Tuesday, 31 July 2012

After the success of Agni 5 missile, India is now developing new range of missiles that include surface-to-air with a range of 300 km, air-to-surface with a range of 400 km, and air-to-air missiles with a target range of 300 km

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  After the success of Agni 5 missile, India is now
developing new range of missiles that include surface-to-air with a
range of 300 km, air-to-surface with a range of 400 km, and air-to-air
missiles with a target range of 300 km.

At present India has surface-to-air missiles of 50 km range. Research
is going on to increase the range to 300 km to boost the defence
capabilities of the country.

According to Avinash Chander, chief controller, research and
development (missiles and strategic systems), “the era is to realise
micro and nano missiles using MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems)
and NEMS (nano-electromechanical systems) technologies. He was
addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the Research Centre
Imarat here on Monday.

Avinash Chander said they were now focusing on low weight and low cost
nano missiles with world-class technology. “We are developing
air-to-surface missiles with a range of 400 km as against the present
available range of 30 km,” he said adding that seek-and-destroy class
of weapons with an accuracy of one metre were also being developed.

Referring to the achievements of HILS (hardware-in-loop simulation) at
RCI set up 25 years ago, Avinash Chander lauded the achievements of
the centre. The RCI has developed advanced technology of avionics
including navigation systems, system on chip, servo valves and seekers.

“RCI is now very close to development of navigation on chip, telemetry
on chip, seeker on chip and the entire avionics on a single board,” he

Former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who is also the founder-director of
RCI, visited various facilities in the Centre including
Hardware-In-Loop-Simulation, Virtual Reality Lab, ERP Centre, and
avionic systems. He congratulated DRDO team and advanced simulation
centre scientists for the scientific and technological contribution in
the Agni 5 mission.

“When nano technology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics,
photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will
happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new
science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to
a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with
longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info
technologies can lead to the development of nano robots,” Dr Kalam said.

Dr SK Chaudhuri, director, RCI, G Satheesh Reddy, associate director,
RCI, Agni 4 project director Tessy Thomas, Prof Akopyan of Moscow
Research Institute, Russia, and others were present.

Dr Chaudhuri said the simulation facility at RCI had transformed the
centre into a                     frontier aerospace technology for
performance evaluation of flight systems in more realistic scenario.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Thousands of netizens across India virtually let down following a major technical snag in the Google network affecting Google chat and Gmail operations

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 26: Thousands of netizens across the country were
virtually let down on Thursday following a major technical snag in the
Google network affecting Google chat and Gmail operations. Right from
afternoon, those using Google Talk, an instant messaging service,
could not login to their account, and even if they succeeded, they
could not chat with their friends.

Google, which first described the problem as a “service disruption”
later upgraded it to “service outage” as more and more people
complained of failure to access their G Talk. “We are continuing to
investigate this issue,” Google said in its Google applications
dashboard. By night, the service was restored for some users.

With the Google Talk down, netizens are forced to use Twitter and
Facebook to exchange views. Unlike Google chat, which is a private
affair, Twitter and Facebook are social networking sites, where
postings are public.

India has the highest percentage of Gmail users in the world with a
little over 60 per cent of netizens using it. In terms of numbers,
about three million people use the Google services in the country.

Complaints on social networking sites about G Talk failure ranged from
disappearance of contacts to failed logins. Postings on Twitter
revealed that the problem is felt in several countries including India.

The outage dominated on Twitter with users coming out with a number of
comments. “The Great Google Talk Outage of 2012 continues,” says a
post. “Google Talk is not translating into Google Action,” adds
another user.

That the sudden outage had turned many netizens crazy can be seen from
some of the comments: A user John Stephens noted, “Neither zombie
attacks nor crazy pastors had me as convinced of the impending
apocalypse as Google Talk being down”.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The tale of three iron boxes: Even as the Royal Bank of Scotland sits over a huge fortune of the Nizam pending tripartite settlement between India, Pakistan and the Nizam’s heirs, three stout iron safes, lying in government treasury in Hyderabad, continue to raise curiosity of historians and old timers.

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 21: Even as the Royal Bank of Scotland sits over a
huge fortune of the Nizam pending tripartite settlement between India,
Pakistan and the Nizam’s heirs, three stout iron safes, lying in
government treasury in Hyderabad, continue to raise curiosity of
historians and old timers.

The three iron safes built in England reportedly contain the personal
belongings of the Paigah nobles, who were second only in royalty and
rank to the Nizam of Hyderabad. They have been under the safe custody
of the State treasury following a court decree pronounced back in 1958.

Two of these iron safes are at the State treasury office at Khilwat
near Charminar. They contain the jewellery and other valuables of
Paigah noble Kurshid Jah Bahadur. The third, at the court of wards at
Nampally, has all the valuable belongings of his brother, Sir
Vicar-ul-Umra, who built the famed Falaknuma Palace. The exact quantum
of and the intrinsic or the antique value of the jewellery, precious
gems and personal belongings is not known.

These safes will be opened and the property inside them will be
distributed among the legal heirs of the Paigah nobles, only after the
court pronounces its final verdict. Half a century has already passed
since the dispute went to court and some of the claimants have passed
away in the meantime. Two separate cases – one related to Kurshid
Jah’s property and the other of Sir Vicar-ul-Umra – are pending before
the AP High Court.

Meanwhile, curiosity writ large on the faces of hundreds of people on
Saturday as officials of different departments under police escort
shifted the two thick iron safes from
the treasury office at Khilwat to Nampally treasury office. The safes
have been lying at the Khilwat office for the last 54 years.

The State government plans to construct a multi-level parking lot
after demolishing the old building built during the times of Nizam VI,
Mir Mahboob Ali Khan. To facilitate the demolition the safes were
shifted after a thorough check of the court seal.

Referring to the two safes now being shifted, MA Bari, who has been
appointed advocate-commissioner by court, told this correspondent that
the property belonged to the Paigahs. “After the abolition of the
Jagir, the valuables were put in the iron safes and deposited in safe
custody following court orders. The jewellery is subject to case No.
CS 14 of 1958. They contain pearls, emeralds and other jewellery,”
Bari added. He however felt that “they are not of much value”.

Paigah sources said the iron safe at the court of wards in Nampally
contains a large portion of the personal wealth of Sir Vicar-ul-Umra,
who was the brother-in-law of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan.

“It is a land standing dispute which dates back to early 1940s. It
took momentum after the abolition of Jagir system in 1956. I feel the
two safes at Khilwat are only of scrap value. But we will know the
truth only after they are opened,” said city historian Dr Muhammad

He said the State government should have repaired the old building of
Khazana-e-Aamira (State treasury) and conserved it for posterity
instead of pulling it down to make way for a parking lot.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Monsoon 2012: Drought conditions, but no El Nino effect so far

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 19: There is no El Nino effect this monsoon and the
rains thus far have been almost normal, clarifies the Indian Council
of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

According to ICAR scientists, the monsoon this year will be normal in
the next couple of days and thus, there is no need for any contingency

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the two-day XXI regional
committee No. II meeting of ICAR here on Thursday, ICAR
director-general Dr S Ayyappan and Central Research Institute for
Dryland Agriculture (Crida) director Dr B Venkateswara Rao said el
nino effect will not be felt even during August. There may be some of
its impact during September.

They said the el nino signal is weak and normal crop sown area will be
achieved by July 20. Already crop has been sown in about 30 lakh
hectares. The good rains in the last few days had helped farmers.
There is no cause of concern, though sowings in maize and pulses are
lagging behind the normal.

Top farm scientists from across the country are meeting in Hyderabad
to come out with an action for the agriculturally rich State of Andhra
Pradesh, besides West Bengal, Odisha and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Governor ESL Narasimhan inaugurated the programme.

Dr Ayyappan said Malaysia had agreed to offer the germplasm of oil
palm to India. This will boost edible oil production in the country
from three tons a hectare to 10 tonnes a hectare.

Project Ananta: Mega plan to stop desertification of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, India

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 19: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
has come out with a mega plan to prevent desertification of Anantapur
district and increase farm output through innovative technological
interventions including satellite imagery to revive the lost rivers.

Called Project Ananta, the ICAR’s Rs 500 crore plan also aims at
gradual weaning away of groundnut farmers to guar gum cultivation,
setting up sheep and fodder research stations and posting an IAS
official to exclusively deal with farm and allied activities.

Over a dozen ICAR scientists including its director-general Dr S
Ayyappan visited 30 villages in Anantapur and interacted with over
2000 farmers before preparing the Project Ananta. He said the report
was submitted to the State government. Governor ESL Narasimhan, who
participated in an ICAR meeting to chalk out action plan for Andhra
Pradesh and other States, asked officials to speedily translate the
project into reality.

Using satellite imagery data, scientists will find out the original
course of rivers, streams and other water bodies in Anantapur. Once
their course is identified, obstacles will be removed to ensure that
rain water flows into them. This will help not only in reviving the
dead water bodies, but also in the recharge of the ground water, said
Dr B Venkateswara Rao, director of the Central Research Institute for
Dryland Agriculture (Crida). One good rainfall will fill up the tanks.

As part of the Project, 15 of the 50 mandals in the district that have
been constantly witnessing failure of groundnut crop will be selected
for cultivation of guar gum. To begin with, about 1000 acres in
Tadipatri area will guar gum from Rajasthan. “There is acute shortage
of guar gum seeds. We are initially taking up its cultivation in a few
pockets,” he added.

Weight-train and physical exercise during Ramadan

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 19: With the Muslim holy month of Ramzan just a day
away, fitness experts suggest that those on fast should not
weight-train during the fasting period. The best time to exercise to
burn out extra fat or keep the heart in condition is after Iftar in
the evening or before Saher at dawn. Avoid extra salt as it might
increase thirst.

“Weight-training while fasting is not advisable. This can cause a lot
of burden or overstretch and can lead to muscle breakdown. It may also
cause a rise in catabolic hormone, cortisol. Strength may decrease
significantly if one trains in a dehydration state,” says body
transformation specialist M Ali Mohammed.

In his “workout and nutrition plan for Ramzan”, Ali Mohammed, who is a
certified fitness expert from the American Council on Exercise and the
American College of Sports Medicine, says the devout can burn fat and
gain muscle if they follow simple exercise and nutrition dips during
the month-long fasting.

According to him, the best time to weight-train during Ramzan is after
Taraweeh (special night prayers) since the devout should be eating
before any form of resistance training. “This will ascertain that you
will have multiple meals and plenty of water in your system before
working out.”

Ali Mohammed said if the Taraweeh time is too late, the devout can
weight-train about an hour after Iftar. A short 30-minute intense
training will be of immense help.

Dr Abdul Khaliq, gastroenterologist at Care Hospitals, says exercise
during the fasting stage will drain out the glycogen reserve in the
liver, leading to hypoglycemia or lowering of blood sugar levels.
Moderate food habits with low calorie foods will increase longevity.

“Taraweeh is a very long prayer. Those offering this namaz do not
require additional exercise. On average, the body needs 250 minutes of
exercise a week. Taraweeh gives more than this,” Dr Khaliq said. He
suggested eating hygiene foods and packed dates as loose dates might
be contaminated. “This is monsoon and chances of germs being
transmitted by bees are quite high”.

Referring to cardio-training for maximum fat loss, Ali Mohammed
suggest the time before Saher. “Drink plenty of water along with a cup
of green tea, white tea or coffee and wait for 30 minutes and perform
30-45 minutes of moderate intensity cardio training, like brisk walk
on a treadmill or moderate intensity cross trainer.” The next best
time for cardio training is about 45 minutes after a light Iftar.
Cardio should be limited to just two days a week during the holy month.

Recommended diet for Ramzan

Saher (pre-dawn meal)

Drink plenty of water at least 30 minutes before eating

Eat a good blend of protein, carbohydrates, and essential fats

Suggested foodstuff: chicken breast, egg white, oatmeal, protein
shake, Cinnamon, cottage cheese, red meat in moderation, bananas, raw
and dark honey, dates or raisins, fibrous vegetables, fruits, peanut
butter, flax seed oil and olive oil (extra virgin).

Iftar (sunset meal)

Some quality protein, dates, fruit juice, whey protein shake and
plenty of water.

Eat moderate to small meal even at Iftar

On weight-training days:

Take another meal before Taraweeh. Suggested intake includes chicken
breast or baked salmon, brown rice and some veggies or baked fish,
sweet potato, and a garden salad or some steamed vegetables.

The Hyderabadi link of composer Zubin Mehta

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 19: Eminent composer Zubin Mehta was wowed by the “eye-opening” 
collection of arts and artifacts at the Salarjung Museum.

The director for life of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was on a day’s private visit to 
the city. Accompanied by his wife Nancy Kovack, Zubin had a whirlwind tour of the history 
and culture of Hyderabad as he went round a few prominent historic places of the city. 
Zubin, who stayed at Taj Falaknuma, checked out later in the afternoon.

“What an eye-opening impression and education into the enormous good taste of Salarjung. 
World class collection and world class management,” Zubin Mehta wrote in the VIP 
visitors’ book, after spending about 45 minutes in Salarjung Museum. He later visited 
Purani Haveli and Chowmahalla Palace.

According to Salarjung Museum governing body member Zakir Hussain, Zubin Mehta was 
particularly attracted by the statues of Rebecca, and of Mephistopheles and Margaretta. 
The latter is a double statue with two different carving on either side. “Zubin sahib 
appreciated the vast collection of jade, weaponry, European paintings, the knife used by 
Queen Noorjahan and the swords of Aurangzeb and Shahjahan,” he said.

Zubin Mehta kept his visit in wraps and did not inform even the authorities at the 
Salarjung and the Chowmahalla. “He visited the palace as a common tourist. He was 
impressed by the architectural marvel of the palace,” G Kishen Rao, director of 
Chowmahalla Palace said.

According to sources, Zubin had enquired whether his father Mehli Mehta, a violinist and 
founding conductor of Bombay Symphony Orchestra, had performed before the Nizam. During 
the regimes of Nizam VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan and Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, the 
Hyderabad State had a special department called, Arbab-e-Nisab, or the music wing.

“Mehli Mehta may have performed before the Nizam. The Arbab-e- Nisab had 108 employees 
including prominent musicians like Pandit Motiram, Pandit Maniram, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan 
and Aziz Ahmed Warsi. Though Mehli’s name did not figure in the list, he may have 
performed on special occasion, as he was a prominent violinist of his times,” city 
historian Dr Mohammad Safiullah said.

Officials of Taj Falaknuma accompanied Zubin and his wife to the historical places 
including the Salarjung museum.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Contrary to popular belief, Hyderabad under the Nizam rule witnessed a powerful nationalist movement with several local leaders launching a fight against the British colonial rule, says senior historian Dr Thirumali

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 17: Contrary to popular belief, Hyderabad under the
Nizam rule witnessed a powerful nationalist movement with several
local leaders launching a fight against the British colonial rule,
says senior historian Dr Thirumali.

Dr Thirumali, who is associated with the department of history, Delhi
University, said Hyderabad had nationalist aristocracy and several
members of the aristocratic families in the erstwhile Nizam dominion
had participated in the meetings of the Indian National Congress. Dr
Thirumali was delivering Dr Sheela Raj memorial lecture on Mir Mehboob
Ali Khan, Nizam VI, and his times, organised by the HEH the Nizam’s
Jubilee Pavilion Trust here on Tuesday.

Dispelling the wrong notions in people’s minds, he said leaders like
Aghoranath Chattopadhyaya and Mulla Abdul Qayyum were first members of
the Indian National Congress in Hyderabad. “The aristocracy in
Hyderabad was nationalistic aristocracy and not sectarian one. The
voice of Hyderabad was the typical nationalist voice of India,” Dr
Thirumali pointed out.

Referring to the Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, he said the Nizam was
a responsible ruler and did not side with Pakistan when the British
had put the option before him. Dr Thirumali quoted the Nizam as saying
“I have nothing to do with Pakistan. I am a Deccani ruler. If I join
Pakistan, I would be a Muslim ruler.” He said the Nizam had wanted
peace in the region. “Had the Nizam joined Pakistan, Hyderabad would
have witnessed the violent incidents that rocked Punjab and Bengal.

The Nizam played a crucial role as the Raj Pramukh in the transition
of Hyderabad from aristocracy to democracy. “Had the Nizam not helped
the Indian government in the peaceful transition of power in
Hyderabad, things would have been quite different,” he said.

Dividing the rule of the Asaf Jahi regime into three stages, he said
the regime of the Nizam VI witnessed development while that of Nizam
VII had the emergence of political parties and politics. He said
Hyderabad had provided raw material in the form of cotton to boost
industrial revolution in England. The Nizams had introduced the land
patta system, the rule of law and three-tier system of governance. The
credit of introducing an Indian language in administration during the
British rule goes to the Nizam VI, Dr Thirumali added.

Senior journalist Dr Rahimuddin Kemal, Sahibzadi Rasheedunnisa Begum,
granddaughter of the Nizam VII, Dr D Bhaskar Rao, curator of the Nizam
Museum, and Mrs Rafaq Hussain of HEH the Nizam’s Jubilee Pavilion
Trust, participated in the meeting.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Higgs Boson: Indian contribution to the elusive god particle search

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 4: The near discovery of the elusive God particle or Higgs Boson has the 
city physicists quite excited. After all, dozens of Indian scientists have been involved 
over the years searching for this mother of all particles in laboratories in Europe, 
India and the USA.

Like in many other major scientific findings, researchers from Hyderabad played a crucial 
role in this near discovery too by patiently searching a wide range of giga-electron 
volts (GeV) to find the Higgs Boson, named after British scientist Peter Higgs and Indian 
physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. Dr Bose, who taught at Dhaka and Calcutta universities, 
did pioneering research in mathematical physics and quantum mechanics. Although he did 
not win the Nobel, at least two scientists, who carried forward his work, won the Prize.

Even the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research 
(CERN) has a great contribution from Indians. The 8,000-tonne magnet at LHC was made in 
India. Indian teams also contributed to LHC hardware in the form of circuits and software 
in analyzing the computer-generated data.

Incidentally, Indians have been associated with CERN even before the LHC was started. 
Their association is more than half a century. Besides the Indian brains and machinery, 
the Indian divinity too continues to contribute to LHC results. The Department of Atomic 
Energy had a few years ago gifted a two-metre tall idol of Lord Nataraja, the cosmic 
dancer whose energy has inspired many a physicists the world over.

The University of Hyderabad not only contributed to the Higgs Boson search, but also went 
a step ahead looking beyond the elusive particle. The city-based Birla Science Centre, 
Osmania University, Andhra University from the State as also the Indian Institute of 
Science in Bengaluru, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre in Kolkata, the Tata Institute of 
Fundamental Research in Mumbai too were involved in the race for discovering the Higgs 
Boson. In all about 100 Indian scientists worked in various CERN and other laboratories 
in the last three decades to unravel the mystery of the God particle.

“We will now be able to explain basic things about the Universe and how various
bodies in the world obtain mass. This discovery will now compel us to do more work. About 
95 per cent of the universe is still not understood. There are things like 'dark energy' 
which are not yet explained. But the five per cent that we now know about the universe is 
still good enough,” says an excited Dr Bindu A Bambah of the department of physics at 
University of Hyderabad. She worked as a scientific associate at The Centre for European 
Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.

Another city scientist Dr Sridhara Rao Dasu, who works with the Wisconsin University, 
analysed the data generated from the God particle search experiments in the USA and 
Europe. He is part of the CERN team of scientists that have zeroed in on the range 
between 115 to 130 giga-electron volts to find the Higgs.

“It is indeed a great day in the history of Particle Physics. Although the properties of 
the new particle is not yet established so far, it could most probably be the long-sought 
after God particle. The hunt for God particle has been going on for almost half a 
century,” says Dr Rukmini Mohanta, expert in high energy physics.

Dr Rukmini, who works with the University of Hyderabad, is associated with the research 
on neutrinos. “One should not think that after the discovery of God particle the area of 
particle physics will be closed”. There are many more puzzles to be solved. One of the 
most important issues is that the neutrinos (the neutral leptons) do not get their masses 
in the same mechanism as the other elementary particles, she adds.

Monday, 2 July 2012

History of India: Puranas are real; they are books of historical records, says Vedic scholar

It is only the intensive and comparative study of the Puranas based on highly critical editions which can help us to some extent in reconstructing the political history of pre-Buddhist India, Dr Ramakrishna points out.

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Puranas, the ancient Hindu religious texts, are not 
mythological records but books of historical evidence.
A comprehensive research study carried out in the State by a Vedic 
research organisation shows that Puranas reflect the development of 
social and moral ideas of the ancient Indian society, besides being 
chroniclers of the kings and the dynasties of those times. The Puranas 
are also prophetic in nature with several forecasts which later became 
historical truths.
"Puranas are not imaginary but have historical value. In numerous 
cases what the Puranas formulate, the Jatakas (ancient Buddhist texts) 
seem to illustrate. The striking agreement between the two accounts 
proves that they are not works of fiction but based on events of yore," 
says Vedic researcher and Sanskrit scholar Dr Dhulipala Ramakrishna.
A comparative study of the Vedic version and the Puranic version of a 
legend reflects also the development of social and moral ideas of the 
ancient Indian society. In fact Purana is a kind of method of instruction 
by which a large number of people are educated simultaneously.
Dr Ramakrishna, who is also a lecturer in Sanskrit in Maris Stella 
College, Vijayawada, argues that the value of the Puranas cannot be 
minimised by calling them mythological, or sectarian or religious. 
"Their vowed theme is the presentation of the history of kings up to the 
end of the fifth century Christian era. There is no doubt that the 
Puranas embody the earliest traditional history and that much of their 
material is old and valuable," he observes.
The research study carried out under the auspices of "Serve", a 
scientific research organisation on Vedas, and is based on historical and 
archaeological evidence obtained from various parts of the country 
including the Nagarjunakonda abutting Nagarjunasagar reservoir.  
According to Ramakrishna, the Vishnu Puran had forecast the Mauryan 
dynasty while there's reference to early Guptas in the Vayu Puran. Both 
of them are prophecies which later turned out to be true. Long list of 
kings of several dynasties have been given in many of the Maha 
Puranas, some of which date back to at least 2,000 years before the 
Kaurava-Pandava war of the Mahabharata.
After the Mahabharata war, detailed dynastic lists of three royal 
families only, namely, the Aiksvkus, the Pauravas, and the kings of 
Magadha, continue to be given in the Puranas down to the time of 
Adhisimakrsna, who was sixth in descent from Arjuna, the hero of the 
great Mahabharata war.
He said the custom of recording dynastic history ceased with the 
Guptas, after whom no important dynasty or monarch of India has been 
described or mentioned in the Puranas. This proves that from the Gupta 
period the Puranic tradition took into practice.
It is only the intensive and comparative study of the Puranas based on 
highly critical editions which can help us to some extent in 
reconstructing the political history of pre-Buddhist India, Dr 
Ramakrishna pointed out.
According to the research study, the Purnanas also offer a workable 
hypothesis for a system of ancient Indian chronology. The interval 
between the death of Parikshit and the coronation of Nanda is 1015 and 
1050 years respectively, according to two versions.
The interval between the coronation of Nanda and of the Andhra 
dynasty is said to of 836 years. Thus the date of the access of Nanda 
would be 401 BC. Apart from the point of view of political history, the 
Puranas, "give us a picture of religious, social and economic conditions 
of India from ancient times up to the Muslim rule in India. They give 
us greater insight into all aspects".
The study also pointed out that with regard to the political institutions 
in the past, there are valuable chapters in several Puranas, specially in 
the Matsya. The elective and hereditary character of monarchy, king’s 
rights and duties the qualifications of councillors and ministers are 
described well in detail. They also furnish information for the 
construction of fort, about the rules of warfare, weapons and methods 
of war and diplomacy, Dr Ramakrishna said.

Contamination of milk: Lead levels quite high in milk; harmful for the health of children and adults

Lead levels were high in fodder, buffalo blood and milk samples obtained from the organised sector. The  haemoglobin,serum iron and zinc were significantly low in buffaloes from the unorganised sectors as compared to that of organised sectors
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Cattle milk, a major food component for growing
children, is contaminated with heavy metals including lead.

Interestingly milk supplied by organised sector contains more lead content
than that procured from unorganised dairies. Though presence of lead in food
chain is well documented in developed countries, it is for the first time
that a research study in India has revealed contents of heavy metals in buffalo
blood, fodder and milk.

The study was conducted jointly by the Food and Drug Toxicology Research
Centre of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, and the Department
of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

Lead was found to be more than the permissible levels in milk indicating
entry of lead through the food chain into the cattle.

The results suggested that the lead levels were high in fodder, buffalo blood
and milk samples obtained from the organised sector. The haemoglobin,
serum iron and zinc were significantly low in buffaloes from the unorganised
sectors as compared to that of organised sectors.

"Pollutants and nutrients in milk should be monitored on a regular basis to
assess the exposure status through food chain cycle. This will prevent lead
poisoning in people," the researchers said.

Consumption of cattle milk contaminated with lead will cause, over a period
of time, damage to brain and central nervous system particularly in children.
Lead poisoning may also result in reduced IQ, learning disabilities,
attention deficit disorders and kidney damage.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The marvellous ways of the Nature: And now colours and dyes from bacteria, fungi and lichens

Though dyes based on fungi, especially lichens, have been used for quite some time, the technique adopted by Indian scientists is the first of its kind. Colours like browns, yelloTws and greys are easily obtained from common fungi varieties available in the country.

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Natural colours obtained from bacteria, mushrooms and 
other fungi are all set to adorn clothes and crafts in the international market.
Pioneering research by Dr K Perumal and others on microbial dyes has 
produced an array of natural colours that could be used for dyeing clothes, 
stone works and handicrafts. These colours are eco-friendly and harmless 
both to the users and the manufacturers. Even dyes obtained from poisonous 
fungi are safe on the skin.
According to Dominique Cardon of Unesco, the colours 
obtained from fungi are unique in pattern and colour intensity. "A synthetic 
dye simply gives one colour whereas a dye obtained from fungus, mushroom 
or bacteria gives an array of colours. It is a cocktail of colours and is very 
rich in colour intensity and fastness," she said.
Dominique pointed out that the research on natural dyes from microbial 
agents by Indian scientists would revolutionise the world of natural colours 
and greatly benefit artisans and artists. "We have scores of coloured fungi 
and mushrooms. There are coloured bacteria too. Using industrial techniques 
the scientists obtained colours. These colours can be mixed in different 
combinations to obtain rare colour patterns," the French researcher pointed 
Though dyes based on fungi, especially lichens, have been used for quite 
some time, the technique adopted by Indian scientists is the first of its kind. 
Colours like browns, yello
ws and greys are easily obtained from common 
fungi varieties available in the country.
The colours of the pH indicator, litmus, and various reds, yellows and mauve 
are also available especially when using appropriate mordants. The 
commonly used Litmus (of litmus test fame) is also a dye extracted from 
fungus of the genus Roccella. In alkaline conditions it is blue. As the dying 
conditions became more acidic, the colour changes from blue to purple and 
then red.
She said these colours can be fixed to the cloth by using an appropriate 
mordant. With the increase in the cost of petroleum products, manufacturers 
are increasingly turning to fungi for their colouring needs. The demand for 
natural colours has also gone up in the international market and the Indian 
dyes from fungi and bacteria are going to play a major role.

Deafness in children: The most common cause for congenital deafness is consanguineous marriages

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Children born of close relation wedlock are known to
suffer from a variety of genetic disorders
and a fresh study by a team of city doctors and geneticists shows that
they are highly prone to congenital deafness
A joint study by the Institute of Genetics and Hospital for Genetic
Diseases and the ENT department of Osmania
General Hospital reveals that children born out of consanguineous
marriages are two times more susceptible to
congenital deafness than ordinary children. The study was conducted in
Government ENT Hospital and in various
schools for the deaf in and around Hyderabad. The subjects ranged from
neonates to children up to 14 years of age.
Dr PP Reddy of the Institute of Genetics told this correspondent that
among various causes for deafness, consanguinity is an established high
risk etiological factor.
"The results showed that 41.73 per cent of the cases were the products of
consanguineous matings and 58.27 per cent
were born to non-consanguineous parents. Further analysis revealed a high
rate of consanguinity (44.53 per cent) in
children with non syndromic deafness. The percentage of consanguineous
marriages in Andhra Pradesh is 22.36 but
the rate of deafness in children born out of such wedlock is 41.73 per
cent," he pointed out.
He said hearing impairment had debilitating effects on children as it
could  retard individual's language acquisition
skills and impair the overall development. It is rapidly increasing
sensory deficit among human beings and accounts
for one third of the entire disease burden in the world.
The world-wide prevalence of profound, congenital deafness is 11 per 10,000
children, and is attributable to genetic causes in at least 50 per cent of
the cases. The survey indicated that one out of
every 1000 children born in India showed profound hearing loss.
Dr Reddy said the siblings of consanguineous marriages have a
significantly higher incidence of autosomal recessive
diseases including hearing impairment. Marriages within the family
increase the risk of hearing impairment and other
"The development of cochlea and hair cells is dependent on a genetic
pathway called Planar Cell Polarity pathway.
This pathway is involved in the formation of the polarised structure of
the auditory sensory organ and
regulates the embryonic development. Genetic aberrations caused due to
consanguinity disturb the pathway leading
to congenital hearing loss," he said.

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This Day In History

Mother's Care

Mother's Care
Minnu The Cat & Her Kittens Brownie, Goldie & Blackie

Someone with Nature

Someone with Nature
Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Under the shade of Baobab tree

Under the shade of Baobab tree
At Agha Khan Akademi in Kenya

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Convention on Biodiversity

Convention on Biodiversity
Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity