Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dangers of musth elephants go street begging!!

wild elephant 600kg buffalo in the


elephant running amuck.
 The role of elephants is very much reduced in the lumber industries in Indian states like  Kerala, Assam and in countries such as Thailand because of the ban by the government and introduction of modern machinery. In Kerala almost every temple uses  elephants for their daily rituals, etc. Many of them, donated to temple by the devotees are being maintained by the temple. Some temples, even churches employ privately owned elephants for their needs. For the jumbo owners maintaining the huge animal is a tough task, it requires lots of food, water, almost daily bathing, Vet care, a good rest from long walk or standing  for several hours, etc. When the jumbo is out of work. the mahouts take the elephant to the bazaar area for begging.  Elephant begging is illegal in India, but the police turn a blind eye for the  simple reason of divinity involved. The elephants, not designed for urban/semi urban  setup, need a wide range of forest land where there are water holes, trees  and grass lands to walk around comfortably to lead a quiet lief. On the  other hand in the urban space, the air is highly polluted, they have cramped-up space to stay, and get poor quality food. Thus, the so called street elephants, when taken out on the street to get money from the shop owners and onlookers, are quite unsuitable for this kind of congested environment and consequently they are stressed. As for the mahout, he has to maintain the big animal as well as his family. Forced to beg under cruel and unsafe conditions in urban and semi urban space that take away their natural behavior, their stressed condition is not conducive to good health.

swoolen temporal glands.A bull in musth.
This brief post is about the risk of taking the male elephants to the cities and towns  and their seasonal musth problem that is not serious addressed in some cases. Particularly, the male elephants in the urban environment need special health care under the care of a veterinary doctor.  Most importantly, in the case of male elephants - bulls, Musth ( a word of Persian origin) is a serious issue and, if not treated, before hand, it may be a threat to human life, etc.

A musth elephant, wild or domesticated, is extremely dangerous to both humans and other elephants too. There are cases in  zoos world over where bull elephants that are quite friendly under  normal conditions, in musth are known to  have killed countless  zoo keepers when they  became uncontrollably enraged; Such bulls need to be isolated  during their musth, which greatly complicates the risk in urban space.  During the Musth period, bull elephants, are known to have highly aggressive behaviour because of excessive production of Testosterone - reproductive hormones, whose  level  is 60 times  greater than in the same elephant at other times. This  may force  the tucker to run amok which means serious trouble in the  neighborhood. Normally male Asian elephant experience their first musth at 30. According to Cynthia Moss, an expert in elephants " ... male elephants regularly entered a state called "musth" in which their urge to mate goes into overdrive and they become very aggressive, rather like rutting deer..."

Common physical symptoms of the musth are:

01. Swollen temple or temporal glands.
02. Swollen trunk base.
03. An oily fluid  coming out of the temple glands, leaving a black trace across the cheeks to the corners of the mouth.
04. Deep smell of sweat and urine
05. Permanent dripping of urine and hind legs, which are wet on the inside by urine drops.
06. No erection of the genital part.
07. Foreskin of the genital part  appearing white-greenish.

When the above symptoms persist, the elephant becomes aggressive  and does not obey commands of the Mahout and is prone to irritation by sudden sounds and movements. Does attack humans and familiar elephants.

 In India, the simple treatment has been that the domesticated elephants in musth are tied to a strong tree and are not given food The mahout  puts  the elephant on starvation diet for several days, thus the duration of their elephants' musth is typically reduced to typically to five to eight days; The other options are sedatives like xylazine that are carefully used under the care of the vets.

When the mahout takes the male elephant on the street, he has a responsibility toward the society and has to keep a watchful eye on the male elephant whose behaviour pattern may change before the onslaught of musth.

 As for the state governments in various regions, they have to keep a list of privately owned elephants, the checklist of the elephants health, medication taken, etc. The big animals need proper health care and prefer to be in their habitat where they have freedom, fresh air, fresh food and above all wide space to walk majestically. Put the elephants in the Urban Prison is very unfortunate, in the case of bull elephants, threats to human lives are very much there.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxbegging on the street and beaches

Street begging elephants and their mahouts (elephant handlers) wander hot spot tourist destinations visiting bars and restaurants usually from 6pm until midnight. Bags of sugarcane, pineapple or bananas are sold to tourists to feed to the elephant. People can also pay to have their photo taken. This is a miserable life for an elephant and listed below are a few reasons why:

    Elephants require a varied diet of grasses and leaves, plus clean fresh water daily which is not found in the inner cities

    Street begging reduces an elephant’s life expectancy by at least 50%. Calves rarely live past 5 years old

    Elephants become ill from breathing exhaust fumes, drinking dirty water, poor food, walking over concrete pavements, and are involved in car accidents

    The heat from the road is incredibly painful for the elephants sensitive feet

    Loud music, crowds of people, fear, stress, disorientation, beatings and drugging lead elephants to physical and mental breakdowns

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Cathedral & John Connon School. Mumbai - India's best school

The Cathedral & John Connon School. Mumbai.
The Cathedral & John Connon School which was named  as the top school offering ICSE and ISC in India by a Hindustan Times report of 2013 is a popular coeducational school. Founded in 1860, it is considered as one of the best day schools in Asia, whose students are from Indian elite families - mostly from  wealthiest business families. Located in Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra, the school is,  as far as admission is concerned, it is selective  and  has the largest network of alumni students  who are well settled in their respective fields and reside across the globe. 

It is one of the oldest schools founded by the British and has the honor of consistently maintaining   high standard and rank for some decades. The 156-year plus year old school still heads the  lists of best day schools in India.
The Cathedral & John Connon School/
The man behind this old school and the cathedral was Bishop Harding and   in 1860 the Cathedral Chaplain opened a grammar school  in the old city of Bombay. Subsequently smaller institutions for girls joined the main stream school and they together formed what is now known as  the Cathedral and John Connon School.

In October, 1875 during the colonial rule under the Crown a  Choir School was  established with  a view to providing choristers for the first Anglican Church of Bombay, St. Thomas Cathedral. The  Scottish Education Society founded in 1866, built a building on the Esplanade, and named it after John Connon  who happened to be the then Chief Registrar of Bombay.

In 1878 the Bombay Diocesan Society's school in Byculla merged with the Choir School to form the Cathedral High School. A 
girl 's school had been functioning since 1880.  Built with a blend of Indo-Gothic style, the senior  school building came up in 1896.

In 1922, an important event took place that was the merger of the Cathedral Boys' School  and the Scottish School. The school authorities wanted  to work together to avoid competition between two groups and the schools  came under management of  the Anglo-Scottish Education Society. The schools were re-organized into the sections: Cathedral Boys' School, the Cathedral Girls' School, and the John Connon School.

Today the old boys' school is the Senior School; the old girls' school is the Middle School; and the John Connon School is the Junior School. The Infant School in Malabar Hill, was set up in 1965. The entire administrative work of the other sections is taken care of by the  senior school. 
The Cathedral & John Connon School. Mumbai.Google Plus

The Cathedral & John Connon School has affiliation with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), and its students  are eligible to appear for the Council's ISC, IB (Grade 12) and ICSE (Grade 10) examinations. The medium of instruction is English  and Hindi is taught as a second language.  Marathi or Sanskrit  is offered as the third language. Because of excellent teaching, guidance and personal attention of the school staff, the school  students have performed well at the ICSE and ISC examinations and, it is believed, that the school has maintained a 100% pass-rate. The school has various additional programs for good students who want to purse higher education. Further, the school gives priority to extracurricular activities as well.

Some of the famous alumni of this school are: Late Dr. Homi Bhabha: Eminent Nuclear Scientist, late J.R.D Tata: Industrialist, Jamshyd Godrej: Billionaire industrialist Godrej & Boyce, Karisma Kapoor: Bollywood actress, Kiran Desai: 2006 Booker Prize winner, late Muhammad Ali Jinnah: famous lawyer of Bombay and founder of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Salman Rushdie: novelist and essayist, 1981 Booker Prize winner, late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto: former Foreign Minister, President and Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Funny quotes and humor - 39

Shrink and his fees:
A message in the shrink's clinic:

Dear off-beat guys and gals: "Having trust in me you have come to my clinic for a good remedy, so, I sincerely want your anxiety and frustrations doused and not to be exploded like a pack of dynamite sticks. When you leave my clinic after treatment,  you will be as calm as you can be and well composed.   So, see my secretary Ms. Screw Belle and find out from her my consulting fees that may depend on how long you lie  on the couch and  blabber and how long I am going to scribble about you " --------  Dr. Arun Antonio, MD (Psychiatrist).


"The two inseparable buddies  are  like gamblers and
capers; politicians and lies; gossips and  yapping women, Indian Sultans and harem and American Presidential or Indian PM candidates and their gaffes".
Harem Alamy
Orange County Register

Induced followers:

Eccentric people.


"The rich have a large followers for their money and display of their affluence.
The so called aristocrats and men with royal blood have a huge followers for their amusing behavior and eccentricity.
Mad people do have a large gathering behind them for their   crazy and odd behavior.
Politicians have have their own group of men behind them,  neither for their intelligence nor for their ideology, but only for the MONEY they at them when they blindly say nothing but "YES"

Talkative mouth:


"When the ever-over-working talkative mouth is in a silent mode, so many heartburns, hard feelings and secrets  can be saved easily".

Monday, 27 March 2017

Nanda Devi, second highest peak and the mystery of missing plutonium!!

Mount Nanda Devi, India.

Mt. Nanda Devi, India
Nanda Devi (altitude : 25,643ft /7815m) is the second highest mountain in India, next only to Kangchenjunga, which is higher on the border of India and Nepal. Considered  as the highest mountain in the world before Geodetic computations in 1808,  Nanda Devi is part of the Garhwal Himalayas, and is in the state of Uttarakhand, between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. 

Nanda Devi, a highly revered peak, is considered as among 
the most difficult Himalayan climbs by Tenzing Norgay, 
the man who first reached the roof of the world  Mt. Everest along with Edmund Hillary (29 May 1953). This peak played a vital  role during important  clandestine missions in the 1960s. Unlike other peaks, Mt. Nanda Devi became a mysterious peak for decades and was not approachable by many mountain climbers. But for  a few exceptions such as army or IMF sponsored expeditions,  nobody was allowed  either  to climb or explore Nanda Devi. Reason: supposedly  environmentally fragile place.  Mount Nanda Devi was shrouded in mystery for decades and finally the veil over the  puzzle was removed to let the public know the naked truth.  Read further: .......

In the early 1960s, the sudden and unprovoked war with India, ended in favor of China. The China's military muscle became a subject of discussion, so it became a necessity to keep a tab on China's military activities.  China's had first successful nuclear tests in Xinjiang province in 1964,  and it made India and other countries to install a device on Nanda Devi to keep track of its military threats.

In October 1965, the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) together  wanted to have a sophisticated nuclear-powered sensing device installed on the summit to keep an eye on China.
Location map of Nanda Devi.
The daunting task is to take the heavy tracking  device uphill  and install it atop the peak. It was a tough  job  considering, the difficult mountainous route, the weight of the device - roughly 56 kg, tall 8 to 10 feet antenna, two transceiver sets,  and nuclear auxiliary power (SNAP) generator. Most importantly, the dangerous job was to set atop the summit the generator’s nuclear fuel, consisting of seven plutonium capsules  safely kept in a special  steel container.

A mountaineering team consisting of some army men was  entrusted with the job of installing the device on  top of Mt. Nanda Devi. The team was led my one  Manmohan Singh Kohli, an ace mountaineer and when the team reached  Camp IV on 18 October, 1965 at over 24,000ft, an unexpected thing had happened. A terrible blizzard and severe cold conditions  hampered the tough endeavor. The blizzard being severe, the leader was left with one choice - either to move up or abandon the mission for the time being. Being a smart leader,  Kholi gave up the assault  to save the lives of his men. Had he not taken the right decision  “many would have been under the snow to day in the eternal grave in the snow-clad mountain.
Expedition Poster: Nanda Devi East. blogger
The nuclear-powered generator, nicknamed Guru Rinpoche by the climbing Sherpas, after the Buddhist god, was already emitting unusual heat and when the porters and others came to know that the heat was due to  radioactive  fuel, they realized the inherent danger and became agitated. Unable to move the generator uphill with them, the team safely kept  it near Camp IV and returned to safety. The crux of the matter is what they left behind at higher slopes of Nanda Devi was  the deadly stock of plutonium, which was “about half the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima”, according to the team leader Kohli.

When the team returned to the mountain in May 1966 to resume their work, to their utter dismay, the container with Plutonium (it is an alloy of Pu-238 with 18 percent Pu-239. Pu-238 gives off far more heat than Pu-239) was missing and they made a vain attempt to find it. Theories and dangers of radiation were thick in the air. Nobody knew what had happened to the nuclear fuel pack. Team leader was of the opinion that the life span of the nuclear fuel was just 100 years and it is likely that the it lay buried in the snow as a result of a snow avalanche,
Nanda Devi temple. Flicker. com

Above image: 
Captain M.S. Kohli climbed Mt. Everest in 1966 and got an Arjuna award from the Indian Govt.  He also scaled Mt.Annapurna. Captain

Believed to be the  20th century’s dangerous  mountaineering - cum-espionage operation ever  conducted on the slopes of the second highest peaks in the world, the mission tested the limits of human stamina, tenacity  and courage.  The US and Indian team,  as part of the installation of the  surveillance device and retrieval, witnessed as many as one dozen tough ascents, involving countless  daring people between 1965 and 1968, according to Captain Kohli.

Since the fear of plutonium contamination of a vast area, stretching from the terrain of Rishiganga along the river Ganga  up to Kolkata and  the threats to millions of people  along the river became a serious issue,  the US and Indian teams monitored the entire stretch for some period. They continuously checked  the various water resources  and rocks  for any trace of radiation according to Prabhat Kumar Ganguli, the author of Nanda Abhiyatra, a book written in Bengali. Captain Kohli’s 8th Indo-Tibetan Border Police Battalion (from Tapovan) was actively involved in checking the radioactivity in the Rishi Ganga area.   In his 2005 book, "One More Step", Kohli described in detail the scare of nuclear contamination. When a team led by  one Rawat went up to retrieve the device from Nanda Kot in the summer of 1968, the device was very much there with the cover prised and the perpetual radiation made a  spherical cave around it in the ice. What about the plutonium capsules? There was no trace of them!! No body understood the ramification of missing plutonium and its repercussions. Fortunately, there was no calamity on account of this unexpected mishap, and it was a blessing in disguise.

It was only in 1967, the Americans, with the help of Kohli and other Indian climbers such as Sonam Wangyal, H.C.S. Rawat, et al successfully installed a second nuclear-powered listening device on the neighboring peak, the 22,510 ft Nanda Kot. The device worked well almost  for a year before developing a snag. The faulty Nanda Kot equipment  was removed away in 1968 in a helicopter by the Americans, 

After reading countless reports and studies made by top Indian scientists, mountaineer Kohli concludes. “According to me, the plutonium capsules will remain hot and melt the snow. It is a mystery whether it formed a cavity or traveled to the bottom of the glacier or got stuck somewhere in between. I see very little chance of radioactivity. No chance,”

The news of  the CIA-IB furtive operation and the missing plutonium broke out  in the international media, for the first time in 1977 in the American magazine 'Outside'.  The sensational  adventure on Nanda Devi led to  national and international outrage and the then PM Morarji Desai had to admit to the secret mission in Parliament, and further stated that no other device was kept on the Indian soil as the faulty device was already taken away from Nanda Kot by the Americans in 1968.  In 1993 the team that did environmental study had found the steel case in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The steel cover had been prised away because of extreme forces of Nature.

The unfortunate fact is several  Sherpas who carried the nuclear device  up hill later died of cancer due to exposure to radiation. The mystery around the missing plutonium continues to haunt many Himalayan mountaineers and according to one author  Stephen Alter (who wrote Himalayan Journeys In Search Of The Sacred And The Sublime) “There’s a lot of speculation and rumor surrounding those events, but it’s difficult to say exactly what happened.” According to the former VP of IMF
Kapadia, the “threat of radioactivity is certainly there”.

American author and climber Pete Takeda, authored the book An Eye At The Top Of The World: The Terrifying Legacy Of The Cold War’s Most Daring CIA Operation.  ...."Some experts will say that the plutonium represents a major health threat. Others dismiss the danger as no more hazardous than an airport X-ray machine. The truth lies somewhere in between,” he writes over messages on Facebook.

The missing plutonium issue that has layers of riddle wrapped around it is an enigma that  represents the horrible legacy of  
CIA tactics in clandestine espionage operations and also the
 recklessness of men to challenge the sanctity  of nature, unmindful of the threats to a vast human population living on the banks of the Ganga river in case something goes awry.

Nanda Devi in local parlance means  Blissful Goddess and she is the  the patron - goddess of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. In view of its  religious significance and delicate Eco System, Mt. Nanda 
Devi sanctuary was closed to climbers and others in 1983. The surrounding Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Harish Kapadia  built a small stone temple at the base 
camp, a place named Chaubata in  memory” of his son, Lt Nawang Kapadia of 4/3 Gorkha Rifles. He was  killed in a terrorist attack in Kashmir. The temple is dedicated to the supreme goddess of the region, Nanda Devi -the goddess who has protected the innocent Indian people by way of preventing a big national calamity.
This post is based on the following interesting article.

                      (corrections made 28 March 2017)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Who am I? Funny quotes and humor - 38

The media people don't respect  me  for the following reasons:

01. My positive point is I give nice speeches to whip up the emotions of the gullible people in the audience. ------- Media people say my speeches are trash.
02. I enjoy receiving titles, awards and attending special meeting where famous people shower praise on me. ------- Media people accuse me of  encouraging self-adulation.

03. My full-time job is "service to people" because service to people is service to God. ---------- Media people accuse me of being over- zealous.

04. I do no care a fig if  either the people or the media make  carping  comments on me. -------- Media people think that I don't have any sense of shame.
05. I have neither gratitude nor integrity when it comes to moving up the ladder in my chosen professional field. -------- Media people point out that I am selfish, unscrupulous and an opportunist. I disagree with them.

06. I don't go after money. Nor do I get commission to get the  job done. --------- Media reporters say I encourage corrupt practises and I have no clean hands.
2ndlook -
Debunking Facebook myths -

Dealin under the table. Tamilnadu Mandram
07. I am neither afraid of court cases nor scared of highly hyped 
scams. That I have wheeling and dealing with the goondas, hitmen, ruffians, etc is not true. --------- Media reporters say it is a big joke!!

08. I care about my family, my wife and children. I neither have concubines nor second wife. Media reporters say it is not true.

09. I often tell the people that my hoard is small, but my heart is big. Media people say it is a whooping lie!!

10. When it comes to true ideology, I am like a Jackrabbit, will keep changing it like a weather cock.

Can you make a guess who I am?

Yes, I am an Indian politician, ever at the beck and call of my electorate, ready to serve them well till  I hit the grave.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Darjeeling Head Post Office - a heritage site

Darjeeling is a small town and a famous hill station  in the NE Indian state of West Bengal.  Located in the Lesser Himalayas at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,042.2 m), Darjeeling tea is internationally famous  and several well-known tea companies have  vast tea estates here. If there is one place where you can have a breath-taking view of  Mt. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, it is none other than  Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a tourist attraction. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal. 

During the colonial time much of the tea estates were controlled by the Europeans  who had connection with their families and friends within India and Overseas. So, the British introduced the postal services in Darjeeling to help the people connect with others on the hills and in the plains. Darjeeling head post office is located in the middle of the Darjeeling Town  and it is closer to the Darjeeling Railway Station;  at a walkable distance of about 0.5 km.

The Post office is one of the heritage buildings  of this region.
It was in the year 1921 on 2nd May this post office building was inaugurated to cater to the local community living here. It is a UNESCO  heritage site  and is worth visiting.

Darjeeling head post office (HPO). trip advisor 

Post office at Hotel Palace building, Darjeeling TripAdvisor

Municipal bldg. Post office on Laden La Road.
The post office is located in the Municipal building on the Laden La Road, Darjeeling. The Municipality was established in 1850. This municipal building is also a heritage structure and yet another heritage building - HPO is nearby on the same road.