Saturday, 22 March 2014

என் புத்தக  அலமாரி

தோட்டக்காட்டீ - இரா.வினோத் ,அறம்  பதிப்பகம் 

இலங்கை  மலையாக  மக்கள் பற்றியும் , தேயிலை பறிக்கும் வேலைக்கு சொற்ப கூலி, தொழிலார்களின்  வாழ்கை அந்த தேயிலை  எஸ்டேட்குள் தொலைந்துவிடும் நிலை பற்றியும் இந்த கவிதை நூல் தெளிவாக கவிதை நயத்துடன் பேசுகிறது:



குப்பை  ரத்தம் 

மணமற்றது
குணமற்றது
நிறமற்றது
இனமற்றது

கூலிகள்  குடிக்கும்
குப்பைத்  தேநீர்  மட்டுமல்ல
மரவள்ளி  தின்னும்
மறத் தமிழனின்

செந்நீரும்தான்!


பட்டினி நிலா 

தினந்ததினம்
பிள்ளைகளுக்குச்
சோறூட்டச் சொல்லி
அழுது
அடம்பிடிக்கும்
லயத்தில்
பால் நிலா !

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Madras high court gives justice to child Suba


  • Court ordered the accused to pay medical bills
  • Suba wants to play as she did earlier 

Chennai, March 19: The Madras high court came to the rescue of the Mercedes crash victim Subarakshitha, a poor class six student, by directing the hospital where she has been undergoing treatment for multiple fractures for almost a year, not to charge her family.

The high court on Monday ordered that the millionaire Merc owner should bear the costs as he allegedly drove the car rashly over a pavement while drunk, killing a boy and badly injuring Subarakshitha.

Shaji Purushothaman, son of Empee group owner, allegedly drove on the pavement in front of Egmore children’s hospital and severely injured Subarakshitha in May 2013. Since then she has been undergoing treatment in a private hospital.


Though Shaji paid Rs 5 lakh initially for the surgery, Subarakshitha’s parents - father Kumar, an auto driver, and mother Manjula -housemaid, did not hear anything from him about the post-operation medical bills. They often took loans to pay medical bills.

Speaking to me , Kumar said, “For all these days, I couldn’t take my daughter to the hospital whenever needed only because I didn’t have enough money. There were days when I waited for more than a week to get her scan reports. The court verdict has given me big hope. Suba manages to write her lessons on her own. But she would cry often asking me whether her severely injured right wrist and shoulder would become alright.”

Milton, counsel for Subarakshitha, said the hospital authorities would produce the medical records in court and Shaji would pay the bills. “Suba’s family lives in utter poverty. The court’s directive would help the family look after her medical needs. We believe this would bring the smile back on Suba’s face,” he said.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Maniamma, an exemplary politician  

Chennai, March 18: Very few politicians these days can match the personality of Manaloor Maniamma, a Brahmin widow who defied the customs and rituals in the 1950s and hit the road on her bicycle to take up people’s issues. Rejecting the family’s demand that she should shave her head and stay indoors, Maniamma sported a close-cut hairstyle, wore mundasu vesti, learnt silambam martial art and took part in freedom struggle, besides networking with farmers of Thanjavur as a Communist leader.

Writer Gnani has profiled Maniamma in his book ‘Neruppu Malargal’, a collection of stories on great but unsung women. Excerpts from the book: Maniamma was married to an advocate as his second wife - when she was just 10 years old. Her husband arranged English tuition for Maniamma. After he died, she taught English to Dalit children in her neighbourhood. She challenged the atrocities being heaped upon Dalit farmhands by the rich landlords. Not just landlords, even her relatives were angry about her association with the underprivileged.

After participating in a meeting addressed by Mahatma Gandhi in Thanjavur, Maniamma decided she should lead a meaningful life. She shunned the saree and stopped doing the rituals prescribed for a Brahmin widow. She rode her own bullock cart and shocked the locals riding a bicycle. Though she began as a Congress supporter, she got drawn towards the Communist movement as it gave her a more comfortable platform to work for the coolies and fight for better wages, against caste discrimination. Thousands of Dalits in Thanjavur and Nagapattinam considered Maniamma as their family member.

When the Communist party was banned in India in 1948, Maniamma was among the many comrades who got jailed for their political activities. “There cannot be a better role model for a good politician of any age, any time, than Maniamma”, said CPI leader R. Nallakannu, himself a man of acknowledged virtues such as simplicity and honesty. “She inspired men and women to fight for a good cause till the very end. Her presence would simply electrify any rally”.
Pointing out how most of the present day politicians are only after money and power, octogenarian Gandhian Krishnammal Jaganathan said, “Her name still gets mentioned in the themmangu songs of farmers. Her death still remains a mystery. People say she was killed by the landlords”. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

30 years on, justice not delivered for victimized woman 


Chennai, March 17: Police will file complaints; courts can hear petitions and deliver judgments but who will ensure that the victim gets final justice after the tiring journey through various courts? 

That’s the sad saga of Sundari (names changed), a retired bank employee in Chennai, who knocked on the doors of several courts for 30 years before finally getting an order from a magistrate at Egmore court directing her engineer husband to pay her Rs.30 lakh as compensation for ill treatment.

But even two years after that verdict, the distressed woman is yet to get the money. Cops tell her they cannot find her husband to enforce the court order.

“I got married in 1977 to chemical engineer Raghavan and lived with him for just five years. I learnt he was having some illicit relationships and when I questioned him, he harassed me and told me to get out of the house. I moved out so as to bring up by son in a better environment. My husband applied for divorce but I did not consent", said Sundari, recalling her trauma.

While balancing her time between work at the bank and bringing up the boy as a single mother, she also attended the courts seeking justice as by then, she learnt that Raghavan had married a third time after the second wife passed away. “These two marriages were illegal because Raghavan has not divorced me. I showed his voters’ ID and ration card to prove to the courts that he married two other women”, Sundari said.

Four arrest warrants issued by the Egmore and Ambattur courts since 1992 went unanswered, so she filed a petition under the ‘Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act’ (PWADVA) in 2012 and got that extraordinary verdict that Raghavan must pay her Rs.30 lakh for his abusive conduct. “He gave just Rs.One lakh and disappeared. My son is now 30 years old. I am still fighting for justice”, Sundari told DC. 

There is a thin silver lining though. With help from a woman PWADVA officer, Sundari recently managed to gain a small space in Raghavan’s house to live since she remains his legally wedded wife. An iron grill separates the two.

Monday, 3 March 2014


Indian scientists quit DRDO jobs 

Chennai, February 28: Several students exhibited their scientific study and projects in their schools as part of the National Science Day celebrations on Friday(28th February 2014). But a recent report from the DRDO (Defence Research Development Organisation) revealed that scores of scientists are leaving their jobs. And many important projects like light combat aircraft; aero engine and long-range surface-to-air missile have been postponed to 2016. On this National Science Day, DC spoke to scientists and organisations that promote scientific temper among students about the real science world.

In his recent report to the Rajya Sabha, Union defence minister A.K. Antony said a total of 358 scientists (338 resigned and 20 opted for VRS) had left DRDO from 2009-2013. While the minister claims that many scientists leave the organisations because of personal reasons or for pursuing higher studies, scientists and voluntary organisations that work for child scientists have a different tale to tell.

Reasoning that bureaucratic red tape, non availability of necessary infrastructure are major issues that push young scientists to leave jobs, a senior scientist with the department of science and technology said, “Unlike other government departments, research centres and DRDO cannot be expected to deliver the targeted output every year. The scope and investments for trials should be provided. The red tape that dies down many departments, kills the spirit of many scientists.” On condition of anonymity, he said, “Lack of encouragement and opportunities to try out new projects is yet another hurdle.”

N. Mani of Tamil Nadu Science Forum, a voluntary organisation that organises science exhibitions and awareness programmes, said, “Political appointments and unfriendly working environment are some of the factors that drive scientists to the exit gate of premier research institutes. Based on our interactions with scientists, we understood that nexus between senior authorities and appointment of unqualified persons for top jobs de-motivate the talented persons.” 

The following table gives the details of number of projects being delayed in DRDO. This information was shared by union defence minister A.K.Antony in Rajya Sabha.  


Project
Probable Date of Completion (PDC)
Original
Revised
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Phase-II
December 2008
December 2015
Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA, Navy), Phase-I
March 2010
December 2014
Aero-engine Kaveri
December 1996
December 2009#
Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) System
October 2011
March 2014
Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM)
May 2011
December 2015
Air-to-Air Missile, Astra
August 2012
December 2016

Thursday, 27 February 2014

INTERVIEW WITH CALLUM MACRAE, London based journalist and documentary film maker

He produced 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ documentary that talks about war crimes in Sri Lanka

Blind support to Colombo can boomerang on India: Callum Macrae

Chennai, February 24:  Slamming the Indian ban on the screening of his much-acclaimed documentary ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’, celebrated journalist-documentary maker Callum Macrae said such softness towards Colombo in trying to even ignore serious human rights violations during the final phase of the Eelam war could boomerang on India’s long-term interests in the region.

Reacting to the Indian censor board refusing certificate for his documentary, Mr Macrae said one of the grounds cited by the censor board was that allowing its public showing would ‘strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka’. “I am afraid it is impossible to see this as anything other than an act of overt political censorship. There was no suggestion that this (refusal) was because the film was wrong in what it says. The accuracy of our journalism has been vindicated at every stage by independent examination and by the continuing emergence of more video evidence”, he told me in an e-mail interview from his London office.

“In effect, this ban is an act of short-term political expediency. It was an attempt to smooth over relations with the Rajapaksa regime. The problem is the long-term effect”, Mr Macrae cautioned. “The fact is that without truth, you cannot have justice and without justice, you cannot easily move forward to peace, political solutions and reconciliation. And so, despite difficulties, India has to take the lead”.
If India chose to become part of the attempts to prevent truth from coming out, it would slow down the progress towards justice and political solutions. “That is not in India’s interest; nor is it in the interests of ordinary decent Sri Lankans, of all ethnic backgrounds who just want to live in peace and harmony”, said Mr Macrae, whose documentary has already been seen by thousands of viewers on YouTube and select screens across the world, such as the UNHCR venue during the last Geneva session.

The documentary shocked the world after UK’s Channel 4 played it through several TV stations, and triggered an increased cry for international investigation of alleged war crimes during the final phase of Eelam war, when an estimated 40000 civilians were killed. Mr Macrae’s team was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Sri Lanka, however, dismissed the documentary as falsehood sewed up by clever manipulation of irrelevant images through technology, sponsored by pro-LTTE elements in the Tamil Diaspora. Mr Macrae in his DC interview reiterated that his film was “three years of investigation” and had been “subjected to the closest scrutiny”. Detailing the extensive ‘scrutiny’, he said: “The fact is that our film tells the truth…we are merely one of the messengers of that truth. Attacking us will not change that”.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Oven friendly pots in the making

Chennai, February 25:  In a marriage between traditional expertise and cutting-edge technology the potters of Kanyakumari and researchers of IIT-Madras and Central Institute of Glass and Ceramics (CIGC) in Kolkata, are engaged in designing a clay vessel that could be used in a microwave oven. 

A sample clay vessel, created after several deliberations between the scientists and potters, was tested in the CIGC lab two weeks ago and gave positive results. Now potters in Kanyakumari expect the government to help them by funding the trial production of the clay ware.

In order to revitalise the business of potters and also to reach clay products to the urban markets, P. Bagavatheeswaran, director of centre for social development, a voluntary organisation that works with potters in Kanyakumari, approached the RuTAG (Rural Technology Action Group) in IIT-Madras in 2011. Based on his request, researchers in IIT-M took a shot and involved CIGC scientists to design the microwave clay ware.
Scientists sweated it out to arrive at the right combination of clay materials to design the vessel, which will be compatible for use in microwave ovens. Giving details of the project, Bagavatheeswaran said, "I witnessed the lab test of oven-friendly clay vessel in the last week of January 2014 at the CIGC lab. I am impressed and hopeful that this project would help the potter's community." He said, "We need funds for trial production. Based on response from users, the clay ware would be modified. Scientists have agreed to help us in designing the final product."
Speaking to me, S.Gopalakrishnan, project consultant of RuTAG, said, "This oven-friendly clay vessel will be a sure hit in city markets. Scientists had tried out various combinations of clay and other materials to create this vessel. Commercial production of oven-friendly clay ware is an immediate solution to improve the livelihood of scores of potters and also for many urbanities who want to avoid plastics."