Six Qualities a Man in India Expects From His Wife


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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A woman of worth is the crown of her husband,
but a disgraceful one is like rot in his bones.
- Proverbs 12:4

The presence of near and dear ones, reception parties – large or small, and honeymoons, etc., most certainly enhance the pleasures of the occasion and the joy of a wedding.

But what is the ultimate goal of a marriage from a man’s viewpoint?

Universally, all men wish for a perfect wife. But what does one mean by a “perfect wife”? What are the qualities needed to be an ideal spouse? Many women do not know about it though most of the qualities of a perfect wife are already built into them and develops as she grows up.

In India, Neeti Saara or Neeti Sastra is a popular collection of morals written by Baddena, a 13th century Telugu poet, believed to be a Chola prince named Bhadra Bhupala.

Baddena sums the six noble virtues an ideal wife should have in a verse as:

‘కార్యేషు దాసి, కరణేషు మంత్రి, భోజ్యేషు మాతా, రూపేచ లక్ష్మీ, శయనేషు రంభ, క్షమయా ధరిత్రీ… and so on.

 

‘Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri; Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha, Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri, Shat dharmayukta, Kuladharma Pathni’

Translation:

Karyeshu Dasi: work like a maidservant.

Karaneshu Mantri: advice like a minister.

Bhojeshu Mata: feed like a mother.

Shayaneshu Ramba: please in bed like Rambha.

Roopeshu Lakshmi: look beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi.

Kshmayeshu Dharitri: be patient like Earth.

Shat dharma yuktah Kula dharma Patni: A woman who has these six virtues is a good housewife.

Be a maidservant

Be a maidservant

Give advice ((Source: martofimages.com)

Give advice

Feed like a mother (Source: martofimages.com)

Feed like a mother

Please in bed.

Please in bed

Look beautiful like (Source: beautifullwallpapersfree.blogspot.in)

Look beautiful

Be patient (Source  - photogallery.indiatimes.com)

Be patient

In short, a good housewife should serve her husband like a maidservant; counsel him like a minister to deal with various problems that confront him; feed him like a mother; please him in bed as a courtesan like the heavenly seductress Rambha, unrivalled in the art of making love; maintain her beauty like Goddess Lakshmi; be patient and endure like Mother Earth.

This indeed is a tall order! I do not think any woman in the 21st century would qualify as a perfect wife by meeting these six criteria.

In this age of sex equality, the women argue that these verses were written by a man and so are chauvinistic. What will happen if a woman expects the following six qualities in a man?

Bhogeshu Raja: Rich like a king.

Vachaneshu Rama: Honest like Lord Rama.

Chaturasya Krishna: Intellectually smart like Lord Krishna.

Dhairyeshu Karna: Courageous like Karna.

Roopecha Indra: Handsome like Lord Indra.

Kaameshu Madana: Romantic like Madana Kamaraja.

Shatdharmayuktha manadharma Ramana: A man who has these six virtues is the dear husband.

Rich

Filthily Rich

Honest as Lord Rama

Honest

Intellectually smart like Lord Krishna

Intellectual

Courageous as Karna

Courageous

Handsome

Handsome

Romantic as Madhana

Romantic

If you are a man, do you think you can qualify as a perfect husband?

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India and Day 26 – Part 5: Resurgence of the BJP


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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In numerology, the numbers 8, 17 and 26 mean “money, power,” and are also the numbers of destruction. Numerologists consider the number 8, 17 and 26 emphasize the areas of career, business, finances and authority. These three numbers are the great Karmic equalizers that balance the material and immaterial worlds – forces that just as easily creates as it destroys. So, when 8, 17, and 26 come to the fore, we can be assured that we will reap what we have sown.

On the material plane, the 8s focus on results, often in the form of money, which it sees as a tool, not the end of the rainbow. People with strong 8s in their charts may lose fortunes in their life, but they will never consider bankruptcy a reason to slow down or feel sorry, but rather would surge once again, stronger and more success-oriented than before.

The recognizable traits of the 8s are drive, ambition, discipline, efficiency, organization, management, control, focused and goal-oriented, good judgment, practical, realistic and possess the authority.

According to Cheiro, the number 8 stands for the planet Saturn. This number influences all people born on the 8th, 17th or 26th in any month.

Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on September 17, 1950.

May 26, 2014 – Narendra Modi  sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India

On May 26, 2014, ten minutes after 6 pm, 63-years-old Narendra Damodardas Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party, armed with a decisive mandate was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

The glittering event, replete with symbolism and grandeur, was attended by the heads of SAARC countries like Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 6th president of Sri Lanka, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and a galaxy of other dignitaries.

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source - ips.lk)

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source: ips.lk)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source - Flickr)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source – Flickr)

Modi opted for a small team of 45 ministers: 23 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 12 Ministers of State. This is the smallest government to take the oath in the last 15 years.

Another view of Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Another view of Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Here is the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi published in the official website of the Prime Minister of India:

My dear fellow Indians and citizens of the world, Namaste!

A very warm welcome to the official website of the Prime Minister of India.

On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India’s development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation. Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development.

I envision this website as a very important medium of direct communication between us. I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world. I hope this platform creates opportunities to listen, learn and share one’s views.

Through this website you will also get all the latest information about my speeches, schedules, foreign visits and lot more. I will also keep informing you about innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government of India.

Yours,
Narendra Modi

Let us hope and pray that Narendra Modi and his cabinet with their mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance” will usher in a golden era in India.

Jai Hind!

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India and Day 26 – Part 3: The Devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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December 26, 2004 – Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

On Sunday, December 26, 2004, an undersea megathrust earthquake, known as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC in the Indian Ocean with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, between Simeulue in the Aceh province of Indonesia and mainland Indonesia. The earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 9.1–9.3, is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph.

The duration of faulting, between 8.3 and 10 minutes, was the longest ever observed. The behemothic quake caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre (0.4 inches) and triggered other minor earthquakes as far away as Alaska.

The tsunami was then known by various other names such as: “The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami,” “South Asian tsunami,” and “Indonesian tsunami.” Since the tsunami occurred on December 26, it was also known as the “Christmas tsunami” and the “Boxing Day tsunami.”

December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (Source: all-that-is-interesting.com)

December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. (Source: all-that-is-interesting.com)

The earthquake triggered a tsunami, considered to be one of the deadliest in history, which inundated coastal communities with waves up to 100 feet (30 meters) high and killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

Costlines severely hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami (Source: academic.evergree.edu)

Coastlines severely hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami (Source: academic.evergree.edu)

The huge waves racing at the speed of a jet aircraft took fifteen minutes to seven hours to reach the various coastlines. The waves hit the northern regions of the Indonesian island of Sumatra immediately. Thailand was struck about two hours later, despite being closer to the epicentre because the tsunami waves travelled more slowly in the shallow Andaman Sea off its western coast. About an hour and a half to two hours after the quake, Sri Lanka and the east coast of India were hit. The waves then reached the Maldives.

Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

The earthquake and resulting tsunami in the Indian Ocean had a devastating effect on India. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs about 18,000 are estimated dead.

The following table compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that a total of 227,898 people died. According to this table, in mainland India and in its territories, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 12,405 people died in the tsunami, around 5,640 are missing and 647,599 people have been displaced.

Figures compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey

COUNTRY WHERE
DEATHS OCCURRED
CONFIRMED ESTIMATED INJURED MISSING DISPLACED
INDONESIA 130,736 167,799 n/a 37,063 500,000+
SRI LANKA2 35,322 35,322 21,411 n/a 516,150
INDIA 12,405 18,045 n/a 5,640 647,599
THAILAND 5,395 8,212 8,457 2,817 7,000
SOMALIA 78 289 n/a n/a 5,000
MYANMAR (BURMA) 61 400–600 45 200 3,200
MALDIVES 82 108 n/a 26 15,000+
MALAYSIA 68 75 299 6 n/a
TANZANIA 10 13 n/a n/a n/a
SEYCHELLES 3 3 57 n/a 200
BANGLADESH 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
SOUTH AFRICA 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
YEMEN 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
KENYA 1 1 2 n/a n/a
MADAGASCAR n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,000+
TOTAL ~184,167 ~230,273 ~125,000 ~45,752 ~1.69 million

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean were devastated by the tsunami, and by the initial quake and several aftershocks that occurred during the following days. The Great Nicobar and Car Nicobar islands were the worst hit among all the islands due to their proximity to the epicentre of the quake and because of the relatively flat terrain.

One-fifth of the population in Nicobar Islands was reported dead, missing or wounded. Chowra Island lost two-thirds of its population of 1,500. Communication was cut off when many islands submerged. The Trinket Island was bifurcated.

Fishing communities were destroyed and very little is known about the effects of the tsunami on the indigenous tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The official death toll in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was 1,310, with about 5,600 missing from the islands. But the unofficial death toll, including those missing and presumed dead, was estimated to be around 7,000.

Map showing Tsunami Affected Area in India.

Map showing Tsunami Affected Areas in India.

The tsunami hit the southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. It inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast. Around 8,000 deaths were reported from Tamilnadu, and around 200 deaths from Kerala. The district of Nagapattinam was the worst hit in Tamil Nadu, with nearly 5,500 deaths.

The tsunami of December 26, 2004 inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast of southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

The tsunami of December 26, 2004 inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast of southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Surprisingly, Bangladesh, which lies at the northern end of the Bay of Bengal, had only two confirmed deaths, despite being a low-lying country and located relatively near the epicenter. Also, distance alone does not guarantee a safety since Somalia located in the Horn of Africa on the eastern coast was hit harder than Bangladesh even though it is much farther away.

Coasts, with a landmass between them and the location of origin of a tsunami, are usually deemed safe, but tsunami waves can sometimes steer around such landmasses. Being a relatively small island, the western coast of Sri Lanka suffered substantial damages from the impact of the tsunami; likewise, the Indian state of Kerala too was hit by the tsunami, despite being on the western coast of India.

The government of India announced a financial package of about US$200 million to Andaman and Nicobar islands after the tsunami, but the unbearable living conditions due to rise in sea level, constant aftershocks and fear of another similar tsunami, propelled thousands of settlers on the islands to relocate to the Indian mainland.

According to the World Bank, reconstruction was expected to cost more than US$1.2 billion in India alone.

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat

Next → India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 1

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India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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January 26, 2001 – The Gujarat Earthquake

Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)

Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)

On January 26, 2001, a strong earthquake struck the Kutch area in Gujarat at 8:46 AM local time (3:16 UTC) and lasted for over two minutes.

The earthquake had a magnitude between 7.6 and 7.7 on the moment magnitude  (Mw) scale and had a maximum felt intensity of X (Intense) on the Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale. The epicentre was about 9 km south-southwest of the village of Chobari in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District of Gujarat, India.

Base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)

Base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)

The January 26, 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the most damaging to strike India in the last five decades, led to a large loss of life and property.

The earthquake turned the cities of Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Gandhidham, Kottar, Kukuma, Lodai and Ratnar, along with nearby villages to ruins in less than two minutes.

The city of Ahmedabad lies about 300 km east of the epicenter in the village of Chobari and falls in the seismic Zone III (IS: 1893-1976) of India. Many mid to high-rise residential buildings pancaked on their lower levels and collapsed, leading to several hundred causalities and significant financial loss.

The quake though equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (which had a death toll of 3,425) killed around 20,000 people in Gujarat, wounded another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes. The estimated economic loss was reported to be about US $5 billion.

February 26, 2002 – Pogrom in Gujarat

On February 26, 2002, the Sabarmati Express left Ayodhya. Several passengers travelling on that train were Hindu pilgrims, returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. The following morning, someone stopped the train when it neared the Godhra station by pulling the emergency chain.

Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Under controversial circumstances, four coaches of the train caught fire. Many people were trapped inside the train. In the resulting conflagration, 59 people, including 25 women and 25 children, were burned to death.

In 2005, retired Supreme Court judge Umesh Chandra Banerjee, served as chairman of the committee constituted by the Government of India to probe the fire in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. He found that the coach fire was not deliberately started, but was accidental and not started by the Muslim mob. Later, when an Ahmedabad court ruled that there was a conspiracy to set the train on fire, Justice Banerjee stood by his findings and said it was an accidental fire as there was evidence to suggest the blaze began inside the train and that it was not firebombed.

Nevertheless, it has been alleged that a large mob attacked the train and four coaches were burned as the result of a conspiracy hatched by local Muslims.

After the burning of the train the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for a statewide bandh (strike), even after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional and illegal. The bandh was followed by three days of inter-communal bloodbath in Godhra as well as the rest of Gujarat. The state government headed by Narendra Modi did not take any action to prevent the strike, or stop the violence. Independent reports indicate that Rajendrasinh Ghanshyamsinh Rana, the former VHP president, had endorsed the strike, and that he and Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, used inflammatory language to worsen the situation.

Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)

Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)

According to the official figures, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died; 2,500 people were non-fatally injured, and 223 more were reported missing. However, other sources estimate that up to 2,000 Muslims died. There were instances of rape, children being burned alive, and widespread looting and destruction of property.

The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)

The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)

Narendra Modi has been accused of initiating and condoning the violence. Also, it has been alleged that police and government officials orchestrated the violence by directing the rioters by giving them lists of Muslim-owned properties.

In 2012, the Muslim community reacted with anger and disbelief when a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India cleared Modi of complicity in the violence. In July 2013, allegations were made that the SIT had suppressed evidence. That December, an Indian court upheld the SIT report and rejected a petition seeking Modi’s prosecution. In April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT’s investigations in nine cases related to the violence, and rejected a plea contesting the SIT report as baseless.

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 1: India’s Independence Day and Republic Day 

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India and Day 26 – Part 1: India’s Independence Day and Republic Day


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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There seems to be some sort of affinity between India and day 26.

On the occult side, Manmohan Singh, the 14th Prime Minister of India, from 2004 to 2014, was born on September 26, 1932. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi the new Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development in the Government of Narendra Damodardas Modi, was born on August 26, 1956.

Many incidents such as India’s Independence Day, Republic Day, major earthquakes, tsunamis, internecine communal riots,  bloody terrorist attacks have taken place on day 26.

January 26, 1930 – India’s Independence Day

India gained freedom from the British rule on August 15, 1947, but patriotic Indians had celebrated their first “Independence Day” 17 years earlier, on January 26, 1930. The choice of the day was unforeseen.

In 1928, Motilal Nehru chaired a prestigious committee that drafted a “Constitution” for an Indian Dominion that would have been a secular democratic reflection of Britain’s parliamentary system.

Mohamed Ali Jinnah, founder of Paksitan (Source: kufarooq3blog.wordpress.com)

Mohamed Ali Jinnah, founder of Paksitan (Source: kufarooq3blog.wordpress.com)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his All-India Muslim League insisted on more “safeguards” for Muslims as their price for endorsing the Motilal Nehru Committee’s proposal.

Jawaharlal Nehru and other young radical leaders of Congress like Subhas Chandra Bose of Bengal viewed Motilal Nehru’s recommendations as too conservative.

Mahatma Gandhi remained aloof from such matters, preferring to spin his cotton, waiting to be called upon to lead the next Satyagraha.

Motilal Nehru was unable to rally the broad spectrum of Indian political parties to his constitution’s support and it was doomed to an early demise.

Flag of British India, 1858–1947

Flag of British India, 1858–1947

Home Rule movement's Flag of India  in 1917

Home Rule movement’s Flag of India in 1917

Flag of Muslim League

Flag of Muslim League

The Indian National Congress held its annual session in Lahore in December 1929. During the debates the All India Home Rule League and the All-India Muslim League favoured for a Dominion status for India within the British Empire as enjoyed by Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland at the time. Leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and many others argued for a complete separation from British rule. In the end, the latter group’s view prevailed.

The Congress then promulgated the “Purna Swaraj” or “complete self-rule” declaration resolving the Congress and Indian nationalists to fight for complete independence from the British rule as opposed to a dominion status for India.

The flag adopted in 1931 and first hoisted on October 31, 1931. It was used by the Provisional Government of Free India during the subsequent years of Second World War.

The “Swaraj”  flag officially adopted by the Congress  in 1931 and first hoisted on October 31, 1931. It was used by the Provisional Government of Free India during the subsequent years of Second World War.

Jawaharlal Nehru was chosen the president of the Congress. On the midnight of December 31, 1929, he raised the first “Swaraj” flag on the banks of the Raavi river in Lahore. This flag was adopted and it was first hoisted on October 31, 1931. This flag was used by the Provisional Government of Free India during the subsequent years of Second World War.

The Congress passed a resolution fixing the last Sunday of January 1930 as India’s “Independence Day”. Coincidentally, it was January 26. It resolved to hold countrywide demonstrations in support of the goal. The day was to begin with the hoisting of the flag and reciting the “pledge of independence”. Gandhi envisaged that besides the meetings, the day would be spent,

… in doing some constructive work, whether it is spinning, or service of ‘untouchables,’ or reunion of Hindus and Mussalmans, or prohibition work, or even all these together.”

An official draft by Gandhi said:

The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually… Therefore, India must sever the British connection and attain ‘purna swaraj’ or ‘complete independence’.

The Congress called on the people to pledge themselves to civil disobedience and “to carry out the instructions issued from time to time” by the Congress, till India attained complete independence. Celebration of such an Independence Day was envisioned to stoke nationalistic fervour among Indian citizens, and to force the British government to consider granting independence.

An Autobiography” also known as “Toward Freedom” published in 1936 by The Bodley Head, is an autobiographical book written by Jawaharlal Nehru while he was in prison. It ran nine editions in the first year alone. In this book, Jawaharlal Nehru described the observances of “Independence Day” on January 26 as peaceful, solemn, and “without any speeches or exhortation”:

From then on, the Congress members and supporters celebrated January 26 as the Independence Day till 1947, regardless of whether the actual transfer of power had taken place.

August 15, 1947 – India gains Independence 

Following the peaceful, civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance, led by the Indian National Congress for independence, the British government agreed to accord freedom to India on August 15, 1947.

Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah prepared for the transfer of power from the British Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah prepared for the transfer of power from the British Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Eleven days before August 15, 1947, Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru representing the Indian National Congress and Mohammad Ali Jinnah representing the Muslim League, which demanded a separate sovereign state for Muslims, prepared for the transfer of power from the British Crown.

During these deliberations, an abstract picture of a divided nation comprising India and Pakistan came into being as distinct from the agglomeration of princely states and provinces administered by the British Raj.

On August 14, 1947, the dominion of Pakistan which then included East Pakistan, declared independence from the British Crown.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

On the eve of India’s Independence, towards midnight on August 14, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, in his inaugural address to the Indian Parliament heralded India’s tryst with destiny.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity. …

November 26, 1949 – Adoption of the Indian Constitution

After gaining independence, India, still owing formal allegiance to the British Crown, did not have its own Constitution and so it depended entirely on the amended colonial Government of India Act, 1935.

As a first step to evolve a sovereign republic, a constituent assembly of elected members of the provincial assemblies was set up to frame a new Constitution for the Republic of India. It included Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mookherjee and Nalini Ranjan Ghosh. There were jurists like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer and K.M. Munshi.

Dr. Ambedkar was asked to lead the drafting committee of the Constitution. The committee met for 166 days over two years, 11 months and 18 days.

On November 26, 1949, the final document of the Constitution that enshrined 345 Articles and eight Schedules was adopted by the Constituent Assembly, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.

The original text of the Preamble, before the 42nd Amendment) of the Constitution.

The original text of the Preamble, before the 42nd Amendment) of the Constitution of India.

January 26, 1950 – India’s Republic Day

The Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, and India officially became a Sovereign Democratic Republic.

January 26 was selected as the Republic Day because the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress on this day in 1930.

The people of India honour this day as their Republic Day.

On January 26, 1950, the Republic Day ceremonies began in Delhi.

On January 26, 1950, the 34th and last Governor-General of India Chakravarti Rajagopalachari read out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

On January 26, 1950, the 34th and last Governor-General of India Chakravarti Rajagopalachari read out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

On January 26, 1950, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the 34th and last Governor-General of India, read out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India. The Constitution of India came into effect, declaring India as a sovereign, democratic and secular state.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad,  the first President of the Republic of India.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as India’s first president, replacing the King as the head of the state, at the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (residence of the president of India). He addressed the crowd, first in Hindi and then in English. After the swearing in ceremony, the new president of India drove through the streets in his state coach to the Irwin Stadium (now renamed as the Dhyan Chand Stadium) and hoisted the national flag.

The government declared a two-day national holiday to a jubilant nation.

India displaying Agni 5 ICBM at Republic day parade of India at New Delhi.

India displaying Agni 5 ICBM at Republic day parade of India at New Delhi.

Currently, the Republic Day celebrations begin in India on January 26 with a grand parade held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan , along the Rajpath, past India Gate.

Republic Day Beating Retreat ceremony, New Delhi, India. (Source - indiascanner.com)

Republic Day Beating Retreat ceremony, New Delhi, India. (Source – indiascanner.com)

The Republic Day festivities end officially with the Beating Retreat ceremony conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day.

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Next  India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat

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The Tupamaros, Terrorists of Uruguay – Postlude


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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A giant sculpture of a hand reaching out of the sand at Punta del Este, Uruguay (Source: thetextbiz.com)

A giant sculpture of a hand reaching out of the sand at Punta del Este, Uruguay (Source: thetextbiz.com)

On March 5, 2010, Juan Maria Bordaberry was sentenced to 30 years in prison (the maximum allowed under Uruguayan law) for murder. He was the second former Uruguayan dictator sentenced to a long prison term.

On July 17, 2011, Bordaberry died, aged 83, at his home. He had been suffering from respiratory problems and other illnesses. His remains are buried at Parque Martinelli de Carrasco.

José Mujica, the current president of Uruguay adopts a ruling style closer to center-left administrations of Lula in Brazil and Bachelet in Chile, unlike the harder-left leaders such as the late Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, former president of Venezuela .

In 2012, José Mujica was lauded for a speech at the United Nations’ Rio+20 global sustainability conference in which he called for a fight against the hyper-consumption that is destroying the environment:

The cause is the model of civilization that we have created. And the thing we have to re-examine is our way of life.

Again in 2012, Mujica announced that the presidential palace would be included among the state shelters for the homeless.

In 2013 Mujica’s government pushed the world’s most progressive cannabis legalization bill through the Uruguayan Congress. He says:

This is not about being free and open. It’s a logical step. We want to take users away from clandestine business.

Guerilla warfare of Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara inspired the Tupamaros in Uruguay. Other Guerrilla outfits around the world while being inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, emulated the Tupamaros of Uruguay.

To a certain extent, the Tupamaros of Uruguay became the role model for urban guerrillas in India and in Sri Lanka.

In India the various Naxalite groups that are mostly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Kashmiri ultras funded by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, and many other worldwide terror outfits have been inspired by the Tupamaros of Uruguay.

In Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil insurgent outfits such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), considered the Tupamaros as their role model.

The Naxalites of India

The Spreading Naxalite Threat (Source: vinay.howtolivewiki.com)

(Source: vinay.howtolivewiki.com)

In India, various Communist guerrilla groups, under the generic term “Naxalites”, were influenced by the Uruguayan Tupamaros.

Kanu Sanyal

Kanu Sanyal (1932 – March 23, 2010)

The first Naxal movement led by Kanu Sanyal, an Indian communist politician, originated in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal in 1967.

On May 18, 1967, Jangal Santhal, president of the Siliguri Kishan Sabha declared his support for the movement initiated by Kanu Sanyal. The members of the Sabha readily consented to adopt armed struggle for redistribution of land to the landless.

Through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Kanu Sanyal’s Naxalite ideology spread to less developed regions of rural eastern and southern India, such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Today it has the following of displaced tribal people fighting against exploitation of their land by major Indian corporations and corrupt local officials.

During the 1970s, the original Naxal movement got fragmented into various factions due to internal conflicts among their leaders. In 1980, about 30 Naxalite groups were active in India, with a combined membership of 30,000 cadres.

Terrorists of Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, two terrorist groups involved in guerilla warfare against the governments were very much influenced by the Cuban revolutionists and the Uruguayan Tupamaros.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of Sri Lanka

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna logo

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation Front) (JVP), a Marxist-Leninist communist political party was led by Rohana Wijeweera (born Patabendi Don Nandasiri Wijeweera).

Rohana Wijeweera

Patabendi Don Nandasiri Wijeweera (14 July 1943 – 13 November 1989)

The JVP involved in two armed insurrections against the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) government in 1971 and against the United National Party (UNP) government in 1987-89.

After 1989, the JVP entered the mainstream of democratic politics. They became popular to a certain extent and participated in the 1994 parliamentary election.

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka

LTTE Logo

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was a separatist militant organization based in northern Sri Lanka formed in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Velupillai Prabhakaran (November 26, 1954 – May 18, 2009)

Velupillai Prabhakaran (November 26, 1954 – May 18, 2009)

The LTTE waged a secessionist nationalist campaign to create an independent and autonomous country for the Tamil people in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Their pursuit to create a mono ethnic Tamil Eelam evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009).

The LTTE had a well-developed militia and were the first militant group to acquire air power. They carried out many high-profile attacks, including the assassinations of several high-ranking Sri Lankan and Indian politicians. The LTTE was the only militant group to assassinate two world leaders: former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.

The LTTE movement is currently proscribed as a terrorist organization by 32 countries, including India. However, it had and still has the support amongst many Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu in India.

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the founder of the LTTE, was killed on May 18, 2009, by the Sri Lankan army.

Eventually, the LTTE militants were defeated by the Sri Lankan Military in 2009.

Though the Tupamaros movement in Uruguay, the JVP and LTTE movements in Sri Lanka were annihilated by outright military action in both countries, they all have set a standard for an intelligent violence unequaled in modern times. Though there is no doubt about the flair, bravery and genius of those insurgents, there lingers doubts about their politics. The German strategist, Von Clausewitz, much admired by Lenin, wrote:

War is only the violent extension of politics; if the politics are wrong to start with, the war will probably go the same way.”

 

 Previous – Part 9:  Restoration of Democracy in Uruguay

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Wooden Cars


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Morgan Aero 8 (Source: Brian Snelson/flickr)

Morgan Aero 8 (Source: Brian Snelson/flickr)

I came across the following on BBC TopGear’s front page:

Morgan

Morgan

An antidote for anyone who despairs at the loss of innocence. How sweet it is to think that there’s a shed in the Malvern hills in which a dedicated bunch of artisans is hard at work hand-building sports cars with wooden chassis. What’s more, with the Aero 8 and forthcoming hybrid LifeCar, it looks like they’re here to stay.

This aroused my curiosity about wooden cars.

The Morgan Motor Company, is a family owned British motor car manufacturing firm founded in 1909 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan that specializes in hand-assembled cars. The company, based in the Malvern hills, an area of Malvern, Worcestershire, England to the north and east of Great Malvern employs around 163 people. In 2007, Morgan produced 640 hand-assembled cars.

In their FAQs page to the question “Is it still made with a Wooden chassis?” they answer:

“The Morgan car has always been built around an ash-frame , and a steel chassis. The new Aero 8 also has an ash frame. This gives unique strength, flexibility and surprisingly, research showed that the frame made the car safer on impact tests.”

A year ago, in May 2013, I came across a news item in the media about Istvan Puskas, a 51-year-old Hungarian farmer. He lives in Tiszaörs, a village in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county, in the Northern Great Plain region of central Hungary.

Istvan Puskas

Istvan Puskas

Farmer Istvan Puskas, is also skilled in woodcraft. He loves to create unique articles with wood that would interest people.

A year earlier, in 2012, he created a unique motorcycle entirely of wood. a one-of-a-kind chopper made almost exclusively out of wood.

In 2013, Puskas created a unique wooden vehicle powered by a Polish-made Fiat 126 engine. The vehicle resembles a tractor.

Though a steering wheel salvaged from an old Mercedes-Benz came in handy, he made the frame, wheels, axles, suspension and gearbox out of wood. He used an old beer barrel for the fuel tank. His object was to use as much wood as possible.

It took him four months to finish building his vehicle.

Even though the current Hungarian laws make it impossible for Istvan Puskas to officially register and drive his unique wooden vehicle on the road, the local policemen impressed with his efforts allow him to drive it on the local lanes in his village. So far, touch wood, he has not run into any accidents.

Since Istvan had no garage to park his wooden vehicle, he had plans to put his creation on the market, as a collector’s item, or as a vehicle for someone who prefers to drive slow. He said that he intends to use the proceeds to fund his next project – a three-wheeled vehicle.

Recently, I came across the following video on YouTube of an amazing, beautiful custom-built 2009 wooden car Uploaded on October 13, 2010 by mrantisocialguy.

This custom hand-built wooden car mounted on a 1986 Toyota truck frame is powered by a Chrysler 318 engine. Driven by an automatic transmission it had 1,800 miles registered on its speedometer at the time of shooting this video.

The following video titled “wooden car Amazing Invention – HD” uploaded by Mohammed Rashed Ul Haq on Jan 13, 2011 is a four-minute long documentary on the manufacture of a wooden car.

Today, I read an article in the Deccan Chronicle, Chennai edition, titled “Wooden car awaits licence“.

Appar Lakshmanan, a hereditary master wood craftsman belonging to the Viswakarma community, has built a wooden car, which is probably the first eco-friendly vehicle made in the state of Tamilnadu, India.

Like Istvan Puskas in Hungary, Appar Lakshmanan too finds it difficult to meet the high criteria set by the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Chennai.

Appar Lakshmanan drives the car he made almost entirely with wood (Source: DC)

Appar Lakshmanan drives the car he made almost entirely with wood (Source: DC)

The writer of the article J.V. Siva Prasanna Kumar quotes Appar Lakshmanan as saying:

“If its strength of materials and ability to withstand combustion in the event of an accident or collision, then test my car and see the results… The officials seem to raise several questions, including how the wooden frames were fixed together. My father used bamboo pegs as rivets and they stood the test of time. Would anyone believe that?”

Appar Lakshmanan says the wood he used to make the car was not inflammable. Nevertheless, his efforts to convince the RTO authorities and obtain a licence did not yield the desired results. The one among his woes is that he could not get an engine or chassis number for his wooden car. A real paradox indeed!

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The Travails of Traveling Abroad on a Sri Lankan Passport


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 Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” ― Blaise PascalPensées

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On April 28, 2014, I wrote an article titled “Is a Passport Necessary for the Queen of England, US President, and the Pope to Travel Abroad?”  After reading it, my friend Joe Croos, a constant reader of my posts, now living in Germantown, Maryland, USA, forwarded me the following hilarious piece of writing sent to him by his friend Tony Rajanayagam.

Neither Tony nor Joe knows who the original author of this article is. Obviously he must be a Sri Lankan.

I enjoyed reading every word of this sarcastic, thought-provoking dissertation, and wish to share it with you.

I have used my editorial discretion, to strike out two phrases in the first paragraph which, though hilarious might seem objectionable to a few. Also, I have added images to spruce up the presentation.

Sri Lanka Passport (Source:  elankanews.com)

Sri Lankan Passport (Source: elankanews.com)

There are three things in the world that are of no use to anyone, viz. a xxx’x xxxxxxt, a xxxxxx’x xxxxx, and a Sri Lankan passport. The uselessness of the third item becomes absolutely clear when one tries to apply for a visa to go abroad.

Today, international travel for a bona fide traveler from Sri Lanka is fraught with unbelievable red-tape, undesirable paperwork and unforeseeable pitfalls. It is, for example, much easier for the proverbial camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an honest Sri Lankan passport holder to enter the United Kingdom. Everything in life has a price.

Ironically, these days, it is relatively easy for a Sri Lankan illegal immigrant to enter any western country of his choice and claim asylum, become a citizen and sponsor his kith and kin. This way, entire villages from Jaffna peninsula have been uprooted and are now relocated to Scarborough in Toronto, Canada.

A Sri Lankan passport is not unique. Israeli passport is the next most useless document as it is not recognized by 23 countries in the Middle East and also by North Korea and Cuba. Presenting an Israeli passport to an immigration officer in a Muslim country would be the equivalent of waving a red flag at a bull in Spain.

Although the Sri Lankan passport clearly states that “The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka requests and requires all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary” the document is more often than not treated with total disdain while its possessor is regarded with suspicion by almost all countries including Bangladesh, Benin and Bulgaria.

Although the purpose of the Sri Lankan passport is to promote and facilitate international travel, the way in which its owners are treated at foreign embassies makes one wonder if it was instead designed to dissuade and restrict international travel as much as possible.

Applying for a visa to a western country in Sri Lanka has become such a complex, confusing and complicated activity that some people, especially old men and women, come down with the condition known as “visaitis“. This is a relatively new disease which emerged in Sri Lanka at the end of July 1983.

The symptoms include a certain dryness of the mouth, dizziness, and mild dementia. Patients afflicted with this disease also suffer from outrageously watery diarrhea and are in the habit of passing urine frequently, and in rare cases, may be subject to catatonic schizophrenia. They can be nervous, irritable and immune to therapy. The mere thought of going to a western Embassy or High Commission in Sri Lanka is so traumatic that one or two people have in fact died of a broken heart, following the mandatory medical check-up.

There is a particular Hindu place of worship known affectionately as the “Visa Pillayar Temple” (VPT) in Colombo where people go to break a coconut and offer a silent prayer to ensure success prior to their interview (or interrogation) for a visa at the Embassy. Visa aspirants from places as far away as Valluvettithurai (VVT) in the north come to VPT to collect the vipoothi (holy ash), which when applied on the forehead is supposed to confer divine protection during the inquisition at the Embassy.

The insults start at the gate of an Embassy where you experience the taste of what is in store for you in the country you plan to spend your hard-earned money.

French Tricolor Flag - 1803

At the French Embassy in Colombo, rated 9.5 in the “Richter Scale of Rude Shocks,” it is the illiterate gatekeeper who functions as Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades, to whom one must give the sop to slip into the Embassy.

Japanese Flag

At the Japanese Embassy in Colombo, you cannot see the visa officer through the one-way opaque glass window when you submit your application. He can see you, but you cannot see him. The experience can be quite unnerving. It is a bit like speaking to an Oracle in Greece.

Canadian flag

The application for a Canadian tourist visa is 10 pages long and has more than 60 questions, including the names, places and dates of birth of yourself, your wife, your siblings, parents, grandparents, your wife’s relatives, your in-laws and outlaws! All these details have to be submitted first electronically before you are given a date for the interview.

Bangladesh flag

Once I went to the Bangladesh Embassy in Colombo to apply for a visa. The Embassy looked more like a tuck shop and I was the only applicant. Even then that bored consular officer rudely told me that it would take five working days to issue a visa!

Indian Tri-Colour flag

In the Indian Embassy, one would witness the death of common sense. However, much you gather the required documents you need to substantiate your application for a visa, the officer will ask for the one that you forgot to bring.

US flag

By contrast, the US Embassy in Colombo offers one of the best services in the world. The US staff are extremely kind, helpful and patient and they genuinely try to assist the potential visa applicant to the best of their ability. The US evaluation process is very fair, thorough and proper. If you are a genuine visitor to the USA, you need not worry. You will get a fair hearing. All the US immigration officers are trained well to be civil and polite to the visitor. They would often engage you in small talk just to find out if you were a genuine visitor or not to the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Today, many embassies have subcontracted the TT Services to deal with the initial stages of processing the visa.

New Zealand flag

More recently, on arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand (the Land of the Long White Cloud), the immigration officer asked me, very politely and with a pleasant smile, what the purpose of my visit was? When I told him that I had come to deliver a talk on elephants at the University of Canterbury, the bewildered officer exclaimed, “But we do not have elephants!” and stamped my passport and wished me a pleasant stay. It spoke so well about the country of just 4.5 million people and 60 million sheep.

WWF

Once when I worked for WWF-International, I was a member of a small working committee planning the next International Theriological (= Mammal) Congress. Two countries, Australia and Colombia, were interested in hosting the event. The Australian delegate was interested in moving the Congress to Sydney, but cautioned us that the only requirement for the visa was that none of the foreign participants had any criminal record. On hearing this, the Colombian delegate jumped up in sheer joy and informed us that on the contrary, his Government would welcome delegates with a criminal record! The Congress was held in Sydney.

In the unlikely event of a visa being issued, it does not automatically guarantee that you’d be allowed to enter the country at the other end. That depends on the mood and the maturity of the immigration officer.

United Kingdom flag

One of the most traumatic experiences one could have on arrival is at the Heathrow airport in London. You had been travelling 16 hours from Colombo and the flight lands at 9 am. It is supposed to be summer, but the sun is nowhere to be seen in the Land of Ceaseless Fog and Drizzle. Thus, even before the plane comes to a complete stop, you would get an idea of the weather that awaits you on arrival. Sometimes it appears that the plane had been taxiing through ginger beer or syrup. That’s the colour of the atmosphere outside.

Heathrow airport inside

On arrival I have to join the cattle class and then go to the queue reserved for aliens. No wonder I am often treated as if I am an extraterrestrial phenomenon!

Almost all British immigration officers are most unfriendly to non-Caucasian visitors, and often act like tinpot Hitlers. They are as hard as nails and bored as the people who serve you at McDonalds. They look miserable knowing they are stuck in dead end jobs.

Welcome at Heathrow Airport (Photo: Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Welcome at Heathrow Airport (Photo: Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Right behind his shoulder you can read in letters big, bright and bold, the banner that reads, “Welcome to Heathrow”. The welcome you receive is frostier than the weather outside.

The first question the bored and grumpy immigration officer with a smirk on his face asks the hapless visitor is: “When are you getting back?”

If you ask for a three-month stay in England, you are more likely to be given just a month. On the other hand, if you were to request for only a week, just to attend a conference and get back home, you may be granted a stay for six months. More disturbing is the recent news from the UK that in the future, visitors to Britain from ‘high risk’ countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ghana coming to Britain on a six-month visit visa will have to put up a 3,000 pound (equivalent to Rs. 594,000 in Sri Lankan currency) bond as security, according to the Home Secretary Theresa May.

Australian flag

Sometimes things can go wrong. During my first visit to Australia in 1990, I flew into Sydney from Jakarta. Before the plane landed, we were given immigration forms to be filled. There was an additional yellow card that had to be filled as well, and one of the questions on it was: “Are you carrying live semen?” to which I promptly ticked the yes box, given that I had already fathered two kids.

As I cleared the immigration and moved to the customs, I was stopped and taken to a small room where I was interrogated by a big, bespectacled, Wagnerian white woman with a pair of enormous Bristols and a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. She waved a yellow card at me and exploded, “Is this a joke?”

I was genuinely clueless as to why she blew her top and asked her what was it all about, to which she pointed the box I had ticked off to say that I was indeed carrying live semen. I told her that I believed so, to which the human volcano erupted once more and thundered in no uncertain terms that it referred to livestock and warned me not to make a joke of it ever again! It was literally a seminal experience for me. The yellow card is no longer issued.

Sri Lanka flag

In the 1960s, we had a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) member from the United States who became friends with us while we were doing research on wildlife in Wilpattu national park with Dr. John F. Eisenberg from the Smithsonian Institution and his assistant Melvyn Lockhart. The VSO chap was a hippie who loved smoking ganja (marijuana). In his lucid moments he managed to learn a few words in Sinhala which Melvyn taught. 

When he left Colombo, he was in fact carrying some ganja with him, and given his long hair and hippie demeanor, he was promptly stopped by a vigilant customs officer who wanted to see the contents of his handbag. In a flash of brilliance, despite the perspiration which had commenced its journey down his spine, he began to engage the customs officer in small talk, and told him that he had lived in Ceylon for a month and that he could even speak the local language a bit. 

When the customs officer asked him to say something in Sinhala, he promptly remembered what Melvyn had taught him, and blurted out in a loud voice “මගේ පුක්කෙ මයිල් නෑ” (Transliterated: “Magey pukkay mayil naa“) meaning “my arse has no hair” in his native Texan drawl.

All the customs officers who heard him burst out in uncontrollable laughter and began to dance (a few even had tears of joy streaming down their cheeks). They complimented him on his language skill and wished him “bon voyage“. It was the hippie who had the last laugh.

Melvyn later received a “Thank you” note from Amarillo, TX.

As a Sri Lankan, I feel that we are treated abroad as if we do not matter, despite our education, ancient culture and proud heritage. We may be short on geography, but we are long on history. We deserve better treatment in the western countries. Unlike the ASEAN countries where citizens of the member states enjoy a 14-day visa free entry to each other’s country, we who belong to the SAARC cannot go to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, or Bhutan even for a short stay without a visa!

In the final analysis, given the limitations of our Sri Lankan passport, it is far better for us to enjoy a local holiday than be subject to untold indignities and interrogations at the hands of immigration officers. As Blaise Pascal once remarked, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

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A contemporary ordinary Sri Lankan passport (Author - Chamath237)

A contemporary ordinary Sri Lankan passport (Author: Chamath237)

 

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A Shortcut to Learn French


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Learn French

THE COMMONEST WORDS IN FRENCH

In 1958, I opted for French as second language for my Bachelors degree, at St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, Tamilnadu, India.

Rev. Fr. Moumas, S.J. (Photo taken in 1979 by T.V. Antony Raj)

Rev. Fr. Moumas, S.J. (Photo taken in 1979 by T.V. Antony Raj)

It was the late Rev. Fr. Moumas S.J., a saintly jovial Jesuit priest from Gascony, who taught me French.

Learning the language was never an easy task. I used to spend a lot of time reading French novels borrowed from the well-stocked college library. In the 1960s and 70s, after graduating, while being employed in Sri Lanka, I used to visit the Library at the Alliance Française in Colombo often, trying to brush up and augment the French I learned in college. During this time, I took down notes and found an easy method to learn French.

Recently, while browsing through my old papers and books, I came across four pages of French words I had picked about 50 years ago. Since I feel that this list would provide a shortcut to you and your children to learn French, I have presented them below. Please pass it on to your friends and their children.

The words in the list occur most frequently in ordinary French, as determined by a word count of 400,000 running words of French prose. The figures after each word indicate its average number of occurrences per 1,000 words. It will be seen that the total is 446.1; in other words, learn these,  and you will know 44.6% of the words of French.

LEARN THEM NOW.

The meanings given are the common English translations.  Others are possible.

à , au, aux, à l’ = to, at, in, to, the, at the, in the, to the = 21.4
aller (v.) = to go = 2.1
autre = other = 1.7
avec = with = 3.4
1avoir (v.) = to have = 13.7
bien (adv.) = well, very = 2.8
bon = good = 1.2
ce, cet, cette, ces = this, that, these, those = 12.0
comme = as, like = 2.5
dans = in, within = 6.7
de, du, de l’, de la, des = of, from, of the, from the = 54.9
deux = two = 1.8
dire = to say, tell = 4.2
1donner (v.) = to give = 1.4
elle; elles = she, it, her; they, them = 8.0
en (prep.) = in, while = 6.3
en (pron.) = of it, of them, some, in the matter = 2.6
enfant = child = 1.1
et = and = 19.1
1etre (v.) = to be = 20.6
1faire (v.) = to make, do, have (something done) = 4.5
femme = woman, wife = 1.2
grand = tall, big = 2.0
homme = man, husband = 2.4
il; ils = he, it, him; they them = 13.7
jour = day = 1.2
le, la, l’, les (art.) = the = 69.4
le, la, l’, les (pron.) = him, her, it them
leur (pron.) = to them, them = 2.6
leur, leurs (adj.) = their
lui (pron.) = (to) him, her, it = 3.8
mais = but = 3.7
2je = I = 15.0
2me = me, to me
2moi = me, I
mon, ma, mes (adj.) = my = 4.5
ne … pas = not = 10.5
notre, nos = our = 1.2
nous = we, us, to us = 4.1
on = one, they, we = 3.9
ou = or = 1.9
Ou … ou,  soit … soit = either …. or
= where = 1.1
par = by = 3.7
pas (neg. adv.) = not, no = 5.6
petit = little, small, insignificant, petty = 1.7
plus (adv.) = more = 4.3
pour = for, in order to = 3.2
1pouvoir (v.) = to be able, can = 1.9
1prendre (v.) = to take = 1.2
que (conj.) = as, than = 12.8
que? (interr.) = what? = 3.0
que (rel. pron.) = who, whom, which, that
qui? (interr.) = who? = 7.6
qui (rel. pron.) = who, whom, which, that
sans = without = 1.8
1savoir (v.) = to know = 1.4
se = himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves, each other = 8.7
si = If, even, if so = 2.5
son, sa, ses = his, her, its = 8.9
sur (prep.) = on, atop, about, in, on top, over = 3.4
tout = all, every = 6.1
tu, te, toi = you = 1.8
un, une (art.) = a, an = 18.5
un (num.) = one
1venir (v.) = to come =

1.3

1voir (v.) = to see =

2.1

votre, vos = your =

1.3

1vouloir (v.) = to want, wish =

1.5

vous = you, to you =

5.2

y = To it, to them, in it, in them, there =

2.4

Total

=

446.1

 

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Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 – Hypothetical Theories


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

From the day the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared many theories such as hijacking, disintegration in midair, missile attack, and so on, are being elucidated by pundits and amateurs for the possible disappearance of the flight that took off on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 00:41 MST from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 people, including 12 crew members.

Since the international search for the missing aircraft has not yielded any result and the hope of finding it is waning as the days dawn on, implausible and whimsical theories are now circulating in regular and online social media.

A meteor strike?

Some have suggested that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could have been struck by a powerful meteor that shattered it to smithereens, and the bits might have fallen into the sea.

Interception by aliens?

On the ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.com, a conspiracy theory site, Alexandra Bruce has interpreted the unusual data on Flightradar24.com on the date of the disappearance.  He suggests that a UFO might have intercepted the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The radar playback from Flightradar24.com website

The radar playback from Flightradar24.com website. Click image to view video.

Seeing the radar playback of the moments leading up to the plane’s disappearance, one may forgive Malaysia Airlines for not being more forward, in this case – because the radar playback is not only baffling, it shows two distinct anomalies, as pointed out by Intrepid citizen-reporter and YouTube popstar, DAHBOO7.

The radar playback depicts dozens of planes in flight over the region at the time. The first peculiarity is seen in the lower left of the screen. A round object appears in the vicinity of Flight 370 (and amid several others), which the radar does not automatically “read” as airplane. Suddenly, this round object take the form of a “plane” on the radar screen and accelerates at a rate of speed that must be at least five times the speed of the surrounding planes, heading eastward, over the South China Sea – and just as suddenly the object stops and appears to hover in place.

During this same time, there is some evidence that shortly after crossing the Malaysian Peninsula, Flight 370 was in trouble. The radar playback shows that the plane took three sharp turns: right, left, right at an altitude of 35,000 feet and at a speed of 473 knots – just before the radar readings instantly go from 35,000 feet to 0, with the plane still traveling at that speed for a few moments more, at 0 feet altitude before it vanishes from the screen. As of this writing, this plane remains missing, even though the sea is relatively shallow in the area where the lane went missing.

As for the other object described here, it disappears as well. There have been no reports about this object – or plane, or what have you; whether it was a commercial airliner, like the many others in flight during the final moments preceding the disappearance of Flight 370 – but the object in question certainly didn’t behave like a commercial airliner.

Regardless of whether or not this mystery object had anything to do with the demise of of Flight 370 – what IS evident is that the radar readings shown in this clip captured signals from what for now, can only be termed a UFO.

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