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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sri Parthasarathi Perumal Muthangi Sevai 2008

Not sure of what is happening elsewhere in the State or in other cities – Chennai is outright mad ! – it is under lockdown for 115 days officially and not sure whether it would open up in Aug 2020 too .. .. yet, if you venture out on road [actually everyone of us should be inside and go out only for essentials and when absolutely needed !] – but market places are crowded, shops are open, people are busy walking, driving, speaking on phone and .. .. .. Public transport – Chennai metro buses, EMU, Parakkum Rail, Metro train are not available and hence people have trouble in going to Offices – otherwise there appears an air of festivity – people do not fear Corona nor take any precautions. .. .. and claim that ‘curve has been flattened and numbers are coming down !’ Factually, Tamil Nadu recorded its highest COVID-19 fatality mark yesterday  with 79 people succumbing to the virus, pushing the death toll in the state to 2,315.  

Pearls are attractive; they are valuable ! - a pearl is a hard, glistening object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk or another animal, such as fossil conulariids. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate  in minute crystalline form, which has deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes, known as baroque pearls, can occur. The finest quality of natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. Because of this, pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable.

Natural Pearls form when an irritant - usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand - works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre', is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.  A cultured pearl undergoes the same process. The only difference is that the irritant is a surgically implanted bead or piece of shell called Mother of Pearl. These 'seeds' or 'nuclei' are most often formed from mussel shells. Quality cultured pearls require a sufficient amount of time - generally at least 3 years - for a thick layer of nacre to be deposited, resulting in a beautiful, gem-quality pearl. Lower-quality pearls have often been 'rushed' out of the oyster too quickly (sometimes a year or less) and have a too-thin coat of nacre.  

Now,  some researchers  are working on making out a material with interlocked mineral layers that resembles nacre and is stronger and tougher than previous mimics.  Bengaluru-based C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers  recently said it has stopped using Chinese-origin pearls in their jewellery and also urged the government to discourage imports from the neighbouring country. The 150-year-old jewellery group''s gemologists would stop procurement and use of Chinese-origin pearls, and instead use Japanese, Venezuelan or Indian pearls, according to a statement. The decision also comes at a time when there is rising clamour for boycotting Chinese products after at least 20 Indian Army personnel died during a violent standoff between the two countries in Ladakh. "Although Chinese pearls are much cheaper and plentiful,  with the possibility of China being behind the global pandemic, we profess a total ban on use of Chinese gems by Indian jewellery industry," the jewellery group''s MD and Director C Vinod Hayagriv said. China has increased production of freshwater pearls and has been cultivating pearls surpassing Japan in quantity over the last decade.

முத்துக்களோ, வைரங்களோ, நன்பொன்னோ  ~ வேறு ஏதும் விலை மிக அதிகமான பொருளோ ? - நமக்கு எதிலே நாட்டம் ?? ஐயம் கிஞ்சித்தும் உளதோ ??  :  சுவாமி நம்மாழ்வாரின் வைர வரிகள் :

*பெருங்கேழலார் தம்  பெருங்கண் மலர்ப்புண்டரீகம்  நம் மேல் ஒருங்கே பிறழுவதே **   ~  அன்று  பிரளய  வெள்ளத்திலழுந்தின பூமியை மீட்டு எடுத்த மஹாவராஹரூபாயமயானவர்  தம்முடைய பெரிய செந்தாமரைப்பூப் போன்ற திருக்கண்களை,தன்னை எம்பெருமான் குளிர நோக்கினமை கூறியவாறு,  நம்மேல் வைத்த கடாக்ஷத்தை பற்றி மட்டுமே பேருவகை கொள்தல் நலம்.

The history of Chennai, is far older than British settlements, the  black town area came to be known as George Town from 1911 in honour of  King George V when he was crowned,  the Emperor of India.  The Western part of George Town is the Muthialpet area, traversed by couple of  roads running from Madras High Court to Clive Battery, nearer Royapuram Railway.   One among the many lanes is  Pavalakkaran Street housing Sri Venugopala Temple.  It was once the place where diamond and coral trade flourished.

The Jews imported corals, both in the form of beads and in rough. The place in Muthialpet where they lived was known as Pagadalpet [Coral-town] dating back to 1700s.   A book titled – ‘The English Gentleman Merchant at Work: Madras and the City of London 1660-1740’ by Soren Mentz, mentions that the financial crisis affecting the English market even ruined some of the private merchants in Madras, through respondentias, as they suffered financial losses when the Captains were declared bankrupt.  After a voyage to Madras in 1721, Captain Martin was declared bankrupt and private merchants like John Adams lost their investment.

Pearls are attractive.  Palliative care is an approach, an ethic, a multi-disciplinary sub-speciality, not just a new element that can be added and stirred into health systems. Pearl jewellery that glitters needs to be taken care of nicely.   Thousands of miles away, two out-of-town jewelry makers who were selling their work at the “Art in the Pearl” festival  a couple of years ago  in Northwest Portland  stated that  someone stole $300,000 of their inventory from the trunk of their car.  It is reported that the woman and her friend  had made a 10-minute stop at a store after the festival closed for the day  on a Saturday. While the pair were in the store, someone opened up their trunk and made off with black jewelry bags containing years’ worth of handmade work,  it was  claimed.  The artisan added that some of the stolen items took her weeks to craft -- and that one of the missing necklaces took her more than 200 hours to make. May not be of any interest to us ~ but this dress adorned by Emperuman, made of Pearl [Muthangi] certainly does.  Sri Parthasarathi  Emperuman adorning Muthangi.

India has been creating a “Necklace of Diamonds” to counter the “String of Pearls” created by China.  Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia are some of the countries where China is establishing maritime bases as a “String of Pearls” to improve its influence and military networks. The “Necklace of Diamonds” comprises Changi Naval Base in Singapore, Chabahar Port in Iran, the Assumption Islands in Seychelles, and Duqm Port in Oman. In addition to this, India is creating strong ties with Vietnam and Mongolia to counter the Chinese “String of Pearls” strategy.

China’s investments in its String of Pearls exceed the investments made by India for its Necklace of Diamonds.  China has invested US$60 billion in Africa under its String of Pearls strategy, whereas India’s largest investment for its Necklace of Diamonds amounts to $8 billion, in Chabahar Port. Though both countries have strong allies, during the current pandemic crisis, no country wants to get into a cold war with China, which supplies essential pharmaceutical products to nations worldwide. Hence India’s Necklace of Diamonds strategy to counter China’s influential networks may not work in the current situation.  Therefore, India-China border relations are not just about guns but also about the rising economic power of China, which has resulted in countries being dependent on it for essential supplies.

Covid 19 has made us sit at home and reminisce the past – here are some photos of Sri Parthasarathi Perumal Muthangi Sevai of 2008 taken with Konica Minolta Dimage Z10 camera.

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasa Sampathkumar

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