Lavanya Selvaraj's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘UPSC

தமிழகம் எதிர்நோக்கும் வாழ்வா, சாவா பிரச்சினை முல்லைப் பெரியாறு மாத்திரம் அல்ல

கர்நாடகத்துடன் காவிரி நதிநீர் பிரச்சினை, ஆந்திராவுடன் பாலாற்றுப் பிரச்சினை, கேரளாவுடன் முல்லைப் பெரியாறு பிரச்சினை இவற்றுடன் அண்டை நாடான இலங்கையுடன் கச்சத்தீவுப் பிரச்சினைஎனத் தமிழகத்தின் எல்லைகளுக்கு அப்பால் நிலை கொண்டுள்ள பிரச்சினைகளின் விளைவாக தமிழக விவசாயிகள், மீனவர்களின் வாழ்வாதாரம் பெரும் நெருக்கடிக்குள்ளாகி வருகிறது. தமிழகம் தனது நியாயமான உரிமைகளைப் பறி கொடுத்து வருகிறதோ?

காவிரி நீர் : வருமா? வராதா?

கர்நாடகத்தில் குடகில் உற்பத்தியாகும் காவிரி, சுமார் 800 கிலோ மீட்டர் நீளமுள்ளது. கர்நாடக  மாநிலத்தில் 350 கி.மீ. தூரமும், தமிழகம் மற்றும் புதுச்சேரி பகுதியில் 450கி.மீ. தூரமும் பயணம் செய்து வங்கக்கடலில் கலக்கிறது. கர்நாடகத்தைவிட அதிக தூரம் தமிழகப் பகுதியில் பாய்கிற  காவிரியாற்று நீரில் தமிழகத்திற்கு உரிய பங்கு என்பது அந்த மாநிலமாகப் பார்த்து நமக்கு அளிக்கிற பரிசோ, பிச்சையோ அல்ல.  அது தமிழகத்தின் உரிமை. ஒரு நதியின் மீதான உரிமை அது உருவாகும் மாநிலத்திற்கு மட்டுமல்ல, அதன் மூலம் பாரம்பரியமாகப் பாசனம் பெறும் பகுதிகளுக்கும் உண்டு என்பது சர்வதேச அளவில் ஏற்றுக் கொள்ளப்பட்ட ஒன்று. இதற்கு Riparian water rights  என்று பெயர்.

1924ம் ஆண்டு, ஆங்கிலேயர் ஆட்சியின்கீழ் இருந்த சென்னை மாநிலத்திற்கும், மைசூர் அரசரின் ஆட்சியின்கீழ் இருந்த சமஸ்தானத்திற்குமிடையே காவிரி நதிநீர்ப் பங்கீடு தொடர்பாக ஓர் ஒப்பந்தம் கையெழுத்தானது. அதன்படி, காவிரி நீரில் தமிழகத்திற்குரிய பங்கு 427 டி.எம்.சி. தண்ணீர். 50 ஆண்டுகளுக்குப் பிறகு, உபரிநீரின் அளவைக் கணக்கிட்டு, அதை மறுபரிசீலனை செய்ய வேண்டும் என்பது ஒப்பந்தத்தின் ஒரு பிரிவு. அது ஒரு பிரிவு மட்டும்தான். ஆனால், அந்த ஒப்பந்தம் 50 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு மட்டும்தான், அது செயலிழந்துவிட்டது என்று திரிக்கத் தொடங்கியது கர்நாடகம். இதனால், 1971ம் ஆண்டு உச்சநீதிமன்றம் சென்றது தமிழக அரசு. உச்சநீதிமன்ற உத்தரவுப்படி காவிரி நடுவர் மன்றம் ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்டது.

 

 

1991ம் ஆண்டு காவிரி நடுவர் மன்றம் இடைக்காலத் தீர்ப்பை வழங்கியது. அதில், ஒவ்வொரு ஆண்டும் தமிழ்நாட்டிற்கு 205 டி.எம்.சி. தண்ணீரை கர்நாடகம் வழங்க வேண்டும் என்று தீர்ப்பளித்தது. இதில் தமிழகத்தில் விவசாயவேலைகளுக்கு ஏதுவாக, ஜூன் முதல் செப்டம்பர் வரை மட்டும் 137டி.எம்.சி. தண்ணீரை தமிழகத்திற்கு அனுப்ப வேண்டும் என்றும் தீர்ப்பில் கூறப்பட்டது.

ஆனால், இடைக்காலத் தீர்ப்பை கர்நாடகம் ஏற்க மறுத்து விட்டது. ஜூன் முதல் செப்டம்பர் வரை தமிழ்நாட்டில் மழை கிடையாது. அப்போதுதான் குறுவை சாகுபடி நடைபெறும். குறுவை சாகுபடி மூலமாகத்தான், விவசாயிகளின் வாழ்க்கைக்குத் தேவையான பணம் கிடைக்கும். காவிரித் தண்ணீர் முறையாகக் கிடைக்காததனால் குறுவை சாகுபடி பெருமளவு குறைந்துவிட்டது.

2005ம் ஆண்டு நடுவர் மன்றம் தனது இறுதித் தீர்ப்பை வழங்கியது. இடைக்காலத் தீர்ப்பில் 205டி.எம்.சி. என்று கூறிவிட்டு, இறுதித் தீர்ப்பில் அதைவிடக் குறைவாக 178 டி.எம்.சி. என்று கூறியுள்ளது நடுவர் மன்றம். அதையும் கூட ஏற்க மறுத்துவிட்டது கர்நாடகம்” என்கிறார், தமிழக உழவர் முன்னணியின் ஆலோசகர் கி.வெங்கட்ராமன்.

நடுவர் மன்றத்தின் இடைக்காலத் தீர்ப்பு, இறுதித் தீர்ப்பு ஆகிய இரண்டையுமே ஏற்க மறுத்த கர்நாடகம், ‘தமிழகத்திற்கு ஒரு சொட்டுத் தண்ணீர் கூட தர முடியாது’ என்றும் சட்டமன்றத்தில் தீர்மானம் நிறைவேற்றியது. இறுதித் தீர்ப்பை எதிர்த்து கர்நாடகமும், தமிழகமும் உச்சநீதிமன்றத்தில் மேல்முறையீடு செய்துள்ளன. வழக்கு நிலுவையில் உள்ளது.

 

 

அப்படியானால், இப்போதும் சில நேரம் காவிரி நீர் தமிழகத்திற்கு வருகிறதே அது எப்படி? தமிழகத்தில் மழை இல்லாத ஜூன், ஜூலை மாதங்களில் தண்ணீர் வருவதில்லை. அக்டோபர் மாதம் கிருஷ்ணராஜசாகர் நிரம்பியதும் அணை திறக்கப்படும். அதாவது, தண்ணீர் திறக்கப்படாவிட்டால் அணை உடைந்துவிடும் என்ற அச்சத்தில் வெளியேற்றப்படும் நீர்தான் தமிழகத்திற்கு வருகிறது. சுருக்கமாகச் சொன்னால், கர்நாடகத்தின் வடிகாலாகத்தான் தமிழ்நாட்டை நடத்துகிறது கர்நாடகம்.

ஒப்பந்தங்களை ஒரு பொருட்டாக மதிக்காத கர்நாடகம், காவிரியின் துணை நதிகளான ஹேமாவதி, ஹாரங்கி, கபினி பகுதிகளில் அனுமதியின்றி அணைகளைக் கட்டி, காவிரி நீர்முழுவதையும் தேக்கி வைக்கிறது. 1991ல் நடுவர் மன்றம் தீர்ப்பு வழங்கிய நேரத்தில், கர்நாடகத்தின் பாசனப்பரப்பு 11.2 லட்சம் ஏக்கராக இருந்தது. தற்போது 25 லட்சம் ஏக்கருக்கும் மேல் அதிகரித்துவிட்டது. ஆனால், தமிழ்நாட்டின் பாசனப்பரப்பு முன்பிருந்ததை விட வெகுவாகக் குறைந்து கொண்டே வருகிறது. முப்போக சாகுபடி செய்து வந்த நிலங்கள், தற்போது ஒரு போக சாகுபடி நிலங்களாகச் சுருங்கி விட்டன.

தமிழகத்தில் ஆட்சிக்கு வருகிற அரசியல் கட்சிகள் காவிரியில் தமிழகத்திற்கு உரிய பங்கைப் பெறுவதற்கு, உரிமையை நிலைநாட்டுவதற்கு உறுதியான நடவடிக்கைகளை எடுப்பதற்குப் பதிலாக, விவசாயிகளுக்கு மாற்றுப்பயிர் திட்டத்தை அறிமுகப்படுத்தி வருகின்றனர். அதாவது, காவிரியில் நமக்கு உரிய பங்கு கிடைக்காது என மனதளவில் முடிவுக்கு வந்து, மாற்று வழிகளை யோசிக்கத் துவங்கி விட்டன.

பாலாறா? பாழாறா?

வடிநிலப்பரப்பிலும், தண்ணீர் அளவிலும் காவிரிக்கு அடுத்தபடியாக இருப்பது பாலாறு. கர்நாடகாவில் கோலார் அருகே நந்தி  மலைத்தொடரில் உற்பத்தியாகும் பாலாறு, கர்நாடகத்தில் 93கி.மீ.தூரமும், ஆந்திராவில் 33கி.மீ. தூரமும் கடந்து தமிழகத்திற்கு வருகிறது. தமிழகத்தில் 222 கி.மீ.ஓடி, சென்னைக்கு 100கி.மீ. தொலைவில் கடலில் கலக்கிறது. கர்நாடகத்தில் இது கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் பூமிக்கடியில் ஓடி (அதனால் இதற்கு குப்தகாமினி என்று கர்நாடகத்தில் பெயர்), பெத்தமங்களா என்ற இடத்தில் பூமிக்கு வெளியே வருகிறது. கண்ணுக்குத் தெரியாமல் ஓடுவதாலோ என்னவோ, கர்நாடகம் இதில் பிரச்சினை செய்வதில்லை. ஆனால், ஆந்திரம் தகராறு செய்கிறது.

தமிழகத்தில் பாலாற்றுப் படுகையின் பரப்பளவு 11,000கி.மீ. இப்படுகையில் வாழும் மக்கள் குடிநீருக்காவும், விவசாயத்திற்காகவும் பல நூற்றாண்டுகளாக பாலாற்றைப் பயன்படுத்தி வருகின்றனர். பாலாறு மூலமாக, வேலூர் மற்றும் காஞ்சிபுரம் மாவட்டங்களில் மட்டும் 2 லட்சம் ஏக்கர் பாசன வசதி பெற்று வந்தன. காவிரி டெல்டா பகுதிக்கு அடுத்த படியாக தமிழகத்திற்கு அதிக நெல் விளைச்சலைத் தருவது பாலாற்று வடிநிலப்பகுதி. ‘அதெல்லாம் ஒரு காலம்’ என்று சொல்லும் அளவுக்கு இன்றைக்கு நிலைமை மாறிவிட்டது. பாலாற்றில் தண்ணீருக்குப் பதிலாக கானல் நீரை மட்டுமே இன்று காண முடிகிறது. பாலாற்றின் மூலம் தண்ணீர் பெறுகிற 317 ஏரிகள் இன்று வறட்சியை நோக்கிச் செல்கின்றன. பாலாற்றில் இருந்து செல்லும் 606ஆற்றுக்கால்வாய்களின் நிலையும் அதோகதிதான்.

1802ல் போடப்பட்ட ஒப்பந்தத்தின்படி, சென்னை மாகாணத்தின் அனுமதி இல்லாமல் இரு மாநிலங்களுக்கு இடையே உள்ள நதிகளில் புதிய அணைகளோ, நீர்த்தேக்கங்களோ, நீர் அமைப்புகளோ ஏற்படுத்தக் கூடாது. பாலாறு உட்பட 15 முக்கிய நதிகள் அந்த ஆவணத்தில் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளன. ஆனால், ஆரம்பத்தில் இருந்து இந்த உடன்படிக்கைக்கு மாறாக கர்நாடகம் செயல்பட்டு வருகிறது.

பாலாற்றின் மூலம் தமிழ்நாட்டிற்குக் கிடைக்க வேண்டிய தண்ணீரின் அளவு 77 டி.எம்.சி. ஆனால், பாலாற்றில் இப்போது கனமழை காலங்களில் மட்டுமே தண்ணீர் ஓடுகிறது. கர்நாடகத்தில் பல அணைகளைக் கட்டி, ஏராளமான தண்ணீரை அம்மாநிலம் எடுத்துக் கொள்கிறது. 45கி.மீ. தூரம் மட்டுமே பாயும் ஆந்திரப் பகுதியிலும் ஏராளமான தடுப்பணைகளை ஆந்திரா கட்டியுள்ளது. போதாக்குறைக்கு, தமிழகத்தின் எல்லைப்பகுதியான குப்பம் அருகே  250கோடி ரூபாய் செலவில் 160அடி உயரத்தில் தடுப்பணை ஒன்றைக் கட்டுவதற்கு முயற்சித்துவருகிறது ஆந்திர அரசு. இதன் மூலமாக ஆந்திரப் பகுதியில் 120கிராமங்கள் பயன் பெறும் என்றும், அங்கு புதிதாக கால்வாய் வெட்டப்பட்டு, சித்தூர்-திருப்பதி ஆகிய பகுதிகளுக்கு குடிநீர் கொண்டு செல்லப்படும் என்றும் தெரிவித்துள்ளது ஆந்திர அரசு. தமிழகத்தின் கடும் எதிர்ப்பு காரணமாக, ஆந்திர அரசின் அணை கட்டும் முயற்சி தற்காலிகமாக தடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. ஒருவேளை அங்கு அணை கட்டப்படுமானால், தமிழ்நாட்டின் பாலாறு பாசனப் பகுதிகள்  நிரந்தரமாக பாலைவனமாக மாறிவிடும்.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          –  ஆ. பழனியப்பன்

Courtesy:                    Puthiya Thalaimurai

Edition:                        29.12.2011

Cover Story:               பறிபோகும் தமிழக உரிமைகள்?

Page No:                      8 – 15

For E – Magazine:      www.puthiyathalaimurai.com

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By refusing to take bribes, the Madurai collector has earned 18 transfers in 20 years, a modest house and bank balance and lots of respect.

On a hot summer afternoon, on Madurai’s busy main road, the district collector, U. Sahayam I.A.S, saw a young man talking on a cell phone while riding a motorbike. He asked his driver to wave the man down, got down from his car and meted out instant punishment: plant 10 saplings within 24 hours. Somewhat unconventional justice, some might say. But that’s how Sagayam works.

‘Lanjam Thavirtthu, Nenjam Nimartthu’ (Reject bribes, hold your head high), says a board hanging above Sagayam’s chair in his modest office. That’s the code he lives by, even if politicians are incensed they cannot bend him their way—he’s been transferred 18 times in the last 20 years—and has made enemies of both superiors and subordinates. “I know I sit under a dangerous slogan and probably alienate people,” he says. “But I have been the same Sagayam from Day 1. Standing up against corruption is not for a season. Nor is it a fad. It’s forever.”

Two years ago, as district collector of Namakkal, he voluntarily declared his assets: a bank balance of Rs 7,172 and a house in Madurai worth Rs 9 lakh. Once, when his baby daughter, Yalini, who had breathing problems, was suddenly taken ill, he did not have the Rs 5,000 needed for admitting her to a private hospital. At that time he was deputy commissioner (excise) in Coimbatore and there were 650 liquor licenses to be given out. The going bribe for each was rumored to be Rs 10,000.

Sagayam started cleaning up Madurai the minute he landed here. The main bus terminus at Mattuthavani looked more like a bazaar, with shops all over the bus-shelters and no waiting place for passengers. Even a police outpost had been turned into a shop.The system was well-oiled with haftas to local politicians and policemen. Sagayam quickly went through the rulebook, cited the relevant clauses and cleaned up the entire area. But didn’t it hit poor shopkeepers who lost their livelihood? “A violation is a violation,” says Sagayam, “but we will help them rehabilitate.” Nageswaran, a taxi-driver and one of Sagayam’s many fans, says, “He’s strict and hasn’t taken even ten paise in bribe during his career”.

He’s like the upright collectors they show in some films, a real hero with integrity.”Sagayam’s masters degrees in social work and law come in useful in his role as an administrator. He knows the rulebooks in detail and is not afraid of using them, however powerful the opponent. No wonder then that Sagayam’s career is marked with the scars of countless battles.

When errant village officers ganged up to get Sagayam transferred, people protested and the order was rescinded. When he was in Kanchipuram as revenue officer, he took on the sand mafia, ordering them to stop dredging sand from the Palar riverbed. Large-scale
dredging had made the area flood-prone. The mafia sent goons to assault Sagayam, but he did not budge and would not take back the order. He also took on a mighty soft-drink MNC when a consumer showed him a bottle with dirt floating in it. He sealed the bottling unit and banned the sale of the soft drink in the city. In Chennai, he locked horns with a restaurant chain and recovered four acres valued at some Rs 200 crore.

Given such credentials, it wasn’t surprising for him to be picked by the Election Commission to oversee elections in Madurai, as famous for its temples as its political gods. During the last polls, Sagayam took on M.K. Azhagiri, the local MP and son of former CM and DMK supreme M. Karunanidhi. He conducted voter awareness campaigns in colleges; the DMK petitioned the court twice, seeking to end what it said was an attempt to influence voters, but the court demurred.

Sagayam’s wife Vimala has stood by him all these years but she was rattled by some of the threats during the elections. “He always says if you are right, nobody can hurt you,” she says. “But sometimes it becomes difficult.”

Sagayam takes a hands-on approach to his work. He holds a Monday ‘durbar’, at which anyone can meet him with their complaints. During tours of the district for review meetings and inspections, he will suddenly stop a school bus to talk to children or duck into a school to take a class. When students tell him they want to be IAS or IPS officers, he asks, “It’s all well to say now that you’ll be honest, but will you remain unbending about not taking bribes throughout your career?”

Some months back, while driving to a village, he found a 92-year-old woman cleaning rice. She said she had to work in order to eat. He immediately sanctioned Rs 1,000 as old-age pension for her. When 60-year-old Vellamma met him during a tour of Uthappanaikkanoor village this week and asked him to grant her a pension, he said, “I can do that. But do you want me to send your son to jail too—for abandoning you?”

He said it with a smile, as a joke, but he has in fact taken action against children who don’t take care of their aging parents.

“I believe, as Mahatma Gandhi said, that India lives in her villages,” says Sagayam, who also idolizes Subhash Chandra Bose. His years as a collector—he has slept overnight in village schools many times—have convinced him to better the lot of villagers by strengthening the village administrative officer (VAO) system.

Many VAOs have never visited villages and often stay miles away from where they should be, in cities. In Namakkal, his action against errant VAOs had them ganging up with politicians to get him transferred. Over 5,000 villagers protested, saying they wouldn’t let Sagayam go. The politicians had to retreat.

Sagayam says he learnt honesty on his mother’s knees. He is the youngest of four sons of a farmer from Pudukottai.“Our adjoining field had mango trees and my friends and I would pick the fallen fruit,” he says.  “But my mother made me throw the mangoes away, saying I should enjoy only what is mine.” Now his daughter Yalini wants to become a collector. When she has an argument with her brother Arun, she asks her father, “Is he really your son? He just told a lie!” Both of them are proud of their father.

Recently, after a long time, the Sagayam family went on a vacation to Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. While visiting a gurudwara, a stranger came up to their father and asked him, “Aren’t you IAS officer Mr Sagayam?” Yalini and Arun have not stopped beaming.

http://www.citehr.com/364992-madurai-collector-mr-sahayam-ias-serving-poor-disadvantaged.html

Her advice to civils aspirants is to be frank during the board interview.

In her first attempt, this 24-year old law graduate from the School of Excellence in Law, Chennai couldn’t clear the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary but in her second attempt, she emerged the first ranker! Daughter of V Shanmugam, a customs consultant and homemaker S. Padmavathy, Divyadharshini was working at SBI for the past six months. She shares her journey. 

Name: Divyadharshini Shanmugam
Rank:  1
Exam: Civil Service Exam 2010


Q.How did you hear the good news? 
A.I was in office when the results were declared, and a friend informed me of the results. It came as a shock! At first I did not believe but it but confirmed it through my brother. It took a while to realise that it was not a dream.

Q.Who is the inspiration behind your success?
A. My mentor Prabhakaran sir (Director of Prabhas IAS Academy) and my parents. All have given me ample confidence, motivation and have placed belief in me.

Q
.How different was it in the second attempt? What made you crack it?
A.I think one year’s consistent preparation made the difference between the two attempts.

Q.What were your optional subjects and why did you choose them?
A.Prelims – I chose Public Administration due to easy availability of books and study materials, availability of guidance and above all my interest.
Mains – Ichose Public Administration and law, as law was my graduation subject and I felt comfortable with the syllabus.

Study Materials
Public administration
Books by Lakshmikanth and Maheshwari
Solved previous years question papers
Journals by Indian Institute of Public Administration on current topics like RTI and Civil Society
Law
Constitution by Jai Narayan Pandey and M P Jain
Contracts by Avatar Singh
Torts by Atchudhan Pillai
International Law by Kapoor and Agarwal
Indian Economy
Dutt & Sundaram, Economic & Politically Weekly, Yojna
Indian Polity
DDBasu, NCERT
Science & Technology
Spectrum, NCERT
Indian History
NCERT, Bipan Chandra
Geography
NCERT, Atlas
Current Affairs
The Hindu, Frontline, India Year Book

Q.How was the interview? Can you recall any questions from the board members?
A.The interview board was cordial. I answered to my satisfaction. There were one or two questions for which I didn’t know the answer but I was frank with the board and told them the truth that I did not know.

The questions were based on my profile and were based on the RTI Act, Lokpal Bill etc.

Q.How good are coaching institutes and what to be cautious of if you choose one?
A.Coaching centres are a guiding light but it all ultimately comes down to your individual effort. Attending mock tests would help a lot to ascertain where we stand. Choosing the right centre would have to be made cautiously.

There are many money sucking institutes and we need to be careful not to get into their hands and waste our money and time

Q.Do you have any priority areas where you would like to see you making a difference in the administrative services?
A.IAS gives a wider scope to serve the society and make a difference. I think bridging the rural – urban developmental divide would help in the longer run.

Q.Your message to future CSE aspirants…
A.I would like to wish them all the very best for the exam. It’s a way to go forward with confidence and belief in yourself. It’s not too easy but neither too hard. Right amount of effort would pay good results

Q.What was your strategy for optionals, GS and Essay?
A.Optional – I covered the entire syllabus and prepared concrete points for each topic and always revised before exams. Notes are really helpful especially during exam times.

GS – In addition to prelims preparation, adding personal view and analysis of the questions

Essay – I think there is no need to special preparation for essay. Preparation for general studies help in writing the essay paper. Newspaper reading builds ideas which helps in essay.

Courtesy: Careers360

Are you from Madurai as well as Civil Service Aspirant, then this post is for you.

The below mentioned interview questions were asked for one of the civil service candidate from Madurai.

Civil Service aspirants from Madurai can definitely expect at least one question about Madurai.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Board: Rajani Razdan Das

On the whole the interview was smooth. The board was not probing too much on any topic. They accept whatever we say.

Questions:

Chairman:

What is phobia? What is anxiety? What is the difference? Tell some of the phobias.

Member 1:

1. Do you know anything on organizational theories? What is motivation?

2. Your hobby is mimicry? Can u mimic some actors or politicians? “I said yes” They asked me to mimic Vadivelu, Karunanidhi, Rajini. I tried.

3. Can you say something about the architecture of Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple?

Member 2:

what is material Management? What are the processes in material management?

Member 3:

your hobby is star gazing? What stars you can see?

Member 4:

1. Asked about my work experience in TVS
2. Tell about the geography of Madurai?


3. If you are a material manager for factory in Madurai, what are the challenges?


4. How are you suitable for IAS?
Chairman: Thank you

Architecture of  Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Location Heart of Madurai
Dedicated To Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer
Highlights Magnificent architecture

Meenakshi Temple is the most exquisite example of the Dravidian architecture. It is a master piece and was the center of activity for the promotion of art and culture in Madurai. It is the main attraction of the city and pilgrims come to the place in the search of spirituality and peace. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer. Meenakshi Amman Temple is located centrally in Madurai and the lotus-shaped city surrounds it completely. It claims the distinction of being the largest and the oldest temple in Madurai.

Meenakshi temple was originally built by Kulasekarer Pandya. But the credit for the present look of the temple goes to the Nayakas, who ruled Madurai from 16th to 18th century. The temple has huge Gopurams which can be seen from a far off distance. There are total twelve gopurams, but the tallest four stand on the outer walls, each facing one direction. Amongst the four gateways, the south one is the tallest. It is about 50 m high and can be climbed to have a view of the entire city.

This gateway contains the twin temples of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer. These temples are again separately surrounded by four smaller gopurams. Meenakshi Amman Temple can be entered from any of its five entrances. The eastern entrance is usually preferred, as it opens in front of the Meenakshi Sannadhi (shrine), the reigning deity of the twin-temple. This is the only entrance which does not have a towering gopuram.

Ashta Shakti Mandapam (mandapam hall) is the first attraction on this side of the temple. It was built by Thirumalai Nayakar’s wives. This hall was once used to distribute food to the devotees who came from far off places. The pillars in the hall are carved with Lord Siva’s Tiruvilayadals (miracles) and the life story of Meenakshi, as the princess of Madurai. There are a number of other halls and towers in the temple which are worth watching for their sculptures, carvings and designs. Each one is different from the other, in one aspect or the other.

The ‘Mandapam’ of the temple consists of 985 pillars. Each pillar is unique. Some of the pillars are music pillars, which produce music when tapped. The special feature of these pillars is that they are carved out of a single granite stone block. The temple also has an art museum. It contains icons, drawings and photographs which date back to the 1200 – year – old history of Indian temple architecture in the south. A lot of information can be extracted on the Hindu pantheon and related legends from this splendid museum.

Various kings renovated the temple, leaving a distinct impression of their artistic taste. A number of complex corridors, magnificent sculptures and a heavenly abode suitable for Goddess Meenakshi, include the additions to the temple that were done by different kings. Her image is said to be carved out of a single emerald. According to mythology, the marriage of Meenakshi and Shiva actually took place in Madurai. It is still celebrated every year with great pomp and show.

Geography of Madurai City


Area
51.85 sq kms (approx. 20 sq miles)
Population
922,913 as of 2001
Altitude
100.58 meters
(330 feet) above sea-level

Today, vast stretches of lush paddy fields, dusty roads and crowded bazaars make it seem almost like an overgrown village that is just blossoming into a town. The city, situated on the banks of the River Vaigai, is the second largest in TamilNadu. It is also a burgeoning industrial center with its famous textile mills, engineering industries and vast university campus. It covers an area of 22 sq. KMs. and contains a population of 10,93,702. Lying at an altitude of 100.58 meters, it receives an average rainfall of 85 CMs.

Vaigai River

River in Madurai, flowing 150 miles (240 km) generally southeast. Rising in the Varushanad Hills of western Tamil Nadu, it initially flows northeast through the Kambam and Varushanad valleys. In its central reaches the Vaigai flows eastward into the Vaigai reservoir at Narasingapuram. Near Sholavandan it bends to the southeast, passing Madurai town on its course to its mouth on Palk Strait, which separates the southeast coast of India from Sri Lanka. The Vaigai River rarely floods; its chief tributaries are the Siruliar, Theniar, Varaha Nadi, and Mangalar.

The geography of Madurai comprises of its location, altitude and area. This religious city falls within its namesake district, Madurai, and also acts as the district headquarters. The city of Madurai is situated on the banks of the river Vaigai. It is located between 9.93º North Longitude and 78.12º East Latitude. The city lies at an altitude of 330 feet or 101 meters above sea level. This religious town of Tamil Nadu stretches over an area of 22.6 square kilometers.

Famous for the Meenakshi temple, the city of Madurai is bordered by three hills. These hills are known as the Yanaimalai which mean an elephant, Nagamalai meaning snake and Pasumalai which stands for cow.

Madurai is a land-locked city and is located in the vicinity of a number of famous cities and towns. Some of the famous nearby towns are Anaiyur, Aruppukottai, Avaniyapuram, Bodinayakanur, Chinnamanur, Cumbum, Devakottai, Dindigul, Karaikudi, Kodaikanal, Melur, Paramakudi, Periyakulam, Palani, Rajapalayam, Rameswaram, Sattur, Sivakasi, Srivilliputhur, Sivagangai, Thirumangalam, Thirupparankundran, Usilampatti and Virudhunagar.


Source:

Interview Questions: http://www.civilserviceinterviews.blogspot.com

Info About Madurai:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madurai

http://www.madurai.org.uk/religious-places/meenakshi-temple.html

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Shah Faisal, a doctor by profession, has topped the UPSC exam this year. He tells Abhishek Ghosh what it takes to clear the prestigious civil services exam in the first attempt.


Ihad to turn water to cheese, says Shah Faisal, who is the first person from Jammu and Kashmir to come first in the UPSC exam. Faisal, who completed his MBBS only last year, insists that he became a doctor by default. And yet his is a story of passion finding its path.  Growing up in a village in Sogam, Kupwara, he says that he lacked the exposure that big city kids have, so he drifted into the medical profession. “In Srinagar, there is a craze about the medical profession and my father also wanted me to become a doctor, so I willingly complied,” he adds.

It was during his stint in MBBS that he met Dr Abdul Ghani Mir — an IPS officer. More interactions ensued, and the drifting, freewheeler had found his calling. “You are always affected by your surroundings. The abject poverty around me and harsh living conditions had made me restless. When I met Dr Mir, it was as if I had found the key to the door. It was a eureka moment for me. I knew if I qualify for this I could contribute to society in a massive way,” he says breathlessly. “We used to have long discussions on every subject under the sun and it helped shape my world-view, it widened my horizons and gave me a purpose.”
After completing his MBBS degree, Faisal had just two months before the prelims. “I completely immersed myself in studies, shut out the rest of the world. I realised I had only two months to realise a long-cherished dream.” As it happened May 17, 2009, the date of the prelims exam was also his birthday.

After he cleared his prelims, he was even more fired up and came to Delhi and joined the Jamia Hamdard Study Circle. “There, too, I continued with my hermitical ways, losing myself in course books and only listening to music — sufi, Kashmiri folk and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are his favourites — to unwind. I didn’t step out much, kept a hawk eye on current affairs, reading newspapers, periodicals and books to keep myself updated.” But aren’t MBBS and IAS two very separate fields of study. “Yes, but both involve serving society, though the course content may be different. Also, I have benefited immensely from days when I studied in the medical college. We were required to study for long hours and under a lot of stress,” he says, adding, “so I was already familiar with the studying conditions for the civil services’ exam.”

Faisal, who has several interests — reading poetry of Faiz, Iqbal and Rumi, learning French, reading psychology — had public administration and Urdu literature as his subjects. What in his view is an essential ingredient for any IAS aspirant? “Passion for knowledge and a desire to serve society,” he says. “You need to have a voracious appetite for garnering knowledge; you must be tremendously interested in the goings-on of the world around you, as you try and make sense of it and have an itch to create a better society than how you found it,” he says. “Also a sense of deep faith on one’s abilities helps. Some IAS aspirants give themselves five years to compete, while I always thought it could be done in the first year itself,” he adds.

He is deeply grateful to his late father, who inculcated in him the value of knowledge and learning from an early age, while his mother has been with him through thick and thin. “Both of them have been instrumental in me becoming the person I am today.” In the future, Faisal wants to become a district magistrate but is not particular about the state where he would want to be posted, however Kashmir holds a special place in his heart.

Courtesy: Timesofindia.com


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