About-the world this week, 22 January to 28 January 2023: Tanks for Ukraine; the year of the rabbit; shooting in America, a new Prime Minister for New Zealand; India’s mobile phone Operating System, and Republic Day; Australian Open Tennis; and the Oscar nominations.


Tanks for Ukraine

After weeks of squabbling, Germany has finally taken some responsibility to help Ukraine win the war against the bullying invasion of Russia.

This week, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, confirmed that Germany will indeed send 14 Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine and give permission for other countries to send theirs too. It follows weeks of international pressure from Ukraine and its allies to approve export of German-made tanks. Poland, for example, has been pressurising Germany to send the Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine. If they wouldn’t do that, at least authorise other NATO Allies to send them, while hinting that should Germany fail to give its consent, Poland would go ahead anyway, offering to send 14 of its own Leopards. Adding-up, in another part of the world, United States (US) President Joe Biden also announced plans to send 31 Abram Tanks to Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky believes his country needs at least 300 battle tanks to be able to defeat Russia. But, why so much focus on tanks?

Tanks represent the most powerful direct offensive weapon provided to Ukraine so far, a heavily armed and armoured system designed to meet Russia head-on, instead of firing from a distance-taking the fight to the heart of the enemy. If used smartly with necessary training, they could allow Ukraine to retake territory against Russian forces that have had time to dig-in defensive positions. It remains to be seen if the Tanks would be a real game-changer!

Meanwhile, Russia is warning that any deliveries of US tanks would be a blatant provocation and vows to ‘burn all tanks in Ukraine’. Look who’s talking about blatant provocation? Russia is always looking for a reason to keep the fire burning!


New Zealand was quick to fill its tank following the stunning but graceful resignation of Prime Minister (PM)Jacinda Ardern, who declared that her tank was empty. Chris Hipkins, 44, was unanimously elected as the Leader of the Labour Party and was sworn-in as Prime Minister this Wednesday.

Chris Hipkins was first elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 2008 and was appointed minister for Covid19 in November 2020. He was often seen on national Television talking to the people and steering the country during the pandemic. Prior to elevation to PM, he was minister for police, education, and public service.

Chris Hipkins is known as ‘Chippy’- a nickname derived from his initials, but which may have stuck thanks to an upbeat, slightly school-boyish demeanour. Hipkins has a reputation in Parliament for a sense of humour, fast quips, and a self-deprecating streak.

Hipkins married partner Jade Marie in 2020 and has two children from the relationship. The couple divorced in 2022, deciding to go their separate ways, but stay friends to bring up their 6 years old son and 4 years old daughter.

How long Hipkins will be in office is uncertain as New Zealand holds a general election in October this year. He will have less than nine months before contesting a tough election, with opinion polls indicating his party is trailing its Conservative Opposition.

The Year of The Rabbit

The year of the Rabbit is upon us. And we need all the carrots we can find. The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on 22 January 2023. It is the most important holiday in China, and widely celebrated in South Korea, Vietnam, and countries with a significant overseas Chinese population.

The rabbit is the fourth in the twelve-year periodic sequence of animals that appear in the Chinese Zodiac related to the Chinese Calendar. Last year it was the year of the Tiger, and the next year it would be the year of the Dragon-that’s more like China!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, first comes the Rat, then the Ox, the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and in the end, the Pig.

America’s Shooting Rounds

Last Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Monterey Park, about 16 kilometres from Los Angeles, US, for a Lunar New Year festival. Late that night, a gunman opened fire in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Hall, killing 10 people and injuring 10 others.

About 30 minutes later, the Shooter attempted another attack in the neighbouring city of Alhambra, before he was disarmed. He entered the studio, but two people managed to wrestle the weapon off him-a semi-automatic assault pistol with an extended magazine-and he escaped.

Police have identified the gunman as Huu Can Tran, 72, who was later found dead in a white van. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was declared dead at the scene. The motive behind the shooting is not yet known.

Barely 48 hours after the mass shooting in Monterey Park yet another shot to the headlines, this time with 7 killed in the Half Moon Bay area of California. The suspected shooter, Chunli Zhao, 66, was arrested by Police, two hours after the incident, in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office. The weapon used was found in his car. He legally owned the semi-automatic gun and the incident appears to be a workplace violence case.

Will America ever get off its Wild West Shooting?


The Operation Systems (OS) of the mobiles and smart-phones we own mostly run on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Now India has come out with an indigenous OS, called BharOS, developed by JandKops (J and K Operations Private Limited) incubated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras’ Pravartak Technologies Foundation.

This week BharOS was successfully tested by India’s Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. This is a great leap forward in India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat journey of becoming self-reliant in manufacturing.

The new, indigenously developed, mobile OS aims to reduce over-dependence on foreign OS in smartphones and enhance the security and privacy of users. It comes with no default apps and therefore gives users the option ‘to not use’ an unfamiliar app. It provides more control over permissions and data that Apps seek from smartphone users. The new OS will provide access to trusted Apps via organisation-specific Private App Store Services (PASS), which is a list of curated Apps that meet security and privacy standards.

BharOS also provides ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates to ensure enhanced security of the devices. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the need for the user to manually initiate the process. This ensures that the device is always running on the latest version of the operating system, which includes the latest security patches and bug fixes.

Initial reviews say that BharOS is less of an alternative, more of a fork version: when a developer takes a copy source code from one software package and starts independent development on it, creating a distinct and separate piece of software.

India’s Republic Day

India celebrated its 74th Republic Day on 26th January with the usual gusto, colour, and spectacular display of made-in-India weapons, on the revamped and renamed Kartavaya (meaning duty) Path – the 2km stretch from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan- in India’s capital, New Delhi.

PM Narendra Modi donned a multicolour Rajasthani turban symbolising the diverse culture of India. Last year it was an Uttarakhand Cap embellished with a Brahmakamal (a sacred flower)inspired brooch.

Being invited as the Chief Guest at Republic Day celebrations is the highest honour India accords another country in terms of protocol, and this year the Chief Guest was Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

In many firsts, the British-era 25-pounder guns were replaced with the indigenous 105mm Indian Field Guns for the 21-Gun Salute. Another was the Rajasthan Frontier of Border Security (BSF) preparing the world’s first camel mounted women’s squad with more than 20 women officers taking part in the contingent.

The Government also released its annual list of Padma Awards. The Padma Vibhushan-second highest civilian award-was awarded to noted Architect B V Doshi (posthumous), tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Indian-American mathematician Srinivasa Varadhan, Oral Rehydration Solution pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis (posthumous), along with two others.

Industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla Group, scientist Deepak Dhar and philanthropist Sudha Murthy (wife of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy) were awarded the Padma Bhushan. Also joining them was Kannada Writer SL Bhyrappa, Artist Singer Vani Jayaram, and Linguistics Scholar Kapil Kapoor.

91 People were awarded the Padma Sri, which included Investor Rakesh Jhunjhwala, Actress Raveena Tandon, and music director M M Keeravaani who composed the music for Oscar nominated ‘Naatu Nattu’ Telugu song.

Many unsung heroes from across India were also honoured including a 102 year old artist from West Bengal, a snake-catcher duo from Tamil Nadu and a 98 yearly organic farmer from Sikkim. The expert snake-catchers, Vadivel Gopal & Masi Sadaiyan are Irula Tribals from Tamil Nadu. Their expertise and traditional knowledge of snake-catching has ‘found teeth’ in many countries.

The Awards itself will be given in a glittering function in March this year, when all the awardees parade themselves – and we get to see them, if we havent already. I hope the snake-catchers don’t turn up with a snake coiled-up around themselves!


The Australian Open (AO) is being served in Australia and Novak Djokovic is in scintillating form playing arguably the best tennis of his career. He brushed aside world No. 6, Russia’s Andrey Rublev in straight sets to reach the semifinals. And stayed perfect in the semifinals, beating America’s Tommy Paul, again in straight sets, to make a record-extending 10th men’s final. In the process he sailed past Andre Agassi’s record of 26 wins. The 35 years old Djokovic is one match away from a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam victory.

The Women’s Singles Finals coming up this Saturday is Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina versus Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, which will bring the countries they represent into the spotlight.

This AO was also the swan song of one of India’s greatest women players, Sania Mirza, who partnering with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed-doubles reached the finals only to lose to Brazil’s Lusia Stefani and Rafel Matos. Sania is retiring from Professional Tennis after this match and marches into the sunset…with her young son looking on-he shared a hug with mom, on Court.

This week, two-time Olympic gold medalist and American Skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin secured her 83rd World Cup win to break fellow American Lindsey Vonn’s record, in the 57th International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup. With this World Cup victory Shiffrin is only three wins behind the 86 wins of overall record holder- in both men’s and women’s skiing-held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.

Please Yourself

The end of last week was abuzz with news about the second man to ever step foot on the Moon, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin getting married for the fourth time. Remember in 1969 he followed crew-mate ‘first man on the Moon’ Neil Armstrong who was on the moon’s surface for two hours and 32 minutes and Aldrin spent about 15 minutes less than that. Aldrin is one of four people alive to have walked on the moon.

Said Aldrin, “On my 93rd birthday and the day I will also be honoured by Living Legends of Aviation I am pleased to announce that my longtime love Dr. Anca Faur & I have tied the knot. We were joined in holy matrimony in a small private ceremony in Los Angeles & are as excited as eloping teenagers.”

Dr Faur, 63, who has a PhD in chemical engineering, is the Executive Vice President of Aldrin’s company, Buzz Aldrin Ventures. Aldrin posted two photos of himself in a tuxedo and Faur in a long-sleeved glittering dress. Honey, there is still honey in the Moon.

The Oscars are Coming

This Week the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced. ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ leads the year’s Academy Awards, with 11 nominations. Other best picture nominees include Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water and The Banshees of Inisherin.

The best actor nominees include Cate Blanchett, Brendan Fraser, Britain’s Andrea Riseborough, and Bill Nighy.

The song ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the hit Telugu-language film RRR has won a best original song Oscar nomination. It’s the first Indian feature film to be nominated for anything other than best international film at the Academy Awards. The song has been a favourite at award ceremonies and has already won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award. It will be up against heavyweights Lady Gaga and Rihanna, whose songs are nominated in the same Oscars category.

The last time an Indian won an Oscar for a film’s music was in 2009, when composer A R Rahman won best original song and best original score for the song ‘Jai Ho’ from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, directed by Britain’s Danny Boyle.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 12th March.

More catching stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Stay coiled with World Inthavaaram. And win Awards.



About: the world this week, 22 May to 28 May 2022, shootings, fragmentation, stuck farm grain, yet another virus trying to fox us, and a literary prize is awarded.


One barely noticed: the Russia-Ukraine War has slid down from the headlines into a regular ‘work in progress’ story. And perhaps joins the list of many other low-key never-ending wars happening in different parts of the world. Feeding the weapon manufacturers? But what’s happening in America refuses to get the solution it deserves – and America does not seem too eager to bite the bullet.


It was his 18th birthday in Uvalde County, 135 kilometres west of San Antonio, in Texas, United States (US). He celebrated by purchasing two military-style rifles at a Gun-Store, went home, put on body armour, shot his grandmother, and drove down to the nearby Robb Elementary School wrecking his car – crashing into a ditch near the school. And he gathered himself, entered the School and went on a shooting spree killing at least 19 children and two adults-including a teacher- as he went from classroom to classroom before Law Enforcement entered the scene and shot him down. The killer was later identified as Salvador Ramos. The grandmother is in critical condition.

The shooting was the deadliest at an elementary school since the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut, about a decade ago, in 2012, that left 26 people dead, including 20 children. So far in 2022 there have been at least 39 shootings in schools, colleges and universities, resulting in at least 10 deaths and 51 injuries. Overall, the US has seen about 200 mass shootings since January this year, more than any developed country in the world! That should rattle every American on Earth.

Robb Elementary School teaches second through fourth grades and holds over 500 students in its classrooms. About 90% of students are Hispanic and about 81% are economically disadvantaged. The day of the shooting was to be the last day of school before the summer break. The school canceled all school activities following the shooting.

US President Joe Biden was quick to shoot, “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it? It’s time to turn this pain into action”

These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen elsewhere in the world – a unique American phenomenon. Gun Control? America should seriously talk about gun violence prevention.

For e.g., in the United Kingdom (UK) about 26 years ago, a gunman entered Dunblane Primary School in Scotland, killing 16 children and a teacher. The UK Govt responded by enacting tight gun control legislation. Ever since, and there has been not one instance of a school shooting in the UK.

In Australia in 1996, a gunman went on a shooting spree in Tasmania – killing 35 people and injuring 23 others. This prompted then Australian Prime Minister John Howard to tighten laws, confiscating more than 650,000 weapons in the world’s largest mandatory gun buy-back scheme. A school shooting never happened again.

Reminds me of Bob Dylan’s unforgettable song, Blowing in the Wind.

Yes, ’n how many ears must one man have

Before he can hear people cry?

Yes, ’n how many deaths will it take ’til he knows

That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.


The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an independent, impartial, International Organization for public-private cooperation not tied to any special interests. It engages the foremost political, business-CEO’s, and billionaires, cultural, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The WEF was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

This year, its manifesto runs like this: Companies should pay their fair share of taxes, show zero tolerance for corruption, uphold human rights throughout their global supply chains, and advocate for a competitive level playing field.

The WEF’s Annual Meeting usually happens at the start of the year. Covid19 prevented an in-person event for the last two years, and, for the first time, the Davos 2022 meeting was held this May.

The last time the WEF gathered in the Swiss mountain village of Davos to discuss society’s biggest problems and pitch their solutions, the coronavirus outbreak was little more than a remote threat. The economy was humming, and nobody considered a major armed conflict in Europe as a possible risk. This time, the stage is different: the world has been upended by the Covid19 pandemic and Russia’s ruthless invasion of Ukraine.

The conference famously combines high-minded panels with flashy parties, bringing important people together to tackle pressing issues like inequality, climate change, the future of technology, and geopolitical conflict. But the logic behind inviting some of the wealthiest people on Earth to solve these problems, from a resort town, looks even shakier these days.

One of the many buzzwords percolating around Davos this week is fragmentation, the force, Economists warn could have ‘devastating human consequences.’ By fragmentation, they are referring to a breakdown of the kind of free-wheeling, border-crossing trade and investment that’s defined the global economic order over the past three decades. It is a form of deglobalization: rebuilding fences around national or regional fiefdoms.

Said one of the Attendees: “fragmentation is the sense that we may be having economies protect themselves a little more domestically, and that could slow things down. And then it may make things more expensive in return.”

We are already kind of fragmented. Look at Ukraine, left to fend for itself against the might of a ‘self-sufficient’ Nation called Russia. Of course, the World is helping with arms and ammunition, but there are so many boundaries to crash! And mind-boggling risks associated!


These are absolutely tough times for Ukraine in almost every field. Ukrainian farmers have 20 million tonnes of grain they cannot get to international markets because of the crazy war started by Russia. And a new harvest is about to begin. Before the war, 90% of Ukraine’s exports left via the deep ports in the Black Sea, which can load tankers large enough to travel long distances. But Russia has closed all of these ports. Now, it has offered to lift its blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports in exchange for lifting sanctions. This was promptly shot down by Ukraine as ‘blackmail’.

Ukraine is a major supplier of key crops with about 42% share of global exports of sunflower oil, 16% of maize, 10% of barley and 9% of wheat. Some countries heavily depend on Ukraine, such as Moldova which gets 92% of its wheat requirement from Ukraine, Lebanon 81% and Qatar 64%.

There must be a way: food going waste is criminal. And Russia is becoming a pariah nation is so many dimensions. Hard to believe that it is a responsible country!


It can begin with a fever, a headache, or muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. You might notice a rash develop, usually starting on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. And may lead to a range of medical complications depending on the person infected. These are typical symptoms that may point towards monkeypox, a disease now slowly spreading across the World.

When monkeypox does spread between humans, it is through physical contact with someone who has symptoms. The virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. In the current outbreak, clusters have occurred among men who have sex with men, which has not been the case previously. But experts have warned against declaring it a sexually transmitted disease, or attributing the spread to certain communities.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus – enveloped in a double-stranded DNA – a member of the Orthopoxvirus Genus in the Family Poxviridae. It is a viral zoonotic-virus transmitted to humans from animals-disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

Human monkeypox was first identified in humans in the year 1970 in the Democratic Republic of The Congo in a 9 years old boy, in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. Since then, most cases have been reported from rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin, particularly in Congo and human cases have increasingly been reported from across central and west Africa.

Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status, and nature of complications. The incubation period -interval from infection to onset of symptoms- of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.

An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox. The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.

Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provide protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox.

Underlying immune deficiencies may lead to worse outcomes. Although vaccination against smallpox was protective in the past, today persons younger than 40 to 50 years of age (depending on the country) may be more susceptible to monkeypox due to cessation of smallpox vaccination campaigns globally after eradication of the disease. Complications of monkeypox can include secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea with ensuing loss of vision. The extent to which asymptomatic infection may occur is unknown.

An antiviral agent known as Tecovirimat that was developed for smallpox was licensed by the European Medical Association (EMA) for monkeypox in 2022 based on data in animal and human studies. It is not yet widely available.

Booker Prize

The Booker Prize, formerly known as the ‘Booker Prize for Fiction’ and the ‘Man Booker Prize’ is a literary prize awarded each year for the best novel written in English and published in the UK or Ireland. A sister prize, the International Booker Prize, is awarded for a book translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Indian Author Geetanjali Shree’s translated Hindi novel, ‘Tomb of Sand’, has become the first book written in an Indian language to be awarded the 2022 International Booker Prize. Originally published in Hindi as ‘Ret Samadhi’, the book was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.

The Chair of the Judges had this to say, “This is a luminous novel of India and partition, but one whose spellbinding brio and fierce compassion weaves youth and age, male and female, family and nation into a kaleidoscopic whole”.

‘Tomb of Sand’ is the story of a 80 years old woman who goes into deep depression after the death of her husband. Eventually, she overcomes her depression and decides to visit Pakistan to confront the past that she left behind during the Partition.

Geetanjali Shree born in Manipur, India, is the author of three novels and several story collections, and her work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean.

Indians who have won the other Booker Prize are, Arundhati Roy for ‘God of Small Things’ in 1997, Kiran Desai for ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ in 2006, and Aravind Adiga for ‘The White Tiger’ in 2008.

More stories will be booked and fired in the weeks to come. Live healthy with World Inthavaaram.


About: the world this week, 15 May to 21 May 2022, America keeps gunning its own, India aces Badminton-Men and Boxing-Women, Music of Ukraine, Entering NATO, and the Gyanvapi Case.


America Keeps Shooting

Late last week a gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others at the Tops Friendly Super Market Store in Buffalo City, New York State, a predominately Afro-American neighbourhood. The victims range in age from 20 to 86 and at least 11 who were shot were Afro-American.

The suspect was identified as Payton Gendron a rifle-toting 18 year old from Conklin, New York. He is said to have written a white supremacist manifesto online, travelled to the Store and live-streamed the attack. He was heavily armed, wore tactical gear, and a tactical helmet with a camera. After the gunfire, he exited the store, put his gun to his head, to his chin, then dropped it and took off his bullet-proof vest. He got on his hands and knees, and put his hands behind his back, when the Police, who arrived within two minutes of the shooting, had him arrested.

Last year, Payton had threatened to shoot in his high school and underwent a mental health evaluation by state police before being released. Under federal law, an evaluation alone doesn’t reportedly bar people from owning a gun.

The crime was termed as a racist hate crime.

Close to the bullets of this shooting, one person was killed and 5 injured in a Church shooting in the town of Laguna, 70km southeast of Los Angeles.

Will America ever get over the dreadful habit of shooting itself down?


A First Ever Historic Win for India

I came across this unverified story and I don’t know how true it is, hence will keep it as fiction. There was a man called Badmin, a courtier in Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court who invented a game for the royal family’s entertainment. He cooked-up the idea of a shuttle-cock game when he saw a rooster being taken to the Royal kitchen to be made into a Royal meal. He made a feather-cock for hitting, with a racquet designed by his wife. Badminton was named after him – flies the story.

The Thomas Cup also called the World Men’s Championships, is an international Badminton competition among the teams of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The Thomas Cup is held once in two years -earlier it was once in three years -and is one of the most important Men’s Badminton Competitions in the World. Often held together in what is called The Uber Cup, for Women, it also shuttles around as the Thomas and Uber Cup. And both determine the supremacy of a country in the sport of Badminton.

The Thomas Cup was the idea of British Sir George Alan Thomas, a successful badminton and chess player in the 1900s. And is named after him. The first Tournament was held in 1948-1949 with Malaysia winning the inaugural held in England, beating Denmark. Only five countries have ever won the Tournament: Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, and Denmark. And Indonesia has dominated with 14 wins. Believe it or not, the United States (US) of America was a runner-up in the second Thomas Cup, held in Singapore in 1952, losing to Malaysia. Obviously, the US lost interest in the game as thereafter their presence fizzled out.

India stormed in to the finals of the Thomas Badminton Cup 2022, being held in Bangkok, Thailand, late last week, which was a first ever achievement is almost 73 years. They defeated the great Danes of Denmark in the Semi-finals and a day earlier out classed Malaysia in the quarter-finals to reach the finals against Indonesia.

This Sunday the finals were played in Bangkok. With the winner being the first to win three out of five matches, India opened with Lakhsya Sen playing singles, who hustled from behind, one set down to set the stage for what was to become a stupendous Tournament. The second match was a doubles. And Ranki Reddy and Chiraj Shetty paired like shuttle & cock, again coming from behind to win. Now, it was over to the singles again, with India’s former World No 1 Srikant Kidambi being unforgiving in winning in two straight sets. The winning shot – a powerful and clever cross-court smash, which sent the opponent diving to reach it – said it all. Srikant had not lost a match all week, and he played the match of his life. There were a few hiccups and many a heart missed many a beat. And I felt the doubles team did not play to their true killer potential, but kill they did!

Suddenly, it looked too good to be true. India’s National Anthem playing in Bangkok was music to the ears. Where was India all these 73 years?

Indians always ‘perform well’ in Thailand – was the thing doing the rounds on social media!


This week, India’s Nikhat Zareen, 25, boxed her way to win Gold at the Women’s World Boxing Championship, 52 kg Category, thrashing Thailand’s Jitpong James. Nikhat hardly seemed to break into a sweat. And showed she had a good pair of long hands – reaching and punching with precision. This year, the Championship was held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Nikhat is only the fifth Indian woman to achieve such punching glory. The others before her are: Mary Kom – a record 6 time Champion, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL, and Rekha KC.

She thanked her parents for doing all they possibly could, to make her a boxer. That’s the secret power layer inside the gloves!


The Sounds of Ukraine

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra sang won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 amid a tidal wave of support and sympathy for the nation following Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s song ‘Stefania’ beautifully mixed rap with elements of Ukrainian folk music to create the winning numbers – awarded a staggering 492 points by the jurors.

The UK also had an exciting night, as Sam Ryder had a considerable lead at the halfway point and placed second overall with his song, ‘Space Man’. This is the highest rank the UK has reached, since 1998

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, welcomed the victory, and said ‘we will do our best’ to one day host the contest in the now battered port city of Mariupol. Zelenskiy and the Kalush Orchestra synchronised to harmoniously sing, ‘any victory is meaningful for Ukraine at this time’. That sure rings a bell. Stefania mom mom Stefania!


Mariupol Goes

Russia appears to have scored a victory, gaining complete control of the Ukraine’s south-eastern port city of Mariupol. It’s Russia’s first major win (I hate to call it that) since the start of its unwarranted, crazy invasion.

Ukrainian said its troops have ‘fulfilled’ their combat goals in Mariupol.

The mission to defend the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol from Russian forces ended on Monday, as over 900 fighters, some seriously wounded, have been evacuated. Ukranian forces holed-up in the Steel Works began the process of surrendering. President Zelensky said, ‘Ukraine needs its heroes alive’. The sprawling four square mile complex is a maze of tunnels designed to survive a nuclear war.

Entering NATO

This week Finland and Sweden, after remaining neutral for decades, decided to join the defensive North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and formally sent their applications. Russia’s President shouted hoarse against the move while Turkey – already a NATO member- said it would block their entry, accusing the Nordic countries of harbouring terrorists-Kurdish militants -wanted by Turkey.

To join NATO all 30 existing member countries must unanimously agree that a new country can join. Now, that’s a battle looming ahead. Everyone wants their pound of flesh!

Please Yourself

A Matter of Faith

Gyanvapi means the ‘well of knowledge’ derived from the Sanskrit ‘Gyan’-knowledge and ‘Vapi’- Well. The name itself says it all?

The temple town of Varanasi, on the banks of the River Ganges in India’s Uttar Pradesh State, is considered the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history: it is also called Kashi, the most sacred place of Hinduism in India.

The Gyanvapi mosque stands next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple – dedicated to Lord Shiva – in Varanasi. It acquired its name from an adjoining waterbody-holy well. It was constructed by the ‘last effective Mughal Emperor’, Aurangzeb, in 1669 upon demolition of an older Shiva temple -a Vishweshwar Temple, at the spot. The facade was modelled partially on the Taj Mahal’s entrance; the original plinth of the temple was left largely untouched and continued to serve as the courtyard of the mosque, while the southern wall-along with its cusped arches, exterior moldings and toranas (a gateway)-was turned into the Qibla Wall (the wall that faces Mecca). To this day, there are many surviving external elements of the original temple. A well-preserved sketch, by a James Prinsep, in the British Library, in London, has the original caption titled ‘Temple Of Vishveshwur, Benaras’, referring to the ‘Gyanvapi Mosque site’.

Temple priests were allowed to reside in the premises and exercise their privileges on issues of Hindu pilgrimage. The desecrated site-especially the plinth-became a popular hub for Hindu pilgrims from across the country.

In the late eighteenth century, the British East India Company gained direct control of Benares ousting the then Nawab Rulers. And in 1780, Maratha Queen Ahilyabai Holkar constructed the present Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the immediate south of the mosque. However, this had a markedly different spatial configuration and was ritually inconsistent. This was after many, before the Queen, had failed to build and fully restore the Kasi Temple to its historic glory. The original Shiva Lingam was supposedly hidden by the Temple priests inside the Gyanvapi well during Aurangzeb’s raid: the plinth continued to be considered as more sacred than the new temple by pilgrims for well over a century- into the early 1900s-before the present Kashi Vishwanath temple succeeded in installing itself as the central component of pilgrimage routes.

A flashback: A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirlingam, is a devotional representation of the Hindu God Shiva: it is a Sanskrit compound of jyotis ‘radiance’ and linga. There are 64 original Jyotirlinga shrines in India, 12 of which are most sacred and called the Maha Jyotirlingam (The Great Jyotirlingas). At all these sites, the primary image is lingam (or Shiva Lingam) representing the beginning-less and endless stambha pillar, symbolising the infinite nature of Lord Shiva. A stambha (tower in English) is a pillar or column which in the context of Hindu mythology, it is believed to be a cosmic column that functions as a bond, joining heaven and earth.

During the past 100 years, the Gyanvapi compound has been fiercely contested by Hindus and Muslims alike with each side ‘investing their faith’ in the well, the mosque, or the temple.

In the year 1991, a title dispute suit was filed in a Varanasi Court for handing over the site to Hindus. The court-case remained pending for about 22 years, before the advocate of the 1991 petition re-filed another plea requesting for an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) study of the mosque-complex. This was on the same grounds that it was a temple that existed for thousands of years -since the reign of King Vikramaditya.

The Gyanvapi Mosque Management Committee, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM) acting as the Defendant denied the claims and rejected that Aurangzeb demolished a temple to construct the mosque.

On 8 April 2021 the Varanasi Court ordered the ASI to conduct the survey, which was subsequently stayed by the Courts, on a petition by AIM.

Coming over to this year, 2022, the Varanasi Civil Court is in the process of hearing a petition by five Hindu woman who claim there are idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the Gyanvapi Mosque complex. They had petitioned the court to allow daily prayers before idols on its outer walls as well as other ‘visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex. The site is currently open for prayers once a year. The Court ordered a video assessment of the mosque complex, including three domes, underground basements and the pond, and appointed court commissioners for the task. This happened soon after India’s Supreme Court refused to stay the video assessment, when the matter came before it.

The assessment was completed, and certain images were leaked to the media-without the Court’s permission. The Surveyor who leaked the photos was promptly sacked and a Report of the findings submitted to the Court.

Late this week, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the Places of Worship Act 1991 cannot determine the religious character of a place nor does it prohibit ascertaining such character.

What is The Places of Worship Act 1991? It’s an Act enacted by India’s Parliament that provides for the maintenance of the religious character of a place of worship, as it existed on 15 August 1947. And prohibits conversion of any place of worship after such character is known. The disputed site of Ayodhya was exempted as the case on its ownership was in the Courts at that time.

The Supreme Court completed its ruling by transferring the case to the Varanasi District judge, as being local they are best capable of making a decision; noting that the ‘selective leaks’ of the survey report must stop.

Lots of action up ahead, but people need to get together and be friends for life.

More hidden stories will be unearthed in the weeks to come. Judge for yourself with World Inthavaaram.