Thursday, December 27, 2012

Starting the T M Varghese Foundation ..

When I was attending the College of Engineering, Trivandrum alumni global meet in Bangalore on 21, 22 and 23 of Dec 2012, I happened to strike a conversation with the former Union Minister and former IAS officer ( CET alumnus) Krishna Kumar.

In the course of the conversation, he asked me and my wife about our family, our native place etc and the conversation then went to politics. I asked him how he spend his time now out of active politics, but he told me that he is into advising the Congress party on some crucial matters and do take part in all party activities as assigned to him.

Came my question  whether he knew the first Home Minister of Tiru Kochi state, immediately after independence, T M Varghese. When he answered in the affirmative, he asked me how I knew about him. When I told him that T M Varghese was my grand uncle, he really got interested in the conversation. He mentioned how T M Varghese was among the most educated members of the Travancore State Congress at that time, having quit his legal profession at that early age to involve himself in attaining freedom for his motherland from the British.

Nehru giving away the boat race trophy to Nadubhagam chundan in 1952
Krishna Kumar also mentioned how in spite of his repeated efforts he had failed to come up with a suitable memorial for T M Varghese either in Kollam or Trivandrum. When he asked whether I could take over the responsibility and he would help me in all official capacity, I felt I should do something in my capacity to help maintain the good deeds TM Varghese did in Kerala society and the high standards of values, honesty and intellectual uprightness he followed throughout his life.

I am looking for like minded people from all walks of life, after reading this blogpost of mine,  who would like to work with Sri Krishna Kumar in this noble endeavour of raising a Foundation in memory of T M Varghese to do good for the society.


Cheenavala (Chinese lift nets) in Fort Kochi ..

The Chinese lift nets (cheenavala) in the backdrop of the setting sun
I was under the impression that only Fort Kochi and another port in Vietnam were the only two ports in the world where one could find such Chinese fishing nets ( lift net). Even in China it has disappeared centuries ago .. My friend from Africa also says that he has seen a smaller version of these chinese lift nets in the Lamu archipelago in Northern Kenya Somalia border ..

Here is a wikipedia entry on these chinese nets, very informative, mentioning its working and the innovation done to catch fishes at different levels of the tide...

It is indeed a very complicated piece of machinery. History talks of these nets having come to position by 13 to 14 century AD..

A beautiful sight of Kochi and one which will enchant the world for centuries to come !!

Francis day in his 1862 book Perumals of Kerala states thus about the nets of Cochin– A species of Chinese nets, are used along the river's banks, they are about 16 feet square, suspended by bamboos from each corner, and let down like buckets into the water, and then after a few minutes drawn up again ; a piece of string to which is attached portions of the white leaves of the cocoanut trees, is tied at short intervals along the ebb side of the net, which effectually prevents fish from going that way. As this mode of fishing is continued all through the monsoon, (excepting on very stormy days,) it affords an excellent criterion, of the tribes and species to be found in the rainy months, and renders Cochin the best place along the Western Coast, for making observations on this subject: owing to this, the Icthyologist can continue his enquiries, (with occasional intervals,) during the boisterous, as well as the quiet months of the year, although the sea netting may be quite suspended. Fish thus caught, are sold at the nets.

Whatever be it said and done, we cannot forget the contribution of Chinese to world Science (pyrotechnics and gunpowder), agriculture (wooden till), technology (magnetic compass), way of life (silk, tea and porcelain), fishing (Chinese lift nets) and what not.. Hope the world also realises this sooner and assign China the rightful place in the development of humanity and civilisations in the world.

Image courtesy : Varghese Naveen


China , world's longest bullet train ride..

Perspective view of the fastest train in the world
Front view..
How china is pushing itself ahead of the world in terms of high speed transportation is simply marvellous.

Just yesterday it set the record for the longest run by bullet train of app 2300 kms from Beijing to Guangzhou at 300 kms / hr shortening the travel time from 22 hours to barely 8 hrs.

There are 35 stops in between and the fare is app 110 euros, ie. 8500 INR.

picture courtesy Arabnews..


Obesity, the curse of modernity ..

One of the very interesting articles in the latest Economist on obesity, eye opener..

Obesity is that state of your body weight which is grossly disproportionate to your helght and build. BMI > 30. Body Mass Index is body wt in Kgs / (height in metres)^2.

India which is known to chronic malnutrition has obesity at 2 % and over weight also at around the same rates while US has obesity at 30% of population and overweight at 70% of population. (as given by the charts attached..) Have a look at the article also ..


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Appukuttan fund awards..

I was very happy to find that CETAA had not discontinued the award of Appukuttan awards in memory of Appukuttan of 1986 batch who died a tragic dealth in a traffic accident in New Delhi in 1996. He had joined as a swami of Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

CETTAB CETAGALAXY is opening curtains tomorrow 21 Dec at Bangalore for three days. visit for more details.

Three days of camaraderie, revelry and excitement, meeting old and new from CET.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rare old Indian photos..

At this website there are a lot of old Indian photos, mostly taken by correspondents of the Life magazine in India.

Here is a link of the 1940s..


Why T M Varghese declined an offer from Nehru ?

Immediately after gaining independence, Nehru was in the process of forming the Union cabinet and was on the lookout for educated, able leaders to join him in the cabinet. He extended an invitation to T M Varghese, the home minister of Travancore Kochi, who before joining the freedom struggle had given up a very brilliant profession as a successful criminal lawyer in Kollam, Kerala.

T M Varghese who was the Home Minister of Kerala then with Pattom Thanu Pillai ( also was one of the trimurthis of Kerala), declined the offer as he was more interested in being in the state than to be in Delhi and go into oblivion.

Nehru and T M Varghese kept cordial relations from the beginning till their death which happened in a span of three years between 1961 (T M Varghese) and 1964 (Nehru).

TM Varghese watching from the background while Nehru hands over the Nehru trophy to Nadubhagam Chundan, winner of Nehru trophy boat race in 1952.

The snap shows Pt. Nehru giving away the ever rolling Nehru Trophy to the winners of the boat race in Kerala in its second edition , ( Indira Gandhi is to the left of Nehru in dark glasses..) which came to be known as the Nehru Trophy boat race. T M Varghese the home minister, the tall person, is in the centre, background.


Great leaders ..

Inside Amazon on a busy day ..

Inside Amazon on a busy day !! Great learning on how order fulfilment happens at the world's greatest e-retailer ..

Remembering Veerappan ..

Njangal valla thettum cheythittundenkil maappu ..

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Late Pt Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin..

Pt. Ravi Shankar and daughter Anoushka Shankar have been nominated for the Grammy, let us recollect one of the greatest performances of Pt. Ravi Shankar in West meets East, where he teams up with the greatest Western violen maestro Yehudi Menuhin.. You can get part 2 of this at the site itself.

Another great piece, Tenderness ..

Sad that Pt Ravi Shankar expired this morn in California, US.  The world of music has lost a great musician and India a great proponent of sitar who took Sitar beyond the shores of India.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Cauvery water row again .

It is through these sluice gates that water, 10,000 cusecs per day to TN from KRS dam on Cauvery river in Karnataka ,as per SC order of 5 Dec 2012, is to flow.

eAs of 6 th Dec 4 PM, not a single drop has flown to TN through these gates..

What will happen ? Interesting to watch ..

Either SC recommends centre to take over administration of Karnataka or SC act tough with Karnataka when it sits for the Cauvery Tribunal settlement.


Twenty years back in Ayodhya ...

Twenty years back on Dec 6, 1992, a bunch of unruly fanatics belonging to a majority community under the leadership of their equally communal leaders demolished the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya in UP, a historical monument which has been there for almost 300 years.

On Dec 6 th, 1992, I was in Goa having travelled through Bangalore Majestic Central railway station two days earlier. Then I had noticed the unruly Karsevaks on their way to Ayodhya heeding to the call from Advani to converge at Ayodhya and exert moral, political and physical pressure on the ruling party at the centre to allow a Ram temple to be built on the site where the two Ram Lingas had appeared mysteriously overnight in 1949.

Equally disturbing was the fact to note than on that cold night in 1949, when two Ram lingas appearing overnight inside the Babri Masjid, the same incident would balloon out to play such havoc in India leading to the rise of a communal party to power in Delhi for the first time in secular, democratic Indian history.

Hope we Indian remain very alert against such anti-social elements and protect the communal harmony and peace in the society for ever.


What does passing of FDI in Retail in Lok Sabha mean for India ?

The step is a very forward looking step, indeed. Allowing foreign companies to have 51% stale in multi brand retail in India.

Read the very positive supportive nod for govt from media leaders..

The policy paralysis shown by the govt. had many reasons for the same. Earlier the fear expressed by the people against this bill were the farmers will be taken for a ride and there will be large scale suicides, the MNCs will take the profits out of the country, the MNCs will kill the indigenous distribution and supply chains in the country, they will hold the country to ransom by taking over all food production and so on.

But this morning I was talking to a person who is a vehement opposer of the bill. Their focus has now shifted from the farmer to the middlemen. Those greedy parasites who were out there to fleece the farmers and corner most of the profit to be paid to the farmer to his own pocket. About 10 million of them.

Should the country really care of what happens to these parasites ? They will latch on to some other living being and still continue to such blood off them ! what we call the bania community, traders ..

The other point was these MNCs could use forward trading in the commodities and then cause price increases in external martket and then divert Indian produce outside the country.

If that is a genuine fear, yes , suitable controls could be incorporated saying no green food items, agricultural goods, grains, cereals, pulses etc  can be exported.

Now let the bill be passed in the Rajya Sabha and then we can rest assured that Indian consumers and farmers who were given a bad treatment by the middlemen will now get a fair treatment.

Thanks to the big MNCs entering the Indian market and the technological superiority they will bring to the supply chains !!

The opposition again has to eat the humble pie ..


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Rules of manufacturing changing .. 3D Printing taking over ..

The old rules of manufacturing that calls upon decision makers and planners to seek economies of scale, reduce labour costs etc are being turned upside down .. 3D manufacturing (additive layered manufacturing) is to change the rules of the game.

McKinsey Global Institute has come up with the report on Manufacturing titled, Manufacturing the future, Nov 2012 (180+ pages, pdf) paints indeed a rosy picture for the rich countries, which is true.

Our ancestors survived on subsistence farming, the present generation has moved up the income ladder, to higher standards of living in just one or two generations. Innovations, increased productivity have all resulted from this upward mobility.

The total value add through manufacturing in 2010 was $10.5 trillion.

McKinsey divides manufacturing as it is happening in the world now into five categories

1. Global Innovation for local markets (34%), eg : chemicals, machinery, car making etc
2. Regional processing (28%), eg: fabricated metals, food, publishing etc.
3. energy and resource intensive commodities (22%) eg : wood, paper, petrol etc..
4. Innovative global technologies (9%) eg : chips, computers, medical products etc..
5. Labour Intensive tradeables (7%) eg : textiles, clothes, toys etc.

As countries get richer manufacturing tends to account for a smaller fraction of their GDP, inversion happening at around 20 - 35%. Services then take over ..

Read the interesting article , The new Maker rules, in The Economist Nov 30, 2012.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Mar Gregorios Chapel at Erumapetty, Manarkadu, Kottayam ..

St Gregorios of Parumala ..
The foundation stone for the Mar Gregorios  Chapel and Kurissumthotti of the Kumarankode Puthupally St Gregorios Orthodox Church has been laid at Erumapetty, Manarkad, Kottayam on Saturday evening.

The stone was laid by HG Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Orthodox Bishop of Kottayam at 6 PM on Dec 1, 2012.
Parumala Tirumeni, at death ..
( The shrine has been changed to a chapel and Bawa tirumeni did the consecration on 2 Nov 2013)

HG Mar Ivanios reaching the venue ..
The public programme at the venue was attended by the outgoing Vicar Fr. Dr. M P George ( Director, Sruthi School of Music) and the new Vicar Fr. Kurien, besides the Diocesean Secretary and the first Vicar of the parish of Kumarankode, Puthupally.

Priests and parishioners waiting to receive HG ..
The diocesean Secretary achen was reminding us how this place is going to be changed from Erumapetty to Arumapetty, with the blessings of God and the intercession of St Gregorios of Parumala.

some snaps of the occasion .. (photo on Canon EOS 1100D)

HG blessing and laying the foundation stone..
Kanakkalil family members and elders at the venue

Dr. Shyam Lal Pandey is no more..

My former colleague at T John College and my present colleague at Alliance, Dr. Shyam Lal Pandey succumbed to dengue fever on saturday, Dec. 1st 2012 at Apollo Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. Wikipedia entry on Dengue fever.

Dr. Pandey was a good scholar and researcher in the Finance area in the country. A friendly, helpful, jovial person he always held a positive thinking about life. Very much an academically oriented person he was into researching and publishing in a big way..

At age 32, he leaves behind his wife and 2 kids. His demise is a great loss to the finance field in the country.

Our prayers to the Almighty, may the departed soul rest in peace !!


Recent studies of a nuclear holocaust

Copyright The Sun, UK .. What can happen to the world in case of a nuclear winter. The early study in 2007 was done by NASA which had ...

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