Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Great Works Of Subramania Bharathi In Pondicherry

Subramania Bharathi has given his great works when he was in Pondicherry. His “Vedarishigal Kavidai” and “Patanjali Yoga Soothiram” were attempts at ves libres, a poetry form which probably Bharathi learnt through his acquaintance with the French literature. His frequent early morning visits to Thiagarajapillai madu provided him the inspiration to write the “Thirupalli Ezuchi” and “Kalai Pozhudu”. He also published the “Bharathi Arupatharu”. The Muttiyalupettai mango grove that belonged to the Krishnasamy Chettiar provided him the scenario for his “Kuyil pattu”. The cyclone of 22nd November 1916 prompted him to write the “Thikkukal Ettum Cithari” and the “Kattradikuthu Kadal Kumuruthu”.

The first part of “Panchali Sabatham” appeared in 1912. His “Puthia Athichoodi” appeared in 1914 and “Pappa Padal appeared in February 1915 issue of “Gnana Bhanu”. In November 1916, appeared the third volume of his poems.

On 20th November 1918, while he was on his way to Villiyanur, he fell into the hands of the British who were all along maintaining a close watch over him. He was detained at the Cuddalore sub-jail where he remained till 14 December (for 24 days). After his release, he went to Kadayam near Tenkasi. All his subsequent attempts to have his work published did not meet with adequate public response.

In 1920 he returned to Madras to work in “Sudesamithran”. Once on a visit to the Thirivellikeni temple, he was attacked by the temple elephant, as a result of which he died on 12th September 1921 when he was only 39. It is significant that although his stay in Pondicherry lasted only a little more than 10 years, this period turned out to be the most creative in his life-time, thus linking inseparably his name and Poetic accomplishments with Pondicherry.

The Lighthouse Of Pondicherry

In the early days, the red hills about three kilometers north of the town and more than 30 meters above the sea-level, served as a guide to the sea farers approaching to the port of Pondicherry.

The lighthouse situated on the edge of the sea near “Place de Gouvernement” was lighted for the first time on 1st July 1836. The light was placed upon a masonry tower of 21 meters height, being 29 meters above the sea level. The light was visible to a distance of 29 kilometer. On 12th September 1931, the fixed light was replaced by revolving light of 1,000 watts. This light which turns full circle in 36 seconds could be seen form a distance on 28 miles marine.

The lighthouse started giving trouble and went out of order frequently causing a lot of inconvenience to ships and sea traffic. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the Government of India was requested to declare the Pondicherry Lighthouse as a general lighthouse. The administration also came forward to hand over the lighthouse administration to the Department of Lighthouses and Lightships. About the same time, the Government of India was also convinced of the need to replace the old light with a new one.

In 1970, the Department of Lighthouses and Lightships came forward to construct a new lighthouse at an estimated cost of Rs.14.41 lakhs. A site measuring 39 Ares was acquired for the purpose in the Kirapalaiyam village, a little south of the new post office. The Department of Lighthouses and Lightships also agreed to install an MF radio beacon at Pondicherry as an aid to navigate the site adjacent to the land acquired for the construction of the lighthouse. A site measuring 1 Ha was selected for the purpose and acquisition proceedings were initiated.

According to the Madras Almanac and Compendium of Intelligence, vessels which touched Pondicherry during the north-east monsoon were required to anchor in 10 to 11 fathoms of water, keeping the light fromW/1/4N.W.N.W. (The French fathom is equivalent to 5 feet 5 inches). During the SW monsoon vessels were required to anchor in 6 to 8 fathoms with the light house bearing 282 (T) distance 800 to 1,200 meters in 5 to 6 fathoms of water.

A red signal light was first installed on top of a mast at the terminus of the old pier on 22 May 1881 in order to help sea-farers to locate the anchorage and landing spots. A green signal was put up on the same mast. On 28 May 1915 the red light was replaced by an electric bulb which could be seen from a distance of 2.5 kilometer. Whenever the sea was rough, landing operation used to be suspended. The new pier is also provided with a red signal light.

Facts on the All India Radio OF Puducherry

The Pondicherry station of all India Radio (of 1 KW strength) was commissioned on 23rd September 1967.it is a full fledged program originating station, headed by a station director. While the studios are situated on the Cours Chabrol, the transmitter and the receiving center are located at a distance of 6 km and 8 km from the studios respectively. The station operates on a frequency of 1060 KHz.

Beginning with only one transmission in the evenings, the Pondicherry radio station was expanded to put out three transmissions for a total duration of 9 hrs. Of this, like the other stations in the South, more than 6 hrs were accounted for transmitting programs like talks, discussions, interviews, plays, features, classical music, folk and traditional music, devotional songs, film songs, programs for women, children and youth. For the benefits of agriculturists in the coverage area, the station relays “Uzavar Ulagam” program from Thiruchirappali on six days week and also gives a thirty five minute program entitled “Thoppum Thuravum”, once a week, is also broadcasted. A half an hour program in French is also relayed three days a week.

The station’s news unit which started functioning in May 1970 puts out a daily five minutes Regional News Bulletin in Tamil, fifteen minutes weekly news reel and also five minutes newsletter are transmitted. The programs of Pondicherry station can be normally heard within a range of 65 kilometers. Although during the fine weather, the station would be audible as far as Madras in the north and Karaikal in the south. The radio stations Thiruchirappalli, Kozhikode and Vijayawada serve the regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.

Subramania Bharathi and Pondicherry

Our home town has the pride of nurturing great poets in its lab. The history gives us a brief list about their literary works when they were in Pondicherry. Subramania Bharathi is a great name in the modern Tamil Literature as well as in the Indian freedom movement. Our Pondicherry is so lucky to have given him place during the freedom struggle. Now let us glimpse his days in Pondicherry.

Although born at Ettayapuram in Thirunelveli district, Subramania Bharathi was one of the first to seek refuge in Pondicherry in 1908 to escape from British incarnation. He lived here under the patronage of Kuvalai Kannan, S. Swaminatha Dikshidar and Sundaresayyar, who were the readers of “India”, a journal with which Subramania Bharathi was closely connected while in Madras. Within a month the “India” press was clandestinely brought to Pondicherry from Madras; the journal which had stopped appearing from the last week of September 1908 reappeared from October 20. He soon settled in a south facing house at Easwaran Dharmarajakoil Street. Sri Aurobindo arrived at Pondicherry in April 1910 and since then Bharathi came more and more under the influence of Sri Aurobindo. A few months later came V.V.S. Iyer. Va.Ra. Aravamudayengar who is popularly known as “Amuda” and Kanakasuburathinam who was later famously known as “Bharathidasan” were the dedicated disciples of Subramania Bharathi. In 1911, when Sub-collector Ashe was shot dead by Vanchi Iyer at Maniyachi, Subramania Bharathi was protected by Sundaresayyar, Ponnu Mugesapillai and Sundaresa Chettiar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting Facts on Auroville

Auroville, the spiritual city, was the Mother’s greatest vision. This article takes a tour on the interesting facts on the spiritual city. It gives a bird’s eye view on the various stages that the city underwent during its culmination and construction.

The chief architect, Mr. Roger Anger (one of the foremost modern architects of France) put it, “we are building man, not just a city. Auroville wants to be new creation, expressing new consciousness in a new way and by new methods”. He said further, “we are already amid interesting experiments at the socio-economic level. Auroville is not to introduce the worn out labor-employer system. All are collaborators and all will be provided with facilities according to the peculiarity of needs. The residential houses are being financed by individuals, but they have agreed that the houses will belong to the community”.

The UNESCO has passed three resolutions supporting Auroville, unanimously, in 1966, 1968 and the latest being at it’s Paris session held during October-November 1970, wherein it requested the director general to take such steps as may be feasible within the budgetary provisions, to promote the development of Auroville as an important international cultural program.

Then by July 1974, there were about 300 voluntary workers on the Auroville site, representing India, France, USA, UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Africa, Mexico, Tunisia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

The Aurovillians live in communities in temporary houses according to their work and inclinations. One of the communities name “aspiration” is about to enlarge in to an advanced colony accommodating 200 inmates. Research is underway to improve the quality of the soil by using organic fertilizer and organic pesticides.

The school in the Auroville is a bold experiment of adventure of ideas. East and west meet here spontaneously; the local children read and play with those of the westerners, in complete ignorance of the so called racial differences. When the Auroville was started, there was no guarantee of the financial support. But the organizers had an undaunted faith in the goodwill of humanity and they knew that help would be forth coming sooner or later. Thus the Spiritual city was infrastructured to make the Mother’s dream true.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Mother's Dream

Our city is well known for its spiritualism. The Auroville in our city is the epitome of Spiritualism and it’s beyond religion, caste and creed. This article throws light upon the Mother’s dream that marked the culmination of this splendid place.

“There should be some where upon the earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live feely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme truth, a place of peace, concord, harmony, where all the fighting instinct of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his sufferings and miseries, to surmount weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities, a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and the passions, the seeking for material pleasures and enjoyment”.

The above words were the reflection of the Mother’s dream many years ago. It was when her experiment in developing a harmonious community in the Ashram was a success and when she felt that the world, deplorably imbalanced by a tremendous material achievement on the one hand and an utter lack of conscious ness on the other hand, badly needed a daring example of a sensible alternative, she gave the idea of finding a new city to the Aurobindo Society. In the world conference of the society, in 1964, the idea of Auroville crystallized. Preparations began almost immediately, on 28th February 1968 when a boy and a girl representing each country of the world put handfuls of earth of the country into a concrete urn, shaped like a lotus-bud, and that marked the foundation of Auroville. This solemn function was witnessed by an international gathering made up of consular representatives, world press and the youth who had come to participate in it, apart from several thousand people of the locality.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beautiful Botanical Garden and Its Architect

Botanical garden is one of the famous landmarks of Pondicherry. It plays a remarkable role in our history. This post describes some of the important features and also the architect who was responsible for the infrastructure and growth of the beautiful garden.

According to the old maps of Pondicherry drawn in 1705 and later, there were several gardens in and around the town. However it is difficult to say when exactly the present Botanical Garden was furnished. But it was definitely there in 1825 when the Ministere de la marine authorized the administration to promote the cultivation of sugarcane and indigo by utilizing its surplus revenue. The decision taken at 26th June 1827, Jardin du Roi (French name of Botanical Garden), was placed under the care of Belanger, Botaniste Directour, Jardin du Roi. Subsequently it came to be known as Jardin Colonial.

In 1835, Botanist Perrottet (Swiss by birth, but later became a French national) took charge of the garden. In a very short period of 4 ½ years, many new varieties of plants along with tobacco, cotton, sugarcane and mulberry were planted in the garden. The Annuaire of 1842 cites that the garden was provided with the pathways and an elliptical pond. The garden also consisted of plant house in the south west and a circular pond was erected at the center. The botanist brought many plants from the gardens of Calcutta, Ceylon and Madras in the exchange basis. He went to Shevroy hills, in person, and got many new varieties of plants.

He started the cultivation of vanilla plants in the year of 1850. Perrottet also started to develop a silk worm nursery by the year 1853. The catalogue prepared by the botanist in the year 1867 says that the garden housed up to 500 varieties of plants. In 1861, it appears to be two gardens, Jardin Colonial (founded in 1827) and the other one was Jardin de Acclimation (founded in 1861). The second one was developed as fruit and vegetable garden. An artisan well was constructed in the 1879. The garden hosted around 60 new species of plants, 250 species of trees and shrubs along with 200 varieties of herbaceous plants. Thus this article describes some of the historic points regarding the great landmark of our town.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Museums of Pondicherry

Pondicherry has got so much of historical treasures in it. Are you people interested in knowing it? Then this stuff is your cup of tea. Get into this article to know the various museums that are situated at our home town.

The Historical and Archaeological Museum, Pondicherry:
Many excavations were carried out at Arikamedu by Jouveau Dubreuie and Brother Faucheux between 1936 and 1940. Some of their interesting findings like shreds of pottery, baked clay, intaglio, etc. came to be preserved. The historical and archaeological museum as such came to be formed only by the virtue of the governor’s decision of 16th December 1942. This museum was placed under the care of Conservateur de la Bibliotheque. The order for the acceptance of donations and exchange of articles was also passed.

All the matters regarding the transfer and the inclusion of the new items were taken in consultation with Brother Faucheux. To this collection were added some of the findings of R.F.M. Wheeler, the then Director General of Archaeology in India, who carried out further excavations in Arikamedu between April and June 1945. The findings of the Suttukeni were handed over to the administration by 31st march 1958. A 13 member advisory committee was also appointed by February 1976.

Geological Museum, Tattanchavadi:
According to the decision of Government of India, the Geological museum was set up by 28th February 1972 at Tattanchavadi. The museum encloses over 500 specimens which consists of 250 minerals, 200 rocks 10 fossils and 50 industrial products.

Aquarium cum Museum:
The directories of fisheries maintained for some years a fresh water aquarium cum museum within the campus of the Botanical garden. In 1972, the aquarium was transferred to the control of Directorate of Education. It now forms an adjunct of Jawahar Bal Bavan. It will be of interest to note that there are three regional aquarium cum museums attached to the offices of the inspectors of fisheries at Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Helmet Sale Yet to Rev Up

Helmet sellers from Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, who have put up stalls in various parts of the town last week expecting good business, are a disappointed lot. The pavements of several arterial roads including 100 Feet Road, ECR Bypass Road and Tindivanam Road have turned into a hub for helmets. More than 150 sellers from Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, including several women, are camping in Puducherry.

“We came here after seeing reports in the media on compulsory use of helmets. But, the sale is dull and disappointing,” a salesperson from Andhra Pradesh said.

The headgear sold here include local and ISI certified helmets and the cost varies at each pavement stall. While some local brands are priced at Rs. 100 to Rs. 200, some are sold for Rs. 350. “The rate of ISI-certified helmets also differs. Some sell a piece for Rs. 350, while others for Rs. 450 or Rs. 550,” another seller said.

A woman seller said, “I am here for the past six to seven days but have sold only five to six pieces. This is very disappointing.” A Delhi-based salesperson, who has been here for the past 11 days, wondered why the motorists did not take the traffic police’s announcement seriously. “I have sold only 20 helmets since my arrival here. I wonder if the violators are going to be fined,” he said.

An authorised helmet dealer said, “We expected a huge rush, but the response is dull. Earlier, we used to sell four to five pieces a day. Now, we are selling 10 a day.”

There was adequate stock of helmets. “We expected to sell 500 pieces out of 1,000 helmets. When the existing stock has not been sold, we do not know what to do with new stock,” he said.

Source: Hindu

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ban on Neckties in Puducherry Primary Schools

Puducherry Directorate of School Education banned wearing neckties by children in all primary schools in Puducherry. G Ragesh Chandra, Director of Education , issued a circular to all institutions here to make the ban effect immediately.

Story behind the order:

The order follows a report the directorate received from the Centrally administered JIPMER that wearing of neckties would result in children running the risk of having breathing problems and at times even leading to suffociation.

It was a medical officer at the Rural Health Centre of JIPMER at Ramanathapuram who wrote to the head of department, preventive and social medicine, JIPMER, after noticing that a child received at the centre with breathing problems was wearing a very tightly knotted tie. He immediately loosened it, making the child feel better.

This served as an eye opener and the Department sent a report through the Director of the institute, recommending dispensing of neckties by the children. It was also felt that neckties were not suitable for hot climates.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Alternate fuel: Poop power fuels idli joint in Puducherry

Sivagami begins early at the Puducherry bus stand as she busies herself in a small food joint. Idlis are her specialty, only they come with a twist.

Apart from LPG cylinders, Sivagami also fuels her stove using gas supplied by a biogas plant just outside her kiosk.

The plant produces gas from human and food waste round the clock, and has been helping her battle the on-rush of hungry workers for a year now.

So unperturbed by the rising fuel prices, Sivagami says, "The LPG cylinders are getting too costly. Biogas has helped me save three to four cylinders per month."

Approximately, 8,000 people use the toilets at the bus stand everyday and almost 30 toilets are connected to the underground biogas plant.

The concept of biogas has been around since the 70s and lakhs of villages around the country still depend on gobar gas for their cooking needs. But now factories in big cites and even small towns like Puducherry are looking to tap this organic renewable energy.

But the question of the urban mindset remains – is the average consumer ready to accept this form of fuel to cook?

Many say, “source doesn't matter, energy matters.” While others at the bus stop say, “I will never eat that food.”

Biogas may never replace LPG in urban Indian households simply because there just isn't enough organic input to convert to fuel. But offices, hotels and commercial hubs around the country can take a leaf out of Sivagami's dhabha and her fuel efficient and eco-friendly idlis.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wearing Helmets has become Compulsory in Puducherry from July 1

Traffic Police Department of Puducherry has announced that two-wheeler riders should wear helmets for their safety and to avoid major damage in the case of accidents. Wearing helmets has become compulsory in Puducherry from July 1, 2008. (Pardon me if I remember the same July 1, 2007, TN Govt implement the rule).

Superintendent of Police (Traffic) S. Kuppusamy reported Hindu Daily “Director General of Police A.S. Khan has directed the traffic police department to make helmet wearing compulsory. He has given the order as per powers vested under section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988”.
At the end of the news report it is said that “The proposal was still pending with the government, he said adding that they had decided to go ahead with the implementation as the Law Department had given its approval. Cases would be booked against those defying the order, he said.

Despite the fact that I wonder how police can go ahead with government approval, I am not sure why the department hasn’t given enough time for the public to intake the new rule. While questioned about this S. Kuppusamy added “as per the MV Act every two-wheeler rider has to wear helmet”.

I agree “Helmet saves life” but we also need to ponder over some practical problems when you ride with helmet.

  1. Difficulty in hearing horn sound,
  2. Unable to see people who ride beside,
  3. Unable to view the riders face at any life threatening situations
  4. Night time riding would be hectic with helmet
  5. Less quality helmet would be a disaster than a life saver.

Since puducherry has criss-cross streets and small roads, there are more possibilities of not see the co riders who come beside or behind you. This new rule would be useful to the public until people have enough acquaintance and skill in helmet-riding.

We should all be happy since Puducherry government haven’t said the back seaters should wear helmets like DMK Government in Tamilnadu.