What a 60 ft Bridge in Salem meant for Script writer Karunanidhi ….!

The dialogues Karunanidhi penned from the bridge made cinema halls reverberate with claps and whistles of movie buffs and catapulted him to greater heights in filmdom and in politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even after he became a Chief Minister and a national leader, M Karunanidhi never forgot his humble beginnings. Despite his hectic schedule, Karunanidhi would make sure to travel to a 60-foot bridge on the Yercaud Ghat road from time to time.

He often reminisced of the days when he used to sit there and pen unforgettable dialogues for iconic films like Mandri Kumari.

The dialogues he penned from there made cinema halls reverberate with claps and whistles of movie buffs, and catapulted Karunanidhi to greater heights in filmdom and in politics.

After he moved to Madras, it seemed he missed the panoramic view of Salem city from the mountain heights and the fresh air that he used to enjoy at the 60-foot bridge and longed to return to his favourite joint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 60-ft bridge on Yercaud Ghat road where Karunanidhi used to sit and write.

His colourful film career took flight right at Salem. In 1949-50, M Karunanidhi stepped into Modern Theaters as a dialogue writer on the recommendation of poet-cum-lyricist KM Sherif, writes R Venkatasamy, who wrote Mudhalalli, a biography of TR Sundaram, the legendary producer and the owner of Modern Theaters.

Karunanidhi had worked in Coimbatore Central Studios and at many other studios in Kodambakkam, but it was Salem’s Modern Theaters that gave him his big break into the world of Tamil cinema.

The writer of the film Ponmudi, which was under production, had left his work unfinished and TR Sundaram decided to assign Karunanidhi the task of completing it. Sundaram liked his work and Karunanidhi was employed at a monthly salary.

Karunanidhi had with him the script for a stage play based on Tamil epic Kundalakesi. TR Sundaram was impressed by it and figured that it would make a good movie if it was adapted. And this was then converted into the legendary Mandri Kumari.

American movie master Eliss R Duncan, who was the stable director of Modern Theaters, directed the movie. It was a box office hit and made Karunanidhi into an instant celebrity. The film also gave future Chief Minister MG Ramachandran a big turn in his career.

At first, Eliss R Duncan was hesitant to cast MGR as the hero in Mandri Kumari because of a minor curve on his chin. However, Karunanidhi strongly recommended MGR, suggesting that a short moustache can hide the flaw. The idea was accepted and the film took MGR to great heights in his film career and thus forged a lasting bond between him and Karunanidhi, and both, despite becoming political rivals, had a deep mutual respect for each other.

Mandri Kumari was also the first time that the dialogue-writer of the movie was given credit on the movie posters, writes Venkatasamy. Karunanidhi was one of the few celebrities recognised for his signature dialogues.

Karunanidhi’s contemporaries in Modern Theaters were lyricist Kanadasan, MGR and Janaki. The latter two became chief ministers as well. NT Ramarao, who also worked for Modern Theaters, became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rare photo of Karunanidhi with his colleagues at Modern Theaters, including late lyricist Kanadasan

Such was the platform that Modern Theaters gave to talented people. It was a one-of-its-kind studio outside Kollywood that made 118 films in all South Indian languages as well as in English. It produced the first colour film in Tamil – Albabavum Narpathu Thirudarkalum. TR Sundaram was seen as a towering figure and Karunanidhi, MGR and Kanadasan who were celebrities, used to call him, “Mudhalalli” (master), writes the biographer.

What remains of Modern Theaters today is only the iconic arch on the Yercaud Road in Salem.

Karunanidhi’s association with Salem’s Modern Theaters remembered by garlanding a poster on the iconic arch.

There is hardly anyone still alive who remembers Karunanidhi’s life in Salem at Sanathi Street in Fort Salem except Vekatasamy (79). The tiny tiled house where he lived survived till recently.

Whenever Karunanidhi came to Salem, he would drive past the arch to the sixty-foot bridge and spend time there alone, remembering his humble beginnings. For the old-timers, a stopover at the bridge will surely conjure up the unforgettable song “Varai, nee Varai,” as it was here that the song was shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spot on Yercaud Ghat road where Karunanidhi used to sit and write.

The last time he was reported going to the place was in 2009 when he came to inaugurate the hi-tech government hospital in Salem.

Source…..G.Rajasekaran in http://www.the newsminute.com

Natarajan

10th August 2018

 

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Mail Delivery By Rockets…..

The history of the postal system is inextricably tied to the history of transport. Advances in transportation technology have not only allowed people to travel farther and explore more territory, it also allowed the postal system to expand their influence over a larger area. As new inventions and discoveries shortened the time of travel, messages and letters began to reach distant recipients in lesser time, and the postal system became more efficient. By the time the first trans-pacific airmail was delivered, the postal service had tried every mode of transport available to man, including rockets.

The cover of a rocket mail delivered in the state of Sikkim, India, on 28 September, 1935. Photo credit:regencystamps.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The earliest type of missile mail was one which you’ve probably seen in historical movies where a parchment is wrapped around the shaft of an arrow and shot through the air into a castle or enemy territory. A more modern version of the idea was presented to an astonished audience by a German poet and dramatist, Heinrich von Kleist, through a newspaper article in 1810. At that time rocketry was still in its infancy. Rockets of that age were gunpowder powered and were primarily used as artillery in battlefields. Kleist amused himself by calculating that a rocket could deliver a letter from Berlin to Breslau, a distance of 180 miles, in half a day or one-tenth of the time required by a horse mounted carrier.

Kleist’s theory was put into practice on the small Polynesian island of Tonga, halfway around the world, by a British inventor, Sir William Congreve, using rockets he designed. But the rockets were so unreliable that the idea of using them in mail delivery was summarily dismissed, and no further thought was put into it until nearly a century later, when Hermann Julius Oberth, a German physicist and engineer and one of the founding fathers of rocketry, revisited the topic in 1927.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermann Oberth (center, in profile) demonstrates his tiny liquid-fuel rocket engine in Berlin in 1930. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

In June 1928, Professor Oberth delivered a convincing lecture on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Scientific Society of Aeronautics in Danzig, where he proposed the development of small rockets with automatic guidance that could carry urgent mail over distances of 600 to 1,200 miles. Professor Oberth’s lecture generated a great deal of interest throughout the world, and even the American ambassador to Germany took note. But it was a young Austrian engineer that became a pioneer in this field.

Living in the Austrian Alps, the young engineer Friedrich Schmiedl was well aware of the fact that mail delivery was extremely painful between mountain villages. What could be an eight hour walk between two villages could be only two miles apart as the rocket flies. Friedrich Schmiedl was already experimenting with solid-fuel rockets, and in 1928 undertook experiments with stratospheric balloons. After several unsuccessful attempts, Schmiedl launched the first rocket mail in 1931 and delivered 102 letters to a place five kilometers away. The rocket was remotely controlled and landed using a parachute. His second rocket delivered 333 letters.

Schmiedl’s rocket mails inspired several other countries such as Germany, England, the Netherlands, USA, India and Australia to conduct similar experiments with varying degree of success. In 1934, in an attempt to demonstrate to the British the viability of his rocket delivery system, a German businessman named Gerhard Zucker loaded a rocket with 4,800 pieces of mail and launched it from an island in Scotland. Government officials watched as the rocket soared into the sky and exploded, scattering scorched letters all over the beach like confetti. After his failed demonstration, Zucker was deported back to Germany where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of espionage or collaboration with Britain.

Experiments on rocket mail were largely successful in India, where a pioneering aerospace engineer named Stephen Smith perfected the techniques of delivering mail by rocket. Between 1934 and 1944, Smith made 270 launches, at least 80 of which contained mail. Smith created history when he delivered by rocket the first food package containing rice, grains, spices and locally-made cigarettes to the earthquake wracked region of Quetta, now in Pakistan, across a river. Later, Smith tied a cock and a hen together to one of his rockets and launched the frightened birds across another river. Both birds survived the trip and were donated to a private zoo in Calcutta after their ordeal. His next parcel contained a snake and an apple.

Despite his quirky nature and questionable choice of payload, Stephen Smith was wholeheartedly supported by the Maharaja of Sikkim, a British Protectorate in the eastern Himalayas, where he carried most of his rocket experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 1934 Indian Rocket Mail. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Indian Rocket Mail from 1934. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

Things didn’t really took off in the US until 1959, when the Post Office Department fired a Regulus cruise missile with its nuclear warhead replaced by two mail containers, towards a Naval Station in Mayport, Florida. The 13,000-pound missile lifted off with 3,000 letters and twenty-two minutes later struck the target at Mayport, 700 miles away. The letters were retrieved, stamped and circulated as usual.

All 3,000 letters were copies of the same written by the Postmaster General. Each crew member of the submarine that launched the missile received a copy of the letter, so did President Eisenhower and other US leaders as well as postmasters from around the world.

“The great progress being made in guided missilery will be utilized in every practical way in the delivery of the United States mail,” the letter read. “You can be certain that the Post Office Department will continue to cooperate with the Defense Department to achieve this objective.”

The successful delivery of the mails prompted Postmaster Summerfield to enthusiastically declare that “before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.”

But it was not to be. The cost of rocket mail was too high—that little experiment with the Regulus cruise missile cost the US government $1 million, but generated only $240 in revenue by sale of postage stamps. Neither the Post Office nor the Department of Defense could justify the cost of using missile mail, especially when airplanes were already making mail deliveries across the world in a single night at the fraction of a cost.

And that was the end of the program. No further attempts to deliver mail by rockets have been made since then.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusing planet.com

Natarajan

 

The Theater That Shakespeare Stole ….!!!

On a cold, snowy December night in 1598, about a dozen men armed with swords, daggers and axes quietly broke into a recently vacated theater in Shoreditch, located just outside the city of London. With the aid of what modest light their lanterns could throw, the men worked tirelessly all throughout the night, dismantling the theater beam by beam and nail by nail, and loading the stripped timber onto wagons. By the time the darkness of the night gave way to the first light of dawn, the theater was gone.

The vandals in question were the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the theatrical troupe to which William Shakespeare belonged. For the past several years, the Chamberlain’s Men had been playing at Shoreditch’s Theatre. This theater, built in 1576, was the second permanent theater ever built in England, and the first successful one to be built for the sole purpose of theatrical productions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London. Photo credit: Diego Delso/Wikimedia

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men was founded in 1594, and within a short period of time it became one of the leading theatrical companies in London. Shoreditch’s Theatre was their home, and over the years, the Chamberlain’s Men played many of Shakespeare’s most famous plays on this stage.

In 1596 the lease for the property on which the Theatre was built expired, and the Chamberlain’s Men tried hard to negotiate an extension with the stubborn owner, Giles Allen. Not only Allen refused to renew the lease, he threatened to take possession of the theater as well. The dispute dragged on for two years, during which time the company performed at the nearby Curtain playhouse. It was at Curtain Theatre that Shakespeare debuted what is arguably his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Theatre of Shoreditch, the one that Shakespeare’s men dismantled.

When it became clear that Giles Allen wasn’t going to give back the land, the Chamberlain’s Men leased a new plot by the Thames, and on 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, the men stole into the Theatre and carefully tore it down. A talented carpenter named Peter Street, who would later build another historic London theater named Fortune Playhouse, recycled the old pieces of wood into an astonishing new theatre—the Globe, capable of holding up to 3,000 spectators.

The romanticized version of the story holds that the Theatre was dismantled during the course of a single night, but historians believe the job could not have been completed in such a short time. Also, there is no proof that Shakespeare was present during the night, although he most certainly would have been following the proceedings closely, for he did have a tremendous interest in having this job done right.

Initially the timber was stored in a warehouse near Bridewell, until the following spring, when the materials were ferried over the Thames and used to construct the much larger Globe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reconstruction of the Globe theatre based on archeological and documentary evidence.

The Globe was up and running by early 1599, and for the next 14 years it presented many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, a misfired stage cannon ignited the thatched roof and the theatre burned to the ground. Although the theatre was quickly rebuilt, Shakespeare probably never wrote for the second Globe. Eventually, like all the other theaters in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642.

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe”, now stands on the Thames approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theater. It was built in 1997, based on an approximation of the original design, but with only half the capacity.

The new theater was designed to be as authentic as possible to Shakespeare’s 16th century theater. The structure is made of timber alone without any steel support, and it is the only building in London with a thatched roof, since that material was banned after the Great Fire of 1666. Seats are simple benches, although spectators can request cushions during shows. No spotlights, microphones or any kind of modern audio equipment are used. All music is performed live, most often on period instruments, just like it was in the 16th century. Only recently, the Globe began experimenting with lighting and sound rig.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

Why Do Many Historic Buildings in The UK Have Bricked Up Windows?…!!!

There was a time in Great Britain when having windows in homes and buildings were prohibitively expensive.

That time began in 1696 with the introduction of the much-despised window tax, that levied tax on property owners based on the number of windows or window-like openings the property had. The details of the tax kept changing with time, but the basic premise was that the more windows the house had, the more tax the owner had to pay.

In the eyes of the legislature the window tax was a brilliant way to put the burden of tax on the shoulder of the upper class. The rich usually had larger houses with more windows, and so were liable to pay more taxes. Poor people, on the other hand, lived in smaller houses and so paid less. To make the system even more attractive to the poorer class, those houses with fewer than ten windows were exempted from the window tax altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

The adage ‘free as air’ has become obsolete by Act of Parliament. Neither air nor light have been free since the imposition of the window-tax. We are obliged to pay for what nature lavishly supplies to all, at so much per window per year; and the poor who cannot afford the expense are stinted in two of the most urgent necessities of life.

One year later, in 1851, the window tax was repealed—156 years after first being introduced.

The window tax was just one of scores of absurd taxes designed by the British government to raise money. Another one was the brick tax introduced in 1784, during the reign of King George III, to help pay for the wars in the American Colonies. Again the people responded by increasing the size of the bricks so that fewer bricks are needed to raise a house. Many buildings built with oversized bricks still stand in Measham, Leicestershire.

Similarly, between 1662 and 1689, tax was levied on the number of hearths or fireplace in a dwelling, encouraging people to crowd into smaller dwellings and go without fire in some cases to avoid the tax. But the window tax was by far the longest lasting and the most hated.

Even today, the legacy of the window tax can seen be seen in the bricked-up windows in many historic buildings across Britain.

Bonus fact: The term “daylight robbery” is believed to have stemmed from window tax since it essentially amounted to robbing people of daylight through an unfair mean. However, the first printed use of the phrase didn’t occur until 1916, and even then the context didn’t explicitly link it to unfair overcharging. It was only after 1949 that the phrase was firmly associated with “unfairness”. Because of this disconnect—both in time and in meaning—between window tax and the phrase, some etymologistbelieve that the relation between the two is a myth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A satirical cartoon titled ‘The Revolution of the Planets Against the Tax Upon Light’ in response to the window tax introduced in 1696.                                                                                 A family looking forward to seeing more of the Sun when the Window Tax would be repealed. Cartoon by Richard Doyle, 1754.

Source……..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajam

 

THE ANCIENT STONE IN LONDON THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IMPORTANT BUT NO ONE REMEMBERS WHY…!!!

Sitting in the heart of London since long before anyone can remember, theories regarding the London Stone range from Roman ruin, to Druidic icon to a talisman of good fortune.

Although many point to John Stow’s Survey of London(1598), where he sets the 10th century as the first mention of the stone in print (he claims he found a mention of the stone in a document from the 900s AD), others feel more comfortable citing a list of Canterbury Cathedral’s properties from somewhere around the turn of the 12th centuries, where it lists Eadwaker æt lundene stane.

Regardless, by medieval times, the London Stone was a fixture in the city, so much so that residents even incorporated it into their names, such as Ailwin of London Stone. Clearly important, by the 15th century the landmark was seen as a symbol for London, and perhaps England; this helps explain why, when Jack Cade led a rebellion against Henry VI in 1450, he reportedly struck the London Stone with his sword in claiming the city for himself, as immortalized by Shakespeare in King Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene VI.

In the 16th century, one popular theory for the stone’s origins was that it had been used by the Roman’s during their occupation (approximately 43 AD – 410 AD) as a millarium or central milestone from which all distances were measured. Charles Dickens even cited this explanation in his Dictionary of London (1879).

During the 18th century, some were speculating that the stone was used in worship by the Druids, although there is no evidence to support it.

In the 19th century, as interest in spiritualism became more widespread, some theorized that the London Stone was a Palladium or talisman dating back to Roman times and Britain’s legendary founder. It was during this time that the now well-known saying appeared: “So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish.”

By the 20th century, serious archaeologists began digging into the London Stone’s origins, and some found that it is situated at the center, or at the gate, of where a large Roman structure, sometimes identified as a Governor’s palace or pretorium, had been.

Today, those who believe in ley lines, straight “lines” that connect sites of historical or geographical significance, claim that the London Stone is transected by several of these lines, while others have posited that the stone was set in the center of the old Roman city, in homage to Jupiter.

 

 

 

 

 

Source….www.today i foundout.com

Natarajan

 

Unlike the Super-Rich defauters ,this Ex-PM”s familyHonoured their loan liability ….

These are not good times for the Punjab National Bank, which is embroiled in an 11,400 crore-scam allegedly perpetrated by diamond mogul Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle, Mehul Choksi.

For the average citizen, this is yet another instance of a wealthy man swindling public money through dubious loans issued by these banks, and leaving the country without paying back his dues.

Unlike Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the PNB, which is India’s second largest public-sector bank, also had famous personalities and their families as customers who have honoured their loans.

Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had taken a car loan of Rs 5,000 from PNB. After his sudden demise on January 11, 1966, the former prime minister’s widow Lalitha paid back the loan from the pension she received, reported Times of India.

“We went to St Columba’s School on a tonga. Once in a while, we used the office car, but my father did not allow us to use it regularly for any kind of private work. There was a demand at home that we should buy a car,” said Anil Shastri, his son and senior Congress politician, to the publication.

In response to his family’s demands, Shastri approached a senior official from the PMO and discovered that a new Fiat would cost Rs 12,000. Since the family had only Rs 7,000 in the bank, the prime minister decided to apply for a Rs 5,000 loan which the bank sanctioned that very day.

When the prime minister passed away in Tashkent, where he had gone to sign the declaration of peace between India and Pakistan after the 1965 war, the loan remained unpaid. “It was repaid by my mother from the pension she received after my father’s death,” said Anil Shastri.                                                                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1964-model Fiat with the plate number DLE 6 is today exhibited at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial in the national capital.

Source….www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan