Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Ashes and DRS

England defeated Australia by 14 runs in Trent Bridge Test that concluded on 14/7/2013. The Test was marred by DRS controversy. Marais Erasmus was the third umpire.
Two decisions were wrong. First one was not DRS but referred by field umpire Kumar Dharmasena when Ashton Agar was ruled not out. He was on 6. He went on to score 98 and created many records. Those included highest score by a No. 11 batsman and highest 10th wicket partnership of 163 runs. Australia were 131/9. They overtook England’s first Innings total of 215 runs and ended on 280.
In Jonathan Trott’s case DRS decision was wrong. Lack of side-on Hot Spot was said to be the reason for wrong decision. Marais Erasmus did not go by video replay that showed the bat touching the ball. Jonathan Trott was out on 0.
Stuart Broad was right in not walking when he was on 37 in second Innings. Umpire Aleem Dar ruled him not out. Australia had exhausted their two appeals under DRS. A batsman has to leave if he is wrongly given out by field umpire or on appeal by third umpire. Stuart Broad was out on 65.
The Test was decided by DRS when Alastair Cook used DRS against Brad Haddin who was on 71 and for 10th wicket Australia had put on 65 runs and needed 15 to win. England got it right and won the Test by 14 runs. Australia were all out for 296.
The inadequacies of DRS are exposed. India had opposed DRS. Other countries are happy when it suits them and raise questions when it goes against them. Number of appeals can be increased. Some inadequacies can be set right. But there is no protection if the third umpire knowingly gives a wrong decision due to fixing or some other reason.

End of telegram

The era of telegram which began in India in 1850 came to an end on 14/7/2013. It was revolutionary when it began and dominated for about 150 years. Many times people dreaded the arrival of a telegram because they feared it brought the news of death. There were not many telephones and outstation calls had to be through telephone exchanges. With the spread of telephone and of telex and fax there was less reliance on telegram at the end of the 20th century. Things changed drastically in 21st century. Mobile phones became common. Telex became outdated. Spread of internet meant documents can be scanned and sent. Telegram began to fade away. The government had to shut down telegraph department.
Employees who wanted leave would ask someone to send a telegram to say father or mother is serious. Telegram had numbers for certain messages and that saved money of senders.
Change in technology renders many things irrelevant. Telegram joins a long list of such things. Pagers, VCPs, VCRs, telex, typewriters, cyclostyle, floppy disks, LP records, and audio cassettes are some of them.
Many cities have central telegraph officers which are now redundant. The government can maintain them for historical value or auction them and make money which can reduce current account deficit.

Trayvon Martin case

In USA in a black versus white case looking at the composition of jury one can foretell the verdict. If the majority of the jury is white the verdict goes in favour of white person. That happened in Rodney King case. If the majority of the jury is black the verdict goes in favour of black person. That happened in O. J. Simpson case. When the jury for Trayvon Martin case was constituted it was obvious it will be in favour of the white person George Zimmerman as his father was white though he claimed he was Hispanic because his mother was Hispanic. The jury consisted of five white women and one woman who was half black and half Hispanic. Added to that most prosecution witnesses were white who said things that favoured defence. If the jury had consisted five black women and one woman who was half white and half Hispanic the verdict would have been George Zimmerman guilty of murder. If three women had been black and three white there would have been deadlock. The judge was white and her instruction to jury was in favour of white person.
Florida and some states have stand your ground law which allows a person to kill in self-defence. It was meant to protect oneself from burglars or in cases of attack. It was not for following someone, picking up a fight and killing him.
George Zimmerman had shot dead Trayvon Martin on 26/2/2012. Trayvon Martin was walking alone. The police had told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, picked up a fight, shot him dead, and claimed it was in self-defence. The verdict outraged many Americans. There were protests in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. One black protestor said it was back to the ‘50s when white persons thought “It is okay to kill a black person.” There was no violence unlike Rodney King case.
Civil Rights leaders have called the murder of Trayvon Martin a hate crime. Jesse Jackson talked of taking the case to next level.
USA should do away with jury system. Judges should deliver verdicts. For that the legislators should amend the constitution as original Article III prescribes that the Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury.

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