 and was a core member of the national team:

“Most emotional retirement of world cricket but Sachin Tendulkar isn’t retiring from our heart, #ThankYouSachin.”

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Joe Root (zimbio.com)

Joe Root (zimbio.com)

Joe Root (Joseph Edward Root) is an English cricketer, who plays for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England: 

“Sachin made his debut for India before I was born. Then played in my test debut #ThankYouSachin”

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Mahela Jayawardene (AFP)

Mahela Jayawardene (AFP)

Mahela Jayawardena (Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene), is a former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He is a specialist batsman:

“@sachin_rt Great opponent, fantastic memories..no better role model. Enjoy ur last game!”

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Mathew Hayden (topnews.in)

Mathew Hayden (topnews.in)

Matthew Lawrence Hayden AM is a former Australian cricketer. He was a powerful and aggressive left-handed opening batsman, known for his ability to score quickly at both Test and one day levels:

“@bhogleharsha @alanwilkins22 Sachin…..Sachin #Legend please pass on my respects during your commentary in Honour to Tendulkar #whataplayer”

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Michael Vaughan (ecb.co.uk)

Michael Vaughan (ecb.co.uk)

Michael Vaughan (Michael Paul Vaughan, OBE) is a retired cricketer who represented Yorkshire and England.  A classically elegant right-handed batsman and occasional off-spinner, Vaughan was ranked one of the best batsmen::

“What a Speech… #ThankYouSachin #God”

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Rohit Sharma (topnews.in)

Rohit Sharma (topnews.in)

Rohit Sharma (Rohit Gurunath Sharma is an Indian international cricketer. He isright-handed batsman and occasional right-arm off break bowler, who plays for Mumbai in domestic cricket. He is the captain of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.:

” I can never retire from Sachin. #SRTFOREVER”

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Russel Arnold (sify.com)

Russel Arnold (sify.com)

Russel Arnold (Russel Premakumaran “Rusty” Arnold) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer of Tamil descent. Arnold made his Test debut against Pakistan in 1997 and his One day international debut against South Africa later in the year:

“Good luck to Sachin today…. Hope he dishes out a treat for his mother!!! #IndvsWI”I

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Sanjay Manjrekar (jaintv.com)

Sanjay Manjrekar (jaintv.com)

Sanjay Manjrekar (Sanjay Vijay Manjrekar) is a former Indian cricketer. He played international cricket for India from 1987 until 1996 as a right-handed middle order batsman: “It was a long speech but then it was a long career. Every minute was worth it. Emotional words from Sachin to finish an emotional series.”

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Shane Warne (Paul Rovere)

Shane Warne (Paul Rovere)

Shane Warne (Shane Keith Warne) is an Australian former international cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game:

“@warne888 #Sachin was the best batsmen I’ve seen. @brianlara second and outstanding too. These 2 were so much better than everybody else….”

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Stuart Broad (topnews.in)

Stuart Broad (topnews.in)

Stuart Broad (Stuart Christopher John Broad) is an English cricketer who plays Test and One Day International cricket for England and is currently the captain of their Twenty20 team:

“Remarkable achievement by a legend of the sport we love. #200 #ThankYouSachin”

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Suresh Raina (espncricinfo.com)

Suresh Raina (espncricinfo.com)

Suresh Raina is currently a player of Indian Cricket Team from Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir now living in Rajnagar town in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. He is an attacking left-handed middle-order batsman and an occasional off-spin bowler:

“No matter how many times u say it, still feels less. The greatest ever. The Legend. Wonderful to say #SalaamSachin”

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Virender Sehwag (DC)

Virender Sehwag (DC)

Virender Sehwag is an Indian cricketer. An aggressive right-handed opening batsman and a part-time right-arm off-spin bowler, he played his first One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test team in 2001:

“Been an emotional time for me since the announcement #SRT. Can’t articulate what he means to me, it’s so personal! @BCCI.”

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Sachin Tendulkar Conferred ‘Bharat Ratna’ Leaves Cricket Fans in Tears.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Sachin Tendulkar - Farewell (Source: sports.ndtv.com)

Sachin Tendulkar – Farewell (Source: sports.ndtv.com)

An undeniable elegance coupled with once in a while revelation of enchanting playfulness, and an exceptional inclination toward timing, have always been the brand of Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketer.

The hurriedly arranged Test series India vs West Indies was mostly for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to bid farewell from cricket.

Yesterday, November 16, 2013, was a memorable Saturday for Sachin.

India won the second Test match against the West Indies by an innings and 126 runs for the second straight time, and the series 2-0. But that win was reduced to a mere footnote by an emotionally charged farewell speech by Sachin Tendulkar that stirred a rapt live audience in the fully packed Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and TV viewers around the world.

The speech revealed to the world a Sachin Tendulkar, the speaker.

At 11:47, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the ‘God’ of cricket, was finally saying goodbye to cricket and his fans with glistening tears on his face, after entertaining the world with his 24 years of phenomenal cricket.

This speech uncovered the remarkable person that Sachin was, underneath the universally recognized cricketer. He moved his audience and his adoring, ardent, die-hard fans to tears, and made them fall in love with him once again.

Sachin Factoid (Source: sports.ndtv.com)

Sachin Factoid (Source: sports.ndtv.com)

Sachin Tendulkar, the “Master Blaster” made his Test debut against Pakistan on November 15, 1989. Yesterday, he ended his cricket career with a total of 34,357 runs in international cricket and 15,921 runs in Tests. Ricky Ponting, the now retired former Australia captain scored 13378, and Jacques Kallis, the highest placed active player is now on 13,140 runs. In all likelihood, these figures of Sachin will never be beaten.

He was the greatest ambassador of the sport of cricket and has touched the lives of all cricket lovers around the globe.

Sachin Tendulkar has been the single colossal to inspire Indian cricket over three generations. He was the perfect ambassador of the sport of cricket, and has touched the lives of all cricket lovers around the globe.

This Saturday is doubly memorable because an official announcement was made by a release from the Prime Minister’s Office that Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred with Bharat Ratna.

According to a report, Sachin said: “I dedicate this to my mother.”

Sachin Tendulkar is the seventh person from Maharashtra to be conferred the Bharat Ratna after Dhondo Karve, Pandurang Kane, Vinoba Bhave, BR Ambedkar, Lata Mangeshkar and Bhimsen Joshi.

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Sachin Tendulkar’s Emotional Farewell Speech: “My life, between 22 yards for 24 years …”


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Today, the curtains came down for 40-year-old Sachin Tendulkar’s remarkable cricket career. Sachin gave a heart-warming speech to thank his family, teammates, coaches, friends and fans saying it was unbelievable that his life between “22 yards in the last 24 years” has at last come to an end.

Here is Sachin Tendulkar’s Farewell Speech:

All my friends, settle down. Let me talk, I’ll get more and more emotional.

My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that wonderful journey has come to an end. But, I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who played an important role in my life also, for the first time in my life I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk, but I will manage.

Late Ramesh Tendulkar

Late Ramesh Tendulkar

The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. Without his guidance, I don’t think I would have been standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of eleven and told me that “Chase your dreams, but make sure you don’t find short cuts. The path might be difficult, but don’t give up,” and I have simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being, which I’ll continue to do so and I’ll try my best. Every time I have done something special whenever I showed my bat, it was for my father.

Sachin Tendulkar's Amma (Mother).

Sachin Tendulkar’s Amma (Mother).

My mother, I don’t know how she dealt with such a naughty child like me. I was not easy to manage. She must be extremely patient. For a mother, the most important thing is that her child remains safe and healthy and fit. That was what she was most bothered and worried about. She took care of me for the last 24 years that I have played for India, but even before that she started praying for me the day I started playing cricket. She just prayed and prayed and prayed and I think her prayers and blessings have given me the strength to go out and perform, so a big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices.

In my school days, for four years, I stayed with my uncle and my aunt because my school was quite far from my home, and they treated me like their son. My aunt, after having had a hard day’s play, I would be half asleep, and she would be feeding me food so I could go again and play again tomorrow. I can’t forget these moments. I am like their son, and I am glad that it has continued to be the same way.

My eldest brother, Nitin, and his family, have always encouraged me. My eldest brother doesn’t like to talk much, but the one thing he always told me is that whatever you do, I know you will always give it 100%, and that I have full confidence and faith in you. His encouragement meant a lot to me.

My sister, Savita, and her family, was no different. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir willow bat. But that is where the journey began. She is one of those many who still continue to fast when I bat. So, thank you very much.

Ajit, my brother, now what do I talk about him? I don’t know. We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me Archrekar sir, my coach. From there on my life changed.

You will find this hard to believe that even last night he called to discuss my dismissal, knowing that there was a remote chance of batting again, but just the habit which we have developed, the rapport we have developed, since my birth. It has continued and it will continue. Maybe even when I’m not playing cricket we will still be discussing techniques. Various things we agree upon, my technique, and so many technical things which I didn’t agree with him, we have had arguments and disagreements, but in the end when I look back at all these things if that hadn’t happened in my life, I would have been a lesser cricketer.

Sachin Tendulkar and Anjali - Wedding

Sachin Tendulkar and Anjali – Wedding

The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1991 when I met my wife Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way. I know Anjali, being a doctor; there was a wonderful career in front of her. When we decided to have a family, Anjali took the initiative to step back and said you continue with your cricket and I will take the responsibility of the family.

Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to play cricket freely and without any stress. Thanks for bearing with all my fuss, all my frustrations, and all sorts of rubbish that I have spoken. I normally do.Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through the ups and downs. You are the best partnership I have had in my life.

Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun and daughter Sara.

Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun and daughter Sara.

Then, the two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. They have already grown up. You know, my daughter is 16 and my son is 14. Time has flown by. I wanted to spend so much time with them on special occasions like their birthdays, their annual days, sports day, going on holidays, whatever. I have missed out on all those things. Thanks for your understanding. Both of you have been so, so special to me you cannot imagine. I promise you for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, but the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.

My in-laws, Anand Mehta and Annabelle, both have been so, so supportive, loving, caring. I discuss various things in life, generally with them, and have taken their advice. You know, it’s so important to have a strong family who is always with you and guiding you. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali, so thank you very much.

In the last 24 years that I have played for India I have made new friends, and before that I have had friends from my childhood. They have all had a terrific contribution. As and when I have called them to come and bowl to me at the nets, they have left their work aside to come and help me. Be it joining me on holidays and having discussions on cricket, or whenever I was a little stressed and wanting to find a solution so I can perform better. All those moments my friends were with me. Even for when I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and thought that my career was over because of injuries, that is when my friends have woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drive with me and make me believe that my career was not over. Life would be incomplete without all those friends. Thanks for being there for me.

My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother took me to Archrekar sir. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands. Normally he sits in front of the television and he watches all the games that I play. When I was 11, 12, those were the days when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a couple of practice matches a day. The first half the innings I would be batting at Shivaji Park, the second half, at some other match in Azad Maidan. Sir would take me all over Mumbai to make sure I got match practice.

On a lighter note, in the last 29 years, sir has never ever said well played to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard. Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career, because there is no more matches, sir, in my life. I will be witnessing cricket, and cricket will always stay in my heart, but you have had an immense contribution in my life, so thank you very much.

My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground, the Mumbai Cricket Association, which is so dear to me. I remember landing from New Zealand at four o’clock in the morning, and turning up for a game at eight o’clock here, just because I wanted to be a part of Mumbai cricket, and not that somebody forced me or the Mumbai Cricket Association pressurized me to be here. But that was for the love of Mumbai cricket, and thank you very much. The president is here so thank you very much, along with your team, for taking care of me and looking after my cricket.

The dream was obviously to play for India, and that is where my association with BCCI started. BCCI was fantastic, right from my debut believing in my ability, selecting me into the squad at the age of 16 was a big step. So, thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me and the BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle. Things would have been different if you had not been behind me, and I really appreciate your support, especially when I was injured, you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of, and that I got fit and fine and playing back for India.

The journey has been special. Last 24 years, I have played with many senior cricketers, and even before that there were many senior cricketers whom I watched on television. They inspired me to play cricket, and to play in the right way. Thanks to all those senior cricketers, and unfortunately I have not been able to play with them, but I have high regards for all their achievements and all their contributions.

We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, is not here, and my team-mates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult, not to be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments. All the coaches for their guidance, it has been special for me. I know when MS Dhoni presented me the 200th Test match catch one day one morning. I had a brief message for the team. I would like to repeat that. I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team, serving the nation.

Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and right values. I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this wonderful sport. Each generation gets this opportunity nearly to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you that you will to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit to the best of your ability, and bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.

I would be failing in my duties if I didn’t thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers, who have put this difficult body together to go back on the field and be able to play. The amount of injuries that I have had in my career, I don’t know how you have managed to keep me fit, but without your special efforts, it would never have happened. The doctors have met me at weird hours. I mean I have called them from Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Delhi, I mean wherever. They have just taken the next flight and left their work and families to be with me, which has allowed me to play. So a big thank you to all three of you for keeping me in good shape.

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Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Mascarenhas

Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Mascarenhas

My dear friend, late Mark Mascarenhas, my first manager, we unfortunately, we lost him in a car accident in 2001. But he was such a well-wisher of cricket, my cricket, especially Indian cricket. He was so passionate. He understood what it takes to represent a nation and gave me all the space to go out and express myself, and never pressurized me to do this ad or promotion or whatever the sponsors demanded. He took care of that and today I miss him, so thank you Mark for all your contribution.

Vinod Naidu

My current management team, WSG, for repeating what Mark has done, because when I signed the contract I exactly told them what I want from them, and what it
requires to representing me. They have understood that and respected that. So, thank you very much WSG.

Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my manager, Vinod Naidu. He is more like my family and all the sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work, has been special, so big thank you to your family as well for giving up so much time for my work with Vinod.

In my school days, when I performed well, the media backed me a lot. They continue to do that till this morning. Thank you so much to all the media for supporting me and appreciating my performances. It surely had a positive effect on me. Thank you so much to all the photographers as well for those wonderful captured moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. So, to all the photographers a big thank.

I know my speech is getting a bit too long, but this is the last thing I want to say. I want to thank all the people here who have flown in from various parts of the world, and have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a zero or a 100-plus, whatever. Your support was so dear to me and meant a lot to me. Whatever you done for me, I know I have met so many guys who have fasted for me, prayed for me, done so much for me. Without all that that life wouldn’t have been like this for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and also say that time has flown by rather quickly, but the memories that you have left with me will always be with me forever and ever, especially “Sachin, Sachin” that will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.

Thank you very much. If I have missed out on saying something, I hope you understand.

Goodbye.

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Have Some MPs Compromised India’s Sovereignty? Is Obama the Third Umpire?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

In late 2012, it was reported that on November 26, 2012, a group of 25 Rajya Sabha MPs had written and signed a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him not to grant visa to Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat and on December 5, 2012, a group of 40 Lok Sabha MPs had signed a similar letter. Both letters were faxed to Obama last year itself.

A couple of days ago, these letters were faxed once again to the White House by Mohammed Adeeb, independent Rajya Sabha MP of Uttar Pradesh in view of president of Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh’s on going visit to America.

Now, it has emerged that the letter could have been faked. Some critics say that these MPs having not written any letter to their party leaders, or to the Prime Minister, or to the president for the development of their own constituencies had found the time to sign a petition to President Obama, thus bringing shame to the nation.

Some newspapers carried the entire list of MPs who have signed the letter. Copies of the letters were provided by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

Here are the facsimiles of the letter sent to Obama:

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 1

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 2

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 3

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 4

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 5

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 6

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Names of the 65 MP’s,  House & Party who sent petition to Obama

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The alleged signatories include Sabir Ali and Ali Anwar Ansari (Janata Dal-U), Rasheed Masood (Congress), S. Ahmed (Trinamool Congress) Asaduddin Owaisi (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruttaigal Katchi), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), K.P. Ramalingam (DMK), A.A. Jinnah (DMK), S.S. Rasmasubbu (Congress), and M.P. Achuthan (CPI).

According to CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury his signature on the letter “appears to be a cut and paste” job. Some of the other MPs whose names were said to be in the list have denied doing so. On Wednesday, M.P. Achuthan (CPI) and MP K.P. Ramalingam (DMK) said they did not sign the letter.

However, Mohammed Adeeb, who took the initiative for this campaign, insisted that Yechury and Achthan had signed the letter and was surprised why they were retracting now.

There seems to be an anomaly in the lists. At first glance it looks like the lists contain signatures of 65 MPs, but actually only 64 MPs are listed. Look at the first row of the Rajya Sabha list. It is blank.

Even in this list of 64, three names are duplicated. For example, A.A. Jinnah (DMK) figures both in LS (6) and RS (11) lists; Lok Sabha MP S.D. Sharifuddin Shariq (JKNC) appears both in LS (3) and RS (13) lists; and an MP from West Bengal appears both in LS (24) and RS (5).

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Miffed with Centre, Jaya­la­li­th­­aa to Skip CMs Conclave


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Jayalalitha

J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister, Tamilandu, India.

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Chennai: Chief minister J. Jaya­la­li­th­­aa has decided to skip the conference of chief ministers on internal security being chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, pointing out that the CMs were being gi­ven “very little opportunity” to express their views at such meets that were re­duced to being mere “annual ritualistic exercise”.

In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, copies of which were made available to the media, she acknowledged the invitation from the Union home minister for the present conference, which “no doubt is a very important event since it concerns the primary function of the state, viz, maintenance of public order”.

But then, like all such conferences chaired by the PM, this one too had “a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects” and even uttering just their titles would take ten minutes, the time being “cavalierly allotted” to ea­ch CM to present his/her views, Jayalalithaa said.

She said the UPA government had reduced even su­ch important conferen­ces “to a routinised ritual rat­her than a consultative pro­cess, with the chief ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches”, despite the fact that they were equal partners in the governance of the country.

The CMs would expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions and make the Centre aware of the true situation on the ground. “Only this will ena­ble us to formulate policies and allocate resources ba­sed on real need”, she argued.

She said the current conference too appeared aimed at “merely assembling” all the CMs to “rubber stamp” measures pre-decided by the Centre.

Recalling her experience at the National Develop­ment Council meet last De­c­ember when she was fo­r­ced to cut short her speech by the guillotine bell after the allotted ten minutes, the CM said rather than attending a conference wh­e­re CMs would be “railro­aded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table”, she was deputing senior minister K.P. Munu-samy to deliver her speech and it could be taken on record.

“I have given the most earnest consideration of all the agenda items and my speech gives the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the subjects listed in the agenda”, Jayalalithaa told the PM in her hard-hitting letter that is bound to trigger a fresh debate on the callous manner in which the Centre has been treating some of the non-Congress states in recent times.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle

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A letter to Angelina Jolie by an Indian Transman


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By Satya

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Dear Angelina Jolie,

Thank you for coming out. I mean about your mastectomy. You have no idea what this can mean for a transman like me who went through the exact same procedure as yours; well almost!

You didn’t have to come out, but you did. Especially since during your mastectomies you kept it private and carried on with your work. I know how difficult it gets with film producer types. I am a filmmaker in Mumbai and you won’t believe it, but once during an edit session, Mr. Moneybags, finding me alone in the cutting room, asked if we could compare our d*** sizes! He giggled and said he hadn’t ever seen one of someone who has had a sex change operation.

Your piece in the New York Times ‘My Medical Choice’, undoubtedly must have been that  - a medical choice. You spent three months, since this February, on a procedure called ‘Preventive Bilateral Mastectomy; ‘Preventive’ since you are the carrier of the BRCA1 gene that puts you at 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer. I spent several years trying to convince doctors that I needed a mastectomy for preventive reasons too. Years of forced living in a gender identity that wasn’t my own, began to immobilize me. In a society that understands only two genders and in a medical system that sees abnormality in everything outside of it, going on is eventually impossible. But your risk of celebrity cancer turned out to be higher than my risk of a commoner suicide. Still, I am happy for you. The mere idea that someone can remove their breasts, at 87% risk or no risk, is just good enough for me for now.

And of course you wrote this piece for women! And I am hoping that you meant transwomen too, some of whom I know would kill to have your new breast implants. How atrocious is the idea being peddled that you wrote it to benefit the Pink Lotus Breast Centre, where your procedure was performed, or for the biotech company, Myriad Genetics, which owns a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes giving them exclusive right to develop diagnostic tests for, at a current cost of more than $3000 in the USA. The fact that most breast cancer seems to be sporadic and has nothing to do with a BRCA1 mutation, pales beautifully in front of your sheer courage to talk about your own mastectomy in the media.

It is interesting though that all the media attention has been on your courage in losing your breasts, and not equally on your desire to have them reconstructed. Your doctors could have expected you to simply get back to the business of life without them. After all they were lost to a very high possibility of a most dreaded disease. But they didn’t. If you were non accepting of your loss, they could have put you through that monster of an American psychiatric-diagnostic-manual called ‘DSM-4 ‘ to prove your mental illness and therefore the need to cure you through breast reconstruction. But they didn’t. On the contrary, they became your facilitators. They saw you, as you saw yourself, a woman, one with those very definitive markers of femininity : breasts. Why do cosmetic surgeries for women skip the pathologisation that is mandatory for trans people all over the world? Why is it that medicine cannot facilitate trans people in the same way and grant them the same dignity of self identity?

Just like many of my trans brothers, sisters and lovers, I become complicit. I agreed to pathologize my gender identity. I agreed to let the psychiatrist issue me a certificate for Gender Identity Dysphoria [GID]. If I was to lose my breasts, I needed those gatekeepers to let me in. You had the BRCA1 to open the big wide doors of reconstructive surgery for you. And I had my GID certificate. I let them say, I am mentally ill. I let them say it on paper. I signed on an affidavit stating this was my consent and that I was totally responsible for whatever the surgeries would result in.

In a world with greater understanding, removing my breasts should have been seen as my ‘aesthetic choice’ ; a choice exercised in the severely limited societal understanding of gender, as being either only male or only female. But you’d agree that medicine being organized on the central idea of disease or, as you now have made so public, the possibility of it, is ill equipped at the moment, for such fine abstractions as mine. I knew success when I saw my psychiatrist scribble on his over qualified letterhead: “Diagnosis: G.I.D.’ Just like you, I too finally, made a ‘medical choice’. That I was as smart in 1997, as you are in 2013, makes me feel rather pleased with myself! Perhaps, this is a sign? Perhaps I will be a celebrity soon! Perhaps I will meet you at the next Cannes film festival and we can rule the world together?! Two Celebrity Bilateral Mastectomy Survivors, with reconstructed breasts on one, is better than none?! No?!

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Re-posted from THE TIMES OF INDIA

The author Satya is the founder & facilitator of the Indian Trans Group, Sampoorna.

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