Monday, 11 September 2017

Olympic Shooting Sports – An Overview

Olympic Shooting Sports – An Overview
by Ajay Singha, Shooting Sports Enthusiast, ISSF licensed Shotgun Coach and Referee  

In shooting sports it is very much a competition with oneself as the shooter tries to improve on his/her previous scores and as time progresses goes through a difficult phase when scores plateau and improvement becomes an uphill task. For the true shooting sport enthusiast the weapon becomes an extension of the body as the shooter must be absolutely at peace with oneself while aiming and shooting. A stage is reached where the gun which is the means for shooting becomes an end in itself and a point of perfect harmony is achieved between the mechanical and the human.

An increased public interest in shooting sports and news related to the performance of certain athletes led me to write this overview. Information shared will be interesting for those reading or writing for sports pages, parents of young shooters and those interested in understanding this discipline. Shooting is a highly individualistic sport and requires large amounts of patience, focus and determination if you plan to make a mark. These personality traits must be developed by every person entering this sport. Additionally they bring positivity in life and yield substantial benefits in other aspects of human existence.

People often ask questions relating to various aspects of one or the other events comprising this discipline. The following covers the present scenario in Olympic Shooting Sports and some events which are no longer included in Olympics have been mentioned in passing. Information relating to Paralympics are not included in this piece.

The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) governs competitive shooting across continents and organisers of the Olympics, Continental games and World Cups look up to the ISSF for formulating rules and regulations governing their events. From 2017 a revised set of events and rules have been put into place which will impact all Olympic shooting events in 2020. In India the National Rifle Association NRAI is the apex body governing this sport and is headed by a prominent shooter unlike some of the other sports in the country. In India the NRAI truly represents the shooting sports community and is responsible for the remarkable progress in the medal hauls internationally. 

The sports community in general had strong concerns about gender equality in Olympics because in shooting there were nine men’s and only six women’s events at the last Olympics. Gender equality means that all Olympic sports must have a 50-50 men’s and women’s events and participation quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The ISSF recommended changes which were accepted by the IOC and have been forthwith introduced at World Cups and National games and will feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

If we compare to the last Olympics, the Double Trap Men event has been replaced with a Shotgun Trap Mixed Gender Team event. The 50m Rifle Prone Men event has been replaced with a 10m Air Rifle Mixed Gender Team event and the 50m Pistol Men event will be replaced by a 10 meter Mixed Gender Team event.  This proposal was developed to preserve gender and discipline parity and retain 15 Olympic shooting events – 5 Rifle, 5 Pistol and 5 Shotgun. 



Shooting Sports events at the 2020 Seoul Olympics (total 15)
DISCIPLINES
MEN’S EVENTS
WOMEN’S EVENTS
MIXED GENDER
RIFLE
50m Rifle 3 Positions

10m Air Rifle
50m Rifle 3 Positions

10m Air Rifle


10m Air Rifle
PISTOL
25m Rapid Fire Pistol

10m Air Pistol
25m Pistol

10m Air Pistol


10m Air Pistol

SHOTGUN
Trap

Skeet
Trap

Skeet
Trap
TOTAL
6
6
3

In 1980’s the number of shooting events in Olympics was just seven as compared to 15 presently. In the 1986 World Championship a special finals match was introduced for the first time and from 1988 Olympics onwards continues till date albeit with changes.  Individual events and their rules are periodically reviewed and may again be amended in future Olympics depending on their acceptability to the viewing public and competing nations. The Olympic committee and the ISSF periodically examine the popularity of individual events amongst the youth, audience interest, affordability and related criteria to decide continuing or replacing them.  

The different shooting events presently covered in the Olympics can be divided into Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun categories.
In Rifle category the Olympic events take place in 10 Meter .177 Air Rifle and 50 Meter .22 Rifle. The 10 Meter has only standing position competition for both Men and Women. 60 shots for men and 40 shots for women are fired. In 50 Meter Rifle the men and women shooter must fire in three different positions namely standing, kneeling and prone.  A mixed gender team event has been introduced now in 10 meter Rifle featuring the top 8 shooters from Men as well as Women categories. They will form teams of two each and the shooter with the highest score in Women will pair with the lowest scoring shooter amongst Men and so on. This new event will be played in the finals format only and has been added to bring up viewer interest and youth participation.


In all rifle and pistol events the targets have circular rings and hitting closer to the centre secures a higher score as compared to the outer ring. This is measured on a scale of 0 to 10 points per shot. Today the international scores are about winning with decimal points as most international shooters secure perfect scores hitting the bull’s eye in almost each shot. This challenge of measuring decimals is not possible in the traditional paper targets and can be measured only on electronic scoring targets which will be explained later.

In the10 meter ranges only .177 calibre Air Rifle and Air Pistols are used in an indoor air conditioned environment. Fortunately no license is required for .177 Air weapons and this may be the main reason for the sport becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Fans displacing air at high speed may interfere with pellet trajectory. Lighting is also prescribed at specific levels for target area as well as shooting bays. In 10 Meter both Rifle and Pistol events take place from the standing position in Men as well as Women categories. Schools and private coaches have set up air conditioned 10 Meter indoor shooting Ranges in multi- purpose halls across the country.

With a large participation base this indoor sport is here to stay. Very specialised and high quality air rifles and air pistols are imported from Germany, Austria and Italy. Constant research and improvement by these manufacturers on high grade metals has produced extreme precision weapons as well as pellets. Indian manufactured Air weapons can be used only at a very initial stage by beginners at the school level club events. Specialized clothing to improve the stability of shooting positions is permitted in Rifle but not in pistol events. The clothing must adhere to parameters laid down by ISSF.

Till recently paper targets were used at all levels of competition. The paper targets have been replaced with electronic scoring targets ESTs. The purpose was to improve the accuracy and reduce disputes while shortening the time span to announce medal winners. Scores go beyond 10 points for a perfect bull’s eye into decimals and these decimal points can be recorded with accuracy only in an EST system. Hence the Olympic, Continental, World Cups and also the Nationals are conducted on ISSF approved ESTs only.

In 50 meter Rifle the traditional and exclusive prone position Rifle event for Men has been removed from Olympics but continues in continental, world cups and national levels. Higher calibre Rifles and long range rifle events are no longer in Olympics and continue in Military games, World Championships and Continental games. Similarly running target events for Rifle were discontinued from Olympics years ago but continue to be very popular and played across European nations with a background of hunting and field sports. Unfortunately this historically popular event is losing ground and has been completely ignored in India. Consequently the 10 Meter or full bore ranges do not have facilities to host running target events in India.

As pointed out earlier for Olympics only 50 Meter Rifle 3P, three positions is conducted. Here too the EST must be used even at national levels and beyond as scores go into decimals and accurate scoring is not possible otherwise. The EST system also ensures that scores are registered only if a shot is fired in the allotted time span and not otherwise. No Pistol but only rifle event takes place in Olympics in the 50 Meter ranges. The 50 Meter Pistol is a Men only event which is discontinued from Olympics but is popular at National, Asian and World Cups using .22 calibre pistols.

In Pistol category the events are in 10 Meter .177 Air Pistol and 25 Meter .22 Pistol. Both feature standing single hand position for Men as well as Women. In 10 Meter the number of shots taken is 60 for men and 40 for women. In 25 Meter the event itself is a bit different for Men as it features a dynamic time frame for taking quicker shots as the match progresses (rapid fire). For women it is a stable format and longer time frame with fewer shots taken (sports pistol). Pistol events in 25 Meter featuring calibres higher than .22 calibres were discontinued from Olympics much earlier but continue in Continental and World Cups / Championships for Men only. To sum up, the 10 Meter as well as 25 Meter ranges feature Men and Women Pistol standing position events and only the 10 Meter will have a mixed gender event as well. As mentioned earlier the 50 Meter .22 Pistol event for men has been removed from Olympics as it attracted a decreasing and limited participation from countries.
 
Only Pistol events are held in 25 Meter ranges and there are no rifle events in 25 Meter. Pistols of .22 calibre are used for Rapid fire events for both men and women in 25 Meter Pistol category. Men have to fire in two identical stages divided in series of 5 shots each. The first two series must be completed in 8 seconds, the third and fourth in 6 seconds while the last 2 in 4 seconds each. Women must fire 30 shots in Precision stage and 30 in the Rapid fire stage taking 3 seconds for each shot. The EST system ensures that scores are registered only if a shot is fired in the allotted time span and not otherwise.  Higher calibre pistol events take place in Continental games and World Cups only. These pistols require an arms license which is not easy to get for shooters on an individual basis. Clubs and Shooting Ranges are getting arms and ammunition at an increasing pace across India and all 10 meter pistol shooters can easily pick up this sport quickly.   

Shotgun Trap and Skeet are played by both men and women and now a mixed team event for Trap has also been introduced in the Olympics.  Double Trap shooting has been removed from the Olympic scene but continues in Continental and World Cups / Championships. In these events 12 gauge over under shotguns are used (16 and 20 gauge are permitted but seldom used) and a shot load measuring 24 grams maximum is fired.

Trap and Skeet feature men and women categories and now a mixed team event for Trap has been introduced in the Olympics.  Both Trap and Skeet are fully outdoor events and require ranges fitted with prescribed all weather equipment and machines which are ISSF approved adhering to their specifications. All these equipments are not made in India and constant research and development in technology and materials does not make economic sense to manufacture them in India. There are several rules and sub-rules governing this sport which must be followed scrupulously at all levels of competitions as they provide safety and uniformity in the sport. Arms license are required for individual shooters but increasingly Ranges across the country are acquiring guns and ammunition for members. This is an expensive sport as the guns, clay targets and ammunition are all imported.      
In Shotgun Trap the shooter must break a clay target which is electronically released through a voice activated system. The clay targets in trap shooting move at a speed of around 100 km/h and takes varying trajectories based on specific tables which are computer controlled and set in advance. The shooter must aim and break the target in less than a second of release and before it goes out of hitting range and falls at a distance of about 76 meters. A shooter is allowed to take two shots for each target but only a single shot in the finals. A trap trench with 15 machines, three in front of each station selects the flight path of each target. The computer controlled system ensures that each shooter gets similar angles of targets during each match of 25 shots and hence all competing shooters get the same chances on similar targets. Men shoot a qualifying round of 125 targets over two days while women shoot a 75 target qualifying course. The top six shooters from the qualifying round proceed into the finals.

Shotgun Skeet has been a part of the Olympics since 1968 and shooters fire a fixed course of 25 targets per round, fired from eight different shooting stations. Shooters start with the shotgun’s butt stock held at hip level and then call for their targets. Targets emerge from throwing machines housed at each side of the field, with the two houses referred to as the low house and high house. The targets speed is slower than trap as they fall at 72 meters and always taking a similar flight path. Targets are presented as either singles or doubles, and only one shot is allowed at each target. The doubles are indeed challenging as the shooter must move his gun to the opposite direction immediately after taking his first shot. Men shoot a qualifying round of 125 targets over two days while women shoot a 75 target qualifying course. The top six shooters from the qualifying round proceed into the finals.

The Finals
Now all shooting events conducted under ISSF rules are divided into qualifying and final matches. As the match is divided into qualifying and finals the shooters are given a ranking based on their performance in the qualifying event. The semi-final and final medal match format of the past has been abandoned. This has been done in order to have a consistent format for all the 15 ISSF Olympic shooting finals. Depending on the event the top six or eight shooters are given a ranking bib to wear during the finals. The finalists participate in a match which progresses eliminating the shooter with the lowest net score

has witnessed several changes by ISSF designed to increase the appeal of shooting sports, make it spectator friendly and increase the excitement leading up to the podium. All finals will now be conducted in an elimination-style format and a system of “records” has been introduced for all events. These changes were developed keeping in mind the importance of sports presentation to the public. Music and commentary in the Finals is now compulsorily required for all ISSF competitions. Music is also encouraged during Elimination and Qualification competitions as it is important for the spectators’ experience and a positive move for the youth.
For all 10m Air weapons and 50m Rifle Finals (except the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Finals) the number of shots has been extended from 20 to 24 – the first 2 series of shots now consist of 5 shots each (and not 3 shots like in the previous set of rules), to be fired in 250 seconds (150 seconds for 50m Rifle Prone). The first elimination will occur after the 12th shot (when the 8th place will be assigned), and from there on one shooter will be eliminated after every two shots. Therefore, the 14th shot will assign the 7th place, the 16th shot will assign the 6th place, the 18th shot for the 5th place, the 20th shot for the 4th place, the 22nd shot for Bronze and finally the 24th shot will decide the Gold and Silver medals winners.

The 25m Pistol Men and Women Final format has also been changed to a progressive elimination Finals. This is similar to the very successful 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Final. Shots will be scored in hit or miss style, and after 4 series of 5 shots each, the first shooter will be eliminated taking the 8th place. From there on, one athlete will be eliminated after every series, right to the 10th and final series that will assign the Gold and Silver medals.

For all Shotgun Finals, the format has changed to a progressive elimination format. All Finalists will start their final matches with a new BIB numbers (from 1 to 6), which as pointed out earlier will be assigned according to their qualification ranking. Qualification rankings will also decide ties for 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd places.

In Trap Finals, all six finalists will shoot a round of 25 targets each. After the first 25 targets, the worst performing shooter out of six will be eliminated. Following eliminations will occur after the 30th target (5th place) and the 35th target (4th place), while the Bronze medal will be decided after the 40th target. The two remaining shooters will shoot 10 additional targets, to decide the Gold and Silver medals after the 50th target. If there is a tie for the lowest ranking athlete to be eliminated at a point of the match, there will be no shoot-off. According to the new rules, the ties are broken by the Qualification Rank up to the Bronze medal. Therein lays the importance of ranking in the qualification round. Only if there is a tie for Gold and Silver medals will there be a shoot-off.

The new Skeet Finals will be based on 10-target sequences that include regular and reverse doubles on station 3, a regular or reverse double on station 4 and regular and reverse doubles on station 5. Station 4 doubles will alternate between regular and reverse doubles for each 10-target sequence. Skeet eliminations or medal decisions will occur after 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 targets. Once again, as per the other shotgun event a tie will be decided by the qualification rank. The only exception being the Gold and Silver medal in case of a tie.  Only in that case it will be awarded after a shoot off.
With the new rules in place, all 15 Olympic Shooting events Finals will have records (In the old set of rules the 25m Pistol Women event and all Shotgun events had no records in finals due to the semi-final / medal matches format). The naming of the Records has been changed to make it consistent through all the events and more understandable for the audience. Records scored during Finals are now called “World Records”, while records scored in qualification phases have been renamed “Qualification World Records”.

Paperless (Sustainable) Competitions Organizing Committees will have the option of using paperless, electronic systems to distribute start lists, results lists and information bulletins if wireless Internet connections are generally available on the shooting venue. Officials, coaches and athletes can view these documents on their handheld communication devices.
Athletes may, of course, wear sound reducing hearing protection, but they may not wear sound-enhancing gadgets during play. Competition officials are allowed to wear sound-enhancing hearing protection.

The new Rules permit non-verbal coaching to participants without causing any distraction for others. The role of trainers and coaches during events becomes relevant.
A new Shooting sport discipline made its official debut this year in Suhl Germany , where the first ISSF World Championship Running Target took place  involving around 100 athletes from 10 different countries. First introduced in 2013 and being tested multiple times during these four years, Target Sprint combines middle-distance running and air rifle shooting, a mix that already attracted many athletes from different disciplines, such as track and field and biathlon, who gave it a try and welcomed Target Sprint positively. Presently this is not included in Olympics so I will desist from explaining this interesting event which may well find its way into future games

Monday, 17 April 2017

A School Forgotten

A School Forgotten 
By Ajay Singha, Social Historian
Published in two parts on 16th & 17th April 2017 in ARBIT- Rashtradoot, a leading daily of Jaipur, (Raj.) INDIA
 
In the mid 18th and early 19th centuries, the lot of the East India Company soldiers was unenviable.  Wars and disease took such a toll that few survived long enough to return to England.  Between 1736 and 1834 only some 10% of the East India Company’s officers survived, to take the final voyage home. The most tragic feature of this reality was the fate of the children.  Neglect and tropical diseases ensured that few, if any, survived to adulthood. Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence a prominent personality during the colonial rule in India, mooted the idea of establishing a chain of schools to provide education to the children of the deceased and serving British soldiers of the army. Little is known about institutions which were established for children of ordinary European soldiers who formed the bedrock of the colonial rule in the subcontinent. One such institution was the Lawrence Military School at Mount Abu in Rajputana.

Sir Henry Lawrence had served as the Agent of the East India Company in the Frontier Provinces, Nepal and the Punjab before being appointed as the Resident in Rajputana.  Sir Henry's dream took shape and four such schools, known as Lawrence Asylums, were established in India for these wretched victims of mismanagement. As the jewel in the Imperial British crown India has been home to some of the best public schools outside of England which were essentially meant for the children of the well to do, the privileged classes and nobility of the Princely States of India.  Europeans of the elite classes serving in India received private education through tutors or were sent back home to complete their school education. Orphans and other children of the working European classes in India had few affordable options. From 1844 to his death Sir Henry devoted all his income to this and related forms of charity. The first school opened with 14 pupils at Sanawar in 1847, the second at Mount Abu admitted 7 children of British soldiers in 1854. By April 1855 another 11 children were admitted and the strength at Abu Lawrence grew to 60 in 10 years under Headmaster A. Wolfe. Immediately after the Indian mutiny the strength went up to a 100 children and in 1859 the School’s main building (Pic.) was constructed. By mid 1860s the School was in high demand for admissions but constrained in space because of its central location at Mount Abu. The other two of the four Lawrence schools were started after the death of Sir Henry Lawrence and after the Crown was firmly in the saddle directly ruling the subcontinent. Lovedale was mooted during his lifetime but established a year after his death.  The last at Ghora Ghali in the Murree Hills (now Pakistan) was started in 1860 as a memorial to Henry Lawrence. 

Lady Honoria Lawrence (Pic.) played a key role in establishing the school at Mount Abu. This was a school meant exclusively for orphans and other children of British soldiers serving in India. In 1855 it is the first recorded co-educational boarding school in Rajputana highlands for boys and girls. The stated aim according to Sir Henry was “to create an Asylum from the debilitating effects of the tropical climate and the demoralizing influence of Barrack-life; wherein they (children) may obtain the benefits of a bracing climate, a healthy moral atmosphere, and a plain, useful, and above all religious education, adapted to fit them for employment suited to their position in life”. Sir Henry was no stranger to the barracks and knew that its atmosphere was such as must nip virtue in the bud. Religious education was therefore included but care was taken to ensure that no attempt be made to prejudice children against their parents creed. All the leading truths of Christianity were to be inculcated but “without unnecessary allusion to disputed points of faith on practice”.

Honoria Lawrence died unexpectedly at Mount Abu on 15th January 1854. Much loved and adored by her husband, Sir Henry wrote a letter to his children just five hours after she passed away, expressing his anguish but emphasising his resolve to complete the unfinished task his wife had set her heart on. The letter bears testimony to the affection and devotion he had towards his beloved wife and the task at hand which she had undertaken at Mount Abu. As a man of action Sir Henry ensured that the school in Mount Abu for which his wife had worked tirelessly, admitted children within the very year of her passing away. What better tribute could he give to a departed soul when 7 children (4 girls and 3 boys) of British soldiers were admitted to the school on 13th December 1854.  

The school was co-educational from its beginning and the site at Mount Abu was chosen by Honoria and Sir Henry Lawrence when he was serving as the Governor General’s Agent in Rajputana. The school allowed Anglo Indian children to be admitted, though Lawrence insisted that preference should be given to those of "pure European" parentage, as he considered they were more likely to suffer from the heat of the plains. The school was known as "Lawrence's Asylum", reflecting its focus on orphans. Lawrence began his new role as the Governor-General's Agent in Rajputana in 1853 and much of his energy was devoted to two principal causes. The abolition of widow-burning in Rajputana and reforming the prison system received his attention. Lawrence was able to bear upon the Maharajas of Raputana States to abolishSati, Female infanticideand child slavery through their dominions. The other most important task for Lawrence was the establishment of a school at Mount Abu. With the death of his wife his own health began to fail, prompting him to apply for long leave to visit England. This was not to be, in 1856 Oudh was annexed by the East India Company on the grounds of internal maladministration and in March 1857, Lawrence was appointed to the prestigious post of Chief Commissioner of Oudh. With all his past experience of dealing with native troops and related social issues Sir Henry could sense the unrest building up and immediately undertook preparations for an imminent siege of the Residency. On 30 June, the Residency was suddenly besieged by Indian mutineers, and the Siege of Lucknow commenced. Henry Lawrence was wounded by an exploding shell on 2nd of July and died two days later. When Lawrence was critically injured, he is supposed to have said to those around him: "Put on my tomb only this; Here lies Henry Lawrence who tried to do his duty."
                                                                                                                         
For the children of underprivileged British soldiers the Abu Lawrence Asylum offered an education that stressed discipline, obedience and acquiescence to a future of limited opportunity for the underprivileged British children. A class structure has always segregated English society and as colonial rule spread across continents the social baggage associated with it also moved along. Albeit temporarily, the working classes felt privileged and elevated when they served in the European colonies abroad. In the eyes of the ruling masters the lowest serving European in India was higher in the social pecking order than the highest serving native.  Sir Henry Lawrence may have belonged to the privileged class of British society but he greatly appreciated and valued the contribution of the European working class in India.  This and personal inclinations towards charity led him to start this all boarding co-educational school for children of the British working classes in India. The students were therefore expected to look after themselves rather than depend on native servants. A semi military organisation was introduced, wherein boy NCOs and girl orderlies were appointed to look after the affairs of all their fellow school mates. The students `were divided into companies and five companies made up a division leading up to a School Sergeant for the boys and a School Matron for the girls. Boys wore artillery uniforms complete with a leather helmet etc. Girls were dressed in drab jackets and white bonnets, and both marched to the bugle and drums on parade grounds while divided into military-style companies. The emphasis on self discipline encouraged the children to do most of the tasks themselves so that they would become “trained in industrial habits.”   

The tradition of military training was so strong and of such a high standard that several boys were enlisted from the school and sent straight to the battlefields of the First World War. The visitors’ book is mute testimony of the high level of visitors to the Abu Lawrence School. The who’s who of British India visited the establishment to acknowledge the success of the Lawrence Schools and support the war effort. Replete with names of great personalities the visitors book records the words of encouragement and hope for the children of ordinary British folk who had decided to seek their fortunes in India. This pattern of military service was repeated again during World War II and according to a BBC Radio broadcast in 1941, pupils of the Lawrence schools in India were making a major contribution to the defence of the country.

Sir Henry Lawrence envisioned his wards taking up manual trades like carpentry, masonry, mapping, drafting and smithing, creating the nucleus for a British artisanal class in India. Those who did not make it to the British Indian army were recommended as drummers and musicians to Native Indian regiments. In the British military tradition the drummer, trumpeter and the entire band played a crucial role in the scheme of things. Native Indian infantry battalions whether under direct British control or the Indian Princes required well trained bands to be an effective fighting force. Students from Lawrence Schools were absorbed as bandmasters and conductors, especially in native forces where in house talent was non-existent.  The girls were to be employed in such occupation as would help qualify them for becoming the wives of working British men in India or back home. Plain needle work, Housewifery (sic.) attending to the sick, management of children were taught as part of the school curriculum. These working class girls would have added to the domestic work force in England as domestic helps, maids and factory workers. Options for European young girls was limited in British ruled India and a good education combined with some vocational training greatly enhanced their chance of finding a working class match or a good job as a teacher, medical or office assistant,  either in India or back home.  

From its foundation the financial burden of the School was borne by Sir Henry until his death in 1857, when the government assumed responsibility for the finances as a mark of esteem to his memory. The minimum age for admissions to the Lawrence schools was 3 years and maximum was 16 when a child was expected to leave the institution. There were almost no charges for orphaned children of Private Soldiers and those of a living Sergeant Major paid up to  10/- Rupees a month. Classes comprised of 30 students each and a half yearly examination was conducted for all students. 

Under these circumstances, control of the School passed from the 'Honourable Board of Directors' to the Crown after the Indian Mutiny and exit of the East India Company. This was a most unusual arrangement which continued very successfully till the end of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. In 1947 with India’s independence, the bulk of the staff and children at Mount Abu and other Lawrence schools returned to Britain. Thereafter, control of the school passed from the Crown to the government of India's Ministry of Defence who decided to close the Abu Lawrence School in 1950. Sanawar and Lovedale were lucky as the Ministry of Education resolved to administer the school through a society specially created for the purpose. The schools turned public, somewhat elitist and have done exceedingly well ever since. Sadly the Abu Lawrence school which catered to the underprivileged found no takers amongst the westernised Indian power elite, was soon forgotten and consigned to the dustbin of history.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

All Saints Church, Jaipur - a brief history

In 1875 the Ruler of Jaipur State Lieutenant General His Highness Maharaja Dhiraj Sir Sawai Madho Singh Bahadur GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, GBE, LLD donated a large piece of land for the construction of a church for the benefit of the Christian population of the city. He further donated Rupees 3,000/- towards the church building fund. The foundation stone of the church was laid during the Episcopate of Bishop Milman, Metropolitan of India.

The All Saints Church building is in the early English style with certain additions to make it suitable for the Indian climatic conditions. The building was opened for Divine Service and consecrated on 4th of August 1878 by the Most Reverend Dr. E.R. Johnson, Bishop of Calcutta and named the “All Saints Church”. All Saints was an Anglican church designed and completed under the supervision of Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob KCIE, CVO who served as the Superintending Engineer of Jaipur State from 1867 to 1902. The cost of construction at that time was Rupees 21,000/- A Chaplin used to visit from Bandikui, a town which had a sizeable Christian population due to the presence of the British Indian Railways. Records relating to this period are still available. The Albert Hall museum in Jaipur has also been constructed under supervision of Sir Swinton Jacob.

The Nave (central area for worshippers) is 55 X 16 feet. The Chancel (space near the Alter) is 14 X 12 feet and the Apse (area where the clergy is seated) is 19 ½ X 8 feet. The vestry (where articles associated with worship are stored) is 12 X 8 feet and the organ room of similar dimensions which also has the bell chamber is on the opposite side. They are separated from the Chancel by open arches with brass rods and curtains. Entrance to the vestry and the organ room are through small marble arches with foliated mouldings. Green marble pillars offset these arches.

The pillars of the main building are of polished red marble with cut stone caps and bases. Foliated bands of polished white marble were subsequently added, thanks to the generosity of Sir Tatton Skyes a visitor to the church in 1908.  The Alter, the Font, the Lectern and the Pulpit are made of local marble.  The Apse windows are in stained glass, the subject being “the good shepherd” and the side windows are to the memory of Gen W.H. Beynon.


The church is owned and managed by the Diocese of Rajasthan, Church of North India which is one of the three non-catholic mainline denominations. The building is kept in good condition and open to visitors throughout the year. Regular Holy Communion worship in English language lasting one and a half hours takes place every Sunday morning at 8:30 am during summers and 9:00 am during winters. All are welcome to participate.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Relevance for Indian Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

A background note for the IPR seminar by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI)and the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks  9-10 February 2017 Jaipur, India By Ajay Singha

Intellectual Property is the property which has been created by exercise of intellectual faculty and is the result of a person’s intellectual creation. Thus IP refers to creations of mind such as inventions, designs for industrial articles, literary, artistic work and symbols which are ultimately used in business and commerce. Intellectual Property rights allow the creators or owners to reap the benefits of their works when these are exploited commercially. These rights are governed in accordance with the provisions of corresponding legislation and reward creativity & human endeavor which fuel the progress of humankind. IP is the exclusive right given for a specific period of time to an individual or entity over a creation of the mind. The successful commercialization of an idea or invention is the true success for an entrepreneur. The IP owner therefore has the right to exclude others as far as commercialization aspect is concerned. IP can be classified into following:
·        Patent
·        Industrial Design
·        Trade Mark
·        Copyright
·        Geographical Indications
·        Lay out designs of integrated circuits

The Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) Index 2016 ranks India a poor 37th out of 38 economies in terms of Intellectual Property Rights IPR compliance. The Index is based on 30 criteria critical to innovation including patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties. India’s overall poor score reflects that the country’s IP requirements remain outside established international best practices. The Index found that countries with weak IP systems are less likely to attract investment, stimulate innovation, and foster the creation of knowledge-based economies. With the release of India’s draft national IPR policy, the stage has been set to embrace this solution.

Intellectual Property Rights and related issues are of core business value to start ups and new business across sectors in India.  IP rights are private in nature and to that extent it is the duty of IP owners to protect their rights and ensure implementation of related laws. Owners of small and medium sized business must gain a good understanding of IPR in order to protect their IP from replication, copying or infringement of any kind. On the other hand the same businessman needs to proactively defend any allegations of infringement by other claimants of an Intellectual Property. Industry bodies like FICCI serve trade and business by creating awareness of emerging concepts, terminologies, laws and trends relating to IP. Indian laws are not only compliant but go beyond expectations of TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) as governed by WTO. The Indian government’s increased commitment to IP is reflected in establishment of the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) Think Tank in November 2014, which helped put together the draft of a National IPR policy, and subsequently the announcement of India’s first National IPR Policy by the Government of India in May 2016.

There are provisions for the protection of quasi rights under TRIPS like:
·        Confidential information
·        Know how
·        Trade secrets
·        Reputation
·        Brand loyalty
·        Goodwill
·        Data exclusivity
·        Market intelligence
·        Test methods
·        Customer lists
·        Management practices
·        In-house standards and specifications

As far as Patents are concerned the mere discovery of a new property or new form of a substance is not sufficient. Similarly, just a rearrangement or admixture is not sufficient to claim patent and the product or procedure must be inventive. Registering a patent is a long drawn and complicated process, best handled by trained professionals.

Industrial designs relate to the aesthetic features of a product. The existence of a product is essential to creating an industrial design and it shapes the form of a new product to differentiate it from other products. Companies regularly launch new designs and new models of their products and industrial designs contribute to the branding of a company. Orchid Brooch of Tiffany was registered in 1889 and Bunny Bangle by Daniel Brush. A non-registered industrial design may be enforceable for three years and registration is given for very long periods of time depending on laws governing registration which can be licensed or sold by the owners.  

Under Trade Marks the signs, symbols, logos, word mark are included. The mark must be graphically represented and distinctive. It cannot be similar to other known and registered trade-marks.

Copyright is a right granted on the creation of a literary artistic work like novels, poems, plays, musical compositions, paintings, drawings and photographs. After the IT revolution related subjects have taken center stage for copyrights. Computer programs, Database, Recordings, Internet and Web content, Cable TV content require copyright. While using the above, one must take prior permission, acknowledge the source and quote the original creator.

Geographical Indications (GI) is a unique TRIPS compliant feature increasingly used in India. European countries have successfully used this for wines, cheese, alcoholic drinks and related food products. Now a product in India can be registered under the Geographical Indication of Goods Act if it conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness based on its origin. The product then commands a premium and bears a distinct character, taste, recall and other distinguishing features. Recent GI registrations include:

·        Sanganer hand block printing
·        Bikaner bhujiya
·        Kathputli puppets
·        Bagru hand block printing
·        Jaipur jooti
·        Malela clay arts
·        Agra Petha
·        Goa Feni
·        Tirupati Ladoo

These are examples of products successfully registered under the act as having a unique geographical indication (GI). Each registration is in favor of a group or association which then becomes a collective right of the people or units located and residing in that geographical area to manufacture freely only in the specified area.

Layout designs in integrated circuits have been getting copyright-like registrations by several countries for periods of 10 to 15 years. This is possible as sufficient flexibility is given under TRIPS for this purpose. Due to the functional nature of the chip the design cannot be effectively protected exclusively by patent or copyright laws. An emerging problem area is electronics, particularly telecom. Indian companies sometimes do not pay heed to license technologies, leading to legal disputes with patent holders. There is also a consistent failure by Indian firms to carry our research and development (R&D) that would create intellectual property. Trade, tariff and tax policies that discourage genuine domestic value addition and incentivise masquerading trade as manufacture, are to blame as well.

Compulsory licensing under the TRIPS Agreement, relate to the use of a patent without the authorization of the right-holder. It sets out detailed conditions that must be respected in the granting of compulsory licences by Member states. Member governments are not obliged to apply certain of these conditions in circumstances where the compulsory licence is granted "to remedy a practice determined after judicial or administrative process to be anti-competitive." This has happened in India in the pharmaceuticals sector. The Indian company was able to show that they made efforts in vain to obtain voluntary authorization from the rights holder on reasonable terms. Authorization for use of a patent under a “compulsory licence” is predominantly for the supply of the domestic market where authorities consider the need to correct anti-competitive practices.

For Make in India to be successful manufacturing has to go beyond simple assembly of complex parts produced elsewhere. India must focus on domestic R&D and creation of intellectual property within the country. Nations which did not put in the hard slog required to create intellectual property end up doing to IP owners what Robin Hood did to the rich. This is neither legal nor sustainable in the long run even by third world standards.  Indian MSMEs are advised to understand and benefit from IP laws and protect their rights in future. The new Indian IPR policy provides exemptions from infringement for research on patents. This is as important as granting exclusive rights to inventors. While exclusivity may encourage innovation exemptions for research encourages improvement, testing and innovation in the use of patented inventions. This will be particularly helpful for MSMEs to develop targeted technologies in a competitive environment. Additionally procedures have been revamped, digitized and made transparent. Out of the box solutions are being implemented to expedite decision making. In order to conduct fair and global level search before granting IPR protection India has joined agencies like the International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority.


FICCI has been playing an active role in generating awareness on IP, besides building capacity of enforcement agencies, across the country. Besides, FICCI carries out extensive research and proposes customized solutions on IP issues which cater to the needs of Indian Industry and its growth. The overall objective is to promote innovation and IP culture for national development; sensitize industry, enforcement agencies, judiciary and other stakeholders about the significance of IP protection & its effective enforcement and in building their capacities.


The author is former Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in India, Member Transparency International (India) and Honorary Advisor to FICCI, Rajasthan. Views expressed are personal.