Srinagar sits in an alluvial basin and is well known as a flood prone area. The problem has been compounded by the construction of embankments on either side of the Jhelum river. Progressive silting of the river has raised the river bed till it is higher than street level.

The stretch of the river from Sopore to Baramulla has the same features but has been regularly dredged and de-silted. However, for some inexplicable reason, no de-silting has been done from Srinagar to Wular lake.

Severe floods occurred in the Kashmir valley in September 2014. The embankments gave way at several locations and most of the river emptied out into the city. Diverting some of the water to the flood channel merely resulted in flooding rural areas also.

A far more elegant solution to river flooding is to de-silt the river, thereby increasing its carrying capacity. Sand mining also has the same effect — at no cost to the government — and needs to be encouraged. Our blog came out with a detailed explanation of all this in September 2014 itself. However, we were surprised at the sheer apathy of the government and the general public. A sustained campaign was, therefore, undertaken in the electronic media and by interacting with opinion makers.

We are glad to report that the J & K government has seen reason and has now issued a tender for purchase of two cutter suction dredgers. This is a case study on the importance of public opinion in a democracy.



The basic problem in Chennai is that the annual rainfall is highly variable. In some years it is as low as 18 inches and there is drought. In other years it is as high as 90 inches and there are floods. The average annual rainfall is about 50 inches and the drainage system can only cope with this. Cyclones visit Chennai every now and then and cause torrential downpour. Most Chennai floods occur due to cyclones.

We can see that history repeats itself. The main difference in 2015 was that there was no cyclone. Instead there were two spells of prolonged rainfall of moderate intensity. Both these spells were very much forecast and it was apathy and complacency that caught the people unprepared. The first spell was in early November. It saturated the ground and filled the numerous storage tanks. It was pretty obvious that the second spell would make the tanks overflow.



24th May is Aviation Maintenance Technician Day. It honors an aviation pioneer, Charles E Taylor, who was the mechanic with the Wright Brothers. The Wrights were high school dropouts and Taylor was certainly not much more educated than that. The three of them developed :
The first wind tunnel
The first aircraft propeller
The first aero engine
The first roll control for aircraft
The first pitch control
All this was achieved with their meagre earnings from their bicycle shop. They beat the competition — Prof Langley who was funded with millions of dollars from the Smithsonian Institution. Each one of these developments is more important than the work done by many Nobel prize winners! Just proves my theory that mechanics are sometimes better than engineers. Given below is a brief account of the life and work of Charles Taylor.  Read more at


My grandfather and earlier generations were farmers. You could say that farming is in my blood. So when I got a chance to see a dairy farm and creamery in North Carolina, off I went.

“Simply Natural” is a dairy farm that pasteurises and bottles its milk and makes its own cream, butter and 35 flavours of ice cream. Refrigerated trucks deliver the finished products to the neighbouring towns in eastern North Carolina. They have a retail shop. And guided tours too.  


What Makes Kerala Distinctive?

Kerala is blessed with rich soil, a tropical climate and plenty of rainfall. It, therefore, attracted raiders and migrants from the arid region of Madurai. They established the independent kingdom of Travancore. Migrants from the north settled and took over the region from Gokar-nam to Kasargode. In recent centuries there were three regions — Travancore and Kochi kingdoms and Malabar. The last was ceded by Tipu Sultan to the British who merged it with the Madras Presidency. The present state of Kerala was formed on 01 Nov 1956 as a result of states re-organisation.


3007 Solves the Flooding Problem in Srinagar

For those who may not know, dredging means, ‘to clear the bed of (a harbour, river, or other area of water) by scooping out mud, weeds, and rubbish with a dredge. This process has been successfully employed to deepen rivers and harbours to facilitate marine transportation, and also for flood control. In India, a Dredging Corporation of India was established in 1976. However, its use has largely been confined to harbours and ports. When Srinagar inundated by flood waters a few years ago, my friend Wg Cdr J Thomas suggested that the river Jhelum be dredged to ensure that this disaster does not occur again. He published several articles and reached out to the authorities in J & K. We carried his message in this website, and we are glad to tell you that his voice was heard. During those days, he was a man possessed. Dredging became an obsession…‘a magnificent obsession’. I have summarised the life and work of this pilot, who began his service in the Kashmir valley in 1962. He had flown over that area, and the idea of taming the river had occurred to him all those years ago. Now, when the earth moving techniques have improved so much, there is a crying need to dig the river bed to ensure that flood waters do not cause damage to the Kashmiris. Now, read on…

History of Kumbanad Family


Kumbanattu Kudumbayogam was inaugurated on April 9, 1988. A. very concise history of our Kudumbam was then published as a small pamphlet. It was in some respects supplemented by the President, the present writer, in his Presidential address.

This evoked  keen interest among a large number of the family members, particularly the younger in age, and there was a pressing demand to prepare a full and detailed history of our family. Accordingly, the Kudumbayogam has adopted a resolution to prepare a directory of the family. Such a work is bound to take time. I have, therefore, ventured to prepare this brief history of our family.

The history of our family is closely linked with the establishment and growth of the Christian Church (Mar Thoma Church) in this village of ours.

The knowledge of the history of the Church is even poorer than that of the family. Though there are many books dealing with Church history, they are not within easy reach of everybody. Reading them is often cumbersome because of their involvement in the different order of faiths and various interpretations.

The present aim is only to give something like a gist without going into details or getting involved in the discussion of different faiths, beliefs and interpretations. Though not exhaustive, care has been taken to be as accurate in facts, as possible.

Part I of this treatise deals with the history of the Church in Kerala – the Malankara Church, with special emphasis on the Mar Thoma Church. Part II deals with the history of our family. The two parts are practically independent of each other.

Sd/ T.J. Thomas

Theckethil, Kumbanad

December 20, 1990


Lifeline Through the Sky — Ladakh 1962

Nabhsa Jeevan Dhara

1…2…3……43 !

Lifeline Through the Sky – Ladakh 1962

By J Thomas

Around 1960 Sqn Ldr Chandan Singh was a flight commander in 43 and he opened up valley routes for operation to Kargil, Leh, Thoise, Fukche and Chushul airstrips and to many DZs. Soon after, the C-119G Packets operated in strength and the AN-12s entered the scene. Fukche and Chushul were handed over to the Packets while Leh and Chushul became the mainstay of the AN-12s. In 1962 43 squadron operated to Kargil , Leh and Thoise airstrips and to Sultan Chushku DZ. Except for Leh, we were the only fixed wing operators to these places. In winter, Zoji La was snowed under and the whole of Ladakh was purely air maintained. Thoise and Sultan Chushku were air maintained even in summer. Our squadron offices were in tents and so ……

– See more at:

A Tribute to Air Commodore Jasjit Singh

Air Cdre Jasjit firsr



J Thomas

Veteran Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, AVSM, VrC, VM passed away in New Delhi on 04 Aug 2013 at the age of 79. He was a well known Military Analyst, and did deep research on Air Power for the National Defense. A prolific writer, he has published several books and scores of papers for various journals and news papers. Veteran Wing Commander Joseph Thomas, VM introduced me to him in 1986, and I borrowed books from his rich personal library many times. Given below, is a brief tribute to the departed soldier sent to me by Thomas. [Editor}


Air Commodore Jasjit Singh was a former Director of Operations of the IAF and former Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He was one of the leading analysts of Indian military and strategic thought. His tenure as the Director of IDSA and as the founder of the “Center for Air Power Studies” has cemented his legacy in the annals of Indian Aviation.

– See more at:

Science Competitions for Students in the USA

Science Competitions for Students in the USA


J Thomas

Every year, more than 9 million school students enter a science competition. Of those, several thousand students in classes 9–12 participate in the topmost levels of competition. These prestigious competitions include:

Google Science Fair!/en/2013/ The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. Top prize is a $50,000 scholarship.

Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology: A competition for high school students. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS): A competition for high school students only. Regional winners proceed to a national competition.

Sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge: For high school students only; recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. Process is state, regional, international—all held by sanofi-aventis. Top prize is a $7,500 cash award.

Various state and regional fairs.

Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS): A competition for high school seniors. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

– See more at: