Archive for December, 2011

123/365 – Thillaiyadi Valliammai

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Thillaiyadi Valliammai (22 February 1898 – 22 February 1914) was a South African Tamil woman who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in his early years when he developed his nonviolent methods in South Africa fighting its apartheid regime.


She was born to R. Munuswamy Mudaliar and Janakiammal, a young immigrant couple from a small village called Thillaiyadi in Thanjavur in India to Johannesburg – the gold-city of South Africa to work for their way out of difficulty.

Her father was a trader and owner of a confectionery shop. Since her mother Janaki is from Thillaiyadi in Tamil Nadu, her daughter Valliammai came to be popularly called Thillaiyadi Valliammai.

Valliammai had never been to India. She grew in an environment that was rather hostile to Indians. But the young child did not even know that it was not right to be segregated so,until she was in her early teens.

The birth of Tri-Colour

She heard somebody ask “Why don’t you people register and become South Africans instead? Indians! India doesn’t even have a flag! What are you really fighting for?” “If having a flag is what would give form to India, then here it is,” she said, tearing off her saffron-white-green sari, “MY FLAG! MY MOTHERLAND!”

Gandhi designed the flag with the same three colours as her sari. Gandhi later said that it was her sacrifice that increased his resolve to fight for Indian independence.


Thillaiyadi Valliammai Memorial Hall, including a public library, was instituted in 1971 on 2452 square meters of land by the Indian Government in the village of Thillaiyadi, now in Tharangambadi Taulk, Nagapattinam, India.

The Library is functioning regularly in this memorial. Other buildings in her name include Thillaiyadi Valliammai Nagar and the Thillaiyadi Valliammai High School in Vennanthur.

A commemorative stamp on her was released on 31-december-2008.


Categories: Uncategorized

122/365 – Mridangam

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The mridangam is a percussion instrument from India of ancient origin. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble.

The mridangam is also played in Carnatic concerts in countries outside of India, including Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. During a percussion ensemble, the mridangam is often accompanied by the ghatam, kanjira, and the morsing.


In ancient Hindu sculpture, painting, and mythology, the mridangam is often depicted as the instrument of choice for a number of deities including Ganesha and Nandi. Nandi is said to have played the mridangam during Shiva’s arcane Tandava dance, causing a divine rhythm to resound across the heavens. The miruthangam is thus also known as “Deva Vaadyam,” or “Instrument of the Gods.”

The word “mridangam” is derived from the two Sanskrit words mŗda (clay or earth) and anga (body). Early mridangams were indeed made of hardened clay. Over the years, the mridangam evolved to be made of different kinds of wood due to its increased durability, and today, its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree.

Modern usage

Today the mridangam is most widely used in Carnatic music performances. These performances take place all over Southern India and are now popular all over the world.

Significant players of the mridangam in modern times are Late Palghat Mani Iyer, Late Palghat Raghu, Dr.T.K.Murthy, Umayalapuram K. Sivaraman, Vellore Ramabhadran, Trichy Sankaran,T.S.Nandakumar, Karaikudi Mani,Madurai.T.Srinivasan(Seenakutti),Yella Venkateswara Rao, Srimushnam Raja Rao, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam who have been playing and advancing the technique since decades.

Palghat Mani Iyer – Mridangam


Categories: General Knowledge, Music

121/365 – Crescograph

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A crescograph is a device for measuring growth in plants. It was invented in the early 20th century by Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, an Indian scientist.

The Bose crescograph uses a series of clockwork gears and a smoked glass plate to record the movement of the tip of a plant (or its roots) at magnifications of up to 10,000.

Marks are made on the plate at intervals of a few seconds, demonstrating how the rate of growth varies under varying stimuli. Bose experimented with temperature, chemicals, gasses and electricity.

A Bose inspired modern electronic Crescograph was designed and built by Randall Fontes to measure plant movement at Stanford Research Institute for which culminated in a report “Organic Biofield Sensor” by H. E. Puthoff and R. Fontes.

The Electronic Crescograph plant movement detector is capable of measurements as small as 1/1,000,000 of an inch. However, its normal operating range is from 1/1000 to 1/10,000 of an inch.

The component which actually measures the movement is a differential transformer. Its movable core is hinged between two points. A micrometer is used to adjust and calibrate the system. It could record plant growth magnifying a small movements such as 10,000,000 times.


120/365 – Saturn

December 28, 2011 1 comment


1. Saturn is the least dense planet in the Solar System

2. Saturn is a flattened ball

3. The first astronomers thought the rings were moons

4. Saturn has only been visited 4 times by spacecraft

5. Saturn has 60 moons

6. How long is a day on Saturn is a mystery

7. Saturn’s rings could be old, or they could be young

8. Sometimes the rings disappear

9. You can see Saturn with your own eyes

10. There could be life near Saturn


Categories: General Knowledge, Nature

119/365 – Madras High Court

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai, in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city’s major business districts.




British India’s three presidency towns of Madras (Chennai), Bombay (Mumbai), and Calcutta (Kolkata) were each granted a High Court by letters patent dated 26 June 1862. The letters patent were issued by Queen Victoria under the authority of the British parliament’s Indian High Courts Act 1861.

The three courts remain unique in modern India, having been established under British royal charter; this is in contrast with the country’s other high courts, which have been directly established under Indian legislation. However, the Constitution of India recognises the status of the older courts.


Building complex

The building of the High Court, an exquisite example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, was built in 1892 with the design prepared by J.W. Brassington and later under the guidance of the famed architect Henry Irwin, who completed it with the assistance of J.H. Stephens.

The High Court building was damaged in the shelling of Madras by S.M.S. Emden on 22 September 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. It remains one of the very few Indian buildings to have been damaged by a German attack.

There are several matters of architectural interest in the High Court. The painted ceilings and the stained glass doors are masterpieces in themselves. The old lighthouse of the city is housed within the High Court campus, but is unfortunately poorly maintained and is in disrepair.



118/365 – Pesarattu

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Pesarattu is a crepe-like bread unique to Telugu cuisine that is similar to dosa. It is made with batter of green gram (moong dal), but unlike a dosa, it does not contain rice.

Pesarattu is eaten both in breakfast and as snack that popular in Andhra Pradesh state in India. It is typically served with ginger or tamarind chutney. Green chillies, ginger, or onions may be used in different variants of this snack.

A special form of pesarattu served with upma is known as MLA pesarattu, which is popular in MLA quarters restaurants in Hyderabad.

Upma pesarattu is a favourite in coastal Andhra region especially the East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

Similar variations are found in the north indian cuisine; namely moong daal ka cheela, or besan ka cheela.

Andhra Pesarattu With Ginger Chutney:



Categories: Food, General Knowledge

117/365 – Strange Facts – 7

December 25, 2011 Leave a comment

1. Fingernails grow four times faster than toenails

2. Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people

3. If you rub an onion on your foot – within 30 – 60 minutes you will be able to taste it – this is because it travels through the blood stream

4. You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath (if you hold it until you go unconscious, you begin to breath normally as soon as you do)

5. On one square inch of human skin there are 20 million microscopic creatures

6. A snail can sleep for 3 – 4 years – during which period it does not need food

7. Giraffes can live longer without water than camels

8. The songs of humpback whales can change dramatically from year to year, yet each whale in an oceanwide population always sings the same song as the others

9. To test if a pearl is real, you can rub vinegar on it – the composition of the pearl will cause it to bubble furiously

10. Oysters can change between being female or male


Categories: Facts, General Knowledge