MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comObituary Heeraba Modi 1923 to 2022

Mother of noble thoughts

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 15:57:43 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi 1923 2022 Mother of thoughts

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 15:35:36 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi 1923 2022

Mother of noble thoughts

 

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 15:17:34 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi 1923 2022

                                                         Mother of noble thoughts

 

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 15:10:28 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi 1923 2022

                                                          Mother of noble thoughts

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 15:02:07 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi 1923 2022

                                                          Mother of noble thoughts

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 14:56:40 +0530
O Heerabai Modi Mother of noble thoughts

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Tue, 10 Jan 2023 14:40:47 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

By Ram Suresh

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 17:20:36 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny.

Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years.

A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert.

Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.

She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana.

In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work.

In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 17:14:13 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

 

K.P. Sasi Nair (mediaeyeinfo@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

 

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 15:28:09 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

 

K.P. Sasi Nair (mediaeyeinfo@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 15:16:07 +0530
Term Plan Insurance an overview

Term Plan Insurance an overview

Anupama Nair

You work hard all your life to provide financial security for your family. Have you ever thought what would happen to your family if something happens to you? Unfortunately, we do not have the power of Nostradamus to predict the future. In such a scenario, the term insurance is the best option.

What is term insurance? Type Term Insurance is the simplest type of insurance that provides life coverage for a fixed period. If the insured dies during the policy term, a lumpsum equivalent to the sum assured is paid to the nominee. For example, if Ralph a 30-year-old has taken a term insurance of Rs. 1 crore, and he died of Corona in Jan 2022, his nominee will get the sum of Rs. 1 crore.

 

Some features of term insurance are:

 

  • It is the most cost-effective plan.
  • Pay the policy premium only till retirement
  • Flexibility to receive payout as monthly income in addition to lumpsum
  • Choose riders to make your term plan more comprehensive
  • Flexibility to enhance or decrease the Insurance Cover

 

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 13:09:50 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

K.P. Sasi Nair (mediaeyeinfo@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

 

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 12:59:01 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

 

K.P. Sasi Nair (mediaeyeinfo@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

 

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 21:57:48 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

 

K.P. Sasi Nair (newsmediaeye@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 20:53:55 +0530
Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

 

K.P. Sasi Nair (newsmediaeye@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

 

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 20:46:17 +0530
History of Banking in India

 

Anupama Nair

It is a known fact, money lending is as old as us the humans, early man followed the system of trade, barter and other rudimentary forms of money lending. However, a structured lending system found its origin in ancient India and other ancient empires. India has a history as long as time, so, it is a certainty we must have our own system of lending which later became banks.

This business can be traced back to the Vedic periods. Earlier, considered to be immoral, the practice of money lending was avoided and generally looked down upon. However, in the late 2nd century CE, money lending or usury, started getting recognition as an acceptable mode of wealth creation, and was recorded in ManuSmriti as such. It was called kusidin’.The Sutras and Jatakas recorded money lending practices as well.

During the Mauryan age, Kautilya’s texts were the first to mention the existence of a systematized lending structure and these scriptures mention RNapatra, RNapanna, or RNalekhaya which were different forms of loan deeds that were prevalent and acceptable during the Mauryan empire i.e., 321 – 185 BC. Later an instrument called ‘adesha’ came to be used, which was an order on a banker directing him to pay the sum on the note to a third person, which comes close to the definition of a modern bill of exchange. The considerable use of these instruments has been recorded in large towns, and merchants also gave letters of credit to one another.

The Mughal era continued the use of loan deeds, commonly known as dastawez. The dastawez were divided into two forms dastawez-e-indultalab, which was payable on demand and dastawez-e-miadi, which was payable after a particular period.  We also used credit instruments such as barattes and hundis. Peasants were also permitted to borrow advance loans or taqavi from the office of the Diwan Payment orders by the royal treasuries were referred to as barattes. A Hundi or Hundee is a financial instrument that developed in Medieval India for use in trade and credit transactions. Hundis are used as a form of remittance instrument to transfer money from place to place, as a form of credit instrument or IOU to borrow money and as a bill of exchange in trade transactions. There are also records of Indian bankers using issuing bills of exchange in foreign countries.

The Industrial Revolution (1733 to 1913) transformed the society from an agrarian economy to one dominated by manufacturing and industrial processes. It also played a significant role in expanding the lending system as there was an ever-increasing capital demand. A vast majority of aristocrats and merchants extended business loans to entrepreneurs to help them expand their workforce rapidly. Indentured loans were also popular where the borrower had to repay the debt by working on the lender’s estate. During the early days of the East India Company, Seths and Shroffs carried out money-lending and extended small business loans to merchants to support their trade.

India also witnessed the birth of various banks during British rule. In 1770, the first European bank called the Bank of Hindustan started its operations in Calcutta to provide business loans for foreign trade. However, the bank stopped operations from 1832.

With the birth of three presidencies, Bombay, Bengal and Madras, banking activities started in full swing. The Bank of Calcutta was established in 1806 to fund the wars waged by the British East India Company, against the Marathas and Tipu Sultan. Then The Allahabad Bank was established in 1886, that is still functional to date. After that, quite a few banks were established between 1906 to 1911 due to the Swadeshi Movement, and a number of them have survived till date . In 1935, the Reserve Bank of India was established to respond to the economic troubles India was facing after the First World War.

Post-independence, the nationalization of banks was a major activity. In 1949, the Reserve Bank of India was nationalized and appointed as the central regulator of all banks in India. 

 

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 19:08:27 +0530
Great Kings of Ancient India The Great King Who Stopped Greek Invasion

 

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. Today I will be writing about another great king Chandragupta Maurya who defeated the Greeks.

None of the ancient texts mention clearly when Chandragupta was born. Plutarch claims that he was a young man when he met Alexander the Great during his invasion of India (326-325 BC). Assuming the Plutarch’s account is true, Raychaudhuri a historian claimed in 1923 that Chandragupta may have been born after 350 BC. Chandragupta's life and accomplishments are described in ancient and historical Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts, though they significantly vary in detail, which is expected. But they agree on the period of his reign (321–297 BC). Chandragupta Maurya was a pivotal figure in the history of Bharat, laying the foundations of the first government to unite most of South Asia.

The early life of Chandragupta Maurya is unclear and varies by source. According to the Sinhalese Buddhist tradition, Chandragupta's mother was pregnant when his father, who was the chief of the Maurya clan, was killed in a battle. His mother escaped to Patliputra (Patna) with the help of her brothers. For Chandragupta's safety, his maternal uncles allowed a cowherd to adopt him. When Chandragupta grew up, the cowherd sold him to a hunter who employed him to tend cattle. The greatest influence in his life was when he met the great philosopher Chanakya.

The Buddhist and Hindu sources present different versions of how Chandragupta met Chanakya. The sources mention young Chandragupta creating a mock game of a royal court that he and his cowherd friends played near Vinjha forest. Chanakya was impressed by the young Chandragupta give orders to the others, and bought him from the hunter. He adopted Chandragupta. Chanakya taught and admitted him in the famous Taxila university to study the Vedas, military arts, law, and other sastras.

After Taxila, Chandragupta and Chanakya moved to Pataliputa, the capital and a historic learning center in the eastern kingdom of ancient Bharat called Magadh. They met the ruler of Magadh Dhana Nanda according to Pali language Buddhist sources. Chandragupta became a commander of the Nanda army, but according to the great Roman historian Justin, Chandragupta offended the Nanda king who ordered his execution. An alternate version states that it was the Nanda king who was publicly insulted by Chanakya. Sources reveal that Chandragupta and Chanakya escaped and became rebels who planned to remove the Nanda king from power. The Mudrarakshasa also states that Chanakya swore to destroy the Nanda dynasty after he felt insulted by the king.

The Roman text by Justin mentions a couple of miraculous incidents that involved Chandragupta and presents these legends as omens and portents of his fate. In the first incident, when Chandragupta was asleep after having escaped from Pataliputra, a big lion came up to him, licked him, and then left. In the second incident, when Chandragupta was preparing for war with Alexander's generals, a huge wild elephant approached him and offered itself to be his steed.

According to the Buddhist text Mahavamsa Tika, Chandragupta and Chanakya raised an army by recruiting soldiers from many places after the former completed his education at Taxila. Chanakya made Chandragupta the leader of the army. Greco-Roman writer Plutarch stated, in his book “Life of Alexander”, that the Nanda king was so unpopular that had Alexander tried, he could have easily conquered India. After Alexander ended his campaign and left, Chandragupta's army conquered the Nanda capital Pataliputra around 322 BCE with Chanakya's counsel. Chanakya in other words can be called “king maker”.

Alexander Great’s invasion ended before Chandragupta came into power. Alexander had left Bharat in 325 BC and assigned the northwestern territories to Greek governors. The nature of early relationship between these governors and Chandragupta is unknown. Justin mentions Chandragupta as a rival to Alexander's successors in north-western Bharat. He said that after Alexander's death, Chandragupta freed some territories from the Greeks and executed some of the governors. 

Appian a historian stated that Selucas Nicator, one of Alexander's Macedonian generals fought a war with Chandragupta. Seleucus and Chandragupta waged war until they came to an understanding with each other. Seleucus married off his daughter to Chandragupta to forge an alliance. Selecus send Megasthenes as a Greek ambassador in Chandragupta’s court for four years. After annexing Seleucus' provinces west of the Indus river, Chandragupta had a vast empire extending across the northern Indian sub-continent from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. Chandragupta began expanding his empire southwards beyond the Vindhya Mountains and into the Deccan Plateau. By the time his conquests were complete, Chandragupta's empire extended over most of the subcontinent.

Sources state that there was a great economic development, Art and literature flourished. Infrastructure was vastly advanced. All these details can be found in Megasthanes’s book Indica. It is stated that in his later years he renounced his kingdom and became an ascetic. We should feel proud this great king saved us from Greek invasion of Bharat.

 

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 19:05:29 +0530
Great kings of Ancient India Porus the King Who Fought Against Foreign Invasion

 

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. Today I am going to write about Purushottam or Porus who fought against Alexander the Great

 

He belonged to Puru tribe (a clan known to have inhabited north-western India near Peshawar since the Vedic period) mentioned in the Rig Veda and he ruled the Punjab region and expanded his kingdom between the Jhelum River and Chenab River in the Indian Subcontinent. He was a legendary warrior and possessed great military skills. He made the army most powerful with great military skills. Purushottam is believed to be the son of King Bamni and Queen Anusuya.

Purushottam was born in Punjab in modern day Pakistan. Not much is known about his birth year, but he is believed to be assassinated in 315 BC, by Eudemus, satrap of a nearby kingdom and usurped the kingdom of Pauravas.  Malayketu, son of Purushottam fought with Eudemus and killed him, taking the revenge of his father's death, and got back his kingdom. Purushottam’s kingdom spanned the area of Jhelum River and Chenab River again in modern day Pakistan. His reign is believed to be before 326 BC till 315 BC. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC. 

He is famous for his battle with Alexander the Great from Macedonia in the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC. After conquering the Achamenid Empire of Persia (Iran), Alexander launched a campaign into the Indian subcontinent in present-day Pakistan, part of which formed the eastern most territories of the Achaemenid Empire following the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley (late 6th century BC). After gaining control of the former Achaemenid territory of Gandhar (Afghanistan), including the city of Taxila (Afghanistan). Although victorious, the Battle of the Hydaspes was possibly also the costliest battle fought by the Macedonians.

He fought bravely but lost the war and was arrested by Alexander. The legend quotes Alexander asked him how he wanted to be treated, he proudly stated” like a king”. Alexander was so impressed and reinstated him as the king of kingdom and gave him territory till the Beas river. The kingdom consisted of 5,000 considerable cities and numerous villages as per the mentions of Plutarch.

The only contemporary information available on Purushottam and his kingdom is from Greek sources, and from Chand Bardoi, whereas Indian sources do not mention him at all, which is surprising. There was a movie made on this great king called “Sikander-e-Azam”, starring Pritviraj Kapoor as Porus and Dara Singh as Alexander.

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 19:02:57 +0530
Unknown titbits about Incredible India

 

Anupama Nair

India is not all about its cities, beaches, hill stations, temples and cuisine. There are many other elements that makes the world’s oldest civilization a must visit place at least once in your life. If you are born here, you are so lucky!.

 Let me take you on an unknown journey of India:

Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor in Jorhat, Assam

Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor is a place of worship in Jorhat. In  1528, the saint-reformer Madhavdeva is believed to have lit an earthen lamp during a ceremony and the lamp has been burning continuously since then. The priests regularly refill the lamp with mustard oil.

 

Adopt a hornbill nest in Pakke, Arunachal Pradesh

 

You can adopt a hornbill nest under the Hornbill Nest Adoption Program in Papum Reserve Forest and Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. The Hornbill Nest Adoption Program is a community-based initiative that works towards the conservation of hornbills and their habitat in the state. One can adopt a hornbill nest, which also means saving a tree. The village appoints a “caretaker” for the adopted nest, who makes sure that the birds and the nest are safe.

 

Many borders of Uttar Pradesh

 

Were you aware that the Indian state of  Uttar Pradesh shares its borders with nine different states and a country?  Yes, you read that correct. Uttar Pradesh shares its borders with Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and Nepal too!

 

A Dravidian temple in Moreh, Manipur!

 

The Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh in the Tengnoupal district of Manipur never fails to live up to its reputation. The Shree Angala Parameswari Shree Muneeswara Temple is a Dravidian temple dedicated to Goddess Parameswari and Lord Muneeswara who is Lord Shiva. The temple’s gopuram is a treat to watch. There is a large Tamil community, who migrated from Myanmar and settled in Manipur.

 

One house with half in India and the other in Myanmar

 

Longwa village is located in Mon district, Nagaland which is the home to the last generation of tattooed headhunters, a practice that was stopped a long time ago. The Indo-Myanmar border runs right through the village  i.e., it runs right through the village chief’s (Angh) house. One half of the Angh’s house is in India and the other in Myanmar! How incredible can it get?

 

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 18:50:28 +0530
Obituary Heeraba Modi a beacon of light

K.P.Sasi Nair.mediaeyeinfo@gmail.com

 

An ascetic who shunned the limelight and materialistic yearning that overwhelms contemporary India, Heeraba Modi was an embodiment of Vedic thoughts and deep-rooted values of Bharat. For her, faith, integrity and hard work were paramount. She not only pursued these traits vigorously but, more importantly, imparted these qualities to her progeny. Her steadfast beliefs were built on solid rock and she would not be swayed from her monk-like existence even when her son became the chief minister of Gujarat for three successive terms and won landslide victories in national elections to reach the pinnacle of power and glory. While she was proud of her son and the positions he held, she was not enamored by the pomp and glitter. True to her character, it took a good two years for her to visit her son’s mansion in New Delhi after he became the prime minister in 2014.

 

“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary,” Narendra Modi wrote in a blog on June 18, 2022, the day she completed 99 years. A week earlier, on the 100th birthday of her late husband Damodardas Mulchand Modi, she was full of beans singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. This was par for the course for the nonagenarian clad in a white sari and blouse, as the frail lady did most of her daily chores by herself and was mentally alert. Heeraba, who was called into the arms of the Almighty on December 30, lived in the modest house of the Prime Minister’s younger brother on a nondescript lane in Rayson village in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, about 70 km south of Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar. She had no worldly possessions.

 

“A glorious century rests at the feet of God,” a grief-stricken Modi tweeted. “In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values.” She was a beacon of light and wisdom from years of hard toil and bitter-sweet experiences. She lost her mother when she was too young to remember her face. As the eldest child in the lower middle-class family, responsibility was thrust on her tiny shoulders at a tender age. She was still in her teens when she was married to a person who was just a year older than her.

 

Life was a constant struggle to get food on the table. She washed dishes and swept floors in the neighborhood to supplement her husband’s meagre income from his tea shop. With five sons and one daughter it was tough going for the family in their makeshift tenement they called home in the north Gujarat district of Mehsana. “In Vadnagar, our family used to stay in a tiny house which did not even have a window, let alone a luxury like a toilet or a bathroom,” Modi reminisced of those early years. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother; far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”

Doubtlessly, Heeraba’s work ethics and integrity against heavy odds played a decisive role in shaping the personality of the future prime minister. As she toiled tirelessly humming her favorite bhajans and hymns, there was never a glimpse of regret or sorrow on her face. Behind her pleasant demeanor, however, she possessed a steely resolve to do the right things – always.

 

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution of India’s matrushakti,” Modi wrote. “Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, my parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. They had only one mantra to overcome any challenge – hard work, constant hard work!” In many respects, Modi’s dedication to his job – he hasn’t taken a holiday break since taking over as prime minister in 2014 – his uprightness, firm belief in God and strong resolve can be traced to the deep influence of his mother.

 

Heeraba passed away after a brief illness. Only three weeks earlier she appeared in fine fettle when Modi visited her. Perhaps the best epitaph would be her advice to Modi on her last birthday: “Work with intelligence and live life with purity.

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 18:41:55 +0530
The history of Metro

Anupama Nair

Railways still occupies a significant role in the world of transportation. A train can carry large number of passengers and also large  and heavy loads to very long distances. Since its inception in the 19th Century in England, railway systems had witnessed lots of changes in term of shape, speed, mode of running, distance etc., and one among the changes, and the most important is considered to be the emergence and spread of metro rail system in the world.

The word metro is derived from an abbreviation of 'Paris Metropolitan', which become common word used to call all subway network. Sometimes metro is regarded as rapid transit train system. The world's first urban underground railway was ‘Metropolitan railway’ which began its operation on January 10, 1863. It was built largely in shallow tunnels and is now part of the London underground. Then there was an idea of an underground railway terminus which was supposed to start in the 1830s, and the Metropolitan build a line in 1854. The United States had been using the subway tunnel in Boston that is still in use from 1897! Much later subway lines were built to carry heavy rail trains. The New York City has world's largest 4-track line, that almost stretches 9 miles(14.5kms) . On October 17, 1919 the Madrid Metro was inaugurated, which today is one of the longest metro system in the world. 

The first city in Asia to have subway lines were Tokyo in 1927 and Osaka in 1933. After 1974, a number of cities in South Korea have developed modern and extensive subway system.

Rapid transits in India consist of Metro, Monorails and light rail system. The first rapid transit system in India was the famous Calcutta Metro, that started operations in 1984. E. Sridharan, popularly known as ‘Metro Man’ was the man who deserves credit behind this great effort. The metro rail system in India is popularized and developed due to his amazing efforts and hard work. Delhi Metro was India's first modern metro which began its operation in 2002. The Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon, that started operation in November 2013, is India's first privately owned and operated metro.

The Government of Maharashtra with financial assistance from the World Bank and MMRDA under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) prepared the Comprehensive Transportation Study (CTS) for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in 2008 known as Transportation Study for the region of Mumbai (TRANSFORM). The premier objective of the study was to identify the travel modes and travel patterns of the residents in the MMR and recommend a long-term comprehensive transportation strategy for MMR up to the year 2031. One of the major recommendations of TRANSFORM was the development of a Multi-Modal Corridor in MMR to take care of the varied travel demands of the region for the horizon period up to the year 2031. One such corridor is planned from Virar to Alibaug.

 

Louis Berger Group Inc. was appointed for the preparation of the Techno-Economic and Financial Viability Study which began in August 2010. This 126-kilometre long Virar-Alibaug Multi-Modal Corridor will connect NH-8, Bhiwandi bypass, NH-3, NH-4 and NH-4B, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, NH-17, etc. The Multi-Modal Corridor will be a crucial step towards development, strengthening and creating job opportunities in seven growth centres in MMR such as Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran. The corridor will also be useful for the development of Navi Mumbai International Airport, JNPT Port, MTHL and Dedicated Freight Corridor. This Corridor will carry all the traffic from JNPT towards Navi Mumbai and Thane outside the city and will help reduce traffic congestion within the city. The travel time between Virar to Alibaug will also be reduced by 50 per cent.

However, Metro in Mumbai made its entry much later than other cities. The Metro Line-1 was inaugurated for public use on 8th June, 2014, between Andheri and Ghatkopar. It became very popular mode of transport. Mr. Uddhav Thackeray had inaugurated two new lines of Mumbai Metro on the occasion of Gudi Padwa i.e., the Marathi New Year on 2nd  April 2022, nearly eight years after the Mass Rapid Transit System first made its entry into the financial capital of the country. It is indeed a wonderful way to celebrate the new year for Mumbaikars – their travel woes are over; they will avoid never-ending traffic and save time and precious fuel. The former CM had flagged off the inaugural 6-coach BEML train on Line-7 and then travelled on from Aarey to Dindoshi

Our beloved Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi  had laid the foundation stone of both projects in October 2015 with a combined cost of Rs. 12,618 crore. This milestone was recorded roughly 4.5 years after the first U-girder was launched in July 2017 by J. Kumar Infra Projects at Borivali who are the contractors for Line-2A’s civil structure and the mid-section (Poisar-New Ashok Nagar) of Line-7, while NCC built the Poisar – Dahisar section. The trial runs were earlier conducted in May 2021 with Line-7’s OHE traction system getting energized by Larsen and Toubro and Leena Powertech Engineers and Line-2A’s system by Sterling and Wilson.

 

The trains will operate between 6 AM to 10 PM with fares of Rs. 10 (0-3 km), Rs. 20 (3-12 km) and Rs. 30 (12-18 km), Rs. 40 (18-24 km) and Rs. 50 (24-30 km). As of now, the ticketing will be handled via a QR code-based mobile and paper tickets. Smart cards and app-based season tickets will be launched at a later time. With this thrilling development, Mumbai’s Metro Network has become 30.15 km long with 3 lines. It took a long time to “push the needle and arrive at this stage after a lost decade of poor planning and policy making (PPP vs EPC) between 2005-2015”.The Commissioner of MMRDA claimed the remaining 15.85 km Phase 2 of Line-2A (Dahanukarwadi–Andheri West) and Line-7 (Aarey–Gundavali) will be inaugurated by 15th August 2022, to connect with Line-1 (Versova – Ghatkopar). What a gift for independence Day!

 

The MMRDA commissioner further said the trains which will be deployed on the elevated corridors have been designed for driverless operations along with CBTC signaling systems. However, during the initial phases, the metro trains will be manned by operators or attendants, including a few female pilots. In the future, the system will be upgraded to unmanned train operation, he said, further adding though the corridors’ sanctioned speed is 80 km per hour, initially the metro trains will be operated at 70 km per hour. According to him, 150 services will be operated daily on these two lines with 11 rakes, each of six coaches. Over 2,250 commuters can travel on a metro train at a time. 

 

The MMRDA has done multi-modal integration at the stations and the BEST undertaking buses will be operated as feeder services, Srinivas said. The MMRDA has targeted to finish phase two of the corridors by August 15, he added. Mr. Aditya Thackeray, was very proud of the achievement of MMRDA and other agencies responsible for the Metro. He said, “ The MMR is a hub of economic as well as socio-cultural activities that puts a strain on the infrastructure. However, it is gratifying to see that MMRDA is implementing its transportation plan without compromising on environmental sustainability. The design of coaches as well as stations are energy efficient and disable-friendly thus, matching with high International standards of universal accessibility. I congratulate MMRDA on planning and implementing of the metro lines in a holistic way”.

 

It is believed that “ the standard of living, economic efficiency as well as the well-being of citizens is directly related to the efficiency of transport system. In the last 15 years, the MMRDA, CIDCO, MCGM and other government bodies have implemented a number of transport corridors to ease traffic congestion and overcrowding in the public transport system.

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 16:22:11 +0530
Prebiotics and Probiotics an overview

Anupama Nair

I had often wondered what is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? The question people ask is, ‘Prebiotics vs probiotics’ which are better for gastro-intestinal health? A healthy gut plays a major role in our overall health and wellbeing, and taking prebiotics and probiotics, either in food or supplement form is one way to boost the digestive system and keep it working efficiently. The ‘gut microbiome’ consists of 100 trillion live bacterial microbes, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, that influence nutrient absorption, metabolism, immunity, mental health, how well we sleep and even whether or not we get spots. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found out that a healthy gut could potentially also prevent some cancers and auto-immune diseases. 

However, the research from the University of Tsukuba in Japan suggests that a healthy gut can improve the quality of sleep. It found that gut bacteria might influence sleep patterns by helping to create important chemical messengers in the brain, such as mood-boosting serotonin and dopamine.

 

“Probiotics are beneficial or ‘good’ live bacteria that have the ability to restore and improve your gut microbiome, or gut flora,” was the theory put forward by  gut health specialist Marilia Chamon, who was the founder of Gutfulness Nutrition. You can find them in food and drink, or take them in pill or powder form. “Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible dietary fiber that act as food for good gut bacteria. You can find them in certain foods or supplements. Probiotics are transient, meaning they will survive in the gut for a short period of time, but do not set up residency. By feeding them prebiotic fiber, we give them the fuel they need to colonize the gut and improve digestive health.”

 

Chamon recommended eating a variety of food to gain prebiotics. Each contains unique fibers which the different microbes in your gut like to feed on, which is one of the best ways to increase your microbial biodiversity, which is crucial for a healthy gut.

  • Artichokes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Unripe/green bananas

For probiotics, Chamon advised consuming a variety of cultured and fermented foods, including those listed below:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

 

“These are a dietary source of live bacteria that can favorably alter the gut’s microbial balance,” she said. “This is because they offer high concentrations of digestive enzymes produced during the fermentation process by micro-organisms in the food, so that they can assist with the digestion of simple and complex carbohydrates including fiber, proteins and fats.”

It’s fine to take prebiotics and probiotics together, which is called as microbiome therapy. You don’t need prebiotics for probiotics to work, but it might make them more effective. In fact, a study conducted in 2020 suggested doing this could even help to treat obesity. You might ask, when is the best time to opt for a prebiotic vs probiotic? “Probiotic-rich foods can help to improve gut bacteria diversity and taking supplements can be used as a therapeutic tool to address specific symptoms, for example: bloating, constipation, diarrhea,” said Chamon. She recommended, however, to only use specific strains of probiotics that have been researched and proven to help with certain gut-related symptoms.

“Prebiotics, on the other hand, feed probiotics, for this reason, it is important to eat a varied plant-oriented diet, rich in prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic supplementation can also be helpful for those who struggle to eat enough fiber, with daily recommended intake in the US being 25-30 g.

 

 

 

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 16:05:48 +0530
Term Plan Insurance an overview

Anupama Nair

You work hard all your life to provide financial security for your family. Have you ever thought what would happen to your family if something happens to you? Unfortunately, we do not have the power of Nostradamus to predict the future. In such a scenario, the term insurance is the best option.

 

What is term insurance? Type Term Insurance is the simplest type of insurance that provides life coverage for a fixed period. If the insured dies during the policy term, a lumpsum equivalent to the sum assured is paid to the nominee. For example, if Ralph a 30-year-old has taken a term insurance of Rs. 1 crore, and he died of Corona in Jan 2022, his nominee will get the sum of Rs. 1 crore.

 

Some features of term insurance are:

 

  • It is the most cost-effective plan.
  • Pay the policy premium only till retirement
  • Flexibility to receive payout as monthly income in addition to lumpsum
  • Choose riders to make your term plan more comprehensive
  • Flexibility to enhance or decrease the Insurance Cover

 

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 15:58:41 +0530
Ayurveda and diabetes an overview

Anupama Nair

Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic  i.e., ‘whole-body’ healing systems and it was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a proper balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, and just not fight disease. However, treatments may be geared toward specific health problems. It is believed that everything in the universe, dead or alive  is connected. If your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe, you have good health. When something disrupts this balance, you get sick. Among the things that can upset the balance are genetic or birth defects, injuries, climate and seasonal change, age, and your emotions.

Those who practice Ayurveda believe that every person is made of five basic elements found in the universe -- sky, air, fire, water, and earth. An Ayurvedic practitioner will create a treatment plan specifically designed for you. They’ll take into account your unique physical and emotional makeup, your primary life force, and the balance between all three of these elements and  the goal of the treatment is to cleanse your body of undigested food, which can stay in your body and cause illness. The cleansing process called ‘panchakarma’ is designed to reduce your symptoms and restore harmony and balance. To achieve this, an Ayurvedic practitioner might rely on blood purification, massage, medical oils, herbs, and enemas or laxatives.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is often called as the ‘silent killer’ and a person with diabetes knows the pain when he sees his friends enjoying themselves and realizes his life devoid of sweetness. In layman terms if you have diabetes, your body cannot properly process and use glucose from the food you eat. There are different types of diabetes, each with different causes, but they all share the common problem of having too much glucose in your bloodstream. Treatments include medications and/or insulins. Some types of diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body's organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. The process of digestion includes breaking down the food you eat into various different nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta or chapatis, your body breaks this down into sugar or glucose. When glucose is in your bloodstream, it needs help or ‘key’ called insulin to get into its final destination where it's used, which is inside your body's cells

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas,  an organ located behind your stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream and insulin acts as the ‘key which unlocks the door of the cell wall that allows glucose to enter your body’s cells. Glucose is the ‘fuel’ or energy, tissues and organs need to function properly.

When you suffer from diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin or your pancreas makes insulin but your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally does. If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream and your blood glucose level rises. Diabetes can be reversed or at least reduced by making some lifestyle changes, modifying eating habits and becoming physically active.

Diabetes is called as Madhumeha in Ayurveda, and is considered one of the 20 types of Prameha or urological disorders. Madhu means sweet and meha means urine in Sanskrit which in layman terms translates to 'urine that smells sweet'. One doesn't get diagnosed with diabetes mellitus all of a sudden. There are warning signs and symptoms that indicate trouble. If you feel excessively thirsty, fatigue, frequent urination, unintended weight loss, increased hunger, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, you may be suffering from prediabetes. The difference between diabetes and prediabetes is that in the latter you do not need medication to manage blood glucose levels.

People diagnosed with prediabetes have a high risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes and suffering from its many complications. However, prediabetes is also the disease that can be reversed by modifying eating habits and becoming physically active. Some simple tips can go a long way in keeping this killer disease at bay. The tips are:

 

  • Avoid white sugar, and switch to natural sugars
  • Exercise for an hour
  • Start consuming Nisha amlaki
  • Have early dinner
  • Have sound sleep

 

What is Nisha Amlaki, you might ask? You can make it at home -- take equal quantity of amla powder and turmeric and mix them together. You need to take 2 gm of Nisha Amalki daily in morning on empty stomach with warm water.

What we need to understand is any disease can be controlled with proper care.

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 15:55:19 +0530
Indus valley sites in Gujarat a memorable trip

Anupama Nair

The year 2014 was a very memorable year for me personally as I had the chance to visit Gujarat for the very first time. I visited Dwarka, Somnath and then visited many Indus Valley sites in Gujarat. I surely enjoyed visiting those sites and hope one day I get to see Harappa and Mohenjadaro. The major ancient civilizations of the world were Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC–1900 BC), Greek (2700 BC–479 BC), Roman (550 BC–465 AD), Egyptian (3150 BC 332 BC), Mesopotamian (3500 BC–500 BC), Mayan (2600 BC–900 AD) among a few.

Rangpur in Limdi Taluka of Ahmedabad district was the first site to be re-excavated after our Independence as the historians suspected to have a Harappan connection. It is believed that the Harappans probably migrated to Kutch around 2500 BC, and decided to settle down there. It is believed that there are 60 Indus settlements have been found in Kutch, of which 40 belong to the ‘early’ phase while the others belong to the mature phase.  The discoveries done by historians reveal that the Harappans brought their culture and way of life to Gujarat much before the civilization declined, causing la arge-scale migration from Kutch to the hinterland of Gujarat and even modern-day Saurashtra. 

If you are a historophile  or a lover of history and ancient civilizations, a trip to all the Indus Valley sites in a particular state would be perfect for your next holiday.I started with Gujarat as it is near to Mumbai and  took Shatabdi to Ahmedabad and thus started a journey of a lifetime!

 

My first stop was in Lothal, that was 78kms from Ahmedabad. The word Lothal, in Gujrati means ‘Mound of the dead’ has been formed by combining the words Loth and sthal. Lothal which showcases the Harappan culture in all its forms, was discovered in 1954. The most accessible Harappan-era site in Western India, was located along the Bhogava River, a tribute of the Sabarmati, and was essentially a port city. It is believed to be 3,700 years old, and the site includes seven hectares and is much smaller than Mohenjodaro. Lothal’s thick peripheral walls were designed to withstand repeated tidal floods, during the heavy monsoon downpour. The Harappans liked Lothal for its sheltered harbor and a fertile hinterland. I saw the citadel, or the upper town, which is located in the south-eastern corner and can be demarcated by platforms of mud-brick that rise four meters in height. The citadel has wide streets, drains, and rows of bathing platforms, which suggests a high level of planning. I saw a large structure, identified as a warehouse, and a square platform, and the lower town, which also enjoyed civic amenities, and subdivided into two sectors.

 

Next stop was Surkotada, which was 280 kms away from Lothal. This site was discovered in 1964. The locals believed that a river flowed past the north-eastern side many thousand years ago and emptied into the Little Rann. The Harappans came to Surkotada around 2300 BCE, and built a fortified citadel and residential annex, made of mud brick, mud lumps and rubble, and that comprises houses with bath-rooms and drains. The site was occupied for 400 years and despite its small size, archaeologists considered Surkotada as very important site and place it equal to Kalibangan and Lothal, when it comes to city planning. Many scholars feel that the location was strategic to control the eastward migration of the Harappans from Sind, which lead to the idea that Surkotada could have functioned as a regional capital or as a  garrison town. Interesting finds include painted pottery with the typical script of the Indus Valley painted on them, copper objects, and a Harappan seal. A stash of copper beads and bangles, and terracotta toys, tanks, and beads have also been discovered. I could see horse remains dating back to 2000 BC, which was something I will never forget.

I then halted at Bhuj for the night and then continued towards Dholavira, which was 214 kms away. Dholavira is said to be one of the five largest Indus Valley sites. Like other Indus Valley Civilization sites, Dholavira displayed great skill of urban planning. Gujratis call it Kotada, and the settlement had been divided by archaeologists into three sections -- the citadel, middle town, and lower town. I saw an enormous fortification on all four sides of this settlement, and a series of reservoirs. I saw numerous gateways, built-up areas, street systems, wells, and large open spaces within the fortification. Ten symbols can be seen on the northern gate of Dholavira, and have been dubbed the Dholavira Signboard. Historians believe that this could be the oldest signboard in the entire world. The presence of a range of graveyard like structures found here also sheds light on the socio-religious beliefs of the people in those days.

I will write about more sites when I visit other states. 

 

 

 

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 15:51:07 +0530
My country my pride and passion The Seven Sites of Indus Valley reveal a great civilization

Anupama Nair

I had written earlier about the Indus Valley Civilization. Now I am going to talk about the  seven known biggest townships -- Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Ganeriwala in Pakistan and Dholavira, Rakhigarh, Lothal and Kalibangan in India. Let me now, take you on a journey to these seven sites.

Mohenjo-Daro is the most famous sites of the great civilization and is located in Larkana District west of the Sindhu (Indus) river in Sindh. It became not only the largest city of the Indus Valley Civilization but also one of the world’s earliest major urban centers. Mohenjo-Daro was one of the most sophisticated cities of the period, with advanced engineering and urban planning. The city of Mohenjo-Daro contains the Great Bath, which was a large, public bathing and social area. One seal found from Mohenjo-Daro showed a half-human, half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger (the Sumerian myth of a monster created by Arura—the Sumerian earth and fertility goddess to fight Gilgamesh, the hero of an ancient Mesopotamian epic poem), shows the trade between two civilizations. Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, the Pasupathi (resembling Bhagwan Shiva) seal, sitting cross-legged in yoga-like pose and a harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments. The floods in Sindh almost destroyed the famous site.

Harappa was a fortified city in Punjab (Pakistan) that is believed to have been home to as many as 23,500 residents living in sculpted houses with flat roofs made of red sand and clay. The city was spread over 370 acres and had a fortified administrative and religious centers of the same type  found in Mohenjo-Daro. Harappans demonstrated advanced architecture with dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. These massive walls likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have deterred military conflicts. Harappans were known for seal carving or the cutting of patterns into the bottom face of a seal, a small, carved object used for stamping. They used these distinctive seals for the identification of property and to stamp clay on trade goods. Seals decorated with animal figures, such as elephants, tigers, and water buffalos have been one of the most commonly discovered artifacts found here. Harappans was also engaged in shell working, and shells used in their crafts have origins from as far away as the coast of modern-day Oman.

Both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had rulers (scales) of ivory uncovered from the ruins. One such specimen was even calibrated to 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. These kinds of rulers were clearly very prominent, as even bricks of the valley’s buildings were found to follow the same measurements. The earliest existence of weighing scales also dates back to these cities, where balances were used to compare measure and compare goods in trade. The excavations in both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, showed a number of distinct examples of the culture’s art, including sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze, and steatite.

“Among the various gold, terracotta, and stone figurines found was a figure of a priest-king displaying a beard and patterned robe. Another figurine in bronze, known as the ‘Dancing Girl’, shows a female figure in a pose that suggests the presence of some choreographed dance form enjoyed by members of the civilization. Terracotta works also included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. In addition to figurines, the people of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are believed to have created necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments”.

Ganeriwala is situated near the Indian border on the dry river bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra, now part of the vast Thar desert. It is spread over 80 hectares and comparable in size with the largest sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Mohenjo-Daro. But it has not been excavated, only identified. It may turn out to be among the top five largest towns of the Indus Valley Civilization. Although excavation has yet to begin at this site, a terracotta tablet was found, which bear similarity to the ones found in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Kalibangan. In this seal, we can find a cross legged person (suggesting a yogic posture) and a kneeling person below a tree. The importance of Ganeriwala is, it is equidistant from both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, so the excavation may provide more information about this ancient civilization.

Kalibangan is an ancient site of the Indus Valley Civilization is located in Rajasthan. The site contains both pre-Harappan and Harappan remains, and shows the transition between the two cultures. Although the culture before Harappa had copper and produced pottery, it had no writing system, and it’s ruins show the absence of an orderly layout we find in Indus Valley and also the use of baked brick. The Harappan remains found include a cemetery and a fortified citadel. Historians state “excavation here has revealed as many as nine building phases and the citadel mound is a parallelogram on a plan of about 430 feet on the east-west axis and 850 feet on the north-south”. 

“Traces of a brick wall around the lower town were also encountered. The central sector of the citadel contained a series of high brick platforms divided by narrow passages. The upper parts of these platforms had been seriously damaged, and their function is mysterious, but they do not appear to have been the foundation for a granary. The northern sector contained normal domestic housing. A cemetery was discovered a short distance to the west of the town”.

Rakhigarh in Haryana was excavated by Shri Amarendra Nath of the Archeological Survey of India. Five interconnected mounds spread in a huge area form Rakhigarhi's unique site. Two mounds, out of five, were believed to be thickly populated. It was found that mature Harappan phase represented by a planned township having mud-brick as well as burnt-brick houses with proper drainage system existed here. Animal sacrificial pit lined with mud brick and triangular and circular fire alters on the mud floor have also been excavated that signified the ritual system of Harappans. “A cylindrical seal with five Harappan characters on one side and a symbol of an alligator on the other is an important find from this site”.

When a patriotic and a person who is proud of our Hindu heritage became the Prime Minister, he decided to build the world’s largest museum on Indus Valley Civilization in Rakhigarhi, Haryana, and would display many 5,000-year-old artefacts belonging to the Harappan Civilization. The world class museum would proudly display photographs and artefacts depicting Rakhigarhi’s bygone era. The museum, which is currently under construction, would give much needed recognition to Rakhigarhi at the international and national levels and increase job opportunities for the local communities. The government announced a creation of special zone for children to make them aware of the history in a recreational manner. The museum would also an open-air theatre and a library.

The Central Government announced the development of five iconic sites – Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivasagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat) and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu). Museums will be developed in these sites with a total outlay of Rs.2,500 crore

Other finds included “blades (terracotta and shell bangles), beads of semiprecious stones, terracotta, shell and copper objects, animal figurines, toy cart frame and wheel of terracotta, bone points. The excavations also discovered a few burial sites”.

Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the one of the most prominent site of Indus Valley Civilization in Gujarat. Lothal is a combination of two words Loth and thal, which meant ‘the mound of the dead.’ The city was inhabited during 3700 BC and was a flourishing port. The excavation was started from 1955--1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate the ancient city. Archaeologists believe that “the city was a part of a major river system on the ancient trade route from Sindh to Saurashtra in Gujarat. Excavations here have offered the greatest number of antiquities in the archaeology of modern India. From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found and foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site”.

Dholavira is in one of the five largest cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, and is located about 250 km from Bhuj. It has two seasonal brooks, Mansar and Manhar. “The property comprises two parts, a walled city and a cemetery to its west”, stated a government release, adding that Dholavira flourished for nearly 1,500 years.

According to an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) “excavations at the site revealed seven cultural stages documenting the rise and fall of the Indus Valley Civilization. The city, is also outstanding for its planning and architecture. The salient components of the full-grown cityscape consisted of a bipartite 'citadel', a 'middle town' and a 'lower town', two 'stadia', an 'annex', a series of reservoirs all set within an enormous fortification running on all four sides”.

“While unlike graves at the other Harappan sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. “Memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans” said Mr. Bisht an archaeologist. He further stated “remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewelry made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber”.

“Beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating people of Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell”.

Bisht said “that from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra. In those times, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat”.

The Prime Minister on hearing the news tweeted  “absolutely delighted by this news. Dholavira was an important urban center and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology,” he wrote. In the same thread,  Modi also added, “I first visited Dholavira during my student days and was mesmerized by the place. As CM of Gujarat, I had the opportunity to work on aspects relating to heritage conservation and restoration in Dholavira. Our team also worked to create tourism-friendly infrastructure there.”

 

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 15:44:36 +0530
My Country my Pride my passion Indus Valley Civilization

Anupama Nair

Bharat has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. In a time when we are forgetting our heritage and culture, I am making a humble effort to make everyone proud of our country and Bharat Ma. The major ancient civilizations of the world were Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC–1900 BC), Greek (2700 BC–479 BC), Roman (550 BC–465 AD), Egyptian (3150 BC 332 BC), Mesopotamian (3500 BC–500 BC), Mayan (2600 BC–900 AD) among a few.

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age Civilization in the northwestern regions of Indian Subcontinent from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western Northwestern Bharat. It existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC, and in its mature form from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Along with Egyptian and Mesopotamian, it was one of three early civilizations of the Asian continent. It flourished in the basins of the Sindhu River (Indus), which flows through Pakistan, and is perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal  Ghagar-Hakra river northwestern Bharat and eastern Pakistan.

It is to be noted that this is the only urban civilization while the rest of the above-mentioned civilizations were rural. The civilization's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked bricks houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin).  The large cities of Mohenjo-Daro (Sind) and Harappa (Punjab) likely had a population of between 30,000 and 60,000 and the civilization itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million people.

The Indus civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after one of the sites, Harappa which was the first of the sites to be excavated in the 1920s while trying to lay a railway line.  The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the colonial rule. There were however earlier and later cultures often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area.

By 2002, over 1000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated. There are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira, Ganeriwala, and Lothal. The Indus civilization was roughly contemporary with the other civilizations of the ancient world around the rivers: Egyptian along the river Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris. By the time of its mature phase, the civilization had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1500 kilometers (900 miles) up the alluvial plain of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora, fauna, and habitats, up to ten times as large, which had been shaped culturally and economically by the Indus river.

The Indus Valley Civilization extended from Pakistan's Baluchistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat state in the south. The largest number of sites are in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, in India, and Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Suktagan Gor in Western Baluchistan to Lothal in Gujarat. The southernmost site of the Indus valley civilization is Daimabad in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot, and on islands, for example, Dholavira.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, included the world's first known urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells with clean water. From a bathroom, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner court-yards and lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans. The village of Rakhigarhi was part of the Indus Valley Civilization from 2600 to 1900 BC. The two villages Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Sahapur currently host the archeological remains of the Indus Valley site. It was excavated for the first time in 1969. It is currently the largest settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization. Since 1998, 56 skeletons have been discovered in the site. Among them, two women were found in mound number 7. They are estimated to be 7,000 years old. The presence of shell bangles in the site provides evidence of trade links to faraway places such as Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Jewelry trade is among the most prominent in this site. People in this civilization are known to melt precious metals like copper, carnelian, agate and gold to make garlands of beads.

 

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than ones found in in the Middle East, Pakistan and Bharat today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighborhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads and other objects. Among the artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed beads. Seals have images of animals, people and gods, and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered language. Some historians argue the language was similar to Dravidian languages especially Tamil. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods.

Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, on the Pasupathi (resembling Bhagwan Shiva) seal, sitting cross-legged in yoga-like pose and an harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments.

Although some houses were larger than others, all the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration.

There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from Dilmun " (modern day Bahrain) Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.

Around 1900 BC signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BC most of the cities had been abandoned. Recent examination of human skeletons from the site of Harappa has demonstrated that the end of the Indus civilization saw an increase in inter-personal violence and in infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. Many historians believe the great civilization ended due to Aryan invasion, while others believe it was floods in the Indus, climate change and earthquakes. Whatever be the reason a great civilization came to end. If modern city planners bothered to learn about the city planning skills of our ancestors, we would have great cities, roads, and drainage systems etc. We need to have a pride in our heritage and culture.

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 15:32:15 +0530
Pazhassi Raja Kerala Simham and a true gem buried in the annals of History

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the great but unknown Pazhassi Raja, who gave his life to save his kingdom from the British East India Company. He is one of the greatest individuals to rebel against the British East India Company's supremacy in India and the course of history would have been different had he succeeded! I became a great admirer of his, when I visited his tomb during my school trips.

To understand the story of, Pazhassi Raja I need to take you back many centuries before. India was ruled by the cruel Mughals. It is a credit to the British, how the merchants who came to do trade with India, within 300 years became the masters of the entire land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire Sub-Continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600. They landed in the Indian subcontinent on August 24, 1608, in Surat (Gujarat).

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764) , smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. Robert Clive became the first Governor General of British India. By spinning a web of deceit, and many laws like Subsidiary Alliance (Lord Wellesley) and Doctrine of Lapse (Lord Dalhousie), they succeeded in ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”.

Pazhassi Raja Kerala Varma was a brave warrior and Hindu prince and the ‘de facto’ head of the kingdom of Kottayam (not to be confused with the present Kottayam district) in Malabar, between 1774 and 1805. His struggles with the East India Company earned him the name Kerala Simham or ‘Lion of Kerala’

Pazhassi Raja was a member of the western branch of the Kottayam Royal family and was born in the Padinjare Kovilakam (Western Branch) of Purannattu Swarupam, Peralam Village, the royal clan of the kingdom of Kottayam in North Malabar, not the present Kottayam District in south Kerala. This branch was located at Pazhassi in Matannur. Kerala Varma got the name Pazhassi Raja as he was a native of Pazhassi. Kottayam I am talking about is what is today Tellicherry, along with Gudalur in Nilgiris.

His war campaigns started in 1773, when Hyder Ali marched into Malabar for non-payment of tributes from the rulers of Malabar as per war treaty in 1768. They sought asylum in the kingdom of Travancore. In 1774, at the young age of 21, Pazhassi Raja became the ruler to replace his uncle who had fled to Travancore. He vowed to resist Hyder Ali's troops, and stayed in Kottayam (not to be confused with Kottayam district), where he gathered a force and started guerrilla battles against the troops of Mysore as he did not have enough forces to face them in an open battle. He set up a large number of bases in the nearly dense forests  of Puralimala and Wynad and repeatedly inflicted severe losses on the Mysore army in Kottayam as well as in Wynad.

During his long war with Mysore and then later the East India Company, Pazhassi Raja increased his sphere of influence significantly eastwards as far as the outskirts of Mysore. Pazhassi Raja resisted the East India Company from 1793 onwards till his death in 1805. He fought two wars to resist the Company intervention in the domestic affairs of his kingdom. The East India Company called their wars with Pazhassi Rajah as ‘Cotiote War’

In one of the biggest setbacks to the British East Company in India till then, a contingent of  1100 army men under Major Cameron came under a surprise trap by Pazhassi's men. The attack was so brutal, that the British force was annihilated, leaving only a few alive. It is said that between 1793 and 1797, many Britisher’s lost their lives. It was the ideal time for a rebellion and Pazhassi realized that as the British were fighting multiple wars in Mysore, Wayanad, the French East India Company in India and the American War of Independence. As they had their hands full they offered to have a ceasefire with Pazhassi. Pazhassi was given back the land which was taken away from him. But the peace lasted only till Tipu’s death in1799, and the British once again tried annexing Wayanad from Pazhassi. Though the British faced stiff resistance they had a new Army Commandant of Mysore, Canara and Malabar - Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington who later went on to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Waterloo. However even under the command of Wellesley, the British remained unsuccessful in capturing him.

In 1804, Wellesley who had defeated the Marathas a year ago went back to England, failing to capture Pazhassi. Wellesley had  said about the great king “We are not fighting 1000 men… but one man … Kerala Varma”. In 1805, Raja and his army were camped close to Mysore on the shore of a river Mavila, when the British troops attacked him. Raja and party were caught by surprise and an intense fight followed. The precise nature of Raja's death is controversial. It is believed that he committed suicide by swallowing a diamond ring to avoid capture after he was wounded, while some say he shot himself.

The Kerala Government decided to honor Veera Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala and a freedom fighter who revolted against the British for the independence of India, by building a memorial. We can rightly claim, after Tipu Sultan, Pazhassi Raja was the last king that rebelled against the British. The memorial is managed by the State Archaeology Department It is true that India's epic freedom struggle had many legendary figures whose contributions have largely remained unsung and buried somewhere in the annals of history.

 

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 23:26:27 +0530
Pazhassi Raja Kerala Simham and a true gem buried in the annals of History

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the great but unknown Pazhassi Raja, who gave his life to save his kingdom from the British East India Company. He is one of the greatest individuals to rebel against the British East India Company's supremacy in India and the course of history would have been different had he succeeded! I became a great fan of his, when i visited his tomb in one of my school trips and thought will write about him.

To understand the story of, Pazhassi Raja I need to take you back many centuries before. India was ruled by the cruel Mughals. It is a credit to the British, how the merchants who came to do trade with India, within 300 years became the masters of the entire land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire Sub-Continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600. They landed in the Indian subcontinent on August 24, 1608, in Surat (Gujarat).

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764) , smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. Robert Clive became the first Governor General of British India. By spinning a web of deceit, and many laws like Subsidiary Alliance (Lord Wellesley) and Doctrine of Lapse (Lord Dalhousie), they succeeded in ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”.

Pazhassi Raja Kerala Varma was a brave warrior and Hindu prince and the ‘de facto’ head of the kingdom of Kottayam (not to be confused with the present Kottayam district) in Malabar, between 1774 and 1805. His struggles with the East India Company earned him the name Kerala Simham or ‘Lion of Kerala’

Pazhassi Raja was a member of the western branch of the Kottayam Royal family and was born in the Padinjare Kovilakam (Western Branch) of Purannattu Swarupam, Peralam Village, the royal clan of the kingdom of Kottayam in North Malabar, not the present Kottayam District in south Kerala. This branch was located at Pazhassi in Matannur. Kerala Varma got the name Pazhassi Raja as he was a native of Pazhassi. Kottayam I am talking about is what is today Tellicherry, along with Gudalur in Nilgiris.

His war campaigns started in 1773, when Hyder Ali marched into Malabar for non-payment of tributes from the rulers of Malabar as per war treaty in 1768. They sought asylum in the kingdom of Travancore. In 1774, at the young age of 21, Pazhassi Raja became the ruler to replace his uncle who had fled to Travancore. He vowed to resist Hyder Ali's troops, and stayed in Kottayam (not to be confused with Kottayam district), where he gathered a force and started guerrilla battles against the troops of Mysore as he did not have enough forces to face them in an open battle. He set up a large number of bases in the nearly dense forests  of Puralimala and Wynad and repeatedly inflicted severe losses on the Mysore army in Kottayam as well as in Wynad.

During his long war with Mysore and then later the East India Company, Pazhassi Raja increased his sphere of influence significantly eastwards as far as the outskirts of Mysore. Pazhassi Raja resisted the East India Company from 1793 onwards till his death in 1805. He fought two wars to resist the Company intervention in the domestic affairs of his kingdom. The East India Company called their wars with Pazhassi Rajah as ‘Cotiote War’

In one of the biggest setbacks to the British East Company in India till then, a contingent of  1100 army men under Major Cameron came under a surprise trap by Pazhassi's men. The attack was so brutal, that the British force was annihilated, leaving only a few alive. It is said that between 1793 and 1797, many Britisher’s lost their lives. It was the ideal time for a rebellion and Pazhassi realized that as the British were fighting multiple wars in Mysore, Wayanad, the French East India Company in India and the American War of Independence. As they had their hands full they offered to have a ceasefire with Pazhassi. Pazhassi was given back the land which was taken away from him. But the peace lasted only till Tipu’s death in1799, and the British once again tried annexing Wayanad from Pazhassi. Though the British faced stiff resistance they had a new Army Commandant of Mysore, Canara and Malabar - Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington who later went on to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Waterloo. However even under the command of Wellesley, the British remained unsuccessful in capturing him.

In 1804, Wellesley who had defeated the Marathas a year ago went back to England, failing to capture Pazhassi. Wellesley had  said about the great king “We are not fighting 1000 men… but one man … Kerala Varma”. In 1805, Raja and his army were camped close to Mysore on the shore of a river Mavila, when the British troops attacked him. Raja and party were caught by surprise and an intense fight followed. The precise nature of Raja's death is controversial. It is believed that he committed suicide by swallowing a diamond ring to avoid capture after he was wounded, while some say he shot himself.

The Kerala Government decided to honor Veera Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala and a freedom fighter who revolted against the British for the independence of India, by building a memorial. We can rightly claim, after Tipu Sultan, Pazhassi Raja was the last king that rebelled against the British. The memorial is managed by the State Archaeology Department It is true that India's epic freedom struggle had many legendary figures whose contributions have largely remained unsung and buried somewhere in the annals of history.

 

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 23:17:21 +0530
Mori to Giridhar Gopala doosro na koi

 

Anupama Nair

These are the words of a great saint Meera Bhai, who was a great devotee of my Lord Krishna. She lived and died for the Lord. Her entire life is a life of devotion and proved the “power of faith”. Most folklores about Meera Bai mention “her fearless disregard for social and family conventions, her devotion to Krishna, her treating Krishna as her husband and being persecuted by her in-laws for her religious devotion. Hindu temples, such as in Chittorgarh fort, are dedicated to Meera Bai's memory. Legends about her life, of contested authenticity, have been the subject of movies, comic strips and other popular literature in modern times”.

Meera Bai was born in 1504 at Chaukari village in Merta District of Rajputana state. Merta was a small state in Marwar, ruled by the Rathores, who were great devotees of Lord Vishnu. Her father, Ratan Singh, was the second son of Rao Duda ji, a descendent of Rao Jodha ji Rathore, who was the founder of  the city of Jodhpur. Meera Bai was raised and nurtured by her grandfather. Her education included knowledge of scriptures, music, archery, fencing, horseback riding and driving chariots as was customary for a princess of her time. However, Meera Bai grew up amongst an atmosphere of total “Krishna consciousness”, which was responsible in molding her life in the path of total devotion towards Lord Krishna.

When she was just four years of age, she revealed her deep devotion to Krishna. It is said “Meera Bai watched a marriage procession in front of her palace . The young child, spotted the well-dressed bridegroom and asked her mother innocently, “Dear mother, who will be my bridegroom?” Her mother smiled, “and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the image of Sri Krishna and said, “My dear Meera, Lord Krishna is going to be your bridegroom”. As Meera Bai grew up, her love for Krishna grew intensely and she believed that Lord Krishna would come to marry her. When she grew up, she became firmly convinced that Krishna was to be her husband.

It is said “Meera was a soft-spoken, mild-mannered, gifted, sweet, and sang with a melodious voice. She was one of the most extraordinary beauties of her time” with her fame spreading to several kingdoms in the country. Rana Sangram Singh, or Rana Sangha, the powerful King of Mewar, approached her grandfather for her hand in marriage to his son Bhojraj known as Rana Kumbha. Bhojraj expressed his desire to marry Meera for her pious nature and devotion. However, “she could not bear the thought of marrying a human being when her heart was filled with thoughts of her Krishna”. But unable to go against her grandfather’s word, she finally consented to the marriage. She left for Chittorgarh, with her husband.

Every day, Meera would go to the temple of Lord Krishna, “worship, sing and dance before the idol of her beloved Lord Krishna daily”. However, the other ladies of the palace did not like the ways of  Meera because they were worldly-minded and jealous. Meera Bai's sister-in-law Uda Bai made a plan to defame Meera and told her brother that Meera was having an affair and heard her talk to a man in the temple. The enraged Kumbha ran with sword in hand towards Meera, but as luck would have it Meera had gone to her Krishna temple. A sober relative of the Rana counseled him, “Rana! You will forever repent for your hasty behavior and consequences. Enquire into the allegation carefully and you will find the truth. Meera bai is a great devotee of the Lord. Remember why you sought her hand. Out of sheer jealousy the ladies might have concocted scandals against Meera Bai to incite you and ruin her”. Kumbha calmed down and accompanied his sister who persistently took him to the temple at dead of night. Rana Kumbha broke open the door, rushed inside and found Meera alone in her ecstatic mood talking and singing to the idol.

The Rana shouted at Meera, "Meera, show me your lover with whom you are talking now". Meera replied, “There he sits my Lord who has stolen my heart". Then she went into a trance. She stood unruffled in the face of accusations from the Royal Family. When questioned about her marital responsibilities, Meera responded that it was Krishna to whom she was married. At her reply, Kumbha Rana was heart-broken, but still remained a good husband to Meera until his death.

After his death, Rana's relatives began persecuting Meera in various ways, even though Meera had no desire for the throne. Meera was then sent a basket with a cobra inside and a message that the basket contained a garland of flowers. Meera, opened the basket and found a lovely idol of Sri Krishna with a garland of flowers. The relentless Rana then sent her a cup of poison with the message that it was nectar. Meera offered it to her Lord Krishna and took it as his Prasad. It was real nectar to her. The bed of nails that the Rana sent transformed into a bed of roses when Meera slept on it.

It is said, Meera sent a letter to Goswami Tulsidas and asked for his advice. She wrote, “Simply because I am constantly tortured by my relatives, I cannot abandon my Krishna. I am unable to carry on with my devotional practices in the palace. I have made ‘Giridhar Gopala’ my friend from my very childhood. I feel a total bondage with him. I cannot break that bond".

Tulsidas then sent a reply “abandon those who cannot understand you and who do not worship Rama or Shyama, even though they are your dearest relatives. Prahlada abandoned his father, Vibhishana left his brother Ravana, Bharata deserted his stepmother, Bali forsook even his Guru, Gopis the women of Vraja Bhoomi, disowned their husbands to be with their Krishna. Their lives were all the happier for having done so. The relation with God and the love of God are the only elements that are true and eternal -- all other relationships are unreal and temporary”.

The turning point in her life occurred when Akbar and his court musician Tansen came in disguise to Chittor to hear Meera's devotional and inspiring songs. By then Meera became famous across the country. Akbar had always wanted to listen to her songs. “Both entered the temple and listened to Meera's soul-stirring songs to their heart's content. Before he departed, he touched the holy feet of Meera and placed a necklace of priceless gems in front of the idol as a present. Somehow the news reached the Rana that his enemy Akbar had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the holy temple in disguise, touched the feet of Meera Bai and even presented her a necklace. The Rana became furious and told  Meera Bai, “drown in the river and never show your face to the world in future. You have brought great disgrace on my family”.

Meera Bai decided to obey the words of the King. She proceeded to the river to drown herself. The names of the Lord “Govinda, Giridhari, Gopala” were always on her lips. She “sang and danced in ecstasy on her way to the river”. When she raised her feet from the ground, a hand from behind grasped her and embraced her. She turned behind and saw her beloved Giridhari. She fainted on seeing her Lord. After a few minutes she opened her eyes. Lord Krishna smiled and gently whispered: "My dear Meera, your life with your mortal relatives is over now. You are absolutely free. Be cheerful. You are and have always been mine."

Meera then walked barefoot on the hot sandy beds of Rajasthan. On her way, many devotees received her with great hospitality. She then went to the city of her lord, Brindavan and worshipped in the Govinda Mandir there, which has since become famous and is now a great place of pilgrimage for devotees from all over the world.

A repentant Rana came to Vrindavan to see Meera and prayed that he may be forgiven for all his cruel deeds. He requested Meera to return to his kingdom assume her role as the queen once more. Meera said that Krishna is the only King and my life belongs to him. The Rana, for the first time, truly understood Meera's exalted state of mind and prostrated before her in reverence. He then promptly left Vrindavan a changed soul.

Jiva Gosain was the head of the Vaishnavites in Brindavan. Meera wanted to have a darshan of Jiva Gosain. He declined to see her and told her that he would not allow any woman in his presence. She said "everybody in Brindavan is a woman. Only Giridhar Gopala is Purusha. Today I have come to know that there is another Purusha besides Krishna in Brindavan". Jiva Gosain was ashamed  and went to see Meera and paid her due respects. She was immersed in ‘satsang’ all the time. Meera returned to Mewar and Rana agreed to her request that she would reside in the temple of Krishna but would not restrict her movements and wanderings. From Mewar, she once again went to Brindavan, and then to Dwaraka. This time the Rana accompanied her.

On ‘Krishna Janmashtami’ at the temple of Lord Krishna, there was much happiness all around “The light of the lamps, the sound of the bhajans and the energy from the devotees' ecstacy were filling the air. With Tamburi in one hand and cymbals or chipla in the other the great ‘tapasvini’ was singing ecstatically with her Giridhar Gopala smiling in front of her closed eyes. Meera stood up and danced with her song 'Mere Janama Maran ke sathee', and when the song ended, Meera rose up abruptly, stumbled and fell at the flowers on the feet of Giridhari. She said “Oh, Giridhari, are you calling me, I am coming”. When Kumbha and the rest were watching in awe, “there was a lightning which enveloped Meera and the doors of the sanctum sanctorum closed on their own. When the doors opened again, Meera's saree was enveloping Lord Krishna's idol and her voice and the flute accompaniment were the only sounds that could be heard”. She became eternal and one with her Giridhar Gopala.

The question that remains is so many queens have come and gone, but why is the Queen of Chittor, alone remembered till today? Is it because of her grace and beauty? Is it because of her great poetic skills and her singing? The answer would be no. It is because of her renunciation, her love to her Lord and she drank the “Krishna Premrasa”. It is rightly said “she lived for her Lord, She conversed with Krishna. She ate with Krishna, her Beloved and she lived only for him”.

In 1945, there was blockbuster film Meera Bai starring Bharat Ratna, M.S, Subba Lakshmi as Meera Bai. The introduction of the film was made by the Sarojini Naidu the “Nightingale of India”. I do not know how many times I have seen the movie, and the Meera Bhajans, sung in the melodious voice of Subba Lakshmi is an experience I cannot forget. My favorite song is “Giridhara Gopala, pala Giridhar Gopala”. Jai Sree Krishna.

(At the outset, it was Sri Ganesha, Mata Saraswati, my Guru  who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was my Giridhar Gopala who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words).

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 22:40:15 +0530
The Essence of Bhagavad Gita in the time of Corona and in the days of technology

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all.  However, the greatness of Indian culture, especially “spiritualism” have contributed a lot —connecting the spirit of Indians throughout the ages. As a result, the spiritual-minded Indians have succeeded in maintaining their Indianness which could not have been possible otherwise. Indian life is dominated by personality which is well linked to spiritualism. Today 3rd December is celebrated as Gita Day, so let me remind you of the greatness of the Gita.

The Vedas offer spiritual direction to the Indians giving them the basics of spiritual and moral life. Our rishis should be applauded as the earliest spiritual masters on earth as their mantras resound with the seed of spiritualism, and India can be called the “cradle of spiritualism and civilization”. In India, spiritualism is not a mere  obsession of the mind, but, it is a heritage and tradition. India is home to two great epics Ramayana written by Valmiki and Mahabharata written by Veda Vyas. The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, often called as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of Mahabharata, dated to the second half of the first millennium BC and exemplary for the emerging Hindu synthesis. It is considered to be one of the holy scriptures.

Gita is the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna himself and is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. It is revered as a true source of spiritual knowledge; it reveals the purpose and goal of human life. It is especially relevant in the modern world traumatized by a “mere virus”, you need to read it again and again to find salvation. It is curious though, it may seem that such an ancient text from a “foreign culture” has been so enthusiastically received by Westerners, the Gita, like all truly great works of literature, can be read on many levels -- metaphysical, moral, spiritual, and practical, hence its appeal to the world. According to some, Bhagavad Gita is written by the Lord Ganesh when the great Saint was dictating to him.

For those who still haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, the Gita is a dialogue between Arjuna, one of five Pandava princes, and the Lord, who is “Parthasarthi” or the charioteer of Arjuna. Arjuna and his brothers have been exiled from their kingdom for 13 years and cut off from their rightful heritage by the Kauravas, their cousins. The Gita takes up the struggle to reclaim the throne, which requires the Pandavas wage war against their own kinsmen,

The story begins on the dusty plains of Kurukshetra, where Arjuna, a famed archer, is poised to fight. But he hesitates as he sees the army of friends, teachers, and kin, and believes that to fight—and likely kill—these men would be to commit a grievous sin and could bring nothing good even if he were to win the kingdom back. Krishna chides him for his cowardice—Arjuna is a Kshatriya after all, and warriors are meant to fight—but then goes on to present a spiritual journey that encourages him to fight his enemies, one that encompasses a discussion of the karmajnana and bhakti yogas, as well as the nature of divinity, mankind’s ultimate destiny, and the purpose of mortal life.

Gita is a work of luminous and startling intensity, and Henry David Thoreau calls it a “stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy…in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.” Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of the influence of Gita on him and wrote a book “Brahma”. Albert Einstein, however was moved by the Gita’s depiction of creation, and once remarked, “When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita comes to each one of us when we start distinguishing it humbly, paying respect to it and have direct liaison with it. The Gita is also known as tri marga or three ways to attain liberation imparted by the Lord. Krishna represents pure attraction and attainment while, Arjuna stands for an average human. Hence, Gita is for every one of us for accomplishing salvation. The Gita is the root of all the Vedas, Puranas and other holy scriptures. The 18 chapters of Gita are separated into three main categories hence known as tri marga. The three main categories are “Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jyana yoga”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita is in each and every verse and each verse encompasses words and each word contains an alphabet. The chapters one and two describes the battlefield of Kurukshetra while the chapters three to six divulges Karma Yoga or the yoga of actions i.e., how to perform routine work and how it should be converted into swadharma. The Lord addresses the significance of karma that should be completely surrendered to the divine and deals with just doing our work without any expectations of the benefits attained from the work. The essence lies when each and every work is done for the Lord. Hence, our Karma becomes Karma yoga just by offering every action unto the Lord.
 

Further, the essence of Bhagavad Gita lies in the next six chapters i.e., chapter seven to twelve, which stands for Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Devotion, where it is stated that we should remember God every time. You do not become a Bhakta by meditating on the Lord for some time, but for twenty-four hours remembering him.
 

The last part again contains six chapters i.e., chapter thirteen to eighteen which stands for Jyana Yoga or the Yoga of Knowledge. “Self” is the true knowledge than one could be a Gyani. The gunas of material nature is unveiled as Sattva, Rajas and Tamo gunas having their own significance in everyone’s life. Lord even says that “Gyani is my true reflection”. It now becomes easy for us to choose any of the three means and ways to attain liberation. Now which one could be better is also so enunciated and elicited by Lord Krishna when he states “knowledge is better than practice without discernment, meditation on God is superior to knowledge, and renunciation of the fruit of actions is even superior to meditation: for, peace immediately follows renunciation”. So, attaining liberation by becoming a Karma yogi is the preferred one as clearly shown by the Lord. We need to remember “Krishna” in order to attain him,  as he says “fix your mind on Me, and establish your intellect in Me alone, thereafter you will abide solely in Me. There is no doubt in it”. We can choose any of the tri margas and start reading it first and then implementing it practically into our life and then “we can taste the real essence of the Gita”.

There is a raging debate about reincarnation or rebirth. However, Gita makes it very clear when the lord states “ The atma or soul is indestructible, unbreakable and insoluble. The soul cannot be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can it be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. All souls are therefore eternally separated individuals”. The soul is seen as immortal and the only thing that becomes perishable is the body. Upon death, the soul moves into a new body to live again and again. Krishna says that for the soul there is neither birth nor death. Nothing actually dies, but we call the soul leaving the body as death, when there's no such thing as death. However, the Lord deals with what we call death and doesn't hide the fact that He is behind it.

Reading the Gita has changed my thought of life and how to live. It is the Lord, who inspired me to write this article, so that those of you, who has not  read it still, will get some knowledge.

 

 

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 22:34:38 +0530
Bose the boy who went to the gallows with a smile

 

Anupama Nair


Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the great, but unknown Khudiram Bose, who gave up his life for his motherland, when he was only 18 years old.

Eighteen years in a person’s life is a magical year. It is the transformation from a teenager to an adult. It is said “when the flower of youth begins to blossom, opening up a whole new world for a bewildered individual”. Can you imagine someone giving up his life at that age, for the sake of his Bharat Mata’s freedom, and to free her from the clutches of the British Empire? He is one of the youngest leaders of the Independence Movement, and is famous in Bengal for his ‘fearless spirit’. He became famous for his attempt to assassinate the British Magistrate Douglas Kingsford, and he was ultimately sentenced to death at the young age of 18. Unlike other leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, however, Khudiram’s legacy has been only limited to Bengal.

Khudiram Bose was born on December 3, 1889 in Midnapore district of West Bengal to, Trailokyanath Bose and Lakshmipriya Devi. He was the youngest among four siblings, and unfortunately, became an orphan when he was very young, and he was brought up by his eldest sister. His desire to join the Freedom Movement was strengthened when Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and Sister Nivedita visited Midnapore in 1902, and 1903. They had held a series of public and private sessions with the existing revolutionary groups to encourage them to fight for freedom. Khudiram, who was a teenager, was an active participant in the discussions about the revolution.

In the year 1905, when Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal, he actively participated in protests against the British. At the age of 15, he joined the Anushilan Samiti, which was an organization that advocated revolutionary activities in Bengal. Within a year, he had even learnt how to make bombs and would plant them in front of police stations.

The turning point of Bose’s life came in 1908, when he along with another revolutionary, Prafulla Chaki were assigned the task of assassinating the district magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Douglas Kingsford. Before being transferred to Muzaffarpur, Kingsford was a magistrate in Bengal. He had a reputation of torturing revolutionaries, and had “earned him the ire of this young group of nationalists who decided to hurl a bomb on him”.

His effort to ‘cripple’ the Bengali newspaper Jugantar drew severe criticism from many erudite Bengalis. The group's first attempt to kill Kingsford by delivering book bomb failed. They made another attempt on 29 April 1908. The plan was executed by Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki, who was then 19-years-old. Khudiram and Prafulla adopted the name of Haren Sarkar and Dinesh Chandra Roy, respectively and went to Muzzafarpur, where Kingsford was transferred as the District Magistrate.

It is said “on the fateful day, Kingsford and his wife were playing bridge with the daughter and wife of Pringle Kennedy, a British author, and barrister. While heading home, Kingsford and his wife were in a carriage identical to the one carrying Kennedy and his family. As their carriage reached the eastern gate of the compound of the European Club, Khudiram and Prafulla ran towards the carriage and threw the bombs into the carriage. A loud explosion ensued and the carriage was taken to Kingsford's house. It was shattered and the Kennedys sustained terrible injuries. Miss Kennedy died within an hour and Mrs. Kennedy died on 2 May”.

Khudiram Bose was arrested on the morning of 30th April, in Wani station, where he went by walking 25 miles. “He was suspected by two police constables when he asked for a glass of water at a tea stall. His disheveled look led the constables to suspect that something was amiss, and later they found in his possession 37 rounds of ammunition, Rs. 30, a railway map and a page of the rail time table, sealing his fate”. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide while trying to escape from the police. The Wani station is now known as Khudiram Bose Station.

“As Bose was brought handcuffed to the police station at Muzaffarpur, the entire town crowded around to take a look at the teenaged boy”. The following morning’s Statesman carried a vivid account of the scene as it reported, “The Railway station was crowded to see the boy. A mere boy of 18 or 19 years old, who looked quite determined. He came out of a first-class compartment and walked all the way to the station, like a cheerful boy who knows no anxiety, on taking his seat the boy cheerfully cried ‘Vandemataram’. Bose took full responsibility for the incident”.

On July 13, 1908, Bose was finally sentenced to death. When the English judge asked him if he understood the meaning of the sentence, Bose is known to have smiled and calmly said, “Yes, I do and my lawyer said that I was too young to make bombs. If you allow me some time before I’m taken away from here, I can teach you the skills of making bombs too.” Soon after, the streets of Calcutta swelled up in large protests for several days. He was executed on August 11, 1908.

“Khudiram Bose sacrificed his life with a smile when he was just at the cusp of adulthood. Stories about the love he had for his motherland have been shared over generations, through popular folktales in Bengal. But outside the state, his name remains largely in the shadows. This could be because Bose never received the limelight that other freedom fighters got. Even after his death, his story never made it to popular culture, be it in films, biopics, TV shows, or well-known books based on India’s freedom movement”. This is really unfortunate. We need to recognize the efforts of such selfless people.

Our Union Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah visited his village Midnapore and met his family. He said “Khudiram Bose belongs to all of India and not just West Bengal”. I fully agree to his statement and I thought to write about him today – “the boy who went to the gallows with a smile”. Vandemataram.
 

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 22:26:39 +0530
Brave hearts of Indo Pak War 1971

 

Anupama Nair

India has always given birth to many brave sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for their mother land. Be it Rana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj or Rani Laxmi Bai, the list is never ending. Even after Independence many brave sons and daughters gave their lives for us. “The Indian Army has been filled with spine-chilling tales of valor, indomitable spirit in the face of adversity, and unparalleled devotion towards our motherland”. It is said brave hearts are not born with any special power, they are ordinary people like us, but  they possess indomitable spirit and bravery when the situation demands. So is the tale of our brave Indian army soldiers who have proved it time and again after Independence.

Today, I am going to talk about some officers whose ‘tale of valor’ inspired us over the years. It is a known fact that the braves of the Indian Army sacrifice their own lives during any war so that the entire country can sleep in peace. The stories of their bravery, courage, and passion are larger than life stories. Their bravery will not only just make us proud but also their sacrifices will leave our eyes a little moist.

Today I am going to talk about the famous Indo-Pak War of 1971 and the brave hearts who ensured India won the war. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 began on December 3 and lasted for 13 days, after which Pakistan was humiliated and surrendered to India and Bangladesh. “The Indian Army brought the Pakistani Army to its knees, took 93,000 war prisoners and gave Independence to 75 million people of Bangladesh”, stated a media report. It was also considered to be the largest military surrender after the Second World War. Unfortunately, around 3,800 soldiers lost their lives in the war to end the genocide Pakistan committed against the Bengali population of East Pakistan.

The war started after Pakistan launched airstrikes on 11 Indian airbases. It was perhaps the first time in which all three Indian forces – army, airforce and navy fought together. India quickly responded to movements of the Pakistan Army in the west and captured around 15,010  KM of its territory. The war ended after the chief of Pakistani forces, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi and its 93,000 troops surrendered to the joint forces of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini of Bangladesh. General Niazi signed the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ on December 16, 1971, in Dhaka, and East Pakistan became Bangladesh. “For Pakistan, the war was a complete and humiliating defeat, a psychological setback that came from a defeat at the hands of rival India. Pakistan lost half its population and a significant portion of its economy, and suffered setbacks to its geopolitical role in South Asia”.

The Battle of Longewala (4–7 December 1971) was one of the first major action in the western sector during the War of 1971, fought between the forces of Pakistan  and the Indian defenders at the border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert .The battle was fought between 120 Indian soldiers accompanied by 4 Hunter fighter aircrafts and 2000-3000 Pakistani soldiers accompanied by 30-40 tanks.

The reinforced battalion of the Indian Army's 23rd Battalion, Punjab Regiment, led by the brave Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, was left with the choice of either attempting to hold out until reinforced, or fleeing on foot from a Pakistani force. Fleeing was never an option for any brave Indian officer, so Chandpuri ensured that all his assets were deployed, and made the most use of his strong defensive position, as well as weaknesses created by errors of the Pakistani Army. The battle of Longewala witnessed heavy Pakistani losses and only few Indian casualties.

The Battle of Longewala was depicted in the 1997 Bollywood film Border, directed by J.P. Dutta and starred Sunny Deol as Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, Jackie Shroff as Wing Commander M.S. Bawa, Sunil Shetty as Assistant Commandant Bhairon Singh (BSF), and Akshaye Khanna as 2nd Lieutanant Dharam Veer Bhan.  The movie exaggerated the casualties of Indian soldiers for dramatic purposes. This was not the case in the real incident as Indian forces had defended a position on a height that commanded the area, and were able to defend it effectively due to tactical mistakes made by the Pakistani commanders.

The year 2021 is the golden jubilee year of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. The Government has planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its victory as a ‘Golden Victory Year’ or ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’. A number of events were held as an effort to recognize and honor the bravery and sacrifices made by our gallant soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces in the 1971 war and also to rejoice as well as celebrate the occasion throughout the country with full enthusiasm. It sure is a great tribute to our great soldiers.

Now I am going to talk above the brave hearts of the war.

Lance Naik Albert Ekka (27 December 1942 – 3 December 1971) was a soldier in the Indian Army. He was martyred in action in the Battle of Gangasagar, during the 1971 War. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Nirmal Jeet Sekhon, (17 July 1945 – 14 December 1971) was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, in recognition of his lone defense of the Sri Nagar Air Base against the Pakistani Airforce air raid during the War. He is the only recipient of the Indian Air Force to be honored with the PVC. Singh's remains as well as the location of the crash site of his aircraft are still unknown.

Rameshwar Nath Kao was a brave RAW officer, whose team was called ‘Kao-boys’, and is popularly known as the ‘architect of Bangladesh’ for his role in the 1971 war. While the war was a military victory and the credit goes to the Army, Air Force and the Navy, Kao was the one working behind the scenes and under whose leadership, the RAW actively helped Mukti Bahini, the Bangladesh forces, to triumph over West Pakistan.

 

Major General Ian Cardozo is a name tantamount with the 1971 War. He was a young Major with the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles when the war broke out. His battalion’s second-in-command was killed in action and Cardozo was ordered to replace him. Cardozo, was fondly called  ‘cartoos  sahab’ by his Gorkha regiment who took part in the Indian Army’s first heliborne operation. Towards the end of the war, Cardozo stepped on a mine and his leg was badly injured. Due to non-availability of morphine and absence of medics, his leg could not be amputated surgically. Faced with the threat of the gangrene spreading in his body, Cardozo used his own ‘kukri’ to amputate his own leg. Later, a Pakistani military doctor captured by the Indian forces operated on him. He eventually became the first war-disabled officer of the Indian Army to command a battalion and a brigade.

 

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 22:16:46 +0530
Aye mere vatan ke logon jara aankh me bhar lo paani Jo shahid huye hain unaki jara yaad karo kurb

Aye mere vatan ke logon, jara aankh me bhar lo paani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani”

Anupama Nair

It was a day like any other day – getting up to, perform house duties and then hurrying to my job at a US Company to login at 6.30 PM. However, everything changed in a span of three hours as my Mumbai was attacked by Islamic Terrorists and then I learnt terror, anarchy, killing of thousands of innocent kafirs  be it New York, Paris or Mumbai has only one religion, which I do not wish to state as all of you must be aware and realize. I still cannot believe my beloved city was attacked in such a way that even after 14 years we Mumbaikars cannot forget or will never forget till our last breath.

This is what happened. Read on…

On November 26, 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists from Pakistan arrived by the Arabian Sea and opened fire, killing innocents “including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others during the nearly 60-hour siege in Mumbai. When armed terrorists attacked a dozen locations in Mumbai: including two luxury hotels, a hospital, the railway station, a restaurant, and a Jewish center, they killed both Indians and foreigners, and gravely wounded many more. The assault, known as 26/11, scarred the nation’s psyche to such extent that by exposing the country’s vulnerability to Islamic terrorism, although India was no stranger to it starting from 1947, when 2 million innocent Hindus and Sikhs were killed in East and West Pakistan. The Taj Mumbai’s burning domes and spires, which stayed ablaze for two days and three nights, will forever symbolize the tragic events of 26/11”.

“The attacks, that drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday 26 November, 2008 and lasted till Saturday 29 November, 2008. Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Palace and Tower, the Leopold Cafe, the Cama Hospital, the Nariman House, the Metro Cinema, and in a lane behind the Times Of India building and St. Xavier's College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, and lastly in a taxi in Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28th November, all sites except for the Taj Hotel had been saved by the ever-efficient Mumbai Police and our security forces. On 29th November, India's National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers and it culminated in the death of the last remaining terrorists at the Taj Hotel and ended the attacks”.

Ajmal Kasab, who was the sole surviving terrorist captured by the martyr Tukaram Omble in his own words unearthed the barbaric and cowardice of the terrorists: “the attackers were members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba,  from Pakistan, corroborating initial claims from the Indian Government”. Pakistan who denied any part in the act later had to confirm he was a Pakistani citizen. 

I who was working in my office in Malad was going for my break in the cafeteria saw these scenes in Television. The office then closed all the doors and deactivated the elevators. I to my dismay realized I had forgotten my phone at home. I could not let my family know I was safe. “The first set of events occurred around 8 PM  on 26th  November, when 10 men in inflatable speedboats came ashore at two locations in Colaba. They had reportedly told local fishermen, who asked them who they were to "mind their own business" before they split up and headed in two different ways. The fishermen's subsequent report to the police department received little response and local police failed to act on the information given to them!”

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) was attacked by two gunmen, Ismail Khan and Ajmal Kasab. Kasab was identified by eyewitnesses. An eye witness stated, “the attacks began around 21.30 PM when the two men entered the passenger hall and opened fire using AK-47 rifles. The attackers killed 58 people and injured 104 others, their assault ending at about 22.45 PM. Security forces and emergency services arrived shortly afterwards. I remember announcement by a railway announcer, who alerted passengers to leave the station and thus saved many lives. The two gunmen fled the scene and fired at pedestrians and police officers in the streets, killing 8 police officers”.

The attackers then reached Cama Hospital with intent to kill innocent patients, which clearly showed their cruelty and barbarism. However, the hospital staff locked all of the patient wards. Soon a team of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad led by the brave police chief Hemant Karkare searched the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and then left in pursuit of Kasab and Khan, who opened fire on the vehicle in a lane next to the hospital, and was fired back. Unfortunately, our brave officers Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte and one of their officers were martyred. “Kasab and Khan seized the police vehicle, but later abandoned it and seized a passenger car instead. They then ran into a police roadblock, which had been set up after Jadhav, the only survivor who radioed for help. A gun battle then ensued in which Khan was killed and Kasab was wounded. After a long physical struggle, Kasab was arrested”.

The Leopold Cafe, which was a very popular restaurant and bar on Colaba Causeway, was one of the first sites to be attacked. “Two terrorists, Shoaib alias Soheb and Nazir alias Abu Umer, opened fire on the Cafe on the evening of 26th November lasting 15 minutes killing and injuring many innocents. There were two explosions in taxis caused by timer bombs. The first one occurred at Vile Parle, instantly killing the driver and a passenger. The second explosion took place at Wadi Bunder killing many including the driver of the taxi and about 15 others were injured. Two hotels, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Trident, were among the four locations targeted. Six explosions were reported at the Taj Hotel: one in the lobby, two in the elevators, three in the restaurant, and one at the Oberoi Trident. Brave firefighters rescued 200 hostages from windows using ladders during the first night”.

The Police evacuated adjacent buildings and exchanged fire with the attackers, wounding one. Local residents were told to stay inside. The attackers threw a grenade into a nearby lane, fortunately causing no casualties. NSG commandos arrived from Delhi, and a naval helicopter took an aerial survey of the area. NSG commandos fast-roping from helicopters onto the roof, covered by snipers positioned in nearby buildings. After a long battle, one NSG commando, Sergeant Gajender Singh Bisht was martyred killing the two terrorists. Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg, who was six months pregnant, were murdered with four other hostages inside the house by the terrorists.

According to the radio transmissions picked up by the Indian intelligence, the attackers “were  told by their handlers in Pakistan that the lives of the Jews were worth 50 times more than non-Jews. The injuries found on the bodies indicated that they may have been tortured”. During the attacks, both hotels were surrounded by Rapid Action Force personnel and Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and National Security Guards (NSG) commandos. Security forces stormed both hotels, and all the 9 attackers were killed by the morning of 29th  November. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan of the NSG was fatally shot during the rescue of the Commando and Sunil Yadav, was hit in the leg by a bullet during the rescue operations at Taj. Many hostages were killed in the Oberoi Trident.

“It was clear the Mumbai Terror attacks were planned and directed by Lashkar-e-Toiba militants from Pakistan, and carried out by 10 Mujahedeen’s trained and sent to Mumbai and directed from Pakistan via mobile phones and VoIP”. Mumbai Police Department originally identified 37 suspects including two Pakistani army officers for their alleged involvement in the plot. All but two of the suspects, are Pakistanis. David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana arrested in the United States for other attacks were also found to have been involved in planning of the Mumbai attacks. One of these men, Pakistani-American David Headley alias Daood Sayed Gilani, had made several trips to India before the attacks and gathered video and GPS information on behalf of the plotters.

Only one of the 10 attackers, Ajmal Kasab, survived the attack and was hanged in Yerwada jail in 2012. The other nine attackers killed were Hafiz Arshad alias Abdul Rehman Bada, Abdul Rahman Chhota, Javed alias Abu Ali, Fahadullah alias Abu Fahad, Ismail Khan alias Abu Ismail, Babar Imran alias Abu Akasha, Nasir alias Abu Umar, Nazir alias Abu Umer and Shoaib alias Abu Soheb. On the first anniversary of the event, the state paid homage to the victims of the attack. Force One, a new security force created by the Maharashtra government to prevent future attacks held a parade from Nariman Point to Chowpatty.

The Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde today paid floral tributes to the brave martyrs who laid down their lives while fighting terrorists who had attacked the metropolis on this day 14 years ago.” They paid tributes at the martyrs' memorial in the premises of the Police Commissioner Office in south Mumbai, where Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, minister Deepak Kesarkar, Chief Secretary Manu Kumar Srivastava, state Director General of Police (DGP) Rajnish Seth, Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar and other officials were present”. Family members of the policemen, who lost their lives, also paid tributes to the martyrs.

Our beloved Prime Minister, Narendra Modi paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, tweeted “today is also the anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks. 14 years back, when India was celebrating its Constitution and Citizens’ Rights, enemies of humanity carried out the biggest terror attack on India. I pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the attack,” said PM Modi.

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah paid heartfelt tributes to those who lost their lives in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks tweeted “I pay my heartfelt tributes to those who lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and remember and salute our brave security personnel who made the supreme sacrifice fighting the terrorists. Today gives a message to the whole world to fight unitedly against terrorism,” Shah said.

The chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, also paid tribute to the people and the members of the security forces who were killed during the siege. In a tweet that included images of security personnel killed in the heinous terrorist attack, he said “no, I will never forget. But it's not the horror or the terror that I will remember. It's these heroes who I will remember and who will remain in my heart and head forever”.

Remember the lyrics of Maha Kavi Pradeep, sung by the Nightingale Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar:

Aye mere vatan ke logon, tum khub laga lo naara
Yeh shubh din hai ham sab kaa, lahara lo tiranga pyaara
Par mat bhulo sima par, viron ne hai pran ganvaaye
Kuchh yaad unhe bhi kar lo 
Jo laut ke ghar naa aaye 
(Aye mere vatan ke logon, jara aankh me bhar lo paani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani) .

Jab ghaayal huwa himalay, khatare me padi aajaadi
Jab tak thi saans lade woh – 2, phir apni laash bicha di
Sangeen pe dhar kar maatha, so gaye amar balidaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani

Jab desh me thi diwali, woh khel rahe the holi
Jab ham baithe the gharo me, woh jhel rahe the goli
The dhanya javaan woh aapane, thee dhanya woh unaki javaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani

Koyi sikh koyi jaat maratha , koyi gurakha koyi madaraasi) 
Sarahad pe maranewala , har veer tha bhaaratavaasi
Jo khun gira parvat par, woh khun tha hindustani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani

Thi khun se lath path kaaya, phir bhee banduk uthaake
Das das ko ek ne maara, phir gir gaye hosh ganvaakeJab ant samay aaya toh – 2, kah gaye ke abb marate hain
Khush rahana desh ke pyaaro , abb ham toh safar karate hain
Kya log the woh diwaane, kya log the woh abhimaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani
Tum bhul naa jaao unako, iss liye kahee yeh kahaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani
Jay hind, jay hind ki sena 
Jay hind, jay hind, jay hind

(Credits: Mahakavi Praddep for Lyrics, C. RamaChandra for music and Lata Mangeshkar for her voice)

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 23:30:57 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam Matunga Mumbai

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has been enhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
 

mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 19:52:28 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has been enhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
 

mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 19:43:12 +0530
Correct attitude in the workplace

 

Anupama Nair

When it comes to your workplace, your mental attitude plays a role not only just in how others observe you, but also your job satisfaction and performance. It is important considering that many of us spend around forty hours a week working, you can see the value of fostering a positive mindset in your job.

These are some tips to always maintain a positive attitude that work:

 

Surround yourself with positive people:

 

If you analyze, the old idiom “birds of a feather flock together” it can be considered in two ways. People who are similar in nature and beliefs, automatically find each other, or people who are in a group acquire the same nature over a period of time. If you’re always with negative people who are a ‘complaint box’, you’ll become one too, and see the world as negatively as they do. It is not possible at all, if you think you can stay positive and change them, but that’s not going to be the case. Always try to connect with people who have a positive attitude in life and love their job, have new ideas, and are interested in lots of alternate things besides work. It’ll make your whole outlook on life better.

It is true, you can’t always pick your co-workers, but you can be cautious about who you became friends with, how much time you spend with them, and in what setting. If you’re stuck with a negative bunch of people, be careful not to imbibe negativity. Take breaks and go for a walk rather than immerse yourself in negative breakroom drama and gossip.

 

Mind your language:

 

No, this isn’t about the ‘language police’, or people trying to swear less, it is about being conscious of the words you use while speaking and thinking. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis suggested that the structure of language affects a person’s view of the world, and the way they think. Taken to the furthest extent, your language actually limits how you are able to perceive the world. However, it’s a hypothesis.

 

But on a smaller level, the language you use every day, both in thought and spoken word, has a cumulative effect on how you think about yourself, your work, and the co-workers around you. This may seem like a silly example, but it might be the difference between seeing your day as filled with tasks, or filled with opportunities. The former is tiring and arduous, making you feel trapped in a daily grind. The latter is exciting with potential. Be aware of how you choose to think and speak at work. Find a positive way to view everything and everyone.

 

Create a routine for the day:

 

It’s easier to think that if you have a strict routine at work, you’re stuck in a rut or you’re not ‘flexible’ enough. The truth is, though, routines give you good fallback structure, a morning routine is especially good, since for many people, the morning is the time we’re most alert and awake, yet sometimes not able to buckle down and get started as you might be feeling lazy. Always try to create a routine that helps you get the most important work done, take breaks at the right time, and leaves the last hour or so of the work day for less difficult work and preparation for the next day. Most of us get tired by the end of the day, so never leave the toughest work for then. It’s important to end each day by getting prepared for the next day

 

Be nice to other people:

 

It is said, being kind to other people makes you very happy. A research done by the Journal of Social Psychology found that doing something kind for people has the same effect as trying new and exciting things when happiness is the goal. There is something even better! A study conducted by the Journal of Happiness Studies discovered that the memory of doing something kind for someone inspires us to want to do it again. If you make being nice to other people a regular thing, it’ll become a cycle of generosity and happiness that makes you feel good and causes those around you to feel happy as well. Think of the worst negative work environment possible. Negativity feeds on more negativity until it seems overwhelming. Be nice to other people and watch them forward the attitude to their peers. If your work is difficult and you can’t get away from that, and finding a positive attitude about the work itself is a challenge, be kind to the people around you and let that be an effective substitute .Appreciating and recognizing coworkers can go a long way in making your day better.

 

Don’t rely on an outside source of positivity:

 

Always carry a positive attitude with you. Think of a positive attitude like a survival kit and carry it with you at all times for emergencies. Always rely on a phrase that you repeat over and over when times are stressful or do you have some other trick to help resurrect and keep a positive attitude, be sure to come up with a mechanism that doesn’t rely on someone else or a specific situation.

 

Assume responsibility, and choose your response:

 

If you refuse to take responsibility for your actions and your situation, or not taking control of how you respond, is enough to destroy your positive attitude immediately.

If something wrong happens and you’re at fault or responsible, refusing to acknowledge you are responsible means that you can’t correct the behavior and it will happen again and again, and you also set yourself up for a ‘victim’ hood in which things happen to you.

 

You should be more positive seeing life as something you have some control over rather than at the mercy of fate. Think of it as an equation -- E + R = O (event + response = outcome). How you respond has an effect on the outcome, even when events are out of your control.

 

Decide your reaction to known problems ahead of time:

 

Whether it is clients or co-workers or regular projects, there are some things at work that you are always going to fear dealing with. You know they will upset you, so all you need to do is decide beforehand that they will not. If a client asks you to make changes, expect it. Choose to be calm about it, and not let it bother you. Try to look at the client or co-worker that’s ‘driving you nuts’ in a different way. Maybe they are having a bad time at home, or they are stressed themselves.

 

Breathe deeply:

 

Breathing deeply helps your body by calming down. Calm people always have positive attitudes. If you find yourself getting a ‘bad attitude’ about something, find a place where you can be alone, and do some deep breathing exercises. Not only does it reduce stress, but also it helps you clear your mind and see the situation in a different way.

 

Make a mission statement:

 

Do you have a mission statement that is unique to you? It is quite possible that your company probably has a mission statement, but you should have one yourself. A personal mission statement will help you define your purpose at work, what your life is about, and what motivates your behavior. It’s a good thing to fall back on when work gets crazy and you’re confused about what it is you’re doing. “When you feel like you have purpose, you can be positive. When you feel like you don’t have a purpose or you don’t know what you’re doing at work, it does not help.

 

Have personal goals:

 

“Goals are a lot different from personal mission statements in that they are specific things you want to achieve”. However, goals are not just ‘fun in the future’ but are the actual guides that you use to achieve. It’s difficult to be positive if you think you’re going nowhere. Goals are the proof that you have a plan and you’re working towards it. They are a proof of a positive attitude.

 

Stop being a complaint box:

 

Complaints become such a huge issue that they create negative energy around you

Stop complaining! Complaining never helps. If you’re around people who complain a lot, avoid them immediately. Always try to see the situation in a positive light as complaints are a way of seeing everything in a negative light without considering any other explanation. It’s only a one-way road to discontent that increases further as you travel.

 

Laughter is the best medicine:

Laughing is good for your health, and of course, it helps you feel much better. Who doesn’t love laughing? Humor is especially good when things are going terribly wrong. Who doesn’t love a person who, in the middle of some difficult project, cracks a joke that suddenly makes you laugh? Always try to be that guy. Try to find humor wherever you can. “Laughing with people is different than laughing at them. Never joke about others to get a laugh at their expense”.

 

 

 

 

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:07:05 +0530
Building Inter personal relationship

 

Anupama Nair

 

Man is a social animal. The connections we build with other people are very critical to our social, emotional, and physical health. You need to know how to maintain inter-personal relationships and it helps you build a support system that provides strength as you cope with challenges life throws at you. Inter-personal relationships make up each and every relationship that fulfills a range of physical and emotional needs. These are the people you have the closest relationship.

 

“While romantic relationships are considered interpersonal, family members and friends are too, while secondary inter-personal relationships include acquaintances, neighbors, and others who you interact with on a regular basis”. In short, you have some kind of inter-personal relationship with everyone you know and meet. Given the importance of relationships to our emotional and physical well-being, it’s necessary to learn how to develop and maintain them. Relationships do not develop suddenly. George Levinger, a psychologist identified five stages of interpersonal relationships in which he termed as stage theory:

  • acquaintance
  • buildup
  • continuation
  • deterioration
  • ending (termination)

 

He stated, a successful inter-personal relationship will only go through the first three stages. A relationship that breaks up will go through all five of these stages. Not all relationships will make it past the first stage of acquaintance, either. “Part of the importance of Levinger’s theory is to show that interpersonal relationships are just as dynamic as they are varied”.

 

Maintaining friendships and other relationships require great effort. The first and most important factor is communication. This requires in-person discussions about your feelings. Although texting and messaging online can be very fulfilling sometimes, they often don’t provide the same effects as face-to-face contact. At some point in the relationship, a conflict might arise. How you deal with the situation will determine whether the conflict strengthens the relationship or not. It’s important to talk it through and listen to their point of view, rather than avoiding them.

 

If something is bothering or upsetting you, you need to speak up clearly. If you’re having some communication problem with a friend, family member, or partner, be sure to tell them. Hopefully they’ll reciprocate with respect and honesty. Apart  from honesty and open communication, it’s also important to:

  • Establish boundaries.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Show the other person respect at all times.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Be open to constructive criticism and feedback without letting your emotions take over.

 

You need to realize, not all relationships are lifelong, as some may never go beyond an acquaintance level, as it’s normal for certain relationships to come to an end. There are factors that affect the course of all of your inter-personal relationships. When you think of an interpersonal relationship coming to an end, you might think of a breakup with your romantic partner. However, other inter-personal relationships can come to an end too. For example, when you graduate from high school, you may not stay in touch with all your teachers and fellow students. It’s impossible to maintain all the relationships in your life forever. This is especially true of secondary relationships.

 

In order to form and maintain strong bonds with others, there needs to be a mutual give-and-take when it comes to sharing information with others. People need to open up to you, and you need to open to them and share details about your experiences, emotions, and opinions. It is through this mutual sharing that you get to know each other and the process, is known as ‘self-disclosure’, and it forges bonds and deepens intimacy between people.

 

You need to consider how you might feel if someone you care about did not share any important information with you about things that are happening in their life. You might be hurt and think, that they don’t trust you or that they don’t consider you a close friend. 

Letting others in is very difficult. By sharing information, you are indicating that you trust and care for them, and give them the opportunity to show the same in return.

In order to maintain good interpersonal relationship, you need to work on learning to be open with the people in your life. Always let yourself to be vulnerable. Look for opportunities where you can let people get to know the ‘real’ you.

 

Being open to others does not mean you should give others unlimited access to your thoughts, feelings, or time. Healthy boundaries necessary for any strong relationship. It is important not only to establish these boundaries but to enforce them as well. A boundary in your inter-personal relationship might look like having limits when you spend time together or have expectations when you will be there for one another. It can also involve how much you are willing to share about yourself emotionally, physically, and even digitally.

 

These boundaries are important in your relationships with other people also, but they’re also important for your relationship with yourself. It’s important that others respect your boundaries, but it is just as important for you to respect theirs. Respecting these boundaries shows that you care about each other’s values, goals, emotions, and needs.

 

Good communication is essential in any relationship, but it’s important to remember that communicating well involves being able to listen. Active listening involves being engaged with what your partner is saying. “You're not just being quiet and letting them say their piece, you’re reflecting on their words, paraphrasing what they have said to show you are listening, and asking questions you may have”. 

Listening shows that you care about the person. It shows that you are involved in the other person’s life and interested in what they have to say. Listening is really a great way to learn more about the other person and it also allows you to offer support and emotional validation, which can go a long way toward making the other person value you as a friend and confidant.

 

You should also show respect for others, to maintain a good inter-personal relation. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say or do what they want to do. However, It does mean you should show that you value their feelings, opinions, time, and interests.

 

While showing respect in interpersonal relationships, you should:

 

  • Avoid disparaging the things they enjoy
  • Keep the commitments you’ve made to them
  • Show up on time
  • Be mindful of their feelings
  • Listen to them, even when you disagree
  • Be empathetic

 

Inter-personal relationships benefit from showing empathy to others. What is empathy? Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. When you are able to show that you feel what someone else is feeling, it helps them gain a sense of belonging. It helps others feel understood, and that understanding serves as a foundation for trust and closeness in a relationship.

 

Research also suggests that in addition to strengthening relationships, empathy also fosters kindness, cooperation, and helping behaviors and improves mental health.

Inter-personal relationships touch all aspects of our lives, including home, work, and leisure activities. Without strong relationships, it’s possible to feel lonely and undervalued as a person. You may also feel that you’re lacking social support. Today, it’s easier than ever to miss out on inter-personal relationships due to technology that encourages digital communication. People who work from home after the pandemic, miss in-person communication with their co-workers. Friends and family then may opt to text rather than get together for a meal and conversation.

 

Make a point to see your family and friends in person and use other online resources for ways to engage in human interactions that is much needed today. Unfortunately, face-to-face interactions are becoming lesser and lesser as you do not have time to meet people, even your near and dear ones. Would you believe if I say, you can’t build inter-personal relationships if you do not have a good relationship with yourself? Well, it is true. What you should do is take time to get to know yourself first and also invest in self-care. If certain issues are keeping you from spending time with others, consider talking with a therapist for support and guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:02:31 +0530
Who are the Celts

 

Anupama Nair

Have you heard about the Celts? The celts were a member of an early Indo-European people who lived in most of Europe from 2000 to 200 BC. They eventually lived from Britain as far as the Roman Empire. The early Celts rarely could write anything about themselves. The Greeks, called them as Keltoi, Keltai or Galatai and the Romans as Celti, Celtae and  Galli  that meant barbarians.

 

The first mention of the Celts were made by the Greeks authors around 500 BC. However, the most valuable insights about them were provided by the Romans. It was the time the Roman empire was expanding, and they came in direct contact with the Celts on their northern borders, however, these texts were considered incomplete as they were often written much before the attack. So, unfortunately the information we have is not complete.

 

First mention of the Celts were made by the Greek authors between 540 and 424 BC. However, the most valuable insights were provided by the Roman authors, as the Roman world were expanding, and they came in direct contact with the Celts on their northern borders. It is believed that the Celts were a collection of tribes which originated in central Europe. Though, they were many tribes, they had the same culture, traditions, religious beliefs and language.

 

We still do not know what the Celts called themselves. The name ‘Celts’ is a modern name which is used to describe many tribes of people who lived during the Iron Age in Europe. It is surprising, none of the ancient texts refer to the people of Britain or Ireland as Celts and therefore, we can say the Celts were a collection of tribes, and they were more generally known by the name of those tribes or societies as opposed to a collective nation or empire.

 

Much earlier historical sources, stated Celts were located in western Europe and also occupied land near the Danube River. Their home territories have often been traced to central and eastern France, extending across southern Germany and into the Czech Republic. In 279 BC the Celts were known to have looted Delphi, the most sacred site in ancient Greece. It is also believed they met Alexander the Greek, in 335 BC in the Balkans. There was a large-scale migration of Celts soon after 400BC, and this migration made them move from central Europe to Northern Italy and Eastern Europe.

It is believed that the Celts arrived at the shores of Britain around 1000 BC and lived there during the Iron Age, the Roman Age and the post Roman age. It is said, their legacy continues even today where you can see glimpses of the language, culture and traditions in Wales which is a Celtic nation.

 

Today after nearly 4000 years, it is difficult tracing the beginning of Celtic languages. It is believed that they were derived from an earlier language called as 'proto-Indo-European'. The language spread in western Europe through the movement of people, possibly from Central Asia between 6000 and 2000 BC. Unfortunately, there is little agreement over precisely when this occurred and when and how Celtic languages subsequently developed.

 

We believe today that, Celtic languages originated between 6000 and 600 BC, with the earliest known inscriptions in a Celtic language found in Northern Italy and dating to 600 BC. A 16th century scholar, suggested that the people of continental Europe had once spoken a group of Gallic languages. It is believed that since modern Gaelic was similar to Welsh, Irish and Scottish, the people of Britain, originally came from France and Spain.

 

During the 18th century, people who spoke Celtic languages were known as Celts. The ancient inhabitants of Wales, were therefore known as Celts. What did the Celts wear?

The Celts in the ancient time were described as wearing brightly colored clothes, with some using blue dye from the woad plant to paint patterns on their bodies. They are known for their colorful woolen clothing. The usual Celtic attire would include a tunic and a belt, as well as a long cloak and trousers which were fastened by a ’fibuale’. It is said the Celts were one of the first people in Europe to wear trousers, and the ‘fibuale’ would be clasps, which were used to fasten their trousers.

 

The Celtic art was recognized and named by British scholars during the 19th century. However, it was not until 1910-1914 that the earliest objects made by them were traced to a common cultural area of north-east France, southern Germany and the Czech Republic.

 

“It may be possible that future genetic studies of ancient and modern human DNA may help in discovering more about the Celts. However, early studies have, so far, tended to produce implausible conclusions from very small numbers of people and using outdated assumptions about linguistics and archaeology”.

 

 

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 16:54:32 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan

 

Sajesh Nambiar

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has been enhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam A very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
 

mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 16:45:05 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan

 

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has been enhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam A very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
 

mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

 

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 15:29:34 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam,  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.


About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.


Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 13:33:52 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan Temple

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam,  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.


About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.


Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 13:29:06 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan Temple

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam,  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.


About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.


Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 13:22:10 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan Temple

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam,  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.


About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.


Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 13:08:58 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan temple

Sajesh Nambiar

(www.mediaeyenews.com)

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam,  a very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:56:19 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan

 

Sajesh Nambiar

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has beenenhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam A very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
"mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam".

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.
 

Some of the Tantric rituals are" Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja" and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:17:59 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam performed in Kochu Guruvayurappan Temple

 

Sajesh Nambiar

The Asthika Samaj is 99 years old and They are celebrating the 100 years in 2023 that is next year, with the Blessing of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, the Temple attained its full-fledged status through the installation of idols of Lord Sree
Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman in a specially created Garbagriha.  The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years coupled with the full
support of the devotees enabled the installation of the other deities nameły Lord Karthikeya in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1967, Lord
Guruvayoorappan in 1974, and Lord Swamy Ayyappan in 1978, by the Thantri of Guruvayoor Temple exactly in the same manner as in Sri
Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor, the ancient Temple in Kerala.

As a result of the installation of the Deities, the divine set up of the Samaj has been enhanced to such an extent that the Samaj is now more popularly known
as "Kochu Guruvayoore". Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam A very rare and unique Religious Ceremony was performed between 18th November and 25th November. On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala, and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer, and Musician.
 

About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) had come to perform the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam. performed in the temple as follows:
mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

Poojas, Rituals, and Dravyams were consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam was performed on 25th  November 2022. The importance of the above-mentioned Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are:-
“increased intelligence, nourishing the dhatus, pacification of diseases related to internal organs, pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), improvement of health & removal of diseases, improvement of meditation, pacification of the Navagrahas, nourishment of the body and building immunity, prosperity and wealth and education”

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and shower grace on them.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:12:45 +0530
Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam held in Kochu Guruvayurappan Temple

 

On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by  His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer and Musician. The Tantric ritual ceremony started on 18th November at 6 p.m. and will continue till 25th November, 2022.  About 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) have come to perform this Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam.

From 18th November till 25th November, these Tantric rituals have been performed by Namboothiris in the temple –

Mura japam – Rig vedam, Mura japam – Yajur vedam, Mura japam – Sama vedam, Mura dhara, Prasada suddhi, Rakshogna homam, Vasthu homam, Vasthu bali, Chathur suddhi, Maha chathur suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha panchakam, Prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam

 

Poojas, Rituals and Dravyams are consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam will be performed on the Vigraha on 25th November, 2022.  The importance of Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple.

Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is done very rarely in Kerala as well as outside the state of Kerala, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by learned scholars.

Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas. This is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal in nature that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are :-

Increased intelligence, Nourishing the dhatus, Pacification of diseases related to internal  organs,  Pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus), Improvement of health & removal diseases, Improvement of meditation, Pacification of the Navagrahas, Nourishment of the body and building immunity, Prosperity  &  Wealth, Education

It is believed that after the Kalasabhishekam Supreme Deity will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and showers grace on them.

 

 

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 02:29:55 +0530
Maha Drvyarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam done in Kochu Guruvayur Appan Temple

Anupama Nair

 

I am writing a topic close to my heart i.e., about my Giridhara Gopala. It is the grace of the Lord that we have managed to survive the pandemic. If you and your family are safe from Corona for more than two years, it is the blessing of the Lord. “Faith can move mountains”. This is what my grandmother always used to tell me. My belief in her old words of wisdom was reinstated whenever I visit the temples of my Lord Krishna. There are many places close to the Lord in our Aryavarta or Bharat Varsha. In the north it would be Mathura (Krishna Janmabhoomi), and Vrindavan (Vraj Bhoomi) and Dwaraka (Samadhi), in the south it would be Guruvayur, where he resides as Guruvayurappan as Bala Krishna or “Unni” as he is known in Kerala. I still remember my childhood pilgrimage to this ‘punyabhoomi’ or holy place. Even today, when I stand with folded hands and closed eyes in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, I can feel the presence of my Giridhar Gopala and I would slowly sing the song “Giridhar Gopala pala” sung by Bharat Ratna M.S. Subba Lakshmi, a Meera Bhajan from the film Meera.

 

There are many Guruvayurappan temples across the world. We Mumbaikars are proud of our own Guruvayurappan Temple in Matunga. The ‘Asthika Samaj’ was set up as a place of worship in Matunga, during the British rule in 1923 by the will of my Giridhar Gopal. It was done by adorning the sacred hall with a portrait of Lord Sree Rama. In the year 1953 with the blessings of His Holiness Jagadguru Sree Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the Temple was inaugurated by the installation of the idols of Lord Sree Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman in a specially created ‘Garbhagriha’.

We can trace the historical importance from Matunga, which was previously the abode of Mathangarishi who, after performing the Mahayagnas on the banks of Pampa acquired the status of a Maharishi. The holy banyan tree exists even today fulfilling the desires of thousands of devotees. The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years, coupled with the full support of the devotees enabled the installation of other deities - Lord Karthik in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1976 and the Lord Kochu Guruvayurappan in 1974 and finally Swamy Ayyappan in 1978). The temple hosts religious festivals throughout the year.  The daily poojas are conducted with full devotion maintaining purity strictly by the Vedic, Tantric and Agama scriptures.

The Samaj also boasts of a Kalyana Mandapam  within the premises with modern facilities in the name of Sree Sita Rama Kalyana Mandapam which offers the best facility  to  devotees and the general public  for conducting  marriages, Upanayanam and any religious or social function.

 

This November is a special occasion for us the devotees of the Lord as the Maha Drvyarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam started on the 18th of November. It is noteworthy, that it is done very rarely in Kerala or anywhere, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by very learned scholars. It is a ritual that is rarely performed in ‘Maha-Khestras’ to enhance the power of the deity consecrated within the temple. This comprises vedic and tantrc rituals including Prayashchittahomams, Triveda-Mura-Puja, Maha-chatuh-shuddi, samadhi-shuddhi, ativasahomam, dravyavarti-mahabrahmakalahsha puja, abhishekams, etc. Aren’t we fortunate and blessed by the Lord?

 

On the evening of 18th November, the tantric ritual ceremony was inaugurated by  His Excellency Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the honorable Governor of Maharashtra in the presence of Shri P C Dineshan Namboothiripad, Tantri – Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala and Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Singer and Musician. The Tantric ritual ceremony started on 18th November at 6 pm and will continue till 25th November, 2022.  About, 80 learned scholars (Namboothiris) have come to perform this Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam.

 

From 18th November till today 25th November these Tantric rituals have been performed by Namboothiris in the temple – “mura japam – rig vedam, mura japam – yajur vedam, mura japam – sama vedam, mura dhara, prasada suddhi, rakshogna homam, vasthu homam, vasthu bali, chathur suddhi, maha chathur suddhi, samadhi suddhi, maha panchakam, prayachitha homam, prayachitha homam”.

 

Poojas, Rituals and Dravyams consecrated on the 1008 Kalashams and Kalashabhishekam will be performed on the Vigraha or the idol of the Lord on 25th November, 2022.  The importance of Maha Dravyavarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha which is consecrated within the temple. Some of the Tantric rituals are Mura-japam (Veda japam), Mura-dhara, Prasāda-suddhi-kriyas, Rakshogna homam, Vastu homam and Vastu Bali, Chatuh-suddhi / Mahachatuh-suddhi, Samadhi suddhi, Maha-panchakam, Prayashchittahomam, Shanti homam, Adbutha-Shanti-homam, Shva-Shanti homam & Chora-Shanti-homam, Thathwa-Homam, Thathwa-Kalasha-puja, Thathwa-Kalashabhishekam, Khanda-Brahma-Kalasham, Brahma-Kalasha Puja and others.

 

“In Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha, there is one main Brahma-kalasha surrounded by 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha and 84 Pari-kalashas, and the one is called one kalasha-kshetra. Nine such kalasha-kshetras make one Dravyavarti-Mahakalasha. Each of the 24 Khanda-Brahma-Kalasha are filled with different Dravyas (medicinal in nature that sustain the body) which are Padyam, Arghyam, Achamam, Gavyam, Ghee, Curd, Honey, Milk, Hot water, Kashayam, Marjanam, Fruits, Yavam, Jewels, Metal, Kusa grass, Perfume, Flowers, Upamana, Datri, Akshata, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane juice, and Rice water. This ritual completes the sanctifying process of the Deity. Each of these dravyas have different benefits for the deity as well as the devotee offering it and the benefits are :-

 

  • Increased intelligence,
  • Nourishing the dhatus,
  • Pacification of diseases related to internal  organs,
  • Pacification of evil effects of Sukra (Venus),
  • Improvement of health and removal diseases,
  • Improvement of meditation,
  • Pacification of the Navagrahas,
  • Nourishment of the body and building immunity,
  • Prosperity, Wealth, and Education

 

There is a belief that after the Kalasabhishekam, the Lord will be highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and showers grace on them.

 

The time of this ceremony is auspicious as it is the sacred Mandala Kalam or the time holy to Ayappa Bhaktas. A priest in the Temple explained the concept of the Puja as such: “ the concept of the temple in Sanatana dharma is all about invoking the supreme power that is omnipresent in the form of a Vigraha that is consecrated within the temple. In Sanskrit is said

“Bhaktyaivaparayātuśţo deva devahsayoginām

Pūjādyānugrahāyādaurūpambhejechaturbhujam

meaning the Lord is highly pleased by the devotion of the devotees and showers his/her grace on them”.

 

We the devotees had a unique opportunity to witness and take part in these events and earn the grace of Lord Guruvayurappan.

“Devānbhāvayatānenatedevābhāvayantuvah

Parasparambhāvayantahśhreyah param avāpsyath

which meant  your sacrifices, gods will be pleased, and by co-operation between humans and the celestial gods, great prosperity will reign for all”.

 

According to the Bhaktas, Tantris and Pujaris “Bhagavati Seva done by Kalloormana Namboothiripad is the ultimate Bhagavati Seva and Mr. Krishnajit Namboothripad did the Bhagavati Seva in the holy Shrine.

 

May the Lord shower his blessings on each one of us.

(At the outset, it was Sri Ganesha, Mata Saraswati, my Guru  who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was my Giridhar Gopala who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words. Dedicated to Late Uncle Pai for Amar Chitra Katha and the late B.R Chopra for the serial)

 

 

 

Fri, 25 Nov 2022 15:44:08 +0530
Manikarnika Queen of Jhansi the legend still lives on

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat Maa is a proud mother, as she has given birth to many brave daughters. I had previously written about many brave Queens of India from Naika Devi, the Solanki queen who defeated Ghori till Rani Lakshmi Bai. What is Indian history without Manikarnika or Lakshmi Bai, the brave queen of Jhansi? With immense pride I am writing about her. Even today, for every Indian she is the icon for the freedom struggle against the British Raj for Independence.

She sacrificed her life so that we could be born and live in an Independent India. Sure enough, we got Independence from the British on 15th August 1947, but are we free from 900 years of slavery? Read this words from Gitanjali, written by Tagore and you will have the answer.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”.

Are we living “into that heaven of freedom”? Did the sacrifice of the millions go in vain and we have forgotten them and only give credit to two people for our independence and the rest are forgotten in the annals of history never to be remembered. Was it for this day, they selflessly sacrificed their life for you and me, children of Independent India? But is it fair to forget them and their sacrifice? What I am glad about is, Rani Lakshmi Bai will never be forgotten as she is the “beacon of the First War of Independence” in 1857.

To understand the story of Manikarnika, I need to take you back many centuries before. India was ruled by the cruel Mughals. It is a credit to the British, how the merchants who came to do trade with India, within 300 years became the masters of the entire land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire sub-continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600. They landed in the Indian subcontinent on August 24, 1608, in Surat (Gujarat).

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764) , smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. Robert Clive became the first Governor General of British India. By spinning a web of deceit, and many laws like Subsidiary Alliance (Lord Wellesley) and Doctrine of Lapse (Lord Dalhousie), they succeeded in ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”.

However, the last Governor General Lord Canning, never imagined a ‘mere rifle’ will bring the end of East India Company. Let us see how that happened. Soldiers throughout India were issued a new rifle, the Enfield Rifle— a more powerful and accurate weapon than the previous ones used for decades. To load both the old musket and the new rifle, soldiers had to bite the cartridge open and pour the gunpowder. Then, the rumor spread the cartridge was greased with the fat of pigs and cows. The news spread like wild fire and the soldiers refused to use the rifle, however,  British officers dismissed these claims as rumors and ordered them to use the rifle. Moreover, there was a prophesy that Company Raj would end in a hundred years, which was proved true.

Now I am going to talk about the life of the brave queen. Rani Lakshmi Bai, popularly known as Rani of Jhansi, was born into a Maratha Brahmin family on 19 November, 1828 in Varanasi. She was named Manikarnika because she was born in the famous Manikarnika Ghat. She was the daughter of Morepant and Bhagirathi Tambe. She lost her mother when she was only four years old. Her father worked for Peshwa Baji Rao II  of Bithoor. She was the Peshwa’s favorite and he lovingly called her "Chhabili", which meant "playful". She was well educated at home, and was more independent in her childhood than many others of her age. Her studies included shooting, horsemanship, fencing with her childhood friends Nana Saheb and Tatya Tope. Her favorite horse was called Badal.

She married the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao and as per tradition was given a new name Lakshmi Bai. She  was widowed without bearing an heir to the throne, as her son Damodar Rao died as a baby. Just before his death, the King adopted a boy Anand Rao, also renamed as Damodar Rao, as his heir. Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India, refused to recognize the adopted heir and annexed Jhansi in accordance with the Doctrine of Lapse. An agent of the East Indian Company, was posted in the small kingdom to look after administrative matters. When she was informed of this she cried out " I shall not surrender my Jhansi”. In March 1854, Rani Lakshmi Bai was ordered to leave the palace and the fort by the Administrator.

She returned to Jhansi, when the First War of Independence started in May 1857. From August 1857 to January 1858, Jhansi under the Rani's rule was at peace. The British who was fighting the rebellion could do nothing. They summoned their greatest war hero, General Sir Hugh Rose to fight against the Queen. Sir Hugh Rose commanding the British forces, demanded the surrender of the city , and threatened if this was refused it would be destroyed. Rani refused and said that after due deliberation she proclaimed, "We fight for independence”. She defended Jhansi against British troops when Sir Hugh Rose besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858.

The company’s forces surrounded the fort of Jhansi, and a fierce battle raged. Offering stiff resistance to the invading forces, Lakshmi Bai did not surrender even after her troops were overcome and the rescuing army of Tatya Tope, was defeated at the Battle of Betwa. Lakshmi Bai managed to escape from the fort with a Damodar Rao, tied to her back on her horse Badal, and is still in our memory. A small force of palace guards left with her and headed eastward, where other leaders joined her.

Tatya Tope and Lakshmi Bai then mounted a successful assault on the city-fortress of Gwalior, and the Scindia, the ruler ran away to London. The treasury and the arsenal were seized, and Nana Sahib, a prominent leader, was proclaimed as the Peshwa. After taking Gwalior, Lakshmi Bai marched east to Morar to confront a British counterattack led by Sir Rose. Dressed as a man, she fought a fierce battle and was killed in combat on 18 June 1858, in Kotah-ki-Serai near the Phool Bagh in Gwalior.

The British captured the city of Gwalior, after three days of her martyrdom. Sir Hugh Rose commented “personable, clever and beautiful" and she is "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. Colonel Malleson said “Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, we cannot forget her contribution for India.”

In 2019, to honor the great Queen, the great actress of modern times Kangana Ranaut, made a blockbuster movie “ Manikarnika, Queen of Jhansi”, which grossed more than 100 crores. Kangana as Manikarnika acted brilliantly and won the National Award for best actress.  The film was selected for the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. I cannot count how many times I have seen the movie. Whenever I feel low, I still watch the movie and full of energy.

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, a great poetess wrote “Khub ladi mardani, woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi”.  On the 164th year of  her martyrdom, let us remember her and others like Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Netaji Subhash Bose, Veer Savarkar, and Sardar Patel, who sacrificed their lives so that we could be a free nation. But are we forgetting them in our busy lives?

 

Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:18:19 +0530
Omnipresence of Giridhar Gopal

Anupama Nair

I am now going to write about some Guruvayur Appan temples in other places. Let me start with the Uttara Guruvayurappan Temple in our capital city New Delhi. The dream of Delhiites was to do a ‘stapana’ of the Lord so that you do not have to go to Kerala to see the Lord. With this aim they approached the Delhi Development Authority or DDA.Initially, at the request of a group of devotees in Delhi, who formed a Society in the name of ‘Arsha Dharma Parishad’, the DDA,  allotted land in Janakpuri for the construction of a temple. However, unfortunately, the temple was not constructed at the allotted site in Janakpuri as the astrologer did not give the green signal. Then the devotees of the Mayur Vihar Phase-1, under the name of ‘Sree Krishna Mandir Samajam’, the temple was to be built in Mayur Vihar. “It was the will of the Lord that the temple was built there and the Lord Himself had decided that He wanted this temple at a site overlooking the banks of the River Yamuna”, said a tirumeni or priest of the temple to me when I used to live in Mayur Vihar Phase I. Notably, this is one of the few Vishnu temples where the idol is facing the West, instead of the East  so that the Lord can see the Yamuna.


“The Balalaya was consecrated on 8th April, 1983 by Prof. Vezhaparambu Parameshwaran Namboodiripad, with the Divya Vigraham (idol) of Lord Guruvayurappan, which was brought from Kerala. Prof. Vezhaparambu Parameshwaran Namboodiripad, an eminent Temple Architect, designed the present temple. Under his able guidance, Brahmamangalam Subramanian supervised the construction of the temple. The foundation stone for the Garbha Griham (Sanctum Sanctorum) was laid by Kanchi Kamakoti Peedatheeswa,r His Holiness Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya Swamigal on 2nd October, 1986. The Divya Vigraham of Lord Guruvayurappan was consecrated in the new temple on 17th May, 1989 with Kumbhabhishekam”.


“The principal deity of this Temple is Sree Guruvayurappan (Lord Vishnu), who bestows his immeasurable blessings on the devotees who visit the Temple in large numbers to offer their prayers. Chottanikkara Bhagawathy (Devi), Lord Siva, Lord Ganapathy, Lord Ayyappa and Naga Devata are the other deities whose presence enhance the divine aura of this temple”. The Silver Jubilee of the temple construction was celebrated in 2014. The year-long celebrations were inaugurated by Poojya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 31st August, 2014. An ambitious project for covering the Dhwaja Sthambham or Kodimaram, was executed to enhance the Deva Chaithanyam  or divine aura.

 

Now let me talk about the Guruvayur Appan Temple in Matunga, a suburb of Mumbai the financial capital of India. The ‘Asthika Samaj’ was set up as a place of worship in Matunga, during the British rule in 1923 by the will of my Giridhar Gopal. It was done by adorning the sacred hall with a portrait of Lord Sree Rama. In the year 1953 with the blessings of His Holiness Jagadguru Sree Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the Temple was inaugurated by the installation of the idols of Lord Sree Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman in a specially created ‘Garbhagriha’.

We can trace the historical importance from Matunga, which was previously the abode of Mathangarishi who, after performing the Mahayagnas on the banks of Pampa acquired the status of a Maharishi. The holy banyan tree exists even today fulfilling the desires of thousands of devotees. The spiritual growth of the Samaj over the years, coupled with the full support of the devotees enabled the installation of other deities - Lord Karthik in 1965, Navagraha Idols in 1976 and the Lord Kochu Guruvayurappan in 1974 and finally Swamy Ayyappan in 1978). The temple hosts religious festivals throughout the year.  The daily poojas are conducted with full devotion maintaining purity strictly by the Vedic, Tantric and Agama scriptures.

The Samaj also boasts of a Kalyana Mandapam  within the premises with modern facilities in the name of Sree Sita Rama Kalyana Mandapam which offers the best facility  to  devotees and the general public  for conducting  marriages, Upanayanam and any religious or social function.

 

This November is a special occasion for us the devotees of the Lord as the Maha Drvyarthy Sahasra Brahma Kalasabhishekam started on the 18th of November. It is noteworthy, that it is done very rarely in Kerala or anywhere, as it involves elaborate tantrik rituals to be performed by very learned scholars. It is a ritual that is rarely performed in ‘Maha-Khestras’ to enhance the power of the deity consecrated within the temple. This comprises vedic and tantrc rituals including Prayashchittahomams, Triveda-Mura-Puja, Maha-chatuh-shuddi, samadhi-shuddhi, ativasahomam, dravyavarti-mahabrahmakalahsha puja, abhishekams, etc. Aren’t we fortunate and blessed by the Lord?

 

The Maharashtra Governor, Mr. Bhagat Singh Koshyari attended the inauguration of a week-long ritual. The Asthik Samaj is also celebrating the Centenary year of its foundation.The Governor was fortunate enough to get the divine darshan of Lord Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshmana, Karthik, Navagrahas, Kochu Guruvayurappan and Swamy Ayyappan in the sanctum sanctorum. He also interacted with other devotees of the Lord. Everyone was entertained by the bhajans sung by a true devotee of the Lord Shankar Mahadevan.The Chief Tanthri of the Shri Krishna Guruvayoor Temple in Kerala Dinesan Namboothiripad, Chairman of the Asthika Samaj Temple Ventakaraman, Secretary P V Ramaswamy, Trustee C S Parameshwar and devotees were present on the grand occassion.

(At the outset, it was Sri Ganesha, Mata Saraswati, my Guru  who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was my Giridhar Gopala who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words. Dedicated to Late Uncle Pai for Amar Chitra Katha and the late B.R Chopra for the serial

Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:15:10 +0530
The Power of Faith The Lord and his Bhaktas in Guruvayoor

 

Anupama Nair

There are many devotees who made the Temple famous. Let me tell you about them. Manjula was a virtuous girl. Every night she used to bring garlands for the Lord. One day she was late and the temple was closed. She was upset as she saw the closed doors of the Temple. Poonthanam, another devotee on his way back from the temple saw her crying near the banyan tree. He comforted her and said that she could place the garland on the stone at the foot of the banyan tree, as the Lord is omnipresent. She was convinced, and kept the garland there and happily went home. Next day morning, while the head priest was removing all the garlands from the idol, to his surprise he could not remove one garland that remained stuck on the idol. The devotees were puzzled but Poonthanam realized it was the garland, which Manjula had placed on the stone at the foot of the banyan tree.

Poonthanam then told the story to everyone and then the garland slipped down from the idol. Devotees started chanting the name of the Lord and struggled to collect the flower from the garland. Worshipers went to the banyan tree to make their homage. Since then, the banyan tree came to be known as “Manjulal”.

Once the priest at Guruvayur temple had to go out on an unavoidable journey, and told his 12-year-old son Unni to offer the Naivedya to the Lord and left. At the prescribed time he offered Naivedya to the Lord and thought in his innocence that the Lord will eat the rice, but the idol did not move from its place. Unni then went outside and brought some salted mangoes and curd from neighborhood in the belief that the Lord like food this way. He mixed the curd with rice and offered it again. But the idol was unmoved. He cajoled , requested, coaxed and in the end threatened , but idol still did not eat the food. He started crying on his failure and shouting towards the Lord that his father would beat him. The Lord was pleased by his devotion and ate the Naivedya. The boy left the place satisfied that he had done his job. When his father returned from his journey and asked him about the food, Unni told him with great happiness that that Lord ate the food. His father did not believe him and began to beat the boy. Then they heard a celestial voice stating, "I am the guilty, person and Unni is innocent".

One day a devotee wanted to hold a feast for the Lord with a hundred measures of rice. As per the tradition, the offering to the Lord was to be prepared by the two assistant priests. One of them was on leave due to illness. The devotee was worried and spent a sleepless night pondering over how to make the next days' arrangements. He could do nothing but pray to the Lord chanting His name overnight for a solution. The next day when he went to the temple, and was relieved to see the man, who had been on leave had returned and was preparing the feast. After the cooking was over, he went to take his bath in Rudratheertham and did not return. He was not seen the next day also. When the devotee made his enquiries, to his surprise he learned that the priest was actually bed ridden ever since he had been on leave. The devotee understood, it was my Lord Giridhara Gopala, himself who had come and helped him out of the difficulty.

 

Poonthanam was a devotee of the Lord who used to walk about 100 kilometers to take darshan of Guruvayurappan every month. Once on his way, he was attacked by some robbers. Sensing the danger, he closed his eyes and requested for Lord's help. After some time, he could smell the sweet scent of Vanamala (the garland worn by the Lord), and he opened his eyes to see Mangattachan who was the Minister of the Zamorin of Calicut standing before him with his drawn sword drenched in blood and also the dead bodies of the robbers around him. Quite relieved, Poonthanam cried out “Krishna!, your leelas are wonderful!”. He then took the ring off his finger and presented to Mangattachan.


The head priest of the Temple, the same night, dreamt about an Unni Namboodiri telling him "You will find a ring on the idol, give it to Poonthanam, who will come tomorrow". He was surprised when he saw a ring on the idol when he opened the temple the next day. Shortly Poonthanam came for darshan and started his prayers. The priest came out from temple and gave Poonthanam the ring and told him what had happened. Poonthanam was flabbergasted to see that the ring was his own, which he had presented to Mangattachan, the day before!. It was Lord Guruvayurappan himself, who came to the rescue of Poonthanam as Mangattachan.

The Jnanapana written in simple Malayalam is Poonthanam's greatest work. There was another devotee called Melpathur who was the most knowledgeable and learned man of that time. Poonthanam showed the draft of his Jnanapana to Melpathur. Malayalam was not accepted in the learned circle those days and Melpathur had contempt for Malayalam, which was not considered equal to Sanskrit. He refused to see Poonthanam's work and told him blatantly to learn Sanskrit and then start writing. This act of Melpathur hurt Poonthanam very much. Melpathur was composing Narayaneeyam in those days and when he came next day to offer dasaka of ten slokas before the Lord, he could not utter a single word. A small boy in his teens, never seen before presented himself and pointed out mistakes after mistakes in the slokas composed by Melpathur. After ten mistakes in ten slokas Melpathur realized the divinity of the boy. He felt at the feet of the boy but the boy disappeared and then a  celestial voice said “Poonthanam's Bhakthi is more pleasing to me than Melpathur's Vibhakthi”. Melpathur realized his mistake and asked Poonthanam to pardon him and amended his arrogance by reading the works of Poonthanam.

There was another devotee by name Villwamangalam's whose devotion and dedication towards the Lord was such that he could have visions of the Lord, independent of the image. Wherever he went, he had visions. Whenever he came to Guruvayur for darshan, the Lord granted him vision from the sanctum sanctorum. One day however, he could not get the Lord's vision from the Temple. He went around the Temple in search of the Lord. The sound of tinkling of bells from the northern part aroused his curiosity. He saw the Lord Krishna dancing there. From that day onwards this place came to be known as Nritham.

A second time, also, he could not see the Lord's vision in the central shrine. Later he found the Lord sitting amidst the drummer's boys and sharing a feast with them, as the Lord was fond of  food. It later became an important offering with the devotees. A third time also, he failed to have the Lord's vision in the central shrine. It was night time and the Krishnanattam was being staged in a courtyard. The saint ultimately found him on the stage with the 'gopikas'. Since then, Krishnanattam came to be staged in the northern bahyankana (outer courtyard) instead of the eastern bahyankana and, it began only when the central shrine is closed after the last pooja at night.


Kururamma was a childless widow. She adopted Unni Krishna as her son and gave him a lot of motherly love. Villwamangalam also saw the Lord in the form of Unni Krishna but the Lord always preferred Kururamma for her devotion.

Once an old Brahmin with severe stomach ache approached Villwamangalam for relief. Villwamangalam could not cure him and told that the pain is the result of his past karma. Dispirited and dejected he unknowingly reached Kururamma's house. Kururamma thought he was hungry and offered him some food. The Brahmin said that he could not eat any food because of his stomach ache, which even Villwamangalam could not cure. After listening to his grievances, she told the Brahmin to have a bath in the name of Lord. After his bath, he was served food. He realized that his stomach ache had disappeared. He ate the food and expressed his gratitude to Kururamma


One day when Kururamma was washing her clothes, a few drops of water unintentionally fell upon Chemmangatt Amma, another lady of the locality who had finished her bath. She felt polluted and took a second plunge in water to purify herself. She sarcastically told Kururamma that now she was doubly clean and stated that today Villwamangalam would be coming to her house for bhiksha. Kururamma sent a member of her family to invite the saint, but he apologetically refused since he had promised Chemmangatt Amma earlier.

After his daily worship, Villwamangalam started for Chemmangatt's house for the bhiksha. But the pilot who was to lead his way by blowing conch to announce his presence could not produce any sound from his conch. It was a bad omen and Villwamangalam was bewildered. Then he realized that it was the Lord's wish that he should go to Kururamma's house. When he thought, this the conch started functioning and filled the air with its resonant sound. The saint then turned his steps towards Kururamma's house. The Lord thus reveled his love to Kururamma.

What we need to remember, that my Lord said “patraṁ puṣhpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayachchhati tadahaṁ bhaktyupahṛitam aśhnāmi prayatātmanaḥ” which meant “if one offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I delightfully partake of that article offered with love by My devotee in pure consciousness”. This is all I understand and believe.

 

Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:05:31 +0530
Guruvayur the abode of the Lord in Kerala

Anupama Nair

Now let me tell you about Guruvayur, a pilgrimage town in Kerala. It’s famous for the centuries-old, red-roofed Guruvayur Temple. The presiding deity of the Guruvayur Temple is Guruvayurappan and is often referred to as “ Bhulokha Vaikunda” or the  “holy abode of Vishnu on Earth”. We can see a four-armed standing Lord Vishnu, carrying his conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshan Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki, a lotus with a mala or garland of Tulsi. This was the image of the majestic form of  the Lord  revealed to Krishna's parents Vasudev and Devaki around the time of Krishna's birth. Even today the Lord is worshipped as per the laws laid down by the great saint Adi Shankaracharya.

Even today strict dress code existed for people who wish to enter the Guruvayur Temple. Men are to wear dhoti around their waist, without any dress covering their chest, but can cover the chest with a small piece of cloth called veshti. Girls and women are prohibited from wearing any trouser-like dresses or short skirts. Women are allowed to wear sarees and girls can wear lehngas or pavada. However, the dress code for women have been relaxed with kurta-pajama being allowed.

Guruvayur is famous for Anakotta (Elephant Yard ), and has 56 elephants today. An anakotta is the home of the largest population of male Asian elephants in the world. These elephants are donated by devotees to the temple and kept in a compound close to the temple. However, as more and more devotees donated elephants, the space became insufficient and hence they were moved to a larger property. The devotees consider these elephants as the form of the Lord. Guruvayur Keshavan and Padmanabhan were the most loved among all the elephants.

The deity of the temple is more than 5000 years old. It is believed that in the 14th century, a Tamil book called “Kokasandesam” there are references to a place called Kuruvayur. In the 16th century there are many references to Kuruvayur. In ancient Tamil, kuruvai means sea, hence the village on the Malabar Coast could be called Kuruvayur. The earliest mention of the many important Vishnu temples of Kerala are found in the songs of Alwars,  and through Mamankam  (a very famous local event at Tirunavaya). There were many battles in Calicut fought by the rulers called Zamorins and people of Valluvanad . Due to these prolonged battles, people across the riverbank started preferring Guruvayur. Later, even the Zamorin become a devotee and there are references to a place called Kuruvayur made by his subjects.

When Lord Brahma was creating the world, Lord Vishnu appeared before him and conveyed his wish to get salvation for himself and his children. Lord Vishnu gave him an idol made by himself. Lord Brahma gave this idol to a king named Sutapas and his wife Prasni, who were worshipping Lord Vishnu to get a son. Lord Vishnu appeared before them and stated that he would himself be born as their son in four births, and in all those births, they would be blessed with the idol which they worshipped. Thus, in the first birth in Satya Yuga, the Lord was born as Prasnigarba, the son of Sutapas and Prasni and in Treta Yuga, when Sutapas and Prasni were born as Kashyapa and Aditi, the Lord was born as Vamana their son. In Treta Yuga itself, when they were born as Dasaratha and Kaushalya , the Lord was born as  Rama, their son, and finally, in Dwapaar Yuga, when they were born as Vasudev and Devaki, the Lord was born as Krishna, their son. In all these births, the idol was also with them and Lord Krishna, an avatar himself, took the idol to Dwaraka, and began to worship it.

When the Lord was ascending to heaven after his samadhi, he told his friend and devotee Uddhava, the idol should be given to Brihaspati, the guru of the Devas and Vayu, the Wind god. Uddhava took the idol from the sea and gave it to Brihaspati and Vayu. Brihaspati and Vayu went southwards with the idol. On the way, they saw a city with large, beautiful lake very close to the sea, which was full of lotuses of all colors. They then saw a huge forest near the lake. They met the sage Parasurama, who took them to the place where his guru Lord Shiva and  Goddess Bhavani were sitting.

Lord Shiva told them he had worshipped Lord Vishnu in the place they were standing. The lake on the north side is known as Rudratheeram, as Rudra bathed there before conducting poojas. Many years later, ten princes named “Prachetas” came to the place to get the title of Prajapati. When Brihaspati and Vayu heard the story, they realized that the place was suitable for consecrating the idol. They then called Vishwakarma, the architect of Devas, and he built a temple within minutes and the idol was consecrated there. The place came to be known as Guruvayur as it was Brihaspati or Guru and Vayu who bought the idol there, and the idol came to be known as Guruvayurappan.

Guruvayur Temple was mentioned in Narada Purana. King Parikshit, a descendant of Kuru dynasty, being the grandson of Arjuna and son of Abhimanyu, died due to the bite of Takshaka, a fierce snake, after the curse by a sage. His son, Janamejaya, tried to revenge this by conducting a fierce yaga named Sarpasatra and many innocent snakes got killed in the ritual fire. However, Takshaka did not die, as he had drunk Amrita or nectar. The king suffered from severe leprosy, and his condition did not improve after treatment. Both his body and mind got weaker over time. Sage Dattatreya appeared before him and requested him to worship Lord Vishnu of Guruvayur to get cured of the disease. It is said he got a cure after a darshan of my Lord.

(At the outset, it was Sri Ganesha, Mata Saraswati, my Guru  who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was my Giridhar Gopala who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words. Dedicated to Late Uncle Pai for Amar Chitra Katha and the late B.R Chopra for the serial Mahabharat).

 

Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:02:53 +0530
More to Giridhara Gopal Dusro na koi

 

Anupama Nair

I am writing a topic close to my heart i.e., about my Giridhara Gopala. It is the grace of the Lord that we have managed to survive the pandemic. If you and your family are safe from Corona for more than two years, it is the blessing of the Lord. “Faith can move mountains”. This is what my grandmother always used to tell me. My belief in her old words of wisdom was reinstated whenever I visit the temples of my Lord Krishna.

There are many places close to the Lord in our Aryavarta or Bharat Varsha. In the north it would be Mathura (Krishna Janmabhoomi), and Vrindavan (Vraj Bhoomi) and Dwaraka (Samadhi), in the south it would be Guruvayur, where he resides as Guruvayurappan as Bala Krishna or “Unni” as he is known in Kerala. I still remember my childhood pilgrimage to this ‘punyabhoomi’ or holy place. Even today, when I stand with folded hands and closed eyes in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, I can feel the presence of my Giridhar Gopala and I would slowly sing the song “Giridhar Gopala pala” sung by Bharat Ratna M.S. Subba Lakshmi, a Meera Bhajan from the film Meera.

Before talking about Guruvayur let me talk about my Lord, as today many people do not have time to tell their children about their culture, religion and traditions. But my childhood was not like that as I grew up hearing stories of my Lord and later read Amar Chitra Katha when I could read.

In Hinduism, Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and the capital of the kingdom of  Surasena ruled by Kamsa, the maternal uncle of Krishna. He is worshipped as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and also as the supreme god in his own right. He is the god of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love. He is one of the most popular and widely revered among all Indian gods. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Krishna Janmashtami, which falls in late August or early September every year. The name "Krishna" originates from the Sanskrit  word ‘Kṛṣṇa’, which is primarily an adjective meaning "black", "dark", or "dark blue". The waning moon, in Sanskrit is also called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective, meaning "darkening". 

The basic sources of Krishna’s story are the epic Mahabharata and Bhagwat Purana. Krishna was the eighth child of Kamsa’s sister Devaki and Vasudev. It is said Devaki was Kamsa’s beloved sister till he heard an oracle say “the eighth child of Devaki is born to slay you”. An enraged Kamsa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudev and killed seven children of the couple. He was awaiting the birth of the eight child to kill it too. However, fate had decided something else. On the night Devaki gave birth there was a huge storm and by Lord’s will everybody was sleeping in the prison. Taking advantage of this and with help from Sheshnag to protect the Lord from rain, Vasudev went to Vrindavan and left the baby with the chief of the clan Nanda and took away the daughter of Nanda and Yashoda. He replaced the girl in the prison. When Kamsa tried to kill the girl Yog Maya, who flew from his hands and said “the one who is supposed to kill you is living elsewhere”. Kamsa sent his guards all over his kingdom to locate all new-born babies. He killed all of them but could not locate Krishna.

This is where Vrindavan comes in. It is one of the most holy places in India. It is located in the Braj Bhoomi  region, and is where, my Lord spent most of his childhood days as the son of Nanda and Yashoda. The town hosts many temples which is, dedicated to the worship of Radha-- Krishna. My childhood i.e., the time before internet and mobile phones and one hundred plus TV channels and OTT platforms, was spent listening to stories of Lord Krishna from my grandmother or reading Amar Chitra Katha. He is a “makhan chor, natkat balak, and energetic imp with the literal ability to move mountains. He’s also very romantic and plays the bansuri (flute) with divine grace. 

The child Krishna was adored for his mischievous pranks and he also performed many miracles and slew demons like Putana who came to kill him. He was the apple of the eye of his parents. He used to steal butter from ever house in Gokul, so lovingly called “makkan chor” or thief of butter. He had a group of friends. Let me now tell you the story of Krishna giving darshan to Yashoda of his Divine Form or Vishwa Roopa. Vyasa stated in Mahabharata that Devarishi Narada once visited Krishna at Vrindavan. Krishna was playing in the sand and was seen swallowing it. Mother Yashoda, on seeing it, was furious with Krishna for disobeying her and punished him by tying him to a grinding stone. Upon witnessing this act Narada stated as per a Tamil poet “ enna tavam cheidanai yasoda engum nirai parabhrammam ammavenr-azhaikka (Yashoda, what sacrifice did you do, that the almighty himself calls you dear, Mother”)? Upon this request, it is said that Krishna opened his mouth in front of Yashoda, who sees the Seven Oceans and the entire Universe and also Lord Narayana seated on Adishesha, attended upon by his consort Mahalakshmi. On seeing this , Mother Yashoda fainted to be revived by Krishna and attended by Narada, who explains to her about Krishna's life.

As a youth, the cowherd Krishna became renowned as a lover, the sound of his flute prompting the gopis to leave their homes to dance ecstatically with him in the moonlight. His favorite was the beautiful Radha.

Later, Krishna and his brother Balarama returned to Mathura to slay the wicked Kamsa when Krishna was only eleven years old. He never returned to Vrindavan to see Yashoda or Radha. His grandfather Ugrasen was made the King. After living in Mathura for many years, he realized Mathura was not safe. Sri Krishna moving to Dwarka (Gujarat ) is misjudged by some people, who  think Sri Krishna ran away from Mathura afraid of Jarasandha and Kalyavan (both had boons which prevented Krishna from killing them). That is why he got the name Ranchod. It is not true as Krishna moved to Dwaraka only to save the Yadavas.

It was Bhima, the second Pandava (son of Kunti, sister of Vasudev), his cousin who killed Jarasandha but Kalyavan followed the Lord to Dwarka to kill him. Krishna now acted like running away from him and ran into a cave in which King Muchukunda was sleeping. The King had got a boon from Devas that  whoever woke him up would be burned into ashes. Kalyavan mistook the sleeping King for Krishna and woke him up. He met his end when he was turned into ashes.

The Kingdom of Dwaraka came to an end due to the curse of Gandhari, the mother of Duryodhana after the Kurukshetra War. She shouted at Krishna as to why, in spite of her being his staunch devotee, and  Pandavas and Kauravas, being created and sustained by Lord Krishna himself, he let the debacle happen. Why couldn't he have averted the war itself? On seeing, his all-knowing smile even at such a time, she cursed the entire Yadava family to be killed in the next 36 years and Krishna himself to be killed. Sri Krishna granted her curse to come true. Krishna returned to Dwaraka and took good care of his subjects. During this time, the Yadavas attained wealth and prosperity. The Yadavas were considered to be quarrelsome people and in the lap of luxury, they lost  their morals and humility. Soon after a fight took place between Yadavas and all were killed except  Daruka, Balarama and Krishna. The city created by the Lord is now under the sea.

Krishna started thinking about the ways and means to attain samadhi and for Gandhari’s curse to be true . He remembered the words of Rishi Durvasa. Long time ago as per the wish of saint Durvasa, he applied Payasam (liquid food prepared with milk, sugar and rice) throughout the Rishi’s body. As his legs were resting on ground, he could not apply it to his feet. Durvasa observed it and said: “Krishna! You have not applied Payasam to my foot. Your death is in your foot.” Many years later, Lord Krishna was lying down under a tree and went into Yoga Samadhi. At that time a hunter Jara entered that forest. He thought, the moving foot of Krishna as a deer and shot a lethal arrow that pierced into Krishna’s feet. As soon as the hunter reached Krishna, he realized his mistake and pleaded the Lord for forgiveness. Lord Krishna consoled him and told him how his death was inevitable. Some believe that Jara was the Vanara King of Kishkinda, Bali in his previous birth. The previous incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Sri Rama killed Bali hiding behind a tree. Bali cursed him and said “in your next birth, I will kill you similarly”. So, the two curses came true. The lesson we learn is be it god or human, curses might come true.

Now read on more for who is Guruvayur Appan and the temples dedicated to him in India…

(At the outset, it was Sri Ganesha, Mata Saraswati, my Guru  who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was my Giridhar Gopala who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words. Dedicated to Late Uncle Pai for Amar Chitra Katha and the late B.R Chopra for the serial Mahabharat).

 

Wed, 23 Nov 2022 14:53:28 +0530
Career Planning An overview

 

Anupama Nair

A career may be defined as ‘ a sequence of jobs that constitute what a person does for a living’. According to Schermerborn, Hunt, and Osborn, ‘Career planning is a process of systematically matching career goals and individual capabilities with opportunities for their fulfillment’. Career planning is the continuous self-evaluation and planning process done by a person who desires to have a strong career path which is aligned with one's  goals, aspirations and skills. “The process of career planning is the continuous reiterative process of understanding oneself, setting career goals, revising skills and searching for the right career options”.

 

You may need to start the planning process from the beginning every few years based on the market trends or demand and also on the base of the outcome of the current plan. “Career planning is a step-wise process which enables you to focus on where to want to be in life professionally”. With the short-term goal and the long-term goals in place, you can help to plan your journey in their professional life. Self-assessment is necessary to understand your  capabilities and drawbacks. Various career options should also be explored in detail to find a fit between your abilities and opportunities provided by a career option. It involves continuous learning and improvement to build and growth in the chosen career-path. A good career planning helps you to grow in life in your professional career, which also help you grow personally.

 

If there is no career planning, then your career would be controlled by external factors and circumstances. Based on decisions and evaluation done by others, the person would go forward in the career. It may lead to a desirable career path, but it can also lead to a job profile which was not at all part of individual's aspiration or career goals.

 

Career Planning Process:

 

Career planning process is an important aspect for your career-development. Some of the basic steps in a career planning process are:

 

Self-Assessment:

 

The first step in the process is self-assessment to understand your skills, areas of interest, aspirations etc. Aspirations and goals are very important as they would define how a person would create future plan.

 

Research on career and opportunities:

 

You need to understand the career options, companies available, growth options in career etc., that are associated with the self-assessment done previously. You need to  identify the correct options and a proper research is required for that. An individual needs to be aware of the market trends and growth areas.

Set Career Objectives:

 

The next step in the career planning is to set a short-term as well as long-term career goals for yourself, and to have a clear career path. They can be defined as the immediate goals and how you look at your career further down the line. A plan has to be made according to clear objectives.

 

Learn & Improve Skills

 

You need to acquire new skills and knowledge to be in line with career objectives and with industry requirements. Many a times there can be clear gaps in the objectives, aspirations and skills. To fill those gaps, proper planning is required to acquire and learn those skills so that career plan can be properly executed. 

 

Preparation of CV:

 

You need to be fully prepared in terms of your CV, cover letter, recommendations etc. The CV should clearly highlight the skills, qualifications, objectives that is aligned with the career planning of an individual.

 

Job or Work Search:

 

Once you have prepared your CV, next you need to short-list the companies where you are seeking a job and start applying. It can be also working an entrepreneurship project as well. 

 

Revise Career Goals:

 

The last step in the career planning process is to always evaluate the career goals and again do a self-assessment to build a strong career path.

 

Example of Career Planning:

 

Let us take an example of an engineer Scot Anderson who has recently graduated and was interested in robotics. First  Scot has to assess what kind of robotics he is interested in and what is his skill level. After that, he needs to set the objectives with a time-box approach on how he wants to grow in his robotics career. If there are gaps, he would need to take trainings and courses to reduce the gaps and search for jobs that may be in manufacturing and automotive sector where robotics are a natural fit.

If he is successful in getting a suitable job, career planning can be more precise based on the hands-on experience in the field and then the goals and objective can be defined for new careerpath.

 

Features of Career Planning:

 

  • It is an ongoing process.
  • It helps individuals develop skills required to fulfill different career roles.
  • It strengthens work-related activities in the organization.
  • It defines life, career, abilities, and interests of the employees.
  • It can also give professional directions, as they relate to career goals.

 

Objectives of career planning:

 

  • To identify positive characteristics of the employees.
  • To develop awareness about each employee’s uniqueness.
  • To respect feelings of other employees.
  • To attract talented employees to the organization.
  • To train employees towards team-building skills.
  • To create healthy ways of dealing with conflicts, emotions, and stress.

 

Benefits of Career Planning:

 

  • Career planning ensures a constant supply of promotable employees.
  • It helps in improving the loyalty of employees.
  • Career planning encourages an employee’s growth and development.
  • It discourages the negative attitude of superiors who are interested in suppressing the growth of the subordinates.
  • It ensures that senior management knows about the calibre and capacity of the employees who can move upwards.
  • It can always create a team of employees prepared enough to meet any contingency.
  • Career planning reduces labor turnover.

 

Every organization prepares succession planning towards which career planning is the first step.

 

 

Thu, 17 Nov 2022 16:38:03 +0530
Equity and Debt Markets an overview

 

Anupama Nair

It is necessary to understand the difference between Equity markets and Debt markets. The debt and equity market are terms you should understand. For instance, in 2019, Indian companies accumulated a total of Rs. 8.68 lakh crore from domestic and overseas markets; up 20 percent from 2018. Out of the total Rs. 8.68 lakh crore, Rs. 6.2 lakh crore came from the debt market while Rs. 1.25 lakh crore came from equity markets. In comparison, in 2018, firms had raised Rs. 7.25 lakh crore in total. Nearly Rs. 6 lakh crore came through debt markets, while Rs. 79,300 crore came from equities.

 

Debt market and equity market are broad terms for two categories of investment that are either bought or sold. The debt market is the market where debt instruments are traded. What are debt instruments? Debt Instruments are assets that require a fixed payment to the holder, usually with interest. Examples of debt instruments are bonds either government or corporate and mortgages.

 

The equity market often called as the stock market is the market for trading equity instruments. “Stocks are securities that are a claim on the earnings and assets of a corporation”. An example of an equity instrument could be common stock shares, like those traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Bombay Stock Exchange or Nifty.

Investments in debt securities typically involve less risk than equity investments and offer a lower potential return on investment. Debt investments by nature does not alter in price than stocks. Even if a company is liquidated, bondholders are the first to be paid.

 

Bonds are the most public form of debt investment. These are issued by corporations or by the government to raise capital for their operations and generally carry a fixed interest rate. Most are unsecured but are issued with a rating by one of several agencies such as Moody's to indicate the likely integrity of the issuer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thu, 17 Nov 2022 16:17:08 +0530
What is Money Market

Anupama Nair

The money market is a subdivision of the fixed income market. Normally people think of the term ‘fixed income’ identical to bonds. A bond is only one type of fixed income security. The difference between the money market and the bond market is that the money market specializes in very short-term debt securities i.e., debt that matures in less than a year. The money market investments are also called cash investments because of their short maturities.

Money market securities are essentially IOUs issued by governments, financial institutions, and large corporations. These instruments are considered very liquid and hence safe. Since, they are extremely conservative, money market securities offer significantly lower return than most other securities. One of the main differences between the money market and the stock market is that most money market securities trade in very high denominations. Furthermore, the money market is a dealer market, which means that firms buy and sell securities in their own accounts, at their own risk. This limits the access of the individual investor to the inventory held by their broker. When you compare this to the stock market where a broker receives commission to act as an agent, while the investor takes the risk of holding the stock. Another characteristic of a dealer market is the lack of a central trading floor or exchange. Deals are transacted over the phone or through electronic systems.

The easiest way for us to gain access to the money market is through a broker or by using money market mutual funds. These funds pool together the assets of thousands of investors in order to buy the money market securities on their behalf. However, some money market instruments, like treasury bills, may be purchased directly.

The types of debt securities held by money market mutual funds are required by federal regulation to be very short in maturity and high in credit quality. All money market funds comply with industry-standard regulatory requirements regarding the quality, maturity, liquidity, and diversification of the fund’s investments. Investments can include short-term U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency notes, Euro-dollar deposits, repurchase agreements, certificates of deposit, corporate commercial paper, and obligations of states, cities, or other types of municipal agencies depending on the focus of the fund.

Money market funds may be appropriate for customers who:

 

  • Have an investment goal with a short-time goal
  • Have a low tolerance for volatility, or are looking to diversify with a more conservative investment
  • Need the investment to be extremely liquid

 

While the returns on money market funds are generally not as high as those of other types of fixed income funds, such as bond funds, they do seek to provide stability, and can therefore play an important role in your portfolio. Investors can use money market funds in a few ways:

 

  • To offset the typically greater volatility of bond and equity investments
  • As short-duration investments for assets that may be needed in the near term (such as an emergency fund)
  • As a holding place for assets while waiting for other investment opportunities to arise (such as in the core position for your brokerage account)

 

A money market fund is a type of fixed income mutual fund with very severe maturity, credit quality, diversification, and liquidity requirements intended to help it achieve its goals of principal preservation and daily access for investors. Customers should always determine before, picking a money market fund whether its characteristics align with their investment objectives and strategy.

 

The next question you may ask are what are the advantages of money market funds? They offer stability. Money market mutual funds are considered to be one of the least volatile types of mutual fund investments. Liquidity is the next advantage. It’s not very difficult to settle your brokerage account trades in other investments, or recover funds from a money market mutual fund that are generally assets available by the next business day. The feature an investor looks for before investing, is security of their investments. The money markets offer security. The funds are required by federal regulations to invest in short-maturity, low-risk investments, making them less prone to market fluctuations than many other types of investments.

 

They are also of a shorter duration is so short, they are typically subject to less interest rate risk than longer-maturing bond fund investments. Some money market funds invest in securities whose interest payments are typically exempt from federal, and in some cases, state income taxes, and  these funds can be a potential source of stable, tax-efficient income.

 

We also need to be aware of the risks of money market funds. There is some credit risk.

Unlike typical fixed deposits or savings accounts, money market mutual funds are not that safe, although money market mutual funds invest in high-quality securities and seek to preserve the value of your investment, there is always the risk that you could lose money, and there is no guarantee that you will receive all your money per share, when you redeem your shares. You need to consider the silent killer in other words, inflation. Because of the safety and short-term nature of the underlying investments, money market mutual fund returns tend to be lower than those of more volatile investments such as typical stock and bond mutual funds, creating the risk that the rate of return may not keep pace with inflation.

 

People living in foreign countries can be affected by adverse political, regulatory, market, or economic developments in those countries. Changes in government regulations, interest rates, and economic downturns can have a significant negative effect on issuers in the financial services sector, including the price of their securities or their ability to meet their payment obligations.

 

 

Thu, 17 Nov 2022 16:08:59 +0530
How to control your anger

Anupama Nair

We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it -- whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage. Is anger normal? “Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion, and the problem starts when it gets out of control and turns destructive, Then it can lead to problems -- problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. It can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.

What is anger? Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage”, said Charles Spielberger, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, anger too is accompanied by physiological and biological changes i.e., when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

 

The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats and it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary for our survival, however, on the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us as laws, social norms, and common-sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.

 

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches people use are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive and not aggressive manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to fulfill them, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.

 

Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. When you suppress your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. You can suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in suppressing your anger is, if you are not able to express it outward, your anger can turn inward on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression. Unexpressed anger can create other problems as it can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.

 

Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside. The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reaction

 

Wed, 16 Nov 2022 15:18:12 +0530
Importance of Nominee in account

Anupama Nair

 

You work hard to save money in your Savings account, fixed deposit or recurring deposit to meet the current and future needs of your loved ones. But have you ever thought about what would happen if you are not around and your loved ones are unable to access the funds?

While it is not a pleasant situation to think about, to ensure your family’s safety, security and stability, it is very important to have a nomination in your bank account, be it a savings account, fixed deposit or recurring deposit. If there is no nominee, there is a chance that your rightful heir(s) may be asked to produce a court order or a succession certificate to claim the money. The nomination facility ensures that your funds are easily transferred to your loved ones in your absence.

 

What is nomination? “A nomination in banking terms refers to an account holder’s right to appoint one or more persons who are entitled to receive the money in case of the death of the account holder”. If there is a nominee the bank will transfer the funds to the nominee’s account without insisting on a court order, succession certificate or letter of administration. Sounds easy, but in reality it is not. You need to follow certain rules to ensure there is no hassle for your nominee:

 

  • Make sure you submit a nominee’s name when you open a new savings or fixed deposit account in a bank. In fact, today, most banks insist on a nominee at the time of opening the account.
  • A nomination facility is only available for accounts opened in an individual capacity (single or joint accounts or sole proprietorship accounts). They are not available for a representative account.
  • A new nomination can be added by the account holder during their lifetime. If the account holder has not made any nomination yet or has cancelled a nomination, he/she can simply add another nomination by filling up form DA1. The account holder’s details, account details and the nominee’s information have to be filled up in this form. This form requires details of all account holders.
  • A nomination can be cancelled or deleted by the account owner anytime during their life. The account holder must fill up form DA2 in order to cancel the nomination. This form will require details of the account holder/s, the account, and the name and address of the nominee who is going to be cancelled. This form must be signed by all the account holders and to change the nominee DA3 form can be filled.
  •  A minor can be a nominee, however, all the details of the legal guardian who must be an adult have to be mentioned in the nomination form. The legal guardian of the nominee will receive the amount on the minor’s behalf until the minor reaches the age of maturity.
  • One account can only have one nominee.
  • A nominee can only receive the funds from an account on death of the account holder and the death of all account holders in case of joint accounts.

 

In most cases, a nominee is a legal heir of the account holder. However, it might not be the same in all cases. A nominee is a ‘trustee’ of the funds of the account holder. He/she is a custodian of the funds until the legal heir can legally claim them. Cancellation or variation in the nomination can be made at any time as long as the account is in force. However, while making nomination, cancellation or variation, the applicable rules need to be followed.

 

If all the applicable rules are followed, nomination is easy.

Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:56:12 +0530
Fixed Money Markets An Overview

Anupama Nair

What is fixed income? This is a question asked frequently? “Fixed income broadly refers to those types of investment security that pay investors fixed interest or dividend payments until its maturity date. At maturity, investors are repaid the principal amount they had invested”. The government and corporate bonds are the most common types of fixed-income products. They differ from equities in the way that it pays no cash flows to investors, or variable-income securities, where can payments change based on some underlying measure like short-term interest rates, and the payments of a fixed-income security are known in advance.

Companies and governments issue debt securities to raise money to fund day-to-day operations and finance large projects. For investors, fixed-income instruments pay a set interest rate return in exchange for investors lending their money. At the maturity date, investors are repaid the original amount they had invested known as the principal.

Fixed-income securities are recommended for conservative investors seeking a diversified portfolio. The percentage of the portfolio dedicated to fixed income depends on the investor's investment style. There is also an opportunity to diversify the portfolio with a mix of fixed-income products and stocks creating a portfolio that might have 50% in fixed income products and 50% in stocks.

Treasury bonds and bills, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and certificates of deposit are all examples of fixed-income products. Bonds traded over-the-counter  or OTC on the bond market and secondary market. Fixed income investing is a conservative strategy where returns are generated from low-risk securities that pay predictable interest. Since the risk is lower, the interest coupon payments are also, lower as well. Building a fixed income portfolio may include investing in bonds, bond mutual funds, and certificates of deposit. This strategy of using fixed income products is called the laddering strategy.

The laddering strategy offers steady interest income through the investment in a series of short-term bonds. As bonds mature, the portfolio manager reinvests the returned principal into new short-term bonds extending the ladder. This method allows the investor to have access to ready capital and avoid losing out on rising market interest rates. When the one-year bond matures, the $20,000 principal will be rolled into a bond maturing one year after the original three-year holding. When the second bond matures those funds roll into a bond that extends the ladder for another year. In this way, the investor has a steady return of interest income and can take advantage of any higher interest rates.

Fixed income investments offer investors a steady stream of income over the life of the bond or debt instrument while simultaneously offering the issuer much-needed access to capital or money. Steady income lets investors plan for spending, a reason these are popular products in retirement collections. The interest payments from fixed-income products can also help investors stabilize the risk-return in their investment portfolio, which is also known as the market risk. For all those investors holding stocks, prices can fluctuate resulting in large gains or losses. The steady and stable interest payments from fixed-income products can partly offset losses from the decline in stock prices. As a result, these safe investments help to diversify the risk of an investment portfolio.

Although there are many benefits to fixed income products, as with all investments, there are several risks all investors should be aware of before purchasing them. Corporate debt, which is less secure still ranks higher for repayment than shareholders. While choosing an investment you need to take care to look at the credit rating of the bond and the underlying company. The credit risk linked to a corporation can have varying effects on the valuations of the fixed-income instrument leading up to its maturity. If a company is struggling, the prices of its bonds on the market might decrease in value. If an investor tries to sell a bond of a struggling company, the bond might sell for less than the face or par value. It is also true, that the bond may become difficult for investors to sell in the open market at a fair price or not at all because there's no demand for it.

The prices of bonds can increase and decrease over the life of the bond. If the investor holds the bond till its maturity date, the ‘price movements’ are immaterial since the investor will be paid the face value of the bond upon maturity. However, if the bondholder sells the bond before its maturity through a broker or financial institution, the investor will receive the current market price at the time of the sale. The selling price could result in a gain or loss on the investment depending on the underlying corporation, the coupon interest rate, and the current market interest rate.

The investors of fixed-income might face the risk of interest rate. The risk happens in an environment where the interest rates in the market are rising, and the rate paid by the bond also falls behind. In this case, the bond would lose value in the secondary bond market also. The investor's capital is tied up in the investment, and they cannot put it to work earning higher income without taking an initial loss. For example, if an investor purchased a 2-year bond paying 2.5% per year and interest rates for 2-year bonds jumped to 5%, the investor is locked in at 2.5%. For better or worse, investors holding fixed-income products receive their fixed rate regardless of interest rates in the market.

Inflationary risk is also a danger to fixed income investors. The pace at which prices rise in the economy is called inflation. If prices rise or inflation increases, it eats into the gains of fixed income securities. For example, if fixed-rate debt security pays a 2% return and inflation rises by 1.5%, the investor loses out, earning only a 0.5% return in real terms.

 

Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:53:57 +0530
Foreign Exchange Market an over

Anupama Nair

The foreign exchange market is a global decentralized or over the counter market for the trading of currencies and determines foreign exchange rates for every currency in the world. It would include all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or pre-determined prices. If we look at trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the credit market. Who are the participants in this market? The main participants in this market are the larger international banks.Financial Markets around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of multiple types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. Since currencies are always traded in pairs, the foreign exchange market does not set a currency's absolute value but rather determines its relative value by setting the market price of one currency if paid for with another.

The foreign exchange market works through financial markets and operates on several levels. Behind the scenes, banks turn to a smaller number of financial firms known as ‘dealers’, who are involved in large quantities of foreign exchange trading. Most foreign exchange dealers are banks, so it is sometimes called the internet market. Trades between foreign exchange dealers can be very big, involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of the sovereignty issue while involving two currencies, Forex has little supervisory entity regulating its actions. The foreign exchange market assists international trade and investments by enabling currency conversion. For example, it permits a business entity in the US to import goods from the EU or India and pay inEuros, or Rupees even though its income is in USD. It also supports direct assumption and evaluation virtual to the value of currencies and the carry trade speculation, based on the differential interest rate between two currencies.

In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases some quantity of one currency by paying with some quantity of another currency. The foreign exchange market is unique because of the following features:

  • It’s huge trading volume, representing the largest asset class in the world leading to high liquidity;
  • its geographical scattering;
  • it is continuous operation i.e., 24 hours a day except for weekends. 
  • the variety of factors that affect exchange rates;
  • the low margins of relative profit compared with other markets of fixed income; and
  • the use of leverage to enhance profit and loss margins and with respect to account size.

As such, it has been referred to as the market closest to the ideal of perfect competition.

Turnover of exchange-traded foreign exchange futures and options was growing rapidly in the period 2004-2013, reaching $145 billion in April 2013  which was double the turnover recorded in April 2007. As of April 2019, exchange-traded currency derivatives represent 2% of OTC foreign exchange turnover.

Most developed countries permit the trading of derivatives such as futures and options on futures on their exchanges. All these developed countries already have fully convertible capital accounts. Some governments of emerging markets do not allow foreign exchange derivative products on their exchanges because they have capital controls. The use of derivatives is growing in many emerging economies like South Korea, South Africa, and India have established currency futures exchanges, despite having some capital controls.

Foreign exchange trading increased by 20% between April 2007 and April 2010 and has more than doubled since 2004. The increase in turnover is due to a number of factors like the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class, the increased trading activity of high-frequency traders, and the emergence of retail investors as an important market segment. The growth of electronic execution and the diverse selection of execution venues has lowered transaction costs, increased market liquidity, and attracted greater participation from many customer types. In particular, electronic trading via online portals has made it easier for retail traders to trade in the foreign exchange market. By 2010, retail trading was estimated to account for up to 10% of spot turnover, or $150 billion per day.

The foreign exchange market is divided into levels of access. At the top is the interbank foreign exchange market, which is made up of the largest commercial banks and securities dealers. If a trader can guarantee large numbers of transactions for large amounts, they can demand a smaller difference between the bid and the ask price, which is referred to as a better spread. The levels of access that make up the foreign exchange market are determined by the size of the ‘line’ i.e., the amount of money with which they are trading. The top-tier interbank market accounts for 51% of all transactions.  Galati and Melvin, stated “pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other institutional investors have played an increasingly important role in financial markets in general, and in FX markets in particular, since the early 2000s”. In addition, it is said , “hedge funds have grown markedly over the 2001–2004 period in terms of both number and overall size”. Central banks also participate in the foreign exchange market to align currencies to their economic needs.

An important part of the foreign exchange market comes from the financial activities of companies seeking foreign exchange to pay for goods or services. Commercial companies often trade fairly small amounts compared to those of banks or speculators, and their trades often have a little short-term impact on market rates. Nevertheless, trade flows are an important factor in the long-term direction of a currency's exchange rate. Some MNCs can have a volatile impact when very large positions are covered due to exposures that are not widely known by other market participants.

National central banks play an important role in the foreign exchange markets. They try to control the money supply, inflation, and interest rates and often have official or unofficial target rates for their currencies. They can use their often-substantial foreign exchange reserves to stabilize the market. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of central bank ‘stabilizing speculation’ is doubtful because central banks do not go bankrupt if they make large losses as other traders would. There is also no convincing evidence that they actually make a profit from trading.

‘Foreign Exchange Fixing is the daily monetary exchange rate fixed by the national bank of each country’. The idea is that central banks use the fixing time and exchange rate to evaluate the behavior of their currency. Fixing exchange rates reflect the real value of equilibrium in the market. Banks, dealers, and traders use fixing rates as a market trend indicator.

Money Transfer Companies or and remittance companies perform high-volume low-value transfers generally by economic migrants back to their home country. In 2007, the Aite Group estimated that there were $369 billion of remittances. The four largest foreign markets -- India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines receive $95 billion. The largest and best-known provider is Western Union with 345,000 agents globally, followed by UAE Exchange. Bureaux de change or currency transfer companies provide low-value foreign exchange services for travelers. These are typically located at airports and stations or at tourist locations and allow physical notes to be exchanged from one currency to another. They access foreign exchange markets via banks or non-bank foreign exchange companies. USD, Euro and Yen occupy the top three position in the most-traded currencies in the world, and we can be proud our Rupee is in the top 20 – we occupy the 16th position.

Tue, 15 Nov 2022 15:23:41 +0530
Real Estate An Overview

 

Anupama Nair

Real estate is the name we hear a lot. What is real estate? Real estate is the land with any permanent improvements attached to the land, both natural or man-made, including water, trees, minerals, buildings, homes, fences, and bridges. Real estate is a form of property. It differs from personal property, which are things not permanently attached to the land, such as vehicles, boats, jewelry, furniture, and farm equipment.

People often use the terms land, real estate, and real property interchangeably, but there are some subtle distinctions. Land refers to the earth's surface down to the center of the earth and upward to the airspace above, including the trees, minerals, and water. Real estate is the land, plus any permanent man-made additions, such as houses and other buildings. Real property is one of the two main classifications of property i.e., the interests, benefits and rights inherent in the ownership of real estate.

“Real estate includes the physical surface of the land, what lies above and below it, what is permanently attached to it, plus all the rights of ownership, including the right to possess, sell, lease, and enjoy the land”. You should never be confused with personal property, which involves all property that doesn't fit the definition of real property. The primary characteristic of personal property is that it is movable. Some examples are vehicles, boats, furniture, clothing, and smartphones.

A land has three physical characteristics that separates it from other assets in the economy – immobility which means some parts of land are removable and the topography can be altered, the geographic location of any parcel of land can never be changed; indestructibility means land is durable and permanent; uniqueness i.e., no two parcels of land can be exactly the same. Even though they may share similarities, they differ geographically.

Land also has some distinct economic characteristics that influence its value as an investment:

  • Scarcity: While land isn't considered rare, the total supply is fixed.
  • Improvements: Any additions or changes to the land or a building that affects the property's value is called an improvement. Improvements of a private nature  are referred to as improvements on the land. Improvements of a public nature like sidewalks and sewer systems) are called improvements to the land.
  • Permanence of investment: Once land is improved, the total capital and labor used to build the improvement represent a sizable fixed investment. Even though a building can be razed, improvements like drainage, electricity, water, and sewer systems tend to be permanent because they can't be removed (or replaced) economically.
  • Location or area preference. Location refers to people's choices and tastes regarding a given area, based on factors like convenience, reputation, and history. Location is one of the most important economic characteristics of land.

There are five main types of real estate:

  • Residential real estate is any property used for residential purposes. Examples include single-family homes, condos, cooperatives, duplexes, townhouses, and multifamily residences with fewer than five individual units.
  • Commercial real estate is any property used exclusively for business purposes, such as apartment complexes, gas stations, grocery stores, hospitals, hotels, offices, parking facilities, restaurants, shopping centers, stores, and theaters.
  • Industrial real estate any  property used for manufacturing, production, distribution, storage, and research and development. Examples include factories, power plants, and warehouses.
  • Land: Includes undeveloped property, vacant land, and agricultural land (farms, orchards, ranches, and timberland).
  • Special purpose is the property used by the public, such as cemeteries, government buildings, libraries, parks, places of worship, and schools.

Even after the magnitude and complexity of the real estate market, many people  seem to think that the industry consists merely of brokers and people who work in the sales department. However, billions of people in fact earn a living through real estate, not only in sales but also in appraisals, property management, financing, construction, development, counseling, education, and many other fields. Many professionals and businesses including accountants, architects, banks, title insurance companies, surveyors, and lawyers also depend on the real estate industry.

Real estate is in fact a  crucial driver of economic growth in the US. The number of new residential construction projects in any month released by the Census Bureau of US is a key economic indicator. The report includes building permits, housing starts, and housing completions data, divided into three different categories: single-family homes; homes with 2-4 units and multi-family buildings with five or more units, such as apartment complexes.

The investors and analysts keep a close eye on housing starts because the numbers can provide a general sense of economic direction. Moreover, the types of new housing starts can give clues about how the economy is developing.

 

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 21:27:06 +0530
Veera Pandyan The Robin Hood of Tamil Nadu

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the great but unknown Veera Pandyan who gave his life to save his kingdom from the British East India. He waged a war with the British six decades before Indian War of Independence which occurred in 1857. It is my mission in life to educate my countrymen about unknown people who gave their life so we could live in “that heaven of freedom”. The ultra-left oriented curriculum ensured that only Mughals and invaders are remembered, but people like Velu Thampi, Velu Nachiyar and Pazzasi Raja were buried in the annals of history and their aim we forget our great history, religion and culture and they have succeeded to a large extent. Let us do our bit to reverse that.

To understand the story of Veera Pandyan, I need to take you back many centuries before. India was ruled by the cruel Mughals. It is a credit to the British, how the merchants who came to do trade with India, within 300 years became the masters of the entire land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire Sub-Continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600. They landed in the Indian subcontinent on August 24, 1608, in Surat (Gujarat).

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764) , smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. Robert Clive became the first Governor General of British India. By spinning a web of deceit, and many laws like Subsidiary Alliance (Lord Wellesley) and Doctrine of Lapse (Lord Dalhousie), they succeeded in ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”.

Veera Pandya was also known as Veera Pandya Kattabomman and his ancestors earlier migrated from Andhra Pradesh to settle in a village called Salikulam to avoid marital alliances with their enemies. The first of the Kattabomman family who settled at Salikulam was appointed as a Chief Guard to the then King Sri Jaga Veera Pandyan of Veera Pandyapuram (Ottapidaram) recognizing his bravery. By his loyalty and devotion, he gained the confidence of the King and became the most trustworthy guard of the king. King Jagaveera Pandyan, who had no heir as a successor, crowned Kattabomman as his successor. In memory of the King, Kattabomman christened himself as Jaga Veera Pandya Kattaboman. He was a great ruler. It is said one day when was on a hunting mission, he saw a very starling scene. A hare was chasing four hounds. He considered the land as a land of valor and constructed a fort on that soil. He named the fort as "Panchalamkurichi" in memory of the King Pancha Pandyan who was the grandfather of King Jaga Veera Pandyan.

Veera Pandya Kattabomman was born to Jaga Veera Kattabomman and Arumugathammal in 1760. He had two younger brothers Dalavai Kumarasami and Duraisingam. He was fondly called “Karuthaiah” or the “black prince” . He became the king of Panchalankurichi in 1790.

After the collapse of the Vijaya Nagara Empire in the 16th  century, their governors in Tamil Nadu, declared independence and established independent kingdoms and the old Pandya state came to be governed by Naickers Their rule for over 200 years came to an abrupt end in 1736 when Chanda Sahib of Arcot seized Madurai from the last queen of Madurai in an act of treason. After Chanda Sahib was killed after the Carnatic Wars and then the territory came under the Nawab of Arcot. The Nawab of Arcot had expensive tastes and had to borrow huge sums of money from the British East India Company.

The Nawab of Arcot gave the British what they had always dreamt, the right to collect taxes and levies from the southern region in lieu of the money he had borrowed. The East India Company took advantage of the situation and plundered all the wealth of the people in the name of tax collection. Kattabomman refused to pay his dues and for a long time refused to meet Jackson the Collector of the East India Company. Finally, he was forced to meet Jackson at Ramalinga Vilasam, the palace  at Ramanathapuram. The meeting however was violent and ended in the killing of  Deputy Commandant of the Company’s forces, Clarke. Kattabomman and his men fought their way to freedom and safety, but Thanapathi Pillai, Kattabomman’s secretary was unfortunately taken prisoner.

The new Collector of Tirunelveli wrote to Kattabomman and called him for a meeting. Kattabomman however refused, mentioning the extreme drought conditions for the delay in the payment of dues and also demanded that all that was robbed by the Company be returned to him. Kattabomman refusal to meet the Collector ended in a war. A war broke out under Major Bannerman, and the British army stood at all the four entrances of Panchalankurichi’s fort. Unfortunately for the British, when the fort’s southern doors opened, Kattabomman and his forces audaciously attacked the forces and killed their commander Lt. Collins. The British after suffering heavy losses, decided to wait for reinforcements and heavy artillery from Palayamkottai.

However, Veera Pandyan sensed that his fort could not survive an attack from heavy cannons, he left the fort that night. The British set a price on Kattabomman’s head. Thanapathi Pillai and sixteen others were taken prisoners. Thanapathi Pillai was executed and his head was hanging on a bamboo pole to demoralize the rebels. Soundra Pandian Nayak, another rebel leader, was also brutally killed.

Veera Pandya Kattabomman hid in so many places and finally stayed at Kolarpatti at Rajagopala Naicker’s house and the British forces surrounded the house. Kattabomman and his aides managed to flee to the Thirukalambur Forest near Pudukottai. Bannerman ordered the Raja of Pudukkottai to arrest Kattabomman. Unfortunately, Kattabomman was captured and on 16th October 1799 the British decided to “hang him till death”. He was hanged unceremoniously on a Tamarind tree in Kayathar  near Thirunelveli.

Kattabomman after his martyrdom became the inspiration for the future to fight the British. His story is celebrated in many legends and epic poetry in Tamil. He is today recognized by the government as one of the earliest fighters opposing the British and has been hailed as the inspiration behind the first battle of independence of 1857.

In 1974, the Government of Tamil Nadu constructed a new Memorial Hall. The remnants of the old fort are now being protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. At Kayathar, near Tirunelveli (the place where he was hanged) there is another memorial for Kattabomman. To commemorate the bicentenary of Kattabomman’s hanging, the Government of India brought out a postal stamp in his honor. The greatest honor is India’s premier communication nerve center of the Indian Navy, at Vijayanarayanam, is named as INS Kattabomman. There was a blockbuster movie “Veera Pandya Kattabomman” starring the legendary Shivaji Ganesan and this dialogue is famous “em kula pengalukku manjal araiththu pani purinthaaya  (Why pay tax, did you paste turmeric for the women of my country)”? To make him famous, this movie needs to be remade into Hindi so all our country men can see it.

The historian Susan Bailey considered Kattabomman has a “Robin Hood” like figure in the history of Tamil Nadu. I bow my head to such a great king who sacrificed his life for this country. We owe our freedom to such great people.

(The author is a historophile  (lover of history) and can be contacted at nair.anupama70@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 21:21:35 +0530
Micro economics an overview

 

Anupama Nair

Micro-economics focuses on the role consumers and businesses play in the economy, with specific attention paid to how these two groups make decisions. “The decisions include when a consumer purchases a good and for how much, or how a business determines the price it will charge for its product”. In fact, micro-economics examines smaller units of the overall economy.

How do companies decide what price to charge for their products? Why are some people willing to pay more for a product than others? How do your decisions play into how corporations price their products? The answer to all of these questions and many more is what we call micro-economics.

Micro-economics breaks down into the following doctrines:

  • Individuals make decisions based on the concept of utility. In other words, the decision made by the individual is supposed to increase the individual's happiness or satisfaction and the concept is called rational behavior or rational decision-making.
  • Businesses make decisions based on the competition they face in the market. The more competition a business faces, the less flexibility it has in terms of pricing.
  • Both individuals and consumers take the opportunity cost of their actions into account when making their decisions.

Total and Marginal Utility

It is believed that how a consumer makes a decision is due to the concept of individual benefit, also known as utility. The more benefit or use a consumer feels a product has, the more the consumer is willing to pay for the product. Consumers often allocate different levels of utility to different goods, creating different levels of demand. Consumers have the choice of purchasing any number of goods, so utility analysis often looks at marginal utility, which shows the satisfaction that one additional unit of a good brings. Total utility is the total satisfaction the consumption of a product brings to the consumer.

The decrease in satisfaction the consumer feels from additional units is referred to as the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. While the law isn't really a law in the strictest sense, it does help illustrate how resources spent by a consumer, such as the extra money needed to buy that seventh piece of pizza, could have been better used elsewhere.

Elasticity of Demand

Elasticity is a concept in economics that talks about the effect of change in one economic variable on the other.  Elasticity of Demand, measures the effect of change in an economic variable on the quantity demanded of a product. There are several factors that affect the quantity demanded for a product such as the income levels of people, price of the product, price of other products in the segment, and various others. 

Elasticity of Supply

The elasticity of supply establishes a quantitative relationship between the supply of a commodity and it’s price. Hence, we can express the numeral change in supply with the change in the price of a commodity using the concept of elasticity. Elasticity can also be calculated with respect to the other determinants of supply. However, the major factor controlling the supply of a commodity is its price. Therefore, we generally talk about the price elasticity of supply. The price elasticity of supply is the ratio of the percentage change in the price to the percentage change in quantity supplied of a commodity.

Opportunity Costs

When consumers or businesses make the decision to purchase or produce particular goods, they are doing so at the expense of buying or producing something else, which is referred to as the opportunity cost. If an individual decides to use a month's salary for a vacation instead of saving, the immediate benefit is the vacation on a sandy beach, but the opportunity cost is the money that could have accrued in that account in interest, as well as what could have been done with that money in the future. While, illustrating how opportunity costs influence decision making, economists use a graph called the production possibility frontier (PPF).

A well-known example of the PPF in practice is the ‘guns and butter’ model, which shows the combinations of defense spending and civilian spending that a government can support. While the model itself oversimplifies the complex relationships between politics and economics, the general idea is that the more a government spends on defense, the less it can spend on non-defense items.

Market failure and competition

While the term market failure might conjure up images of unemployment or a massive economic depression, the meaning of the term is in fact, very different. Market failure exists when the economy is unable to efficiently allocate resources. This can result in scarcity, a glut or a general mismatch between supply and demand. Market failure is frequently associated with the role that competition plays in the production of goods and services, but can also arise from asymmetric information or from a misjudgment in the effects of a particular action called as externalities.

The level of competition a firm faces in a market, as well as how this determines consumer prices, is probably the more widely-referenced concept. There are four main types of competition:

  • Perfect Competition: A large number of firms produce a good, and a large number of buyers are in the market. Because so many firms are producing, there is little room for differentiation between products, and individual firms cannot affect prices because they have a low market share. There are few barriers to entry in the production of this good.
  • Monopolistic Competition: A large number of firms produce a good, but the firms are able to differentiate their products. There are also few barriers to entry.
  • Oligopoly: A relatively small number of firms produce a good, and each firm is able to differentiate its product from its competitors. Barriers to entry are relatively high.
  • Monopoly: One firm controls the market. The barriers to entry are very high because the firm controls the entire share of the market.

The price that a firm sets is determined by the competitiveness of its industry, and the firm's profits are judged by how well it balances costs to revenues. The more competitive the industry, the less choice the individual firm has when it sets its price.

 

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 21:16:40 +0530
Stroke How to avoid it and tips to prevent it

 

Anupama Nair

A stroke is a matter of great concern. What is a stroke? “A stroke is a medical disorder in which the blood supply to the brain gets disrupted, resulting in cell death”. According to doctors, the risk factors for a stroke increase with an unhealthy lifestyle habit, making it important for us to recognize the symptoms and understand what to do in case stroke strikes us.

As per doctors there are two main types of stroke -- Ischemic stroke caused by lack of blood flow and hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding. They lead regions of the brain to stop working properly. “Inability to move or feel on one side of the body, and if you face trouble understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision on one side are all signs and symptoms of a stroke”. A transient ischemic attack  or TIA, often known as a mini-stroke, occurs when symptoms appear for less than two hours. A severe headache is often associated with a hemorrhagic stroke. Stroke symptoms sometimes can last a lifetime. The long-term effects may include pneumonia and the inability to regulate one’s bladder.

These are the commonly experienced symptoms of stroke. There could be other symptoms too, so do not ignore your health.

  • Numbness or weakness in one side of the body, especially the face, arm, or leg.
  • Confusion, difficulty in speaking, or difficulty understanding speech that may occur suddenly.
  • Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, sudden difficulty in walking, or a lack of co-ordination
    i.e., numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg. You have to be careful as it only affects one side of the body. In case one is unable to lift one arm or when one side of the mouth begins to droop, immediately seek medical assistance.
  • Double vision or blurred or darkened vision in one or both eyes.

You need to remember, during a stroke, time is of utmost essence. Call emergency services and get to the hospital immediately. A stroke can produce dizziness or unconsciousness, which might lead to a fall.

 

In case of an emergency, take the following steps:

 

  • Make an emergency call. Have someone else call for you if you are experiencing stroke symptoms.
  • While you wait for emergency assistance, try to remain as calm as possible. If you’re looking after someone who’s had a stroke, you need to make sure they are in a safe and comfortable position.
  • In case the patient vomits, make them lie down on one side with their head slightly lifted and supported. Examine their breathing. Perform CPR, if they are not breathing. If they’re having difficulty breathing, then loosen any constrictive clothing, such as a tie or scarf.
  • To keep them warm, wrap them in a blanket.
  • Don’t let them eat or drink anything.
  • Keep a close eye on the person for any changes in their condition.
  • Prepare to describe their symptoms to the doctor. If the victim fell or injured their head, make sure to mention it.

 

Prevention

 

You need to know the stroke risk factors, following the doctor’s advice, and leading a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to avoid a stroke. The following are some general tips for a healthy lifestyle.

 

  • Keeping high blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is commonly treated with healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.
  • Lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet is a must. Reduced cholesterol and fat intake, particularly saturated and trans fats, may help to prevent plaque development in the arteries. If dietary modifications alone aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug.
  • Quit the use of  tobacco and alcohol. Smoking and drinking increases the risk of stroke.
  • Besides these, you need a proper diet, exercise, and weight loss that can all help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. If lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to maintain your diabetes, your doctor may prescribe diabetes medication.

 

 

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 21:13:31 +0530
World Events between the two Queen Elizabeth and the difference

 

Anupama Nair

Is it really the end of the great British Empire the empire that ruled one sixth of the world or as has the sun really set on “the great empire where the sun never sets”? Let me take you on a journey of nearly five centuries between Queen Elizabeth I under whose rule the Empire started and the late Queen Elizabeth II, who recently passed away in September this year.

 

The rise of the British Empire can be traced to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who gave the East India Company a royal charter in 1599, that gifted them monopoly over all English trade in the world. The Empire was a worldwide system of dependencies, colonies, protectorates, and other territories which over a span of three centuries were brought under the rule of the Crown and the administration of the British government. Great Britain made its first efforts to establish overseas settlements in the 16th century. Maritime expansion, was driven by commercial ambitions and by competition with France, that accelerated in the 17th  century and resulted in the establishment of settlements in the New World – North America and the West Indies.

 

The East India Company soon established trading posts in India in 1600, and the Straits Settlements i.e., Penang, Singapore, Malacca, and Labuan became British through an extension of the company’s activities. The first permanent British settlement in the African continent was made at James Island in the Gambia River in 1661. Slave trading had however, begun earlier in Sierra Leone, but they did not become a British possession until 1787. Britain captured the Cape of Good Hope in 1806, and the South African interior was opened up by Boer and British pioneers under the British control.

The formation of the empire was seen as an unorganized process based on ‘piecemeal’ acquisition. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Crown exercised control over its colonies chiefly in the areas of trade and shipping. In accordance with the mercantilist philosophy of the time, the colonies were regarded as a source of necessary raw materials for England and were granted monopolies for their products, such as tobacco and sugar, in the British market. In return, they were expected to conduct all their trade by means of English ships and to serve as markets for British manufactured goods.

 

The Navigation Act of 1651 and many following acts set up a closed economy between Britain and its colonies and all colonial exports had to be shipped on English ships to the British market, and all colonial imports had to come by way of England. This arrangement lasted till the combined effects of the Scottish economist Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations published in 1776, and the loss of the American colonies in July that year, and the growth of a free-trade movement in Britain slowly brought it to an end in the first half of the 19th century. The slave trade was important to Britain’s colonial economy in the Americas, and it became an economic necessity for the Caribbean colonies and for the southern parts of the future United States. Slavery ended in in British colonies long before the similar movement in the United States, where the trade was abolished in 1807.

 

The British military and naval power, under the leadership of great men such as Robert Clive, James Wolfe, and Eyre Coote, gained for Britain two of the most important countries in its empire namely Canada and India. Fighting between the British and French colonies in North America was widespread in the first half of the 18th century, however, the Treaty of Paris of 1763, which ended the Seven Years’ War also known as the French and Indian War in North America, made Britain dominant in Canada. In India, the East India Company was attacked by the French Compagnie des Indes, but Robert Clive’s military victories against the French and the rulers of Bengal in the 1757  provided the British with a massive accession of territory and ensured their future supremacy in India.

 

The loss of the 13 American colonies in 1776 was compensated by new settlements in Australia from 1788 and by the spectacular growth of  Ontario after the emigration of loyalists from the United States. The Napoleonic Wars provided further additions to the empire and the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 made Trinidad and Ceylon British territories, and in the Treaty of Paris France handed over Tobago, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, and Malta. Malacca joined the empire in 1795, and Sir Stamford Raffles acquired Singapore in 1819. Canadian settlements in Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia increased the British influence in the Pacific, while further British conquests in India brought in Agra, Ayodhya, Central Provinces, East Bengal, and Assam.

 

New Zealand became a British colony in 1840, after which systematic colonization increased. Then British control was extended to Fiji, Tonga, Papua, and other islands in the Pacific Ocean, and in 1877 the British High Commission for the Western Pacific Islands was created. After the Revolt of 1857, the British crown assumed the rule of the country. It’s conquest of the Punjab and of Baluchistan provided substantial new territory in the Indian subcontinent.

 

A select group of nations within the empire, with substantial European populations and long experience of British forms and practices, was often referred to as the British Commonwealth. The demands and stresses of World War I and its aftermath led to a more formal recognition of the special status of the dominions. When Britain had declared war on Germany in 1914, it was on behalf of the entire Empire, the dominions as well as the colonies. But after the World War I ended in 1918, the dominions signed the peace treaties for themselves and joined the newly formed League of Nations as independent states equal to Britain. In 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognized them as independent countries “within the British Empire, equal in status” to the United Kingdom. The statute referred specifically to the “British Commonwealth of Nations.” When World War II broke out in 1939, the dominions made their own declarations of war.

 

However, by the time Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, the sun for the “empire where the sun never sets” had already begun to set. In 1952, when Elizabeth became the Queen, Britain controlled more than 70 territories across the world, most of which were freed from colonial rule in the coming decades. India, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British empire had already achieved independence in 1947. In 1952, both the Egyptian Revolution and Mau Mau revolt in Kenya sought to end British occupation. The 1956 Suez crisis which led to Egypt’s control of the Canal and withdrawal of British and French troops, further paved the end of Great Britain’s supremacy in the world.

From 1945-1965, the number of people living under British colonial rule had reduced from 700 million to a paltry 5 million. The last significant British colony, Hong Kong, was returned to the Chinese in 1997. By then, virtually nothing remained of the Empire. The Commonwealth, however, remained a remarkably flexible institution. So, we can say, the sun of the empire has set by the time of death of the Queen!.

 

 

 

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 21:08:13 +0530
Client Evaluation Methods an overview

 

P Lathika

Customers are bread and butter for any organization. Customers continuously decide “what to buy, where to buy and when to buy”. In order to retain customers, a business must ensure their customers are satisfied. What does it mean to have a satisfied customer? How can a business retain customers in our ever-changing market place? A person’s perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and values can substantially influence his or her experience and involvement with products.

A person’s insights, beliefs, attitudes, and values can substantially influence his or her experience and involvement with products. Perceptions can have various meanings but in marketing, it is often described as a process by which a consumer identifies, organizes, and interprets information to create meaning. A consumer will selectively perceive what they will ultimately classify as their needs and wants. What is perception? Perception is a psychological variable involved in the purchase decision process that is known to influence consumer behavior. Other variables included in this consumer process are motivation, learning, attitude, personality, and lifestyle. All of these concepts are crucial in interpreting the consumer buying process and can also help guide marketing efforts.

Do you know what is selective perception? Selective Perception is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages and disregard the rest.

Seymor Smith, who was a prominent advertising researcher, found proof for selective perception in advertising research in the early 1960s, and he defined it to be “a procedure by which people let in, or screen out, advertising material and they have an opportunity to see or hear. They do so because of their attitudes, beliefs, usage preferences and habits, and conditioning”. People who like, buy, or are considering buying a brand are more likely to notice advertising, than are those who are neutral toward the brand. “This fact has repercussions within the field of advertising research because any post-advertising analysis that examines the differences in attitudes or buying behavior among those who are aware versus those unaware of advertising is faulty unless pre-existing differences are controlled for”.

Selective perceptions are categorized in two types -- a low level of perception, known as perceptual vigilance, and a higher level of perception, known as perceptual defense. In general, four main factors that influence an experience, involvement, and satisfaction with a product:

  • Personal is when a person’s perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and values can substantially influence his or her experience and involvement with products. For example, certain cultures highly discourage women from exposing some of their body parts as part of their religious beliefs, which inevitably affects their consumption of clothing. Other examples of cultural influences include language, myths, customs, rituals, and laws. Consumers tend to be more involved with products that they believe can fill their own needs, which in turn are regarded as holding importance and relevance in their lives. Personal or individual factors serve as strong influences, including gender, age, income level or social class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
  • Object is the degree of information that a consumer have about a product, including how well they can distinguish its characteristics, and also can effect their experience, involvement, and satisfaction. Typically, the higher a consumer’s product knowledge, the more involved with it he or she will be. Deeper knowledge about a product also translates into higher involvement because the consumer perceives it as more important, especially if some of that knowledge pertains to characteristics that hold personal meaning.
  • Situational is when products that can easily conform to and enrich a consumer’s lifestyle tend to be consumed with more frequency and involvement. For example, a busy working mother might rely heavily on her smart phone to keep her organized and effective in an effortless manner.
  • Social: Social influence can deeply affect consumer behavior, especially as related to the products they consider and consume. A consumer’s social network has a strong influence on the products he or she uses, since individuals tend to rely on the opinions and advice of friends and family. Other social influences can include opinion leaders and reference groups.

Consumer involvement tends to vary dramatically depending on the type of product and its relationship to the consumer. In general, consumer involvement tends to be higher for products that are very expensive (e.g., a home, a car) or are considered highly significant in the consumer’s life (e.g., a newborn baby product). Marketing strategy should take into account the level of involvement that a consumer has with a specific product, as this also dictates the type of information that the consumer needs to process in order to make a purchase decision.

The following levels of information processing are required, which can help dictate the marketing approach that should be used:

  • Low-Involvement purchases tend to be made by habitual decisions (e.g., dish washing liquid, toothbrush). These require minimal information processing.
  • Moderate-Involvement purchases tend to be made by simple decisions (e.g., orange juice, snacks). These often may require some evaluation of alternatives.
  • High-Involvement purchases tend to be made by lengthy or more involved decisions (e.g., a car or a house). These are usually considered highly important to consumers and require extensive information processing.

Print advertising is considered high-involvement because newspapers and magazines provide information that can be processed clearly and can help shape attitudes and influence decisions. Television advertising is considered low-involvement because it presents information that is considered passive.

Sat, 22 Oct 2022 23:46:05 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

P. Lathika

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 22 Oct 2022 23:42:11 +0530
Venice a tourist s paradise

 

Anupama Nair

Italy is a tourist’s paradise if you like history, art, literature etc. So, for me it is a place worth spending precious Euros. Venice or Venizia is an art lover’s paradise. Let me take you on a trip to this dream city.

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. The city got its name from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region around 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for more than a millennium, i.e., from 697 AD to 1797 AD. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance,  as well as an important center of commerce, and of art from the 13th  century to the end of the 17th century. The city-state of Venice is believed to have been the first international financial center, from 9th  century and reached its zenith in the 14th century AD, which made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, following a referendum held as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence.

Venice had many nicknames like ‘La Dominante’, ‘La Serenissima’ , ‘Queen of the Adriatic’, ‘City of Water, ‘City of Masks’, ‘City of Bridges’, ‘The Floating City’, and ‘City of Canals’. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements, especially during the Renaissance period and has played an important role in the history of instrumental and operatic music. Venice has been considered as ‘one of Europe's most romantic cities’ and The New York Times hailed it  “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”.

“In a city as filled with tourist attractions as Venice, it's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to simply get lost for a few hours wandering through its enchanting little streets and passageways, strolling beside its canals, and finding its secret corners. At every turn, you'll see something worth remembering with a photo. No matter where this exploration takes you, it's easy to find your way back to Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal. Most of the best sights you'll want to visit lie around these two landmarks”.

Some of the places to see in Venice are:

  • St Mark’s Basilica
  • Piazza San Marco
  • Palazzo Ducale and Bridge of Sighs
  • Canale Grande
  • Ponte di Rialto and San Polo
  • Siulo Grande di San Rocco
  • Ca’d’Oro
  • Murano and Burano
  • Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari
  • Fine Art Museum.

Venice is a place worth spending your money, for it will be a once in a life time trip.

 

 

 

Sat, 22 Oct 2022 23:36:28 +0530
Pattaya an oceanic paradise

 

Anupama Nair

Thailand is a country which is on every travelers wish list. Thailand or Siam is located in the center of mainland Southeast Asia. It is located wholly within the tropics, Thailand includes varied ecosystems, including the hilly forested areas of the northern frontier, the fertile rice fields of the central plains, the broad plateau of the northeast, and the rugged coasts along the narrow southern peninsula.

Thailand has Myanmar and Laos to the north as border, the east by Laos and Cambodia, the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and west by the Indian Ocean and Myanmar. It also shares maritime borders with Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India through the Indian Ocean in the southwest. The capital city of Thailand is Bangkok and is the largest city. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and also a parliamentary democracy, however, in recent history, its government has experienced multiple coups and periods of military dictatorships.

In this article I am going to write about the famous city in Thailand called Pattaya. It is a famous beach resort town and had developed a colorful reputation over the years. It is located less than 200 kilometers from Bangkok. For beach lovers, it's a convenient place to enjoy the sun, sand, and the sea.

Over the years, Pattaya has drawn tourists and expats from all over the world ever since the American soldiers during the Vietnam War “discovered the once-sleepy getaway destination”. Since then, the popularity of Pattaya has steadily increased, and is now one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia. Pattaya has a tropical wet and dry climate, which is divided into the following seasons -- hot and dry (December to February), hot and humid (March and April), and hot and rainy (May to November). In other words, it is always hot.

The places to visit in Pattaya are:

  • For lovers of greenery Nong Nooch Botanical Garden is the best.
  • Jonten Beach for sunbathing and working on your tan
  • Discover the “Sanctuary of Truth”.
  • Wat Yansangwararam
  • For the spiritually inclined people Big Buddha Statue is a place to visit.
  • Go for a day trip to Koh Lorn or Coral Island.
  • “Art on Paradise” art museum.
  • Ramayana Water Park to beat the sweltering heat.
  • Four Regions Floating Market.
  • Naklua Fish Market for fish lovers.
  • Mini Siam
  • Enjoy “Underwater World Pattaya”.
  • Theppvasit Night Market for lovers of retail therapy.

So Pattaya is an ideal option for your next visit.

Sat, 22 Oct 2022 23:18:42 +0530
History of Banking in the World

 

Anupama Nair

The practice of lending and borrowing may be as old as the invention of money. Isn’t it fascinating to see what our ancestors did in financial transactions and how they did it without any technology that we have today! “To purchase grains from the market, buy and sell cattle, textiles, craftsmanship! No matter what their needs were, they were not much different from ours. 

Banking has been around since the first currencies were minted, may be even before that, in some form or other. Currency, especially coins, grew out of taxation. As empires expanded, functional systems were needed to collect taxes and distribute wealth. The history of banking began when empires needed a way to pay for foreign goods and services with something that could be exchanged easily. Coins of varying sizes and metals eventually replaced fragile, impermanent paper bills. Banking as a concept was born in ancient Mesopotamia in the 8th Century. The birth of money originated in ancient Babylon

Coins, however, had to be kept in a safe place, and ancient homes did not have steel safes or lockers. According to World History Encyclopedia, “wealthy people in ancient Rome, India and Greece kept their coins and jewels in the basements of temples”. The presence of priests or temple workers, who were assumed devout and honest, and armed guards added a sense of security. The recent incident at Padmanabha Swamy Temple in the Travancore Kingdom or present-day Trivandrum in Kerala is an example where unimaginable gold coins, ornaments, precious stones etc., were found hidden in vaults inside the temple. It is said the Maharaja had hid the wealth to protect it from the British East India Company.

Historical records from India, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Ancient Babylon suggested that temples lent money in addition to keeping it safe. The fact that most temples also functioned as the financial centers of their cities is a major reason why they were ransacked frequently during wars. An example of this is the Somnath Temple in Gujarat that was attacked by Invaders 17 times. Coins could be hoarded more easily than other commodities, so a class of wealthy merchants took to lending coins, with interest, to people in need. Temples typically handled large loans to various Kings, and wealthy merchant money lenders handled the rest of the people.

The Romans, who were expert builders and administrators, removed banking from the temples and formalized it within distinct buildings. During this time, moneylenders still profited, similar to the loan sharks today, but most legitimate commerce and almost all government spending involved the use of an institutional bank.The Roman Empire eventually disintegrated, but some of its banking institutions lived on in the form of the papal bankers that emerged in the Holy Roman Empire and the Knights Templar during the Crusades. Small-time moneylenders that competed with the Church were often denounced for moneylending. Eventually, the various monarchs that reigned over Europe noted the strengths of banking institutions. As banks existed by the grace, and occasionally explicit charters and contracts, of the ruling kings, the royal powers began to take loans to make up for hard times when the royal treasury was almost empty, but on the king's terms. This easy financing led kings into unnecessary extravagances, costly wars, and arms races with neighboring kingdoms that would often lead to crushing debt.

The birth of Modern banking was in Italy, where there was trade practice between merchants and Jewish Moneylenders. Jews used to live in Moorish Spain and England. After the genocides of the Jews in England in 1200 AD, they settled down in Italy. In 1557, Philip II of Spain managed to burden his kingdom with so much debt as the result of several unnecessary wars  and it was the beginning of the world's first national bankruptcy. This occurred because 40% of the country's Gross National Product  (GNP) was going toward servicing the debt. The trend of turning a blind eye to the creditworthiness of big and influential customers continues to haunt banks even today. Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi are apt examples.

Banking was already well-established in the British Empire when Adam Smith introduced the ‘Theory of the Wealth of Nations’ in March 1776. Authorized by his views of a self-regulated economy, moneylenders and bankers managed to limit the state's involvement in the banking sector and the economy as a whole. Bank notes were first issued in London in the 17th Century where they were used as receipts for deposit at the Goldsmith’s. These receipts soon became known as our modern money after the Promissory Note Act of 1704. This free-market capitalism and competitive banking found fruitful ground in the New World, where the United States of America was just about to get Independent from Great Britain on July 4 1776. The birth of USA signified the birth of a modern democratic country, when the world especially Asia, Australia and Africa was in the grasp of Imperialism

Initially, Smith's ideas did not benefit the American banking industry. The average shelf life for an American bank was mostly five years, after which most currency notes from the defaulted banks became worthless. These state-chartered banks could, after all, only issue banknotes against the gold and silver coins they had held in reserve. Alexander Hamilton, a former Secretary of Treasury, established a national bank that would accept member banknotes at par, thus floating banks through difficult times. “After a few stops, starts, cancellations, and resurrections, this national bank created a uniform national currency called Dollar and set up a system by which national banks backed their notes by purchasing Treasury securities, thus creating a liquid market. However, the average Americans in those days had already grown to distrust banks and bankers in general, and the state of Texas outlawed corporate banks till 1904!

Most of the economic duties that would have been handled by the national banking system, in addition to regular banking business like loans and corporate finance, was handled instead by large merchant banks because the national banking system was irregular. These banks included Goldman Sachs, Kuhn, Loeb and  Co., and J.P. Morgan. Originally, they relied heavily on commissions from sales of foreign bond  from Europe, with a small back-flow of American bonds trading in Europe. This allowed them to build the necessary capital. At that time, a bank was under no legal obligation to disclose its capital reserves, an indication of its ability to survive large, above-average loan losses. This mysterious practice meant that a bank's reputation and history mattered more than anything. While banks came and went, these family-held merchant banks had long histories of successful transactions. As large industries emerged and created the need for corporate finance, the amounts of capital required could not be provided by any single bank, and so initial public offerings (IPOs) and bond offerings to the public became the only way to raise the required capital.

The public in the United States, and foreign investors in Europe, knew very little about investing because a disclosure as we have today, was not legally enforced. Many issues were largely ignored, according to the public's perception of the guaranteeing banks. Consequently, successful offerings increased a bank's reputation and put it in a position to ask for more to underwrite an offer. By the late 1800s, many banks demanded a position on the boards of the companies seeking capital, and if the management proved lacking, they ran the companies themselves.

The collapse in the shares of a copper trust set off a panic, and stock sell-offs, which caused shares to plummet. There was no Federal Reserve Bank to take action then, to calm people down, and the responsibility  fell to John Pierpont Morgan to stop the panic. Morgan used his considerable clout to gather all the major players on Wall Street to exercise the credit and capital they controlled, just as the Federal Bank would do today. Ironically, this show of supreme power in saving the U.S. economy ensured that no private banker would ever again wield that power. As it had taken J.P. Morgan, a banker who was disliked by much of America along with Carnegie and Rockefeller, to save the economy, the government formed the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. Although the merchant banks influenced the structure of the Central Bank, they were also pushed into the background by its formation.

Even after the establishment of the Central Bank, financial power and residual political power were concentrated on Wall Street. When World War I broke out, America became a global lender and replaced London as the center of the financial world by the end of the war. Unfortunately, a Republican administration after the War, put some unconventional shackles on the banking sector. The government insisted that all debtor nations must pay back their war loans, which traditionally were forgiven, especially in the case of Allied Powers (USA, UK, France and Russia) before any American institution would extend them further credit.

This slowed down world trade and caused many countries to become hostile toward American goods. When the stock market crashed on ‘Black Tuesday’ in 1929, the already sluggish world economy was knocked out. The Central Bank couldn't contain the crash and refused to stop the Depression or the Wall Street Catastrophe as it was called and the aftermath had immediate consequences for all banks. A clear line was drawn between banks and investors. In 1933, banks were no longer allowed to gamble with deposits, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) regulations were enacted to convince the public that it was safe to approach the banks. No one was fooled and the Depression continued. World War II may have saved the banking industry from complete destruction. World War II and the industriousness it generated stopped the downward spiral afflicting the United States and world economies.

 

 

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:56:27 +0530
Paris A trip to the City of Love

 

Anupama Nair

Paris is a city I would love to visit and is in my bucket list. In fact,  I would say it is one of the best places to see. Do you know Paris has a nickname? Yes. It is called “City of Love”. How did the city get this name? It is called the “City of Love”, because of the romantic atmosphere and exuberance it shows to the world.  I would say “the City of Love isn't just a random nickname given to Paris; it's the perfect description anyone who visited the French capital would give to the city for all the romantic vibes they find there”. Did you know the City of Paris is more than 2000 years old?

 

How did the city gets its name Paris? The history of Paris goes back to a Gallic tribe called as the Parisii, who around 250 BC settled an island  now known as Ile de la Cite in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. In 52 BC the great Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and the Romans captured area, which eventually became Christianized and was known as Lutetia, which Latin for ‘midwater dwelling’. The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the river Seine and the name Lutetia became Paris. Later, Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.

 

Today, Paris is home to more than 2 million people, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city still manage to retain its reputation as a center for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

 

Here are the tourist attractions in Paris:

 

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musee du Louvre
  • Cathedrale Notre-Dame De Paris
  • Avenue des Champs-Elysees
  • Musee de’ Orsay
  • Palais Garnier
  • Place de la Concorde.

I sure would love to see these places in my trip to Paris. Do you?

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:53:07 +0530
Ayurveda and diabetes an overview

 

Anupama Nair

Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic  i.e., ‘whole-body’ healing systems and it was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a proper balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, and just not fight disease. However, treatments may be geared toward specific health problems. It is believed that everything in the universe, dead or alive  is connected. If your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe, you have good health. When something disrupts this balance, you get sick. Among the things that can upset the balance are genetic or birth defects, injuries, climate and seasonal change, age, and your emotions.

Those who practice Ayurveda believe that every person is made of five basic elements found in the universe -- sky, air, fire, water, and earth. An Ayurvedic practitioner will create a treatment plan specifically designed for you. They’ll take into account your unique physical and emotional makeup, your primary life force, and the balance between all three of these elements and  the goal of the treatment is to cleanse your body of undigested food, which can stay in your body and cause illness. The cleansing process called ‘panchakarma’ is designed to reduce your symptoms and restore harmony and balance. To achieve this, an Ayurvedic practitioner might rely on blood purification, massage, medical oils, herbs, and enemas or laxatives.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is often called as the ‘silent killer’ and a person with diabetes knows the pain when he sees his friends enjoying themselves and realizes his life devoid of sweetness. In layman terms if you have diabetes, your body cannot properly process and use glucose from the food you eat. There are different types of diabetes, each with different causes, but they all share the common problem of having too much glucose in your bloodstream. Treatments include medications and/or insulins. Some types of diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body's organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. The process of digestion includes breaking down the food you eat into various different nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta or chapatis, your body breaks this down into sugar or glucose. When glucose is in your bloodstream, it needs help or ‘key’ called insulin to get into its final destination where it's used, which is inside your body's cells

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas,  an organ located behind your stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream and insulin acts as the ‘key which unlocks the door of the cell wall that allows glucose to enter your body’s cells. Glucose is the ‘fuel’ or energy, tissues and organs need to function properly.

When you suffer from diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin or your pancreas makes insulin but your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally does. If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream and your blood glucose level rises. Diabetes can be reversed or at least reduced by making some lifestyle changes, modifying eating habits and becoming physically active.

Diabetes is called as Madhumeha in Ayurveda, and is considered one of the 20 types of Prameha or urological disorders. Madhu means sweet and meha means urine in Sanskrit which in layman terms translates to 'urine that smells sweet'. One doesn't get diagnosed with diabetes mellitus all of a sudden. There are warning signs and symptoms that indicate trouble. If you feel excessively thirsty, fatigue, frequent urination, unintended weight loss, increased hunger, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, you may be suffering from prediabetes. The difference between diabetes and prediabetes is that in the latter you do not need medication to manage blood glucose levels.

People diagnosed with prediabetes have a high risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes and suffering from its many complications. However, prediabetes is also the disease that can be reversed by modifying eating habits and becoming physically active. Some simple tips can go a long way in keeping this killer disease at bay. The tips are:

 

  • Avoid white sugar, and switch to natural sugars
  • Exercise for an hour
  • Start consuming Nisha amlaki
  • Have early dinner
  • Have sound sleep

 

What is Nisha Amlaki, you might ask? You can make it at home -- take equal quantity of amla powder and turmeric and mix them together. You need to take 2 gm of Nisha Amalki daily in morning on empty stomach with warm water.

What we need to understand is any disease can be controlled with proper care.

 

 

 

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:44:12 +0530
Life from sea animals to mammals

Anupama Nair

Over the next few billion years, single-celled organisms fused and became multicellular; body plans diversified and radiated, exploding into an array of invertebrates. Yet all this abundance and life was restricted only to the seas, and a large and bountiful land sat was unused. Somewhere around 530 million years ago, there is evidence that centipede-like animals began to explore the world above water, and around 430 million years ago, plants and were found on the bare earth, creating a land rich in food and resources, while fish evolved from ancestral vertebrates in the sea. It was another 30 million years before those prehistoric fish crawled out the sea and began the evolutionary lineage we sit atop today. To understand life as we know it, we have to look back at where we came from, and understand how our ancestors braved a brand- new world above the waves.

It was a small step for fish, but a giant leap for animal kind. Though, looking at modern fish species, it's not so hard to envisage the slow adaptation to life out of the sea. A number of fish exhibit traits which are not unlike those of the first tetra pods, the four-limbed vertebrates that first tried to live on land, and were the direct descendants of ancient fish. The gurnards, are known for their ‘walking’ behaviors. Similarly, mudskippers have adapted anatomically and behaviorally to survive on land. Not only can they use their fins to skip from place to place, they can breathe through their skin like amphibians, allowing them to survive when they leave water habitat. Walking catfishes have modified their respiratory system so much that they can survive days out of water. But all of these are only glimpses at how the first tetra pods began, as none of these animals has fully adapted to life on land. To understand how tetra pods achieved such a feat, we must first understand the barriers that lay between their life under the sea and the land above that awaited them.

Living in air instead of water has its own difficulties. Locomotion is only one problem, though as evolution in a number of lineages has shown, not as big a problem as you might think. Still, while mud skippers and catfish seem to walk with ease, the same cannot be said of our ancestors. Some of the earliest tetra pods, like ‘Ichthyostega’ were quite cumbersome on land, and likely spent most of their time in the comfort of water. These first tetra pods came from an ancient lineages of fishes called the Sarcopterygii or Lobe-Finned Fish, of which only a few survive today. As the name implies, these animals have meaty, paddle-like fins instead of the flimsy rays of most modern-day fish species. However, these early tetra pods had to develop more than a new way to walk as their entire skeletons had to change to support more weight, as water supports mass in a way that air cannot. Each vertebrae had to become stronger for support. Ribs and vertebrae changed shape and evolved for extra support and to better distribute weight. Skulls disconnected, and necks evolved to allow better mobility of the head and to absorb the shock of walking. Bones were lost and shifted, streamlining the limbs and creating the five-digit pattern that is still reflected in our own hands and feet. Joints articulated for movement, and rotated forward to allow four-legged crawling. Overall, it took a long 30 million years or so to develop a body plan fit for walking on land.

At the same time, these cumbersome land dwellers faced another obstacle, the air itself. With gills adept at drawing oxygen from water, early tetra pods were ill-equipped to breathing air. While many think that early tetra pods transformed their gills into lungs, this actually isn't true, however, it was the fish's digestive system that adapted to form lungs. The first tetra pods to leave the water breathed by swallowing air and absorbing oxygen in their gut. Over time, a special pocket formed, allowing for better gas exchange. In many fish, a similar structure  called a swim bladder  exists which allows them to adjust buoyancy in the water, and thus many have hypothesized that tetra pod lungs are co-opted swim bladders. We do not know when tetra pods developed lungs  like other land-living animals. While the only surviving relatives to early tetra pods the lungfishes also possess lungs many fossil tetra pods don't seem to have them, suggesting that lungfish independently evolved their ability to breathe air. However, what we know is that it wasn't until around 360 million years ago that tetra pods truly breathed like their modern descendants.

The solution to land's dry nature was to encase eggs in a number of membrane layers, in what is now known as an amniote egg. Even our own children reflect this, as human babies still grow in an amniotic sac that surrounds the fetus, even though we no longer lay eggs. This crucial adaptation allowed animals to cut ties with watery habitats, and distinguishes the major lineage of tetra pods, including reptiles, birds and mammals, from amphibians. These crucial adaptations to tetra pod skeletons and anatomy allowed them to conquer the world above the waves. Without their evolutionary ingenuity, a diverse set of animals, including all mammals, would not be where they are today. Even today we still do not understand the ecological settings that drove these early animals out of the sea. Did dry land offer an endless bounty of food not to be overlooked? Perhaps, but there is evidence that our ancestors braved the dry world very early on, even before most terrestrial plants or insects, so it's possible earth was barren once.  Was land important for some yet undetermined reason? The answer is we may never know. But as we reflect upon our beginnings, we have to give credit to the daring animals that began the diverse evolutionary lineage which we are a part of. While we may never understand why they left water, we ought to be thankful they were brave enough to do so!.


 
 

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:38:38 +0530
Women in Blue win the Asia Cup for the Record 7th time

 

Anupama Nair

It is a proud moment for all Indians. The Indian Women’s team won the Asia Cup this year defeating Sri Lanka. Indian women's cricket team created history by defeating Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in Asia Cup. Let us tell you that the team has captured the title for the seventh time. I am sure you would be interested in the history od Cricket and especially Women’s cricket. Women’s cricket as a sport and as an industry and was popular only in the last decade. When we watch Mitali Raj or other players we need to remember “that their very presence is the result of a long, often forgotten, struggle on the part of generations of women to insist that they have a right to play at the highest levels of the game”.

Cricket is my favorite sport and for many in the British Commonwealth countries, as it was invented by the British, and became popular in the countries ruled by them. Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest match duration i.e., five days and is considered the toughest, and a true test of a batsman or bowler’s caliber for the entire five days. Each team plays two innings each, and the best wins… not always, you can drag a match to a boring draw too.

Now I am going to take you down memory lane to the history of Test Cricket. India is a country where cricket is very popular and cricketers are treated as Gods. Cricket is most popular in India and Pakistan. The movie Lagaan was a super hit because of the Cricket theme and villagers defeating the mighty British. The origins of cricket are very vague, and many theories have been put forward  suggesting its origins. Extensive studies and were conducted to trace its history and it is believed that the game originated from a very game played by shepherds in England. We in India used to call it Gulli Danda.

The first evidence of cricket as a game occurred in 1550, played by the students of Royal Grammar School, in England. In fact, in 1611 two young men from Sussex were punished for playing cricket instead of going to the church. The first recorded match was played in Kent in 1646. Cricket used to thrive as a ‘gambling game’. People used to place huge amounts of bets in matches and thus the game started to get recognition and fame.

During the 18th century cricket survived due to the huge amounts of money  via monetary backing and gambling. We also witnessed the emergence of two types of cricket players called as the retained player and the individual player. The  retained player was the servant of the Lord and the individual player was free to play for a payment anywhere with his skills.

For the first tome huge crowds gathered to watch matches that took place on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury, London, with ‘single wicket’ games being the most popular. The practice of ‘bowling’ a ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batman was introduced only in 1760 AD. The practice of using three stumps and LBW came in the latter part of the  Century.

The famous Marylebone Cricket Club or MCC was also  created. The MCC has since then gone on to become one of the most prominent bodies in world cricket. Cricket in its initial days were restricted to the aristocratic class of England. Cricket gradually went on to become the national game of England. The game spread far and wide due to the British Empire and had led to the overseas expansion of the game. “The game continued to develop, and underarm bowling was replaced, first by round arm and then by overarm bowling during the 19th century.

The first officially recognized Test match took place between 15th  and 19th  March 1877 and was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia, with Aussies winning the match comfortably. In those days even United States and Canada played cricket.

Cricket was introduced to India by the British East India Company in the 18th Century. The first Cricket Club was established in 1792.  In 1848, the Parsi community in Bombay, formed the Oriental Cricket Club, the first cricket club to be established by the Indians. After slow beginnings, the Europeans eventually invited the Parsi’s to play a match in 1877. By 1912, people of all religions of Bombay played a quadrangular tournament with the Europeans every year. In the early 1900s, some Indians went on to play for the England cricket team. Some of these, such as Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Duleep Singh were greatly appreciated by the British and in 1911, an Indian team went on their first official tour of the British Isles but only played English county teams and not in the England cricket team.

In the present times, cricket has its own following of loyal fans. The International Cricket Council, better known as the ICC is the governing body in world cricket. The ICC was founded on the 15th of June 1909. All laws relating to Twenty20, ODIs and Test Cricket are framed and implemented by the ICC.

Now let me take you to the history of Women’s cricket. Although the first recorded women’s cricket match was played in the 18th century, the Women’s Cricket Association was founded in 1924 in England. After a decade later New Zealand and Australia created their own associations and the global reach led to the first International matches being played when England toured Australia in 1934/35. England won 2 out of 3 matches. International cricket continued to grow which led to the foundation of the International Women’s Cricket Council in 1958. Eventually, there were five members but the numbers went on increasing. India joined in 1973 when the first women’s cricket association in India was set up.

The Women’s World Cup was played much before men’s cricket  in 1973 and the first Men’s World Cup was held in 1975. The Women’s World Cup has been a success, recently, and there have been 12 World Cups so far which have seen 3 different winners. Australia in the current World Champion. In the year 2005, the International Women’s Cricket Council handed over the control of the women’s international cricket to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The first Women’s T20 World Cup was held in 2009 together with the Men’s T20 World Cup. The Semi-finals and Finals saw the women’s game being held before the men’s match. This secured more audience and media coverage. Hope Women’s Cricket become more popular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 22:31:39 +0530
The evolution of Plants

 

Anupama Nair

The evolution of plants in itself resulted in a wide range of complexity i.e., from the earliest algal mats, through multicellular marine and freshwater green algae, like terrestrial bryophytes, lycopods and ferns, to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms which in layman terms are flowering plants we see today. You can still find some of the earliest groups thriving, as exemplified by red and green algae in marine environments. The more recent derived groups have displaced previously ecologically dominant ones -- for example, the ascendance of flowering plants over gymnosperms in terrestrial environments. There is evidence that cyanobacteria and multi-cellular photosynthetic eukaryotes lived in freshwater communities on land as early as 1 billion years ago, and that communities of complex, multicellular photo-synthesizing organisms existed on land in the late Precambrian, Period that was around 850 million years ago.

Evidence of the emergence of embryophyte land plants first occurred in the mid-Ordovician Period which was nearly 470 million years ago, and by the middle of the Devonian Period nearly 390 million years ago, and has many of the features now found in land plants today including roots and leaves. By late Devonian Period  some plants such as Archaeopteris had secondary vascular tissue that produced wood and had formed forests of tall trees. Evolutionary innovation continued throughout the rest of the Phanerozoic eon and still continues today. Most plant groups were relatively unharmed by the ‘Permo-Triassic extinction event’. This may have set the scene for the appearance of the flowering plants in the Triassic nearly 200 million years ago, and their later diversification in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. The latest major group of plants to evolve were the grasses, which became important in the mid-Paleogene nearly 40  million years ago. The grasses, as well as many other groups, evolved new mechanisms of metabolism to survive the low CO2 and warm, dry conditions of the places near the equator called tropics around 10 million years ago.

Land plants evolved from a group of green algae, perhaps as early as 850 million years ago, but algae-like plants might have evolved as early as 1 billion years ago. The closest living relatives of land plants are called the charophytes, specifically Charales and we can assume that the habit of the Charales has changed not much since the divergence of lineages. We can safely say that the land plants evolved from a branched, filamentous alga dwelling in shallow fresh water, perhaps at the edge of seasonally desiccating pools. However, some recent evidence suggests that land plants might have originated from unicellular terrestrial charophytes resembling the  extant Klebsormidiophyceae. The algae would have had a haplontic life cycle. It would only very briefly have had paired chromosomes  i.e., when the egg and sperm first fused to form a zygote that would have immediately separated by meiosis to produce cells with half the number of unpaired chromosomes

Plants were not the first living organisms that photosynthesizes on land. Weathering rates suggest that organisms capable of photosynthesis were already living on the land 1,200 million years ago, and microbial fossils have been found in freshwater lake deposits from 1,000 million years ago. What are fossils? “Fossils are the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient organisms. Fossils are not the remains of the organism itself! They are rocks. A fossil can preserve an entire organism or just part of one. Bones, shells, feathers, and leaves can all become fossils”. 

However, the carbon isotope record suggested that they were too less to impact the atmospheric composition until around 850 million years ago. Evidence of the earliest land plants occurred much later at about 470 million years ago, in lower middle Ordovician rocks from Saudi Arabia, and Gondwana in the form of spores with decay-resistant walls. These spores, called as crypto spores, were produced either singly or in pairs or groups of four, and their microstructure resembles that of modern liverwort spores,

A ‘snowball earth’, from around 720-635 million years ago in the Cryogenian period, is believed to have been caused by early photosynthetic organisms, which reduced the concentration of carbon dioxide and increased the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

The evolutionary history of plants is recorded in fossils were preserved in lowland or marine sediments. Some fossils preserve the external form of plant parts, while others show cellular features and still many others consist of micro-fossils such as pollen and spores. In rare instances, fossils may even display the ultrastructural or chemical features of the plants they represent.

In fact, plants and trees today are a necessity as they purify the air.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:59:25 +0530
Role of healthy and unhealthy food in our diets

Anupama Nair

 

Vegetables and fruits are rich source of micronutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, carotenoids and phytochemicals and macro-nutrients etc. Some vegetables and fruits provide very low calories, while some others provide good calories as these are rich in starch such as potato, sweet potato, and fruits  as banana. Therefore, vegetables and fruits can be used to increase or decrease calories in the diet. You need to eat at least 400 grams (5 portions), of fruits and vegetables per day should be eaten in the diet by an individual.

How can you increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables?

 

  • Always include vegetables and fruits in the diet
  • Eat fresh, locally available, seasonal vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat a variety of choices of fruits and vegetables “rainbow of colored foods”) in a diet plan as different colored fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients (phytochemicals).
  • Eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables as snacks.

 

Fats and oils are concentrated source of energy. Dietary sources of fats are classified as:

  • Animal fat
  • Vegetable fat
  • Edible plant

 

Visible fats are those that are separated from their natural sources such as ghee and butter from milk, cooking oils from oil-bearing seeds and nuts. It is easy to monitor their intake. Invisible fats are those, which are present in almost every article of foods such as cereals, pulses, nuts, milk, and eggs and are difficult to estimate. It is necessary that between 15-30 percent  of total calories in the diet should be provided in the form of fats Diets of infant and children should include adequate amounts of fats to fulfill their higher energy needs than adults.

 

Excessive fats in the diet increases the risk of obesity, thereby causes heart disease, stroke and cancer. The risk of developing these diseases can be lowered by decreasing the saturated fats to less than 10 percent  of total energy intake, and trans fats to less than 1 percent of total energy intake, and replacing both with unsaturated fats (MUFAs and  PUFAs). When vegetable oils are hydrogenated, it converts them in to semisolid or solid form which is called as vanaspati or vegetable ghee. During process of hydrogenation, unsaturated fatty acids are converted into saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids. As saturated fats and trans fats are risk factors for development of non-communicable diseases  like coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The use of vanaspati ghee should be limited in the adult. Vanaspati ghee is mostly used in bakery products, sweets, and snacks products.

 

How can you reduce fat intake can be reduced by:

 

  • changing how the food is cooked such as use vegetable oil (not animal oil)
  • remove the fatty part of meat
  • and boil, steam or bake rather than fry
  • avoiding processed foods containing trans fats
  • limiting the consumption of foods containing high amounts of saturated fats

 

Salt is an important ingredient of the diet. Most people are not aware of the amount of salt they consume. High salt consumption and insufficient potassium intake, which is lesser than 3.5 g and contribute to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends use of less than 5g of salt per day.

 

Salt consumption can be reduced by:

 

  • Limiting addition of salt during cooking.
  • Not having salt on the table.
  • Do not add additional salt to the already prepared dish.
  • Limiting the consumption of salty snacks, processed foods (like papads, pickles, sauces, ketchup, salted biscuits, chips, cheese and salted fish).
  • Increasing potassium intake by consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as potassium decreases the negative effects of sodium (salt).
  • Choosing products with lower salt (sodium) content.
  • Use only Iodized salt for consumption and should be stored in an air tight container to avoid moisture.

 

Sugars are all type of sugars added to foods or drinks during cooking or by the manufacturer or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Free sugars increase the risk of tooth decay and can lead to overweight and obesity. The intake of free sugars should be less than 10 percent of total energy intake. 

 

Sugar intake can be reduced by:

 

  • limiting the consumption of foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugars (e.g., sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary snacks and candies);
  •  and eating fresh fruits and raw vegetables as snacks instead of sugary snacks.

It has been proved we can be proud owner of a healthy body if we eat healthy body and do proper exercise.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:55:51 +0530
Why choose a career in marketing

 

 

Marketing is a highly competitive and rewarding field. Businesses across every industry rely on marketing professionals to generate awareness of their brand and increase sales of their products and services. If you're a strategic and creative problem-solver, then a career in marketing is the correct choice. In the era of consumption, companies across different industries are trying their best to convince consumers to purchase their products. Marketing is one of the most prevalent and visible operations of a company and experts within this department are responsible for driving company growth, shaping the market and creating revenue.

A marketing career can be an excellent profession for ambitious and outgoing people who want challenging and creative jobs. With a marketing role, you can experience the thrill of bringing in new clients and shaping the consumer narrative every day. If you look around you can find the impact of marketing everywhere, from commercials on YouTube to newspaper advertisements. Although marketing has been here for a while, it has spawned new disciplines instead of becoming obsolete.

Conventional marketing has given way to multiple disciplines, including digital marketing, international marketing and marketing management. A broad-spectrum marketing degree lets you explore all of these disciplines and select one that suits your interests.

With marketing being a prevalent domain around the world, a marketing career can help you to find job roles abroad. The global demand for qualified marketing professionals can further boost your chances of an international career. It is a known fact that marketing careers are some of the highest-paying roles in the business domain. Once you gain enough experience in the field, you can advance to better-paying marketing management careers. If you are an ambitious person who needs constant mental stimulation, a challenging marketing role could be for you. Any marketing role involves a host of diverse activities and responsibilities that keep your work interesting each day.

Marketing careers can also require you to develop creative solutions for ingenious business problems. Thus, you get a healthy dose of creative satisfaction and career highs in your job

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:51:53 +0530
Mallika e tarannum the legend lives on

 

Anupama Nair

When I think of Music, I always think of my favorite writer Shakespeare and his quotes “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die”. I will take you on a journey of the Hindi film music and then talk about the Noor of Indian music Noor Jehan. Hindi film music has a long history and still decide the fate of a movie. The film music from the beginning till the 1990s had poetic lyrics and melodious music. However, with the arrival of the millennium, the music lost its touch. No poetic lyrics or melodious music exist, very rarely in film like Parinita, but mostly do not exist anymore. It pains my heart to see this fall. Hope the yesteryears come back, at least for music.

 

The first film in Hindi with recorded music was in the move “Alam Ara” made in 1931, and the first song had the lyrics “De khuda ke naam per”. In the 1940s they are many songs which after 80 years are still popular. Some of those songs are “Akhiyan Milake (Ratan), Jawan hai Muhabbat (Anmol Ghadi), and Awaz de Kahan hai (Anmol Ghadi). The songs sung by Suraiya and Noor Jehan are still super hits.

 

Noor Jehan was a famous Indian singer and actress who worked both in India and Pakistan. She had a highly versatile personality, and could sing in several languages including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi, and had recorded over 10,000 songs in her career. She was born into a Muslim family with a rich musical tradition, in British India, and she was exposed to the world of show biz at a young age. She began singing at the age of five and received early training in classical singing from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He introduced her to the stage and before long she had blossomed into a talented and confident stage performer.

 

She developed an interest in acting along with singing and made her initial film appearances as a child actor. The famous theatre owner Diwan Sardari Lal took her to Calcutta in the early 1930s and her entire family moved to Calcutta in hope of developing the film careers of  Noor Jehan and her older sisters, Eiden Bai and Haider Bandi. Mukhtar Begum, who was a famous actress encouraged the sisters to join film companies and recommended them to various producers she knew. She also recommended them to her husband, Agha Hashar Kashmiri, who owned a maidan theatre or a tented theatre to accommodate large audiences. It was here that she received the stage name, Baby Noor Jehan. Her sisters were offered jobs with one of the Seth Sukh Karnani companies, Indira Movietone and they went on to be known as the Punjab Mail.

 

In 1935, she acted in a Punjabi movie called ‘Pind di Kuri’ in which Noor Jehan acted along with her sisters and sang the Punjabi song “Langh aja patan chanaan da o yaar”, which was her earliest hit. She then acted in a film called ‘Missar Ka Sitara’ by the same company and sang in it. Jehan also played the child role of Heer in the film Heer-Sayyal in 1937.  All these Punjabi movies were made in Calcutta. After a few years in Calcutta, Jehan returned to Lahore in 1938. In 1939, renowned music director Ghulam Haider composed songs for her, which led to her early popularity, and he thus became her early gurus.

In 1942, she had her first Hindi hit Khandaan opposite Pran. It was her first role as an adult, and the film was a major success. The success of Khandaan encouraged her to move to Bombay – the center of Bollywood, with the director Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi. She shared singing with Shanta Apte in Duhai  released in 1943. She married Rizvi later the same year. Badi Ma released in 1945 is a social drama film based in the time of Second World War. It was produced and directed by Master Vinayak. The film starred Noor Jehan, Ishwarlal, Yakub, Sitara and Girish. It could be called a vintage film as it had Lata didi and Asha Bhosle acting alongside Noor Jehan.

Then came the great blockbuster of all times – Anmol Ghadi with Surendra and Suraiya. This movie is my all-time favorite and I do not know how many times I saw this movie. The film was a musical hit and still remembered for its music by Naushad, with many super hits like “Aawaaz De Kahaan Hai”, “Jawaan Hai Mohabbat Haseen Hai Zamana” and “Mere Bachpan Ke Saathi Mujhe Bhool Na Jaana”. The film also featured playback singer, Mohammed Rafi's first super hit, “Tera Khilauna Toota Balak”, and became the highest-grossing film at the Indian box office in 1946.

 

Jugnu released in 1947, directed by Shaukat Hussain Rizvi was the highest grossing film of 1947. The film starred Dilip Kumar, Noor Jehan, and Ghulam Mohammad. The famous playback singer Mohammed Rafi also had a cameo appearance. This film was the first major hit for Dilip Kumar, who went on to become the Kohinoor of Bollywood. Another hit movie was Mirza Sahiban released in 1947.The movie was directed by K. Amarnath, starring Noor Jehan and Trilok Kapoor in the lead roles,  based on the folktale of ‘Mirza Sahiban’ and was the fourth highest grossing Indian film of 1947.

 

From 1945 to 1947 Noor Jehan was one of the biggest film actresses of Bollywood. In 1947, with the partition of India, we lost our Noor of the film industry. She along with her husband moved to Karachi. She later came to India in 1982. She passed away in 2000 after a heart attack and when I heard the news left a void in my heart.

 

The famous musician C. Ramachandra said “A political agreement divided the kingdom of two queens. In 1951, the heir and the empress met each other in the middle of the road. When the political surgeons of the subcontinent amputated Pakistan from India, they underestimated its cultural consequences. Art, cinema, and literature of the subcontinent found itself disembodied. The decision of Noor Jehan to move to Pakistan hurt many of her fans – especially a young one girl called Lata Mangeshkar in particular”.

 

But even though distances separated them, the two singers have always claimed love for each other's talents. An incident that reflects the connection between the two occurred in 1951. In the words of C Ramachandra “travelling through Amritsar for a recording, Lata Mangeshkar was seized by a desire to meet her former idol, Noor Jehan. Noor Jehan resided in Lahore, a couple of hours on the other side of the border. Immediately, calls were made to Noor Jehan. Both singers spoke for hours over the phone, sharing tales, gossip, even songs, before the decision to meet was made. Since both singers could not cross the border, the meeting was set up in that desolate place armies call ‘No Man's Land’. It seems apt that two legendary artists could only meet in a place that no country or government had claim over.

Noor Jehan ji came running and the two embraced each other like long lost friends. Both were weeping. We who were witness to this divine meeting were overwhelmed and could not stop the tears. Even soldiers on both sides of the border were weeping. After some time, they sat chatting. We had food. They had brought sweets from Lahore and us from India. Noor Jehan’s husband was also there. I shall never forget this scene in my life. A great testimony to the fact that music can break any barrier. After few hours, we returned with wet eyes but with a divine and unique experience indeed”, he said in his biography.

Later in 1982, Noor Jehan visited Bombay for a concert. Lata Mangeshkar performed in her honor, winning the praise of Noor Jehan. We cannot comment whether Lata Mangeshkar would have been so successful if Noor Jehan had decided to stay back in India. But we cannot doubt the respect the two ‘queens of melody’ had for each other. Noor Jehan was truly Mallika-e-tarannum and would remain my favorite forever.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:49:11 +0530
Shivaji Maharaj the founder of Swaraj

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the greatest sons of Bharat Ma – Hindu Hridaya Samrat, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. From him I learnt about the importance of Swaraj and Swadharm and “freedom is the birthright of all beings in the world and should never be taken for granted”. His life inspired many nationalists to fight for our Independence, and finally we are free today.

Shivaji Bhonsle, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was a great warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle clan. Shivaji carved out an “enclave from the declining Adilshahi Sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire”.

Shivaji was born in the hill-fort city of  Shivneri, in Poona District on February 19, 1630 to Shahaji Bhonsle and Jija Bai. Shivaji was named after a local deity -- the goddess Shivai. Shivaji's father was a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates.  At the time of Shivaji's birth, power in Deccan was shared by three Islamic sultanates: Bijapur, Ahmenagar and Golconda. Shivaji’s guru was Dadaji Konddeo.

It was his brave mother Jija Bai, who made her great son Chhatrapati. Right from his childhood, Jija mata would tell him about the lives of Shri Ram, Maruti, Shri Krishna and also stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to make him pious and patriotic. Thus, she molded him into an ideal ruler by sowing seeds of devotion to the idea of Swaraj and Swadharma. She was not only a mother to Shivaji, but also a source of inspiration to her son.

She had a strong faith that she was blessed by Devi Bhavani and Bhagwan Mahadev. She always backed her great husband Shahaji Bhosle and her son fearlessly and resolutely. When her husband or son would be in perilous situations, she would ardently pray to Bhavani Mata night and day, for their protection and safe return. She was loved and respected by all her family members and was looked upon as the support system in the family

Many of Shivaji's comrades, and later a number of his soldiers, came from the Maval region, including Yesaji Kank, Suryaji Kakade, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Deshpande and Tanaji Malusare. Shivaji traveled the hills and forests of the Sahyadri Hills  with his friends, gaining skills and familiarity with the land that would prove useful in his military career. In 1639, Shahaji was stationed at Bangalore, which was conquered from the Nayaks who had taken control after the disintegration of the Vijaynagara Empire. Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji, and his half-brother Ekoji were further formally trained. He married Sai Bai, from the prominent Nimbalkar family in 1640. As early as 1645, the teenage Shivaji expressed his concept for Hindavi Swarajya (Indian self-rule), in a letter.

The kingdom of Bijapur under Adil Shah was a great enemy of Shivaji. In 1655, he collected a band of followers, to seize Bijapur’s weaker  outposts. His daring and military skill, combined with his harshness toward the “oppressors of the Hindus”, won him much admiration. When the Sultan of Bijapur in 1659 sent an army of 20,000 under Afẕal Khan to defeat him, Shivaji, pretending to be intimidated, enticed the force deep into difficult mountain terrain.  Earlier, Afzal Khan had killed Jija’s elder son, Sambhaji Raje in a military expedition of Kanakagiri by firing a cannon deceitfully. Later Afzal Khan set his sights on capturing Shivaji Maharaj. In this endeavor, he was unstoppable, burning fields and inhumanly murdering people, as he headed swiftly towards Raigad. In this situation, if Shivaji Maharaj was to clash with Afzal Khan’s army, the Maratha army’s defeat was inevitable, and  if Shivaji was to meet Afzal Khan to sign a treaty, he would certainly not return. So, Shivaji’s sardars and his learned ministers advised him to move to a safe place, away from Afzal Khan. But, Jija Bai ordered Shivaji to meet Afzal Khan and slay him and display the Maratha valor to the world. And Shivaji killed Afzal Khan with tiger claws.

Meanwhile, some troops that had been previously positioned, swooped down on the unwary Bijapur army and defeated it. Overnight, Shivaji had become a “daunting warlord, possessing the horses, the guns, and the ammunition of the Bijapur army”.

After defeating the army of Bijapur, Shivaji's army marched towards Konkan and Kolhapur. They seized the Panhala Fort, and defeated again the army of Bijapur under Rustam Zaman and Fazl Khan in 1659. In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was living in Panhala Fort with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army attacked Panhala, cutting off all supply routes to the fort. For the bombardment of the Panhala Fort, Siddi Jauhar had earlier, purchased grenades from the English East India Company at Rajapur to increase his efficiency, and also hired some English artillerymen to assist him in his war with Shivaji. The betrayal angered Shivaji, who retaliated by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and captured four men, who were released after some months. When Shivaji Maharaj was trapped for four months when Siddi Jauhar had besieged Panhala fort, Jija had shouldered the responsibility of Swaraj till Shivaji escaped from the besieged fort. Jija Bai led the Marathas who were fighting Shaista Khan thus protecting the idea of Swaraj.

Did you know Shivaji, was the first Indian king who built a strong navy? When Shivaji became the master of a long coastal strip, he undertook, the construction of a Navy. Shivaji realized that the one who had a navy, became the master of the sea. To protect his own territory from Siddi's attacks, to protect the merchant ships and ports in order to secure and enhance revenue incomes derived from maritime trade and customs duty, he concentrated on building the Navy. There were four hundred ships of various kinds in the Navy. They most famous battleships were Gurab, Galbat and Pal.

Shivaji’s greatness and love for Swaraj reached the ears of the cruelest Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who wanted to add the parts of Maratha Empire to his own. For expansion of  his idea of  Swaraj, conflict with the Mughals was inevitable. Aurangzeb chose Shaista khan, to be the Viceroy of the Deccan, ordering him to invade and annex Shivaji dominions. Shaista khan left Ahmednagar in 1660 and arrived in Pune. He decided to capture the fort of Chakan to obtain supplies. Though the killedar of the fort of Chakan, Firangoji Narsala offered a strong resistance to Shaista khan’s army, the Mughals captured the fort of Chakan. Shaista khan captured Swaraj's territories Pune and Supe and set up a camp at Lal Mahal in Pune.

The Mughal army began to destroy the regions around Pune. Shaista Khan adopted the strategy to occupy as much of Shivaji Maharaj’s territories as possible. Forces were dispatched to invade the Konkan region below the Ghats, Kalyan and Bhiwandi were captured by the Mughal army. Shaista Khan appointed Kartalab Khan on an expedition to the North Konkan. Shivaji defeated Kartalab Khan in Umbarkhind. He left Netoji Palkar to defend the North Konkan and he himself marched southwards and captured Dabhol, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Rajapur, Palavani and Shringarpur.

Even after two years, Shaista Khan still would not think of leaving Pune. Shivaji Maharaj devised a bold plan, to drive away Shaista Khan. He raided Lal Mahal and in this raid, Shaista Khan lost his fingers. He was forced to leave Pune and shifted his camp to Aurangabad. The successful attack on Shaista khan resulted in the people believing the capabilities of Shivaji.

In three years’, time, Shaista Khan had ravaged the territories of the Swaraj. It was necessary to make up this loss. Surat was the richest and most prosperous port of the Mughal Empire on the west coast. Europeans i.e., the British, the Dutch and the French all had their factories there. Shivaji then devised a plan of attack on Surat. The Subedar of Surat could not put up any resistance to the Maratha army. Shivaji Maharaj obtained enormous wealth from Surat. The Surat campaign was a stunning blow to emperor Aurangzeb’s prestige. Shivaji then built  forts Suvarnadurg,  Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg. He also built a fort named Padmadurg on a small island near Rajpuri in order to counter the power of the Mughals.

With a view to crush growing power of Shivaji Maharaj, Aurangzeb sent Jai Singh of Ambar, an experienced and powerful Mughal Sardar. Jai Singh's strategy was to isolate Shivaji Maharaj from his neighboring powers so that he would get neither help nor support from them, to prevent him from breaking out into the Mughal territory, to devastate his homeland and capture his forts. As per this strategy he was trying to provoke the Adilshahi against Shivaji Maharaj. Jai Singh was concurrently instigating local rulers in the Karnataka against the Adilshah, so that the latter would be unable to help Shivaji. Jai Singh requested the Europeans to start a naval campaign against Shivaji. He also drew up a plan of capturing the forts in possession of Shivaji. Jai Singh and Diler Khan led siege to the fort of Purandar. Mughal forces were sent to various parts of Swaraj to devastate the territories. Shivaji tried hard to resist the Mughals. When the Mughals put the fort of Purandar under siege, Murarbaji Deshpande fought with the greatest courage and died a hero’s death.

Shivaji realized that in the conflict with the Mughals, his subjects had to face great losses. He began talks for a treaty with Jai Singh. A treaty between Jai Singh and Shivaji was signed in June 1665 which is known as ‘Treaty of Purandar’. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, he had to cede twenty-three forts and adjacent areas yielding a revenue of Rs four lakh to the Mughals. He also assured the Mughals of help against the Adilshahi.

Jai Singh, soon compelled Shivaji undertake  a journey to visit Aurangzeb’s court at Agra in order to be formally accepted as a vassal of the Mughals. In Agra, hundreds of miles from their homeland, Shivaji and his son were placed under house arrest, where they lived under the threat of execution.

However, Shivaji pretended  to be ill and, as a form of penance, began to send out enormous baskets filled with sweets to be distributed among the poor. On August 17, 1666, he and his son hid in these baskets and managed to escape. “His escape, possibly the most thrilling episode in a life filled with high drama, was to change the course of Indian history”. His followers welcomed him back as their leader, and within two years he not only had won back all the lost territory but had expanded his domain. He collected tribute from Mughal regions and plundered their rich cities, and he reorganized the army and instituted reforms for the welfare of his subjects.

Before proceeding to Agra, Shivaji Maharaj entrusted Swaraj in the safe hands of his mother. Shivaji Maharaj’s imprisonment by Aurangzeb did not deter her. Mughals from South, armies of Adilshah and Kutubshah, British and Portuguese invaders in Konkan and Gomantak (Goa) and vast army of Siddi Jauhar in Murud Janjira, all had trained their greedy eyes on the Maratha ideal of Swaraj. Jija Bai, who was very old, protected her people from these enemies for more than eight months. Beyond this, she accomplished completion of Sindudurg fort, recaptured a fort from the enemies, attended to problems of the subjects and showed her efficiency in governing the people as an able ruler.

The founding of the Maratha Swaraj involved a relentless struggle for over thirty years. Shivaji realized that now it was necessary for Swaraj to win general recognition as a sovereign, independent state. For legal recognition to the Swaraj, a formal coronation was necessary. On 6th June 1674, Shivaji Maharaj was coronated in Raigad by Gaga Bhatt, a learned pandit  from Banaras. Maharaj ascended the throne of the Swaraj. He now became the Chhatrapati of the Swaraj. As a symbol of sovereignty, Shivaji Maharaj instituted a new era commencing from the date of his coronation known as Rajyabhisheka shaka. Shivaji Maharaj thus became the founder of a new era. On the occasion of the coronation, special coins were minted -- a gold coin called hon and a copper coin called shivrai with the legend Shri Raja Shiva Chhatrapati inscribed on them. After, that all the royal correspondence carried the words, 'Kshatriyakulaawatansa Shri Raja Shiva Chhatrapati'.

After the coronation Shivaji marched to conquer Phonda near Goa and captured it in 1675. Then the Marathas captured Ankola and Shiveshwar which was followed by annexation of Kolhapur. After that Shivaji got the title ‘Dakshin Digvijay’. Chhatrapati Shivaji then planned to attack and conquer the province of Adilshahi in Karnataka. He undertook Karnataka expedition in 1677, as Karnataka was famous for its riches. At the same time, it was not well defended by Adilshah. Chhatrapati Shivaji then went to Golkonda to meet the Qutubshah. He entered into a treaty of friendship with him. Then he captured Jinjee and proceeded to Vellore. The city withstood a long siege. Later, he conquered Bangalore, Hoskote, certain other forts such as those at Vellore and also some parts of the Adilshahi kingdom. Permanent annexation in the south increased his strength and most importantly he was successful in executing his plan of defense which would help him to resist the armies of Aurangzeb in future. For administration of the newly conquered province Shivaji made excellent arrangements. He appointed Raghunath Narayan Hanamante, the chief officer to look after these newly conquered territories. After accomplishing the mission of the south, Shivaji Maharaj returned to Swaraj.

 

Shivaji then decided to fortify the island of Khanderi, as it was a key position because it was located near Mumbai. The British then decided to lay a regular siege to the island. In this naval conflict the English had to withdraw their fleet. This brought to an end to the naval conflict between Shivaji and the British.

 

The greatest achievement of Shivaji was to inculcate the spirit of independence in his people. Shivaji Maharaj’s personality and message are as relevant today as they were in the past. “Shivaji breathed new life into a moribund race that for centuries had resigned itself to abject serfdom and led them against Aurangzeb, a powerful Mughal ruler. Above all, in a place and age stained by religious savagery, he was one of the few rulers who practiced true religious tolerance”.

 

Now I am going to talk about the comments made about Shivaji.

“Ya Allah, you gave me an enemy, fearless and upright, please keep your doors to heaven open for him because the world's best and large-hearted warrior is coming to you.”

-Aurangzeb (After Shivaji's death, while reading Namaz)

“That day Shivaji just didn't chop of my fingers but also chopped off my pride. I fear to meet him even in my dreams”.

--Shahista Khan.

“Netaji, your country does not require any Hitler to throw out the British. All you need to teach is Shivaji's history”.

-Adolf Hitler

“Had Shivaji been born in England, we would not only have ruled earth but the whole Universe”.

-Lord Mountbatten

“Had Shivaji lived for another ten years, the British would not have seen the face of India”.

-- A British Governor

“If India needs to be made independent then there is only one way out, ‘Fight like Shivaji’”.

--Netaji

“Shivaji is just not a name, it is an energy source for Indian youth, which can be used to make India free”.

- Swami Vivekananda.

From these comments we need to realize that to make India the next Superpower Shivaji’s rule and his greatness needs to be inculcated in our History curriculum. Then only will Swaraj exist.

 

 

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:21:06 +0530
Bina Das the young revolutionary influenced by Netaji

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the great but unknown Bina Das, who shot the Governor of Bengal at a young age of 21.

To understand the story of, Bina Das, I need to take you back many centuries before. India was ruled by the cruel Mughals. It is a credit to the British, how the merchants who came to do trade with India, within 300 years became the masters of the entire land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire Sub-Continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600. They landed in the Indian subcontinent on August 24, 1608, in Surat (Gujarat).

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764) , smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. Robert Clive became the first Governor General of British India. By spinning a web of deceit, and many laws like Subsidiary Alliance (Lord Wellesley) and Doctrine of Lapse (Lord Dalhousie), they succeeded in ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”.

Bina Das was the daughter of a well-known teacher, Beni Madhab Das and a social worker, Sarala Devi. Both her parents were followers of Brahmo Samaj. Did you know Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was her father’s student? Her elder sister Kalyani Das was also a freedom fighter. She was a student of St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and later Bethune College, Calcutta. Sarala Devi, established a hostel dedicated to the freedom struggle. Bombs were stored and distributed amongst its members.

The change in her life came when Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya wrote a novel ‘Pather Dabi’ in 1926. The book was very popular, but unfortunately banned by the British Government for its nationalist content. Bina was lucky enough to get a copy of the book. Instead of studying for her English examination, she was reading the book. She was asked to write about her favorite novel, and she wrote about ‘Pather Dabi’. When the result was announced, she did not get good marks. She soon realized it was because she wrote about a banned book. She soon made a vow to fight for India’s Independence and said “the marks I lost in the examination is my offering for the country”. It was expected that Bina too would inherit

 the revolutionary instinct from her family.

In her own memoir, translated from Bengali by Dhira Dhar, Das mentioned how “Subhas babu” was intensely inspired by her father and was a frequent visitor to her parents’ home. Her first meeting with Bose is mentioned in the memoir. Her mother told “Subhas, my daughter is a great admirer of yours.” Bose’s political beliefs appealed to a young girl, who dreamt of serving her motherland.

In her memoir, Das recalled an incident that occurred when she was still a student. “One day we heard that the wife of the Viceroy was coming to visit our school. The day before that we were called from class to rehearse the programme of welcome,” wrote Das. “We would have to carry baskets of flowers and scatter the flowers at her feet as she entered the premises. I was revolted by the idea and walked out of the rehearsal. The plan was so insulting. I sat quietly in the corner of the classroom with tears in my eyes. Two other girls also walked out and joined me.”

Das said “much perturbed, we took a vow that we would sacrifice our lives for the freedom of the motherland. Later in life I often remembered this vow, and in moments of weakness it gave me strength and hardened my resolve.”

Netaji still continued to play the role of a mentor in her life, especially when she joined Bethune College, under Calcutta University as a student. “The college library and books that urged theories of revolution and freedom further encouraged her beliefs and hopes for an Independent India”.

Das, along with her group of fellow students, protested against the Simon Commission in 1928. Simon Commission, under John Simon was appointed to study the implementation of the Government of India Act 1919, also called the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (advocated the need to emancipate the local governments and legislatures from central control). Lala Lajpat Rai, a freedom fighter and educationist (opened National College in Lahore, where Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev studied) held a rally in Lahore protesting against the Simon Commission with placards “Simon Go Back”. The British police began to lathi-charge and unfortunately Lalaji breathed his last. Bina Dass and her friends were threatened by the authotities and asked to apologize.

Her first taste of victory against British oppression -- the students’ protests against the Simon Commission and refusal to submit to the college’s demands, led to the “overbearing Englishwoman” resigning from service and leaving the institution.

The revolt laid the foundations of what came to be known as the ‘Chhatri Sangha’, a women student organization which was semi-revolutionary in its activities. Das’ sister Kalyani, was the secretary of this organization. Like other revolutionary groups that came up across Bengal during the time, “the members of the Chhatri Sangha were taught basic self-defense including lathi lekha”, where the women were taught to use batons. This student group also served to recruit other members and was directed by great revolutionaries like Dinesh Majumdar.

The full extent of Netaji’s role as a mentor and individual who deeply inspired Das can only be understood through the readings of her memoir. Their conversations and meetings when Das was a college student involved reflection of their beliefs and discussions between the mentor and mentee on the future of their beloved motherland. “How do you think our country will get freedom? Through violence or non-violence?” asked Bina. Netaji replied “you must want something madly before you can achieve it. Our nation must want freedom passionately. Then the question of violence or non-violence will not be important.”

This conversation, changed her life. On 6th of February 1932, Bina Das walked into the convocation hall of her ‘sacred alma mater’ with five bullets loaded onto a revolver, hidden under her skirt. She was planning to assassinate the Governor of Bengal, Stanley Jackson as an act of defiance against the British Raj. However, the attempt was unsuccessful. Bina came close to the stage where Stanley Jackson was delivering his speech and she shot two bullets. He managed to dodge both the bullets. The Vice Chancellor of the University, also leapt to shield him by overpowering Bina. Even as she was being overpowered, she fired three shots. Stanley Jackson’s ear was grazed by one of the bullets, but he was otherwise unharmed. Bina was sentenced to nine years in federal imprisonment.

In her statement, Bina made an interesting distinction between “Stanley Jackson as a person and Stanley Jackson as a Governor. My grudge was never personal, and claimed I would have opened fire on any person who stood on the podium and held the title of Governor of Bengal. My action was a symbol of the protest against the British colonial system, which has kept enslaved 300 million of my countrymen and countrywomen”.

After Das was released from prison, “she returned to a world she felt was different from one that she had been made to leave nearly a decade ago”. She then met Bose, for the last time. As the struggle for freedom progressed, Das along with her contemporaries, like Suhasini Ganguly, Shanti, and Neena Dasgupta, found themselves driven by slogans like, “karenge ya marenge”; is mentioned in her memoir. “The mantra….inspired the boys and girls of Bengal long before it became a slogan in 1942.”

In the early 1940s, she was imprisoned again, this time in Presidency jail, till she was released in 1945. She decided to continue her fight against the British, and “witnessed more despair and bloodshed in the run-up to independence”. In 1947, she married a fellow revolutionary, Jatish Chandra Bhaumik, who was a member of the Jugantar group.

Unfortunately, not much is known about her life after India became Independent. In 1960, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Shri for her contributions in social work. According to some reports, she died in destitution and poverty in December 1986, her body having been recovered from a ditch in Rishikesh, decomposed so severely that it took authorities weeks to identify.

Due to her revolutionary activities, the British authorities of Calcutta University had denied her graduation degree. She got her Bachelor of Arts Degree only in 2012, nearly sixty years after Independence!. Is this the way to remember a great revolutionary? That is not surprising as when had Congress Governments for 65 years respected any other freedom fighter than Gandhi and Nehru. With the Netaji statue in front of the Parliament is a fitting tribute to her and others for whom Netaji is a source of administration.

 

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:11:22 +0530
A Love Story that withstood Untold Horrors

 

Anupama Nair

Nearly 74 years ago, in 1947 began a tale of blood bath, where nearly a million Sikhs, Hindus, and others lost their lives, when they were forced to leave their homeland and move to India. All this happened due to the over-ambition of three men whom I do not want to name here. I am sure even they would have wept to see the blood bath. Did they do anything to prevent it? No would be the answer. They were only witnesses to the millions being killed around them in the border states of Punjab, Bengal and Sind.

From time immemorial we were one – history, civilization, culture, tradition, lifestyle all one. When I opened the history books in my childhood, this is the story it conveyed. It narrated a tale about  the “Hominid activity being excavated in the Indian subcontinent and that goes back to over 250,000 years, and how proud we are, to know we are “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”. It taught me to be proud of the Indus Valley Civilization – the world’s first urban civilization, then Takshila University where foreigners came to study (nearly 3500 years ago), then about the great king Puroshattam (Porus), and lastly how my country got the name India from the river Sindhu or Indus. My young heart used to swell with pride when I used to imagine these events. Lahore and Karachi were always ours. However, as you wake up after every dream I too woke up when I saw a serial ‘Buniyad’ and then learnt the bitter truth that Harrapa, Mohenjadaro, Takshila no longer belonged to India, but another country called Pakistan – born on 14th August 1947.

I saw the horrors of Partition in a movie called Tamas and in the serial Buniyad. The sights I saw pained a young heart. How could my great country be divided in two and the division cause the death of many innocent lives? I still have not got any answer and I know for sure I never will. Is there anyone who can answer the questions?

I was reminded of the horrors of Partition, when our great PM tweeted “ August 14 will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day in memory of people’s struggles and sacrifices during that period”. Mr. Modi recollected, “Partition’s pains can never be forgotten. Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence. In memory of the struggles and sacrifices of our people, 14th August will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

He felt that , “May the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment.”

However, the question is can those million families who were forced to leave their land, assets, relatives, in Lahore, Karachi, Dhaka and Rawalpindi, and were forced to live in refugee camps in Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay or Calcutta ever forget the horrors of Partition? We need to realize that in our journey to be a superpower we need to move ahead of the Partition horrors.

I am now going to write about the story, Dadu (who left this world a few days before his hundredth birthday) told me. Read on…

The year was 1921 and the place was Lyallpur. A boy was born to Deen Dayal Singh and Meera Bai. They named the boy Raj. Lyallpur became famous within 10 years as ‘Shaheed-e-azam Bhagat Singh’s village’ as he was born there. In 1921, India was still ruled by the British. Raj as a young boy was fond of History and English Literature. He studied in an English boarding school in Shimla. When he completed his Matriculation at the age of 17, he returned to Lahore as a proper ‘brown Sahib’. As a young boy he dreamt of  studying Law in England, and so he was enrolled for B.A. in History in National College (started by Lala Lajpat Rai). He at the time, used to think highly about the British and thought greatly about their rule in India. He was well versed in the history of British India.

Near Anarkali Bazar in Lahore, there lived a family whose members, were nationalists unlike Raj’s family. To Ramcharan and Shanti Sharma, a daughter was born in 1925, whom they had named Veera Wali after the goddess Durga. Her grandfather, Gurcharan Sharma was killed in Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. Her paternal uncle Ram Narayan, was a classmate of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in National College and he joined the HRA. He was unfortunately, shot dead by the British Police. Her parents and grandmother Rani told her stories of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Rana Sangha, Rana Pratap, Shivaji Raje, Mangal Pandey and Rani Lakshmi Bai. So, she grew up with love for her motherland and wanted to fight for the Independence of her country.

Their first meeting was like any Bollywood movie “hate at first sight”. She was unimpressed by his English ways and they had many fights about it. She gave him a book about Indian History and reminded him about the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and others before him. Raj realized that British came to India only to loot India and not for our benefit. He now began to feel a great pride in the great culture, civilization and culture of India. Soon love blossomed between Veera and Raj. Their families were first skeptical but eventually gave their blessing for their marriage. They had made a promise only to get married when India was free from British Imperialism.

That was the time of the Second World War, and Raj saw how Indians were unwillingly forced to join the British. Many Indian soldiers were killed in the battles in Europe. There was Emergency like situation in India. Then one day, from thousands of miles apart he heard the voice of a man telling his countrymen –“Give me blood. I will give you Freedom”. The words stirred patriotism in him and he like Veera decided to join the Freedom Movement.

In 1945, the War was over and the wartime emergencies were removed. Life was slowly returning to normal. Raj had completed his Masters and he had earlier wanted to study for Law in England, but his love for Veera made him change his mind. He decided to study in India. Veera was now studying for her Masters in history and she wanted to be a teacher.

Lahore at this time was bursting with political activity during Independence struggle. Raj and Veera joined the movement and they were filled with hope of  ‘dawn of freedom’. The year was 1947. They never realized that it was the last year they would spend in Lahore. They celebrated Basant Panchami, Maha Shivratri, Holi and Janmashtami hardly realizing it would be last time they would be celebrated in their beloved city for the last time.

“Partition – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14--15, 1947, was the ‘last-minute’ mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how Independence would take place”. It was the result of their two hundred years of Divide and Rule policy. Raj and Veera along with other residents of Lahore celebrated Independence Day. People were dancing on the streets on a very rainy day in Lahore. They never realized Lahore was part of Pakistan and soon they would have to leave their beloved city forever.

Raj and Veera soon heard the news, that broke their heart. They were asked to leave their beloved Lahore. They decided to leave for Amritsar with their family. Now a tale of horror unfolded. They began their journey with a heavy heart. “We lost ancestral lands, roots and possessions that mattered most”. Partition caused one of the great ‘convulsions of history’ said Dadu and Dadi as they recalled the events as if it happened yesterday and not 74 years ago. “Moreover, the violence, destruction and human rights abuses that occurred on a vast scale destroyed from the outset the relationship between the two neighboring countries”, was the comment from people who migrated. 

Dadu said, “the events occurring in the period of the partition in 1947 are now 74 years old. Most of the adults who lived through this are no longer alive and only few remain today”. He said the younger generation will never understand, even his own children who were born after 1950. “We had experienced a number of traumatic events, ranging from witnessing killings, betrayal by next door neighbors, fleeing their homes under threat of murder, starvation and destitution. Humanity stooped so low that neighbors turned against each other. They were the same who attended wedding ceremonies , funerals and religious festivities in each other’s families, but now didn't hesitate to set ablaze the same house where they had visited in the past as a family member”.

“Then started a massive exodus from Pakistan. However, the greatest tragedy was the fracas that took place throughout the population exchange. At the stroke of midnight on August 14, 1947 two new nations India and Pakistan were born but the partition came at a heavy cost of raging violence”, stated Dadi with tears in her eyes. She continued, “there was mass migration from Pakistan hit by never-ending bloodshed and heavy destruction of properties around us. We were desperate to cross the border from Lahore before we were killed”. 

“Cities with railway stations like Lahore and Rawalpindi, witnessed distressing scenes with platforms and trains scattered with bodies. People waiting to catch a train to Amritsar or Delhi were killed. We left the station and decided to leave by road. People were running around with whatever they had -- knives, swords, guns, etc. Thousands of people from our village lost their lives and my brother was shot by a crowd, and sadly he died after reaching Amritsar”. Though very young I can still recall the sight of torched houses and blood covered bodies”.

“Somehow, we crossed the border and reached a refugee camp in Amritsar. The life in the camp was very difficult. We lost only one member, my brother and the loss still pains me as I recall how he was killed. The only happy event I can recall is our marriage on February 26, 1948 as we had made a promise to marry only after India was independent. We never wanted our children to ask why were still slaves and what was slavery”, recalled Dadi with emotions in her voice.

Slowly by slowly life became normal. Dadu (Raj) started his law practice and Dadi (Veera) became a teacher. My friend’s dad was born in 1950, and they had two more children. They became adjusted to their lives in New Delhi. Soon, they bought a new house and slowly forgot the tragedy of partition. However, love for Lahore, and a desire to see the city again  was still in Dadu’s and Dadi’s heart. New Delhi was a city, which had a huge population of people who came from Pakistan. By the 70’s their children had grown up and had good careers and a family life.

My friend’s dad who was working in a bank was transferred to Mumbai, and they became a Mumbaikar at heart. The family has been living here for more than forty years. Dadu and Dadi said “ we recall the horrors of partition when we see movies like Tamas, or Gadar Ek Prem Katha. However, for us it was real life. We thank God for giving us a good life, mainly a loving family and new loving neighbors”. Hearing Dadu, I started thing of Tara Singh and Sakina in the movie and their love story. Dadu had told me once, “putar, though I lived here most of my life, I would like to see Lahore once more and my ashes immersed there”. Unfortunately, his wish could not be fulfilled as he died in April this year, a few days before he hit a century.

Dadu, I know you are blessing me to write more such stories and I will do that. You will always remain a source of inspiration to me.

(This article is dedicated to my great country – undivided India, the many millions who lost their lives in the horrors of Partition, my source of inspiration, my late Dadu and Dadi and their beloved Lahore).

 

Sun, 09 Oct 2022 23:02:45 +0530
World s largest Solar Park in India

 

Anupama Nair

We hear a lot about renewable and non-renewable source of energy. Solar energy is a renewable source of energy. I am hearing a lot about solar farms and solar parks. What is solar parks or farms? “Solar farms or solar parks are large scale solar installations where photovoltaic (PV) panels, or other means of collecting solar energy, like concentrating solar systems are used to harvest the sun’s power”. They’re lot different than rooftop solar systems and even commercial solar power systems in a number of ways.

In many countries, the nameplate capacity of a photovoltaic power stations is rated in megawatt-peak (MWp), which refers to the solar array's theoretical maximum DC power output. In other countries, the manufacturer gives the surface and the efficiency. However, Canada, Japan, Spain and the United States often specify using the converted lower nominal power output in MWAC, a measure directly comparable to other forms of power generation. A third and less common rating is called the mega-voltamperes (MVA). Most solar parks are developed at a scale of at least 1 MWp. In 2018, the world’s largest operating photo-voltaic power stations surpassed 1 gigawatt or GW.

The land area mandatory for the desired power output varies according to the  location, the efficiency of the solar modules, the slope of the site and the type of mounting used. Fixed tilt solar arrays using typical modules of about 15% efficiency on horizontal sites, need about 1 hectare/MW in the places near the equator and this figure rises to over 2 hectares in northern Europe.

Due to the longer shadow the array casts when tilted at a steeper angle, this area is typically about 10% higher for an adjustable tilt array or a single axis tracker, and 20% higher for a 2-axis tracker, though these figures will vary depending on the latitude and the topography.

India has been listed in the largest solar energy producers by the American Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Bhadla Solar Power Plant in Rajasthan is the largest Solar Plant in the world. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IIWFA), said nearly 50% of Solar Parks are constructed in India.

 

The Bhadla Solar Power Plant is a 2245 Megawatts plant and situated on 14000 acres of land. This project has been constructed in four different phases. Previously, China was the leading producer of solar energy but now India even though a late joiner in the race is way ahead of China. 

 

The project commenced in 2015 with an investment of $1.4 billion. The temperature in Bhadla is from 46 to 48 degrees and is uninhabitable. The first two phases of the park were developed by the Rajasthan Solar Power Park Company Limited. Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan developed the third instalment. The project in its final stage was designed by Adani Renewable Energy park. The capacity of the project was 500 MW. The nearest urban habitation is 50 kilometers and in Phalodi. This region receives good radiation the whole year. Ten million solar panels have a generation capacity of 2245 megawatt. The solar panels are cleaned by robots and are monitored by humans. Coal has a 70% share in India's electricity generation which is a matter of environmental concern. 

 

India now ranks third in Asia and fourth in the world in terms of solar power production. National Solar Mission was launched in India  in 2010. The target set was to develop 20 GW by the end of 2020. We achieved this target much before the due date as there has been heavy activity in this sector. Now, the Government of India aims to extend the utilization of solar energy up to 100 GW by 2022. Right now, we are only using 38% of its total capacity of renewable energy. Some of the country’s biggest solar power plants are located in  Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

 

Hope India becomes the largest producer of solar energy.

 

 

 

 

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:49:31 +0530
Must visit places in Incredible India

 

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all

India is a vivacious land of staggering contrasts where “both the traditional and modern worlds meet”. We are the world's seventh largest country by area and the second largest in terms of population. India has a rich heritage that's “the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark”. What travelers to my country prefer to do is have the opportunity to “experience an array of sacred sites and spiritual encounters, while nature lovers will enjoy its sun-kissed beaches, lush national parks, and exciting wildlife sanctuaries” – all in all a great package .

Many say “India is very diverse, probably the most diverse country that you will find on this planet. We have the second coldest places in the world – Drask, a place that has the highest rainfall in world – Cherapunji, and also one of the driest places on the Earth – The Thar Desert. Then the peninsula is home to beautiful beaches, and in contrast the northern part of India hosts snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. Mix all this with different cultures and hundreds of languages and dialects, you have got a potent mix of diversity”. No wonder tourists flock to India!

Today I am going to write about the most popular tourist locations in India.

  • The holy city of Varanasi.
  • Jaisalmer
  • Jaipur
  • Udaipur
  • Jodpur
  • Goa
  • Srinagar
  • Gulmarg
  • Mumbai
  • Ellora and Ajanta caves
  • Puri
  • Trivandrum
  • Mysore
  • Bangalore
  • Delhi
  • Shimla
  • Bodh Gaya
  • Darjeeling
  • Gangtok
  • Kajaraho temple
  • Sun Temple Konark
  • Kanya Kumari.
  • Ooty
  • Kodaikanal
  • Coonor
  • Kulu-Manali

If you think of any more places please let me know in the comments section.

 

 

 

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:44:04 +0530
Why India is a must see place at least once in your life time

 

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all.  However, the greatness of Indian culture, especially “spiritualism” have contributed a lot —connecting the spirit of Indians throughout the ages. As a result, the spiritual-minded Indians have succeeded in maintaining their Indianness which could not have been possible otherwise. Indian life is dominated by personality which is well linked to spiritualism.

The Vedas offer spiritual direction to the Indians giving them the basics of spiritual and moral life. Our rishis should be applauded as the earliest spiritual masters on earth as their mantras resound with the seed of spiritualism, and India can be called the “cradle of spiritualism and civilization”.

India is a vivacious land of staggering contrasts where “both the traditional and modern worlds meet”. We are the world's seventh largest country by area and the second largest in terms of population. India has a rich heritage that's “the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark”. What travelers to my country prefer to do is have the opportunity to “experience an array of sacred sites and spiritual encounters, while nature lovers will enjoy its sun-kissed beaches, lush national parks, and exciting wildlife sanctuaries” – all in all a great package .

Many say “India is very diverse, probably the most diverse country that you will find on this planet. We have the second coldest places in the world – Drask, a place that has the highest rainfall in world – Cherapunji, and also one of the driest places on the Earth – The Thar Desert. Then the peninsula is home to beautiful beaches, and in contrast the northern part of India hosts snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. Mix all this with different cultures and hundreds of languages and dialects, you have got a potent mix of diversity”. No wonder tourists flock to India!

There are many reasons you need to visit ‘Incredible India’ at least once in your lifetime. Here they are:

  • It is affordable.
  • India boasts of rich culture.
  • India has many places called ‘photographic scenery’.
  • We have one of the most delicious food to tempt your tastes.
  • A trip on our extensive railways is treat.
  • A stay on shikhara or house boats is best in the world.
  • We have many festivals which attract international tourists.
  • The ‘seven sisters’ or seven north-eastern states are places to visit.
  • India’s temple architecture is worth seeing.
  • India’s palaces are so beautiful and full of splendor.
  • India’s street life is sure to be amazing.

 

So, I would suggest come to ‘Incredible India’ for a trip of a life time

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:41:02 +0530
Budelkhand Kesri Raja Chhatrasal a great Warrior King

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today, I am going to write about the “Bundelkhand Kesari” – Raja Chhatrasal, who is unknown to us a great warrior who fought the cruel Mughals, but well known to us as the father of Mastani, after the Bollywood Movie, “Baji Rao Mastani”, became a super hit. It is really unfortunate we forget his greatness.

Budelkhand Kesri, Maharaja Chhatrasal  was a warrior who chose to turn against the “cruelest and a man who killed millions for his sport”, Aurangzeb and seek to establish his  own kingdom in Bundelkhand. He was born in Kachar Kachnai on the 4th of May in 1649, to Champat Rai and Lal Kunwar. His father had raised “the banner for freedom” a generation earlier but was killed in battle with the Mughals but only after killing the favorite of the emperor, Abu Fazal.

Chhatrasal also raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand at a young age of 22, with only an army of 5 horsemen and 25 swordsmen. During the first ten years of his revolt, he conquered a large tract of land between Chitrakoot and Panna on the east and Gwalior on the west. His domains stretched from Kalpi in the north to Sagar, Garah Kota and Damoh in the south.

Chhatrasal was a disciple of Pran Nathji and accepted him as his guru and accepted Pranami Dharma.  It was Swami Pran Nathji who told Raja Chhatrasal Bundela, regarding Diamond mines of  Panna  and  thus  strengthen  his  financial position.  He also persuaded Chhatrasal to make Panna his capital and arranged his coronation there. When Aurangzeb introduced Jaziya, the freedom loving people of Bundelkhand refused to pay and fight for freedom. As a result, deadly struggle which eventually spread over nearly fifty years, ensued with wave after wave of Mughal and Pathan attacks over the land. The atrocities of the Mughals against the innocent people of my country, only deepened the intensity of the people of Bundelkhand, to fight for freedom and vengeance of the killing of their own.

People who came to collect Jaziya were killed to send a message that they will not pay the tax. Aurangzeb himself led a huge expedition to Bundelkhand to capture them, but was forced to retreat without achieving any lasting success, leaving behind trails of horror and destruction, but still failing to subdue Chhatrasal and the Bundelas. With great happiness I would like to tell you, from then onwards the Maratha attacks began to shake and almost caused the disintegration of the Mughals and, after the death of Aurangzeb, the Bundelas steadily began to gain ground over their adversaries. The cream of the Mughal generals were sent one after the other to subdue the Bundelas but all their campaigns ended up in failure.

Chhatrasal, who was always inspired by the Hindu Hriday Samrat Shivaji’s call of Swaraj and Swadharm wanted to meet him. Shivaji was already the most celebrated and heroic Hindu figure of his times, who had faced the Mughals on equal terms and whose exploits and achievements, courage and idealism had won for him respect throughout India. Chhatrasal offered to serve Shivaji in latter’s war against Aurangzeb. But Shivaji suggested to him to start hostilities against Aurangzeb in Bundelkhand where he would gain many adherents. “Illustrious Chief! Conquer and subdue your foes. Recover and rule your native land …”.

In the second phase of his struggle between 1681 and 1707, Chhatrasal suffered a few reverses. Chhatrasal was able to defeat the Mughals until he was attacked by Muhammad Khan Bangash on December 1728. Chhatrasal was 79 years old when he led his army against Bangash, after a severe battle Chhatrasal was defeated and was forced to retreat to his fort at Jaitpur. The Mughals besieged him and conquered most of his territories.

Chhatrasal made several attempts to ask the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Baji Rao I for help. However, the Peshwa was busy in another war and could not help Chhatrasal until March 1729. Chhatrasal send a letter to Baji Rao which said “know you Bajirao! That I am in the same plight in which the famous elephant was when caught by a crocodile. My valiant race is on the point of extinction. Come and save my honor”. Peshwa Baji Rao, who had never lost a war, personally led his army towards Bundelkhand and attacked several Mughal outposts, and their supplies were completely cut off by the swift cavalry of the Peshwa. Bangash who was surprised by the sudden involvement of the Marathas, sent several letters to the Mughal emperor for aid, however upon being denied any help he started negotiations with Chhatrasal and Bajirao. Bangash was allowed to retreat on the condition that he would never return, or show aggression towards Bundelkhand. Chhatrasal rewarded the Peshwa with large tracts of lands and diamond mines in Bundelkhand which helped the Marathas to gain access in Central and Northern India.

It is well known that the king’s daughter Mastani fell in love with Baji Rao and became his second wife. Their love story inspired many folklores, ballads, films etc. The most popular was the film Baji Rao Mastani, starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.

Before his death, Chhatrasal bestowed Mahoba and the surrounding areas to his son-in-law in return for Baji Rao's assistance against the Mughals. Chhatrasal, also gave an army of 5,000 men under the service of the Peshwa in Pune. Chhatrasal also paid Rs. 12 lakh as a tribute to the Maratha Emperor so as to establish a long-term relationship with Royal family of Satara.

When he died in 1731, at the age of 81, the Mughal rule from Bundelkhand was wiped off completely. Chhatrasal was an inspiration to successive generations of Hindus and an apt lesson to us “freedom is not something that can ever be taken for granted and can be preserved only by endless and continuous caution”.  It shows us that the endless waves of cruelty and barbarity unleashed on us by Invaders however, failed to destroy or subdue our innate love for freedom and dharma. What a great warrior he was to defeat the invaders. We must never forget such great men.

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:32:45 +0530
My City My Pride The rulers of Travancore Kingdom

 

Anupama Nair

India is home to the greatest Royal kingdoms in the world. Our great kings and queens were famous for their braveness and the way they took care of their subjects. I was born in a city called Trivandrum, the capital of the southern-most Princely state – Travancore, now one of the richest and famous kingdom after treasures were found in the Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple a few years ago. I  am so proud of the great city I was born. Unfortunately, I was born, not when the great Royal family was ruling, but the state government. All I could see was the glimpses of the Royal family – Zoo, Observatory, Public Library, Hospitals all built by the Kings and Queens, so I should be forgiven for thinking that we were still ruled by royalty, when I was a child. Infact, I was shocked in 4th Grade when the teacher taught about democracy as I grew up hearing stories of Rani Lakshmi Bai, Maharana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj, Prithviraj Chauhan and others who were buried in the annals of history.

 I was so excited when I saw His Royal Highness Chittira Tirunal Bala Rama Varma, who was the last ruler of the great kingdom in the Trivandrum airport. My heart swells with pride when I think about the great kingdom and my city Trivandrum.  The Travancore Royal family was the ruling kingdom of Travancore. Unfortunately, they lost their ruling rights in 1949 when Travancore merged with India and their remaining rights were abolished in 1971. I am now going to talk about the history of the kingdom. Did you know Kanya Kumari was once part of this great kingdom?

It is believed that the founders of the Travancore Royal family were not original inhabitants of Travancore, but from the banks of the Narmada river. It was also said that Parasharuram himself crowned the first official ruler of the dynasty. His Royal Highness Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma was known as the founder of the great kingdom in 1729 and ruled till his death in 1758. His greatest achievement was the defeat of the Dutch army in 1741. He then adopted a “European model of discipline” for his army and expanded his kingdom northward to what became the modern state of Travancore. Under his rule, Trivandrum became a prominent city. He undertook many irrigational works, built roads and canals for communication and gave active encouragement to foreign trade. In January, 1750, Marthanda Varma decided to "donate his kingdom to Sri Padmanabha and thereafter rule as the deity's regent” and came to be called as Sri Padmanabha Dasan. Even today, the descendant of the family calls himself or herself as Sri Padmanabha Dasan or Sri Padmanabha Dasi.

The Travancore kingdom followed Matrilineal Succession, where instead of the King’s son, it was his nephew (sister’s son or daughter) who is the successor. He was succeeded by his nephew Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma or Dharma Raja as he was the follower of Dharma. He ruled at a time when the great kingdom of Mysore was ruled by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Tipu and his forces reached the Nedumkotta Line which protected Travancore’s northern frontier and launched an attack on December 1789. However, a smaller Travancore soldiers managed to, change the course of history, by opening fire on the 14,000 Mysore infantry from a close cover, that killed the Mysorean officer leading a bayonet charge. Apart from his famous stint of warfare against Tipu in which his forces remained as the only one which were not completely defeated by Tipu at any place, the Maharaja is also famous for his reform works which led to Travancore being one of the most developed states in India, during independence. Dharma Raja was one of the very few rulers of that time who gave importance to science and technology for the development of his state. Communications were opened to facilitate trade and business in the state. The capital Trivandrum was developed and infrastructure like bridges and other public works such as canals for irrigation were constructed. Bazaars and shopping centers were started for the benefit of the people.

He was succeeded by Avittom Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and then Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bai. She died when her son one of the greatest kings of Travancore -- His Royal Highness Swati Tirunal Rama Varma was a child. Her sister Rani  Gowri Parvati Bai became the regent. Words fail me, when I think of the greatness of  Swati Tirunal. The famous poet Iriyamman Thampy wrote the most famous Malayalam lullaby “Omana Thingal Kidavo nalla”, about Swati Tirunal, when he was born.

He is also considered as a brilliant music composer and is credited with over 400 classical compositions in both Carnatic and Hindustani style. He was deeply interested in music right from childhood. Besides being an able ruler, he was a patron of music and was a musician himself.  He learned music by listening to accomplished musicians and practising himself. Some of his favorite compositions were Chaliye Kunjan mo, Parama Purusha Jagadishwara, Bhavayami, Kripaya Palaya Showre and the list goes on… He was fluent in a number of languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya and English. It is said, he argued with a British officer Colonel Welsh that the word geometry originated from Sanskrit word “jyomati” or the study of the earth.

He was interested in astronomy and he wished to compare Western findings with Indian findings. Swati Tirunal set up the Royal Observatory in Trivandrum. One of its director was his cousin Raja Rama Varma Rohini Thirunal, Prince of the Mavelikara Palace, who was an established astronomer and a member of the British and Canadian Astronomical Societies.  The Trivandrum Zoo was also set up by him.

 He introduced modern medicine to the kingdom. He appointed a European as the palace physician. He was also given the responsibility of providing medical assistance to local people, for which hospitals were started. The Trivandrum Public Library was also set up by him. He set up the first English school in Trivandrum. The Maharaja also put an end to the barbaric punishment called the “Suchindram Kaimukku” where the accused was forced to prove his innocence by dipping his hand in boiled ghee at Suchindram Temple, and he was punished if the hand was burnt. He is also credited with starting the first government press in the kingdom.

Unfortunately, he died at a young age and his brother Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma became the next king. His successors were Ayiliyam Thirunal Rama Varma, Vishakam Thirunal Rama Varma and Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma . Then came one of the greatest king His Royal Highness Chittira Tirunal Bala Rama Varma. 

Sree Chithira Thirunal, was the last ruling Maharaja of the kingdom of  Travancore, until 1949 and later the Titular Maharaja of Travancore till his death in 1991. He was born on Deepavali day in 1912. His mother was distantly related, by birth, to the Royal House of Travancore. In 1900, following the absence of heirs in the Travancore Royal Family, she was adopted by her maternal great-aunt. When the king Moolam Thirunal Ramavarma, died on August 7, 1924, he succeeded the throne of Travancore under the regency of his maternal aunt, Sethu Lakshmi Bai. He took the name 'Sree Chithira Thirunal,' as he was born under the Chithira nakshatram or star.

In 1930, he got full ruling powers on his attaining majority. His reign was epoch-making in many ways. He lived his divine life as a ‘Padmanabha Dasa’ and contributed to every walk of life in his kingdom like education, healthcare, music, spirituality as well as democracy. Under his reign Travancore became a typical modern state at time and soon became a model for other kingdoms. The proclamation of 1936 opening the temples of Travancore to every Hindu was revolutionary and hailed by all. He soon abolished the capital punishment in Travancore, and it became a remarkable first step in the entire Asia. The universal adult franchise was introduced in 1940.The mid-day meal scheme in the form of the ‘Vanchi Poor Fund’ in Travancore was introduced to encourage poor children to attend school. The State Transport System inaugurated in 1937 had been an eye-opener to all as a public utility service was earning a big net income for the state. He even started air service between Bombay and Trivandrum in 1935. The ‘Pallivasal Scheme’ (1933-40) was the first attempt in India to harness the waterfalls to man’s service by generation of electricity.

The University of Travancore was founded in 1937  by the Maharaja. Sri Chithira Thirunal became the first Chancellor and Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer was the Vice Chancellor of the Travancore University. The Padmanabhapuram Palace was renovated and the Trivandrum Art Gallery was expanded. He started an Aerodrome, Radio Station, Public Service Commission, Medical and Engineering Colleges in the kingdom.

When India became independent in 1947 and after some hesitation, Sri Chithira Thirunal agreed to accede Travancore to the new Dominion of India. He became the Rajapramukh of the Travancore-Cochin union from July 1, 1949 to October 31, 1956. On November 1, 1956, the Travancore-Cochin union was merged with the Malabar district of Madras state to form the state of Kerala and Sri Chithira Thirunal's office of Rajpramukh came to an end. On December 28, 1971, Sri Chithira Thirunal lost his Privy Purse and other privileges when the Government of India derecognized the rulers of the erstwhile princely states.

Sri Chithira Thirunal, the last ruler of Travancore passed at the Kowdiar Palace on July 19, 1991 at the age of 78. He was succeeded as head of the royal house of Travancore by his brother, Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma. It was a sad day to all of us. His Royal Highness Marthanda Varma breathed his last in 2013, and the present Maharaja is His Royal Highness Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma.

Now I am going to tell you about the famous Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu in the “Anantha Shayana” (sleeping on the serpent Ananda) posture. The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the Chera style and the Dravidian style of architecture, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century gopura.

The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and were for a long time controlled by a trust, headed by the Travancore Royal Family. In 2011, the High Court, after many public petitions, ruled that the Travancore Royal Family must give up the custodial rights to the temple as their last ruler, Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, died in 1991.

In June 2011, the Honorable Supreme Court directed the authorities from the Archaeology Department and the fire services to open the secret chambers of the temple for inspection of the items kept inside. The temple has six vaults  or ‘nilavaras’, labelled as A to F, for bookkeeping purpose by the Court. In April 2014, two more vaults were discovered, called G and H. Approximately 9,000 kilos and diamonds were discovered in the vaults, which were valued at nearly $20 billion  or Rs 1.4 lakh crore. This revelation made the Padmanabhaswamy Temple as the wealthiest place of worship in the world and the kingdom of Travancore the richest kingdom in the world. 

Thankfully in July 2020, the Honorable Supreme Court upheld that the Travancore royal family must take control of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Supreme Court ruling in the Travancore royal family’s favor has made them the rightful owners of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and the heavy gold reserves that sit in its vault. This is a victory of Truth and the city of Trivandrum and its people and our beloved deity Sri Padmanabha. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if a politician had laid his hand on the holy temple.

The contribution of the Royal family to Trivandrum is undisputed. You just need to see Trivandrum to know who has done the most – Royalty or the State Government. If everything was done by the Maharaja in 200 years, what did the State Government do from 1956? May be someday not far away we would see the old days of the Maharaja come back. I for sure am waiting for that day.

 

 

 

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:26:28 +0530
A Snowy Paradise In Incredible India

 

Anupama Nair

When you think of White Christmas—a Christmas day with lot of snowfall, you think of Northern Europe and Northern USA and Canada. Siberia is the coldest inhabited place. No one will believe me when I say the second coldest place in the world is in India. The place is called Drask in Kashmir. It is a fact many thousands lose their life due to extreme cold wave conditions in North India every year. I have always enjoyed the winter in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, UP, and Haryana where the temperatures are close to zero degrees in Winter. Do I need to tell you how cold it is in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Khand? If you want to visit snow clad mountains of Switzerland, you need to pay a lot, so these states are a better option. You will do your bit to encourage tourism in India. In fact, winter is my favorite season of the year, drinking endless cup of hot tea and pakodas.

To many India is considered as a country where it is always hot, which is one of the biggest myths about the nation. Indian climate is as diverse as its culture and its people. India is also home to some hilly regions where it can be cold than most of the most famous winter destinations  around the globe. There are several places in India where the temperature are very low, and also best during the winters and quite breathtaking. It is considered quite romantic to visit. I am going to talk about the coldest places in India that are must-visit places at least once in a lifetime.

Think of these song in the film Roja

“Ye haseen vaadiyan ye khula aasman,
Aa gaye hum kahan aye mere sajna,
In baharon mein dil ki kali khil gayi
Mujhko tum jo mile har khushi mil gayi”.

So, pack your bags as I am going to take you on a wonderful trip across many states of “Incredible India” and show you the snow-clad mountains and places where you will see a carpet of snow. Let me tell you it’s absolute heavenly to play in the snow, make a snowmen and call him Uncle Frost with his coat cap and holding a cigar, dress him up and also make snowballs and throw at your friends and family, even when the snow freezes our hands while making them! Moreover, you can imagine our beloved Santa climbing down the chimney. You can sing “Dashing through the snow, on a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way”.

While writing this I am imagining myself in these “haseen wadiyan” and wish I settled down there. If you are like me, and you’re looking for the places to see where it snows in India, there are many places. However, it gets disappointing when you visit a place with the hopes of rejoicing in the snow, but the weather fails you and it does not snow at all. Therefore, these places will not disappoint all the lovers of the snow. If you want to enjoy the untouched snowy landscapes, pack your bags and plan your trip to these places this winter, provided Corona cases are low.

Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop, and Ladakh in Kashmir

I am going to talk first about the beautiful state of Kashmir, called “Firdaus e Jahan” or the paradise of the world. When you think of Kashmir remember movies like “Kashmir ki Kali, Roja” etc., A beautiful Kashmiri girl wearing Kashmiri dress and in a house boat in Dal Lake will live forever in our memory. Gulmarg is a breathtaking place. Some scenes in the blockbuster movie “Sharmilee”, starring Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee were shot here. My favorite song “ Khilte hi gul yahan” sung by Kishore Kumar shows the pristine snow-clad mountains and even an Army base. Today Gulmarg offers many popular winter sports, that you see abroad. You can expect temperature up to -11 degree Celsius here.

Sonamarg often called “The Meadow of Gold’ is really not a meadow of gold, but white pristine snow. In fact, I would call it “White paradise” as it  becomes breathtakingly beautiful with its lakes, glaciers and miles and miles of white snow. Apart from the breathtaking views, one can enjoy river rafting and trekking too. The winter temperature here also can be up to -11 degree Celsius. Pahalgam’s incomparable beauty lies with many rivers, and with snow-peaked mountains. A quiet long trek in this place is all you would need to unwind from the stressful Urban jungle, and feel the peace and calming touch of nature. In winter, the mercury falls to -8 degree Celsius. Patnitop is similar to an enchanted, fairy land with its snow cover and thick forests. The place is full of natural beauty that makes trekking, skiing and paragliding a wonderful experience. The temperature here is around -8 degree Celsius. In the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh, winters are absolutely splendid with its breathtaking carpet of  pure snow and an adventurous life. Even though the temperatures are very low every year, it's is considered a great experience to do winter treks with frozen lakes, brooks and waterfalls. The temperature can go as low as -11 degree Celsius.

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:12:57 +0530
Inventions and Discoveries Over the Years and How They Impacted Human Lives

 

Anupama Nair

What is the difference between humans and animals? The answer is simple – the power of thinking. If we didn’t we would have been still like early men and lived in caves still. There would have been no inventions and our lives would have been different. I am going to talk about inventions that changed human lives and made our lives simpler and easy to live

The first major discovery was fire. When humans, first used fire, is still not definitively known, but, like the first tools, it was probably invented by an ancestor of Homo Sapiens (man) as the evidence of burnt material can be found in caves used by Homo Eructus (meaning "upright man") around one million or maybe even one and half million years ago. However, the invention of fire helped men to stop eating raw food and instead, cook it and also keep warm during cold days and nights.

This is a matter of great pride to us Indians. According to historians, the Indus Valley Civilization had revealed the evidence of dentistry being practiced as far back as 7000 BC. One site in Mehrgarh (modern day Pakistan) even showed evidence of healers curing tooth disorders with bow drills. Incredible isn’t it. Another feature of the Indus Valley Civilization was water-flushed toilets. Both in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, almost every home had a flush toilet, connected to a sophisticated sewage system. Areas of the Indus Valley Civilization in both now-Pakistan and Western India have had rulers (scales) of ivory uncovered from ruins. One such specimen was even calibrated to 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. These kinds of rulers were clearly very prominent, as even bricks of the valley’s buildings were found to follow the same measurements. The earliest existence of weighing scales also dates back to the Indus valley civilization, where balances were used to compare measure and compare goods in trade.

The Indian subcontinent was the birth place of Ayurveda and Yoga, around 5000 BC. The therapies generally include complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances. Indian physicians were known to practice a different kind of cataract surgery than that was known to the Greeks. It was performed with a tool called the Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. Greek scientists of the time travelled to India to see these surgeries, and the technique was even introduced into China from India.

The wheel is often quoted as the single most important advance in early technology. It is sometimes said to have evolved from the potter’s wheel. Both are first known at approximately the same period, around 3000 BC. But geographical origin of the invention is still not known.
In early technology a wagon wheel can only be made from wood. Several of the earliest known wheels have been found in the heavily forested regions of Europe.

Around 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians had developed a technique for making paper from the pith of the papyrus plant, commonly seen along the bank of the Nile. Long strips were woven together and weighted down to bind them into a strong, thin sheet. The Egyptians also invented pens made of cut reeds, which were strong enough to write on the papyrus, and mixed soot or other organic material with beeswax and vegetable gum to make ink.

The world’s first university was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. It is estimated that more than ten thousand students from all over world studied more than sixty subjects. The University of Nalanda was built in the 400 BC. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang studied in Nalanda and his writings tell us about the greatness of the University. Unfortunately, the University was burnt by Bakhtiyar Khilji. What a great loss to the world

The word “democracy” comes from the Greek term demokratia, literally meaning “rule by the people.” The word and the concept was introduced in 507 BC by Cleisthenes, ruler of the Greek city-state of Athens. This form of popular government consisted of three separate institutions: the ‘ekklesia’, or Assembly, which wrote laws and dictated foreign policy; the ‘boule’, a council of representatives chosen from the different Athenian tribes; and the ‘dikasteria’, a popular court system. The United States (1776) is the world’s oldest democracy.

Written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. Kalarippayattu was Indian martial arts system developed in ancient Kerala. It is still very popular. For all its importance, it may surprise you to learn that zero is a relatively recent concept in human history, though it still has its roots in ancient times. The more complete vision of zero didn’t emerge until the 7th century in India, when the Hindu astronomer Brahmagupta wrote rules for using zero in mathematical operations and equations, introducing the concept that zero could be seen as a number of its own.

The first windmills were constructed before the 9th century in a region spanning eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. Windmills were first mentioned in Europe in the 12th century. There is a reference to one in France in 1180, and a few years later to another in England. Since it was the time of crusades, it is probable that the idea has been brought from the Middle East to Europe.

The Gunpowder was invented in China around 1040 AD, when a Chinese manual on warfare was issued under the title “Compendium of Military Technology”, which was the first document to describe gunpowder.


There has been much argument where and when the compass was first developed. The earliest reference to such a device is in a Chinese manuscript of the late 11th century, within the next century and a half, it featured also in Arabic and European texts. What we need to understand is that this instrument made possible the great age of maritime explorations which began in the 15th century under Christopher Columbus. Even today no one understands why a magnet points to the north.

Next I am going to talk about an invention which was so important in our lives – invention of printing with movable metal type in the 15th Century by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany. The details of this epoch-making invention are disappointingly unclear, but there is general agreement that the first large-scale printing workshop was that established at Mainz by Gutenberg, that was producing a sufficient quantity of accurate type to print a Vulgate Bible around 1455 AD. It also made heavy demands on the paper industry, which had been established in Europe since the 12th century but had developed slowly till the invention of printing and the subsequent trend for the printed word. A bookworm like me thanks Gutenberg for his invention as I cannot imagine a life without books.

Before the 15th century, people knew only three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa, which were the home to many ancient civilizations. India was known as the “sone ki chidiya or the golden bird”. Every foreign power wanted to conquer India and the Middle Ages were called Dark Ages in India, as all the greatness of the ancient times were buried in the sands of time. We were slaves to reign of terror as cruel people like Ghori, Ghazni, Khilji, Taimur and finally the Mughals plundered our motherland. The royal families of Europe were addicted to Dacca Muslin (a brand name of pre-colonial Bengal textile, especially of Dacca) and Indian spices like cardamom, cashew nuts etc. Till the 15th century Arabs came to India, purchased these products and sold it to Europe. But the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 put an end to the silk trade route. The Europeans were desperate to find new trade route to India by sea. Christopher Columbus from Genoa (Italy)set on a journey to find India and he discovered America on October 12, 1492. Till his death he never discovered that the new lands he discovered was America and not India. Finally, Vasco Da Gama, a Portuguese sailor landed in Calicut in 1498, which led to many other Europeans reaching India. Finally, the British became masters of the entire subcontinent by end of 18th century and ensured India was under colonial rule and imperialistic powers till 15th August 1947.

Then there was the invention of Steam Engine in England at the time of Industrial Revolution. Steam engine, is a machine using steam power to perform mechanical work through generation of heat. In a steam engine, hot steam, usually supplied by a boiler expands under pressure, and part of the heat energy is converted into work. However, in the 17th century attempts were made to harness steam for practical purposes. In 1698 AD, Thomas Savery patented a pump with hand-operated valves to raise water from mines by suction produced by condensing steam. In 1712 AD, another Englishman, Thomas Newcomen, developed a more efficient steam engine with a piston separating the condensing steam from the water. In 1765 AD, James Watt improved the Newcomen engine by adding a separate condenser to avoid heating and cooling the cylinder with each stroke.

The combination of the steam locomotive and a permanent travel way of metal rails was the next goal of the scientists. Experiments were made in the 19th century. Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened in 1825 AD, and after five years of experience with steam locomotives led to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, when it opened in 1830, started the first fully time-tabled railway service with scheduled freight and passenger traffic relying entirely on the steam locomotive for traction. This railway was designed by George Stevenson. India's first passenger train was operated by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway and was hauled by three steam locomotives (Sahib, Sindh and Sultan), ran for 34 kilometers with four hundred people on board in fourteen carriages between Bori Bunder (Bombay) and Thane on 16 April 1853.

In the Middle Ages, the Indian inventions were few as we were living in Dark Ages and in slavery. It was the times when centers of learning i.e., Universities were burnt. It took nearly nine centuries to be free. Hope we see more scientific inventions now.

The development of electricity as a source of power preceded the conjunction with steam power late in the 19th century. The pioneering work had been done by an international collection of scientists including Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania (US),  Alessandre Volta of the University of Pavia (Italy), and Michael Faraday (Great Britain). Both the generators and motors underwent substantial development in the 19th century. In particular, French, German, Belgian, and Swiss engineers evolved the most satisfactory forms of armature (the coil of wire) and produced the dynamo, which made the large-scale generation of electricity commercially feasible

In the United States Thomas Edison applied his inventive brain in discovering fresh uses for electricity, and his development of the carbon-filament lamp showed how this form of energy could rival gas as a domestic illuminant. The, subsequent spread of this form of energy is one of the most remarkable technological success stories of the modern times, but most of the basic techniques of generation, distribution, and utilization had been mastered nearly two centuries before. Can you imagine a life without electricity?

The first photograph was taken in 1826 or 1827 by the French physicist J.N. Niepce using a pewter plate coated with a form of bitumen that hardened on exposure. His partners used silver compounds to give light sensitivity, and the technique developed rapidly in the middle decades of the century. By the 1890s George Eastman of the United States started manufacturing cameras and celluloid photographic film for the popular market, and that was the first experiment with cinema, and were beginning to attract attention.

 

The electric telegraph, was made into a practical proposition for use on developing the British railway system by two inventors, Sir William Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone, who worked together and took out a joint patent in 1837. Almost at the same time, an American scientist, Samuel Morse devised the signaling code that was subsequently adopted all over the world. The telegraph system also played an important part in the opening up of the American West by providing rapid aid in the maintenance of law and order.

Alexander Graham Bell, best known for his invention of the telephone, revolutionized communication. His interest in sound technology was deep-rooted and personal, as both his wife and mother were deaf. While there’s some controversy over whether Bell was the true pioneer of the telephone, he started the Bell Telephone Company in 1877. He was born in Scotland, later migrated to Canada and finally settled down in the United States. In 1871, Bell started working on the harmonic telegraph — a device that allowed multiple messages to be transmitted over a wire at the same time. By 1875, Bell, with the help of his partner Thomas Watson, had come up with a simple receiver that could turn electricity into sound. Scientists, like Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray, were working on similar technologies, and there’s confusion over who should be credited with the invention of the telephone. It’s said that Bell raced to the patent office to be the first to secure the rights to the discovery. After getting his telephone patent, he made the inaugural telephone call to Watson, and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” He even refused to have a telephone in his study, fearing it would distract him from his scientific work.

 

The dream of human flight must have begun with observation of birds flying through the sky. In our great epic Ramayana, Ravana the demon king had a flying chariot called “Pushpak Viman” where the Sanskrit word means flying object. In other holy scriptures like the Bible, we read about the flying angels. The story of the invention of the airplane begins in the16th to 18th centuries, with the first research into aerodynamics—the study of the forces operating on a solid body (for instance, a wing when it is immersed in a stream of air). For a millennia, however, progress was retarded by attempts to design aircraft that emulated the beating of a bird’s wings. The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur were the two American aviation pioneers who invented, build, and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane in 1905. They were also the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered-flights possible. In 1914, the world's first scheduled passenger airline service took off, operating between St. Petersburg and Tampa in Florida (USA).

 

The dream of seeing distant places is as old as the human thoughts. Priests in ancient Greece, studied the inside of birds, trying to see in them what the birds had seen when they flew over the horizon. They believed that their gods, on Mount Olympus were gifted with the ability to watch human activity all over the world. The opening scene of  William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, Part 1 presented the character Rumour, upon whom the other characters rely for news of what is happening in the far corners of England.

 

Television (TV), is the electronic delivery of moving images and sound from a source to a receiver By extending the senses of vision and hearing beyond the limits of physical distance, television has had a considerable influence on society.  The TV as we know was eventually used by John Logie Baird   and Charles Francis Jenkins in 1925. to build the world’s first successful televisions.

 

Charles Babbage, an English mathematician and inventor is credited with having conceived the first automatic digital computer. The idea of mechanically calculating mathematical tables first came to Babbage in 1812 or 1813. Later he made a small calculator that could perform certain mathematical computations to eight decimals. During the mid-1830s Babbage developed plans for the Analytical Engine, the forerunner of the modern digital computer. In that device he planned the capability of performing any arithmetical operation on the basis of instructions received from punched cards, a memory unit to store numbers, sequential control, and most of the other basic elements of the present-day computer. 

 

The desire to travel to moon was a dream of the modern man. Let us see, how it was achieved. In the middle part of the 20th century, space ships were made by both America and Russia. Lyka, a stray dog from Moscow was the first living being to travel to space in a space ship called Sputnik II in 1957. But unfortunately, she died in space. Then it was the turn of man in space. Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot, who became the first man to travel in space, achieving a major milestone in the history of space travel. His space ship Vostok I, completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including “the Hero of Soviet Union”, his nation's highest honor.

1969 was again a special year in Space journey. Apollo II was the space ship that first traveled with humans to the moon – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and was truly a historic moment. Finally, the dream of man to travel to the moon was fulfilled. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface and it was truly ““That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as Armstrong said.

 

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 23:03:48 +0530
Rani Padmavati a queen with beauty and valor

 

Anupama Nair

India is famous for the beauty of her women. Many ballads hail the beauty of our Indian queens, however they are known for their valor, chastity and never-give up spirit. Rani Padmavati or Rani Padmini is one such beautiful and brave queen. There’s a fact about history, that we are never sure what exactly happened, because often, the facts get altered with the ravages of time and travel. 

There are many, versions to the history of Rani Padmini and I am going to write about all these versions. However, there’s one thing that was common in all the versions – a woman of great beauty and the ‘Johar Kund’. The ‘Johar Kund’ in Chittorgarh where Rani Padmavati performed ‘jauhar’ (custom of self-immolation by Kshatriya women) is a place as significant in our history. It is very surprising to note that in the earlier versions of the story, Alauddin Khilji’s conquest of Chittorgarh has no mention of Rani Padmavati at all. The first mention of the queen is in the epic poem written in Awadhi language by Malik Mohammad Jayasi called ‘Padmavat’.

The jauhar of Rani Padmini presented her with a goddess-like stature in the history of  our country, where chastity of our women was worshipped. The antagonist, is the lusty invader Allauddin Khilji who attacked Chittor and led to the martyrdom of both Padmini and Rana Ratan Singh.

According to Jayasi, she was the daughter of the king of Singhal or Sri Lanka. She was famous for her beauty and her archery skills. She had a talking parrot Hiraman, and the king hated their friendship, So, the parrot was ordered to be executed. However, it somehow escaped and managed to reach the palace of the king of Mewar Rana Ratan Singh. The parrot praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and Rana Ratan Singh who was enchanted by her beauty was determined to marry her. He reached Singhal and he married her after he fulfilled her vow of defeating her in a duel. However, his first wife Nagmati refused to accept her.

There was a Brahmin courtier in the court of Ratan Singh called Raghav Chetan. He was banished from the kingdom by Ratan Singh for fraud. Raghav reached Delhi to the court of the cruel and lusty Sultan Alauddin Khilji. He praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and the womanizer that he was, Alauddin decided to obtain her and hence, attacked Chittor. However, he failed to conquer Chittor and offered a fake peace treaty to Ratan Singh and deceitfully captured him. However, a sequence of events followed and the brave Rana was released from his captivity by his loyal men, Gora and Badal who entered the fort by disguising as Rani Padmavati while they sat inside the palanquin. In a battle Rana Ratan Singh was martyred and Alauddin then attacked Chittor. The brave women of Chittor led by Padmavati committed Jauhar to save their honor from the lusty Islamic invaders.

There is another version of  Jayasi, that had a different story. Rani Padmini was well-trained in war strategies and battleship. This made her adept at the art of swordsmanship. During her swayamvar, she kept a condition that whoever would defeat the designated fighter in a sword battle would win her. However, the designated sword fighter was Padmini herself. Many princes and kings lost to her and it was only king Rawal Ratan Singh who won and she had to marry him.

Raghav Chetan was an artist in the royal court of Chittor and was secretly a sorcerer who killed many for his purposes. Once, Ratan Singh caught him red-handed and he was banished from the kingdom. This led him to Alauddin Khilji, praising Rani Padmini in front of him and Alauddin besieging the kingdom of Chittor. In this version, he only saw Padmini in a reflection as she didn’t allow him to see her face-to-face. Alauddin deceitfully captured Ratan Singh. This led to the women of Chittor prepare for Jauhar while the fight was still going on. As many soldiers of Chittor’s army died, Ratan Singh also died while fighting beside his men.

The women walked down a secret passage within the fort that led to the Jauhar Kund. Padmini was the first to jump in the Jauhar Kund while other women followed. Their cries and wailings were so loud that Alauddin ordered the passage to be closed permanently and it was reopened only after many years by the king of Chittor to honor the brave women. The second version is more popular than the first.

Lieutenant-Colonel James Todd was an officer of the British East India Company and was a great Oriental scholar. His version is quite different from the other versions. Padmini was the daughter of Hamir Sank, the Chauhan ruler of Ceylon, and, Chittor was ruled by Lachhman Singh. Padmini married Bhim Singh and Alauddin besieged Chittor because he had heard many praises of her beauty. Alauddin treacherously captured Bhim Singh who was rescued by Gora and Badal. However, the rescue operation led to the death of a very large number of soldiers and as a result, the women of Chittor, alongside Padmini, committed self-immolation. This version is not that popular.

As with other stories, there are many controversies in this story too. Many historians believe that Rani Padmavati was mythical and if she existed was born somewhere around 1500s and was approximately two hundred years after Alauddin Khilji. The version of Jayasi of the story of Padmavati are questioned by historians around the world. There is also a possibility that ‘Padmavat’ was only fiction having no roots in history

Another surprising version by Aziz Ahmed stated that it was Ghiyasuddin Khilji of Malwa who had taken a fancy for Rani Padmavati and not Alauddin Khilji. This theory is also backed up by an inscription in Udaipur that stated Ghiyasuddin had been defeated by Gora and Badal, the Rajput chieftains.

Whatever the version I believe Rani Padmavati was a great queen of India known for her beauty and valor.

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 15:04:03 +0530
Lahore the not so forgotten city of many Indians

Lahore the not so forgotten city of many Indians

Anupama Nair

Nearly 75 years ago, in 1947 began a tale of blood bath, where nearly a million Sikhs, Hindus, and others lost their lives, when they were forced to leave their homeland and move to India. All this happened due to the over-ambition of three men whom I do not want to name here. I am sure even they would have wept to see the blood bath. Did they do anything to prevent it? No would be the answer. They were only witnesses to the millions being killed around them in the border states of Punjab, Bengal and Sind.

From time immemorial we were one – history, civilization, culture, tradition, lifestyle all one. When I opened the history books in my childhood, this is the story it conveyed. It narrated a tale about  the “Hominid activity being excavated in the Indian subcontinent and that goes back to over 250,000 years, and how proud we are, to know we are “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”. It taught me to be proud of the Indus Valley Civilization – the world’s first urban civilization, then Takshila University where foreigners came to study (nearly 3500 years ago), then about the great king Puroshattam (Porus), and lastly how my country got the name India from the river Sindhu or Indus. My young heart used to swell with pride when I used to imagine these events. Lahore and Karachi were always ours. However, as you wake up after every dream I too woke up when I saw a serial ‘Buniyad’ and then learnt the bitter truth that Harrapa, Mohenjadaro, Takshila no longer belonged to India, but another country called Pakistan – born on 14th August 1947.

I saw the horrors of Partition in a movie called Tamas and in the serial Buniyad. The sights I saw pained a young heart. How could my great country be divided in two and the division cause the death of many innocent lives? I still have not got any answer and I know for sure I never will. Is there anyone who can answer the questions?

I was reminded of the horrors of Partition, when our great PM tweeted “ August 14 will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day in memory of people’s struggles and sacrifices during that period”. Mr. Modi recollected, “Partition’s pains can never be forgotten. Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence. In memory of the struggles and sacrifices of our people, 14th August will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

He felt that , “May the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment.”

However, the question is can those million families who were forced to leave their land, assets, relatives, in Lahore, Karachi, Dhaka and Rawalpindi, and were forced to live in refugee camps in Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay or Calcutta ever forget the horrors of Partition? We need to realize that in our journey to be a superpower we need to move ahead of the Partition horrors.

Forgetting all this I want to write on a different topic – why is Lahore so beloved to all those Hindus and Sikhs who left their beloved Lahore and came to India. When I used to live in Delhi, I have heard many people talk with longing and pride about their Lahore. My Dadu, Late Rajendar Singh, who passed away this year in April before he hit a century always used to say “I want to see Lahore di galiyan before I die, eat chole bature, panipuri and all food Lahore is famous for, and go to my National College. Then I will go to my village Lyallpur and see the fields I used to play in my childhood. Promise me, you will immerse my ashes in the river, next to the Durga temple”. Unfortunately like many millions his wish was unfulfilled.

I thought I will write about why Lahore is beloved to them. I am going to write about Lahore from what Dadu and Dadi told me. It is said Lahore was founded by Luv, the son of Bhagwan Ram and Mata Sita. The earliest name of Lahore was Loher after Luv. Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated in honor of Luv. Similarly, the Ravi River that flows through northern Lahore was said to be named in honor of the Hindu goddess Durga. Plotemy the famous astronomer and geographer, wrote in his book ‘Geographia’ a city called Labokla situated on the route between the Indus in a region described as extending along the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, and Ravi.

How can we forget, Lahore was famous for the Indus Valley Civilization and Harappa was near Lahore? The oldest reliable document about Lahore was Hudud-i-Alam, written in 9th Century AD and was translated into English by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky in 1927. Lahore is referred to as a small city with "impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards, two major markets around which dwellings exist, and the mud walls that enclose these two dwellings to make it one". The original book is kept safely in the British Museum in London.

The city of Lahore is said to have a Gurjara origin. Hieun Tsang, the Chinese traveler, who visited Punjab in 630 AD, speaks of “a large city, containing many thousands of families, chiefly Brahmans, situated on the eastern frontier of the kingdom of Cheka, that extended from the Indus to the Beas river. Lahore is said to have “witnessed turbulence, peace and tranquility, cultural festivity, conquests, devastations and destructions in different period of history”. However, it always remained important after its birth as metropolis in 11th Century. Its strategic importance had never even been ignored and it remained a provincial capital even after many centuries. Lahore reached its glory during Mughal period from 1521 to 1752 A.D. Then it fell to the forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1572, followed by a period of chaos and confusion.

The golden period of Lahore came under Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1798 to 1839) and during his rule, the city became famous. He also added many cities and towns to his territory. Ranjit Singh turned the Sarai which separated the Fort and palace from the Badshahi Mosque into a private garden. He constructed many temples of Lord Shiva. Ranjit Singh died in Lahore in 1839, and his successors ruled Lahore for the next seven years.

 

Under the British rule (1849–1947), you can witness colonial architecture combined with Mughal, and Gothic  styles. The General Post Office (GPO) and YMCA buildings in Lahore was built to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, an event marked by the construction of clock towers and monuments all over the country. “Many important British buildings included the High Court, the Government College University, the museums, the National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, the University of the Punjab (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly. Under British rule, Sir Ganga Ram or the father of modern Lahore designed and built the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady McLagan Girls High School and also constructed Model Town, a suburb that had recently developed into a cultural center for Lahore's growing socio-economic culture.

 

Dadu used to say, street food in Lahore was great. Till 1947, all festivals be it Diwali, Holi, Id, Guru Parab or Christmas was celebrated with pomp and splendor. He used to say in those days, Independence from the British was the only goal, and partition changed everything for the people of Lahore. It is said if you have not seen Lahore, you have not seen Punjab. Lahore is known for her hospitality from time immemorial and even today they follow the saying “athithi devo bhava”. Lahore is famous even today, because of the martyrdom of her greatest son Bhagat Singh. I for sure would love to see Lahore one day. Hope the day comes soon.

 

(Dedicated to late Rajendar Singh and Dadi for their recollection of Lahore).

 

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 14:56:58 +0530
Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

 

Anupama Nair

The goal of a business establishment is to get the maximum profit for the owners and shareholders. This is merely a simple statement that doesn’t describe how companies can and can’t go about their business. The pursuit of profitability doesn’t give companies the liberty to override the law or harm groups or individuals in the process. The two terms are often used together, but they have different meanings. The difference between business ethics and social responsibility is an important issue that every business must consider.

The word ethics comes from the Greek word, ‘ethos’, which means moral character. Ethical business decisions can be based on your conscience or based on principle. In either case, individuals make their own decisions according to the laws of the land or according to their core beliefs.

In simple terms, ethics involves learning what is right or wrong, and then doing the right thing,  but "the right thing" is not nearly as straightforward as conveyed in books of business ethics. Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply a matter of "should Bob steal from Jack?" or "should Jack lie to his boss?"

What is business ethics? The idea has come to mean various things to various people, but generally it is realizing what it right or wrong in the workplace and doing what's right, in regard to products or services and in relationships with stakeholders. Wallace and Pekel who are management consultants, explain that the attention to business ethics is critical during times of fundamental change  i.e., times much like those faced now by businesses, both non-profit or for-profit. In times of fundamental change, values that were previously taken for granted are now strongly questioned. Many of these values are no longer followed. Consequently, there is no clear moral compass to guide leaders through complex dilemmas about what is right or wrong.

When attention to ethics is paid in the workplace, it sensitizes leaders and staff to how they should act. Perhaps most important, attention to ethics in the workplaces helps ensure that when leaders and managers are struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass. However, attention to business ethics provides numerous other benefits, as well.

Many people believe that business ethics, with its continuing attention to "doing the right thing," only states the obvious ("be good," "don't lie," etc.), and so these people don't take business ethics seriously. For many of us, these principles of the obvious can go right out of the door during times of stress. Consequently, business ethics can be strong preventative medicine. Anyway, there are many other benefits of managing ethics in the workplace. These benefits are explained later in this document.

In a business sense, corporate leaders must follow the right behavior to benefit the good of everyone including the shareholders, stakeholders, employees, customers, and the community. Business activities shouldn’t harm people, products, or services and they should help to protect the reputation of the company.

Social responsibility refers to businesses doing what they can to benefit their communities. Societies set their own acceptable norms. To be successful, businesses have to adhere to social norms and expectations. Some values have eroded over time and that has left no moral compass to guide leaders through complex social dilemmas over right and wrong. That means that businesses are on their own to decide the ways that they can best demonstrate social responsibility and give back to their communities.

How can we bring social responsibility and ethics together? Easier said than done isn’t it.

To ensure good business ethics and social responsibility, many companies establish an ethics management program that’s in keeping with their mission, vision, and values. Each ethics program is unique to the organization. A corporate ethics program is designed to teach employees the values and policies which set the behavioral standard for those who work and in and around the company.

A company’s mission, vision, and values form a credo that describes the highest set of values that a company operates under. They describe the types of thoughts and behaviors that employees and other stakeholders should aspire to. A formal code of ethics is a little different. It’s a policy that states what employees and others should not do. A code of ethics is specific to those who work under it. For large companies, they may establish specific codes of ethics for individual departments and have one general code of ethics that everyone must abide by.

Human resource departments and legal departments typically collaborate on devising an appropriate code of ethics. At the same time, codes of ethics are more than a legal mechanism. Ethical behavior is part of the corporate culture and the appropriate language and behavior start at the top.

Business ethics can be challenging because our decisions are often a reflection of our own beliefs and cultures in addition to the corporate culture. Relationships are complicated and there’s not always one clear-cut appropriate answer. Cultural assessments can be a valuable part of understanding whether certain behaviors are in keeping with a company’s code of ethics.

We live in a more socially responsible period than ever before. Corporate social responsibility is connected to what today’s companies call ESG—environmental, social, and governance. ESG is a practice that incorporates sustainability into a company business model.

Companies that embrace ESG find that it improves their brand and ultimately increases profitability. Customers of today are more inclined to buy from socially responsible companies and employees are more interested in working for socially responsible companies. In research done by Cone Communications, the study found that over 60% of Americans looked favorably on companies that pursued social and environmental change whether it was regulated or not. Almost 90% of consumers in the survey indicated they’d be inclined to purchase a particular product if it supported an issue that was close to their heart. The study also showed that 75% of consumers refused to buy anything from a company if it supported an issue they were against.

As the economy improves, society is beginning to expect corporations to give back to their environments and communities. Besides going a long way to boost a company’s branding and image, sustainable practices can aid the financial bottom line. Using less packaging and less energy in production helps to reduce production costs and increase revenue.

There are four general and specific ways that companies can join their efforts between business ethics and social responsibility. They include:

  1. Environmental efforts
  2. Philanthropy
  3. Ethical labor practices
  4. Volunteering

 

The expectations for good business ethics and corporate social responsibility are at an all-time high. Most likely, those expectations will continue to grow in the future. Since they are here to stay, it’s wise to give employees a voice in what those expectations look like in practice. To ensure that your company’s efforts are seen as genuine, it’s important to review your expectations to ensure they merge with the company’s mission and vision. Your involvement in such issues is something to be proud of so be certain to promote your efforts and make sure your customers are aware of it. Attention to business ethics and corporate social responsibility creates a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 14:51:21 +0530
Sovereign Debt Management

 

Anupama Nair

What is sovereign Debt Management? Sovereign debt management as stated by the IMF “is the process of establishing and executing a strategy for managing the debt of the government in order to raise the required amount of funding, achieve its risk and cost objectives, and to meet any other sovereign debt management goals the government may have set, such as developing and maintaining an efficient market for government securities”. In simple understandable term sovereign debt is a central government's debt. It is debt issued by the national government in a foreign currency in order to finance the issuing country's growth and development. The stability of the issuing government can be provided by the country's sovereign credit ratings which help investors weigh risks when assessing sovereign debt investments. Sovereign debt is alternatively called government debt, public debt, and national debt.

Sovereign debt can either be internal or external debt. The debt owed to an internal party i.e.,  within the country is called internal debt and those taken from lenders in foreign countries is called external debt. Another way of classifying sovereign debt is by the duration until the repayment of the debt is due. Debts taken for short-term lasts for less than a year, while long-term debt is for more than ten years.

Sovereign debt is usually created by borrowing government bonds and bills and issuing securities. Countries which are less creditworthy has no choice but to directly borrow from world organizations like the World Bank and IMF. An unfavorable change in exchange rates and an overly optimistic valuation of the payback from the projects financed by the debt can make it difficult for countries to repay the sovereign debt. The only option left for the lender, who is unable seize the government's assets, is to renegotiate the terms of the loan. Governments assess the risks involved in taking sovereign debts since countries that default on sovereign debts will have difficulty obtaining loans in the future.

Although sovereign debt will always involve default risk, lending money to a national government in the country's own currency is referred to as a risk-free investment with limits. The debt can be repaid by the borrowing government through raising taxes, reducing spending, or simply printing more money. By doing so, governments are able to remove the need to pay for interest. However, this method only reduces the interest costs of the government and can lead to a condition called ‘hyper-inflation’. Thus, governments still need to fund their projects through the aid of other governments.

Measuring sovereign debt is done differently by different countries differently. The measurement of sovereign debt depends on the company who is doing the measurement and the reason they are doing it. A rating done by Standard & Poor's for businesses and investors only measures debt loaned by commercial creditors. This means that it does not include the money borrowed from other governments, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions. At the same time, the European Union (EU) has limits on the total amount a eurozone country is allowed to borrow which means the EU has broader restrictions when measuring sovereign debt. As such, the EU includes local government and state debt.

The ratings and performance of sovereign debt depends largely on the issuing country's economic and political systems. For example, Treasury bills issued by the United States government are considered a safe haven during times of chaos in international markets. This has led to many countries holding a significant portion of debt, from United States, especially Japan and China. When sovereign debt issued by countries with reckless spending and debt-to-GDP ratio it leads to lots of problems, debt crisis in Greece is an example of problems that can emerge in a nation's economy, if it is unable to service payments related to its debt.

Hope India does not have to take huge debts as we are struggling with economic crisis brought about by the Pandemic.

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 14:44:13 +0530
Canine Psychology An overview

 

Anupama Nair

Dogs are considered as “man’s best friend” and I definitely agree, for I cannot imagine a life without my furry friend Rocky. He is the best stress-buster in the world. A wet nose and a wagging tail is a bundle of joy and comfort. I always think, how can some people not like dogs. I have always loved dogs and they are a pleasure to be with. The most saddening fact is our furry babies have short lives maybe up to 20 years and it never is enough for us.

Dog psychology is gaining importance as it is necessary to understand our four-legged babies. What is dog psychology? Psychology is the study of “ how brain acts and behaves”, so dog psychology in other words would be “how dogs behave with humans and how they interact with other dogs and humans”. Just like people, each dog has its own personality. They express their wants and needs in different ways, and the more time you spend with your canine, the more you’ll get to know him. If you understand the way he thinks and understand each other, it helps strengthen the bond between you and your companion. You will learn to recognize what triggers specific behaviors and develop a safer, more effective strategy for overcoming them.

All dog owners distinguish that there are times when our four-legged friend seems to understand just what they are thinking. Over the years, the field of canine psychology has demonstrated that there is a large degree of truth in the assumption. Dogs are able to learn words so that they know what their owners are referring to when they issue commands. Furthermore, dogs can follow the gaze of their owners, and they demonstrate other behaviors that are also evident in human psychology. “Dogs can even become susceptible to disorders such as depression and compulsive behavior”. Dogs are well known for exhibiting a pack mentality, in which there is a clear hierarchy of position. Usually, this is described as a society in which the alpha dog is the pack leader and the other members generally defer to it, though there are times when other dogs may try to gain dominance. 

While dogs do not use words to tell people or other animals what they are thinking, that does not mean there is no “dog language”. What is dog language? “His language consists of barks, growls, yowls, whimpers, postures, and so forth”. In fact, it is possible to differentiate between different kinds of barks and to identify a dog’s potential signs of aggression. Dog owners can tell a lot about the attitude of their dog, based on his mouth and tail. Relaxed dogs will have a relaxed, open mouth. Aggressive dogs will bare their teeth and growl. If the growl is accompanied by a stiff, upright tail, then the person should be wary that the dog is ready to bite. A sweeping wag of the tail, however, is a different history and indicates playfulness.

Making sure that a dog socializes well with other humans and animals is the key to the animal’s long-term well-being. “A properly socialized dog knows that not every stranger or unknown animal is a threat, and that will reduce its proclivity to get into fights or to go after those who mean no harm”. Regularly socializing a dog from the puppy stage onward is key to making sure that the animal is well-adjusted around people and animals. A great way to socialize a dog with other dogs is to take it to a dog park and allow it to get to know other dogs with your supervision. Dog owners should also make sure that their animal is introduced to a wide variety of people as well, and having these people give their dog a treat will help the animal recognize friends and be wary of foes.

For decades it has been assumed that humans are the only species that experience jealousy and the emotion of being treated unfairly, however, a recent study conducted at the University of California, San Diego claimed to show that dogs do feel jealousy. The study was performed by having humans engage with three different objects in front of their dogs -- a book, a plastic jack-o-lantern, and a realistic looking stuffed dog that moved and barked. The results show that, when the human were paying attention to the fake dog, their dogs were much more engaged and more likely to show behaviors such as, trying to touch their owner or the stuffed dog, trying to get in between them, barking, biting, and whining. I did not need any study to know dogs feel jealousy or insecurity. I have seen my Rocky whine when I play with other dogs.

Dog psychology has explored much in the past few decades. There have been more studies of domestic dog behavior in the past 20 years than in the past 200 years combined! This means we have more and more access to understanding dog psychology each year so that we can better serve the health and livelihood of Man’s Best Friend. All I pray to God is may they have long years to live like a human!

 

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:53:09 +0530
Lumpsum and SIP an overview

 

Anupama Nair

 

Investing comes with many choices. The trouble starts when you start thinking about how to invest and in what. People from previous generation, invested in LIC policies and Fixed Deposits in banks which were safe. Over the years, the lower interest rates and inflation dwindled your savings. However, with Liberalization, we had options galore. Even if they were risky, people invested in it.

 

You must have heard of the term mutual funds. What is mutual funds? “A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment fund that pools money from many investors to purchase securities”. This term is characteristically used in the United States, Canada, and India, while in other countries across the globe it is called SICAV in Europe and open-ended investment company in the UK.

Mutual funds give small or individual investors access to professionally managed portfolios of equities, bonds, and other securities. Each shareholder, therefore, participates proportionally in the gains or losses of the fund. Mutual funds invest in a vast number of securities, and performance is usually tracked as the change in the total market cap of the fund that is derived by the aggregating performance of the underlying investments.

Mutual funds pool money from the public who invest and use the money to buy other securities, mostly stocks and bonds. The value of the mutual fund company depends on the performance of the securities it decides to buy. So, when you buy a unit or a share of a mutual fund, you are buying the performance of its portfolio or, more precisely, a part of the portfolio's value. Investing in a share of a mutual fund is different from investing in shares of stock. Unlike stock, mutual fund shares do not give its holders any voting rights. A share of a mutual fund represents investments in many different stocks (or other securities) instead of just one holding.

There are two choices you can use to invest – Lumpsum and SIP. An investor can make a one-time investment via a lumpsum investment or can make periodical, over a period of time through a systematic investment plan (SIP). The mode of investment can make a difference in one’s investment portfolio. Both SIP and lump-sum investments allow investors to benefit from potential wealth creation through mutual funds. However, the primary difference between SIP and lumpsum methods is the frequency of investment.

 

SIPs allow you to invest into a mutual fund scheme periodically, such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or half-yearly etc. With lump-sum investments are a one-time bulk investment in a particular scheme. The minimum investment amount also varies. You can begin investing in SIPs with as little as Rs.500 per month while generally lump-sum investments need at least Rs.1,0000. If you are an investor with a small but regular amount of money available for investment, SIPs can be a more suitable investment option. For investors with a relatively high investment amount and risk tolerance, lump-sum investments can be more beneficial.

Since lumpsum investments need a large amount of money, investors need to know when they are entering the market. Lump-sum investments are most beneficial when you invest when market is down. However, with SIPs, you have the facility to enter during different market cycles. Investors do not have to watch market movements as closely as they would for lump-sum investments.

As SIP leads to mutual fund purchases during different market cycles, the cost per unit is averaged out over the overall investment horizon. More number of units are purchased when market is down, compensating for purchases made during a market high. This can help tide over market fluctuations and even out the cost. Units can then be sold when the market is performing well.

SIPs can get you into the habit of saving frequently. Banks allow you to set up an automatic investment instruction at a frequency of your choice. For investors who can recognize market cycles, identifying a market low and investing in a lumpsum amount in a mutual fund at the right time can garner high returns. This is because of the basic principle of investing – buying low and selling high.

However, an ill-timed investment could result in losses and make you lose self-confidence. This is because an investor whose lumpsum is making losses may hesitate to pump in money again. Seasoned investors with ample market knowledge can benefit from lumpsum investments. Some of the other benefits of lumpsum investments are:

  • It can give considerable returns for those with a long-term investment plan (7 to 10 years minimum).
  • It can help achieve specific financial goals like investing for a child’s education fund or for a retirement fund.
  • It requires a one-time payment only.
  • Factors to Consider Before Investing

 

If you have a bulk amount at your disposal, a lumpsum investment may be a good way to go so that you do not end up spending the money. On the other hand, for a salaried person trying to cultivate a savings habit, SIP would be more suited. When the market is low, lumpsum investment will generate higher returns. If you are unable to identify market cycles, a SIP will help distribute the risk.

When you are choosing a SIP over a lump-sum investment, it should be based on your personal requirements. Factors such as income, financial stability, investment goals, and risk capacity determines the choice of investment.

Market experts believe that SIPs are superior as they can help you tide over market fluctuations and be a good investment option even for novice investors since they do not necessitate frequent monitoring of financial markets.

Indeed, some amount of investment is better than none.

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:48:25 +0530
Chandigarh Airport named after Bhagat Singh

Anupama Nair

I am a proud Indian today. The international airport in Chandigarh was on September 28, 2022, christened Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport after our Kohinoor Heera our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement in his Mann Ki Bath speech. How could Bharat Ma’s true son forget another unlike the previous governments only glorified one family?.

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was the chief guest at an event at the airport, thanked the Prime Minister for deciding to rename the airport "We are fortunate that we are able to dedicate ourselves in at least remembering the great sacrifice, and grateful that the Punjab and Haryana governments overcame their differences to come together over the name change.

 

She reiterated about Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and the target to turn the country into a developed nation by 2047, on the 100th year of Independence. "We should be known as a developed country by 2047," she said. She said she was proud noting that India was at 11th in terms of economic strength 10 years ago, and now we have become 5th over-taking our colonial masters UK..

 

Mr. Mann also thanked Mr. Modi for renaming the airport after Bhagat Singh. It was a long-pending demand to rename the airport after Bhagat Singh. Referring to his recent meeting with Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala over the issue, Mr. Mann said a letter was sent to the Civil Aviation Ministry to rename the airport. It was demanded that the announcement be made before the freedom fighter's birth anniversary on September 28, he recalled.

On the occasion, Mr. Mann urged the Centre to start more international flights from the airport to facilitate the Punjabi diaspora across the globe. He sought direct flights to London, New York, San Francisco, Canada, Australia and other places from Chandigarh airport. He claimed these flights will benefit passengers from neighboring States as well.

A true tribute to the son of Bharat Ma!

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:46:00 +0530
Mystery of Khatkar Kalan and Bhagat Singh

Anupama Nair

 

Khatkar Kalan, a place in the part of Indian Punjab is in the news now a days, for it’s relationship with the legendary Bhagat Singh. The newly elected Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, took oath in this village associated with the martyr. So, I thought let me do research on it. I was confused as far as I know, Bhagat Singh was born and died in Lahore, which unfortunately is in Pakistan. However, then I discovered that the Punjab village had a connection with India's freedom struggle, and will always be associated with Bhagat Singh as his ancestral place.

 

Bhagat Singh was not born here and never lived in the village also. Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907 in Banga village in Lyallpur district in Lahore. He had visited Khatkar Kalan with his grandfather Arjan Singh but never lived there, said the villagers with pride in their voice. Imagine how proud the people of Lyallpur would be! "Arjan Singh used to bring his grandsons Bhagat Singh and Jagat Singh (who died early in 1917 due to a influenza), to Khatkar Kalan and the house every summer. Everyone in my family knew about this," said his Ludhiana-based nephew Jagmohan Singh. "I interviewed people of Bhagat Singh's age in Khatkar Kalan who also verified the same. So yes, this is a confirmed fact that Bhagat Singh did visit the village multiple times", he confirmed.

 

A famous historian Chaman Lal, who was the author of several books on the legendary Bhagat Singh, stated that the freedom fighter may have visited the village but never lived there. It is well known that Bhagat Singh was only 23 when he was hanged on March 23, 1931 along with Sukhdev Thapar and Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru  for the murder of a British police official John Saunders. The case came to be known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case. He studied till Grade 5 in his village school, and then was enrolled at the Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) High School in Lahore. He studied in the National College in Lahore which was founded by the legendary Lala Lajpat Rai, who was considered as his Guru.

 

Tracing the family's connection with Khatkar Kalan, it was believed that the family migrated from the village to Lyallpur around the early 1900s after the British allotted land to families in the two newly created districts called Montgomery and Lyallpur.

Many decades later, during the Partition in 1947, the family returned to their Khatkar Kalan house. Bhagat Singh's father Kishan Singh died in 1951, while his mother Vidyavati, who lived in the ancestral home till her death in 1975. The house in Khatkar Kalan stands as a protected monument, was built by Bhagat Singh's great-grandfather Sardar Fateh Singh in 1858. It was later declared a monument under the 'Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act' (1964) in 1982.

 

The family shifted to Lyallpur after they were allotted land, explained Lal, who is also a, honorary adviser to the Bhagat Singh Archive and Resource Centre in New Delhi. "The Britishers dug canals and the land of these two districts -- Lyallpur and Montgomery were very fertile. Bhagat Singh's family like many families in the whole of Punjab shifted after they were allotted the land. They got the land at 'Chak No 105' in Lyallpur".

 

There, is also a story behind how Khatkar Khalan got its name many centuries ago.

The beginning of the story was when an ancestor of Bhagat Singh, who traveled from his home in Narli, Amritsar, to Haridwar to immerse the ashes of a member of his family.

The incident occurred even before Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak in the 15th century. We do not know his name, was crossing 'Garh Kalan' (fort village) and spent a night at the house of a local feudal lord. Impressed with the boy, the feudal lord arranged the marriage of his only daughter with him and gave the village as a dowry. When the marriage was arranged, there was only one condition, the boy had to stay with them and he agreed. So, Garh Kalan, came to be called Khat Kalan. Later, the people started calling the village 'Khatkar Kalan. The story was mentioned in Bhagat Singh's uncle Ajit Singh’s autobiography called ‘Buried Alive’.

 

Many centuries later, Bhagat Singh's great grandfather Fateh Singh, who dared to defy the British East India Company. In the 1840s, he had fought the British under the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army in the Anglo-Sikh war. Unfortunately, much of their land and property was seized by the British East India Company. However, during the First War of Independence in 1857, the then Governor of Punjab John Lawrence called upon Fateh Singh for help against the rebels in return of confiscated property and other rewards, but he refused. Fateh Singh believed it was the test of his life and he believed in the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh who said “wherever people fight for their rights, it is your duty to stand with them. So, he chose his principle, and not property," said Jagmohan Singh, who retired as head of the computer science department in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

It sure is an interesting story and I was impressed by the bravery of Bhagat Singh’s ancestors. No wonder Bhagat Singh became who he was.

 

 

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:26:42 +0530
The young guru of Bhagat Singh who sacrificed his life for Bharat Ma

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. I had written many articles on unknown people who gave their lives for freedom of Bharat Ma.

What is freedom and are we totally free as was the dream of many who gave their lives for the independence of India. Rabindra Nath Tagore in Gitanjali said

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”.

 

When you read this poem and ask your conscience and think of the question and you will get the answer. Did the sacrifice of the millions go in vain? Have we have forgotten them and only give credit to two for our independence and the rest are forgotten in the annals of history never to be remembered. Was it for this day, they selflessly sacrificed their life for you and me, children of Independent India? However, is it fair to forget them and their sacrifice?

 

Today I am going to write about Kartar Singh, a 19-year-old revolutionary who gave his life for his motherland. “Among the more inspiring tales of the Indian Freedom Movement are the stories of the young men and women who flirted with danger by taking on the might of ‘the great empire, where the sun never sets’. and sacrificed their lives for their motherland. Every year on 23rd  March or Shaheed Diwas, Bhagat Singh and his comrades, Sukhdev and Rajguru, are remembered for the sacrifice they made. For a country that was enslaved by the British, the execution of these three young men in 1931 served as a fuel to further their commitment or freedom”. It is said, “their executions were not an end, but yet another beginning and perhaps more importantly, a reaffirmation of their dream to achieve their goal of free India.

 

In 1915, when Bhagat Singh was only a young boy, another young man was executed by the British Administration. He  was only 19 and  his sacrifice served as a ‘trigger of sorts to many others’. Kartar Singh Sarabha was born on 24th  May 1896 in Sarabha village near Ludhiana in undivided Punjab. Since the middle of the 19th Century, Punjab had undergone many unfavorable changes. In the year 1849, the British had usurped the empire of the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh after pensioning off his heir, Dalip Singh. Soon after, many Punjabis joined the British-Indian Army. By 1900, close to half the Indian Army comprised troops from Punjab.

The ‘Canal Colonies’ were developed in Punjab by the British to feed their commercial agricultural activities and had also resulted in internal migration between East and West Punjab. The colonies had enabled many peasants to obtain land, but the cycle of bad harvests, indebtedness and pressure to pay tax were their major worries. The famines of 1896-97 and 1899-1900 were particularly severe. In November 1906, a drastic increase in the rate of canal water was announced by the Colonial Government.

 

In such a worrisome situation, the urge to leave Punjab to other countries was but quite natural. Initial emigration was to the Far East, however, in 1905, 45 Punjabis went to Canada and by 1908, there were 3500 Indians in Canada when the authorities clamped down on Indian immigration. Then they now entered the United States. Several thousand managed to enter the US, and most of them were Sikhs.

 

Sarabha’s early years were spent in the village where he was brought up by his grandfather following his father’s early death. He completed his matriculation from Ravenshaw College in Cuttack, where an uncle lived. In the year, 1912, Sarabha left for San Francisco, wanting to enroll at the University of Berkeley. However, his enrollment details at Berkeley are unclear and it is difficult to state with certainty that he did study there.

 

North America in the beginning of 20th Century were hostile to Asian immigrants and their presence caused much resentment. The immigrants began form groups in an attempt to share their troubles and discuss what they were experiencing. In this process, Sarabha became politicized. Freeing India from the British was thought to be a way to restore the honor and dignity of Indians. In March 1913, Indian workers in the states of Oregon and Washington founded an organization to fight for their rights. Around the same time, in May-June 1913, Lala Hardayal addressed a series of meetings in California and formed a party  called Ghadar Party with a call for armed revolution. Sarabha joined the movement and soon the party began to spread its wings across the US. The movement set up its  headquarters in San Francisco and besides Sarabha, many others like Harnam Singh, Raghubar Dyal Gupta and many others volunteered not only to work for the movement, but to stay in the premises and be available for it at all times.

 

Soon a newspaper called Ghadar was published in Urdu in November 1913 and from December onwards in Punjabi. It was still not clear how the Ghadarites intended to start an armed rebellion. Being politically well-informed, there was a sense that Europe would soon be plunged in war and that would be perhaps be a good moment to strike. The feeling though was that this war would likely begin around 1920 and so they had some years to prepare themselves. Meanwhile, regular issues of the publication kept coming out, some even finding their way to India where they were seized by British authorities.

“Almost from the very beginning, things did not go according to plan. Many who landed in Calcutta, like Sohan Singh Bhakna, were arrested on arrival. Sarabha, who was handicapped by the arrest of his compatriots, nevertheless continued undaunted and entered many cantonments in Punjab and attempted to radicalize the soldiers. Vishnu Ganesh Pingley, his associate from the US and Rash Behari Bose from Bengal who had joined the Ghadarites in India were his companions in this endeavor.

 

The date for armed revolt was fixed on 21st February 1915, unfortunately, someone leaked this information to the British authorities after which the date was changed to 19th  February. Meanwhile, the British reacted swiftly and arrested a number of revolutionaries. The promised revolution did not occur. Both Pingley and Sarabha were arrested. Bose fled to Japan and did not return to India till his death there in 1945.

Pingle, Sarabha, Harnam Singh, Bhai Paramanand and many others were tried in the Lahore Conspiracy trial in April 1915 for their roles in the February plot.  When questioned about his role in the plot, Sarabha was defiant, stating that “it was his duty to get Indians to rebel against the British”. Pingle and Sarabha were executed at the Lahore Central Jail on 16th November 1915.

 

Sarabha’s supreme sacrifice did not go in vain. Bhagat Singh idolized him and carried his photo around in his pocket at all times. When the ‘Naujawan Bharat Sabha’ was established in March 1926 by Bhagat Singh, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and others, one of the first functions that the Sabha organized was to pay homage to Sarabha. In that function, Durga Devi and Sushila Devi sprinkled blood from their fingers on a milky white cover of Sarabha’s portrait to underline their commitment to the cause.

Let me ask you a question, how many of you have heard of him? I am sure the answer would be no. I wrote this article to pay homage to this patriot who we can call as Bhagat Singh’s guru.

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:23:43 +0530
Happy Birthday Bhagat Singh

Happy Birthday Bhagat Singh! 

Anupama Nair

“But the heart, the eye, the yet deeper heart —
Still ablaze for the Beloved, their turmoil shines.
In the lantern by the road the flame is stalled for news:
Did the morning breeze ever come?  Where has it gone?
Night weighs us down, it still weighs us down.
Friends, come away from this false light.  Come, we must
search for that promised Dawn”

But the promised Dawn did finally come after nearly 200 years of colonial rule. We lost millions of Bharat Ma’s sons and daughters starting from Siraj-ud-Daula (Battle of Plassey, 1757), to Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai (1857) and finally Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and lastly the man who said “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”—Netaji.

As Rousseau, during the French Revolution said “Man is born free yet he is in chains”, it was true for India. The desire to be free is the dream of every human, but during the Raj it was a rare commodity. For a century we were ruled by a Company called East India Company, who let loose a reign of terror. It was truly a black era. But the Revolt of 1857 ended the Company rule and India was ruled by the British Government. But the reign of terror did not end. All voice of freedom was suppressed.

In such an India was born a true son of Bharat Ma in 1907, in Lyallpur, Lahore (Pakistan). Even today he is the hero of entire Indian sub-continent. His parents were Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. His family had been active in Indian Independence movement for a long time. He was very moved by the visit to Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, where General Dyer shot innocent people. Lakhs lost their lives. In 1923 he joined National College, Lahore, where he met Sukhdev and both of them joined Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).

In 1928, the British government set up the Simon Commission to report on the political situation in India. It was opposed in India because there was not a single Indian in the Commission. Lala Lajpat Rai held a march in protest against it. Police attempts to disperse the large crowd resulted in violence. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to lathi charge against the protesters and personally assaulted Rai, who was injured. Rai died in November 1928.

Bhagat was a prominent member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and was mainly responsible, for its change of name to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928. The HSRA vowed to avenge Rai's death. Singh conspired with revolutionaries like RajguruSukhdev, and Chandrashekhar Azad to kill Scott. However, in a case of mistaken identity, the plotters shot John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, as he was leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928. After killing Saunders, the group escaped to Calcutta with the help of an associate Durga Bhabhi.

 

Bhagat Singh's plan was to explode a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly. The intention was to protest against the Public Safety Bill, and the Trade Dispute Act, which had been rejected by the Assembly but were being enacted by the Viceroy Lord Irwin ,using his special powers; the actual intention was for the perpetrators to allow themselves to be arrested so that they could use court appearances as a stage to publicize their cause for freedom. The trial began in the first week of June, following a preliminary hearing in May. On 12 June, both Bhagat Singh and Bhatukeshwar Dutt were sentenced to life imprisonment for: "causing explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, unlawfully and maliciously." After a re-trial of the Saunders Murder case, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to Death by Hanging.

The entire country except the Congress under Gandhi revolted against the execution. Gandhi was greeted by black flags in Karachi. On 23rd March 1931, the British treacherously hung three young lives. Chandrashekhar Azad was also martyred but their sacrifices did not go in vain as Dawn of Freedom come on 15th August 1947 as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel and Veer Savarkar followed their ideas. Today every one in India is free and it was won paying huge price and millions who sacrificed their lives.

Today is the 90th Balidan Diwas of India’s greatest sons. Pakistan named the spot where Bhagat Singh was hanged as Bhagat Singh Chowk. As India is celebrating the 75th year of Independence it is relevant to remember them. He was voted the "Greatest Indian" in a poll by the Indian magazine India Today in 2008

Bhagat Singh quotes

 

"It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived."

"Revolution is an inalienable right of mankind”.

"If the deaf have to hear, the sound has to be very loud".

“Any man who stands for progress has to criticize, disbelieve and challenge every item of the old faith. * Zindagi to apne dam par hi jee jati hai. Dusro ke kandhe par toh sirf janaje uthaye jate hai. Desh ke bhagato ko aksar log pagal kahte hai!”

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:17:29 +0530
Liberalization Privatization and Globalization An Appraisal

 

Anupama Nair

There is an always an eternal debate about the policies a country should implement in order to inspire economic growth. The questions asked are is it better for a government to intervene and choose which industries to develop, or should it allow the private sector to decide what to produce? We heard many success stories of countries that had followed industrial policies, such as the Asian tigers in the 1960s and 1990s, but there are also stories of failure, such as India in the decades prior to the 1990s. What led to the economic miracle in India during the 1990s is the question?

The Indian government sought to encourage industrialization by directing investment toward the production of capital goods and by restricting imports. At the same time, it tried to help its poorest citizens, who lived in villages, due to which the return on capital in the public sector during the 1980s was only 1.5%. The private sector, after Independence suffered under other restrictions, including the following:

  • Import restrictions that did not permit the free exchange of goods and knowledge.
  • Anti-trust laws that did not allow businesses to grow.
  • Public monopolies that operated very inefficiently.
  • The License Raj, which complicated the process of opening new businesses

 

So, it is not surprising that GDP per capita grew only at an annual rate of only 3.5% in the years prior to the 1980s. Considering, how poor India was, even in the following decade, the GDP per capita was only $447 in 1985, the growth rates were also alarming. They were not high enough to lift the population out of poverty. Like many other countries that were unable to produce enough to finance their government projects through taxation, India financed itself with public debt. In 1991, the public debt reached $70 billion and India was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. To avoid this disastrous last resort, India was forced to take immediate action to fix the problem.

In 1991, the Indian government broke with industrial policy, which had failed. In a surprising 180-degree twist, the new policies encouraged business activity, stimulated growth in the private sector, and revived international trade.

Some of the most important measures included:

  • Eliminating the industrial license requirement for most sectors;
  • Removing limits on capital accumulation;
  • Eliminating licenses for importing the majority of goods;
  • Reducing tariffs.
  • Opening the private sector to many activities that had previously been reserved for the public sector.
  • Reducing requirements for bank reserves and restrictions on interest rates.
  • Eliminating restrictions on foreign investment.

Liberalization achieved the desired results, as reflected by the following data:

  • GDP per capita grew at an annual rate of 6 % in the 1990s, driven by the service sector, which would come to represent 53.5 %of GDP by 1999.
  • Exports grew at an annual rate of 17.3 % during the 1990s, in large part because of a boom in the software sector.
  • India’s score on the Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom rose from 4.8 in 1990 to 6.2 in 2000, reflecting remarkable improvements in the freedom to trade internationally.
  • Although the economy grew after liberalization, one could argue that this is a coincidence and that the growth was really a belated effect of the previous industrial policies. It could also be argued that economic growth would have occurred even without any policy changes.

 

 

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:55:43 +0530
Lata Mangeshkar and KL Saigal a true story

 

Anupama Nair

Lata Mangeshkar is considered as one of the greatest singers in living history, no wonder she is called Swar Kokila, or nightingale of India and was awarded the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. She left for her heavenly abode on 6th February this year, leaving a deep void, in Indian music that can never be filled. All lovers of music can never forget the impact of the news that greeted us on a Sunday. It has left an untold sadness in my heart. So, I am writing many articles about her, the facts I learnt in the course of my career.

 

Few of you might know that along with Veer Savarkar ji she also idolized one of the greatest male playback singer as well as actor K.L Saigal. Who can forget the song “jub dil he toot gaya” from the blockbuster film Shah Jehan released in 1946 starring Saigal himself? In those years or golden era of Hindi Music, it was necessary for an actor or actress to be a playback singer too. Saigal, Noor Jehan, Surendra, Suraiya are all great singers as well as actors and most of their films were block busters – Devdas, Anmol Ghadi, Mirza Sahiba, Rattan and many others.

 

Now, let me tell you about Saigal and I am sure, he needs no introduction to music lovers. Actor-singer Kundanlal Saigal, or K.L. Saigal, was born on April 11, 1904. Known for his unique voice, K. L. Saigal has sung over 185 songs throughout his career. He also established himself as one of the first true Bollywood superstars and worked on 36 films in three languages - 28 in Hindi, seven in Bengali, and one in Tamil. Some of his most popular and successful movies were Yahudi Ki Ladki, Bhukt Surdas, Tansen, Devdas, Street Singer, Lagan, among others.

 

Formal education in music was not easily available in those days, as we do now. However, he did whatever he could to learn music. Initially he got experience in acting in local Ramlila pandals.  It is said that as a youth he used to sneak to the house of a local ‘tawaif’ so that he could hear her sing and later he would imitate what he heard. As a young man he tried several occupations.  After he dropped out of school, he worked for a while as a railway timekeeper and as a typewriter salesman which gave him the opportunity to travel widely in India.

 

He started singing as an amateur.  He used to sing in gatherings with friends and met many influential people.  He had the luck to meet Meharchand Jain, who would become one of Saigal's early friend and supporter. In course of his travels, he also met B.N. Sircar the founder of New Theatres. It is said that it was Sircar, who persuaded Saigal to go to Calcutta. Saigal's life in Calcutta was full of music. Though, he briefly worked as a hotel manager, his sole interest was in music and  he also participated in mehfils. He also recorded a number of songs written and arranged by Harishchandra Bali.  These were released through Indian Gramophone Company.  Little by little, his reputation as a singer increased. The film world at that time was in the midst of a revolution as the talkies was just introduced, and the producers were clamoring for actors who could sing like Saigal, Surendra, Punkaj Mullik, Noor Jehan and Suraiya. 

You need to remember it was the time before the custom of ‘playback singing as we know in the golden era come into fashion.  My dad who was a great fan of Noor Jehan and used to say “the actors and actresses sang their own songs, and musical ability was considered and important pre-requisite for a successful film career”.

 

Saigal's immensely famous music recordings proved to be his stepping-stone into acting in films.  Saigal was later introduced to R.C. Boral, who signed Saigal to a contract with New Theatres.  He was paid Rs. 200 a month to work to act in films.  In those days Rs. 200 would have been worth crores. His first film was "Mohabbat Ke Ansoo"  released in 1932.  After that, he had roles in "Subah Ke Sitare", and "Zinda Laash”, both released in 1932.  During this time, Saigal continued to make disks called Hindustan Records Company of which ‘Jhulana jhulao’ was popular. He continued to sing and act in a number of films, however, the film that was epoch-making was ‘Chandidas’ released in  1934. However, the film that shaped his career was ‘Devdas’ which was ironic as he was an alcoholic too and died due to heavy drinking like the character Devdas. After the phenomenal success of ‘Devdas’, there was no doubt that Saigal was a formidable entity in the film industry.

 

It was during this period that his personal life developed as well.  In 1935 he married Asha Rani and had three children.  There was a son named Madan Mohan (no connection to the director of the same name), and two daughters, Nina and Bina. It is said that in the years before his death, he was unable to sing or perform without first having a drink.  This was affecting both his health as well as his work.  He suffered from liver cirrhosis, and medical treatment was to no avail and he passed away on January 18th 1947 in Jalandhar, when he was only 42 years old.

 

Now let us come back to his relationship with Mangeshkar family, in the early 1930's, --the family of singers had their own idol, K.L. Saigal. His songs were very popular in the Mangeshkar household. In those days, they were only allowed to sing songs sung by Saigal. So, with no access to any other male singer's voice young Lata fell in love with him started to dream of getting married to Saigal. In an interview the Bharat Ratna said emotionally, "as far as I can remember, I always wanted to meet Saigal. As a child, I used to say that I will get married to him after I grow up, and that's when my father explained to me that when I'll be big enough to get married, Saigal saab will be too old enough to get married".

 

Unfortunately, Lataji was never able to meet up with her dream man. In her own words, she said, "I will always regret not to have met Saigal, the man of my dreams. But yes, with the help of his brother Mahendra Saigal, I did get a chance to meet his wife Ashaji and his children who gifted me Saigal saab's ring". Though she could not see him personally the ring would have meant much to her! Those were the days when music was the ‘milap of sur and taal’. Unfortunately, after the 1990s the film music lacked raag, alaap, tal, shruti aur sur, and you can imagine, without these no music would exist. Other than a few films like Parinita, Baji Rao Mastani and Padmavat, music ceased to exist. Hope “guzra hua zamana wapas aa jaye”!

 

 

 

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:49:11 +0530
Veer Savarkar and Lata Mangeshkar their true relationship

 

Anupama Nair

Today I am going to write about a news which has been much talked about i.e., Swar Kokila Bharat Ratna, Lata Mangeshkar’s relationship with one of India’s greatest sons and freedom fighter who believed in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ideas of Swaraj and Swadharma – Veer Savarkar. Lata ji left this world for her heavenly abode on 6th February 2022 at an age of 92. In many articles and tweets Lata ji talked about her relationship with Savarkar ji, when she was a small girl. The entire Mangeshkar clan had a very close  relationship with Savarkar ji. Her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar was fired from All India Radio for singing a poetry written by Savarkar. He had knowingly taken that risk.

To refresh your memory let me tell you about Savarkar ji and then the relationship with Lata ji’s family.

Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a great son of Mother India was born on 28th May 1883 to Damodar and Radhabai Savarkar, near Nashik, Maharastra. Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and popularized the term Hindutva (Hinduness), previously coined by Chandranath Basu to create a collective "Hindu" identity as an essence of Bharat. Surprisingly Savarkar was an atheist and also a pragmatic practitioner of Hindu philosophy.

Savarkar began his political activities as a high school student and continued to do so in Ferguson College (Poona). He and his brother founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society. When he went to the United Kingdom for his law studies, he involved himself with organizations such as India House and the Free India Society. He also published books advocating complete Indian independence by revolutionary means. One of the books he published called “Indian War of Independence” about the great Revolt of 1857, was banned by the British authorities. In 1910, Savarkar was arrested and ordered to be extradited to India for his connections with the revolutionary group India House.

On his voyage back to India, Savarkar staged an attempt to escape and seek asylum in France, while the ship was docked in the port of Marseilles. The French port officials however, handed him back to the British while disobeying international law. On return to India, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totaling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Island. Savarkar resided in Ratnagiri till 1937, when he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. He started traveling widely, becoming a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity.

Savarkar was critical of the decision taken by the Congress in its Wardha session of 1942, which passed a resolution which said to the British: "Quit India but keep your armies here". Savarkar said it “was the reinstallation of British military rule over India”, which he felt would be much worse. In July 1942, as he felt extremely stressed carrying out his duties as the president of Hindu Mahasabha, and as he needed some rest, he resigned from the post of the president. This coincided with MK Gandhi’s Quit India Movement.

In 1948, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of MK Gandhi, however, he was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence. Savarkar resurfaced in the popular discourse after the coming of the BJP into power in 1998, and again in 2014 with the Modi-led BJP government at the center.

The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital was renamed Veer Savarkar’s International Airport in 2002. A postage stamp in his memory was released in 1970. The Malayalam movie, Kala Paani was made to commemorate his life. Annu Kapoor played the role of Savarkar.

What was the relationship of Savarkar ji to Lata ji? Freedom fighter and among the earliest proponents of the Hindutva ideology, Veer Savarkar, remains one of the most vilified personalities in Indian history. For decades, Savarkar was treated with disdain and demonized by successive Indian governments, a majority of them headed by the Congress party. A conscious effort was undertaken to defame Veer Savarkar so as to discredit his beliefs and undermine his contribution to India’s freedom struggle. But legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and her family were among those who saw through this facade carefully created by the Congress party and its loyalists and held “Savarkar for who he was a staunch patriot dedicated to the cause of India’s freedom and an erudite man with a flair for poetry and writing”.

Lata ji did not like Savarkar ji not only because of his love for his motherland, but also for the personal relationship he had with her family. He wrote a play for Lata ji’s father Pundit Dina Nath Mangeshkar’s theater company. He tried to spread awareness against the British rule. The name of the play was ‘Sanyasth Khadga’. The play went live on 18th September 1931. Lata ji recalled her mother Sevantha who was lovingly called mai used to make dinner for all the people associated with the play. She met Savarkar when she used to deliver lunch and dinner. She was lucky enough to have met and interacted with a person like Savarkar ji.

Every year on his Jayanti on 28th May she would tweet her respect. She said “ those who are speaking against Savarkar ji do not know how big a patriot and self-respecting person he was”. Now both can meet in heaven.

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:46:37 +0530
Happy Birthday Lata Ji

 

Anupama Nair

When I think of Music, I always think of my favorite writer Shakespeare and his quotes “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die”. I will take you on a journey of the Hindi film music. Hindi film music has a long history and still decide the fate of a movie. The film music from the beginning till the 1990s had poetic lyrics and melodious music. However, with the arrival of the millennium, the music lost its touch. No poetic lyrics or melodious music exist, any more, only very rarely in film like Parinita, but mostly do not exist anymore. It pains my heart to see this fall. Hope the yesteryears come back, at least for music. So, I can say, safely it is the death of Indin music too.

 

The first film in Hindi with recorded music was in the move “Alam Ara” made in 1931, and the first song had the lyrics “De khuda ke naam per”. In the 1940s they are many songs which after 80 years are still popular. Some of those songs are “Akhiyan Milake (Ratan), Jawan hai Muhabbat (Anmol Ghadi), and Awaz de Kahan hai (Anmol Ghadi). The songs sung by Suraiya and Noor Jehan are still super hits. When Bharat Ma was amputated in 1947, Noor Jehan unfortunately left for Pakistan and it enabled the rise of Lata.

 

She was born on September 1929 to the great Dinanath Mangeshkar and Sevanthi Bai in the princely state of Indore in Central Provinces in British India. She was born as the eldest of five siblings – Asha, Usha, Meena and Hridaynath, who were all musicians. Asha Bhosle her sister is also a famous play back singer. She did not receive any formal education and her father Dinanath ran a theater company that produced musical plays, where Lata started acting at the young age of five. She was introduced to music at a very young age.

Lataji’s  birth name was "Hema". Later, her parents renamed, Lata, after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays, Bhaaw Bandhan. Her father was her first guru. In her career of more than six decades, she was the singing voice for a great number of Bollywood leading heroines like Madhubala, Nargis, Nootan, Meena Kumari, Jaya Bachan, Sharmila Tagore, Rakhi… and the list is endless. She proved there is no boundaries in music.

When Lata Mangeshkar was only 13 years old, her father died due to a heart attack.The owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company named Master Vinayak or Vinayak Damodar Karnataki took care of them as he was a close friend of the Mangeshkar family. He helped Lata to get started in a career as a singer and actress. 

.

As a teenager, she struggled to support her family. She decided to try her luck in Bollywood and moved to Mumbai in 1945. She started taking lessons from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhindi Bazaar Gharana in Hindustani classical music. Her first movie was Aap Ki Seva Mein in 1946, and she sang the song "Paa Lagoon Kar Jori" which was composed by Datta Davjekar.  Lata ji once said Badi Maa released in 1945, was a epoch making  movie, as Lata and her sister Asha played minor roles in the movie where Noor Jehan the reigning queen was the heroine. In this movie, she also sang a Bhajan "Mata Tere Charnon Mein", and this movie led to a life long friendship with Noor Jehan.

In 1948, Vinayak died and music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer. He introduced Lata to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee and she recorded the hit “Uthaye ja unke sitam” in Andaz  released in 1949, and her destiny was sealed. From this point, she gave her musical voice to every major leading lady, representing every generation of Hindi cinema from Nargis, Madhubala and Waheeda Rehman to Madhuri Dixit and finally Preity Zinta and Kajol.

Her singing contributed a great deal to the commercial films like Mahal (1949), where the song “ Ayega Ayega Aane wala, ayega”, is still a blockbuster song. Barsaat (1949), Meena Bazaar (1950), Aadhi Raat (1950), Chhoti Bhabhi (1950), Afsana (1951), Aansoo (1953), and Adl-e-Jehangir (1955) gave her a career boost. She then sang various Raag-based songs for Naushad in films like Deedar (1951), Baiju Bawra (1952), Amar (1954), Uran Khatola (1955), and Mother India (1957).  Her first song for the composer Naushad was Ae Chorre Ki Jaat Badi Bewafa, a duet with G. M. Durrani. The duo, Shankar–Jaikishan, chose Lata for Barsaat (1949), Aah (1953), Shree 420 (1955), and Chori Chori (1956).

Composer S.D Burman before the year 1957 chose Lata as the leading female singer for Sazaa (1951),  House No. 44 (1955), and Devdas (1955). In 1957, there was a rift and she did not sing his compositions again until 1962."Aaja Re Pardesi" from Madhumati (1958) won her the Filmfare award. She sang for films like Baagi (1953), Railway Platform (1955), Pocketmaar (1956), Mr. Lambu (1956), Dekh Kabira Roya (1957), Adalat (1958), Jailor (1958), Mohar (1959), and Chacha Zindabad (1959), for the great Madan Mohan.

Can we ever forget the song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from Dilip Kumar, Madhubala starrer Mughal-e-Azam released in1960. Lata Ji sang this song very beautifully and is still, a blockbuster. It was composed by Naushad and lip-synced by Madhubala. "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh" from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) was also sung by Lata Ji very beautifully. It was composed by Shankar–Jaikishan and lip-synced by Meena Kumari.

Lata Ji sang a patriotic song against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian War “ Ae mere watan ki logon” in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India and it is  said that the song brought tears to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The song was composed by C. Ramchandra and written by Kavi Pradeep. The song “Vandemataram” sung by Lata from the film Anandmath fills the heart of every Indian with patriotism.

 

The 1960s was beginning of the association of Lata Ji with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the music director for whom she sang the most popular songs. It is said that she sang over 700 songs for the composer duo over a period of 35 years, many of which become hits. She sang for several movies including Parasmani (1963), Mr. X in Bombay (1964), Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966), Milan (1967), Anita (1967), Shagird (1968), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Intaquam (1969), Do Raaste (1969) and Jeene Ki Raah for which she got the Filmfare award.

Meena Kumari's last film ‘Pakeeza’ released in 1972 which featured popular songs like "Chalte Chalte" and Inhi Logon Ne", sung by Lata Ji and composed by Ghulam Mohammed are still popular today. She also recorded various popular songs for S.D Burman's last films like "Rangeela Re" from Prem Pujari (1970), "Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan" from Sharmeelee (1971), and "Piya Bina" from Abhimaan (1973) and for Madan Mohan's last films, including Dastak (1970), Heer Raanjha (1970), Dil Ki Rahen (1973), Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), Hanste Zakhm (1973), Mausam (1975) and Laila Majnu (1976).

Various songs by Lata Mangeshkar were composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Rahul Dev Burman in the 1970s. Various hit songs are also sung by her with Rahul Dev Burman in the films including Amar Prem (1972), Caravan (1971), Kati Patang (1971), and Aandhi (1975). The two are noted for their songs with the lyricists Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, and Gulzar. She won the 4th film fare award for the song “Biti na Bitai” from the film Parichay. She also sang Malayalam song in 1974 ""Kadali Chenkadali" for the film Nellu. It was composed by Salil Chowdhury, and written by Vayalar Ramavarma.

She won the National Award for her song “ Roothe Roothe Piya” from the movie Kora Kagaz. She started singing in many concerts from the 1970s onwards including various charity concerts. In 1974, and her first concert was at the Royal Albert Hall, London and she was the first Indian to do so. An album of Mira Bhajans was released soon. Satyam Shivan Sundaram in 1978 directed by Raj Kapoor in which Lata Ji sang the main theme song "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" become the hit of the year. 

In 1980s she sang for various movies including Karz (1980), Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), Silsila (1981), Prem Rog (1982), Hero (1983), Pyar Jhukta Nahin (1985), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), Nagina (1986), and Ram Lakhan (1989). Her song "Zu Zu Zu Yashoda" from Sanjog (1985) was a hit at that time.The biggest hits of Lataji in 1980s were "Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho" in Asha (1980), "Tu Kitne Baras Ka" in Karz (1980), "Kitna Aasan Hai" in Dostana (1980), "Hum Ko Bhi Gham" in Aas Paas (1980), "Mere Naseeb Mein" in Naseeb (1980), "Zindagi Ki Na Toote" in Kranti (1981), "Solah Baras Ki" in Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), "Ye Galiyan Ye Chaubara" in Prem Rog (1982), "Likhnewale Ne Likh Dale" in Arpan (1983), "Din Maheene Saal" in Avtaar (1983), "Pyar Karnewale" and "Nindiya Se Jagi" in Hero (1983), "Zu Zu Zu Yashoda" in Sanjog (1985), "Zindagi Har Qadam" in Meri Jung (1985), "Baith Mere Paas" in Yaadon Ki Kasam (1985), "Ungli Mein Anghoti" in Ram Avtar (1988) and "O Ramji Tere Lakhan Ne" in Ram Lakhan (1989).

 

In the 1990s she recorded with various music directors like Anand-Milind, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, etc. She also launched her own production house in 1990 for Hindi movies which produced the Gulzar-directed movie Lekin. She won her third National FIlm Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Yaara Sili Sili". It was composed by her brother Hridaynath. She also sung for almost all the Yash Chopra films. Even A. R Rahman had recorded a few songs with her during this period like "Jiya Jale" in Dil Se.., "Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagin" in One 2 Ka 4, "Ek Tu Hi Bharosa" in Pukar, "Pyaara Sa Gaon" in Zubeidaa, "So Gaye Hain" in Zubeidaa, etc.

 

She was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor in 2001. She also established the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune in the same year. It was managed by the Lata Mangeshkar Medical Foundation.She also donated to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief.

She released the album Sarhadein: Music Beyond Boundaries on 12 April 2011. It contains duet Tera Milna Bahut Acha Lage"  with the Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan. She also recorded a song for composer Nadeem-Shravan "Kaise Piya Se" for Bewafaa (2005). Shamir Tandon also recorded a song with her "Tere Hasne Sai Mujheko" for the movie Satrangee Parachute (2011). She also recorded a song in her own studio. The song was "Jeena kya hai, jaana maine" for Dunno Y2-Life Is A Moment (2015).

This year on 6th February she left us to go with Maa Saraswati. May her soul rest in peace

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:41:51 +0530
My country the end of Colonial Rule and Dawn of Freedom

 

Anupama Nair

With the end of the 19th Century, the arrival of the 20th Century was not very happy for India. The first partition of Bengal in 1905 brought the province to the brink of open rebellion. The British recognized that Bengal, with around 85 million people, was much too large for a single province and determined that it merited re-organization and intelligent partition. The line drawn by Lord Curzon’s government, however, cut through the heart of the Bengali-speaking “province,” leaving western Bengal’s bhadralok or respectable people, the intellectual Hindu leadership of Calcutta, tied to the much less politically active Bihari- and Oriya-speaking Hindus to their north and south. A new Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam was created with its capital at Dacca. The Indians however, viewed that partition as an attempt to “divide and rule” and as proof of the government’s vindictive antipathy towards the outspoken bhadralok intellectuals, especially since Curzon and his subordinates had ignored countless pleas and petitions signed by tens of thousands of Calcutta’s leading citizens. Bengali Hindus who believed in Mother Goddess Durga that partition was nothing less than the amputation of their “mother province,” and mass protest rallies before and after Bengal’s division on October 16, 1905, attracted millions of people who were till then untouched by politics of any variety.

The new tide of national sentiment born in Bengal spread to the entire Sub-continent and “Bande Mataram” written by Bankim Chandra, from his popular novel Anand Math, and its music was composed by Bengal’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore. As a reaction against the partition, Bengali Hindus launched an effective boycott of British-made goods and dramatized their resolve to live without foreign goods by igniting huge bonfires of Lancashire-made textiles. Such bonfires, re-creating ancient Vedic sacrificial altars, aroused Hindus in Poona, Madras, and Bombay to light similar political pyres of protest. Instead of wearing foreign-made cloth, Indians vowed to use only domestic  or swadeshi cottons and other clothing made in India. Simple hand-spun and hand-woven saris became high fashion, first in Calcutta and elsewhere in Bengal and then all across India, the finest Lancashire garments were now viewed as hateful imports. The swadeshi movement soon stimulated indigenous enterprise in many fields, from Indian cotton mills to match factories, glass-blowing shops, and iron and steel foundries.

Increased demands for national education also swiftly followed the partition. Bengali students and professors extended their boycott of British goods to English schools and college classrooms. The movement for national education spread throughout Bengal, as well as to Varanasi (Banaras), where Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya  founded his private Banaras Hindu University in 1910.

One of the last major demands to be added to the platform of the Congress Party in the wake of Bengal’s first partition was Swaraj, which become the most popular mantra of Indian nationalism. Swaraj was first used in the presidential address of Dadabhai Naoroji, as the Congress’s goal at its Calcutta session in 1906. In England the Liberal Party’s victory of 1906 heralded the dawn of a new era of reforms for British India. The Viceroy, Lord Minto, and the new secretary of state for India, John Morley, was able to introduce several important innovations into the legislative and administrative machinery of the British Indian government. He tried to enact Queen Victoria’s promise of racial equality of opportunity, which since 1858 had served only to assure Indian nationalists of British hypocrisy. He appointed two Indian members to his council at Whitehall -- Sayyid Husain Bilgrami, who had taken an active role in the founding of the Muslim League, and Krishna G. Gupta, who was the senior Indian in the ICS. Morley also persuaded a reluctant Lord Minto to appoint an Indian Satyendra Sinha to the viceroy’s executive council in 1909. Sinha (later Lord Sinha) had been admitted to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1886 and was advocate general of Bengal before his appointment as the Viceroy’s law member, a position he resigned in 1910. He was elected president of the Congress Party in 1915 and became parliamentary undersecretary of state for India in 1919 and governor of Bihar and Orissa in 1920. 

 

The reunification of Bengal helped to pacify Bengali Hindus, but the downgrading of Calcutta from imperial to mere provincial capital status was simultaneously a blow to egos of Bhadralok and to real estate values in Calcutta. Political unrest continued, and Lord Hardinge himself was nearly assassinated by a bomb thrown into his howdah on top of his viceregal elephant as he entered Delhi in 1912. The would-be assassin escaped in the crowd. Later that year Edwin Samuel Montagu, Morley’s political protégé, who served as parliamentary undersecretary of state for India from 1910 to 1914, announced that the goal of British policy toward India would be to meet the just demands of Indians for a greater share in government. Britain seemed to be awakening to the urgency of India’s political demands just as more compelling problems of European war pre-empted Whitehall’s attention.

 

In August 1914 Lord Hardinge announced his government’s entry into World War I. India’s contributions to the war became extensive and significant, and the war’s contributions to change within British India proved to be even greater. In many ways politically, economically, and socially the impact of the conflict was as great as that of the Revolt of 1857.

 

Then an incident happened on the afternoon of April 13, 1919, where 10,000 or more unarmed men, women, and children gathered in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh despite a ban on public assemblies. It was a Sunday, and many neighboring villagers had also come to Amritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival. Dyer positioned his men at the sole, narrow passageway of the Bagh, which was otherwise entirely enclosed by the backs of abutted brick buildings. Without any warning, he ordered 50 soldiers to fire into the gathering, and for 10 to 15 minutes about 1,650 rounds of ammunition were unloaded into the screaming, terrified crowd, some of whom were trampled by those desperately trying to escape. Many thousands lost their lives. However, Dyer, who argued that his action was necessary to produce a “moral and widespread effect,” admitted that the firing would have continued had more ammunition been available.

 

The governor of the Punjab province supported the massacre and, on April 15, placed the entire province under martial law. Viceroy Chelmsford, however, characterized the action as “an error of judgment,” and, when Secretary of State Montagu learned of the slaughter, he appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by Lord Hunter. Although Dyer was subsequently relieved of his command, he returned as a hero to many in Britain, especially the Conservatives, and in Parliament members of the House of Lords presented him with a jeweled sword with words inscribed “Savior of the Punjab.”

The Massacre in Amritsar turned millions of moderate Indians who were patient and loyal supporters of the British into nationalists who would never again place trust in British “fair play.” It thus marks the turning point for a majority of the Congress’s supporters from moderate cooperation with the raj and its promised reforms to revolutionary non-cooperation.

 

The last quarter of the British raj was racked by increasingly violent Hindu-Muslim conflict and intensified agitation demanding Indian independence. British officials in London, as well as in New Delhi which became the new capital of British India in 1911 tried in vain to stem the rising tide of popular opposition to their Raj by offering tidbits of constitutional reform, which proved to be either too little to satisfy the Indians. More than a century of British technological, institutional, and ideological unification of the Indian Sub-continent thus ended after World War II with communal civil war, mass migration, and in the end painful amputation of Bharat Ma.

 

Many of the younger members of the Congress Party were eager to take up arms against the British, and some considered M.K. Gandhi as an agent of the Imperial Rule for having called a halt to the first satyagraha in 1922. Most famous and popular of the militant Congress leaders was our beloved and most respected Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He was so popular within Congress that he was elected its president twice (in 1938 and 1939) over Gandhi’s opposition and the active opposition of most members of its central working committee. After being forced to resign the office in April 1939,

 

Elections held in the winter of 1945–46 proved how effective Jinnah’s single-plank strategy for his Muslim League had been, as the league won all 30 seats reserved for Muslims in the Central Legislative Assembly and most of the reserved provincial seats as well. The Congress Party was successful in gathering most of the general electorate seats, but it could no longer effectively insist that it spoke for the entire population of British India.

 

The Indian Independence Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1947. It ordered that the dominions of India and Pakistan be demarcated by midnight of August 14–15, 1947, and that the assets of the world’s largest empire, which had been integrated in for nearly ten thousand years be divided within a single month. Racing the deadline, two boundary commissions worked desperately to partition Punjab and Bengal, but, as soon as the new borders were known, roughly 30 million Hindus , and Sikhs fled from their homes on one side of the newly demarcated borders to what they thought would be “shelter” on the other. In the course of that tragic exodus of innocents, as many as a two million people—Hindus and Sikhs and not a single Muslim were slaughtered in communal massacres.

 

The transfer of power was completed on August 14 in Pakistan and August 15 in India, held a day apart so that Lord Mountbatten could attend both ceremonies. With the birth of the two independent nations, the British Raj formally came to an end on August 15, 1947.

 

What saddens me is the struggle of nearly 200 years for Independence ended in tragedy and Bharat the world’s oldest civilization was amputated and her children in tears.

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:25:17 +0530
Difference a 1 5 C increase bring to the World

 

Anupama Nair

 

What is Global Warming? Global warming is an aspect of climate change, referring to the long-term rise of  the Earth’s temperatures, mainly from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, that pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The main gases that cause the greenhouse effect include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor (which all occur naturally), and fluorinated gases (which are synthetic). Global warming is expected to have far-reaching, everlasting and distressing consequences for planet Earth.

Josef Werne, a professor of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh, stated “We can observe this happening in real time in many places. Ice is melting in both polar ice caps and mountain glaciers. Lakes around the world, including Lake Superior, are warming rapidly — in some cases faster than the surrounding environment. Animals are changing migration patterns and plants are changing the dates of activity”. Scientists project that extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, blizzards and rainstorms will continue to occur more often and with larger intensity due to Global Warming.

We can see from the start of the millennium, each year from 2014 has been recorded as the hottest year in History. The year 2021, broke all previous records. Most of the countries in Northern Hemisphere, recorded record temperatures in June itself. A heat dome was created in United States and Canada in June, causing temperatures as high as 47°C. I am not talking about Delhi or Lahore, but Canada, a place where Summers are always pleasant. I shudder to imagine what the temperatures will be in Australia and South Africa, this summer from November—March.

What is heat dome? A heat dome is formed when the atmosphere acts as a lid or cap and traps hot ocean air beneath it. It is an area of high pressure stuck over a region. According, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat dome formation is more likely during the La Niña years. This year is unfortunately, a La Niña year. Due to the temperature discrepancy, winds blow dense, tropical western air eastward. That warm air eventually becomes stuck in the jet stream, a circulation of air that travels counterclockwise around the globe, and ends up on the Western Coast of the United States. Heat dome works like a lid on a pot, trapping hot air mass underneath. And this feature is often blamed to be responsible for long-lasting and deadly heat waves around the world. Often a very significant heatwave develops underneath with temperatures well above normal, challenging some heat records.

The heat waves bring in a lot of sunlight and sinking air that heats up as it compresses. Western Canada usually experiences such heat waves in July or August beginning, however in Summer 2021, it had occurred as early as June. Lytton, a town in British Columbia recorded a temperature of 47°C on 28th June 2021 which was the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada as per NASA's Earth Observatory. This year, record heat was reported in Europe too. Countries like Denmark and Sweden reported sweltering heat.

As you are aware, countries closer to the equator (zero degrees latitude) have warmer temperatures year-round compared to countries farther north or south of the equator. Countries that are further north in the Northern Hemisphere or south in the Southern Hemisphere experience four seasons and a wide range of temperatures, including significantly colder temperatures in the winter. Because of the Earth's tilt on its axis, the polar regions receive the sun's rays at a slanted angle, however, the equator receives the rays more directly over a smaller area, making the rays more concentrated and hotter.

Scientists attribute these change in weather patterns to climate crisis aggravated by human actions. “Such extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and severe”, warned World Meteorological Organization in July this year. “Extreme precipitation has been increasing globally due to human-induced climate change”, stated a new research conducted by the University of California. “In a summer already full of extreme weather, it's the heat waves roasting hundreds of millions of people across three continents – America, Europe and Africa and are confirming a grim climate prophecy for many experts” said a weather expert.

Did you know even a minor increase in the temperature across the globe can have disastrous effect. You will ask what difference a minor rise in temperature would mean to the world, and you would be astonished to know there would be a lot of difference in the state of the planet when there would be a rise of 1.5°C and 2°C.

Time and again it has been stressed by the world leaders that global warming needs to be reduced to avoid the Earth's temperature rising by 2°C. The temperature needs to be limited to 1.5°C. In the 2015 Paris Agreement many countries committed to limit the average temperature of the planet. The moot point is after 6 years, has it been done? No would be the answer as the extreme heat, floods, draughts, wild fires in 2021 and 2022 are any indication. 

Scientists have been warning us again and again that we need to control our CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach the net-zero level so as to prevent the global temperatures to surge by 2°C. It is an ambitious task that the scientists, financiers and activists of the world have been discussing and debating in COP26. Will it be a success that remains to be seen?

 

The global temperatures have already risen by almost 1.1°C above the pre-industrial levels. Every four decades were hotter than the previous decades since 1850. Daniela Jacob, a Climate Scientist said, “We never had such global warming as seen in a few decades. Half a degree means much more extreme weather, and it can be more often, more intense, or extended in duration”.

What she said seems to be true as “it is at this very temperature the global floods, torrential rains and extreme monsoon in the Indian Subcontinent has hit the world. Many wildfires, and massive glacier melting has been experienced by the world due to this rise in temperature. China, Indonesia, Australia, Greenland were all sufferers of this penalty”. As Rachel Warren from the University of East Anglia said, “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe”.

The clear message is if we are not careful and take care of our mother Earth, the future is going to be a climatic disaster.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:42:23 +0530
Frederick Taylor father of Scientific Management

 

Anupama Nair

Frederick Taylor’s is known as the “father of Scientific Management” and his theories were as famous as the theories of Henry Fayoli. In fact, Peter Drucker, who is called as the “guru’s guru”, had suggested Taylor deserved the title better.

Frederick Taylor was born on March 20, 1856 in Philadelphia, USA.  His father, Franklin Taylor, was a Princeton-educated lawyer, who built his wealth on mortgages. His mother, Emily Taylor  gave him early education, as the it was the practice those days. Later, Taylor studied for two years in France and Germany and traveled across Europe for 18 months. In 1872, he joined Exeter Academy with the plan of eventually going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer like his father. In 1874, Taylor passed the Harvard entrance examinations with honors, but could not join due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight.

When his sight was restored, Taylor, however, chose a different path. He joined as an apprentice to learn the trades of patternmakers and machinists at the Enterprise Hydraulic Works. Three years later he went to the Midvale Steel Company, where, starting as a machine shop laborer, he became successively a shop clerk, machinist, gang boss, foreman, maintenance foreman, head of the drawing office, and chief engineer. Taylor retired at age of 45 but continued to devote his time and money to promote the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies across the US.

Taylor’s fame increased after his testimony in 1912 before a special committee of the US House of Representatives to investigate his own and other systems of shop management. Considering himself a reformer, he continued expounding the ideals and principles of his system of management until his death in 1915.

'Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor's `scientific management' rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in developed countries well above any level recorded, even for the well-to-do. Not much has been added to them since - even though he has been dead all of sixty years”, said Peter Drucker, the famous Management Guru.

The scientific management approach propounded by F.W. Taylor is based upon the following four principles:

  • Science not rule of thumb;
  • Harmony not discord;
  • Cooperation not individualism;
  • Development of each and every person to his/her own efficiency and prosperity.

 

Indeed, Taylor’s theories were much ahead of his times.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:36:46 +0530
DNA and RNA their differences

 

Anupama Nair

Have you ever wondered why life on earth is very diverse, from single-celled protozoans to complex multi-cellular plants and animals and finally homo sapiens or man? However, at the molecular level, all life is fundamentally made up of the same building blocks called DNA and RNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are perhaps the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible for the storage and reading of genetic information that underpins all life. Both are linear polymers, containing of sugars, phosphates and bases, however, there are some key differences which separate the two. These distinctions enable the two molecules to work together and fulfil the essential roles.

DNA encrypts all genetic information, and is the blueprint from which all biological life is created. However, this is only in the short-term and in the long-term, “DNA is a storage device, a biological flash drive that allows the blueprint of life to be passed between generations. RNA functions as the reader that decodes this flash drive. This reading process is multi-step and there are specialized RNAs for each of these steps”.

Both DNA and RNA are built with a sugar backbone, however, the sugar in DNA is called deoxyribose and the sugar in RNA is called simply ribose. “The ‘deoxy’ prefix denotes that, whilst RNA has two hydroxyl (-OH) groups attached to its carbon backbone, DNA has only one, and has a lone hydrogen atom attached instead. RNA’s extra hydroxyl group proves useful in the process of converting genetic code into mRNAs that can be made into proteins, whilst the deoxyribose sugar gives DNA more stability”.

DNA occurred inside the nucleus of cell and some cell organelles but in plants, it is present in mitochondria and plant cell. It is a double-stranded molecule consisting of a long chain of nucleotides. It stored and transferred genetic information to generate new cells and organisms. It had two nucleotide strands consisting of phosphate group, five carbon sugar and four nitrogen bases. Nitrogen base pairs in DNA were Adenine links to Thymine (A-T) and Cytosine links to Guanine (C-G). DNA is self-replicating. The DNA helix geometry was in the form of B and can be damaged by exposure of ultra-violet rays. It occurred in the form of chromosomes or chromatin fibers. The life of DNA is long.

RNA is found in cytoplasm of the cell but very little is found inside the nucleus. It was single-strand helix having shorter chains of nucleotides. It was used to transfer genetic code from nucleus to the ribosomes to make proteins and carried the guidelines of DNA blueprints. It is single-stranded consisting of phosphate group, five carbon sugar and four nitrogen bases. Here nitrogen base pairs are Adenine links to Uracil (A-U) and Cytosine links to Guanine (C-G). It is synthesized from DNA whenever needed. The RNA helix geometry is in the form of A. It is more resistant to damage by ultra-violet rays. Its life is short. Some RNA’s have very shorter life but some have longer but in all its life is short.

So, the RNA and DNA are the basis of all life on earth.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:34:49 +0530
My Country The rule of the British Crown 1858 1947

 

Anupama Nair

I had written a lot of articles about colonial India and how the use of an Enfield Rifle in 1857, brought about the rise of Nationalism and how the rule of the East India Company came to an end. There was a curse the East India Company would not rule for a hundred years and it came true. India came under the rule of the British Crown and Queen Victoria came to be called as ‘Kaiser-e-Hind’ or empress of India. The immediate result of the Revolt was a general ‘housecleaning’ of the Indian administration. The East India Company was abolished in favor of the direct rule of India by the British government. In layman terms, this did not mean much, but it introduced a more personal note into the government and removed the unimaginative commercialism that had remained with the Court of Directors. The financial crisis caused by the Revolt led to a reorganization of the Indian administration’s finances on a modern basis. The Indian army was also extensively reorganized.

Another significant result of the revolt was the beginning of the policy of consultation with Indians. The Legislative Council of 1853 had contained only Europeans and had arrogantly behaved as if it were a full-fledged parliament. It was widely felt that a lack of communication with Indian opinion had helped to precipitate the crisis. Accordingly, the new council of 1861 was given an Indian-nominated element. The educational and public works programs (roads, railways, telegraphs, and irrigation) continued with little interruption, in fact, some were stimulated by the thought of their value for the transport of troops in a crisis. But insensitive British-imposed social measures that affected Hindu society came to an abrupt end.

Soon after the Revolt of 1857, an Act called Government of India Act 1858 was introduced by the British Parliament. The act also  known as the Act for the Good Government of India, eliminated the East India Company, and transferred the powers of the Government, territories and revenues to the British Crown.

It provided that India, henceforth, was to be governed by, and in the name of, Her Majesty. It changed the designation of the Governor-General of India to that of Viceroy of India. Viceroy was the direct representative of the British Crown in India. Lord Canning, thus, became the first Viceroy of India.It ended the system of double Government by abolishing the Board of Control and Court of Directors.

It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested with complete authority and control over Indian administration. The secretary of state was a member of the British Cabinet and was responsible ultimately to the British. It established a 15-member council of India to assist the Secretary of State for India. The council was an advisory body. The secretary of state was made the Chairman of the council. It constituted the Secretary of State-in Council as a body corporate, capable of suing and being sued in India and in England.

‘The Act of 1858 was, however, largely confined to the improvement of the administrative machinery by which the Indian Government was to be supervised and controlled in England. It did not alter in any substantial way the system of Government that prevailed in India’.

On November 1, 1858, Lord Canning announced Queen Victoria’s proclamation to “the Princes, Chiefs and Peoples of India,” which unveiled a new British policy of perpetual support for ‘native princes’ and non-intervention in matters of religious belief or worship within British India. The announcement overturned Lord Dalhousie’s pre-war policy of political unification through annexation of the princely states, and princes were left free to adopt any heirs they desired so long as they all swore undying allegiance to the British crown. In 1876, at the prompting of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria added the title Empress of India to her regality. “British fears of another revolt and consequent determination to bolster Indian states as ‘natural breakwaters’ against any future tidal wave of revolt thus left more than 560 enclaves of autocratic princely rule to survive, interspersed throughout British India, for the entire nine decades of crown rule”.

The attitude of the British officials who went to India during that period was, as the English writer Rudyard Kipling said to “take up the white man’s burden.” By and large, throughout the interlude of their Indian service to the Crown. Britishers lived as super-bureaucrats, or “Pukka Sahibs,” remaining as aloof as possible from “native contamination” in their private clubs and well-guarded military cantonments, which were constructed beyond the walls of the old, crowded “native” cities in that era. The Company’s three armies located in Bengal, Bombay , and Madras, which in 1857 had only 43,000 British to 228,000 native troops, were reorganized by 1867 to a much “higher mix of 65,000 British to 140,000 Indian soldiers.

The Indian Councils Act of 1861 transformed the Viceroy’s Executive Council into a miniature cabinet run on the portfolio system, and each of the five ordinary members was placed in charge of a distinct department of Calcutta’s government i.e., home, revenue, military, finance, and law. The military commander in chief sat with that council as an extraordinary member. A sixth ordinary member was assigned to the viceroy’s Executive Council after 1874, initially to preside over the Department of Public Works, which after 1904 came to be called Commerce and Industry. Few viceroys found it necessary to assert their full despotic authority, since the majority of their councilors usually were in agreement. In 1879, however, Viceroy Lytton felt obliged to overrule his entire council in order to accommodate demands for the elimination of his government’s import duties on British cotton manufactures, despite India’s desperate need for review in a year of famines and floods.

Despite continued British adherence to the doctrine of laissez-faire during that period, a 10 percent customs duty was levied in 1860 to help clear the war debt, though it was reduced to 7 percent in 1864 and to 5 percent in 1875. The above-mentioned cotton import duty, abolished in 1879 by Viceroy Lytton, was not reimposed on British imports of piece goods and yarn until 1894, when the value of silver fell so quickly on the world market that the government of India was forced to take action, even against the economic interests of the home country i.e., textiles in Lancashire, by adding enough rupees to its revenue to make ends meet. Bombay’s textile industry had by then developed more than 80 power mills, and the huge Empress Mill owned by Indian industrialist  Jamshedji N. Tata was in full operation at Nagpur, competing directly with Lancashire mills for the vast Indian market. Britain’s mill owners again demonstrated their power in Calcutta by forcing the government of India to impose an ‘equalizing’ 5 percent excise tax on all cloth manufactured in India.

Britain’s major contribution to India’s economic development throughout the era of crown rule was the railroad network that spread so swiftly across the Subcontinent after 1858, when there were barely 200 miles (320 km) of track in all of India. By 1869 more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of steel track had been completed by British railroad companies, and by 1900 there were some 25,000 miles (40,000 km) of rail laid. By the start of World War I (1914–18) the total had reached 35,000 miles (56,000 km), almost the full growth of British India’s rail net. Initially, the railroads proved a mixed blessing for most Indians, since, by linking India’s agricultural, village-based heartland to the British imperial port cities of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta, they served both to hasten the pace of raw-material extraction from India and to speed up the transition from subsistence food to commercial agricultural production.

Now I will be speaking about British rule in the 20th Century and finally the Dawn of Freedom.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:30:52 +0530
British Conquest of Bombay Calcutta and Madras

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the British came to do trade in India and gradually their imperialistic dream was established. Gradually the three cities – Mumbai, Calcutta and Madras came under their rule.

Bombay (1661—1947):

Bombay, also called Bombaim in Portuguese, is now the financial and commercial capital of India and one of the most populous cities in the world.  It was once an archipelago of seven islands, obtained by the Portuguese through the Treaty of Bassein (1534), from the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, the island group would later form part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal. Her ‘Marriage Treaty’ gifted the islands to Charles II of England, along with the port of Tangier, trading privileges in Brazil and the Portuguese East Indies, religious and commercial freedom for English residents in Portugal, and two million Portuguese crowns (about £300,000), on completion of the marriage. The Islands of Bombay were regarded as a political and financial liability and were leased by Charles, to the English East India Company, on 27 March 1668, for a nominal amount of £10.

On 18 January 1665, King Charles II granted Humphrey Cooke the possession of Bombay. However, Salsette, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala still remained under the possession of the Portuguese. Much later Cooke managed to acquire Mahim, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala for the English. Sir Gervase Lucas, 1st Baronet, who was appointed Governor of Bombay on 5th November 1666, reported that Bombay included all the islands except Colaba and Old Woman's Island. Sir George Oxenden became the first Governor of Bombay under the regime of the English East India Company. Gerald Aungier, became Governor of Bombay in July 1669, established the mint and printing press in Bombay and developed the islands into a center of commerce. He also offered various business incentives, which attracted various communities like Gujuratis, Parsis, Dawoodi Bohras, and Jews. On 20th  February 1673, Rickloffe van Goen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company attacked Bombay, but the attack was resisted by Aungier. The Treaty of Westminster (1674), concluded between England and the Netherlands, relieved the English settlements in Bombay of further apprehension from the Dutch.

In 1682, the Company fortified the Middle Ground Coastal Battery isle in the archipelago to curb the sea piracy in the area. Yakut Khan, the Siddi admiral of the Mughal Empire, landed at Sewri and burn down Mahim. By 15th  February 1689, Khan conquered almost the whole island, and razed the Mazagon Fort in June 1690. The East India Company was forced to pay Aurangzeb, the ruler of the Mughal Empire, Yakut evacuated Bombay on 8th  June 1690. In 1715, the construction of Bombay Castle was finished, which fortified the island of Bombay from sea attacks by the Portuguese and Mughals. Charles Boone became the Governor of Bombay, in 1715 and constructed the St. Thomas Cathedral in 1718, which was the first Anglican Church in Bombay. In 1737, Salsette was captured by the Maratha Empire and most of the Portuguese provinces in Bombay was surrendered to the Marathas in 1739. In 1753, the Naval Dockyard was opened which remains the oldest docks in the city. The first land-use laws were also enacted in Bombay during this period. The British occupied Salsette in 1774, which was formally ceded to the British East India Company by the Treaty of Salbai signed in 1782. In 1803, Bombay was hit by a severe famine, which led to a large-scale emigration. On 5th  November 1817, the British East India Company defeated Bajirao II, the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, in the Battle of Kirkee which took place in the Deccan Plateau.

Later on, Bombay became the center of Nationalist Movements with great leaders like Tilak, Veer Savarkar and Gokhale. Finally in 1947 Bombay also became free.

 

Calcutta (1644—1947)

There is a long story behind the arrival of the East India Company in Bengal, These incidents are documented in numerous records of the East India Company and by several authors These documents tell the story of how the English were severely beaten and wiped out from Bengal several times by the forces of the Mughal Emperor and how each time they came back to Bengal to continue their trade. The agents of the East India Company first visited the provinces of Bengal and Bihar for trade during the period of Ibrahim Khan, the Governor of Bengal at the time of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The first factory was established in Surat in 1620 and later in Agra, and agents were further sent from these places to the eastern provinces to examine the possibility of opening factories there. However, the transportation costs and logistics were unfavorable and the plan was abandoned. In January 1644, the daughter of the Emperor was severely burnt and a doctor named Gabriel Boughton, formerly the surgeon of the East Indiaman Hopewell, was sent from Surat for her treatment.

He was able to successfully treat her burns and in reward the Emperor allowed the company to establish factory at Pipili, Odisha, and for the first time English ships arrived at an eastern port. During 1638, Shah Jahan appointed his son Shah Shuja as the Subahdar of Bengal and Boughton visited the capital at Rajmahal where his services were again used to treat one of the ladies in the palace, and in return, the company was allowed to establish factories in Balasore, Odisha and Hooghly. Shaista Khan was appointed as the governor of Bengal in around 1664 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and was relieved upon his request in around 1682. While he was returning to Delhi, Englishmen sent with him a request to the Emperor to obtain a special request to do business forever in Bengal and  the Emperor was pleased to provide them the request, and the occasion was celebrated with a 300-gun salute at Hooghly. The investment in Bengal soared, the Bengal presidency was separated from Madras and Mr. Hedges was appointed as the chief officer to oversee trade in Bengal. His residence in Hooghly was secured with soldiers obtained from Madras. This is the first time English soldiers came on the soil of Bengal.

In 1690, Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company chose this place for a British trade settlement. The site was carefully selected, being protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east. There were three large villages along the east bank of the river Ganges, named, Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. These three villages were bought by the British from the local land lords. The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade in return for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees.

Madras (1639—1947)

On 22 August 1639, English official Francis Day obtained a grant of a 3-mile-long strip of land for the East India Company from the local ruler, Damarla Venkatadri Nayaka, the Nayaka of Wandiwash. This land was a fishing village called Madraspatnam. This grant, given for 2 years, authorized the company to build a fort and a castle there. This would later grow into the modern-day metropolitan city of Chennai. After securing the grant from the Nayaka, Francis Day and his superior in the company Andrew Cogan reached Madraspatnam on 20th February 1640 when the first actual settlement of the British started. In 1642, the grant was renewed. A new grant was signed in 1645 between the English and the new Raja which empowered the English to enact English Common Law among the settlers and to administer civil law among the settlers and also the local population in the settlement. This third grant further added land to Madraspatnam. The British built a fort in the settlement and was called Fort St. George. Residences were built within the fort and this soon attracted other traders, both Indians and Europeans to it. The fort and some areas around it which were acquired by the company came to be called the Fort St. George settlement.

As per the rules of the Nayaka, the Europeans in the area were not allowed to decorate their houses with any color other than white. Hence, this area came to be called the ‘White Town’. The surrounding areas were populated by Indians who came in large numbers to partake in the commercial activities. Because of frequent riots between the local population and the Europeans, their respective areas were demarcated as ‘White Town’ and the ‘Black Town’. Fort St. George, White Town and Black Town were together called Madras. Andrew Cogan and Francis Day can be considered the founders of Madras.

Various areas which are now part of the city of Madras like Triplicane, Nungambakkam, Purasawalkam, Mylapore, Chennapatnam, etc. were later on added by the British in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Chennai was attacked by General Mir Jumla in 1646. In 1687, the region fell under the direct rule of the Mughal Emperor in Delhi. The Mughal Emperor issued Firmans which restored rights to the East India Company. The town was then ruled by British governors. The first president of Fort St. George was Elihu Yale. During his time as president from 1687 to 1692, many European settlers came to the region. This led to the establishment of a corporation and the institution of Mayor for Madras. Yale amassed a lot of wealth during his stint here. He later became a benefactor of the Collegiate School in the Colony of Connecticut (British America). This was later renamed Yale University

Madras was briefly controlled by the French from 1746 to 1748  after the Battle of Madras. which happened during the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe when French-English rivalry was going on. British captured it back as per the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Madras was an important place for the colonialists because of the port there. The city became an important trading center between India and Europe after the development of the harbor.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:28:33 +0530
The East India Company Masters of Indian subcontinent

 

Anupama Nair

I had previously written how the British East India Company forced the other Europeans out of India and were soon on the way to become the masters of the entire Indian Subcontinent. The Battle of Plassey in 1757, paved the way of the rule by the Company, and it was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757, under the leadership of the great British general Robert Clive. This victory was possible due to the betrayal of Mir Jafar, who was Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah's commander in chief. The battle helped the Company become the master of Bengal. Within a hundred years they, seized control of most of the Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

The battle took place at  Plassey on the banks of the Hooghly River, about 150 kilometers north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad  The combatants were the Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal , and the British East India Company. When Siraj-ud-Daulah become the Nawab of Bengal in 1756, he had ordered the English to stop the extension of their fortification. Lord Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the Nawab's army, and also promised to make him Nawab of Bengal. Clive easily defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah at Plassey in 1757 and captured Bengal.

The battle was preceded by an attack on British-controlled Calcutta by Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah and the Black Hole massacre. What is the Black Hole Massacre? In those days the British East India Company was a newcomer and was threatened by the French.  As a preventive measure, the Company decided to increase the defenses of its main fort in the city, Fort William. Upon hearing of the increased militarization of Fort William, Siraj ud-Daulah, with 50,000 troops, fifty cannons and 500 elephants marched to Calcutta. By June 19th 1756 most of the local British staff had retreated to the Company’s ships in the harbor, and the Nawab’s force attacked Fort William.

Unfortunately for the British, the fort was in a rather poor state. Powder for the mortars was too damp to be used, and their commander John Holwell was a governor with limited military experience. With 170 soldiers left to protect the fort, Holwell was forced to surrender to the Nawab on the afternoon of June 20th 1756. As the Nawab’s forces entered the city, the remaining British soldiers and civilians were rounded up and forced into the fort’s ‘black hole’ and many Britishers were killed.

When news of the ‘Black Hole’ reached London, a relief expedition led by Lord Robert Clive was immediately assembled and subsequently arrived in Calcutta in October. After a prolonged siege, Fort William fell to the British in January 1757. Robert Clive and a force of just 3,000 men defeated the Nawab’s 50,000 strong army at the Battle of Plassey. The success of the British at Plassey is often cited as the start of large-scale colonial rule in India, a rule that would last uninterrupted until Independence in 1947.

 

 

After major victories at the battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764), the East India Company was granted the diwani of Bengal i.e., control over the administration of the region and the right to collect tax revenue. At the same time, the company expanded its influence over local rulers in the south, until by the 1770s the balance of power had fundamentally changed. Expansion continued and rivals such as the Marathas in western India and Tipu Sultan of Mysore were defeated. By 1818, the Company was the paramount political power in India, with direct control over two thirds of the subcontinent’s landmass and indirect control over the rest.

The early years of Company’s rule were notorious for their corruption and profiteering i.e., the so-called ‘shaking of the pagoda tree’ or ‘rape of Bengal’. British generals amassed massive personal fortunes, often at the expense of their Indian subjects. India’s large population and sophisticated social, political and economic institutions made imperialistic ideas of ‘terra nullius’ or empty land inapplicable in India, and as a result the Company could not achieve the level of control over the resources of land and labor like British settler communities in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Caribbean. India was only a ‘colony of exploitation’, rather than one of settlement and its value to the Company lay primarily in the profits that could be made by controlling its internal markets and international trade, appropriating peasant production and, above all, collecting tax revenue. These taxes paid for both a large sizeable army and employees who worked in India, but did not stay in India.

The Company’s rise to political power in India was the subject of many heated debate in Britain. “The activities after the Battle of Plassey as a company with huge influence and power  and one which is unafraid to further its interests by nefarious means were viewed with suspicion”. The poet William Cowper stated “East India Company build factories with blood, conducting trade -- at the swords point, and dyeing the white robe  of innocent commercial justice red”.

The loss of the American Colonies and the American War of Independence in 1776, the emergence of the anti-slavery movement and the French Revolution in 1789, the ‘India Question’ took on considerable political importance in Great Britain. The corruption, immorality and cruelty of the Company began to be noticed, and the British feared a similar movement in India. The Governor General Lord Warren Hastings  was impeached for mis-management and personal corruption.

The British Crown made attempts to regulate the Company’s activities in the 1770s, with Lord North’s Regulating Act (1773) and Pitt’s India Act (1784), which both sought to bring the company under closer parliamentary supervision. Meanwhile a series of internal reforms under Governor General Lord Charles Cornwallis in the late 1780s and early 1790s radically restructured the Company in order to eradicate private corruption. After the acquittal of Hastings and the implementation of the Cornwallis reforms, the company attempted to rehabilitate its reputation. It aimed to reposition itself as a benevolent and legitimate ruler that extended the limits of civil society and brought both security of property and impartiality of justice to India.

The Company now justified its presence in India by using a ‘civilizing mission’, epitomized by the publicity given to social reform legislation such as the abolition of the Sati (widow-burning). However, the actual impact of its activities on local economies and societies was often very different.

The first half of the 19th  century was marked by economic depression in India. Excessive land tax and lack of investment stopped the agricultural development, while traditional industries such as textiles were decimated by the import of cheap manufactured goods. Catastrophic famines, most notably in Bengal (1770) and in the Agra region (1837–1838) were worsened by the tax policies, its non-judgmental attitudes towards the grain market, and failures of state relief.

It is said there was a curse that the Company will not rule for a century and it was proved true. Lord Canning the last Governor General of East India Company never imagined a rifle would bring the end of the East India Company. Let us see how that happened. Soldiers throughout India were issued a new rifle, the Enfield Rifle— a more powerful and accurate weapon than the previous one used for decades. To load both the old musket and the new rifle, soldiers had to bite the cartridge open and pour the gunpowder. Then, the rumor spread the cartridge was greased with the fat of pigs and cows. The news spread like wild fire and the soldiers refused to use the rifle, however,  British officers dismissed these claims as rumors and ordered them to use the rifle.

The rebellion started when Mangal Pandey, who was the leader of the Bengal Regiment started the revolt.  By March 1857, he was a private soldier (sepoy) in the 5th Company of the 34th  Bengal Native Infantry. On the afternoon of 29th March 1857, Lieutenant Baugh, of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, then stationed at Barrackpore (West Bengal) was informed that several men of his regiment were in an excited state and planned to rebel against the British under the leadership of Mangal Pandey. The British tried to suppress the rebellion and executed Mangal Pandey. “The attack by and punishment of Pandey is widely seen as the opening scene of what came to be known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857”, stated many historians. Mangal Pandey’s rebellion was widespread amongst his fellow soldiers and is assumed to have been one of the factors leading to the general series of rebellion, that broke out during the following months. Mangal Pandey inspired many others to follow in the Indian Nationalist Movement like Veer Savarkar, who stated his “motive as one of the earliest manifestations of Indian Nationalism”. Modern Indian nationalists portray Pandey as the mastermind behind a conspiracy to revolt against the British.

In 1858, after the rebellion was crushed India came under the rule of Queen Victoria. And the next 90 years is a new story, read on…

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:26:13 +0530
Killer Pandemics over the year

 

Anupama Nair

It is more than two years now, we’ve been hearing the word Pandemic and a mere ‘virus’, that originated from China is holding the world hostage. The killer Virus Corona, affected millions and killed many more. So, I thought let me do a research on the Pandemics over the years and how they impacted the world. Before Corona, there are many Pandemics that almost wiped the entire human population. Fasten your seat belts, I am taking you on a time travel, many millenniums ago.

What is a Pandemic? In the kingdom of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the worst- case scenario. When an epidemic spreads beyond a nation’s borders, that’s when the disease officially becomes a pandemic. Intermittent outbreaks of infectious diseases have had profound and lasting effects on societies throughout history. Those events have powerfully shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of human civilization, with their effects often lasting for centuries. Epidemic outbreaks have defined some of the basic tenets of modern medicine, pushing the scientific community to develop principles of epidemiology, prevention, immunization, and antimicrobial treatments.

In a long succession throughout history, pandemic outbreaks have decimated societies, determined outcomes of wars, wiped out entire populations, but also, paradoxically, cleared the way for innovations and advances in science (including medicine and public health), economy, and political systems. Pandemic outbreaks, or plagues in the ancient history, as they are often referred to, have been closely examined in the realm of history, including the history of medicine. In the era of modern world, plague is however not such a killer pandemic as other diseases.

As civilizations spread, so did pandemics, some of which decimated millions of lives. Communicable diseases existed even during the time of “early men” and when man were hunters, but the shift to agrarian life nearly ten thousand years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible. Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, and smallpox were major diseases during this period.

 

The first recorded epidemic was in China the birth place of Corona too. Around 5000 years ago, an epidemic wiped out a pre-historic village in China. It is said that the bodies of the dead were stuffed inside a house that was later burned down. No age group was spared, as the skeletons of juveniles, young adults and middle-aged were found inside the house. The site is now called "Hamin Mangha" and is one of the best-preserved pre-historic sites in northeastern China. Before the discovery of “Hamin Mangha”, another pre-historic mass burial site was discovered, believed to be of the same period called “Miaozigou”, in northeastern China. These discoveries prove that an epidemic ravaged the entire region. 

 

Greece was the next venue. In 430 B.C., just before the war between Athens and Sparta began, an epidemic ravaged the people of Athens and lasted for five years. Reports stated around  one hundred thousand people lost their lives. The Greek historian Thucydides wrote that "people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath". There are varied causes for the epidemic, some scientists say typhoid, while others say it was Ebola. Many scholars believed that overcrowding due to the war worsened the epidemic. Spartan army was stronger, thereby forcing the Athenians to take refuge behind a series of fortifications called the "long walls" that protected their city. Despite the epidemic, the war continued till  Athens was conceded defeat to Sparta.

Let us now travel to Rome. It was another outbreak that occurred a couple of centuries later that was documented and recorded by contemporary physicians of the time. It was the first recorded Pandemic, which affected many countries. The outbreak was known as the Antonine Plague of 165–180 AD. The Antonine plague occurred in the Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161–180 A.D.) and the cause is thought to be smallpox.

The disease was brought into the Roman Empire by soldiers returning from Seleucia (now in Turkey), and before it declined, it had impacted Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Unlike the plague of Athens, which affected a limited area, the Antonine plague spread across the vast territory of the great Roman Empire.

Egypt is the next place to visit. First appearing in Egypt, the plague called Justinian plague spread through Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean region. The plague changed the course of the Roman Empire. The emperor Justinian's dream to bring the Roman Empire back together was crushed and as it caused massive economic problems. Recurrences over the next two centuries eventually killed about fifty million people, which was roughly twenty six percent of the world population. It is believed to be the first significant appearance of the bubonic plague, which is spread by rats and fleas.

Leprosy, though a killer disease for many centuries, it grew into a pandemic in Europe in the Middle Ages, resulting in the building of numerous leprosy-related hospitals to treat the large number of patients. Leprosy was caused due to a slow-developing bacterial disease that causes sores and deformities. Leprosy was believed to be a punishment from God  and this belief led to moral judgments and ostracization of victims.

A plague attack (1709-1713)  followed the Great Northern War (1700–1721), between Sweden and the Tsar of Russia and its allies, killing about one hundred thousand in Sweden, and three hundred thousand in Prussia. However, the good news was that this was the last plague in Scandinavia, but the one hundred thousand Russians succumbed to plague of 1770–1772.

The Great Plague of Marseille (France) was the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in western Europe. In 1720, the disease killed a total of one hundred thousand people. Fifty thousand people were killed in Marseille alone, and  during the next two years and another fifty thousand in  the north. How did it occur? On the fateful day i.e., May 25, 1720, a ship named the Grand Saint-Antoine arrived in the port of Marseille, France, laden with cotton, fine silks, and other goods. The ship carried an invisible cargo the bacteria known as “Yersinia pestis”, and brought about the Great Plague of Provence, the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe.

Then a series of Cholera Pandemics hit the world. The seven cholera pandemics lasted over the next 150 years. The first wave originated in Russia, in 1817, where about one million people died due to infection of the small intestine. Spreading through feces-infected water and food, the British soldiers carried the bacterium to India where million more people died. Where ever they traveled due to the Empire, its navy spread cholera to the rest of the countries like Spain, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Japan, Italy, Germany and United States of America, where it killed nearly two million people. A vaccine was created in 1885, but pandemic continued without abating.

The world had just started recovering from the casualties – human lives, property, economy, when a tragedy struck again, this time from another deadly Pandemic. The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, was an unusually deadly  caused by the H1N1 (a virus similar to Corona). This virus lasted from February 1918 to April 1920 and  infected 500 million people – about one-third of the world's population at the time, in four successive waves. The death toll is estimated to have been somewhere between twenty million and fifty million, while some reports claim one hundred million. Most of the casualties were reported in the United States with fifty  million people and nearly seventeen million people died in India alone. Is Covid 19 going on the same path as US has most Corona casualties followed by India? The infection originated in Kansas (USA) and spread to France, Germany and United Kingdom. In India, the British soldiers carried it, when they came home after the War. The Flu claimed the lives of young people. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggered a cytokine storm, which ravaged the stronger immune system of young adults.

Smallpox was once considered a deadly disease and plagued the human race for more than two thousand years was diagnosed in 1977 in Somalia. Starting with twenty-year vaccination program it was finally eradicated from the world. The elimination of the disease, that was considered fatal could be eradicated by US—Russia cooperation during the Cold War. The vaccination helped in controlling diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria and whooping cough.

If all these diseases weren’t enough there were more to come as we the people discover A new disease conquered the world in 1981, called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. By the millennium it killed millions in United States. In 1996, the United Nations established UNAIDS to co-ordinate global action. By then infection spread to Africa. Today, nearly forty million people suffer from AIDS and nearly 10 million people died globally.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) a strain of corona virus caused destruction around the world in 2002--2003. Again, China was the birth place of SARS too. The symptoms were shortness of breath, and coughing. SARS spread all around the word. It affected more than eight thousand people. Like Corona, China tried to suppress the news of the virus. Infection spread to humans due to civet cats. A new influenza virus, a strain of H1N1 called Swine Flu in 2009 again was severe. Swine Flu spread due to infections in pigs. From China, it spread to Mexico and United States. Nearly five million people lost their lives.

SARS- COV2 (corona virus) originated in bats in the Middle East. It transmitted into humans in Wuhan’s (China) open wet meat markets. Gradually the virus spread to the whole world killing millions in its wake, destroying lives and livelihoods etc. It is surprising to hear that this virus was discovered in 1965 and called B814. Corona or Covid 19 was many times more deadly than SARS infection of 2002-2003. More than 500 million people were affected and three million lost their lives and the list goes on… The US has nearly 80 million cases with around 9 hundred thousand people died, followed by India with 40 million cases and 5 hundred thousand deaths. Others are not far behind. Brazil, France, Turkey, Russia and United Kingdom are in the race.

Is it a curse that from 1720, the world has been witnessing such killer pandemics every hundred years? The Great Plague (1720-1723), killed one hundred thousand people worldwide. The Cholera Pandemic (1820-1824) killed millions in Asia. In 1920 after the First World War, the Spanish Flu killed nearly 17 million people. Come circa 2020, Corona Virus had killed nearly 3 million people and the list goes on and on. According to historians, “pandemics like COVID-19 strike with eerie precision, every 100 years: 1720 — Plague; 1820 — Cholera outbreak; 1920 — Spanish flu; 2020 — Chinese coronavirus. What’s happening? There is a theory that every 100 years, a pandemic happens. At first glance, nothing seems strange, but the accuracy with which these events take place is scary.”

Looking at the history of Pandemics occurring from time immemorial, haven’t we learnt any lessons? Is not time to ensure that such Pandemics do not wipe away the human race? All we can do is to ensure “prevention is better than cure” and control the corona virus and other such viruses in future. We can surely try for the world to be a better place. All countries of the world forgetting wars and enmity need to help each other. India showed the way by distributing free vaccine to eighty countries, following the principle of “vasudaiva kudumbakam” and “loka samastha sukino bhavanthu”. When the second wave was severe in India, many other countries reciprocated by sending vaccines and oxygen. This is way to go forward.

By God's grace the Corona cases are declining across the world. Will we be free of masks and sanitizers!

Sun, 25 Sep 2022 00:24:19 +0530
Navratri Offer that you would nt want to miss

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Sun, 25 Sep 2022 00:14:50 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:40 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:38 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:35 +0530
Stress Management an overview

 

Anupama Nair

In today’s world our life and mostly our health depends on a six-letter word – ‘STRESS’. What is stress? Stress in other words is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Different situations or life-events can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or that threatens our sense of self, or when we feel we have little control over a situation.

Everybody deal with stress differently. Our ability to cope each situation can depend on our genetics, early life events, personality and social and economic circumstances. When we encounter stress, our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activate our immune system. This helps us respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Many things that can lead to stress are – bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job and financial problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose about 24 days of work due to ill-health. Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.

If the stress is long-term, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise. Some research also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.

Some people are more likely to experience stressful situations than others like -- those who suffer from prejudice or discrimination, people with a lot of debt or financial insecurity, or people with disabilities or long-term health conditions 

If you're feeling stressed, there are some things you can try to feel less tense and overwhelmed.

Recognize when stress is a problem:

It’s always important to connect the physical and emotional signs you’re experiencing to the pressures you are faced with. Don’t ignore physical warning signs such as tense muscles, tiredness, headaches or migraines. It is necessary to think about what’s causing stress. Sort them into issues with a practical solution, things that will get better with time and things you can't do anything about. Take control by taking small steps towards the things you can improve. Make a plan to address the things that you can. This might involve setting yourself realistic expectations and prioritizing essential commitments. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and say no to things you can’t take on.

Think about where you can make changes:

Are you taking on too much work or responsibility? Could you hand over some things to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? You may need to prioritize things and reorganize your life so that you’re not trying to do everything at once.

Build supportive relationships:

Find close friends or family who can offer help and practical advice who can support you in managing stress. Joining a club or a course that can help to expand your social network and encourage you to do something different. Activities like volunteering can change your perspective and have a beneficial impact on your mood. 

Eat healthily:

A healthy diet can improve your mood. Getting enough nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals and water can help your mental wellbeing.

Be aware of your smoking and drinking:

It is necessary to reduce or stop smoking and drinking if you can. They may seem to reduce tension but in reality, make problems much worse. Alcohol and caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety.

Get some exercise

Physical exercise can help manage the effects of stress by producing ‘endorphins’ that boost your mood. It can be hard to motivate yourself if you're stressed, but even a little bit of activity can make a difference. For example, you can walk for 15-20 minutes three times a week.

Take time out

Take time to relax and practice self-care, where you do positive things for yourself. For instance, you could listen to music to calm your body and mind. Striking a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself is vital in reducing stress levels.

Be mindful

Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time. Research has suggested it can be helpful for managing and reducing the effect of stress and anxiety.

Get some restful sleep

If you’re having difficulty sleeping or suffer from insomnia, you can try to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and avoid too much screen time before bed. Write down a, to-do list for the next day to help you prioritize, but make sure you put it aside before you go to bed.

Be kind to yourself

Try to keep things in perspective and don't be too hard on yourself. Look for things in your life that are positive and write down things that make you feel grateful.
 

If you still continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s important to get help as soon as possible so that you can start to feel better.Talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling. They should be able to advise you on treatment and may refer you for further help. They may suggest talking therapies such as:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can help reduce stress by changing the ways you think about stressful situations

Brief Interpersonal Counselling, can give you the chance to talk about what causes you stress and develop coping strategies

So, always try to lead a stress less life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:04:35 +0530
Use of Data Analysis in Finance Industry

 

Anupama Nair

In the data-driven world of the 21st century, data analytics in financial sector plays a very crucial role in informed decision-making to drive organizations to move forward, improve efficiency, increase returns, and achieve the business goals set. For the unversed, “data analytics is the process of discovery, interpretation, and conveying meaningful insights from data to help in the decision-making process”.

 

Big data is transforming the business and technical situations in the present era of modernization. Numerous financial events take place every day and the financial sector is greatly involved in the calculation of such events that leads to uncountable financial transactions and the generation of a huge amount of data in the financial world every day. Thus, consultants and analysts in the industry find the management and analytics of this data challenging for their products and services.

 

The finance industry needs to exploit this huge amount of data to fulfill the ever-changing and rising customer expectations and stay ahead in the increasing competition between the fintech players. Relatively, for financial institutions like banks and insurance companies it is mandatory to use data sets to strengthen customer understanding. Also, identifying the financial issues in which big data has an impact is another important matter that this industry can discover and address with the impacts of business analytics in fintech. Though a significant number of players in the market have started making use of big data, many companies are yet to explore its significance.

 

There are three major aspects of data as per the boards of modern companies providing financial services:

 

  • Data has an incredible amount of value for the organization to identifying customer requirements.
  • Data is essential for security and compliance.
  • Data is central for the transformation of every financial institution to improve their efficiencies and fulfill customer demands.

 

Augmented analytics

 

Financial augmented analytics helps finance executives to convert a huge amount of structured and unstructured data into useful insights that facilitate competent decision-making. It eliminates human errors from the financial transactions/processes through the autonomous extract, transforms and load (ETL) data transfer, autonomous data models and autonomous security.

With the help of augmented analytics, the finance teams can easily get all the information that they need to provide detailed view of various key performance indicators (KPIs) like net income, revenue generated, payroll cost and other expenditures.

Also, data analytics enables the finance team to closely examine and understand important metrics, detect parameters like fraud and manipulation in revenue turnover. It also allows the executives to take crucial actions and decisions to prevent/manage the same. On the whole, Big data contemplates distinctive fraudulent activities through predictive analysis.

 

Edge computing:

 

There are various benefits of edge computing in the finance industry, like:

1. Enhanced security – With edge computing, the need to send consumers’ data into the public cloud is completely removed, hence the risks associated with data transfer are eliminated.

2. Minimized latency – Data is processed at a very high pace with edge computing, which is very useful for businesses in real-time decision-making.

3. Increase in the use of IoT – Financial institutions like banks are now relying more on IoT to connect with their customers. Edge computing reveals more potential for IoT options due to fewer data limits.

4. Improved innovation – Edge computing provides security, speed and IoT implementation options that enable banks to innovate and integrate new solutions readily.

Reduced cost – With edge computing, the cost of data exchange with data centers/cloud and the costs associated with the data center is decreased since there is no need for a data center and computing takes place at the edge itself.

 

Personalization

Big data helps bank to understand client requirements and prioritize them before business needs. This advances the feasibility of banking by carrying out customer segmentation and providing customers with improved financial solutions. This is important because banks have to constantly modify their plans of action from business-driven to customer-driven models. Big data not only accomplishes such tasks effortlessly, but it also improves the analysis of groups and data.

 

Smart insights

Big data has revolutionized how stock markets used to work all over the globe. It has also improved decision-making for investment.

Machine learning (ML) includes the analysis of historical data from several business exchanges with onlookers and their responses. This data helps in finding out factors that improve the outcome of company communications. This may include targeting, offers, etc. Organizations can use this understanding in their upcoming campaigns to surge the success probabilities.

ML algorithms generate insights through predictive analytics which teams/individuals can take into consideration to define rules for running artificial intelligence. This yields better results throughout a number of significant metrics. The use of predictive analytics doubles the average profit and customer lifetime value. Equipped with the power of algorithmic trading, big data holds immense potential for the financial sector.

 

Financial models

Financial institutions like loaning bodies, banks, trading firms, etc., produce huge amount of data regularly. To extract useful insights out of this data, it is important to deploy a data handling language that can control and analyze it completely. Here, Big data and analytics come into the picture.

As stated above, these processes generate a massive amount of data regularly. In the absence of big data and analytics, these institutions are not able to leverage the data completely. When these companies integrate data analytics, it becomes easier for them to control and analyze full data. Greater data relevancy generates a stable model with minimum risks. All of this can be easily obtained by implementing a strategy based on data-driven models.

Big data has gradually taken over diverse industries in a very short period and financial industry is not an exception. The fintech companies have now realized that it is imperative to utilize the generated data completely in order to reap the best benefits. Besides, the implementation of business analytics in fintech increases effectiveness, provides exceptional solutions and develops customer-oriented approach for the industry. Nonetheless, it also lessens the number of frauds and risks that lie in the financial sector. To know more about the potential that data analytics holds to disrupt the finance industry, get in touch with our experts.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:52:15 +0530
How were continents formed

 

Anupama Nair

We live on a beautiful planet called earth, along with a wide variety of living organisms. The earth, is part of the vast universe. The universe is about 15 to 20 billion years old. The age of the earth is approximately 4 to 5 billion years, while human beings evolved around 2 million years ago. The widely accepted theory of the origin of universe is the ‘Big Bang’ theory. According to this theory, universe started with a huge explosion and matter like dust and gases filled the entire space. The temperature of the universe then, was around hundred billion degrees Celsius.

Scientists believed that the Big Bang occurred about 15 to 20 billion years ago. The huge collection of dust and gases then began to spin. As it spun faster and faster, the center of the solar system became very hot and it became the Sun. From the Sun, big blobs or chunks of dust broke off and formed eight ball shaped planets. The earth broke off about 4.5 billion years ago with an explosion. It was a burning hot white mass of gas and dust. Over a long period of time, dust and gas gradually condensed to form solid rock.

The crust of the earth was formed from cooling and hardening of the molten matter and hot gases. With cooling of the earth, the crust hardened and formed the land. The cooling of the earth also condensed water vapor into liquid water filling the depressions to form the seas. “The earth with its blue skies, vast oceans and lush green forests is the home to wide variety of organisms. It has its own unique atmosphere. The atmosphere also helps to regulate the ambient temperature which is suitable for supporting life. If you could dig a deep hole into earth the deeper you go, the hotter it becomes”.

In the beginning, i.e., more than 4.6 billion years ago, the world was a ball of burning gas, spinning through space. At first, super-heated gases were able to escape into outer space, but as the Earth cooled, they were held by gravity to form the early atmosphere. Clouds soon began to develop as water vapor collected in the air, and then it began to rain, that caused the early oceans to rise up. It took hundreds of millions of years for the first land masses to emerge. Earth's first continents may have risen out of the ocean around 700 million years ago.

About 250 million years ago, long after the Earth was formed, all the continents of the time had joined together to form a super-continent called Pangaea, which broke up about 200 million years ago to form two giant continents, called Gondwana and Laurasia. Gondwana comprised what is now Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica and India. The Indian Sub-continent was then in the east coast of Africa, before it broke off and moved north quickly. It struck with the continent of Asia, creating one of the world’s greatest mountain ranges, that extended for more than 2,502,500 KM, called the Himalayas. By then, our world had almost started to look like the world of today.

Did you know that the first stable continental land to have risen about 3.2 billion years ago may have been the Singhbhum region of Jharkhand in India? The study was conducted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “The team of researchers from India, Australia, and the US had acquired the sandstones in Singhbhum having geological signatures of ancient river channels, tidal plains and beaches over 3.2 billion years old”. 

The study was led by author, Dr. Priyadarshi Chowdhury of Monash University, who said “we realized these were ancient riverine rocks, formed in rivers and estuaries. We had plate tectonics today to control the elevation. When two continents collide, you form the Himalayas, you form the Alps. That wasn't the case 3 billion years ago”. The Singhbhum craton (a large stable block of the earth's crust forming the nucleus of a continent) may have been formed from a pile of lava over time and the crust became so thick that it floated on the water just like an iceberg. 

 

The team of researchers removed zircon from the Singhbhum sediments. They estimated the age of the rocks by shooting lasers at the zircon and then measuring the relative amounts of elements released. The cratons parallel to that of Singhbhum one, existed in South Africa and Australia also. The researchers were of the view “that the weathering of the cratons would have led to nutrient runoff, supplying the ocean with phosphorus and other building blocks for early life in the planet”.

The scientists believed that once a landmass is created, shallow seas such as lagoons are also created, thereby accelerating the growth of oxygen-producing life forms that may have boosted oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean. The emergence of early continents would also have drawn carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere, leading to localized pockets of cold climate and the formation of glaciers which was the first step towards making the Earth more habitable. 

The astonishing process of plate tectonics, in which the Earth’s land masses move slowly across the Earth’s crust, is still continuing even now. They predicted far in the future, the present continents will join again, to form a new supercontinent.

When that will happen only time will open…

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:49:23 +0530
Dog Dementia A sad story

 

Anupama Nair

Dogs are considered as “man’s best friend” and I definitely agree, for I cannot imagine a life without my furry friend Rocky. He is the best stress-buster in the world. A wet nose and a wagging tail is a bundle of joy and comfort. I always think, how can some people not like dogs. I have always loved dogs and they are a pleasure to be with. The most saddening fact is our furry babies have short lives maybe up to 20 years and it never is enough for us.

Today I am going to write about a sad but serious condition in dogs called dog dementia. What is dog dementia? How does it affect our furry friends? And what can we do to prevent, treat, and care for dogs with dementia? Dog dementia, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), is a “cognitive disorder in dogs associated with effects similar to Alzheimer’s in humans”. It’s a condition related to the ageing of a dog’s brain, which leads to changes in behavior and primarily affects memory, learning, and comprehension.

The symptoms of dog dementia are extensive, ranging from mild to severe as the disease progresses. 

Some common symptoms of dog dementia are:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Failing to remember routines and previously learned training or house rules
  • No longer responding to their name or familiar commands
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Aimless wandering
  • Staring blankly at walls or at nothing
  • Slow to learn new tasks
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep cycle like night waking or sleeping during the day

What you need to realize is these symptoms might not necessarily mean, your dog is suffering from dog dementia, but could indicate other illness too, or may normal old age symptoms. The exact cause of dementia in dogs is unknown. Research done on dogs suggest it could be due to the fact that the brain function is affected by the physical and chemical changes that occur due to the ageing process in dogs. The sad part is there is no cure for dog dementia.

Hope no dog ever go through this condition.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:46:28 +0530
How to lose your belly fat

Anupama Nair

Every one dreams of having a thin and fit body and belly fat makes our body look out of shape. It is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight and it’s seriously harmful too. One type of belly fat called as visceral fat  is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Body mass index (BMI) is used to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease. However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin. The sad part is losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat:

Eat Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Research indicate that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. Soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. A study in over many adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period  Make an effort to consume high fiber foods every day. Good sources of soluble fiber are:

  • flax seeds
  • shirataki noodles
  • Brussels sprouts
  • avocados
  • legumes
  • blackberries

 

Avoid foods that contain trans fats

What are trans fats and how are they formed? Trans fats also called trans-fatty acids increase bad cholesterol and also lowers good cholesterol. A diet full of trans fats increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading killer of adults. Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil. They’re found in some margarines and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them. These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies. To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, you must read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.

Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it’s seriously harmful if you drink too much. Studies suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing obesity, that is, excess fat storage around the waist Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help a lot. One study on alcohol use involved more than 2,000 people. Results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.

Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. A high protein intake increases the release of the hormone PYY, which reduces  appetite and fullness., and you end up eating less. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight. Many studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein  Food high in protein are:

  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • whey protein
  • beans

 

Reduce your stress levels

 

Stress helps in gaining belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. Studies shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage. Women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle. Engaging in pleasurable activities that relieve stress like meditation and yoga helps.

 

Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods

 

Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease.

There is a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used in limits.

 

Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs

 

Reducing your carb intake can be very helpful for losing fat, including abdominal fat.

Diets with less than 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in people who are overweight, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You don’t have to follow a strict low carb diet. Some research suggests that by simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat  People with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains.

 

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages

 

Sugar sweetened drinks might taste good but are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat. Studies show that sugary drinks lead to increased fat in the liver. Sugary beverages are even worse than high sugar foods. Since your brain doesn’t process liquid calories the same way it does solid ones, you’re likely to end up consuming too many calories later on and storing them as fat

 

To lose belly fat, it’s best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like:

 

  • soda
  • punch
  • sweet tea
  • alcoholic mixers containing sugar

 

Get plenty of restful sleep

 

A sound sleep of around 8 hours is important for many aspects of your health, including weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat. Those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat. Apart from sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.

 

Eat fatty fish every week

 

Fatty fish are incredibly healthy. They’re rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from diseases. These omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat. Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat  Try to eat 2–3 servings of fatty fish per week.

 

Some good fatty fish are:

  • salmon
  • herring
  • sardines
  • mackerel
  • anchovies

 

Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement

What are Probiotics? They  are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function. There is evidence that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat. Those known to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family, such as Lactobacillus fermentumLactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri .Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.

 

Drink green tea

 

Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage. It contains caffeine and the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appear to boost metabolism. EGCG is a catechin, which may help you lose belly fat. What is catechin? Catechins are phenolic compounds found excessively in tea, cocoa and berries. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise.

Change your lifestyle and combine different methods

Just doing one of the items on this list won’t help on its own. If you want good results, you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective. Interestingly, many of these methods are things generally associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle. Therefore, keep changing your lifestyle for the long-term helps in losing your belly fat and keeping it off forever. If you have healthy habits and eat healthy food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:41:26 +0530
The British East India Company the beginning

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the advent of the Europeans in India and how they lost their prominence after time. It was the only the British who could establish their supremacy and became the “empire where the sun never sets”. Most of the world was in their grasp. The East India Company was founded during the rule of Queen Elizabeth I and grew into a dominating global player with its own army, with huge influence and power. In 1600, a group of London merchants whose leader was Sir Thomas Smythe made an appeal to Queen Elizabeth I to grant them a Royal Charter to trade with the countries of the eastern hemisphere. The ‘Honorable Company of Merchants of London called East India Company started their colonial journey with America. Nobody could have predicted the seismic shifts in the dynamics of global trade that would follow, nor that 258 years later, the company would hand over the control of the  Subcontinent to the British crown. The question is how did this company gain and consolidate its power and profit?

At the same time as Elizabeth, I was signing the East India Company (EIC) into existence in 1600, her counterpart in India was  the Mughal  Akbar and ruling over an empire of 750,000 square miles, stretching from northern Afghanistan in the northwest, to central India’s Deccan plateau in in the south and the Assamese highlands in the northeast. By 1600, the Mughal empire was ruled by Akbar the Cruel, and the empire was formed by his grandfather Babar the Tyrant in 1526. and was embarking on a century of strong centralized power, military dominance and cultural productiveness that would mark the tyrannical  rule of the Mughals. India from ancient times had wealth and magnificence to overshadow anything that Europe could produce at the time, while India’s natural produce like Dacca Muslin and that of its artisans was coveted all over the world. It was no wonder the British wanted to covet the “sone ki chidiya”

When the East India Company first visited the Mughal court in the early 17th Century, they pretended to be supplicants attempting to negotiate favorable trading relations with Akbar’s successor, Jehangir. The company had initially planned to try and force their way into the lucrative spice markets of south-east Asia, but found this trade was already dominated by the Dutch. After EIC merchants were massacred at Amboyna (in present day Indonesia) in 1623, the company increasingly turned their attention to India.

With Jehangir’s permission, they began to build small bases, or factories, on India's eastern and western coasts. From these coastal toeholds, they orchestrated the profitable trade in spices, textiles and luxury goods on which their commercial success was predicated, dealing with Indian artisans and producers primarily through Indian middlemen. Meanwhile, the ‘joint stock’ organization of the company in which ownership was shared between shareholders spread the cost and risk of individual voyages between investors. The company grew in both size and influence across the 17th and 18th Centuries.

They were initially a junior partner in the Mughal empire’s sophisticated commercial networks, however in the 18th Century, the EIC became increasingly involved in politics of the Indian Subcontinent. They maintained their trading privileges in the face of declining Mughal authority after Aurangzeb and became successful.

European competitors also began to have an increased presence on the Subcontinent, with France emerging as a major national and imperial rival during the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War. This particularly increased the strategic importance of the EIC's Indian footholds, and the country’s coastline became crucial to further imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, as  well as maintaining a large standing army consisting primarily of sepoys who were Indian mercenary soldiers trained in European Military techniques and EIC garrisoned Crown’s troops in India.

Such military advantages made the EIC a powerful player in local conflicts and disputes, as did the financial support offered by some local Indian merchants and bankers, who saw in the EIC's increasing influence an unmissable commercial opportunity.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:33:43 +0530
My country under Colonial rule 1498 1947

Anupama Nair

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

I spoke about ancient India and the pride I felt in my matrubhoomi and her greatness. Unfortunately, when Bharat Ma’s great son Prithvi Raj was martyred, it was an epoch-making event that heralded Islamic terrorism till 17th Century, when the Mughal rule thankfully lost its importance after the death of the most tyrannical and butcher of humans Aurangzeb.

Every one in Europe had a craze for Indian goods like Dacca Muslin and spices. The Royal families in Europe were addicted to them. The trade was done by Arabs who bought them from India and sold it to Europe. The trade route was through Constantinople, but the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1456 and put an end to the trade route. The Europeans were forced to look for an alternate route to India. It was Christopher Columbus who setout on a journey to India, He landed in an unknown land in 1492, which he thought was India. The New Land was called America after his death.

‘Colonial Rule’ was the part of the Indian subcontinent that was under the rule of European countries during the ‘Age of Discovery’. European power was exerted both by conquest and trade, especially in spices. A few years later, after Columbus Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama became the first European to re-establish direct trade links with India since Roman times by being the first to arrive by circling Africa. He arrived in Calicut, that was one of the major trading ports of the world. He obtained permission to trade in the city from the Zamorin who were the ruler of Malabar. The next to arrive were the Dutch, with their main base in Ceylon. Their expansion into India was halted after their defeat in the ‘Battle of Colachel’ by the Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore–Dutch War.

Trading rivalries among the seafaring European powers brought other European powers to India. The Dutch Republic, England, France, and Portugal all established trading posts in India in the early 17th  century. As the Mughal Empire disintegrated in the early 18th century, and then as the Maratha Empire became weakened after the Third Battle of Panipat with Ahmed Shah Abdali, and many relatively weak and unstable Indian states which emerged were increasingly open to manipulation by the Europeans, through dependent on Indian rulers.

In the later 18th  century, Great Britain and France struggled for dominance, by direct military intervention. The defeat of the formidable Indian ruler Tipu Sultan in 1799 reduced the French influence. This was followed by a rapid expansion of British power through the greater part of the Indian Subcontinent in the early 19th  century. Soon the British became the masters of the most of the Sub Continent excluding some territories like Gos, Pondicheri and Mahe.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:31:11 +0530
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Vile Parle East, one of Mumbai's such neighborhoods, is one such locale. Both homes and businesses can be found in it. It is closer to both Airports and highways are very reachable. The flat is not far from Vile Parle East. The famous Parle Agro, a large manufacturing company, have contributed to the area's fame. It is  refined luxury. It is also known for schools, colleges and of course temples (including some known Jain Temples.

Property Details:

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Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:20:30 +0530
The Nine Planets and their impact on our lives

 

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial man had loved to gaze at a star-studded sky and at gaze at galaxies many light years away, and it has been my hobby too as far as I remember. As  a child I had thought the stars were the souls of our ancestors. It took me some time to understand they were stars and planets as my science teacher taught me, and I learnt that the branch of science which dealt with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole is called astronomy.

I am now going to talk about the ancient civilizations and their studies and later about modern science.

 

Ancient India has been home to one of the most fascinating intelligent activities that mankind has in recorded history. India, is called the ‘cradle of civilizations’ and has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Our ancestors had followed a strong tradition of science and technology as it is well-known ancient India was a land of sages or rishis as well as a land of scholars and scientists. 

From the Vedic times till present, the Indians have exhibited unmatchable deep understanding and mastery over ‘knowledge across the spectrum’. Our ancestors have left us a great treasure trove of “knowledge, and the rational interpretation of these ideas, which has become the basis of knowledge discovery across the civilization for several ages now. From astronomy to metallurgy, mathematics to medicine, our contribution to the global knowledge discovery is massive”.

Not satisfied with discovering and recording scientific treatises, the Indian sages had also tied to learn the scientific methods of the other cultures, thus displaying a real scientific attitude. As a fact what is interesting is, such an effort by the ancient Indians has been considered by prolonged observations, especially with the naked eye and simple tools, aided by techniques that we seem now to discard as crude and primitive. Indians also had produced lot of literature on different aspects of “astronomy, cosmology, numerology, measures of time, development of observatories, and many instruments”. The ancient Indians were also considered the first to study the planetary motions, design calendars, study time and the inter-disciplinary nature of many of these above aspects. India’s ambitious space program ‘Chandrayan’ or journey to the moon proved how far-thinking our ancestors were.

Similar to the Indians, the ancient Babylonians were also among the earliest civilization to document the movements of the Sun and the Moon. They maintained a very thorough record of the planetary motions including a daily, monthly, and yearly position of the celestial bodies. This information was earlier used to warn the Babylonian king about possible catastrophic events. It is believed that the first appearances of the famous Hailey’s comet were documented by the Babylonians many centuries before Sir Edmund Hailey and it is also they who first divided the sky into zones.

However, when we think of astronomy, the Greeks definitely first come to our mind. They are popularly known as the ‘fathers of ancient astronomy’ as they formulated theories and mathematical equations in an attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe.

One of the greatest and famous Greek scholars was  Eratosthenes. He has excelled not only in the field of astronomy but also in the field of geography, mathematics, poetry, and music as well. He is also renowned for several astronomical breakthroughs. He calculated the area earth’s circumference, and what is surprising, is his calculation was inaccurate by only a few hundred or thousand miles. He is also responsible for calculating the tilt of the earth’s axis and the leap day in a leap year.

Pythagoras is not only a Greek philosopher who is famous for mathematical theories, but also had contributions in Astronomy too. He assumed that the earth is spherical in shape as other celestial bodies are and he came up with this idea when he saw ships disappear past the horizon as they sail. He was the first to suggest that the movement of the planets, sun, moon, and stars could be equated in numbers.

The ancient Mayan astronomers always sought guidance from the sky. They were particularly interested in studying the motion of the stars, sun, and other planets. The ancient Mayans had managed to observe and document these movements through shadow-casting devices they invented. It is through these observations that they developed the Mayan Calendar to keep track of the passage of time.

Ancient Egypt also had significant contributions to astronomy. Just like any other ancient civilization, the movements and patterns of the stars and planets kindled the creation of myths to explain astronomical events. The pyramids and temples were built based on astronomical positions. The example is the Great Pyramid of Giza which was built to align with the North Star Thuban. The Nabta Playa is one of the most fascinating astronomical locations in Egypt where a circular stone structure can be found that is believed to be a giant calendar to identify the summer solstice.

They used the movements of the stars and planets to predict and this helped them be alert when there was flooding in the Nile River. The Egyptians are credited to have developed a calendar system similar to the one we use -- “it has 30 days in one month and 365 days divided into 12 months, the only difference is that they have 10-day week and a three-week month.

Astronomy was very popular in Persia too. Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi commonly known as Azophi was one of the most intelligent astronomers of all time. The Andromeda galaxy was first described in his work: “The Book of Fixed Stars”. He had only made some corrections and revisions on the original concept of constellations discovered by Ptolemy. Abu Mahmud Hamid ibn Khidr al-Khujandi was also a brilliant astronomer who built a giant sextant with the purpose of calculating the earth’s axis. It was his own invention that made it possible to come up with a lot of accurate calculation. His measurement was incorrect only by two minutes i.e., a level of accuracy that has never been attained till now.

You might be surprised to hear, that the nine planets in our solar system has a deep impact in our lives. We are aware that all the planets in the solar system affect us astrologically in some way or the other. Did you know that each planet signifies a certain part of our body and the ailments associated with it?

The Sun is also a star and is also responsible for providing the earth and other planets with energy, warmth and abundance. Hence, the Sun symbolizes how much energy a person has -- both physical and mental and also signifies the functioning of the heart. The planet Mercury is known as one of the brightest planets in the solar system, hence Mercury stands for the “smooth functioning of our brain, intelligence, the ability to take decisions and calmness”. Venus is, called as the planet of love and stands for everything ‘sweet’ in the body. It is believed this planet affects the level of sugar in our body and its malefic affect could result in a condition like Diabetes.

It is said that Mars governs the smooth functioning of our kidneys, bladder and pancreas. It also regulates the flow of blood in our body. The malefic effect of Mars results in a severe stomach disorder for all those affected by it. Jupiter is the biggest planet of the solar system and stands for “strength, physical stamina, and smooth functioning of our heart. Saturn rules the quantity of vitamins and minerals in our body. It is responsible for our strong bones and the build-up of calcium in our body. A person with a weak Saturn is prone to fractures in the body.

All the planets have positive and negative effects on any individual’s personal and professional life based on their birth chart and planetary positions of its native planets.

Disclaimer:

(What ever I have written here is based on knowledge of astrology based on Hindu and Western Astrology. The reader is advised to seek the help of a professional for remedies).

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:42:30 +0530
Tips for good sales pitch

Anupama Nair

 

In today’s world, call centers and sales over phone is a very common thing. From credit, cards, loans, real estate and insurance, you name it you get sales call. Selling insurance over the phone can be a hard work and require great grit to continue after getting a not so desirable response. You will not be able to close a deal on every call. Some prospects will take a little more work to turn into buyers. However, with a little know-how and the assistance of modern technology, you can bump up your sales numbers.

 

Here are some tips:

 

Listen carefully and engage them

 

Every time you call a prospect or current client listen carefully for new opportunities. Ask questions about their hobbies like do they need motorcycle insurance and if they have any children, would it be beneficial to mention life insurance? Do they have investment properties? By giving them time to talk and asking open-ended questions, ‘you’ll have the opportunity to address their concerns. It will also help in engaging them instead of pitching them for the entirety of the call. You also want to pay attention to clues about what will affect their purchase decisions. Not all prospects are looking for the lowest price. Some are more concerned with ratings or current technology options. Consider taking notes during the conversation as you likely ‘won’t remember everything.

 

Avoid jargon and slang

 

It’s not entertaining to be speaking with a salesperson who is talking in another language. Save the industry-specific jargon to conversations with your colleagues and speak only in terms buyers can understand. Use professional language and avoid slang when calling a possible client. If it were an in-person meeting, you would be in business casual attire at the minimum, present yourself with the same decorum over the phone to boost your credibility. People want to buy from intelligent and confident individuals.

 

Be prepared for the call

 

You need to practice your pitch, understand where you stand against competitors, read everything you can get your hands on about sales, and ask more experienced insurance salespeople for advice.

 

Establish yourself as an expert

 

When you’re selling insurance over the phone, it’s crucial to establish credibility and authority. Your potential clients need to know that they’re purchasing from an expert who can provide all the information they need. Your credibility as an expert particularly applies to selling life insurance. It’s a big decision, so people want to buy from someone they can trust and who will take their best interest into consideration when creating an offer. 

 

Build rapport with your prospect

 

The first step towards establishing trust is building rapport and creating a comfortable environment that allows potential clients to open up, voice all of their concerns, and be sincere about what they need. Always smile when you’re opening a call because even though your prospects can’t see you, they can hear your smiling voice. As a result, you’ll come off as welcoming and friendly, and your prospects will feel relaxed.

Break the ice with small talk and by asking something along the lines of “How’s your day going?” This will humanize your approach and your prospects won’t be under the impression that they’re talking to a chatbot. Also, when your prospect is talking, let them know that you’re listening by using so-called verbal nods – I see, ah, right, mhm, etc.

 

Never give up

 

You may be able to sell some insurance policies in one call be prepared for a second or third call. Your prospect may want to do some research to compare your rates, they may need to consult with their spouse, or they may not trust you after one call. ‘Don’t take it personally, but be persistent. If you get a hard “no” ask if you can call again at their next renewal date.

 

Be organized

 

Have everything you need to make the sale available at your fingertips. ‘It’s a good idea to open any relevant files you might need before dialing, so ‘you’re not fumbling around searching for documents during the call. Underwriting guidelines are an important one ‘you’ll want to have easily accessible.

 

Script your pitch

 

Have a written script of what you need to say to your prospects. You can change the script around to match the tone of your contact once ‘you’re on the phone, but know your pitch so you can add inflections into your voice and not sound like a monotone recording.

 

Create a backup closing statement

 

Is your prospect still on the fence? Have a “backup” closing statement handy. It is ok ask if it’s okay to call again at their next renewal time or even if you can send them a comparison of quotes. Sometimes having a visual instead of just hearing the numbers gives the buyer a chance to understand the value of your services.

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:28:46 +0530
History of Mutual Funds in India and the world

 

Anupama Nair

The mutual fund was born from a financial crisis that shattered Europe in the early 1770s.The British East India Company had borrowed heavily during the preceding years to support its ambitious colonial interests, particularly in America where there was a revolution in a few years. As expenses increased and revenue from colonial adventures decreased, the East India Company sought a bailout in 1772 from the already-shaken British treasury. It was the “original too big to fail corporation” and the repercussions were felt across the continent and across the world.

At the same time-period, the Dutch were facing their own challenges, expanding and exploring like the British and taking “copy-cat risks” in a pattern that had drawn parallels to the banking crisis that the world saw in 2008. Against this backdrop, a Dutch merchant, Adriaan van Ketwich, had the foresight to pool money from a number of subscribers to form an investment trust, which would be the world’s first mutual fund in 1774. The financial risk to the mainly small investors was spread by diversifying across a number of European countries and the American colonies, where investments were backed by income from plantations, that was an early version of today’s mortgage-backed securities.

Subscription to the closed-end fund, which Van Ketwich called “Eendragt Maakt Magt” or “unity creates strength”, was available to the public until all the 2,000 units were purchased. After that, participation in the fund was available only by buying shares from existing shareholders in the open market. The fund’s prospectus required an annual accounting, which investors could see if they requested. Two subsequent funds set up in The Netherlands increased the emphasis on diversification to reduce risk, escalating their appeal to even smaller investors with minimal capital.

Van Ketwich’s fund survived until 1824, but the vehicle he created is still a trademark of personal investing even after two centuries with around $ 27.86 trillion in global assets in July 2013. In Canada alone, mutual funds represent $ 1.43 trillion. The early mutual funds spread were of the closed-end variety, issuing a fixed number of shares. They spread from The Netherlands to England and France before heading to the U.S. in the 1890s.

The first modern-day mutual fund called the Massachusetts Investors Trust, was created on March 21, 1924. It was the first mutual fund with an open-end capitalization, allowing for the continuous issue and redemption of shares by the investment company. After just one year, the fund grew to $ 392,000 in assets from $ 50,000. The fund went public in 1928 and eventually became known as MFS Investment Management.

In 1932, the first Canadian fund, Canadian Investment Fund Ltd. (CIF), was established and by 1951 had assets of $ 51 million. It changed its name to Spectrum United Canadian Investment Fund in November 1996 and to CI Canadian Investment Fund in August 2002.

The growth of mutual funds and their impact on investing in general was epoch making and revolutionary. For the first time, ordinary investors with minimal capital could pool their resources in a professionally managed, diversified basket of investments, rather than going the more expensive route of buying individual stocks of varying risks. This was considered a “giant step in the democratization of investments for the common man”.

The first major sign of growth and popularity of mutual funds in Canada took place in the early 1960s when total assets doubled from $ 540 million in 1960 to more than $ 1 billion by the end of 1963. But the largest influx into mutual funds in Canada came during the 1990s when double-digit interest rates that had lured Canadians into investing with GICs tumbled and investors moved into investments with the potential for higher returns.

Interest rates and mutual fund sales had a direct association in the 1990s. In May 1990, the Bank of Canada, on which financial institutions base their interest rates, stood at one of its highest levels ever of 14.05%. From that point, the rate began a steady decline, hitting 6.81% in 1993 and 4.11% at the end of the year. As the bank rates fell, mutual fund sales surged, jumping 140% from the end of 1992 to the end of 1993 as strong markets sent assets climbing to almost $ 114.6 billion. The Bank rate dropped to 3.25% in January 1997 before slowly climbing to 5% in January 2000.

In 2008, global markets were rocked by a financial crisis, triggered by an over-extended housing crisis in the U.S. and was marked by financial sector collapses and bailouts similar to the European crisis in 1770s that spawned the original mutual fund. Canada escaped largely untouched compared to other countries, particularly the U.S., thanks to tighter mortgage rules and a regulated banking system. Canadian mutual funds survived, too, and after a brief downturn continue to thrive as a popular and valued savings device for Canadian investors.

The idea of pooling resources and spreading risk using closed-end investments found its way to the U.S. by the 1890s. The Boston Personal Property Trust, formed in 1893, was the first closed-end fund in the U.S. According to Collins Advisors, the investments were primarily in real estate and the vehicle might today be described as a hedge fund rather than a mutual fund.

The Indian mutual fund industry started in 1963 with the formation of the Unit Trust of India (UTI). It was a joint initiative by the Government of India (GOI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The history of mutual funds in India can be segregated into four distinct phases.

Currently, the industry has crossed a landmark of Rs 27 lakh crores AUM and stands at Rs 27,04,699 crore as on 30th November, 2019 while still having high-growth prospects. The recent regulations by SEBI namely on the re-categorization alongside changes in expense ratios and commission structure have helped the industry to grow by allowing fair competition while continuing to protect investors’ interests.

So, the Mutual Funds has a long and interesting history.

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:22:01 +0530
Data Analytics in various Industries

Anupama Nair

Data analytics has been effective in solving many real-world problems and is being increasingly adopted across industries to power more intelligent and better-informed decision-making. With the increased use of computers for day-to-day business and personal operations, there is a huge demand for intelligent machines, that can learn human behavior and work patterns. So, data analytics becomes all the more important.

A study says that the global data science market is estimated to grow to USD 115 billion in 2023 with a CAGR of ~ 29%. A report by Deloitte Access Economics survey noted that a massive 76% percent of businesses have plans to increase their spend over the next two years on increasing their data analytic capabilities. Almost all industries can benefit from data science and analytics.

Retailers need to correctly forecast what their customers want and then provide the request. If it is not done, they will likely be left behind in the world of competition. Big data and analytics provide retailers the insights they need to keep their customers happy and be a return customer to their stores. A survey by IBM said that 62% of retail respondents claimed that insights provided by analytics and information provided them with competitive advantages.

There are many ways retailers can use big data and analytics to keep their shoppers coming back for more. For instance, retailers can use big data and analytics to create hyper-personal and relevant shopping experiences that make their customers highly satisfied and more prone to making purchase decisions.

The medical industry is using big data and analytics in a great way to improve health in a variety of ways. For instance, the use of wearable trackers to provide important information to physicians who can make use of the data to provide better care to their patients. Wearable trackers also provide information like whether the patient is taking his or her medication and following the right treatment plan.

The banking industry is generally not seen as one that uses technology a lot. However, this is slowly changing as bankers are beginning to increasingly use technology to drive their decision-making. The Bank of America in the US uses natural language processing and predictive analytics to create a virtual assistant called Erica to help customers view information on upcoming bills or view transaction histories. Erica, the virtual assistant, is also trained to get smarter with every transaction. India is not far behind. Today, most banks use chat bots, the most famous being EVA of HDFC Bank.

It is no surprise that construction companies are beginning to embrace data science and analytics in a big way. Construction companies track everything from the average time needed to complete tasks to materials-based expenses and everything in between. Big data is now being used in a big way in the construction industry to drive better decision-making.

Consumers now demand rich media in different formats as and when they want it on a variety of devices. ‘Collecting, analyzing, and utilizing’ these consumer insights is now a challenge that data science is stepping in to tackle. Data science is being used to leverage social media and mobile content and understand real-time, media content usage patterns. For example, Spotify, the on-demand music streaming service, in India uses Hadoop, which is a big data analytics to collect and analyze data from its millions of users to provide better music recommendations to individual users.

The increasing demand and supply of natural resources, such as oil, minerals, gas, metals, agricultural products, etc., has led to the generation of huge amounts of data that is complex, difficult to handle, and a prime candidate for big data analytics. The manufacturing industry also generates huge amounts of data that has so far gone unused.

Big data has many applications in the field of public services. Places where big data can be used include financial market analysis, health-related research, environmental protection, energy exploration, and fraud detection. One such specific example is the use of big data analytics by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to analyze large numbers of social disability claims that come in as unstructured data. Analytics is being used to rapidly process medical information and detect fraudulent or suspicious claims.

The term ‘Data Science’ was first coined in 2001 and it took less than two decades for it to become the phenomenon it is today. Finance was the first industry to understand the advantages of data science when no one could and used it to sift through and analyze large amounts of data and help companies reduce losses. Today, Data Science is a force to reckon with and almost all industries are trying to leverage it’s potential, and this number will only continue to increase as data science technology becomes more reliable and cost-effective. However, to capitalize on data science opportunities, you will need to understand industry-specific challenges, understand data characteristics of each industry, and match market needs with custom capabilities and solutions.

 

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:14:20 +0530
Risk Management An introduction

 

Anupama Nair

In the financial world, “risk management is the process of identification, analysis, and acceptance or mitigation of uncertainty in investment decisions”. Fundamentally, risk management happens, when an investor or fund manager analyzes and attempts to measure the potential for losses in an investment, such as a ‘moral hazard’, and then takes the necessary action or inaction given the fund's investment objectives and tolerance to risk.

Risk never sleeps and will also not let you sleep -- risk management has never been more crucial than it is in today’s complex, and inter-connected markets. Market risk, counter-party risk, liquidity or operational risk, and portfolio risk management, whether you buy or sell, firms need a comprehensive solution with broad asset class coverage.

As we all know risk is inseparable from returns. Every investment involves at least some degree of risk, which is less in the case of a Government bond, or very high for something such as emerging-market equities or real estate in highly inflationary markets. Risk is measurable both in absolute and in relative terms. A solid understanding of risk in its different forms can help investors to better understand the opportunities, trade-offs, and costs involved with different investment approaches.

Risk management occurs everywhere in the world of finance. It occurs when an investor buys Government bonds instead of corporate bonds, or when a fund manager hedges his currency exposure with currency derivatives, and when a bank performs a credit check on an individual before issuing a personal line of credit. Stockbrokers use financial instruments like options and futures, and money managers use strategies like portfolio diversification, asset allocation and position sizing to mitigate or effectively manage risk.

We tend to think of ‘risk’ in predominantly negative terms. However, in the investment world, risk is necessary and inseparable from desirable performance. A common definition of investment risk is an ‘aberration from an expected outcome’. We can express this aberration in absolute terms or relative to something else, like a market benchmark. When that deviation may be positive or negative, investment professionals generally accept the idea that such deviation implies some degree of the intended outcome for your investments. Thus, to achieve higher returns one needs to accept the greater risk. It is also a generally accepted idea that increased risk comes in the form of increased volatility. While investment professionals constantly seek and occasionally find ways to reduce such volatility, there is no strong pact among them on how it's best done.

Consolidate all your risk calculations in one place with a complete risk analytics and reporting solution designed for all risk managers, from the chief risk officer to the risk analyst. With all the standard risk measures you need and integrated data and analytics, our solutions can keep you compliant  and competitive.

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:12:07 +0530
The brave heart who fought against the Dutch and Portuguese

 

Anupama Nair

I had written previously how along with the Portuguese, and the Dutch East India Company also had designs on India. However, their stay in India was short lived due to this brave king of Travancore called Mathanda Varma I and Abakka Chowta.

To narrate her story, I need to take you to the 15th century. People in those days thought there were only three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa. Before, 1553 there was trade done between Asia and Europe, and Silk Route existed via Constantinople. The Arabs took goods from the East and sold it to the Europeans. Dacca Muslin, Indian Spices and silk were used by the Royal families of Europe. However, the capture of Constantinople by Turks in 1453 destroyed the trade route. The result of this event was imperialism and most of America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia came under the rule of European countries. When the trade route was blocked, the European royal families, who were addicted to Dacca Muslin, spices and silk were forced to find an alternate trade route. Many sailors set on a long journey through the Atlantic to come to India then known as the “golden bird”.

In the past India was invaded many times by invaders from time immemorial through the Himalayan passes. Did you know the first invader who invaded India through the ocean was the Portuguese? Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut in 1499. During the early part of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese were successfully carrying out trade in coastal India. However, with time their imperialist motives became clear and slowly by slowly, they began their reign of terror. If you thought Mughals, Khiljis or the British were cruel, Portuguese will emerge the winners. Goa and Brazil were the main victims. Much of the trade carried on in the Western coast of India was taxed by the Portuguese who looked to advance upon Ullal, near Mangalore Port, (Karnataka). That is how they came to face the brave queen Abbakka Chowta their nemesis. 

She was the first Tulluva queen of Ullal and  belonged to the  Chowta dynasty who ruled over parts of coastal Karnataka with the capital city Puttige.  Ullal was their subsidiary capital and was the capital of the Chowta king Thirumala Raya III who was the vassal of the Vijayanagar kingdom. The Chowtas were Jain kings who had originally migrated to Tulu Nadu (a province consisting of present-day Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, portions of Udupi and Kasargod district in Kerala) from Gujarat in the 12th century.

As the Chowtas followed the matrilineal system, the king’s heir was his niece, Abbakka. She was a brave princess who had been trained in archery, cavalry, military strategy, and all other skills a young princess needed. When she became the queen of Ullal, she was aware of the threat posed by the Portuguese and was determined to resist it with all power she had. Before his death, Thirumala Raya III  married Abbakka with Lakshmappa Bangaraja, the ruler of Mangalore. She was so independent that even after her marriage she stayed in Ullal along with her three children. The marriage broke down when Bangaraja negotiated with the enemy of her kingdom the Portuguese. They wanted to keep control over trade in the Indian Ocean by using sailing permits. “In true colonial style, what the Portuguese could not achieve through bullying, they did through strength”, was the view of the historians. 

A friction with the Portuguese was inevitable and Ullal was strategically important as a port as it had a thriving spice trade. By this time, the Portuguese were alarmed about Rani Abbakka’s bravery inspiring other rulers. When threats failed, they resorted to treachery. A series of edicts were passed to make any alliance with the defiant queen illegal. Her ex-husband, Bangaraja of Mangalore, was also warned against sending any aid to Ullal.

Her first battle with the Portuguese was in 1555, when Admiral Dom Álvaro da Silveira and his army arrived with imperialistic designs in Ullal. In 1568, the Portuguese Viceroy Antony D’ Noronha sent Joao Peixoto with a fleet of soldiers. He however, managed to capture Ullal and enter the palace. Abbakka, managed to escape and took shelter in a mosque. She, along with 500 soldiers, killed Peixoto and seventy troops in the night. Historians said “the invaders were forced to flee to their ships in disgrace”.

This brave queen’s  words “save the motherland. Fight them on land and the sea. Fight them on the streets and the beaches. Push them back to the waters”, reverberated through the airstreams as she and her soldiers fired against the Portuguese ships. Many of the ships in the Portuguese fleet were burnt that night, but unfortunately Rani Abbakka was wounded in the crossfire and was captured with the help of  her own chieftains. The brave queen passed away in captivity, but her legacy will never die. After her death, her  brave daughters continued  the fight against the Portuguese. As a result, Portuguese rule was confined only in Goa, and were finally forced to leave in 1961.

It can be rightly said Rani Abbakka was the main thorn in the Portuguese’ side throughout her reign despite their superior military power. Thanks to the ultra-left influenced curriculum she remains buried in the sands of time. However, she still lives on in the folk culture of the Dakshin Kannada region and in the recent years, her story gained popularity across the country. There is an annual celebration in her memory, called “Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava” held in Karnataka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma  was also known as the "Maker of Modern Travancore". He was ruler of the Indian kingdom of Travancore previously called Venadu. He was the founder of the Travancore dynasty

Marthanda Varma is famous for defeating Dutch East India Company  at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. He then adopted a European mode of discipline for his army and expanded his kingdom northward(to what became the modern state of Travancore. He built a sizeable army of about 50,000 men, as part of designing an "elaborate and well-organized" war machine, with the role of the Nair nobility and fortified the northern boundary of his kingdom His alliance in 1757 with the ruler of Cochin, against the northern Kingdom of Calicut, enabled the kingdom of Kochi to survive.

Travancore under Marthanda Varma made a deliberate attempt to consolidate its power by the use of Indian Ocean trade. It was the policy of Marthanda Varma to offer assistance to Syrian Christian traders to limit the European involvement in the Indian ocean. The main good sold was  black pepper, but other goods also came to be defined as ‘royal monopoly items’ that required a license for trade between the 1740s and the 1780s. Eventually, the kingdom of Travancore challenged Dutch blockade of the Kerala coast.[4]

Trivandrum became a prominent city in Kerala under Marthanda Varma. He undertook many irrigational works, built roads and canals for communication and gave active encouragement to foreign trade.  In January, 1750, Marthanda Varma decided to ‘donate’ his kingdom to Lord Padmanabha or Vishnu and thereafter ruled as the deity's Sri Padmanabha Dasa. Even today the king of Travancore calls himself Sri Padmanabha Dasa. Marthanda Varma's policies were continued in large measure by his successor, Rama Varma or Dharma Raja. Travancore then launched a series of raids on the Dutch forts in the area and captured them all. In retaliation, a Dutch artillery force landed at Colachel from Ceylon and conquered up to Kottar. The Dutch forces then advanced against Kalkulam, Travancore's capital. Marthanda Varma, who was then in the north of his state promptly marched his forces to the south and arrived at Kalkulam just in time to avoid a defeat

In the following battle at Colachel the Travancore forces won a great victory over the Dutch. More than twenty Dutch soldiers were taken as prisoners of war from Colachel. Among them was Eustachius de Lannoy, whose bravery came under the attention of the king. Eustachius de Lannoy, commonly known in Travancore as the 'Valiya Kappittan'  was entrusted with the organization and drilling of a special regiment, which he did to the "entire satisfaction of the king". De Lannoy was raised to the rank of general in Travancore army and proved to be of considerable service to Marthanda Varma in subsequent battles.

Following the expulsion of the Dutch, Marthanda Varma now turned his attention once again towards Kayamkulam. In 1742, Travancore forces attacked Kayamkulam and fought the Kayamkulam army led by Achuta Warrier and chiefs from Valiya Kakkanadu Madhom. Although Travancore was defeated in this battle, Marthanada Varma reinforced his army with cavalry brought in from Tirunelveli before mounting an attack on Kayamkulam, which led to the final defeat of the chiefdom. A treaty known as the Treaty of Mannar (1742) was signed, under which Kayamkulam became a tributary of the Kingdom of Travancore. However, in 1746, the Kayamkulam chief once again showed signs of rebellion and when his ‘conspiracies’ with the northern chiefdoms such as KottayamChanganassery, Cochin and Ambalapuzha came to the attention of Marthanda Varma. Kayamkulam was annexed by a final battle in which the chief fled to Cochin and a branch of the family settled near Charamood known as "Moothantedom". The kingdom of Travancore now extended from Kanyakumari to Kayamkulam in the north. Following this, Ambalapuzha, Kottayam and Changanassery were also annexed to Travancore by 1753. The principality of Meenachil was also annexed.

The ascension of Travancore seemed to have been quicker around 1749. Marthanda Varma had declared a state monopoly on pepper in Travancore in 1743, thereby delivered a serious blow to the commerce of the Dutch.  The Treaty of Mavelikkara completely destroyed the Dutch. Thereafter, "considerable spice producing lands came under direct royal control, while those merchants participating in illegal trade in spices stood in danger of being executed".

If only we had shown such resistance to the British, we would not have been ruled for 190 years!

 

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:05:57 +0530
Tips to have shiny healthy and bouncy hair

 

Anupama Nair

When I see the advertisement of shampoos and hair oil, I am mesmerized by the beauty of the long shimmering bouncy hair of the models, I often ask the question is it possible? Is it a farfetched dream? However, if hair experts are to be believed, the dream of a healthy hair can be turned into reality with proper hair care. While genetics play a key role, your diet, the weather, pollution, and your overall approach to hair care are all critical to maintaining your crowning glory.

Here are some tips to ensure to have healthy hair:

  • Wash your hair regularly as it ensures that your scalp and hair is free of dirt and excess oil
  • Use chemical free shampoos
  • Use good-quality conditioner
  • Dry your hair naturally
  • Oil your hair properly
  • Use A Wide-toothed Comb
  • Style Your Hair Naturally
  • Trim Your Hair Regularly.
  • Pump up the protein. At least eat 45gm of protein a day
  • Eat food containing zinc like vegetables and fruits
  • Increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • “Know thy hair” – whether it is dry, oily, etc.,
  • Harsh shampoo, hair treatments, styling products, and excessive brushing contribute most to poor hair health.
  • Some prescription drugs cause hair fall

Now I am going to write about what no to do:

  • Hot showers
  • Use of excessive chemicals
  • Stressful life
  • Hairstyling products

I for one will start using these health tips to have a good healthy hair.

 

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:59:01 +0530
The great children of Bharat Ma who stopped Islamic Terror

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the degradation of Indian culture, tradition, religion after the mlechas set up their rule. Now I am writing about the brave sons and daughters of Bhatrat Ma who fought against these tyrants. Let me start with Naiki Devi

In the year 1173, the young Ghurid prince, Muhammad Shahabuddin Gori had just managed to conquer the Ghaznavids in Afghanistan, and he did something which no other king could do, -- the troops of Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Arabs and even Mahmud of Ghazni could not — conduct successful invasion deep into the heart of the Indian Subcontinent. Muhammad Ghori first invaded Multan and the fortress of Uch. After achieving victories in Multan and Uch, he eyed the Rajputana and Gujarat. Can you guess his target? -- the prosperous and well-fortified town of Anhilwara Patan (Gujarat). It was established by Vanraj of the Chapotkata dynasty in the 8th century, and Anhilwara Patan was the capital of the Chalukya (also known as the Solankis) who ousted the Chapotkatas.

Gori was confident he would defeat the kingdom as he assumed a mere woman and her child would not provide much resistance. But unfortunately for him , he learnt a lesson-- never to underestimate the great valor of a young Indian queen. Unconcerned about the prospect of Ghori’s impending attack, she took command of the Chalukyan army and threw herself into organizing a well-planned opposition to the invading army. Nayaki Devi now was thinking of a strategy to defeat the enemy. She even cleverly chose the site of the battle -- the hilly passes of Gadaraghatta at the foot of Mount Abu near the village of Kasahrada, (Kyara in Sirohi district which is 65 km away from Anahilavada). The narrow passes gained were a huge advantage and surprisingly, the invading army was at great disadvantage. The Chaulukyan army was headed by Nayaki Devi with the boy-king sitting on her lap. Her army and the troop of elephants crushed the massive army, which were famous for defeating the mighty Sultans of Multan. Nayaki Devi killed several enemy soldiers, and Ghori the coward he was, fled with a handful of bodyguards. The battle was known as Battle of Kasahrada.

Kurma Devi was the brave daughter of a braver mother. She was a witness to her mother defeating the cruel invader Ghori. She was married to Samar Singh, the Rawal of Chittorgarh, who had two wives. His first wife was Prithabai who was the sister of one of  India’s greatest sons – Prithvi Raj Chauhan and the other wife was Kurma Devi. Prithvi Raj Chauhan fought Muhammad Ghori, and was martyred, but killed Ghori too.

Unfortunately, Samar Singh and his eldest son were killed in the Second  Battle Of Tarain (1191-92 AD) that was fought between Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori. After the war Ghori returned to Multan and left Qutub-ud-din Aibak in charge of Delhi. Now let us talk about Quṭub-ud-Dīn Aibak who was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. He was born in Turkistan and was a slave. When his master died, he was sold by his master’s son to Muhammad of Gori, who made him the Amir-i-Akhur (Master of Slaves). Over the years, he joined Gori’s military and rose to become the general of Muhammad of Gori.

Kurma Devi had to look after her young son Karan Singh. After a couple of years, Kurma Devi led her army with nine other kings and eleven Rawats, in her march towards Delhi to seek revenge against the man who had killed her husband, and kill him -- Qutub-ud-Din Aibak. Kurma Devi and her army encountered Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and his army near the old Amber Fort. She herself confronted Aibak and challenged him in a duel. What a brave woman to challenge a sultan! In the duel, this brave queen managed to bury her sword deep into Qutub-ud-Din’s flesh, and he was so severely wounded that he tumbled from his horse. Aibak’s army believed he was dead, and the cowards that they were, instead of fighting back they fled from the battlefield. Kurma Devi thought that she had avenged the death of her dead husband with the death of Qutub-ud-din and she returned to Chittorgarh.

Now I am going to write about the brave Ratan Singh who was the Rana of Mewar. According to Jayasi, she was the daughter of the king of Singhal or Sri Lanka. She was famous for her beauty and her archery skills. She had a talking parrot Hiraman, and the king hated their friendship, So, the parrot was ordered to be executed. However, it somehow escaped and managed to reach the palace of the king of Mewar Rana Ratan Singh. The parrot praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and Rana Ratan Singh who was enchanted by her beauty was determined to marry her. He reached Singhal and he married her after he fulfilled her vow of defeating her in a duel. However, his first wife Nagmati refused to accept her.

There was a Brahmin courtier in the court of Ratan Singh called Raghav Chetan. He was banished from the kingdom by Ratan Singh for fraud. Raghav reached Delhi to the court of the cruel and lusty Sultan Allaudin Khilji. He praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and the womanizer that he was, Allaudin decided to obtain her and hence, attacked Chittor. However, he failed to conquer Chittor and offered a fake peace treaty to Ratan Singh and deceitfully captured him. However, a sequence of events followed and the brave Rana was released from his captivity by his loyal men, Gora and Badal who entered the fort by disguising as Rani Padmavati while they sat inside the palanquin. In a battle Rana Ratan Singh was martyred and Allaudin then attacked Chittor. The brave women of Chittor led by Padmavati committed Jauhar to save their honor from the lusty Islamic invaders.

Many centuries later Bharat was invaded by the Mughals who has the distinction of the most tyrannical rulers in mankind. It was Rana Sanga who managed to save his country was martyred. Rana Sanga was born to the Sisodia king Rana Raimal and his queen Ratan Kunwar. After he became the king, Sanga reunited the warring Rajput clans through diplomacy and marital alliances. According to folklores, Sanga had fought one hundred battles and lost only once. In various struggle he lost his wrist and was crippled.  He also removed the Jaziya tax which was earlier imposed by the Sultans who ruled India. He was the last independent Hindu king of Northern India to control a significant territory and contemporary texts described him as the “Hindu Emperor”.

After conquering Malwa, Sanga turned his attention towards North Eastern Rajasthan which was then under the control of an ally of  the Khillji’s Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. This battle between Lodi and Sanga is called the Battle of Khanwa. It was the second major battle fought in modern-day India, after the Battle of Panipat. After hearing the news of Sanga attacking his territory, Lodi prepared an army and marched against Mewar in 1517. There was a fierce battle and the army of Lodi suffered serious injury and the cowards they were, they fled. One Lodi prince was captured and imprisoned. The brave Rana Sanga lost an arm by a sword cut, and an arrow made him lame for life.

On 21 April 1526, the Babur invaded India for the fifth time and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat and executed him. After the battle, Sanga unified several Rajput clans for the first time since Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and built an army of 100,000 Rajput soldiers and proceeded to Agra. The Mughals managed to capture the Bayana Fort and a major clash took place in Bayana in 1527 in which Mughal forces led by Chin Timur Khan were defeated by Rajput forces led by Prithvi Raj Kachwaha and later by Rana Sanga  himself. The defeat was the last of Rana Sanga success.

The Mughals were terrified by Rajput valor and asked Babur to leave for Kabul. This is the main difference between Indian warriors and the foreigners from Muhammad Ghori as we fight till the last breath, while these cowards flee at the time of danger. In the battle fought at Khanwa, the Mughal were victorious due to their cannons, matchlocks and other firearms. Following his victory, Babur ordered a tower of enemy skulls to be erected, a practice followed by his ancestor Taimur the Lame, against his adversaries, irrespective of their religious beliefs. While he was preparing to wage another war against Babur, he was poisoned by his own nobles who did not want another battle. He died in Kalpi in 1528,  and was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh II.

We should appreciate such great souls who gave up their lives for their motherland.

 

 

 

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:55:28 +0530
Colonial Rule Portuguese and Dutch an overview

 

Anupama Nair

Long after the decline of the Roman Empire's maritime trade with India, nearly after a thousand years, the Portuguese were the next Europeans to arrive for the purpose of trade. Vasco da Gama requested permission to leave a person in charge of the merchandise he could not sell however, his request was refused, and the king Zamorin insisted that he should pay customs duty like any other trader, which strained their relations. The ruler of the Kingdom of Tanur, who was a vassal to the Zamorin of Calicut, helped  the Portuguese, against his overlord at Calicut As a result, the Kingdom of Tanur became one of the earliest Portuguese Colonies in India.  However, the Tanur forces under the king fought for the Zamorin of Calicut in the Battle of Cochin in 1504. However, the allegiance of the Muslims in Tanur was still with the Zamorin of Calicut. The Portuguese took advantage of the rivalry between the Zamorin and the Raja of Kochi and hence allied with Kochi.

When Francisco de Almeida was appointed as Viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, his headquarters was established at  Fort Emmanuel rather than in Calicut. During his reign, the Portuguese managed to dominate relations with Kochi and established a few fortresses on the Malabar Coast. The Portuguese suffered setbacks from attacks by Zamorin forces in South Malabar; especially from naval attacks under the leadership of Kunjali Marakkar, which compelled them to seek a treaty. Kunjali Marakkar was credited with organizing the first naval defense of the Indian coast. In 1571, the Portuguese were defeated by the Zamorin forces in the Battle at Chaliyam Fort.

Even though their presence in India initially started in 1498, their colonial rule lasted only from 1505 until 1961. The Portuguese Empire established the first European trading center at Quilon in 1502. It is believed that the colonial era in India started with the establishment of this Portuguese trading center at Quilon. In 1505, King Manuel I of Portugal appointed Dom Francisco de Almeida as the first Portuguese viceroy in India, followed in 1509 by Dom Afonso de Albuquerque.

Almeida becomes the first Portuguese viceroy to reach Bombay. He defeated a joint fleet of the Sultanate of Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, the Zamorin of Calicut and the Sultan of Gujarat, with the naval support he received from the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Ragusa. Francisco de Almeida's called Bombay as  ‘Bombia’ which meant good bay. However, the Portuguese paid their first visit to the islands on 21 January 1509, when they landed at Mahim after capturing a Gujarat barge in the Mahim creek. After a series of attacks by the Gujarat Sultanate, the islands were recaptured by Sultan Bahadur Shah. The Portuguese acquired the seven islands from the Sultan of Gujarat in 1534 in exchange for military support.

Bahadur Shah had grown anxious of the power of the Mughal emperor Humayun and he was forced to sign the Treaty of Bassein with the Portuguese on 23 December 1534. According to the treaty, the islands of Mumbai and Bassein were offered to the Portuguese. Bassein and the seven islands were surrendered later by a Treaty of Peace and Commerce between Bahadur Shah and the Viceroy of the Portuguese India, Nuno da Cunha, on 25th October 1535, ending the Islamic rule in Mumbai.

There was then a twist in the story. In 1580, Spain conquered Portugal and it opened the doors of the country to other European powers like the Dutch and the British. The Dutch arrived first, and later the British. The merchants of the East India Company arrived in Bombay in November 1583, and toured through Bassein, Thane, and Chaul. The Battle of Swally was fought between the British and the Portuguese for an ambitious scheme for the construction of a seawall in Surat in 1612 for the possession of Bombay.  Castella de Aguada or the Fort of the Waterpoint was built by the Portuguese at Bandra in 1640, as a watchtower dominating the Mahim Bay, the Arabian Sea and the southern island of Mahim. 

Then Portuguese King John IV gave Bombay as a dowry for the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Portugal on 8 May 1661. The British Crown sold Bombay to the East India Company in 1668 for a mere sum of ten pounds or Rs. 1,48,000 today. So, Portuguese had to turn their attention to Goa or Gomantak. In 1510, Albuquerque conquered the city of Goa, and used the policy of marrying Portuguese soldiers and sailors with local Indian girls, and the consequence of which was a great miscegenation in Goa and other parts of Asia, Portuguese were infamous for  the brutal Goa Inquisition. When India became Independent in 1947, Portuguese refused to leave Goa and were forced by India Army to leave Goa in 1961.

The Dutch East India Company established trading posts along different parts of the Indian coast. For some time, they controlled the Malabar, Cochin, Quilon, Cannanore, Kundapura,  Surat, Golconda,  and Ceylon. They conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese. The Dutch also established trading stations in the kingdom of Travancore and coastal Tamil Nadu as well as at Rajshahi and Murshidabad. However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India. They had the Dutch East Indies or Indonesia.

Following the Portuguese and the Dutch, the French also established trading bases in India. Their first establishment was in Pondicherry on the Coromandel Coast in southeastern India in 1674. Many French settlements were made in Chandernagore in Bengal, in 1688, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh in 1723, Mahe in 1725, and Karaikal in 1739. The French were constantly in conflict with the Dutch and later on mainly with the British East India Company in India. At the zenith of French power in the mid-18th century, the French occupied large areas of southern India. In the years  between 1744 and 1761, the British and the French repeatedly attacked and conquered each other's forts and towns in southeastern India and in Bengal in the northeast. After some initial successes of the French, the British decisively defeated the French in Bengal in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and in the southeast in 1761 in the Battle of Wandiwash, after which the British East India Company was the supreme military and political power in southern India as well as in Bengal. In the following decades, it gradually increased the size of the territories under its control. The colonies of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe, and Chandernagore were returned to France in 1816 and were integrated with the Republic of India in 1954.

Next I will be writing about the Supremacy of the British in India as well as other parts of the world as they were called “empire where the sun never sets”. It pains me to see my great country degraded like this.

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:51:47 +0530
Food to eat for a healthy body

 

Anupama Nair

We humans need a wide range of nutrients to lead a healthy and active life. The question is how to provide these nutrients? Good nutrition or proper intake of food in relation to the body’s dietary needs is required. An adequate, well-balanced diet combined with regular exercise is a sure sign of good health. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.

 

A healthy and natural diet consumed throughout our life helps in preventing malnutrition in all its forms as well as wide range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and conditions. But rapid urbanization and globalization, increased consumption of processed foods and changing lifestyles has led to a shift in dietary patterns.

People are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars or salt, and many do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and dietary fibers such as whole grains. So, these factors contribute to an imbalanced eating habit. A balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on the individual needs like age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity, cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs but the basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same.

 

It is easy to talk about a balanced diet. What is balanced diet? A balanced diet is one which contains variety of foods in such quantities and proportion that the need of all nutrients is adequately met for maintaining health, vitality and general wellbeing and makes a small provision for extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanness.

The major food issues of concern are insufficient or imbalanced intake of foods or nutrients.  One of the most common nutritional problems of public health importance in India are low birth weight, protein energy malnutrition in children, chronic energy deficiency in adults, micronutrient malnutrition and diet related non-communicable diseases. Health and nutrition are the most important contributory factors for human resource development in the country.

 

Healthy dietary practices begin very early in life. Recent evidences indicate that under nutrition in uterus  may set the pace for diet-related chronic diseases in later life. Breast-feeding promotes healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life. Since a healthy diet consists of different kinds of foods, the emphasis has been shifted from nutrient orientation to the food-based approach.

 

Foods can be categorized according to the function as:

 

  • Energy rich foods (Carbohydrates and fats)-whole grain cereals, millets, vegetable oils, ghee, nuts and oilseeds and sugars.
  • Body building foods (Proteins)- Pulses, nuts and oilseeds, milk and milk products, meat, fish, poultry.
  • Protective foods (Vitamins and minerals) - Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk and milk products and flesh foods.

 

Let us now talk about nutrition in various stages of life. However, the requirement is different for every individual from an  infant, growing child, grown man or pregnant or lactating women and elderly people. The diet varies from person to person depending upon various factors like age, gender, physical activity, nutritional requirement during different physiological stages of the body and other various factors. Body weights and heights of children reflect their state of physical growth and development, while weights and heights of adults represent steps taken towards good health.

 

Diet for an Infant:

 

If you have an infant or toddler, make sure that they get enough nutrition in their growing years of age. Babies should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life. Breast feeding should be started within an hour after delivery and do not discard first milk  called colostrum, as it boosts the immunity of the baby and protects the baby from several infections. Exclusive breast-feeding ensures safe nutrition to the infant thereby reducing the risk of infections and also helps in the overall development of the baby   Breast-milk is the most natural and wholesome food for growth and healthy development of infants.  Breast–fed infants do not need additional water.  After six months, you can feed your baby with complementary foods while continuing to breast-feed. Complementary food should be rich in nutrients. These complementary foods can be prepared at home from commonly used food materials such as cereals, pulses, nuts and oilseeds, oils, sugar and jaggery. You can feed your baby to variety of soft foods like potatoes, porridge, cereals, or even eggs. 

 

Infants cannot eat large quantities of food at a single time so they should be fed small quantities at frequent intervals (3-4 times a day). Also, the food should be of semi-solid consistency so that the infants can swallow it easily.  A balanced diet is the key to protect your child against nutritional deficiencies. Protein Energy Malnutrition more commonly affects young children till the age of 5. Malnutrition is defined as "a state of poor nutrition caused by insufficient or unbalanced diet".

 

Diet for a Growing Child:

 

Children who eat a balanced diet lay the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle and this further lowers the risk of long-term health issues. Childhood is the most critical time for growth as well as for development of the mind and to fight infections. So, it is very essential that the children get a good dose of energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to see that hygienic practices are followed while preparing and feeding the complementary food to the child, otherwise, it might lead to diarrhea. A well formulated balanced diet is necessary for children and adolescents to achieve optimum growth and boost their immunity. Balanced Diet, playing outdoors, physical activities of the child are essential for optimum body composition and to reduce the risk of diet related chronic conditions later in life and to prevent any sort of vitamin deficiency.  Adolescence has various other factors attached to it: rapid increase in height and weight, hormonal changes and mood swings.

 

Development of bone mass is going on during this period so inclusion of dairy products milk, cheese, yoghurt and vegetables like spinach, broccoli and celery which are rich in calcium is a must. Children require good amount of carbohydrates and fats for energy. Therefore, it is very essential to give them a daily intake of energy rich foods as whole grains (wheat, brown rice), nuts, vegetable oils, vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits like banana.

 

In case of children, proteins are essentials for muscle building, repair and growth and building antibodies. So, a diet which has meat, eggs, fish and dairy products are needed. A child needs vitamins for the body to function properly and to boost the immune system. A variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors should be added in the child’s food. Vitamin A is essential for vision and a deficiency of the same can lead to night blindness (difficulty in seeing in night). Dark green leafy vegetables, yellow, orange-colored vegetables and fruits such as carrots, papaya, mangoes are good sources of Vitamin A.

 

Vitamin D helps in bone growth and development and it is essential for absorption of calcium. Children get most of their Vitamin D from sunlight and a small amount from some food items like fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks.

Teenage girls experience more physiological changes and psychological stress than boys because of onset of menarche or onset of menstruation .Therefore, teenage girls should eat diet which is rich in both vitamins as well as minerals to prevent anemia.

Now a days, children are more inclined towards junk food but it is very important to motivate your kids in teenage to eat nutrition rich foods. Many children have poor eating habits, which can lead to various long-term health complications, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. As a parent, keep making frequent changes in their menu to avoid boredom of eating the same food every day.  Adolescence is the most vulnerable stage for developing bad food habits as well as bad habits like smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol should be avoided. In addition to consumption of a nutritious well-balanced diet, appropriate lifestyle practices and involvement in outdoor activities such as games or sports should be encouraged among children as well as adolescents. Regular physical exercises increase strength and stamina, and are necessary for good health and well-being of the teenager.

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:47:33 +0530
How did dinosaurs become extinct

 

Anupama Nair

What is a dinosaur? It is the common name given to a group of reptiles, often very large, that first appeared nearly 250 million years ago i.e., the beginning of the Middle Triassic Epoch and flourished across the world  for nearly 180 million years. Unfortunately, majority of them died by the end of the Cretaceous Period, about 66 million years ago, but researches on the topic revel that one lineage evolved into birds about 155 million years ago. The Triassic  is a geologic period  which began 50.6 million years ago, while the Cretaceous Period began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.

The name dinosaur was  derived from the Greek words deinos which meant  “terrible” or “fearfully great” and sauros  which meant reptile” or “lizard”. The great English scientist Richard Owen used  the formal term ‘Dinosauria’ in 1842 to include three giant extinct animals  i.e., MegalosaurusIguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus and were represented by the large fossilized bones that had been unearthed at several locations in southern England during the early part of the 19th century. Owen was of the belief that these reptiles were far different from other known reptiles found in the present and the past as they were large but  terrestrial, unlike the aquatic ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs that were already known. They had five vertebrae in their hips, whereas most known reptiles had  only two; and, rather than holding their limbs sprawled out to the side similar to lizards, dinosaurs held their limbs under the body in columnar fashion, like other large mammals. The question is where they reptiles or mammals?

They were originally used for just a handful of incomplete specimens, the clade Dinosauria now includes more than 800 generic names and at least 1,000 species, with new names being added to the roster every year as the result of scientific discoveries around the world. However, not all of these names are valid. A great many of them have been based on fragmentary or incomplete material that may actually have come from two or more different dinosaurs. In addition, their bones have sometimes been mistaken as dinosaurs when they are not.

There is a misunderstanding commonly described in popular books and media that all the dinosaurs became extinct at the same time and apparently quite suddenly at the end of the Cretaceous Period. This is not true, because birds are a living branch of dinosaurian lineage. The best records, which are almost exclusively from North America, show that dinosaurs were already in decline during the latest portion of the Cretaceous. The causes of this decline are complex and difficult to attribute to a single source. In order to understand extinction, it is necessary to understand the basic fossil record of dinosaurs.

Around 160 million years or so of the Mesozoic Era i,e., 252.2 million to 66 million years ago, from which dinosaurs are known, there were constant changes in dinosaur communities. Different species evolved quickly and were quickly replaced by others throughout the Mesozoic age. It is not possible that any particular type of dinosaur survived from one geologic formation into the next.

It is important to note that extinction is a normal, universal occurrence. Mass extinctions often come to mind when the term extinction is mentioned, but the normal background extinctions that occur throughout geologic time probably account for most losses of biodiversity. Just as new species constantly split from existing ones, existing species are constantly becoming extinct. The speciation rate of a group must, on balance, exceed the extinction rate in the long run, or that group will become extinct. The history of animal and plant life is full with successions as early forms were replaced by the new and often more advanced forms. In most instances the layered nature of the fossil record gives too little information to show whether the old forms were actually displaced by the new successors from the effects of competition, predation, or other ecological processes or if the new kinds simply expanded into the declining population’s ecological positions.

However, because of the knowledge of the various dinosaur groups is somewhat incomplete, the duration of any particular dinosaur can be gauged only approximately by stratigraphic boundaries and presumed “first” and “last” occurrences. The “moments” of apparently high extinction levels among dinosaurs occurred at two points in the Triassic i.e., about 221 million and 210 million years ago, or perhaps at the end of the Jurassic  around 145 million years ago, and, of course, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The next question is whether the extinctions were simultaneous and instantaneous or whether they were non-synchronous and spread over a long time. The precision with which geologic time can be measured leaves much to be desired no matter what means are used. Only rarely does an “instantaneous” event leave a worldwide, or even regional signature in the geologic record in the way that a volcanic eruption does locally.

It is believed that dinosaurs left no descendants. However, it is not true as Archaeopteryx, discovered in 1861, and Xiaotingia, which was discovered in 2011, give compelling evidence that birds of class Aves evolved from the small theropod dinosaurs. Following the principles of genealogy that are applied to humans as much as to other organisms, and they are classified at a higher level within the groups from which they evolved. Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia which are the oldest birds known are therefore classified as both dinosaurs and birds, just as humans are both primates and mammals.

It is still unclear how dinosaurs were extinct? Hope we will solve this mystery soon!

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:33:39 +0530
The evolution of Plants

 

Anupama Nair

 

The evolution of plants in itself resulted in a wide range of complexity i.e., from the earliest algal mats, through multicellular marine and freshwater green algae, like terrestrial bryophytes, lycopods and ferns, to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms which in layman terms are flowering plants we see today. You can still find some of the earliest groups thriving, as exemplified by red and green algae in marine environments. The more recent derived groups have displaced previously ecologically dominant ones -- for example, the ascendance of flowering plants over gymnosperms in terrestrial environments. There is evidence that cyanobacteria and multi-cellular photosynthetic eukaryotes lived in freshwater communities on land as early as 1 billion years ago, and that communities of complex, multicellular photo-synthesizing organisms existed on land in the late Precambrian, Period that was around 850 million years ago.

Evidence of the emergence of embryophyte land plants first occurred in the mid-Ordovician Period which was nearly 470 million years ago, and by the middle of the Devonian Period nearly 390 million years ago, and has many of the features now found in land plants today including roots and leaves. By late Devonian Period  some plants such as Archaeopteris had secondary vascular tissue that produced wood and had formed forests of tall trees. Evolutionary innovation continued throughout the rest of the Phanerozoic eon and still continues today. Most plant groups were relatively unharmed by the ‘Permo-Triassic extinction event’. This may have set the scene for the appearance of the flowering plants in the Triassic nearly 200 million years ago, and their later diversification in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. The latest major group of plants to evolve were the grasses, which became important in the mid-Paleogene nearly 40  million years ago. The grasses, as well as many other groups, evolved new mechanisms of metabolism to survive the low CO2 and warm, dry conditions of the places near the equator called tropics around 10 million years ago.

Land plants evolved from a group of green algae, perhaps as early as 850 million years ago, but algae-like plants might have evolved as early as 1 billion years ago. The closest living relatives of land plants are called the charophytes, specifically Charales and we can assume that the habit of the Charales has changed not much since the divergence of lineages. We can safely say that the land plants evolved from a branched, filamentous alga dwelling in shallow fresh water, perhaps at the edge of seasonally desiccating pools. However, some recent evidence suggests that land plants might have originated from unicellular terrestrial charophytes resembling the  extant Klebsormidiophyceae. The algae would have had a haplontic life cycle. It would only very briefly have had paired chromosomes  i.e., when the egg and sperm first fused to form a zygote that would have immediately separated by meiosis to produce cells with half the number of unpaired chromosomes

Plants were not the first living organisms that photosynthesizes on land. Weathering rates suggest that organisms capable of photosynthesis were already living on the land 1,200 million years ago, and microbial fossils have been found in freshwater lake deposits from 1,000 million years ago. What are fossils? “Fossils are the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient organisms. Fossils are not the remains of the organism itself! They are rocks. A fossil can preserve an entire organism or just part of one. Bones, shells, feathers, and leaves can all become fossils”. 

However, the carbon isotope record suggested that they were too less to impact the atmospheric composition until around 850 million years ago. Evidence of the earliest land plants occurred much later at about 470 million years ago, in lower middle Ordovician rocks from Saudi Arabia, and Gondwana in the form of spores with decay-resistant walls. These spores, called as crypto spores, were produced either singly or in pairs or groups of four, and their microstructure resembles that of modern liverwort spores,

A ‘snowball earth’, from around 720-635 million years ago in the Cryogenian period, is believed to have been caused by early photosynthetic organisms, which reduced the concentration of carbon dioxide and increased the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

The evolutionary history of plants is recorded in fossils were preserved in lowland or marine sediments. Some fossils preserve the external form of plant parts, while others show cellular features and still many others consist of micro-fossils such as pollen and spores. In rare instances, fossils may even display the ultrastructural or chemical features of the plants they represent.

In fact, plants and trees today are a necessity as they purify the air.

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:27:06 +0530
The brave children of Bharat Ma who fought the Mughals

The brave children of Bharat Ma who fought the Mughals

Anupama Nair

I had written about Rana Sanga, who gave up his life against Babur. However, his ancestor Pratap Singh I, popularly known as Maharana Pratap never lost to Akbar and remained victorious till the end. He was given the title “Mewari Rana” and was notable for his military resistance against the expansionism of the Mughals and is well known for his participation in the Battle of Haldighati. Pratap Singh was unhappy he had not been to his beloved city Chittor since 156, as Akbar had control of Chittor but not the kingdom of Mewar. His home now beckoned to him. The pain of his father's death, and the fact that his father also had not been able to see Chittor again, troubled the young Maharana deeply. But he was not the only one troubled at this time. Akbar realized that his ambition of being the “Shehanshah-e-Hindustan” was doomed to failure,  so long as the people of Mewar supported their Maharana.

Akbar sent several emissaries to Mewar to get Rana Pratap to agree to sign a treaty, but Pratap was only willing to sign a peace treaty whereby the sovereignty of Mewar would be intact. In 1573, Akbar sent six diplomatic missions to Mewar to get Rana Pratap to agree to his orders, but Rana Pratap turned down each one of them. The last of these missions was headed by Raja Man Singh, the brother-in-law of Akbar. Maharana Pratap, was infuriated that his fellow Rajput was with someone who had forced the submission of all Rajputs. The lines were completely drawn now -- Akbar understood that Maharana Pratap would never submit and he would have to use his troops against Mewar. Akbar’s course of action like any tyrant was first try with false promises of peace, if it did not work attack by treason.

In preparation for the inevitable war with the Mughals, Maharana Pratap decided to change the city of his administration. He moved his capital to Kumbhalgarh, where he was born. He commanded his subjects to leave for the Aravali mountains and leave behind nothing for the approaching enemy – and the war would be fought in a mountain terrain which the Mewar army was used to but not the Mughals. It is a testament to the respect the young king had amongst his subjects that they obeyed him and left for the mountains. The Bhils of the Aravalis also supported him. The army of Mewar now raided all the Mughal trade caravans going from Delhi to Surat. A section of his army guarded the all-important Haldighati Pass, the only way to get into Udaipur from the North. Maharana Pratap himself undertook several penances, not because his finances forced him to do so, but because he wished to remind himself, and all his subjects, why they were undertaking this pain -- to win back their freedom, their right to exist as they wished. He made a promise to eat from leaf-plates, would sleep on the floor and would not shave. In his self-inflicted state of penury, the Maharana lived in mud-huts made from mud and bamboo.

The famous battle of Haldighati was fought in 1576, with 20,000 Rajputs against a Mughal army of 80,000 men commanded by Raja Man Singh. The battle was fiercely fought, and there was no decisive result which was a matter of great astonishment to the Mughals. Maharana Pratap's army was not defeated even though his army was surrounded by the Mughal soldiers. It is said that at this point, his estranged brother, Shakti Singh, appeared and saved the Rana's life. The greatest casualty of this war was the loyal, horse Chetak, who gave up his life trying to save his master. After the Battle of Haldighati, Akbar tried several times to take over the kingdom of Mewar but  failed each time.

Rattled by Pratap’s strength and valor, Akbar relinquished his obsessive pursuit of Maharana Pratap and took his battles into Punjab and India's Northwest Frontier. For the last ten years of his life, Maharana Pratap ruled in relative peace and eventually freed most of Mewar, including Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh, but not Chittor. “Maharana Pratap Singh called the light and life of the Hindu community. There were times when he and his family and children ate bread made of grass”.

Next I am going to talk about the greatest sons of Bharat Ma – Chattrapati Shivaji, who fought against the tyranny. Shivaji Bhonsle, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was a great warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle clan. Shivaji carved out an “enclave from the declining Adilshahi Sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire”.

It was his brave mother Jija Bai, who made her great son Chhatrapati. Right from his childhood, Jija mata would tell him about the lives of Shri Ram, Maruti, Shri Krishna and also stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to make him pious and patriotic. Thus, she molded him into an ideal ruler by sowing seeds of devotion to the idea of Swaraj and Swadharma. She was not only a mother to Shivaji, but also a source of inspiration to her son.

Shivaji's army marched towards Konkan and Kolhapur. They seized the Panhala Fort, and defeated again the army of Bijapur under Rustam Zaman and Fazl Khan in 1659. In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was living in Panhala Fort with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army attacked Panhala, cutting off all supply routes to the fort. For the bombardment of the Panhala Fort, Siddi Jauhar had earlier, purchased grenades from the English East India Company at Rajapur to increase his efficiency, and also hired some English artillerymen to assist him in his war with Shivaji. The betrayal angered Shivaji, who retaliated by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and captured four men, who were released after some months. When Shivaji Maharaj was trapped for four months when Siddi Jauhar had besieged Panhala fort, Jija had shouldered the responsibility of Swaraj till Shivaji escaped from the besieged fort. Jija Bai led the Marathas who were fighting Shaista Khan thus protecting the idea of Swaraj.

Shivaji’s greatness and love for Swaraj reached the ears of the cruelest Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who wanted to add the parts of Maratha Empire to his own. For expansion of  his idea of  Swaraj, conflict with the Mughals was inevitable. Aurangzeb chose Shaista khan, to be the Viceroy of the Deccan, ordering him to invade and annex Shivaji dominions. Shaista khan left Ahmednagar in 1660 and arrived in Pune. He decided to capture the fort of Chakan to obtain supplies. Though the killedar of the fort of Chakan, Firangoji Narsala offered a strong resistance to Shaista khan’s army, the Mughals captured the fort of Chakan. Shaista khan captured Swaraj's territories Pune and Supe and set up a camp at Lal Mahal in Pune.

The Mughal army began to destroy the regions around Pune. Shaista Khan adopted the strategy to occupy as much of Shivaji Maharaj’s territories as possible. Forces were dispatched to invade the Konkan region below the Ghats, Kalyan and Bhiwandi were captured by the Mughal army. Shaista Khan appointed Kartalab Khan on an expedition to the North Konkan. Shivaji defeated Kartalab Khan in Umbarkhind. He left Netoji Palkar to defend the North Konkan and he himself marched southwards and captured Dabhol, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Rajapur, Palavani and Shringarpur.

Even after two years, Shaista Khan still would not think of leaving Pune. Shivaji Maharaj devised a bold plan, to drive away Shaista Khan. He raided Lal Mahal and in this raid, Shaista Khan lost his fingers. He was forced to leave Pune and shifted his camp to Aurangabad. The successful attack on Shaista khan resulted in the people believing the capabilities of Shivaji. He then devised a plan of attack on Surat. The Subedar of Surat could not put up any resistance to the Maratha army. Shivaji Maharaj obtained enormous wealth from Surat. The Surat campaign was a stunning blow to emperor Aurangzeb’s prestige. Shivaji then built  forts Suvarnadurg,  Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg. He also built a fort named Padmadurg on a small island near Rajpuri in order to counter the power of the Mughals.

The greatest achievement of Shivaji was to inculcate the spirit of independence in his people. Shivaji Maharaj’s personality and message are as relevant today as they were in the past. “Shivaji breathed new life into a moribund race that for centuries had resigned itself to abject serfdom and led them against Aurangzeb, a powerful Mughal ruler. Above all, in a place and age stained by religious savagery, he was one of the few rulers who practiced true religious tolerance.

Budelkhand Kesri, Maharaja Chhatrasal  was a warrior who chose to turn against the “cruelest and a man who killed millions for his sport”, Aurangzeb and seek to establish his  own kingdom in Bundelkhand. His father had raised “the banner for freedom” a generation earlier but was killed in battle with the Mughals but only after killing the favorite of the emperor, Abu Fazal. Chhatrasal also raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand at a young age of 22, with only an army of 5 horsemen and 25 swordsmen. During the first ten years of his revolt, he conquered a large tract of land between Chitrakoot and Panna on the east and Gwalior on the west. His domains stretched from Kalpi in the north to Sagar, Garah Kota and Damoh in the south.

Chhatrasal was a disciple of Pran Nathji and accepted him as his guru and accepted Pranami Dharma.  It was Swami Pran Nathji who told Raja Chhatrasal Bundela, regarding Diamond mines of  Panna  and  thus  strengthen  his  financial position.  He also persuaded Chhatrasal to make Panna his capital and arranged his coronation there. When Aurangzeb introduced Jaziya, the freedom loving people of Bundelkhand refused to pay and fight for freedom. As a result, deadly struggle which eventually spread over nearly fifty years, ensued with wave after wave of Mughal and Pathan attacks over the land. The atrocities of the Mughals against the innocent people of my country, only deepened the intensity of the people of Bundelkhand, to fight for freedom and vengeance of the killing of their own.

People who came to collect Jaziya were killed to send a message that they will not pay the tax. Aurangzeb himself led a huge expedition to Bundelkhand to capture them, but was forced to retreat without achieving any lasting success, leaving behind trails of horror and destruction, but still failing to subdue Chhatrasal and the Bundelas. With great happiness I would like to tell you, from then onwards the Maratha attacks began to shake and almost caused the disintegration of the Mughals and, after the death of Aurangzeb, the Bundelas steadily began to gain ground over their adversaries. The cream of the Mughal generals were sent one after the other to subdue the Bundelas but all their campaigns ended up in failure.

Chhatrasal, who was always inspired by the Hindu Hriday Samrat Shivaji’s call of Swaraj and Swadharm wanted to meet him. Shivaji was already the most celebrated and heroic Hindu figure of his times, who had faced the Mughals on equal terms and whose exploits and achievements, courage and idealism had won for him respect throughout India. Chhatrasal offered to serve Shivaji in latter’s war against Aurangzeb. But Shivaji suggested to him to start hostilities against Aurangzeb in Bundelkhand where he would gain many adherents. “Illustrious Chief! Conquer and subdue your foes. Recover and rule your native land …”.

These great sons of Bharat Ma did not bow to the tyrannical Mughals and fought hard to free Bharat Ma from their clutches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:22:36 +0530
Delete Button of the Brain

Anupama Nair

Did you know, like the delete button on our computers or phones, there is a delete button in our brain too? I am not joking, it is true. According to scientific research you can erase your memories too. Surprising isn’t it? “The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body”. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system, or CNS.

The brain weighs around 3 pounds in an average adult, and the brain is about 60% fat. The remaining 40% is a combination of water, protein, carbohydrates and salts. The brain is a not a muscle and contains blood vessels and nerves, including neurons and glial cells. Gray and white matter are two different regions of the central nervous system. In the brain, gray matter refers to the darker, outer portion, while white matter describes the lighter, inner section underneath. Gray matter comprises neuron somas  which is the round central cell bodies. The white matter is mostly made of axons  or the long stems that connects neurons wrapped in myelin.

Brain makes space and builds new connections. According to neuroscience, there is a neuro circuit in the brain, which means the more you use, the stronger it becomes. Here the saying that through practice, humans become perfect. The proof of the statement being true is when we start learning new things like a language or music etc., we need to practice repeatedly. Ability to learn increases by strengthening and building the neural connections. Hence, we are able to forget old things or forget the old incident over the time and it is called  as ‘synaptic pruning’.

Scientists state our brain is like a garden too. “The way we sow flowers and fruits in the garden, in the same way, you can increase synaptic connections between the neurons in the brain”. The gardener looks after the garden, similarly, ‘glial cells’ act as the gardeners of the brain. ‘ The cells which prune the gardeners of the brain are called ‘microglial cells’ and they prune our synaptic connections.

Here are some unknown and interesting facts about our brain:

  • Our brain uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake and 25% percent of the glucose circulating in our bloodstream.
  • Scientists, believe that the brain is more active at night than in the day!
  • During pregnancy, neurons multiply more quickly that is more than 200,000 neurons per minute.
  • All it needs is only 5 minutes without oxygen to have a brain damage!
  • Did you realize, the brain generates 12-25-watt electricity, that is enough to power a low wattage LED light?
  • From childhood we’ve been taught people are left-brained or right-brained, but it is a myth. We are ‘whole-brained’ instead.
  • Our brain cannot do multi-tasking! Strange isn’t it?

 

The synaptic connections that are used less often are marked or bound with a protein called C1q. When microglial cells detect that mark or sign, then they are bound to the protein and then they destroy or prune the synapse. This is how the process of deleting is done, and physical space is generated in the brain and that is how you can learn and remember new things.

All of us know about the importance of a good sleep at night. Sometimes when we read more or work more we tend to feel tired as our brain is exhausted, and it seems like now you can't learn new things. The reason is your sleep was not complete. “When you learn a lot of new things, your brain makes connections, but they are inefficient or ad hoc”. Hence the brain needs pruning and has to build more streamlines and efficient pathways, which is only possible when we take proper sleep. Scientists opine “when you sleep, your brain cleans itself, and cells of the brain shrink up to 60% and create space for glial gardeners to take away the waste. That's why we must take 10 or 20 minutes of nap so that microglial gardeners get an opportunity, to finish the unused connection or prune the synapses and establish a place to make new ones.

When you sleep, the brain deletes the connection that you have not been used for a long time and that is why the brain also requires refinement and you need to be careful what you are thinking about. To take advantage of your brain's ‘natural gardening system’, just think about the things that are most important to you as the brain strengthens the connections that you use most often in your life-system and will suppress those thoughts which you think less or things you pay less attention to.

The proven truth is for a well-functioning brain, always think good, be positive so that your brain also works in the same direction!
 

 

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:09:15 +0530
Data Analytics a glimpse

 

Anupama Nair

The concept of big data had been around for many years, and most organizations now understand that if they capture all the data that streams into their businesses, they can apply analytics and get significant value from it. But even in the 1950s, decades before anyone uttered the term ‘big data’, businesses were using basic analytics i.e., essentially numbers in a spreadsheet that were manually examined) to uncover insights and trends. 

“The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency”. A few years ago, a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information that could be used for future decisions, today that business can identify insights for immediate decisions. The ability to work faster and stay agile gives organizations a competitive edge they was not there before.

What is data analytics? It is the science of analyzing ‘raw data’ to make conclusions about that information. Many of the techniques and processes of data analytics have been automated into mechanical processes and algorithms that work over raw data for human consumption. Data analytics is a broad term that includes many varied types of data analysis. Any type of information can be subjected to data analytic techniques to get insight that can be used to improve things. Data analytic techniques can reveal trends and metrics that would otherwise be lost in the mass of information and can then be used to optimize processes to increase the overall efficiency of a business or system.

For example, manufacturing companies often record the runtime, downtime, and work queue for various machines and then analyze the data to better plan the workloads so the machines operate closer to peak capacity. Data analytics can do much more than point out bottlenecks in production. Gaming companies use data analytics to set reward schedules for players that keep the majority of players active in the game. Content companies use many of the same data analytics to keep you clicking, watching, or re-organizing content to get another view or another click.

Data analytics is significant because it helps businesses to optimize their performances. Implementing it into the business model implies, companies can help reduce costs by identifying more efficient ways of doing business and by storing large amounts of data. A company can also use data analytics to make better business decisions and help analyze customer trends and satisfaction, which can lead to new and better products and services. 

The process that is involved in data analysis are in different steps:

  1. The first step is to determine the data requirements or how the data is grouped. Data may be separated by age, demographic, income, or gender. Data values may be numerical or be divided by category.
  2. The second step in data analytics is the process of collecting it. This can be done through a variety of sources such as computers, online sources, cameras, environmental sources, or through personnel.
  3. Once the data is collected, it must be organized so it can be analyzed. This may take place on a spreadsheet or other form of software that can take statistical data.
  4. The data is then cleaned up before analysis. This means it is scrubbed and checked to ensure there is no duplication or error, and that it is not incomplete. This step helps correct any errors before it goes on to a data analyst to be analyzed.

Data analytics is broken down into four basic types.

  1. Descriptive analytics describes what has happened over a given period of time. It answers the questions, have the number of views gone up? Are sales stronger this month than last?
  2. Diagnostic analytics  focuses more on why something happened. This involves more diverse data inputs and a bit of hypothesizing. Did the weather affect beer sales? Did that latest marketing campaign impact sales?
  3. Predictive analytics moves to what is likely going to happen in the near term. What happened to sales the last time we had a hot summer? How many weather models predict a hot summer this year?
  4. Prescriptive analytics suggests a course of action. If the likelihood of a hot summer is measured as an average of these five weather models is above 58%, we should add an evening shift to the brewery and rent an additional tank to increase output.

Data analytics reinforces many quality-control systems in the financial world, including the eternally popular Six Sigma Program. If you aren’t properly measuring something, whether it's your weight or the number of defects per million in a production line, it is nearly impossible to optimize it. Some of the sectors that have adopted the use of data analytics include the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. The industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them.

Healthcare combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and uses data analytics to make quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses abundant amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers. The information retailers collect and analyze can help them identify trends, recommend products, and increase profits. 

Data analytics has been adopted by several sectors, such as the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. This industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them. Healthcare is another sector that combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and data analytics can help in making quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses numerous amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers.

 

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:03:38 +0530
The Essence of Bhagavad Gita in the time of Corona

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita in the time of Corona

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all.  However, the greatness of Indian culture, especially “spiritualism” have contributed a lot —connecting the spirit of Indians throughout the ages. As a result, the spiritual-minded Indians have succeeded in maintaining their Indianness which could not have been possible otherwise. Indian life is dominated by personality which is well linked to spiritualism.

The Vedas offer spiritual direction to the Indians giving them the basics of spiritual and moral life. Our rishis should be applauded as the earliest spiritual masters on earth as their mantras resound with the seed of spiritualism, and India can be called the “cradle of spiritualism and civilization”. In India, spiritualism is not a mere  obsession of the mind, but, it is a heritage and tradition. India is home to two great epics Ramayana written by Valmiki and Mahabharata written by Veda Vyas. The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, often called as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of Mahabharata, dated to the second half of the first millennium BC and exemplary for the emerging Hindu synthesis. It is considered to be one of the holy scriptures.

Gita is the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna himself and is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. It is revered as a true source of spiritual knowledge; it reveals the purpose and goal of human life. It is especially relevant in the modern world traumatized by a “mere virus”, you need to read it again and again to find salvation. It is curious though, it may seem that such an ancient text from a “foreign culture” has been so enthusiastically received by Westerners, the Gita, like all truly great works of literature, can be read on many levels -- metaphysical, moral, spiritual, and practical, hence its appeal to the world. According to some, Bhagavad Gita is written by the Lord Ganesh when the great Saint was dictating to him.

For those who still haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, the Gita is a dialogue between Arjuna, one of five Pandava princes, and the Lord, who is “Parthasarthi” or the charioteer of Arjuna. Arjuna and his brothers have been exiled from their kingdom for 13 years and cut off from their rightful heritage by the Kauravas, their cousins. The Gita takes up the struggle to reclaim the throne, which requires the Pandavas wage war against their own kinsmen,

The story begins on the dusty plains of Kurukshetra, where Arjuna, a famed archer, is poised to fight. But he hesitates as he sees the army of friends, teachers, and kin, and believes that to fight—and likely kill—these men would be to commit a grievous sin and could bring nothing good even if he were to win the kingdom back. Krishna chides him for his cowardice—Arjuna is a Kshatriya after all, and warriors are meant to fight—but then goes on to present a spiritual journey that encourages him to fight his enemies, one that encompasses a discussion of the karmajnana and bhakti yogas, as well as the nature of divinity, mankind’s ultimate destiny, and the purpose of mortal life.

Gita is a work of luminous and startling intensity, and Henry David Thoreau calls it a “stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy…in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.” Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of the influence of Gita on him and wrote a book “Brahma”. Albert Einstein, however was moved by the Gita’s depiction of creation, and once remarked, “When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita comes to each one of us when we start distinguishing it humbly, paying respect to it and have direct liaison with it. The Gita is also known as tri marga or three ways to attain liberation imparted by the Lord. Krishna represents pure attraction and attainment while, Arjuna stands for an average human. Hence, Gita is for every one of us for accomplishing salvation. The Gita is the root of all the Vedas, Puranas and other holy scriptures. The 18 chapters of Gita are separated into three main categories hence known as tri marga. The three main categories are “Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jyana yoga”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita is in each and every verse and each verse encompasses words and each word contains an alphabet. The chapters one and two describes the battlefield of Kurukshetra while the chapters three to six divulges Karma Yoga or the yoga of actions i.e., how to perform routine work and how it should be converted into swadharma. The Lord addresses the significance of karma that should be completely surrendered to the divine and deals with just doing our work without any expectations of the benefits attained from the work. The essence lies when each and every work is done for the Lord. Hence, our Karma becomes Karma yoga just by offering every action unto the Lord.
 

Further, the essence of Bhagavad Gita lies in the next six chapters i.e., chapter seven to twelve, which stands for Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Devotion, where it is stated that we should remember God every time. You do not become a Bhakta by meditating on the Lord for some time, but for twenty-four hours remembering him.
 

The last part again contains six chapters i.e., chapter thirteen to eighteen which stands for Jyana Yoga or the Yoga of Knowledge. “Self” is the true knowledge than one could be a Gyani. The gunas of material nature is unveiled as Sattva, Rajas and Tamo gunas having their own significance in everyone’s life. Lord even says that “Gyani is my true reflection”. It now becomes easy for us to choose any of the three means and ways to attain liberation. Now which one could be better is also so enunciated and elicited by Lord Krishna when he states “knowledge is better than practice without discernment, meditation on God is superior to knowledge, and renunciation of the fruit of actions is even superior to meditation: for, peace immediately follows renunciation”. So, attaining liberation by becoming a Karma yogi is the preferred one as clearly shown by the Lord. We need to remember “Krishna” in order to attain him,  as he says “fix your mind on Me, and establish your intellect in Me alone, thereafter you will abide solely in Me. There is no doubt in it”. We can choose any of the tri margas and start reading it first and then implementing it practically into our life and then “we can taste the real essence of the Gita”.

There is a raging debate about reincarnation or rebirth. However, Gita makes it very clear when the lord states “ The atma or soul is indestructible, unbreakable and insoluble. The soul cannot be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can it be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. All souls are therefore eternally separated individuals”. The soul is seen as immortal and the only thing that becomes perishable is the body. Upon death, the soul moves into a new body to live again and again. Krishna says that for the soul there is neither birth nor death. Nothing actually dies, but we call the soul leaving the body as death, when there's no such thing as death. However, the Lord deals with what we call death and doesn't hide the fact that He is behind it.

Reading the Gita has changed my thought of life and how to live. It is the Lord, who inspired me to write this article, so that those of you, who has not  read it still, will get some knowledge.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:58:43 +0530
Rana Sanga the last Hindu Emperor

 

Anupama Nair

In the last part I spoke about the establishment of the kingdom of Mewar

On 21 April 1526, the Babur invaded India for the fifth time and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat and executed him. After the battle, Sanga unified several Rajput clans for the first time since Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and built an army of 100,000 Rajput soldiers and proceeded to Agra. The Mughals managed to capture the Bayana Fort and a major clash took place in Bayana in 1527 in which Mughal forces led by Chin Timur Khan were defeated by Rajput forces led by Prithvi Raj Kachwaha and later by Rana Sanga  himself. The defeat was the last of Rana Sanga success.

The Mughals were terrified by Rajput valor and asked Babur to leave for Kabul. This is the main difference between Indian warriors and the foreigners from Muhammad Ghori as we fight till the last breath, while these cowards flee at the time of danger.

In the battle fought at Khanwa, the Mughal were victorious due to their cannons, matchlocks and other firearms. Sanga was struck by an arrow in middle of the battle and was removed from the battle by his brother-in law  Prithvi Raj Kachwaha along with prince Maldev Rathore. Following his victory, Babur ordered a tower of enemy skulls to be erected, a practice followed by his ancestor Taimur the Lame, against his adversaries, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Historians state “the objective of constructing a tower of skulls was not just to record a great victory, but also to terrorize opponents. Earlier, the same tactic had been used by Babur against the Afghans. I do not know what to say about such cruelty as they are glorified here. As I said before an actor couple named their son Taimur, as if there was shortage of names in the world, and we have a street named after Babur

In this battle Sanga was also betrayed by Silhadi  who soon began to fight for Babur. After regaining consciousness, he took an oath to never return to Chittor till he defeated Babur and conquered Delhi. He also stopped wearing a turban and used to wrap a cloth over his head. While he was preparing to wage another war against Babur, he was poisoned by his own nobles who did not want another battle. He died in Kalpi in 1528,  and was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh II.

Many historians falsely claim, Babur attacked India after he was invited by Sanga to help him against Ibrahim Lodi. It was refuted by some other historians and it is true for many reasons. The first reason is that the book Baburnama claimed Daulat Khan Lodi, the Governor of Punjab invited Babur to India as he wanted to take advantage of the weak leadership in the Lodi dynasty and usurp power with the help of Babur’s army. The second reason is that, it was Babur himself, who had extended the invitation to Rana Sanga in quest of help. Babur had already decided to attack India and asked Sanga for a helping hand to defeat the common enemy – Ibrahim Lodi.

The third reason is Rana Sanga was victorious in most battles and the Mewar confederacy was at the height of its glory, defeating the Sultan of Gujarat at that time. This was perhaps the last time many Rajput kings united under the leadership of Rana Sanga. The Rajputs had already defeated Ibrahim Lodi in Khatoli and Dholpur and there is no reason for them to seek the help of an outsider, to take on an enemy which had already been defeated. Then, if Rana Sanga had extended invitation to Babur to help defeat Ibrahim Lodi, why didn’t he join Babur against Lodi? Why did Rana Sanga fight a battle against Babur at Bayana?

The last and the most important point is Babur didn’t need any invitation as he had already decided to invade India. In fact, Babur first attacked Punjab in 1519, but was unsuccessful. Our history books unfortunately give importance to the Battle of Panipat, even after knowing that the Lodi empire was disintegrating much before this. In 1526 there were two forces who could stake claim to the throne of Delhi -- Mewar under Rana Sanga and the Mughals. Therefore, it was the battle of Khanwa that sealed the fate of India rather than the battle of Panipat. If Rana Sanga would have won we would have “laid the foundations of a Hindu empire”, stated some scholars, instead the Mughal Empire was established.

Rana Sanga was truly a great son of Bharat Ma indeed.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:53:04 +0530
Rana Sanga the last Hindu Emperor

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about Rana Sanga, the great King of Chittor, who was very famous for his battles against the cruel butcher of humans the founder of Mughal dynasty Babur. Babur is glorified by the ultra-left oriented historians, who unfortunately wrote our History. I even found his portrait in the party office of a political party I do not wish to mention here. However, Rana Sanga is unfortunately forgotten in the annals of History.

The city of Chittor and her history is one of the most stirring chapters in Indian history for it was here that the “flower of Rajput chivalry sprang to life and the immense stretch of its sacred walls and ruined palaces relate the saga of innumerable sieges and heroism which has almost become a myth now”. However, any patriotic Indian will never forget the tales of valor of our great kings and queens even if our History curriculum says differently.

Chittorgarh was one of the most fiercely contested seats of power in ancient and medieval India. Bappa Rawal, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty, received Chittor as a dowry for his marriage to the Solanki princess. Highly fortified, “it crowns a seven-mile- long hill, covering 700 acres with its fortifications, temples, towers and palaces”. Historians claim the palace was a sight to behold. For eight centuries from the 8th to the 16th century,  his descendants ruled over an important kingdom called Mewar stretching from Gujarat to Ajaymeru (Ajmer). The city of Chittorgarh is located on the banks of rivers Gambhiri and Berach.

Chittorgarh is home to the Chittor Fort, which is the largest fort not only in India but also the continent of  Asia. In its history of eight centuries, it was ransacked thrice – in1303 AD by the cruel Alauddin Khilji, by 1535 AD by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, and lastly by the cruel Akbar  in  1568 AD. The great Hindu Rajput rulers fought fiercely to maintain their independence. On all three occasions mentioned above, faced with a certain defeat, the men fought to death while the women committed Jauhar (mass self-immolation). Chittorgarh is not only famous for the valor and bravery of its warriors, but also for the beauty of Rani Padmini and her Jauhar, the land of the great devotion of Meera Bai and the great sacrifice of Panna Dai!

Rana Sanga was born to the Sisodia king Rana Raimal and his queen Ratan Kunwar. The exact year of his birth is not mentioned, but it is said, some of the “astrological planetary positions at the time of his birth,  was auspicious”. Based on these positions, and assuming certain other planetary positions and on basis of inscriptions in Kumbalgarh, historians calculated Sanga's birth year as 1482 AD. Sanga was youngest of the four sons of the royal couple. However, due to the circumstances and after a fierce struggle with his brothers where he lost one of his eye, he finally succeeded throne of Mewar in 1508.

After he became the king, Sanga reunited the warring Rajput clans through diplomacy and marital alliances. According to folklores, Sanga had fought one hundred battles and lost only once. In various struggle he lost his wrist and was crippled in leg.  In his illustrious military career, Sanga defeated Sultans of  Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat in eighteen battles and expanded his domain by conquering much of  today’s Rajasthan, Western Madhya Pradesh and Northern part of Gujarat. He re-established Rajput rule in Malwa first time after the fall of Paramara kingdom in 1305 AD.

He also removed the Jaziya tax which was earlier imposed by the Sultans who ruled India. He was the last independent Hindu king of Northern India to control a significant territory and contemporary texts described him as the “Hindu Emperor”.

After conquering Malwa, Sanga turned his attention towards North Eastern Rajasthan which was then under the control of an ally of  the Khillji’s Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. This battle between Lodi and Sanga is called the Battle of Khanwa. It was the second major battle fought in modern-day India, after the Battle of Panipat. After hearing the news of Sanga attacking his territory, Lodi prepared an army and marched against Mewar in 1517. There was a fierce battle and the army of Lodi suffered serious injury and the cowards they were, they fled. One Lodi prince was captured and imprisoned. The brave Rana Sanga lost an arm by a sword cut, and an arrow made him lame for life.

Lodi, reportedly stunned by the unprecedented aggression of the Rajputs, once again attacked in 1518-19 but was humbled again at  the Battle of Dholpur. Lodi fought Sanga repeatedly, only to be defeated each time, losing his entire land in Rajputana, while the influence of Sanga extended up to Agra.

Like many other kings before and after him, he was also betrayed by one of his own. This is a tale common in the history of the Subcontinent.

In the next part I will talk about his battle with Babur and the Battle of Bayana, and how he was betrayed by his own men and then lost to Babur in the Battle of Khanwa.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:48:53 +0530
Garden in a concrete jungle

 

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial, forests with lush green trees has always fascinated us. World over children grew up hearing tales of animals and men living near the forests. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and increase of technology man began to cut trees and lush green woods began to be a rarity. The result is for everyone to see. Deforestation is a silent killer. It is depleting our fresh oxygen and help in increasing the pollution.

Since we are living in a city and in a concrete jungle and if you love the greenery, this article will help you as I am going to write about tips to grow your own green space in your apartment. Do you have limited space, you should not worry as I believe space should not reduce the pleasure of gardening which is a stress buster these days.

I am now going to write about the benefits of gardening.

  • Outdoor gardening helps in boosting your immunity.
  • It increases your Vitamin D Level.
  • Gardening prevents insomnia
  • Gardening helps you fights pollution as you breathe clean air.
  • Gardening is a ‘mood-booster’.
  • ‘Horticulture therapy’ helps you fight addictions.
  • Gardening encourages you to go outdoors, interact with people, take care of your exercise and help in creating a greener environment.

Here are some tips for you to build a garden in the terrace or balcony of your apartment:

  • Choose the best spot.
  • Choose a spot near a source of water and where you get enough sunlight – not too much or nothing at all.
  • Use nutrient-rich and well-drained soil.
  • Choose plants according to your weather zone.
  • Always opt for mixed species of plants.
  • Use manure regularly for healthy plants.
  • Choose the pots wisely.
  • Automatic watering space is the best.
  • Add mulch (layer of material applied to the surface of soil).
  • Feed plants regularly.
  • Always remember amazing soil + top-notch plant food = super garden.

So, since winter is starting it is the best time to start your garden.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:07:52 +0530
A museum in Rakhigarhi to showcase the bygone era

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. In a time when we are forgetting our heritage and culture, I am making a humble effort to make everyone proud of our country and Bharat Ma. The major ancient civilizations of the world were Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC–1900 BC), Greek (2700 BC–479 BC), Roman (550 BC–465 AD), Egyptian (3150 BC 332 BC), Mesopotamian (3500 BC–500 BC), Mayan (2600 BC–900 AD) among a few.

When a patriotic and a person who is proud of our Hindu heritage became the Prime Minister, he decided to build the world’s largest museum on Indus Valley Civilization in Rakhigarhi, Haryana, and would display many 5,000-year-old artefacts belonging to the Harappan Civilization. The world class museum would proudly display photographs and artefacts depicting Rakhigarhi’s bygone era. The museum, which is currently under construction, would give much needed recognition to Rakhigarhi at the international and national levels and increase job opportunities for the local communities. The government announced a creation of special zone for children to make them aware of the history in a recreational manner. The museum would also an open-air theatre and a library.

The Central Government announced the development of five iconic sites – Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivasagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat) and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu). Museums will be developed in these sites with a total outlay of Rs.2,500 crore

 

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age Civilization in the northwestern regions of Indian Subcontinent from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western Northwestern Bharat. It existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC, and in its mature form from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Along with Egyptian and Mesopotamian, it was one of three early civilizations of the Asian continent. It flourished in the basins of the Sindhu River (Indus), which flows through Pakistan, and is perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal  Ghagar-Hakra river northwestern Bharat and eastern Pakistan.

It is to be noted that this is the only urban civilization while the rest of the above-mentioned civilizations were rural. The civilization's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked bricks houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin).  The large cities of Mohenjo-Daro (Sind) and Harappa (Punjab) likely had a population of between 30,000 and 60,000 and the civilization itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million people.

The Indus civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after one of the sites, Harappa which was the first of the sites to be excavated in the 1920s while trying to lay a railway line.  The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the colonial rule. There were however earlier and later cultures often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area.

By 2002, over 1000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated. There are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira, Ganeriwala, and Lothal. The Indus civilization was roughly contemporary with the other civilizations of the ancient world around the rivers: Egyptian along the river Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris. By the time of its mature phase, the civilization had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1500 kilometers (900 miles) up the alluvial plain of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora, fauna, and habitats, up to ten times as large, which had been shaped culturally and economically by the Indus river.

The Indus Valley Civilization extended from Pakistan's Baluchistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat state in the south. The largest number of sites are in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, in India, and Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Suktagan Gor in Western Baluchistan to Lothal in Gujarat. The southernmost site of the Indus valley civilization is Daimabad in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot, and on islands, for example, Dholavira.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, included the world's first known urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells with clean water. From a bathroom, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner court-yards and lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans. The village of Rakhigarhi was part of the Indus Valley Civilization from 2600 to 1900 BC. The two villages Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Sahapur currently host the archeological remains of the Indus Valley site. It was excavated for the first time in 1969. It is currently the largest settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization. Since 1998, 56 skeletons have been discovered in the site. Among them, two women were found in mound number 7. They are estimated to be 7,000 years old. The presence of shell bangles in the site provides evidence of trade links to faraway places such as Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Jewelry trade is among the most prominent in this site. People in this civilization are known to melt precious metals like copper, carnelian, agate and gold to make garlands of beads.

 

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than ones found in in the Middle East, Pakistan and Bharat today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighborhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads and other objects. Among the artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed beads. Seals have images of animals, people and gods, and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered language. Some historians argue the language was similar to Dravidian languages especially Tamil. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods.

Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, on the Pasupathi (resembling Bhagwan Shiva) seal, sitting cross-legged in yoga-like pose and an harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments.

Although some houses were larger than others, all the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration.

There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from Dilmun " (modern day Bahrain) Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.

Around 1900 BC signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BC most of the cities had been abandoned. Recent examination of human skeletons from the site of Harappa has demonstrated that the end of the Indus civilization saw an increase in inter-personal violence and in infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. Many historians believe the great civilization ended due to Aryan invasion, while others believe it was floods in the Indus, climate change and earthquakes. Whatever be the reason a great civilization came to end. If modern city planners bothered to learn about the city planning skills of our ancestors, we would have great cities, roads, and drainage systems etc. We need to have a pride in our heritage and culture.

 

 

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:00:51 +0530
Human Life Value An over view

What is Human Life Value  or HLV? It is a number that tells the present value of future income expenses, liabilities and investments. The HLV number is taken usually to understand how much money would be required to secure the lives of your dependents with term insurance, in case you are no longer around.

Dr. Solomon S. Huebner had discovered the concept of human life value. Thus, he is credited with making HLV the standard method of calculating insurance value and need.

HLV = Retirement Age—Current age X annual ctc.

There are 7 points that are taken into account to assess your HLV. These are:

 

Your age
Your gender
Your occupation
Your target retirement age
Your annual income
Your employment benefits
Your financial information on spouse and children

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:41:37 +0530
My country Dark Ages tears of shame and despair

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

I spoke about ancient India and the pride I felt in my matrubhoomi and her greatness. Unfortunately, when Bharat Ma’s great son Prithvi Raj was martyred, it was an epoch-making event that heralded Islamic terrorism till 17th Century, when the Mughal rule thankfully lost its importance after the death of the most tyrannical and butcher of humans Aurangzeb. The history books written by the ultra-left who were haters of anything Hindu glorified these looters. As a young child I refused to learn such glorification and got low marks in history for the first time in my life. Your blood will boil when you learn of these Islamic terrorists.

In 1191, Gori the Gurid prince was defeated by Prithvi Raj, the ruler of Ajmer and Delhi, in the First Battle of Tarain. In 1192 however Prithvi Raj was defeated by Mohammad Ghori at Tarain. Prithvi Raj killed the tyrant before he was killed. This marked the commencement of permanent Muslim rule in India. He then took Ajmer, Delhi, Kanauj, Banaras, Gwalior etc.

Qutub-ud-din set up the Slave Dynasty. The Vishnu Dwaj was destroyed and Qutab Minar was built instead. The cruel dynasty continued till 13th Century. Then came the even crueler Allaudin Khilji who was famous for his treachery and his lustful nature. The attack of Chittor is famous because of his lust the brave Rajputs sacrificed their lives  After the Khiljis came the Tughlaqs who were known for their foolishness. Muhammad Tughlaq might be the most foolish ruler in the history of India.

Later on, after him the cruel assassin who butchered humans, Taimur also took the same route taken by Gori in his conquest of North West India in 1383

Ibrahim Lodi was the son of Sikandar Lodhi. He was very tyrannical by nature. His people and nobles were disgusted with him. In 1526, Babar defeated him at Panipat which resulted in the end of Lodhi dynasty. Babar then laid the foundation of Mughal rule in India. It was an unfortunate event as Babar laid the foundation of the cruelest empire in history. All the Mughal emperors destroyed temples, killed innocent Hindus and forced people to convert. They were responsible for the death of many Sikh Gurus like Guru Arjan and Guru Teg Bahadur. Babar, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb were known for destroying temples for their pleasure. Ram Temple was destroyed by Babur, Kashi and Mathura was destroyed by Aurangzeb. Even the Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple! There was a reign of terror and bloodbath. How much Bharat Ma must have cried to see her children suffer, but she could do little as she was in chains? It was truly Dark Ages, as Bharat known for her inventions in the Ancient times had nothing but backwardness to show. The West meanwhile caught up.

In the beginning of the Mughal period, they met resistance from Sher Shah Suri. He  humbled the Mughal ruler Humayun, and forced him into exile. During the brief period of his rule, he attempted to set up a national state and introduced some reforms which brought him the title of the forerunner of Akbar. His tomb at Sasaram (Bihar) is considered to be a noble specimen of art.

Aurangzeb’s intolerance, policy of over-centralization, suspicious nature and his lack of the qualities of a statesman were are responsible for the downfall of the Mughal Empire in 1707. I breathe a sigh of relief that thankfully Islamic terrorism ended. If you compare the British were less tyrannical than these terrorists as they bought many modern reforms which in turn helped us.

These invaders are glorified by the historians in India as if they came to my great country for the benefit of Indians and not to loot the great wealth which India was always famous for. They have streets named after them; their portraits are hung in the party office of a political party I do not want to name here. An actor couple named their son after one such invader, as if there was shortage of names.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:38:45 +0530
My country My pride and Passion

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

However, unfortunately, the West overlooked our greatness and only writes about the greatness of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman or Mesopotamian civilization, even though our Indus Valley Civilization is older and greater than any of these. The inventions of the people of ancient India include many like the flush toilet, drainage and sewer systems, public pools, mathematics, veterinary science, plastic surgery, board games, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and many more.
 

However, Indus Valley Civilization, spread in the north western side of my country during the period of 3300 BC to 1300 BC being India's first civilization, and is marked as the main beginning of the ancient history of India. Starting from that period till the end of the Golden Age is roughly marked as the country's ancient history. I by mentioning India is intending the geographical area which is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh too.

The ancient period in the Indian history can be broadly categorized as:

  • Pre-historic Period
  • Early Historic Era
  • The Golden Age

The stone age period begins from the age of Homo erectus and continues till the starting of the Indus Valley Civilization. Homo erectus remains including crafted tools found near the Narmada Valley prove that the central part of India was inhabited during the period dating back in between the past 5,00,000 years and 2,00,000 years. The oldest archaeological site was found near the river valley of the Soan River, which is a site of Paleolithic Hominid. The Neolithic Age featured by extensive settlements followed the Mesolithic Age. The findings of Mehrgarh, dated back to 7000 BC is near Baluchistan in Pakistan and represented the early South Asian Neolithic culture. This culture even gets reflected from the remains of the Civilization

The earlier part of the Indus Valley Civilization, which is even known as the Mohenjo-Daro-Harappa Civilization dating back to 3300 BC is the start of the Bronze Age in India. This Civilization flourished in the banks of the river Indus and its tributaries and was located in the present-day Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab (in both India and Pakistan), and Sind. The archeological findings revealed that the handcrafted and metallurgical techniques developed by the Harappans who were the inhabitants of that region. The civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa reached its matured stage during the period between 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Indus Valley Civilization is known for its improved brick multi-storied establishments and modernized drainage system, and includes some famous urban centers in India like Dholavira, Kalibangan, Lothal, Rakhigarhi and Rupar.

The period from 1500 BC to 500 BC, is called Vedic period and this historical period gained its name from the sacred text of Hindus, the Vedas. It is believed that the Aryans invaded India in this time. Vedic Civilization marked the foundation of Hindu religion and its association with Indian culture. The Rig-Vedic period witnessed the social as well as agricultural development of the Aryan society. It was during this time that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata – the two great epics were written.

The starting of the Iron Age in India's north western side portrayed the Kuru's association with the “painted red, black and grey wares dating back to about 1000 BC”. Those grey painted wares flourished more in between the period of 1100 BC and 600 BC. The later part of this era was associated with the Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms), or the sixteen kingdoms. They were a combination of sixteen small republics and monarchies that extended over the region from present day Afghanistan to Bangladesh on the Indo-Gangetic plains. The early Jaina and Buddhist texts of 1000 BC have the names of those Janapadas mentioned in them. The sixteen Mahajanapadas formed by 500 BC are as follows – Anga, Assaka, Avanti, Chedi, Gandhara (Afghanistan), Kamboja, Kasi, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya or Machcha, Panchala, Surasena, Vajji or Vriji and Vatsa or Vamsa. I am sure you must have heard of these kingdoms in Mahabharata.

It is seen that during the period of Gautama Buddha, these sixteen monarchies were combined to make four big kingdoms -- Avanti, Magadha, Kosala and Vatsa. The language spoken was Prakrit and for the learned Sanskrit. Apart from that, the different rituals of Hinduism were conducted by the class of priests.

Then Cyrus, the Persian King of the Achaemenid Empire conquered the country in 530 BC. During their rule of two centuries, Takshashila emerged as a major university. Persian supremacy was stopped by Alexander the Great as he invaded Persia and North-west India in 326 BC. These invasions had remarkable influence over Indian civilization.

The Maurya Empire ruled India between 322 BC and 185 BC, and is regarded as the first main kingdom in the ancient history of India who was geographically extensive as well as politically powerful. The kingdom was founded in Magadha by Chandragupta Maurya, However, the empire flourished most during the 37 years' rule of Ashoka the Great from 268 BC to 232 BC. Apart from an efficient and modern socio-economic society, this period of Indian history even witnessed the massive development of slavery. The Ashokan inscriptions and the Arthashastra written by Kautilya are the main written records of this period.

The Golden Age in the ancient history of India included the rule of the following dynasties:

 

The decline of the Maurya dynasty marked the emergence of a new empire called Satavahanas, that was established by King Simuka. Besides the flourishing of Buddhism, their rule was featured with great works of art as well as architecture. Many Buddhist Chaityas, Stupas and Viharas were constructed in the country during this period. Among the several kingdoms emerging during the period in between 185 BC and 300 AD, Kushans were the biggest. It was during this period that India witnessed a rise in foreign trade, art and culture. Originating from Turkistan in China, the Kushans established their empires in Peshawar and Taxila. Numerous foreigners migrated to India during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD. Kanishka who was the third emperor of this dynasty made the empire flourish most.

 

I have no words to describe the greatness of the Gupta Age. Being one of the largest empires in the world, who had military and political strength, the rule of the Gupta Empire is said to be India's Golden Age. Though the empire was established by Srigupta I, a Magadhan ruler, Chandragupta laid the foundation of this great dynasty as well as fought foreign invasions. Some of the other prominent rulers of this dynasty were Samudragupta, Chandragupta II, Kumargupta I and Skandagupta. In spite of his heroic efforts, it was during the time of Skandagupta that the Gupta dynasty failed to survive the repeated Hun invasions.

Despite formidable barriers in the form of the mighty Himalayas and the deep ocean, India had succession of invaders, many of them carrying swords and guns. The period of history after when Prithvi raj Chauhan lost to the butcher of Humanity Gori can rightly be called Dark Ages. I wish we did not have to study about Islamic terrorist attacks on this Punya Bhoomi. They corrupted our religion and the land. I hope the Government removes 800 years of Islamic rule. Waiting hopefully for the day! Vandemataram.

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:36:00 +0530
Anorexia how to prevent it

 

Anupama Nair

 

Everybody dreams of a lean and fit body. However, all do not have the fortune to have such a body. Instead of working hard to achieve, many especially fall prey to a medical condition Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight. People with anorexia have a high value on controlling their weight and shape, using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with their lives.

 

To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia usually severely restrict the amount of food they eat. They control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, diet aids, diuretics or enemas. They may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively, even after losing much weight, the person continues to fear a gain in weight. Anorexia is never really about food, but  extremely unhealthy and sometimes life-threatening way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, thinness is treated as  self-worth. Anorexia, like other eating disorders, can take over your life and can be very difficult to overcome. However, with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia's serious complications.

 

The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa are related to starvation. Anorexia also shows emotional and behavioral issues involving an unrealistic perception of body weight and an extremely strong fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. It may be difficult to notice signs and symptoms because what is considered a low body weight is different for each person, and some individuals may not appear extremely thin and  people with anorexia often disguise their thinness, eating habits or physical problems.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Extreme weight loss or not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Thin appearance
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers
  • Hair that thins, breaks or falls out
  • Soft, downy hair covering the body
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Constipation and abdominal pain
  • Dry or yellowish skin
  • Intolerance of cold
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Eroded teeth and calluses on the knuckles from induced vomiting

 

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

 

  • Severely restricting food intake through dieting or fasting
  • Exercising excessively
  • Bingeing and self-induced vomiting to get rid of food, which may include the use of laxatives, enemas, diet aids or herbal products
  • Emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms may include:
  • Preoccupation with food, which sometimes includes cooking elaborate meals for others but not eating them
  • Frequently skipping meals or refusing to eat
  • Denial of hunger or making excuses for not eating
  • Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories
  • Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as spitting food out after chewing
  • Not wanting to eat in public
  • Lying about how much food has been eaten
  • Fear of gaining weight that may include repeated weighing or measuring the body
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Complaining about being fat or having parts of the body that are fat
  • Covering up in layers of clothing
  • Flat mood (lack of emotion)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced interest in sex

 

If you have any of these symptoms see a doctor immediately. Unfortunately, many people with anorexia don't want treatment, at least initially. Their desire to remain thin overrides concerns about their health. If you're experiencing any of the problems listed above, or if you think you may have an eating disorder, get help. If you're hiding your anorexia from loved ones, try to find a person you trust to talk to about what's going on.

 

The real cause of anorexia is unknown. As with many diseases, it's probably a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors. Even though it's not yet clear which genes are involved, there may be genetic changes that make some people at higher risk of developing anorexia. Some people may have a genetic tendency toward perfectionism, sensitivity and perseverance, all traits associated with anorexia. Some people with anorexia may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to strict diets and forgo food despite being hungry. They may have an extreme drive for perfectionism, which causes them to think they're never thin enough. And they may have high levels of anxiety and engage in restrictive eating to reduce it. Modern culture emphasizes thinness. Success and worth are often equated with being thin. Peer pressure may help fuel the desire to be thin, particularly among teen-age girls. When I look at thin models, I used to feel a desire to be thin like them. As I grew up, I expected who I am .

 

Anorexia is more common in girls and women. However, boys and men have increasingly developed eating disorders, possibly related to growing social pressures.

Anorexia is also more common among teenagers. Still, people of any age can develop this eating disorder, though it's rare in people over 40. Teens may be more at risk because of all the changes their bodies go through during puberty. They may also face increased peer pressure and be more sensitive to criticism or even casual comments about weight or body shape.

 

Certain factors increase the risk of anorexia,  like:

 

  • Genetics.
  • Dieting and starvation.
  • Life changes

 

Anorexia can have numerous complications, and can be fatal. Death may occur suddenly even when someone is not severely underweight. This may result from abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or an imbalance of electrolytes that are minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that maintain the balance of fluids in your body.

 

Other complications of anorexia are:

 

Anemia

Heart problems,

Bone loss (osteoporosis),

Loss of muscle

In women, absence of a menstrual cycle

In males, decreased testosterone

Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or nausea

Electrolyte abnormalities, such as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride

Kidney problems

Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders

Personality disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorders

Alcohol and substance misuse

Self-injury, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

 

There's no guaranteed way to prevent anorexia nervosa. Family doctors may be in a good position to identify early indicators of anorexia and prevent the development of full-blown illness. They can ask questions about eating habits and satisfaction with appearance during routine medical appointments. If you notice that a family member or friend has low self-esteem, severe dieting habits and dissatisfaction with appearance, you need to help them and talk about these issues. Although you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, you can talk about healthier behavior or treatment options.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:33:00 +0530
Sarada Devi the woman behind Ramakrishna and Vivekananda s greatness

 

Anupama Nair

As a woman, freedom and empowerment of women is a topic close to my heart. I remember Rousseau’s famous statement during the French Revolution, “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”. But for men a lot changed but what has not changed is for women. So, we can correctly say “women are born free, but she is everywhere in chains”. Even in the 21st century there is not much change anywhere in the world. She is a victim of domestic violence, rape and many horrors. The US has the most cases of domestic violence in the world. To add to misery, religions play a huge part in their condition. Today I am going to write about the wife of  Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Sarada Devi was a ‘spiritual giant’ like her husband and Naren who was like a son to her.

Sarada Devi was born on December 22, 1853 in Bengal. She was born as Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, and was lovingly and reverentially addressed as the Holy Mother by the followers of the Ramakrishna Mission. She held an important role in the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement. Even though she was uneducated herself, she advocated education for women and entrusted Sister Nivedita to open a girls school so that they could study.

It is said that  from an early age she prayed to Mother Goddess to have ‘purity in abundance’. Looking at the full moon, she would always say: “O God, there are dark spots even on the moon. But make my character spotless.” Sarada Devi was born in Jayrambati, a small village near Calcutta. At the age of five, she was engaged to Sri Ramakrishna, whom she joined at Dakshineswar when she was eighteen years old. Even though married, both lived a life of unbroken celibacy, which was the ideal of the combination of a proper householder and the monastic ways of life. Ramakrishna’s frequent ‘spiritual ecstacies’ and unorthodox ways of worship led some people to doubt his mental stability, while others regarded him as a great saint. Sarada found Ramakrishna to be a kind and caring person. As a priest, Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony, the ‘Shodashi Puja’ where Sarada Devi was made to sit in the seat of goddess Kali and to Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Devi was the incarnation of Divine Mother, addressing her as Sri Maa and it was by this name that she was known to his disciples.

 

She woke up at 3 AM. After bathing in the Ganges river, she would practice japa (meditative repetition of a mantra or name of God) and meditation until daybreak. “Ramakrishna had taught her the sacred mantras, and instructed her how to initiate people and guide them in spiritual life”. Most of her time was spent in cooking for Ramakrishna and the growing number of his devotees. “While Sarada Devi remained completely in the background, her unassuming but warm personality attracted some female devotees to become her lifelong companions. Her life was very simple and, characterized by humility, modesty and a loving spiritual disposition”.

During Ramakrishna’s last days, when he suffered from throat cancer, Sarada Devi played an important role in nursing him and preparing suitable food for him and his disciples. It is said that after Ramakrishna’s death in August 1886, when Sarada Devi tried to remove her bracelets as the widows do, she had a vision of Ramakrishna in which he said, “I have not passed away, I have just gone from one room to another.” According to her, whenever she thought of dressing like a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna asking her not to do so.

 

After Ramakrishna’s death Sarada Devi was deeply respected by Swami Vivekanda and other monks of the Ramakrishna Mission, and she continued to play an important role in the emerging religious movement. She remained the spiritual guide of the movement for the next three decades. Ramakrishna had asked her to continue his mission after his death and wanted his disciples not to make any distinction between himself and her.

 

Before Mother Sarada’s death  in 1920, she gave a long-remembered advice to her grief-stricken devotees, “But I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own!”.

There is a story told about her. When the young Sarada was walking through the meadows with several companions for the journey to the river Ganga for a holy bath, she could not keep pace with the sturdier men and women, and she was left to trail behind. A bandit appeared from nowhere and asked her threatening questions. With a smile she said “father I am going to take bath in the Ganga, but my companions have gone ahead.” The sweet and gentle words softened the hard-hearted robber whose childless wife then appeared on the scene. With great affection, Sarada was taken into a humble wayside shop where they rendered her their sweet and sincere service. The next day, the bandit “father” took his adopted daughter to Dakshineswar with great care. The “son-in-law”, Sri Ramakrishna, on hearing the story, paid great respect to this strange “father-in-law”. Such a great woman she was!

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:28:23 +0530
Great Women of India and the World A trip down Memory Lane

 

Anupama Nair

As a woman, freedom and empowerment of women is a topic close to my heart. I remember Rousseau’s famous statement during the French Revolution, “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”. But for men a lot changed but what has not changed is for women. So, we can correctly say “women are born free, but she is everywhere in chains”. Even in the 21st century there is not much change anywhere in the world. She is a victim of domestic violence, rape and many horrors. The US has the most cases of domestic violence in the world. To add to misery, religions play a huge part in their condition.

Abbaka Chowta

The first European to enter India through the Indian Ocean was Vasco Da Gama. He reached Calicut in 1499. During the early part of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese were successfully carrying out trade in coastal India. However, with time their imperialist motives became clear and slowly by slowly, they began their reign of terror. If you thought Mughals, Khiljis or the British were cruel, Portuguese will emerge the winners. Goa and Brazil were the main victims. Much of the trade carried on in the Western coast of India was taxed by the Portuguese who looked to advance upon Ullal near Mangalore Port, (Karnataka). That is how they came to face Abbakka their nemesis.

Abbakka Chowta inherited the throne through the matriarchal system of inheritance followed by her community called Aliyasantana. Prior to her succession she was married to Lakshmappa Arasa, the King of Banga and had three daughters. However, she continued to remain at Ullal, her capital. Rani Abbakka was quite aware of the Portuguese threat and sought peace at first. However, she refused to pay any tax to the Portuguese administrators. The Portuguese in 1527 attacked Ullal several times in succession but in vain were defeated each time. In the end they only managed to capture it for a short time. The escaped queen returned the favor by raiding the Portuguese camp at night and slaughtering many. The defeated Portuguese then managed to influence Abbakka’s resentful husband into refusing to give her any aid. Unable to defeat the queen after several attempts of treachery, eventually the Portuguese launched a surprise attack with a large army in Ullal in 1570. Abbakka Chowta immediately rode to combat but was severely injured and captured. She continued her fight in captivity and died as a martyr. Her daughters continued her fight against the Portuguese after her death. As a result, Portuguese rule was limited to Goa and finally forced to leave in 1961.

Ahilyabai Holkar

Ahilyabai Holkar was the hereditary noble sardar of the Maratha Empire. Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi, Ahmednagar (Maharashtra). Ahilyabai's husband Khande Rao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar died. A year after that she took over the affairs of Holkar kingdom. She tried to protect her land from the plundering invaders. She personally led armies into the battle.

Ahilyabai was a great pioneer and builder of temples. She built hundreds of temples and Dharmashalas throughout India. Her greatest achievement was to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1780, which was dedicated to Bhagwan Mahadev; the presiding deity of the holy city of Varanasi, that had been demolished by cruelest Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1696.

Among Ahilyabai's accomplishments was the development of Indore from a small village to a prosperous and beautiful city. She also developed nearby Maheshwar, a town on the banks of the Narmada river. She also built forts and roads in Malwa, and sponsored festivals and gave donations to temples. Outside Malwa, she built many temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest-houses across an area stretching from the Himalayas to pilgrimage centers in South India.  She was also considered as a pioneer in education of girls.

Velu Nachiyar

Velu Nachiyar was the first Indian queen to fight the British Imperialism. She was the only daughter of the King of Ramnad  (Tamil Nadu). She was born in 1730. In absence of any brothers, she was brought up like a prince with training in martial warfare and weaponry. The British had just started their conquest of India through the East India Company. The dream of the British East India was to capture the “sone ki chidiya”—India and become “the masters of the subcontinent from Khyber to Chittagong and Kashmir to Comorin (Kanya Kumari)”. For this they gained the support of the Nawab of Arcot (Tamil Nadu), Muhammad Ali Khan  who wanted to defeat the French Imperialists and Hyder Ali (father of Tipu Sultan), who was the Sultan of Mysore (Karnataka).

Velu Nachiyar was married to Muthuvaduganatha Periya, the King of Sivagangai (Tamil Nadu) who lost his life in the war between the British and the French in 1772. However, she escaped with her daughter. Just as all looked well for the British, in 1780 the queen returned with Hyder Ali as her ally and accompanied by a large army was prepared to fight the British again. She had found out where the British stored their ammunition and set it ablaze through a suicide attack when her army commander the great and brave woman Kuyili immolated herself in the storage.

Under her instructions her adopted daughter Udaiyaal blew up the British arsenal through another suicide attack. In the memory of Kuyili and Udaiyall, she formed a women’s army. Despite several attacks, she fought on and eventually seized Sivagangai. Thereafter, she imprisoned the Nawab of Arcot, who was later released to the British in exchange for Sivagangai’s independence. Velu Nachiyar is famous as “Veeramangai” as she remained the undefeated ruler of Sivagangai until her death in 1790.

Rani Chennamma

Rani Chennamma was born in Belgaum (Karnataka) in 1778 to the Lingayat community. She became the queen of Kittur district (Karnataka) after her marriage to Raja Mallasaraja and had a son by him. Unfortunately, the son did not live long. This was before the Doctrine of Lapse was codified by Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of the East India Company, who then used paramountcy, as a flimsy excuse to grab Kittur, like every other Princely State in the Sub-continent.

Rani Chenamma had sent a letter to Mountstuart Elphinstone, Lieutenant-Governor of the Bombay Presidency to allow her adopted son whom she wanted to inherit the throne. When her request was turned down and the British administration advanced upon Kittur, they met with a fierce resistance from its queen in 1824. Rani Chenamma, not only won the war, but also imprisoned two British officials who were released in exchange of the promise of non-interference. This promise was ultimately broken in 1829 as the British East Indian Company attacked  Kittur with more reinforcements. While they suffered significant fatalities, Rani Chenamma was ultimately captured and breathed her last in their captivity the same year.

Avanti Bai

Avanti Bai of Ramgarh (present-day Dindor in Madhya Pradesh) is often compared to her contemporary Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh). It is quite astonishing that there are many similarities in their lives. Both were born outside royalty and subsequently married to kings. They assumed monarchy due to unusual circumstances in their families. Both died fighting to keep their respective states from the British Imperialism and both participated in the First War of Indian Independence (1857).

However, there were some differences too, as no two people can be the same. Avanti Bai was born into the Lodhi community which was on the lower rungs of feudalism. She was widowed in 1851 when her husband Lakshman Singh died and her two minor sons unfit to inherit the throne. The British refused to accept her son Vikramaditya Singh as the next ruler. Avanti Bai responded by throwing out the British administrator in Ramgarh and seizing regency of the throne. Swiftly she requested the help of neighboring kings and managed to gather an army of four thousand. She met the British army in combat near Mandla where she defeated but could not kill the British commander. Humiliated by  the defeat, the British retaliated with a huge army which she fought fiercely. Upon facing imminent loss, the brave queen committed suicide by using her sword. Even drawing her last breath, she refused to reveal the names of her supporters.

Rani Lakshmibai

What is Indian history without Manikarnika or Lakshmibai, the brave queen of Jhansi? With immense pride I am writing about her. Even today, for every Indian she is the icon for the freedom struggle against the British Raj for Indian Independence.

Manikarnika was born in Benares (Manikarnika Ghat), in 1828 as Manikarnika Tambe and was nicknamed Manu. Her father was Moropant Tambe, and her mother Bhagirathi Sapre. Her mother died when she was four-year old. Her father was working with Peshwa Baji Rao II in Bithoor (near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh). The Peshwa called her "Chhabili", which means "playful". She was educated at home, able to read and write, and was more independent in her childhood than many others of her age. Her studies included shooting, horsemanship, fencing with her childhood friends Nana Sahab and Tatya Tope.

She married the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao and as per tradition given a new name Lakshmibai. She  was widowed without bearing an heir to the throne, as her son Damodar Rao died as a baby. Just before his death the King adopted a boy Anand Rao, also renamed as Damodar Rao, as his heir. Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India, refused to recognize the adopted heir and annexed Jhansi in accordance with the Doctrine of Lapse. An agent of the East Indian Company, was posted in the small kingdom to look after administrative matters. When she was informed of this she cried out " I shall not surrender my Jhansi”. In March 1854, Rani Lakshmibai was ordered to leave the palace and the fort by the Administrator.

She returned to Jhansi, when the First War of Independence started in May 1857. From August 1857 to January 1858 Jhansi under the Rani's rule was at peace. The British who was fighting the rebellion could do nothing. They summoned their greatest war hero, General Hugh Rose to fight against the queen. Sir Hugh Rose commanding the British forces, demanded the surrender of the city , and threatened if this was refused it would be destroyed. Rani refused and said that after due deliberation she issued a proclamation, "We fight for independence”. She defended Jhansi against British troops when Sir Hugh Rose besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858.

The company’s forces surrounded the fort of Jhansi, and a fierce battle raged. Offering stiff resistance to the invading forces, Lakshmi Bai did not surrender even after her troops were overwhelmed and the rescuing army of Tatya Tope, was defeated at the Battle of Betwa. Lakshmi Bai managed to escape from the fort with a Damodar Rao, on her back on her favorite horse Badal, and is still in our memory. A small force of palace guards left with her and headed eastward, where other leaders joined her.

Tatya Tope and Lakshmi Bai then mounted a successful assault on the city-fortress of Gwalior, and the Scindia the ruler ran away to London. The treasury and the arsenal were seized, and Nana Sahib, a prominent leader, was proclaimed as the Peshwa. After taking Gwalior, Lakshmi Bai marched east to Morar to confront a British counterattack led by Sir Rose. Dressed as a man, she fought a fierce battle and was killed in combat on 17 June 1858, in Kotah-ki-Serai near the Phool Bagh in Gwalior.

The British captured the city of Gwalior, after three days of her martyrdom. Sir Hugh Rose commented “personable, clever and beautiful" and she is "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. Colonel Malleson said “Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, we cannot forget her contribution for India.”

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, a great poetess wrote “Khub ladi mardani, woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi”.  On the 164th year of the Great War of Independence, let us remember her and others like Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Netaji Subhash Bose, Veer Savarkar, and Sardar Patel, who sacrificed their lives so that we could be a free nation. But are we forgetting them in our busy slives?

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:23:10 +0530
RIP King s English

 

Anupama Nair

To speak global English i.e., the English which is easily understood everywhere in the world, is a dream of most people. But that is easier said than done. No one can dispute the assertive position of English as a communicative language in the world today. It is enjoying the status of medium of instruction as well as compulsory subject in many parts of the world. The failure rate of the students learning English, is increasing which is deplorable. The failure in English, means the failure in the public examinations and all other walks of life.

The English language is one of the most popular languages to learn, and is perhaps the most spoken language around the world, and many people choose to learn the language simply to place them in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular language to learn, but this doesn't necessarily mean it is a simple language to master, and there are many challenges people face while learning English and if you are aware of these challenges beforehand you stand a much greater chance of mastering the language.

The major hurdles faced by foreign speakers of English are:

  • Literal translation from vernacular language to English and vice-versa.
  • Grammatical and phonetical errors.
  • Uses of phrases and expressions in the wrong context or place.

 

What foreign users do is literally translate from their native language to English, forgetting that English is spoken differently. English has part of speech which should be used in a particular place only.

 

How to Think English

 

  • Start using small and simple sentences. Start your day with “good morning”, “how are you doing today?’’
  • Make conversation with others.
  • Get creative and use alternative words if you are struck on a word.
  • Build your vocabulary by reading good books and watching movies and documentaries.
  • Use English to English Dictionary

English Grammar is complex, making it so difficult to remember, master and use logically. When I was in Middle School, we learnt grammar using the famous Wren and Martin, which ensured I learnt to master the Queen’s English. Nowadays, Wren and Martin is no longer in the curriculum, and the result is there for all to see. I would be correct to say “RIP Wren and Martin and good English”. The usage of correct grammar can be tricky, especially when you are in conversation with someone and they speak at an alarmingly fast pace. Learning grammar is like learning swimming, you can learn all of the theory, rules and regulations, but you won’t be good at it unless you practice it and it starts to become like a second nature to you. Grammar is extremely important, and incorrect use of grammar can confuse the person you are speaking to and even change the meaning of what you are trying to communicate. English speakers are incredibly proud of the language and look negatively on it being used incorrectly.

 

 These are some grammatical errors people in the Indian subcontinent use:

 

What are you discussing about? (what are you discussing?)

I am going to give an exam. (I am going to take/write an exam.)

I saw a dream. (I had a dream.)

I am having four brothers and three sisters. (I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters.)

Myself John Smith (I am John Smith.)

What’s your good name? (What’s your name.)

There are some expressions used in the wrong context in the Indian Subcontinent:

Expire for dead

Cousin Brother/Sister

Pass out for graduating from College

Would be for fiancé

Picture for movie

Wedding anniversary for marriage anniversary

Comprise of instead of comprise

Explain me instead of explain to me

Revert back for revert

            

English has one of the biggest vocabularies -- more than any other language, and it can be very confusing for non-English speakers to master. Using wrong vocabulary is easily noticeable to anyone who’s first language is English.

 

The next hurdle is pronunciation as English words can be very difficult to pronounce as it isn't always obvious. Furthermore, depending on the first language of the English student, it can often be difficult to pronounce certain words properly, having not ever had to create that phonetic sound before.

 

For example, these words are pronounced as:

 

DENGUE (dengi)

TIER (tear)

BICYCLE (bi-si-kul)

PLUMBER (plu-muh)

WEDNESDAY (wen-sday)

TUESDAY (chooz-dei)

CAREER (kuh-riah)

TUITION (twishn)

VILLAGE (vil-idj)

PAPER (peipe)

VINEYARD (vin-yed)

YATCH (yot)

RENDEZVOUZ (rondevu)

DEBRIS (debri:)

TOUR (tua)

FAUX PAS (fau-pa)

DEBUT (debyu)

CHAOS (kaos)

When I hear English being murdered as a British friend Roger Anderson told me I think of the poor professor in the blockbuster series “Mind Your Language”. Roger believes by murdering English, the former colonies are taking their revenge on England and the Language. I sure agree with him as I feel a similar pain, when I see my beloved English being murdered every day in India and elsewhere in the world.

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:24:29 +0530
Bathu ki ladi a mysterious temple of Incredible India

 

Anupama Nair

Popular for its beautiful vegetation and snow-clad mountains Dev Bhoomi, India is also home to mysterious and unique places that is deep rooted in history and culture. Bathu ki Ladi temple in the state of Himachal Pradesh is one such place. What makes this temple a place worth visiting is the fact that this temple remains submerged in water for eight months of the year. It is mainly a clutter of six different temples, and even has connection to the Mahabharata. Most of you must not be even aware of the existence of this hidden temple. So, I thought of writing about this hidden beauty in Himachal.

Many secrets and mysteries are connected to this temple. This temple has been constructed in such a way that after twilight, the dying rays of the sun seems to touch the holy feet of the Lord Mahadev. Even after being submerged in water for such a long period, you won’t notice any major damage to the structure of the temple. It is because the temple is made up of a powerful stone called ‘bathu’. “It’s an enticing sight, looking at the temple which is mostly covered in water and only a few towering pillars can be seen trying to reach out”.

According to the local legends, it was built by a local king who ruled the region around 800 AD. Many stories about the origin of the temples are well known among the folklore. Some sources say that temple was built by Pandavas when they attempted to build a staircase to ascend to Heaven at monolithic Masrur Rock Temples located at the opposite side of the lake but the King of Gods Indira intervened. However, the Pandavas successfully built the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ at Bathu ki Ladi temples where that staircase still exists and you can climb to the top most part to have a feel of the place. The central temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The best time to visit the submerged Bathu ki Ladi temples is in winters when water recedes.

It is situated close to Pong Dam, around three kilometers from Dhameta, which is a small town in district of Kangra. The temple remains under water from July to February, and can only be witnessed and visited between the months of March and June. As the water level of Pong Dam Lake rises, the temple becomes a part of underwater world.

You can see figures of Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha carved on the stones, while inside the temple you’ll notice Lord Vishnu’s statue resting on his Shesh Naag.

If you are someone who loves nature and wishes to spend some time away far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, then you’ll definitely love the location of Battu temples. This place is a also a paradise for birdwatchers as Pong Dam wetland is renowned for being home to a wide range of migratory birds, with more than 200 bird species seeking refuge.

So, pack your bags and travel to this submerged paradise in Incredible India.

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:14:05 +0530
Narendra Modi Bharat ka Veer Putra ko Happy Birthday

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat Maa has given birth to many great sons and daughters who lived and died for their motherland. Hira Ben, a great woman of Gujarat gave birth to a Kohinoor – Narendra, named after a great saint Narendra Dutta aka Swami Vivekananda. Our great Prime Minister was born on 17th September 1950 to a Gujarati family of grocers in Vadnagar, Gujarat. His father was Damodardas Mulchand Modi. In fact, he was the first Indian Prime Minister born in Independent India.

Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar railway station when he was a child, and he later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus. He completed his higher secondary education in Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher quoted him as “an average student and a keen debater, with interest in theatre”. He had an extra-ordinary skill for rhetoric in debates and preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which later influenced in creating his political image.

He was introduced to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the tender age of 8 and began attending the local shakhas . There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar, also known as Vakil Saheb, who initiated him as a balaswayamsevak in the RSS and later became his political guru. While Modi was training with the RSS, he had the good fortune to meet Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, who were then the leaders of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, who later were founding members of the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Gujarat unit in 1980.

He was engaged to a girl, Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi, and they were married when she was 17 and he was 18. Soon afterwards he left home, and the couple went onto lead separate lives, neither marrying again, and the marriage itself unmentioned in Modi's public pronouncements for many decades. In April 2014, shortly before the Lok Sabha elections which he won with majority, he publicly confirmed that he was married and the couple has remained married, but estranged.

Modi then spent the subsequent two years travelling across Northern and North-eastern India, and not much details of where he went are available. However, Modi said he visited Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda -- the Belur Math near Calcutta, the Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna Mission in Rajkot. He was deeply inspired by the other Narendra -- Swami Vivekananda. In 1969, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief visit before leaving for Ahmedabad. He lived with his uncle, working in his canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.

In Ahmedabad, Modi again met Inamdar, who was at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city. Modi's first known political activity as an adult was in 1971 when he joined a Jana Sangh satyagraha in Delhi led by the former Prime Minister the great Atal Bihari Vajpayee to enlist for the battlefield.  After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time pracharak for the RSS working under Inamdar. Shortly before the war, Modi took part in a non-violent protest against the then Indian government in New Delhi, for which he was arrested. This had been the main reason cited as a reason for Inamdar selecting to mentor him. Many years later Modi wrote a biography of Inamdar, that was published in 2001. In 1978 Modi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the School of Open Learning from the University of Delhi.  In 1983, he got a master’s degree in political science from Gujarat University.

In June 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India which lasted for 2 years . Many of her political opponents were jailed and opposition groups were banned.  Shortly afterwards, the RSS was banned. Modi was forced to go underground in Gujarat and frequently travelled in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved in printing pamphlets that opposed the government, and later organized demonstrations. He was also involved in creating a network of safe houses for individuals wanted by the government, and in raising funds for political refugees and activists. During this period, Modi wrote a book Sangharsh Ma Gujarat (The Struggles of Gujarat), that narrated the events during the Emergency.

Modi rose within the party and was named a member of the BJP's National Election Committee in 1990, and he helped in organizing L.K. Advani's Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 and Murli Manohar Joshi's Ekta Yatra (Journey for Unity) in 1992. However, he took a brief break from politics in 1992, and established a school in Ahmedabad. Modi returned to electoral politics in 1994, partly at the insistence of Advani, and as party secretary, Modi's electoral strategy was considered central to the BJP victory in the 1995 state assembly elections.

In November 1995, Modi was elected BJP national secretary and transferred to New Delhi, where he assumed responsibility for party activities in the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Modi was promoted to the post of general secretary of the BJP in May 1998.

Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, and remained in office till 2014 till he was elected as Prime Minister of India. As the Chief Minister, Modi favored privatization and in his view it was the way for development of the state. His policies during his second term have been credited with reducing corruption in the state. He established financial and technology parks in Gujarat and during the 2007 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, real-estate investment deals worth ₹6.6 trillion were signed.

The Modi government completed the process of bringing electricity to every village in Gujarat. Modi significantly changed the state's system of power distribution, greatly impacting farmers. Gujarat expanded the Jyotigram Yojana scheme, in which agricultural electricity was separated from other rural electricity, the agricultural electricity was rationed to fit scheduled irrigation demands, reducing its cost. The state's GDP growth rate averaged 10% during Modi's tenure, a value similar to other highly industrialized states, and above that of the country as a whole.

In September 2013, Modi was named the BJP's candidate for prime minister ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Modi played a dominant role in the BJP's election campaign. Many people who voted for the BJP stated that if Modi had not been the prime-ministerial candidate, they would have voted for another party. The focus on Modi as an individual was unusual for a BJP election campaign. The election was described as ‘a referendum on Narendra Modi’.

The party won 31% of the vote share and more than doubled its tally in the Lok Sabha to 282, seats becoming the first party to win a majority of seats on its own since 1984. Modi, who was unanimously elected leader of the BJP, was appointed Prime Minister of the country. He was re-elected in 2019 with a thumping majority. According to international survey, he is currently the most popular leader in the world. Many countries, like United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Maldives, Palestine, Bahrein  and Afghanistan honored him by giving him the highest civilian award in their country.

It is to be noted that the great Nostradamus predicted Modi’s rise to power. He stated “that a person from India with a spiritual background and the name of a saint will make the country great again. This is also true with India becoming a world leader under the rule of our charismatic Prime Minister. Happy Birthday Modiji, you sure are my inspiration.

 

 

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:05:18 +0530
Tips for confident public speaking

Tips for confident public speaking

Anupama Nair

What is communication? Communication is the backbone of our life. It allows you to form “connections, influence decisions, and motivate change”. It is true that without excellent communication skills, it is difficult to advance in your career or life itself. Public speaking is a good way of building or developing your personality on many levels, since improving communication skills is helpful in almost every walk of life. Skill in public speaking can help you meet your goal whether your goal is to engage in political debate, or make a career as a motivational speaker or gain confidence in front of an audience.

Public speaking is one of the most important and most dreaded forms of communication. Have you heard the term glossophobia? Glossophobia or speech anxiety, is the most common phobia, people have across the world. It is alright if you do not have much skills in effective communication till high school, but when you are starting or already have a career in your life, public speaking is a vital skill to have and to improve. “It effects simple, everyday interactions between co-workers, bosses and employees, marketing professionals and clients, etc., and it can have an enormous impact on your career path and your level of success in your industry”.

There are many reasons why public speaking is important. They are:

To win over the crowd:

The ability to win over the crowd is an important skill to have in business -- especially in the public relations arena. To win over the crowd you need the skill of persuasion, and it can carry you far and it all starts by refining the public speaking skills. If you master the art of public speaking the result is an increase in confidence and with that, a cool and collected presence in front of an audience. Of course, it is necessary to be well-informed about the subject you are presenting, but beyond that,” while making a persuasive speech of any kind, including a sales pitch to a client, you need to be prepared to answer the opposition, and to speak with poise”.

To make a strong case, the ability to speak publicly is not only important, but also essential to make strides forward. “For example, in order to express why a certain product or idea would be an interesting topic to an editor of a publication, one must use strong enough, convincing language to elicit intrigue and curiosity. A great pitch will persuade the consumer or editor to want to know more. While addressing any audience with an idea or argument for or against something, public speaking allows you to make your case compellingly and convincingly”.

To motivate people:

A great public speaker achieves the power to motivate his or her audience to do something, not do something, change a behavior, or work towards your goal. However, to put an idea forward, you should be able to excite and cheer your audience. Who are public speakers? “Public speakers are leaders who are able to inspire their audience to work harder to achieve their goals”. As a public speaker, your role is to influence your audience and create an environment where everyone walks out ready to roll. You are not merely giving a speech in the attempt to get your audience to take a certain action; speakers are part of the action and can convey their passion and drive. It is not enough to simply know about the issues at hand but to make your audience share your passion. Elections have been won simply because one candidate was a better public speaker than the other like Modi ji and Kennedy for example. Though, knowledge about the topic is necessary, but more important point, being able to arouse passion in people through skilled public speaking will motivate your audience to make a move.  “When people talk about having a voice in the world, they mean having an impact on the world by voicing your thoughts and your knowledge in an exciting way”. A mastery of public speaking allows you to relate to the audience and gain their trust. As a skilled public speaker, you become likable and believable, and you will be able to inspire and even entertain the crowd.

To inform people:

‘The ability to inform’ is one of the most important aspects of public speaking. “From presenting research papers and PowerPoint presentations in school to presenting ideas to your superiors or client, informative public speaking is a vital component of a successful career across all work fields”. Once you have their attention, a good informative speech, sharing your knowledge of a subject with an audience, enhances their understanding and makes them remember your words long after you’ve finished.

For example, you might be asked to instruct a group of coworkers on how to use new computer software or to address your employees on company events. Whether it is giving demonstrations or sharing an area of expertise, this form of public speaking is an essential skill in today’s world.

According to a study conducted by sociologist, Andrew Zekeri, “oral communication skills were the number one skill that college graduates found useful in the business world”. Communication skills enhances a person’s ability to interact with professionals and fellow colleagues in a qualified and composed manner.

Career advancement:

Effective public speaking skills can help you with career advancement, “as they indicate creativity, critical thinking skills, leadership abilities, poise, and professionalism, qualities which are very valuable for the job market.

Speaking at events and conferences is a good way of building credibility. The more well known the event the better, as you can add these speaking achievements to your resume.

Public speaking can also help you stand out at work. You'll learn to speak up in meetings, to promote your ideas, and to present yourself as a professional. Speaking skills can also help you excel in job interviews.

After speaking at a few events, people will remember you and begin to see you as an authoritative figure in the area of your expertise. Soon you’ll find getting new clients and business from people who were your audience.

Boost confidence:

Public speaking helps in boosting your confidence, overcoming the fears and insecurities that is part and parcel of public speaking. Additionally, connecting with audiences can be a strong reminder that you have valuable insights and opinions to share with the rest of the world. The confidence levels will grow once you start speaking -- starting from speaking to small groups of people and then to large audiences. This will benefit you not just on stage, but in everyday life as well, whether it be in a meeting or on a date.

A research conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension from age group 9 to 18, who participated in a public speaking program found that public speaking increased confidence of a person. The study revealed that achieving a goal was an important factor when it came to increasing the confidence of an audience. It is inevitable that nervousness that comes with speaking in front of an audience won’t entirely disappear, however it will teach you how to deal with your fears and turn your weakness into strength.

Critical thinking:

Public speaking is an excellent way to build the critical thinking skills. Writing a speech requires a great deal of careful thinking, i.e., from the audience analysis to the final closing sentence. It's just not enough to have a message for the audience, you also need to figure out how to adapt the message to fit the needs of the audience.

“How can you make your points relevant to your listeners? How can you help the audience understand your views? If you start thinking critically about your speaking style, you may find ways to improve your general communication style at home and at work”.

Personality Development:

Communication skills are very important for your personal and professional success and improving this area is one of the greatest benefits of public speaking. Preparing a speech makes it mandatory for speakers to take a step back and think critically about effective ways of communication. In fact, it’s easy to fall back on your communication skills we formed many years ago.

Improve communication skills

Always remember when you write a speech, you have to think carefully about the best framework, persuasive strategy, and diction to communicate your message to the audience. This helps in you improving your communication skills in other areas of your life.

Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations require you to communicate ideas to other people. Public speaking stresses on communicating ideas. You can learn to calmly take up an opposing view, to present your ideas in an organized and coherent manner, and to defend your views to others.

Make new social connections:

Public speaking engagements are good places to meet other people with whom you have common interests. You&rs