Category Archives: India

Cricket: Scorecard of IPL 9 – Match #28 – Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab on May 01, 2016


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Source: iplt20wiki.in
Source: iplt20wiki.in

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Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Date & Time: Sunday, May 01, 2016, at 04:00 pm IST (10:30 am GMT)

Umpires: Bruce Oxenford, Virender Sharma
Third Umpire: Chris Gaffaney
Match Referee: Manu Nayyar
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King’s XI Punjab
Playing XI
Murali Vijay (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Cariappa
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Bench
Armaan Jaffer, Anureet Singh, Farhaan Behardien, Manan Vohra, Kyle Abbott, Mitchell Johnson, Nikhil Naik, Pardeep Sahu, Rishi Dhawan, Shardul Thakur, Swapnil Singh
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Gujarat Lions
Playing XI
Suresh Raina (c), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Dinesh Karthik (wk),Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik
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Bench
Aaron Finch, Akshdeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Andrew Tye, Dale Steyn, Eklavya Dwivedi, Jaydev Shah, Paras Dogra, Pradeep Sangwan, Pravin Tambe, Sarabjit Ladda, Shadab Jakati, Umang Sharma
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Toss

Gujarat Lions won the toss and opted to bowl.

 

KINGS XI PUNJAB Innings

KINGS XI PUNJAB R B 4s 6s SR
 Murali Vijay c DJ Bravo &
b Shivil
55  41 6  0 134.15
 Marcus Stoinis st D Karthik &
b R Jadeja
27  17  3 1 158.82
Shaun Marsh c Raina & b Shivil 1 3 0 0  33.33
Glenn Maxwell c D Karthik &
b Shivil
 0 1  0  0 0
Gurkeerat Singh Mann runout (D Karthik)  0  3 0  0 0
David Miller c Dwayne Smith & b D Kulkarni  31  27 2 0 114.81
Wriddhiman Saha (wk) b DJ Bravo 33  19 4 0  173.68
Axar Patel
c Ishan Kishan &
b DJ Bravo
0 2 0 0 0
Mohit Sharma b P Kumar 1 2 0  0  50
Cariappa b P Kumar  1  3 0 0 33.33
Sandeep Sharma not out  1 1 0 0 100
Extras 4 (b – 0, lb – 1, w – 3, nb – 0)
Total 154 all out in 19.5 overs
154 (RR @ 7.76 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/65
Marcus Stoinis
(6.4 ov.)
 2/70
Shaun Marsh
(7.5 ov.)
3/70
Glenn Maxwell
(7.6 ov.)
 4/73
Gurkeerat Singh Mann
(8.5 ov.)
5/100 Murali Vijay
(13.1 ov.)
 6/139
David Miller
(17.2 ov.)
7/145
Axar Patel
(18.2 ov.)
 8/151
Wriddhiman Saha
(18.5 ov.)
 9/153
Mohit Sharma
(19.3 ov.)
10/154
Cariappa
(19.5 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 Praveen Kumar 2.5 0  25  2 8.83
Dhawal Kulkarni 4  0 28  1  7.00
Ravindra Jadeja 3  0 28  1  9.33
Shivil Kaushik  4  0  20  3 5.00
Dwayne Bravo 4  0  33  2  8.25
James Faulkner 2 0 19  0  9.50
 Sahu
GUJARAT LIONS Innings
GUJARAT LIONS R B 4s 6s
Dwayne Smith c Gurkeerat Singh & b Axar 15  18 1 1 81.33
Brendon McCullum  b Mohit Sharma  1 3  0  0  33.33
Suresh Raina(c) b Mohit Sharma  18  15  2 1  120
Dinesh Karthik (wk) b Axar  2  4 0  0  50
Ravindra Jadeja c W Saha & b Axar  11  11 0  0  100
Dwayne Bravo b Axar  0  1  0  0  0
Ishan Kishan runout (M Stoinis)  27  24  3  0  112.50
James Faulkner c D Miller &
b Sandeep Sharma
 32 27 3  0  118.52
Praveen Kumar c Cariappa &
b Mohit Sharma
 15 13  2  0  115.38
Dhawal Kulkarni not out
Shivil Kaushik not out
Extras 4 (b – 1, lb – 0, w – 3, nb – 0)
Total 131 for 9 in 20 overs 131 (RR @ 6.55 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/13
Brendon McCullum
(1.4 ov.)
2/34
Suresh Raina
(4.6 ov.)
3/38
Dwayne Smith
(6.3 ov.)
4/39
Dinesh Karthik
(6.5 ov.)
5/39
Dwayne Bravo
(6.6 ov.)
 6/57
Ravindra Jadeja
(10.1 ov.)
7/86
Ishan Kishan
(14.5 ov.)
8/125
Praveen Kumar
(18.6 ov.)
9/125
James Faulkner
(19.2 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
Sandeep Sharma 4 0 31 1 7.75
Mohit Sharma 4  0 32  3 8.00
Marcus Stoinis  4 0 23  0  5.75
Axar Patel 4  0 21  4  5.25
Cariappa 3 0 15  0  5.00
Gurkeerat Singh Mann 1 0 8  0  8.00

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Kings XI Punjab won by 23 runs.

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Axar Patel takes first hat-trick of IPL 2016 (Source: india.com)
Axar Patel takes first hat-trick of IPL 2016 (Source: india.com)

 

Axar Patel – “Man of the Match”

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Vivo IPL 2016 – Points Table
Teams Mat Won Lost Tied N/R Pts Net RR
Gujarat Lions 8 6 2 0 0 12 -0.115
Delhi Daredevils 6 4 2 0 0 8 +0.441
Kolkata Knight Riders 7 4 3 0 0 8 +0.322
Sunrisers Hyderabad 7 4 3 0 0 8 +0.060
Mumbai Indians 8 4 4 0 0 8 -0.104
Rising Pune Supergiants 7 2 5 0 0 4 +0.265
Royal Challengers Bangalore 6 2 4 0 0 4 +0.065
Kings XI Punjab 7 2 5 0 0 4 -0.811

The Opening Ceremony of Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) Opening Ceremony on April 8, 2016

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The kickoff for the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League – the Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) is scheduled to start on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at 8:00 pm with champions Mumbai Indians taking on debutants Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. (See my post, “Cricket: Vivo IPL 2015 (IPL 9) Tournament Schedule“)

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The Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai.
The Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai.

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The Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) is all set to get off to a glamorous start at the Dome @ NSCI-SVP Stadium in Mumbai on the night of Friday, April 8, 2016.

At the opening ceremony of the games, the eight team captains participating in the Vivo IPL 9 games will take the MCC “Spirit of Cricket” pledge, to reaffirm Indian Premier League’s commitment to the Spirit Of Cricket.

Mumbai Indians winners of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) (Source: indianexpress.com)
Mumbai Indians winners of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) (Source: indianexpress.com)

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The Mumbai Indians team, without the services of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who retired after IPL 2013 season, were the winners of the Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma.

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IPL 2015 Trophy (Source: rediff.com)
IPL 2015 Trophy (Source: rediff.com)

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To signal the start of the IPL 2016 season,  the Mumbai Indians will put the trophy back into play.

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IPL 2015 Opening Nite - Anushka Sharma performs on popular Bollywoood numbers (Copyright BCCI)
IPL 2015 Opening Nite – Anushka Sharma performs on popular Bollywoood numbers (Copyright BCCI)

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Hitherto, Bollywood celebrities have been an integral part of the Indian Premier League and have always performed in the opening ceremony. This year, at the two-hour long opening ceremony, Bollywood celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandes, Ranveer Singh, rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, and other Bollywood cast are all set to dazzle the stage..

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Chris Brown (Source: rollingstone.com)
American pop star Chris Brown (Source: rollingstone.com)

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American pop star Chris Brown will be joined by the American dancehall reggae trio Major Lazer, English rapper Fuse ODG and Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne and are expected to set the Dome on fire.

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major lazer (Source: melty.fr)
American dancehall reggae trio Major Lazer (Source: melty.fr)

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English rapper Fuse ODG (Source: 3beat.co.uk)
English rapper Fuse ODG (Source: 3beat.co.uk)

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Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne
Jamaican-American recording artist Nailah Thorbourne

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The opening ceremony will start at 7:30 IST. The tickets are available online at Bookmyshow.com, the ticket booking portal. The rates start from ₹10,000 for Black Silver seats and ₹15,000 for Black Gold seats, plus internet handling charges.

LIVE TV Telecast: Set Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD

LIVE streaming: Hotstar app

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RELATED ARTICLES

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Cricket: Vivo IPL 2016 (IPL 9) Tournament Schedule


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced its association with Vivo, the premium global smartphone manufacturer, for the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Vivo fulfilled their obligation of presenting the bank guarantee to the BCCI and confirmed the title sponsorship rights and replaces PepsiCo, the beverage giant, as title sponsor of the 9th edition of Indian Premier League’s Twenty20 event.

The Teams participating in
Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

Logo of Delhi Daredevils 115x115 Logo of Gujarat Lions 115x115 Logo of Kings XI Punjab 115x115 Logo of Kolkata Knight Riders 115x115
Logo of Mumbai Indians 115x115 Logo of Rising Pune Supergiants 115x115 Logo of Royal Challengers Bangalore 115x115 Logo of Sunrisers Hyderabad 115x115
  1. Delhi Daredevils
  2. Gujarat Lions
  3. Kings XI Punjab
  4. Kolkata Knight Riders
  5. Mumbai Indians
  6. Rising Pune Supergiants
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad

The Captains of the teams participating in
Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

The Captains of the teams participating in Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) (Sourc: indianexpress.com)
The Captains of the teams participating in Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)

Left to Right:

  1. Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (India)
  2. Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (India)
  3. Kings XI Punjab: David Miller (South Africa)
  4. Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (India)
  5. Rising Pune Supergiants: M.S. Dhoni(India)
  6. Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (India)
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (India)
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Australia)

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Schedule of Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)

The schedule of Vivo IPL 2015 (IPL 9) has been declared. A total of 60 matches will be played from April 9, 2016, to May 29, 2016, across 10 Indian cities.

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Schedule of Vivo Indian Premier League  2016 (IPL 9)
Fixtures in  IST Time
April 9, 2016 to
May 29, 2016

Date Time Fixture Venue
Saturday
9 April
.
8 pm

Match #1

MI vs RPS
MI vs RPS 220x100

Mumbai
Sunday
10 April
.
8 pm

Match #2

KKR vs DDKKR vs DD 220x100

Kolkata
Monday
11 April
.
8 pm Match #3

GL vs KXIPGL vs KXIP 200x100

Mohali
Tuesday
12 April
.
8 pm Match #4

SRH vs RCB
SRH vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
Wednesday
13 April
.
8 pm

Match #5

KKR vs MI
KKR vs MI 220x100

Kolkata
Thursday
14 April
.
8 pm Match #6

GL vs RPS
GL vs RPS 220x100

Rajkot
Friday
15 April
.
8 pm

Match #7

DD vs KXIP
DD vs KXIP200x100

Delhi
Saturday
16 April
.
........
4 pm

Match #8

SRH vs KKR
SRH vs KKR 220x100

Hyderabad
8 pm Match #9

GL vs MI
GL vs MI 220x100

Mumbai
Sunday
17 April
.
4 pm Match #10

RPS vs  KXIP
RPS vs KXIP 220x100

Mohali
8 pm

Match #11

RCB vs DD
RCB vs DD 220x100

Bengaluru
Monday
18 April
.
8 pm Match #12

SRH vs MI
SRH vs MI 220x83

Hyderabad
Tuesday
19 April
.
8 pm

Match #13

KXIP vs KKR
KXIPvs KKR 220x100

Mohali
Wednesday
20 April
.
8 pm Match #14

RCB vs MI
RCB vs MI 220x100

Mumbai
Thursday
21 April
.
8 pm Match #15

GL vs SRHGL vs SH 220x100

Rajkot
Friday
22 April
.
8 pm Match #16

RPS vs RCBRPS vs RCB 220x100

Pune
Saturday
23 April
.
4 pm

Match #17

MI vs DD
MI vs DD 220x60

Delhi
8 pm Match #18

KXIP vs SRH
KXIP vs SRH 220x100

Hyderabad
Sunday
24 April
.
4 pm Match #19

GL vs RCB
GL vs RCB 200x100

Rajkot
8 pm Match #20

RPS vs KKR
RPS vs KKR 220x100

Pune
Monday
25 April
.
8 pm  Match #21

MI vs KXIP
MI vs KXIP 220x100

Mohali
Tuesday
26 April
.
8 pm Match #22

RPS vs SRH
RPS vs SRH 220x83

Hyderabad
Wednesday
27 April
.
8 pm Match #23

GL vs DD
GL vs DD 220x100

Delhi
Thursday
28 April
.
8 pm Match #24

MI vs KKR
MI vs KKR 200x100

Mumbai
Friday
29 April
.
8 pm Match #25

GL vs RPS
GL vs RPS 220x100

Pune
Saturday
30 April
.
4 pm Match #26

KKR vs DD
KKR vs DD 220x100

Delhi
8 pm Match #27

SRH vs RCB
SRH vs RCB 220x100

Hyderabad
Sunday
1 May
.
4 pm Match #28

GL vs KXIP
GL vs KXIP 200x100

Rajkot
8 pm Match #29

RPS vs MIRPS vs MI 220x60

Pune
Monday
2 May
.
8 pm Match #30

KKR vs RCB
KKR vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
Tuesday
3 May
.
8 pm

Match #31

GL vs DD
GL vs DD 220x100

Rajkot
Wednesday
4 May
.
8 pm

Match #32

KXIP vs KKR
KXIPvs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
Thursday
5 May
.
8 pm Match #33

RPS vs DD
RPS vs DD 220x60

Delhi
Friday
6 May
.
8 pm Match #34

GL vs SRHGL vs SH 220x100

Hyderabad
Saturday
7 May
.
4 pm Match #35

RPS vs  RCB
RPS vs RCB 220x100

Bengaluru
8 pm Match #36

DD vs KXIP
DD vs KXIP200x100

Nagpur
Sunday
8 May
.
4 pm Match #37

SRH vs MI
SRH vs MI 220x83

Mumbai
8 pm Match #38

GL vs KKR
GL vs KKR 200x100

Kolkata
Monday
9 May
.
8 pm Match #39

RCB vs KXIP
RCB vs KXIP 220x100

Nagpur
Tuesday
10 May
.
8 pm Match #40

RPS vs SRH
RPS vs SRH 220x83

Pune
Wednesday
11 May
.
8 pm Match #41

RCB vs MI
RCB vs MI 220x100

Bengaluru
Thursday
12 May
.
8 pm Match #42

DD vs SH
DD vs SRH 200x100

Hyderabad
Friday
13 May
.
8 pm Match #43

MI vs KXIP
MI vs KXIP 220x100

Mumbai
Saturday
14 May
.
4 pm Match #44

GL vs RCB
GL vs RCB 200x100

Bengaluru
8 pm Match #45

RPS vs KKR
RPS vs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
Sunday
15 May
.
4 pm Match #46

MI vs DD
MI vs DD 220x60

Mumbai
8 pm Match #47

KXIP vs SRH
KXIP vs SRH 220x100

Nagpur
Monday
16 May
.
.
8 pm Match #48

KKR vs RCB
KKR vs RCB 220x100

Kolkata
Tuesday
17 May
.
8 pm Match #49

RPS vs DD
RPS vs DD 220x60

Pune
Wednesday
18 May
.
8 pm Match #50

RCB vs KXIP
RCB vs KXIP 220x100

Bengaluru
Thursday
19 May
.
8 pm Match #51

GL vs KKR
GL vs KKR 200x100

TBC
Friday
20 May
.
8 pm Match #52

DD vs SRH
DD vs SRH 200x100

Raipur
Saturday
21 May
.
4 pm Match #53

RPS vs  KXIP
RPS vs KXIP 220x100

Pune
8 pm Match #54

GL vs MI
GL vs MI 220x100

TBC
Sunday
22 May
.
4 pm Match #55

SRH vs KKR
SRH vs KKR 220x100

Kolkata
8 pm Match #56

RCB vs DD
RCB vs DD 220x100

Raipur
Tuesday
24 May
.
8 pm

Match #57

Qualifier 1
Bengaluru
Wednesday
25 May
.
8 pm Match #58

Eliminator
Pune
Friday
27 May
.
8 pm Match #59

Qualifier 2
Pune
Sunday
29 May

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8 pm
Match #60

Final

Mumbai

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Several broadcasting networks and television channels  will bring live coverage of Vivo IPL 2016 across the globe.

Broadcasting Rights
Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9)

Country/Region Broadcaster
India Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony ESPN
Africa SuperSport
Pakistan Geo Super
Bangladesh Maasranga
Caribbean Sportsmax
Bhutan Set Max, Sony Six
Canada Sportsnet
New Zealand Sky Sport
Malaysia Astro
Sri Lanka Carlton Sports Network
Hong Kong PCCW
Middle East and North Africa OSN
United States ESPN
Singapore StarHub, Singtel
Australia CricketGateway.com
United Kingdom Sky Sports
Nepal Sony Six, Sony Max
Brunei Astro

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This year too the Sony Entertainment Television Network has bagged the global rights to broadcast Indian Premier League in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Hence, viewers in these three countries will be able to watch the live telecast of all 60 IPL 2016 matches on Sony Six, Set Max and Sony ESPN.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Chennai: Come December…


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Chennai floods (Source: ndtv.com)
Chennai floods (Source: ndtv.com)

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December 1, 2015:

It rained through the night in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. The incessant rains that plagued us for the past three weeks did not seem to abate.

At 7.11 am, while I was still in bed my boarding and classmate Sunderaraj Kagoo, former Managing Partner of Star Brand Sweets, Colombo, had given me a call. I was not able to call him back since my cell’s battery had run down.

There was no way to charge my cell because we had  no electricity supply.

Of all the rainy days that started in mid-November, 2015, today it rained heavily and forcefully.

Since the cable TV line was completely out and my 100 MB internet connection was dead, there was no way to know what was happening around us. We were not able to go out of our house to shop for essentials due to the torrent.

My second daughter Subodhra living in Palayamkottai, 620 km away from Chennai, phoned my wife. She said it did not rain there in Tirunelveli. She inquired how we were faring since she saw several news channels on TV covering the floods in Chennai. She said that Velachery, about 5 km from our house was flooded and that boats were being deployed to evacuate the marooned from their flooded houses to safety. My wife assured her that we were safe.

At 6:45 pm electricity came on.

At 6:48 pm my cousin Lawrence rang up inquired whether we were safe. He assured us that his house safe. I could hear children shouting and music in the background and immediately knew that the first birthday of his second grandson Tom Philip was being celebrated. I blessed the child over the phone and told Lawrence that even if they had invited us for the birthday party we would not have made it.

At 7:00 pm my wife, daughter Sujatha and I ran to the house on the first floor of the flat opposite our house to attend the first birthday party of a year-old toddler.

At 7:30 pm while the party was on, the electric power was cut off and we had the birthday dinner by candle light.

We returned home at 8:00 pm.

It poured heavily.

At 9:00 pm since we had no electricity, TV broadcast nor the internet, I tried to call my daughter Subodhra at Palayamkottai to know about the situation in Chennai that she would have seen on TV . Alas, to our bad luck the Vodafone network was out of service.

At 9:20 pm remembering the phone call from Sunderaraj Kagoo, I tried his number, but I was not able to get through. Then I noticed that my service provider Aircel too was out of service.

Since there was no electricity, we were not able to turn on the electric mosquito repellers and had to sleep at the mercy of the swarming mosquitoes.

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After the inundation of the arterial Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road south and north of Tambaram, all roads leading to Tambaram submerged at various stretches making Tambaram inaccessible to the rest of the city and for those heading towards Chennai city from Chengalpattu.

December 2, 2015:

It rained heavily in the morning.

I saw a few strangers in our neighbour Lokanayaki’s house. She told me that they were her relatives from nearby Pallikaranai and flood waters had entered their house up to their neck and so had come to her house for shelter.

Around 4:00 pm the rain ceased and there was only a pleasant drizzle. I took this opportunity to venture out on my two-wheeler to buy essential foods and medicines.

All the ATMs in our neighbourhood were out of service.

I went to one of the local medical shops. The proprietor was there and I asked him whether the card machine worked. The proprietor reluctantly said no. Then he asked how much my purchase would amount to. When I said more than ₹500, he said he would try to accommodate me since the backup battery had almost died out. He then took my order which amounted to ₹580 and switched on the card reader which came to life after a bit of coaxing. I thanked him for obliging and left the shop with the medicines.

The main road between Velachery and Tambaram is flooded in many places with hidden potholes lurking under the muddy waters. So, buses are not plying. I am not able to travel on my two-wheeler more than 100 metres either way from Pallikarani Oil Mill Stop.

I took the risk and waded through deep waters on my vehicle for about a kilometre and finally saw eggs stored on plastic trays at a shop. I bought a dozen eggs for ₹6 each.

On my way back home the engine of my two-wheeler stopped. I cranked the fuel tap to reserve and retraced my route. I found more than 50 people waiting in a queue to fill their motorcycles and cars at the petrol bunk. Finally, after waiting for about 30 minutes my turn came and after filling the tank with petrol and oil for ₹200, I returned home around 5:30 pm.

At 6:30 pm it was dark. I ventured out on my two-wheeler to buy a pair of batteries for my LCD torch. Almost all the shops were closed. Finally, I saw an electrical shop where an oil lamp lit the inside dimly. Luckily the batteries were available and I hurried home.

.

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In the evening we heard that Chennai was officially declared a disaster area.

December 3, 2015:

Rains continued to plague Chennai.

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Around 11:00 am we saw an army helicopter crossing far away from our house.

Around 1:30 pm we received electricity. We were able to see TV programmes.

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PM Narendra Modi viewing flooded Chennai from a helicopter (Source: financialexpress.com)
PM Narendra Modi viewing flooded Chennai from a helicopter (Source: financialexpress.com)

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We were made aware that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu viewed the damages wrought by the incessant rains from the comfort of a helicopter. We also came to know that the Prime Minister who had come all the way from New Delhi too viewed the damages travelling on a separate helicopter.

At 6:30 pm some of our neighbours hurried towards the main road. My wife told me that the ATMs were working. I too took my debit card and ran to the main road. We were all disappointed for one ATM displayed the “Sorry. No money!” sign and the other two ATMs had shuttered down. It was a rumour.

Around 7:00 pm the electric supply was cut off and we were once again in the dark.

Around 7:30 pm my nephew Raphael Leo came home by motorbike to our house to inquire whether we and his mother-in-law who lives about 200 metres away from our house were safe. My son Subas Raj in Ellicott City, MD, USA had contacted him on WhatsApp and had asked him to check on us.

Though relief efforts were well underway across some of the flooded areas in Chennai, the lack of any coordinated relief response forced thousands of its residents to evacuate their houses on their own.

December 4, 2015:

From 5:00 am we had no rain and the sun shone through thick clouds. We were happy and thought the rains had finally ceased. With a letup in rainfall, floodwaters gradually began to recede in some areas in Chennai though 40 percent of the city remained submerged. Safe food and drinking water was in short supply.

Still no cell phone service. And there is no internet.

The electric supply comes in spurts. TV works intermittently even when electricity is available.

The internet was available from 1:45 pm today.

At 2:30 pm ominous dark clouds started gathering and it started to rain heavily.

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A patient getting shifted to another hospital from MIOT Hospital after flooding of the area due to heavy rainfall in Chennai . PTI
A patient getting shifted to another hospital from MIOT Hospital after flooding of the area due to heavy rainfall in Chennai . PTI

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Around 6:30 pm I saw the heart-wrenching news on TV channels about the loss of 18 patients who had died at the MIOT International Hospital in Manapakkam, Chennai, due to overflowing of flood waters from Adyar river that breached the hospital’s walls, damaging equipment in its path.

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Three Ministers: Natham Viswanathan, Gokul Indra, Selur Raju) (Source: vikatan.com)
Three Ministers: Natham Viswanathan, Gokul Indra, Selur Raju. (Source: vikatan.com)

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Two TV channels showed AIADMK Tamilnadu State Ministers Natham Viswanathan, Gokula Indra, and Selur Raju being chased away by the public when they visited the Chief Minister’s R.K. Nagar electorate. They had come to the CM’s electorate to meet the people in lieu of their head. The ministers arrived in a cortege of 18 cars, and without getting down from their vehicles, the ministers spoke to the people. This infuriated the people. They asked the ministers to get down from their vehicles and get their feet wet as they did. After an argument, the ministers with the protection and cordoning by the police escaped the fury of the mass.

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AIADMK cadres sticking stickers of JJ (Source: Dinakaran.com)
AIADMK cadres sticking stickers of JJ on foods and other essentials brought in for distribution by some charitable public and non-AIADMK organisations. (Source: Dinakaran.com)

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Then we came across the shameful news that in some areas in Chennai the AIADMK hooligans are abrogating the work done by the charitable people and NGOs in Chennai by sticking stickers of JJ on the food parcels brought by them for distribution. If they could not help at least they should not steal the credits that are due to the helping people with their hard earned money and organizations who do not belong to their party. Instead, these shameless ruffians could have volunteered to work in the flood affected areas instead of stealing efforts made by others; or they could have pressured their higher-ups from the lowly municipal councilors to the Chief Minister to distribute free food from their “Amma Canteens” and distribute free “Amma Water” Bottles.

There seems to be a voltage drop and the electricity might be cut off at any moment.

For now, my family and I are safe. Please see the TV news channels for the overall situation now prevailing in Chennai.

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A Nondescript Village in Tamilnadu, India Stages 100 Dramas Every Year!


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The Valayankulam village located 22 km from Madurai City in Tamilnadu, India has a population of 5705 comprising 1514 families as per the Population Census of 2011.

Map showing Valayankulam

This village has a low literacy rate – 69.57% compared to 80.09% of Tamil Nadu. The Male literacy stands at 77.96% while the female literacy rate was 61.23%.

As per the constitution of India and Panchayati Raaj Act, an elected Sarpanch (Head of Village) administers the Valayankulam village.

Valaiyaangulam Subburaj Theatre (Photo: Dhanasekaran Muthu/ssl.panoramio.com)

Valaiyaangulam Subburaj Theatre (Photo: Dhanasekaran Muthu/ssl.panoramio.com)

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The cynosure in most village festivals in Tamilnadu would be entertainment items such as the theru koothu, karakaattam, dancing, singing, drama or a pattimandram (debating platforms), etc. But, what many, even in Tamilnadu, do not know is the fact that this nondescript village enacts 100 dramas every year  to please the village deity – “Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal” (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்) meaning “self-sprouted Thanilinga Perumal”.  So much so, the villagers do not fancy cinema theatres.

Even in this modern scientific era, women barred from entering the Thanilinga Perumal temple, pray to the deity standing outside the temple.

On the stage erected in front of the temple, the villagers allow only performance of dramas. They consider the stage sanctified and none can approach it wearing any kind of footwear.

According to a former village headman, the deity Thanilinga Perumal loves staged dramas; hence his devotees perform dramas 100 days per year to please him.

Devotees entreat the deity to fulfil their request and in return pledge to stage a drama of their liking when the deity answers their prayers.

A drama performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple stage. (Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)
A drama performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple stage. (Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)

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This tradition of staging dramas in this particular village dates back to the days of Thirumalai Nayakkar who ruled Madurai from 1623 to 1659 when a severe drought brought famine to Valayankulam and other surrounding villages. Since the people believed the deity Thanilinga Perumal loved staged drama, they pledged to perform a drama if he  answered their prayer for rain. Miraculously, it rained and the village had a bountiful harvest. As obligated, the villagers staged a drama the following year to thank their village deity. From then on to date, the village has been performing dramas to please their deity.

Around this time, when king Thirumalai Nayakkar visited the Thanilinga Perumal temple, the villagers entertained him by performing a drama from Mahabharata titled “Abhimanyu Sundari” – the story of Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna and Subhadra, and his first wife Sundari. The king relished the play and praised the actors who took part in it, and those actors adopted the phrase ‘Thirumalai mechinaar‘ (திருமலை மெச்சினார்) meaning ‘Praised by Thirumala’ as their family name.

Consequently, the first play performed during the drama festival would always invariably be Abhimanyu Sundari performed exclusively by members of the Thirumalai mechinaar families

A drama peformed acon stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)
A drama performed on stage at Valayankulam Village (Source: dhinasari.com)

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Every year the drama festival begins on Maha Sivarathri or ‘Great Night of Shiva’,  a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence to mark the marriage of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati – the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. From that day onwards the villagers enact a drama daily for 100 days without any interruption.

Drama "Valli Thirumanam, " performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple..(Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)
Drama “Valli Thirumanam, ” performed at Valayankulam Thanilinga Perumal temple..(Source: Facebook/Art and Cultural Rights of Folk Artists)

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The villagers believe that if anyone prays to their deity and pledges to stage a drama, the deity would hearken to their prayers. The villagers of Valayankulam boast that barren couples who pray for issues would come to the temple the following year with their offsprings and offer their thanks by sponsoring a drama.

A drama performed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com) - 2
A drama peformed on stage at Valayankulam Village ( Source: dhinasari.com)

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Flaming Torches brought by the villagers from the village square to the stage.
Flaming Torches brought by the villagers from the village square to the stage.

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In the past, when there was no electricity, the villagers lit the stage using flaming torches. Hence even now, to uphold the tradition, the villagers carry flaming torches from the village square to the stage with pomp and ceremony before the day’s play begins. When the torch bearers reach the stage, the pujari or archaka (priest) performs special ceremonies in the temple.

Audience watching a drama peformed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)
Audience watching a drama performed on stage at Valayankulam (Source: dhinasari.com)

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View of the stage from the sanctum sanctorum of Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்)
View of the stage from the sanctum sanctorum of Thaanaai mulaitha Thanilinga Perumal (தானாய் முளைத்த தனிலிங்கப் பெருமாள்)

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After paying the due respects to the seniors of the village, the play will begin at 10:00 pm and will proceed till 5:00 am the following day. The pujari keeps the door of the sanctum sanctorum open during this time for the deity to view the play.

The drama festivities will culminate on Chithra Fullmoon Day followed by a banquet for people belonging to all castes.

The minimum cost of staging a play by mediocre actors would amount to  ₹25,000 and might go up to ₹60,000 to ₹1,00,000 if performed by cinema actors. Almost all Tamil drama actors and artisans connected with the dramatic art have performed or taken part on the stage at Valayankulam before the deity Thanilinga Perumal.

Staging a play at Valayankulam whenever one likes is not easy as anyone might think. Devotees who have pledged to sponsor a play have to pay ₹100 and wait in a long queue for at least a year to stage it on a stipulated date.

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Note: I gleaned most of the above details from the article published in dhinasari.com written in Tamil titled, “வருடத்தில் 100 நாட்கள் நாடகம் நடைபெறும் கிராமம்” (“A village where dramas are performed 100 days per year”) by Mr. S.P. Senthilkumar, a reputed Tamil journalist from Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.

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A Thanks Giving Day story: The Letter Addressed to God.


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A still from the film "Slumdog Millionaire"
A still from the film “Slumdog Millionaire”

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A few days ago, during the incessant rain and floods in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India, a little boy wanted 100 rupees to buy food for his family who had not eaten for two days. He prayed to God. When nothing happened and no one officially came to help them, he decided to write a request letter to God.

A puzzled post office staff on seeing the letter addressed to God forwarded it to the Chief Minister.

The amused Chief Minister thought that 100 rupees would be a lot of money for a little boy to buy food. So, she instructed her secretary to send the little boy 30 rupees instead from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

When the little boy received the money he was delighted. He wrote the following ‘Thank you’ letter to the CM:

Dear God, I thank you for sending me money through the Chief Minister’s Office Secretariat in Chennai. However, I would like you to know that corrupt asses there must have swindled 70 rupees as their commission! “

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RELATED IMAGES

Images of floods in Chennai in November 2015 (google.co.in)

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Chennai floods and the aftermath (thehindu.com)

The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra Temple in Lepakshi, AP, India


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Lepakshi is a small village in the Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is about 9 miles (15 km) east of Hindupur and about 75 miles (120 km) north of Bangalore.

This village is historically and archaeologically significant. It has three shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra built during the period of Vijayanagara Kings (1336–1646).

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The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India (Source: images.worthview.com)
The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India (Source: images.worthview.com)

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The famous 16th-century Veerabhadra stone temple constructed in Vijayanagar style has about 70 pillars, but only one of these pillars is best known as the Aakaasa Sthambha (Hanging Column). It is a tribute to the engineering genius of the temple builders of medieval India. The pillar does not rest on the ground fully.

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The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
The Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. (Source: wikimapia.org)

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Cloth under the Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Cloth under the Hanging Column in the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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A cloth can slide smoothly underneath this Hanging pillar.

During the British era, a British engineer tried to move it to uncover the secret of its support. His attempt was unsuccessful and the pillar got slightly dislodged from its original position.

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Miracles Do Happen Even in This Kaliyug.


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A Mother and daughter in Chennai (This picture was posted on Facebook)
A Mother and daughter in Chennai (This picture was posted on Facebook)

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In  the early hours of August 8, 2015, around 6:30 am,  a  walking group called “Twalkers” saw a mother and her daughter carrying a travelling bag at the Anna University Campus in Chennai,

The Twalkers saw them still standing in the same spot when they came around the second time. They inquired why they were standing there in the early hours.

Thangaponnu, the mother told them that she was a shepherdess from Musiri, a Panchayat town in the Tiruchirapalli district. Her daughter R. Swathi had scored 1017/1200 marks in her Plus Two examinations. After applying for entrance to B.Sc. Agriculture course, her daughter had been asked to come to Anna Arangam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, to attend the counseling session ahead of the admissions process to B. Sc. Agriculture, scheduled to start at 8:30 am. She showed the letter received by her daughter from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

On scrutinizing that letter,  the Twalkers saw the mistake. TNAU had directed Swathi to present herself at The Anna Arangam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, in Coimbatore, but some people had  inadvertently misdirected them to Anna University, Chennai.

When the mother and daughter realized their mistake, they lost hope of reaching Coimbatore in time because the distance between Chennai and Coimbatore by road is 533 km (331 miles) and would take around 8 hours to travel.When the mother and daughter realized the mistake, they lost hope.

Since the counseling was to start at 8.30 a.m. in Coimbatore, the Twalkers decided to help the girl and her mother reach Coimbatore by air flight. The Twalkers decided to share the flight cost of ₹10,500.

Some Twalkers teaching at the Anna University, spoke to TNAU registrar C.R. Ananda Kumar, and explained to him the situation and asked for extra time for the girl candidate.

The Twalkers brought breakfast for the girl and her mother.

Once the flight tickets were booked and confirmed, the Twalkers took Swathi and her mother to the Chennai airport to board the 10:05 am Coimbatore flight.

The flight Swathi and her mother were on landed at 11:28 am in Coimbatore. Arrangements were made to pick them at the Coimbatore airport. They reached the TNAU counseling venue by 12:15 pm.

Around 2:00 pm Swathi got admitted to B.Tech. (Biotechnology).

Swathi and her mother are now planning to visit Chennai again soon to meet the Twalkers who had spontaneously helped and thank them. The mother said that they would return the money the Twalkers had spent to buy their flight tickets.

Isn’t this incidence a miracle in this Kaliyug.

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Execution of 27-year-old Henry Pedris 100 Years Ago in Colonial Ceylon


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Map of Ceylon (1914)
Map of Ceylon (1914)

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A hundred years ago, on July 7, 1915, at the height of the anti-Moor riots, the firing squad of the 28th Battalion of the British Punjab Regiment, executed 27-year-old Duenuge Edward Henry Pedris at the Welikade Prison. The young man, a Captain of the Colombo Town Guard (CTG) was a prominent socialite and scion of one of the richest families in colonial British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

On May 28, 1915, a petty incident in the town of Gampola in Ceylon, triggered a spate of communal riots between the Sinhalese and Muslims. It is now known as the ‘anti-Moor riots’ or ‘the 1915 riots’. Like wildfire, the riots swept through several districts of the Central, Western and Southern Provinces.

The Muslims in Kandy Town decided not to allow any perahera (procession) of the Buddhists beating the traditional drums, flutes and using any other musical organs to disturb worship at their mosque. But, on the following full Moon Poya Day of Vesak, the Buddhists held their usual perahera, following the usual route. When the perahera was passing the Mosque, a group of irresponsible Muslims  jeered and threw stones at the passing pageant. There was a pandemonium. The Buddhists retaliated resulting in a free-for-all leading to a conflagration.

The riots spread to Matale, Kegalle and even to Colombo. The Sinhala people harassed the Muslims throughout the country, leading to many deaths and loss of property. The Muslims sustained heavy losses.

The Right Honourable GCB PC, 21st Governor of Ceylon.
The Right Honourable Sir Robert Chalmers, the 21st British Governor of Ceylon.

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Sir Robert Chalmers, the 21st British Governor of Ceylon, feared he might lose control of the colony. He mistook the riots as a Sinhalese-Buddhist movement to oust the British from Ceylon, through mass violence. So, the British Colonial establishment waged war on the Sinhalese-Buddhists.

The British used untrained volunteers recruited from commercial establishments, shops, factories, and plantations, to suppress the riots.

Punjab Regiments, 1911. Watercolour by Major Alfred Crowdy Lovett (1862-1919). Copyright National Army Museum.
Punjab Regiments, 1911. Watercolour by Major Alfred Crowdy Lovett (1862-1919). Copyright National Army Museum.

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The soldiers of the 28th Battalion of the Punjab Regiment brought from India to help quell the riots, along with the volunteers unleashed a reign of terror in villages occupied by Sinhala Buddhists. They shot hundreds of civilians on sight and hauled up hundreds of innocent people before the military courts.

According to the available British records, 86 mosques and 17 Christian churches were burnt or damaged, around five boutiques and shops looted, 35 Muslims killed, 198 injured and four women raped. But unsubstantiated claims say thousands of Sinhalese died of bullet wounds.

Captain Duenuge Edward Henry Pedris

Our protagonist, the young Duenuge Edward Henry Pedris at first attended Royal College Colombo. Later, he joined St. Thomas’ College. He excelled in sports and cricket. He was a member of the school’s first eleven cricket team. After some time, he returned to Royal College where he again played cricket and took part in sports activities.

Hendry Pedris riding 'Rally' (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Hendry Pedris riding ‘Rally’ (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

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After he finished school, Henry Pedris was much interested in horse riding. He excelled as a horseman  and had a wide knowledge about horses. A Russian Prince gave the Pedris family a horse named “Rally”. Henry rode the horse with the composure of a prince which made the minions of the British rulers envious of him.

Once, at a cinema hall, a British official walked in and demanded his seat. Henry refused and said that he too had paid the same fare and would enjoy the film from that seat.

Lanka calling

When World War I broke out, the British mobilized the Ceylon Defence Force and raised the Colombo Town Guard (CTG), a regiment of volunteers to defend Colombo if attacked.

His father, Duenuge Disan Pedris, had great hopes for his son’s future. He wanted his only son to take over his business enterprises and become a leader in the business sector. But Henry Pedris opted to join the Colombo Town Guard as a private. He was the first Sinhalese to enlist to the new regiment. His excellence in marksmanship and horsemanship made him a commissioned officer in the administrative (mounted) section. Within a year, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. Though Henry Pedris was by no means anti-British, he was much envied by the British because of this promotion and his immense wealth.

During the ‘anti-Moor riots’, Captain Henry Pedris was responsible for the defense of the city. He was successful in disbanding several rioting groups after peaceful discussions.

The shooting incidence in Pettah

On June 1, 1915, when Henry Pedris was at his shop on Main Street, Pettah,  a  mob of Moors advanced towards his shop. Pedris came out with a gun and fired six shots into the crowd. One of the bullets hit police constable Seneviratne in the head.

Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike KCMG JP.
Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike KCMG JP.

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Many British and jealous Sinhalese henchmen led by Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, the Maha Mudaliyar (chief native interpreter and adviser to the Governor), wished Henry Pedris and his rich family ill. They brought charges against him. They accused Henry Pedris of inciting people to march to Colombo from suburban Peliyagoda. He was also charged with shooting at the Moorish mob and attempted murder of constable Seneviratne, even though the constable survived.

The British officers and Punjabi soldiers  raided the Pedris’ residence on Turret Road.  They then broke the doors and almirahs and rifled the whole house, searching for any incriminating documents. They arrested Henry Pedris and incarcerated him in the Welikada Jail.

On June 2, 1915, Martial law came into effect throughout the country. Due to the rigor of the enforced martial law, normalcy returned within ten days. However, the Martial law was in force until August 30, 1915.

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan (Source: archives.dailynews.lk)
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan (Source: archives.dailynews.lk)

On July 1, 1915, a military court tried Henry Pedris. Sir Hector Van Culenburg, the elected Legislative Council member pleaded for Henry Pedris. Many prominent citizens and educationists, both British and Ceylonese alike, including Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan appealed against the judgment. An appeal was also made to King George V.

Governor Sir Robert Chalmers and the Inspector General of Police, Herbert Layard Dowbiggin, were adamant that Henry Pedris should die.  They wanted to make the swift execution of Captain Henry Pedris a lesson for the  ringleaders of the anti-British movement.

The three presiding military judges declared Henry Pedris guilty and branded him a traitor.

The Ceylon Observer of July 5, 1915, records the death sentence passed on Henry Pedris. He was charged with “treason, shop-breaking, attempted murder and wounding with intent to murder.

The military court sentenced him to death by firing squad and set July 7, 1915, as the date of execution, without any form of appeal.

The British rulers imprisoned more 86 prominent Sinhalese leaders, members of an emerging Ceylonese élite for ‘waging war against the King‘ and abetting the riots against ‘His Majesty’s Moorish subjects.‘ Among the arrested were D. S. Senanayake, D. R. Wijewardena,  F. R. Senanayake, Edwin Wijeyeratne, D. B.Jayatilaka, Dr. Cassius Pereira, Dr. W. A. de Silva, E. T. De Silva, F. R. Dias Bandaranaike, Dr. C. A. Hewavitharana, H. Amarasuriya, A. H. Molamure, A. E. Goonesinghe and several others.

Execution of Captain Henry Pedris

At 7.30 a.m., on the day of the execution, Additional District Judge Arthur Charles Allnut, a graduate of the Oxford University and a member of the Ceylon Civil Service, ordered that the 86 Sinhala-Buddhist notables to  line up in the veranda outside L-Hall in Welikade Prison, and watch Henry Pedris walk to his death.

Captain Henry Pedris dressed in his Town Guard uniform, but stripped of his rank, marched with his head held high and chest forward. At the site of the execution, they strapped him to a chair.

Before his execution, Henry Pedris requested that he be shot by a Punjabi firing squad, and not a British squad, as the Punjabi soldiers were Non-Christian and Asians. Allnut acceded to his request. He ordered the soldiers of the 28th Battalion of the Punjab Regiment brought from India, to carry out the sentence. Captain Duenuge Edward Henry Pedris rejected the blindfold offered to him. He faced the Punjabis without any fear.

After the execution, F. R. Senanayake on seeing the limp body of Henry Pedris slumped in the chair to which he was strapped, vowed that he would initiate a concerted struggle to free the country from British colonial rule.

The prison authorities then took the blood-soaked chair on which Captain Hendry Pedris sat when shot to the prison cells to warn the incarcerated Sinhalese leaders, including D. S. Senanayake, the  future first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, that they could be next.

Burial of Captain Henry Pedris

Duenuge Disan Pedris (Father of Henry Pedris)
Duenuge Disan Pedris (Father of Henry Pedris)

Mallino Pedris (Mother of Henry Pedris)
Mallino Pedris (Mother of Henry Pedris)

The British refused to hand over the body of Henry Pedris to his grieving parents who wanted to accord their dead son a Buddhist burial with attendant religious rites.

Before burying the body of Henry Pedris, the British rulers declared Martial law for the first time in the whole island.

They transported the body of Henry Pedris to the Kanatte cemetery in great secrecy at midnight in the midst of martial law. The British had come to know that his father Duenuge Disan Pedris had owned several family burial plots at the General Cemetery at Kanatte in Borella. They chose one of these plots for the burial. It was the only burial not recorded in the General Cemetery registers or any other official register, since 1910. For the first time, the British rulers declared Martial law in the whole island.

Duenuge Disan Pedris had not only lost his only son, but he also lost two of his sons-in-law who were also incarcerated in the Welikada Prison. Though disheartened, he was silent as he did not want any more of his family members imprisoned by the British.

Most Ceylonese viewed the execution of 27-year-old Duenuge Edward Henry Pedris as unjust. The Sri Lankan patriotic leaders took the cue from his death and projected him as a martyr. His death motivated the pioneering patriotic leaders of the liberation movements organize themselves and strive for a concerted campaign to liberate the country from the harsh British rule.

The execution of Henry Pedris and the many unjustifiable and arbitrary  brutal acts committed by the British during the 1915 riots hastened the formation of the Ceylon National Congress on December 11, 1919 by members of the Ceylon National Association (founded in 1888) and the Ceylon Reform League (founded in 1917).

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A European in the Orient: Part 3 – Did Marco Polo Really Travel to the Far East?


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Marco Polo (Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Marco Polo (Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Marco Polo died at his home in Venice on January 8, 1324. Before his death, friends and readers of his book visited him and urged him to admit that his book was a fiction. Marco would not relent. He told them:

I have not told half of what I saw!

​Marco Polo has been long regarded as the earliest and most distinguished of European travelers of all times for traversing Asia from one extremity to the other. He surpassed every other traveler of his time in the extent of the unknown regions he visited, as well as in the amount of new and important information he had collected. His description of the Chinese imperial court and the Chinese empire under the most powerful of the Asiatic dynasties, and tales of the adjacent countries in the Far East, forms a grand historical picture not painted by any other traveler of his period.

Authenticity is important in any travel narrative, otherwise it altogether becomes a worthless romance. A profound ignorance veiled  Europe when the Polos returned from the East. Doubts of the authenticity of Marco’s tales arose since most of the regions he had traversed were wholly unknown at that time. And his discoveries far transcended the knowledge of his age. Also, many editions of Marco Polo’s travelogue proliferated in an age when printing was unknown. The narratives varied from one another, often corrupted to a great extent.

Even now, some argue that Marco Polo never reached China, but cobbled together secondhand accounts of what he had heard. They say there are inaccuracies in the tales. They point out that he never mentioned the basic elements of Chinese culture, such as drinking tea, the use of chopsticks, the Chinese characters, or the tradition of foot-binding.

Responders to such skeptics have stated that if the purpose of Marco Polo’s stories of travels was to impress others with tales of his high esteem for an advanced civilization, then it is possible that Polo shrewdly would omit those details that would cause his readers to scoff at the Chinese with a sense of European superiority. Marco lived among the elite Mongols. Foot-binding was almost unknown among the Mongols and was rare even among Chinese during Polo’s time.

Some observers, who have only a cursory view of the history of China, say he never mentioned the Great Wall in his book. These people are ignorant of the fact that the Great Wall, familiar to us today, is a Ming structure constructed, about two centuries after Marco Polo’s travels in China, to keep out northern invaders.

New Evidence

It is odd that Marco Polo never produced a single map to accompany his narrative accounts in the ghostwritten book. Hence, scholars have long debated its the veracity. Now, there is new evidence in favor for this historical puzzle of whether Marco Polo did indeed visit China and the Far East. The proof is in the form of a curious collection of fourteen little-known maps and related documents purported to have belonged to the family of Marco Polo.

In the 1880s, Marcian Rossi, an Italian, immigrated to the United States. He brought along with him a collection of sheepskin vellum he said were of the 13th and 14th century. There were 14 little-known maps and related documents detailing Marco Polo’s journey to the Far East. These  documents bear the signatures of the three daughters of Marco Polo — Fantina, Bellela and Moreta.

The existence of these parchments came to light only in the 1930s, when Marcian Rossi contacted the Library of Congress. He explained that Marco Polo had bestowed the documents upon a Venetian Admiral, Ruggero Sanseverino, and that they had been passed down through generations of the Rossi family. But the collection did not undergo exhaustive analysis.

Are the maps forgeries or facsimiles?  They created a problem for the historians of cartography. Did Marco Polo’s daughters, whose names appear on some of these artifacts, preserve in them geographic information about Asia as told by their father? Did they inherit the maps created by him? Did Marco Polo entrust the maps to a Venetian admiral who had links to Rossi’s family line? Or, if the maps have no connection to Marco Polo, who made them, when, and for what purpose?

While some historians discounted the 14 parchments as mere fantasy, forgeries, or facsimiles, others wanted a balanced, detailed study of the documents.

Benjamin B. Olshin, a historian of cartography and a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, spent more than a decade studying the artifacts. He translated the Italian, Latin, Arabic and Chinese inscriptions found therein. All but one of the original documents, a map Marcian Rossi donated to the Library of Congress, remain in the possession of Rossi’s great-grandson Jeffrey Pendergraft in Texas. Olshin is the first scholar in decades to see those originals.

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Marco Polo's 'Map with Ship' (Credit: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division)
Marco Polo’s ‘Map with Ship‘ (Credit: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division)

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The map donated by Marcian Rossi to the Library of Congress, dubbed “Map with Ship,” is a curious one. It has an illustration of a Venetian sailing vessel and a sketch of what appears to be outlines of Japan, Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, the Bering Strait, the Aleutian Islands and the coastlines of present-day Alaska and British Columbia. The map was not a navigational aid because it lacks longitude and latitude reference lines.

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The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps by Benjamin B. Olshin
The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps by Benjamin B. Olshin

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Olshin has detailed the results of his intensive research in his book, “The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps.” The book is the first credible book-length analysis of these parchments. It is a balanced, detailed, and a non speculative work of cartographic scholarship, not another ‘who discovered?’ sensation. Olshin charts the course of the documents from obscure origins in the private collection of the Italian-American immigrant Marcian Rossi in the 1930s. He describes the investigations by the Library of Congress, J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI for their authenticity. Olshin describes his own efforts to track down and study the Rossi maps.

After a  thorough tracing of Marcian Rossi’s ancestry, Olshin asserts that Rossi’s explanation that Marco Polo had bestowed the documents upon a Venetian admiral, Ruggero Sanseverino, and that they had been passed down through generations of the Rossi family was credible.

Olshin describes himself as an “evidence guy” and makes no claims that the document “Map with Ship,” depicts Alaska for certain although there are similarities. Olshin also admits, the authenticity of the ten maps and four texts is not settled. The ink on the parchments remains untested. A radiocarbon study of the sheepskin vellum of one key map, the only one subjected to such analysis, dates it to the 15th or 16th century, making it at best a copy.

Regardless of the origin of the documents, Olshin offers insights into Italian history, the age of exploration, and the wonders of cartography. He then takes his readers on a fascinating journey to the early legendary lands of the Chinese.

Alessandro Scafi said in Times Literary Supplement (UK):

“Olshin plays with the idea that Marco Polo’s relatives may have preserved geographical information about distant lands first recorded by him, or even that they may have inherited maps that he made. If genuine, Olshin argues, these maps and texts would confirm that Marco Polo knew about the New World two centuries before Columbus, either from his own experience or through hearing about it from the Chinese … Fascinating material … Olshin himself admits that there is no hard evidence to support his thrilling speculations. Including translations of every annotation and inscription, Olshin’s study and description of the fourteen parchments are exhaustive. His analysis, however, leaves many questions open … A fascinating tale about maps, history and exploration.”

The parchments in the Rossi collection may not only back up Marco Polo’s claim that he journeyed to the Orient, but also could reveal he might have set foot on the North American continent, 200 years before Christopher Columbus. It is purported that Columbus carried a well-worn copy of “The Travels of Marco Polo” with him on his historic 1492 voyage. It is conjectured that the travels of Marco Polo inspired Columbus to seek a westward sea route to the riches of East Asia, but instead landed in the New World.

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← Previous: Part 2 – The Book “The Travels of Marco Polo”

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