All those things that make up life

Image result for vintage steamship travel

Guide to the Great Eastern Steamship. Captain John Vine Hall commander. [n. p.]. Time TravelSlide RuleVintage / Image via Google

From the beginning human kind strove to go beyond what his environment and circumstance bade him to do. So, imagine a farmer day in and day out finishes his breakfast: bacon and eggs, a loaf of thick bread, tea; kisses his wife and walks out of the door to the field, tending his corn. chicken and goats. if he had not marveled at how his life could be improved, how he could go beyond his village and see the world we would not have slogans like the”shrunken globe”. The sailors traveled far and wide, traded in goods with strange, exotic people.

Mankind strove to find ways to fly like the bird. Some hair brained contraptions ended up killing their creators. The Wright Brother’s first powered flight gave the impetus to innovate further and now we have a multi billion dollar aviation industry, supporting a multi billion dollar industry providing security equipment, in flight catering, entertainment, avionics. The first powered flight – there were several attempts of course, but every one acknowledges that the Wright Brother’s flight – was momentous.

The colonization of parts of the world had important implications both for passenger travel as well as transportation of goods. People from Britain wanted to see the exotic lands that it referred to as her colonies. The British would visit their cousins in Australia, and come to see the natives, in their exotic habitats in other colonies. The cultural shock was mutual.

Before the advent of transcontinental flights, mi’lady and m’lord dressed in their best while their expensive luggage was taken care of by their valet, and the crew on board. There were ball room dances, captains table, parties. Lazing away on the promenade deck, and occasional murder and a little Belgian detective with his little grey cells.

However, the steamer crossing was soon to be overtaken by a sleek bird. The Imperial Airways started a transcontinental flight to the colonies and Europe. The sleek aircraft provided the few who could afford air travel with luxuries like silverware and table cloth, curtains – all absent from air travel we know now. It was later absorbed in the BOAC or British Overseas Air Corporation. The United States overtook the UK in building airplanes, now we have Boeing airplanes competing with Airbus a European company.

It is amazing how the two giants have survived industrial upheavals of the last century and this and have become highly sophisticated and innovative. Be that as it may the romance of the steamer crossing can never be replicated.

“It all happened before my time!”

News Today


The General Election results are being counted and some have come in as I write. The Conservatives, according to the Exit Poll (BBC), would be the largest party, although there are speculations that it could be hung parliament. The Labour Party has done well in the snap general election, although their chances of forming a government appear to be slim.

The headline says: “Hung parliament as first seats declared.” The election should be seen in the backdrop of Brexit. There are speculations about what Brexit foreshadows for the average Briton. There are indications that things are not going to be easy.


The former FBI Director who was dismissed by Trump has called the US President “a liar.” He was testifying before the Senate committee going into the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia. He testified that he believed he was sacked because of FBI’s investigation into “Moscow’s meddling in the presidential elections.” Mr. Comey said that the day they met weeks before Trump took office he had been unnerved by the meeting (THE NEW YORK TIMES). According to The New York Times, the former director was forthright and minced no words as he was no longer in the government and therefore was not bound by the rules.

In the month since he fired Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump has faced a crush of damaging news stories about the nature of their private conversations. During his testimony on Thursday, Mr. Comey revealed that he had helped feed that coverage.

Two days after Mr. Comey was ousted, The New York Times reported thatMr. Trump had asked him to pledge loyalty to him. The president then tweeted that Mr. Comey had “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their meetings. THE NEW YORK TIMES

The BBC says that the US Intelligence believes that Russia interfered with the election in the US and they are investigating the alleged links. Mr. Trump has dismissed the allegations of Russian interference as “fake news” as there is no evidence.


News Today


Mr. Sitaram Yechury was heckled and “manhandled” at a press conference. According to ANI he was uninjured. It was not clear who was behind the attack and what their purpose was. There were anti CPM slogans too.

Minutes after the incident, Yechury tweeted, “We will not be cowed down by any attempts of Sangh’s goondagardi to silence us. This is a battle for the soul of India, which we will win.” THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the attack and called it an “attack on democracy.”


Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan tried to calm the protesting farmers. The Center has sought a report from the government. They have sent 6 companies of CRP and additional 500 are being sent to assist the government machinery. Violence erupted after some persons were killed allegedly by police firing.

“We have sought a report from the M.P. government regarding the deaths of few persons in Mandsaur yesterday. The State government is being extended all the assistance,” said Ashok Prasad, spokesperson of the Home Ministry.


It is not clear how the persons died, the Collector denied that the police had opened fire.The protests which began on June 1, were organised to demand higher “minimum support price” for the produce, the Hindu reports. The Indian Express reports that five farmers were killed on Tuesday. The newspaper reports that the deaths occurred as a result of firing by the police. There were injured too according to the newspaper. The police denied the firing. The state government ordered a judicial probe into the incident. Indian Express says: ” Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh, meanwhile, conceded that police may have acted in self-defence.”


Official language or misplaced nationalism

The Hindi speakers have assumed that their’ language is the “National language.” Hindi is spoken in these states: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. In Bihar there are other dialects like Bhojpuri, Maithli etc. In Jammu and Kashmir the language is Urdu and Kashmiri. In Punjab it is Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi. In Himachal Pradesh it is Himachali and Hindi.

The north-eastern states have their own languages, although they also embrace Hindi, they prefer to use English. In West Bengal our Banga Bandhu would be downright peeved if Hindi is imposed on the state as the official language. According to statistics only 20 percent of the people in India speak, write, read Hindi. Hindi speakers wish to impose their language on people; there is no either or, it is Hindi, Hindi all the way. Language chauvinism is the reason I am not able to bring out Graffiti in Hindi. I closed my mind to Hindi and found the Queen’s English was easier on my system.

Their chauvinism is akin to narcissism where they look at their language and are unwilling to see the literary diversity and richness of other languages. Hindi speakers shun Urdu. This latter language which based on Persian and Sanskrit is spoken widely in large parts India and South Asia. No doubt there are many Hindi writers who have won accolades within the country and outside; it is a language that has embraced many words from other languages including oversees,and not the least English. Most Indians in urban areas speak a combination of Hindi and English. It is the chauvinists who muddy the waters. Their tribe is on the ascend and they are unwilling to accede to the demand that every language be given equal weightage.

No nation as diverse as ours will withstand this. Tamilnadu has often shown its unwillingness to bow to the demands of the Hindi belt or cow belt (the states mentioned above.)

Global trends

The attacks in Britain coming so close to the general elections that are due in a few days are disturbing. The brutality of the attacks and the copy cat nature of their modus operandi points to deranged minds using religion to justify the death and devastation. Mr. Trump took the US out of the Paris climate Agreement, first such agreement to involve so many countries and be able cobble together an agreement. and from the way things are going not too soon either.

Arab countries have cut ties with Qatar for supporting terror groups. These countries are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. This was termed as the “Gulf region’s most serious diplomatic crisis.”

The countries said they planned to break off all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, and eject its diplomats from their territories. Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

The Internationally backed government of Yemen which does not control the capital and large parts of the country, also snapped off ties with Qatar. The dispute is over Qatar’s continued support of Muslim Brotherhood which has been declared a terrorist group by the Egyptian government. The Brotherhood is considered the oldest Islamist movement.

Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region”, including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic State and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom’s restive eastern province of Qatif. Egypt’s foreign ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” toward Egypt and said “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed”. The Guardian

Qatari government has said that it is being subjected “to a campaign of lies” and said it has reached a ‘point of complete fabrication.’ It added that, “it reveals a will full plan to undermine the State of Qatar.”

News Today

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CARTOON via Google

Donald Trump took US out of the Paris Agreement. Trump has called it a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty.” He was speaking in the White House Rose Garden to his supporters. Scott Pruitt who heads the US Environment Protection Agency praised Mr. Trump, “By exiting, you’re fulfilling yet one more campaign promise to the American people,” DW reports. Mr. Pruitt has been a strong opponent of the International climate action.

America First was the slogan which Trump reiterated during his campaign. He has not worked on how the withdrawal will take place. He has said that he will renegotiate ‘the US back into Paris,’ on terms that are favorable to US, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers.” for this he will work with the Democratic Party. The world leaders and the UN have rejected the suggestions

As ever Mr. Trump has left things open to conjecture, there are loose ends. Like those other things he tried to undo domestically as part of his campaign pledge, this one also leaves the experts wondering.

News today

Aadhar made mandatory for availing mid day meal scheme

The government has made it mandatory for the government run schools to provide mid day meals to only to those children who have Aadhar Card. The government has given time till June 30. According to The Hindu the government primary schools where the scheme is implemented, are on a vacation, and most of the students have gone out of town.

The direction comes three months after the Union Human Resource Development minister had made it mandatory for those availing of the mid day meal scheme to have Aadhar Card. The order from the state’s education authority had asked the UP schools to make a list of children who have Aadhar Card. Without those cards the students would not be able to avail of the scheme after the said date.

According to The Hindu only 17 percent of the students have Aadhar enrollment in the district of Meerut. Another factor is the schools have closed for vacation and would reopen only on July 01.

The letter by Mr. Singh has asked all the primary education officers to submit a list of students who possess Aadhaar cards to the State government by May 30. Mr. Singh has sent a reminder to the primary education officers of Meerut, Hapur, Moradabad, Sambhal, Kannauj, Farrukhabad and Kanpur (rural) as they have not yet sent the list to the government. THE HINDU

Chinese Premier arrives in Berlin

The Chinese premier’s arrival in Berlin assumes significance in the light of Ms.Merkel’s remarks on US and Britain. She said that Germany and rest of the European Union could not depend upon US and UK. Brexit and the US election had changed the environment. She said that while they would be friends with the two countries, “we must fight for our own future and our fate ourselves as Europeans.”

His visit came amid a deepening rift between the US and Europe . After “unsatisfying” G7 talks last week , Merkel said that Europe now has to forge its own path forward, as the US and Britain were no longer reliable partners – comments that made waves through Europe. DW

Donald Trump’s anticipated withdrawal from the Paris agreement has thrown up the need to “bolster leadership” on future of the climate agreement. It appears that the ascension of Donald Trump has upset many, not the least the German Chancellor. Germany has made it clear that it would look elsewhere and make new alignments. Russia and China have assumed significance in this context, despite previous reservations on many issues. US preeminence looks precarious under the present administration.