Tuesday, 29 January 2013

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

ERNEST HEMINGWAY 

            E.M. Hemingway (1898-1961) was a very famous and Nobel Prize winner author. He was also known for his rugged outdoor pursuits.
            His father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway was a physician. Ernest was born at the Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.A. on 21st July 1898. He studied at a public school, but never attended university.
           For one year he worked for Kansas City star as a reporter. In the initial stages of the World War I, he joined Italian army as an ambulance driver. He worked on the war front and also was wounded in the war.
           Hemingway liked to live an adventurous life. He preferred tough and often violent outdoor assignments that of war correspondent, soldier or hunter. After World War I he lived in Paris as a foreign correspondent. Gertrude stein and Ezra Pound left an impression on his writing and he developed his original terse and clipped style. His Paris experience resulted in his first successful novel, ‘The Sun Also Rises’, which was about young expatriate American living in Paris. It was recognized as a classic of American literature.
           Another of his classic work is ‘A Farewell to Arms’, which is a story of love and war based on his own war experiences. Along with these early novels he had also penned many short stories, which were published in 1938 as ‘The First Forty Nine Stories’.
           As he was an outdoorsman, his many days were spent in game hunting in Africa and also witnessing bullfights in Spain. These were reflected in ‘Green hills of Africa’ and ‘The Death in the Afternoon’, respectively. His other famous works are ‘The Fifth Column’, ‘For Whom the Bells Toll’, ‘Men Without Women’ etc. He did not write much during the period of Second World War.
            In 1952 his famous work ‘The Old Man and The Sea’, which is about the lonely struggle of an old fisherman, received critical praise. He was given the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
            His personal life was probably not very happy. He was married four times. In 1961 he committed suicide by shooting himself at his home in Idaho, U.S.A.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY  AND ADRIANA IVANCICH

FIDEL CASTRO

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruiz

          Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruiz is the revolutionary leader who fought against the dictatorship of Batista and is now the Head of Cuba.
          Castro was born on 13th August 1926 at Miyani. He did his schooling at Santiago and Havana. He earned his law degree from the University of Havana in 1950. From his student days he was active in politics and opposed the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
           In July 1953 he and his colleagues attacked Moncada army barracks. He was arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, however he was released in general amnesty in 1955. He went to Mexico in a self-imposed exile. On his return to Cuba, he started a guerilla war against the dictator Batista from the mountains of Sierra Maestra. More and more Cubans joined his forces which resulted in repeated armed fights in 1958.
           Finally on 1st January 1959 Batista left Cuba and Castro took charge. He made Cuba in to a first communist country in the western world. He was the premier of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and then since 1976 he is the President of the Council of State and of Council of Minister.
           He brought a socialist revolution. Sometimes he proved to be even a ruthless leader. Castro took charge of all the native and the foreign industries for the public use. This resulted in tensions with the United States of America. Castro signed important pacts with USSR. Then many Cuban exiles were trained and in April 1961 were sent by the USA to the Bay of Pigs, south of Havana, to revolt against Castro. But this operation was a failure.
           Fresh tensions sprang up when USSR Placed nuclear weapons in Cuba. However a real crisis was avoided by mutual negotiations between USA and USSR. But the tensions still prevail between USA and Cuba.
          Castro made many reforms for the poor and the deprived, started cooperative agriculture. But he is also accused of censorship, lack of freedom and lacral free and democratic elections. When Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Cuban economy suffered a setback.
           Castro was given the Health for All medal by WHO, as there are many improvements in the field of health, infant mortality rate is lowest and health care is god in Cuba. The literacy rate in Cuba is also very high.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruiz at the United Nations, 1979

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

Florence Nightingale

            Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) did a great service to the mankind by dedicating her own life to look after the sick and the wounded, as well as by making nursing a respectable and a well-trained profession. She was called ‘The Lady With the Lamp’.
            Florence Nightingale belonged to a very wealthy British family. She was born on 12th May 1820 at Florence , Italy and was named after her birthplace. Tutors were appointed to teach her at home. She was interested in many subjects and was more educated than other women of her times.
            Since childhood, she was interested in nursing the sick. But her parents opposed this idea because in those days, only uneducated women of lower class or criminals did nursing work. The working conditions at the hospitals were also not very encouraging. Her parents sent her on a tour of European countries to take her mind off her decision, but instead, she visited hospitals in different places and tried to learn more.
          Later she joined Protestant Deaconesses Institute at Kaiserwerth in Germany, run by a reformist Minister named Fliender. She took professional nursing training for five years.
           The Crimean War broke in 1854. Later Britain allied with Turkey and sent forces to help Turkey. Nightingale was made Superintendent of  English Hospitals in Turkey. She took the matters in her hands at Scutori. More soldiers were dieing of infection and diseases than fighting during the war. She totally dedicated herself to the task, took quick actions to maintain cleanliness and hygiene and to curb infection. This reduced the death rate considerably. In the bargain her own health was affected.
          On her return to England, she campaigned for the cause close to her heart and was granted 50,000 pounds. She set up the Nightingale School for Nurses at the St. Thomas Hospital in London. She also wrote books like ‘Notes on Hospital’, ‘Notes for the nursing for the laboring classes’, ‘Notes on nursing’.
          She received Royal Red Cross in 1883. She became the first woman to be honoured with the Order of Merit in 1907.
          This angel of sick and wounded died on 13th August 1910.
Florence Nightingale


GALILEO GALILEI

Galileo (1564-1642)

           Galileo (1564-1642) was an Italian scientist, mathematician and astronomer who first proved that earth and other planets revolve around the sun.
           He was a first born of Vincenzo Galileo, a musician, living near Pisa. Galileo was born on 15th February 1564. He studied at the Vailombrosa Monastery near Florence. At the age of 15 he wanted to be a monk. According to his father’s wish he went to the University of Pisa in 1581 to study medicine. But he was more interested in mathematics, so he later opted for mathematics. Due to lack of funds, he couldn’t complete his education.
           Then he took up teaching in Florence. He went to Rome to meet famous mathematician Christopher Calvis. Slowly Galileo came to be recognized as a mathematician of repute. He took up teaching after 1593, first at the University of Padua, then at Pisa to fulfill his family responsibilities.
          He invented the original version of thermometer. Also, watching the lamp hanging from a long chain at the church, he thought of pendulum action and worked on it. He proved that each oscillation, long or short, takes exactly same time.
         Galileo expressed his doubts about Aristotle’s theory of falling bodies. He experimentally proved that two different weights of the same substance fall at the same time. With many experiments he stated three rules as ‘Law of Falling Bodies’, which is an important principle of gravity.
          The telescope was discovered by Lippersheyt in Holland. Galileo made an improved astronomical telescope in 1609. The Venetian senate and the King Sing of Aroria were impressed by this instrument. Galileo studied the planets and stars and discovered four satellites of Jupiter. He also studied the Milky Way Galaxy. Copernicus had already stated that the earth and other planets revolve around the Sun. In 1616 Galileo proved this theory with observations that the earth rotates around itself and revolves around the sun. In 1630 he wrote his theories in ‘Dialogue’ and published in 1632.
         But the church banned it as it was against the religious belief that the earth is the centre of the Universe. Galileo was convicted and forced to deny his theories. He was put under house arrest. He continued his work, but in the old-age his eyesight and then his hearing failed. Galileo died in 1642.

GEORGE BERNERD SHAW

GEORGE BERNERD SHAW 

           George Bernard shaw (1856-1950) is considered as a great playwright, speaker and critic. His name is held very high in the field of literature.
           On 26th July 1856 he was born in Dublin, Ireland, in the family of a grain trader. He inherited a liking for music from his mother. He and his siblings were looked after mainly by governesses.
           Shaw attended different schools in his childhood, but did not prove very good at studies or games. He liked reading and at a very young age he had finished reading Shakespeare, Dickens and religious books.
           Shaw was a teetotaler, a vegetarian and a non-smoker. He was shy by nature. In 1884, after reading Karl Marx, he became an active member of Fabian Society and became a very good orator at the meetings.
           From 1885 he began writing book reviews for Pall Mall Gazette and also book, theater, music and art reviews for the periodicals like the Star and the World. Around the same time he began writing plays. His writing showed an influence of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Shaw’s first play ‘Widower’s Houses’ was performed in 1892. His third play ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’ was banned by the censor, as it was about prostitution.
          When he was confined to home after his foot surgery, he wrote his famous ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’. His plays were very popular and always carried a relevant message. Shaw was known for his sharp wit. He never hesitated in revealing the reality and the unpleasant facts of the society.
         His other well-known plays were ‘Other Island’, ‘Man and Superman’, ‘John Bull’, ‘The Doctor’s Dilemma’ and ‘Major Barbara’. These plays were performed at the Court Theater, London. This brought him great fame as a playwright.
        Shaw has written 50 plays, the most popular ones being ‘St. Joan’ and ‘Pygmalion’. The second one was later made into musical play and also a film called ‘My Fair Lady’.
        Shaw was awarded the Order of Merit, Which he refused. He was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. He died in November 1950.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

ASHOKA THE GREAT

ASHOKA THE GREAT 

            One of the World’s greatest rulers was Samrat Ashoka (273-232 B.C.). He was grandson of the first ruler of the Maurya dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya. Information about Emperor Ashoka is obtained from the stone inscription, carved pillars and edicts found all over the country.
            Since young age, Ashoka was courageous, dignified, adventurous and good administrator. So he was to take charge of Avanti. There he married Shakya Kumari, a daughter of a merchant. They had two children, Mahindra and Sanghmitra. Later, in 268 B.C. he was crowned the king by the demand of the court ministers and subjects.
            Emperor Ashoka ruled over a vast empire, which stretched from Kashmir and Nepal to Mysore and from Afghanistan to Saurashtra. But only the patriotic people of Kalinga (Orissa) refused to accept his sovereignty. So Ashoka attacked Kalinga with his vast army. The fierce war resulted in lot of bloodshed.
            Ashoka was full of remorse after witnessing this devastation caused by his attack. So he took the oath that he would never take up arms again the Kalinga war proved to be his first and last war.
            Gautam Buddha’s teachings of non-violence, kindness and love for mankind, opened a new path of life for Ashoka. He accepted Buddhism and country and outside the country, to spread the message of Buddha.
            For the welfare of his subjects, he undertook many useful projects like building hospitals for people as well as animals, wells and water reservoirs for the roadsides etc. Ashoka gave importance to education, agriculture and trade.
             Emperor Ashoka built many stoopas and Viharas. Carved figures of four lions on the Ashoka pillar is now official emblem of the Government of India. Ashoka Chakra has the place of honour on our National Flag.

AUROBINDO GHOSH

AUROBINDO GHOSH 

            A great patriot, a revolutionary freedom fighter, a poet, an author, a linguist, a teacher, a yogi….Aurobindo Maharishi (1872-1950) was all this and much more.
            He was born on 15th August 1872 in Calcutta. His parents were Krishnadhana and Swarnlata Ghosh. He studied at a convent school in Darjeeling. Then did his further studied in England and returned after 14 years in 1893. He taught at Baroda and later at Calcutta. For him English was just like his own mother tongue. He had a great impact on his students with his high moral character, blending of East and West philosophy and his great patriotism.
            Then he got involved in the freedom struggle. He identified more with the revolutionary ideas of Lokamanya Tilak. Aurobindo, too. Believed in absolute autonomy and agrred that it was essential to fight for the freedom rights.
            During the agitations against the partition of Bengal, he was one of the main revolutionary opposing the partition. Writing through his ‘Bande Mataram’ he spread awareness of activities of freedom struggle like, boycotting the foreign goods and using swadeshi. Several times he was jailed for his activities.
            According to him, to gain the political freedom, spiritual awakening in the people was needed. With his inclination towards spiritualism, he retired from the politics and founded an Ashram at Pondicherry in 1926. He wished to bring an awakening in the new generation through Yoga, spiritualism and Vedanta.
            Aurobindo wrote many books on spirituality, philosophy and Yoga, some of which are, The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays Divine and Human, Savithri, The Human Cycle etc.
            He died at Pondicherry on 5th December 1950. His Ashram ‘Auroville’ was looked after by his french disciple who was called ‘The Mother’.
Sri Aurobindo at age 11 as a student in England (1883)

Sri Aurobindo with Bijoy Nag, Suresh Chandra Chakraborty (Moni) and Nolini Kanta Gupta

BABA AMTE

Baba Amte

          A person totally dedicated to the leprosy patients and other downtrodden people, is Baba Amte or Murlidhar Devidas Amte (1914-2008).
          Born on 24th December 1914 at Hinganghat in Wardha Distict of Maharashtra, he belongs to a Wealthy Brahmin family of Jagirdars. His childhood was spent at Nagpur. He was always an energetic prankster, who enjoyed hunting and other games. But he also had a very compassionate side since childhood.
          He became a lawyer in 1936. He traveled all over India, met many intresting people and was impressed by Rabindranath Tagore. He met Gandhiji at Sewagram near Wardha.
          Baba Amte had a flourishing law practice and a large family farm, yet he always tried to help untouchables and poor people. He also wasn’t happy thet he was expected to lie in the law practice. He always wished to help needy people.
          In 1946 he got married to Indu (now Sadhana) who shares his compassion for poor people. Together they set up an Ashram for such people. Once he came across a half dead leprosy patient with no fingures and body covered with maggots. He was shaken up with fright and to overcome this fear of leprosy, he decedes to work for such patients.
          Baba went to Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine to study leprosy. Then along with his leprosy patients, he turned the barren land allotted by the government, in to ‘Anandvan’- the forest of bliss. He worked over all the difficulties. Together they made Anandvan independent, where almost all the things are produced within itself. Initially people were hesitant to accept things made by the leprosy patients, but foreign volunteers working at the Anandvan gave them confidence.
           Physical limitations in the form of cervical spondilitis caused a major hurdle in Baba’s work. Yet Baba Amte continues with his service to the society. Even after his major back operations he traveled extensively for his ‘Bharat Jodo Abhiyan’.
           He was honoured with Rashtriya Bhushan in 1978, Padma Bhushan in 1986 and Magsaysay Award in 1988.
Baba Amte with his wife

Baba Amte at Vridhashram during his Bharat Jodo Yatra

BHAGAT SINGH

BHAGAT SINGH 

           Bhagat Singh, (1907-1931) the name itself is legendary. The courageous Sardar who attained martyrdom for our country’s freedom.
           Bhagat Singh was born on 27th September 1907 in the Banga village of Layalpur district in Punjab, which now is in Pakistan. Though they were farmers, his family was of patriots known for their revolutionary activities.
           Since his school and college days, a hatred against the British rule built up inside him. He became a member of Noujawan Bharat Sabha , where he met Chandrashekhar Azad, Batukeshwar Dutt and others. He worked with them to spread the awareness of freedom struggle.
           When Lala Lajpatrai led a silent protest march against the Simon commission, he was brutally beaten up by the British police officer Scott. This resulted in his death. Bhagat Singh, who witnessed this, decided to avenge this death by killing scott. But by mistaken identity, he killed Sanders, a junior officer. Then he fled to escape death sentence.
           When the British were going to pass an ordinance to suppress the freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were chosen to throw bombs in the assembly, but without causing injury to anyone. They courted arrest after throwing the bombs.
           At that time Bhagat Singh’s friend turned a government Approver and identified him as the killer of Sanders. Bhagat Singh did not disown the crime and in a fiery courtroom speech, gave reasons for the killing.
           When sentenced to death, he wished to be shot like a soldier, but his plea was rejected. The brave hero was hanged on 23rd March 1931.

CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI

CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI 

          A few centuries ago, some self-respecting men stood up against Mughal rule. Shivaji Raje Bhosle (1630-1680) was one prominent amongst them.
          Shivaji was son of Shahaji Bhosle, a general in the court of Adilshah of Bijapur. Shivaji was born in 1630 on the Fort Shivneri in Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra. His mother Jijabai, a brave, proud and wise lady, brought him up. She appointed Dadoji Konddev who trained Shivaji in martial arts as well as state administration.
          Shivaji along with his Marathas captured forts and established his independent rule. So Adilshah of Bijapur sent his giant general Afzal khan who tried to strangulate Shivaji by cunning. But a well-prepared Shivaji used hidden steel claws to kill the enemy.
           Later Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb sent his uncle Shaiste khan with army. But with his usual guerilla tactics, Shivaji overcame this trouble, too. This infuriated Aurangzeb and he sent vast army under Raja Jai Singh. Shivaji had to surrender and sign Purandar treaty by which he had to give most of his territory and forts to the mughal Emperor.
           Shivaji was then called to Agra where he was treated insultingly by Aurangzeb and was kept under house arrest. But Shivaji escaped from there in disguise. After that he lay low and collected his army. Once again he led military campaigns and recaptured his entire lost kingdom.
            In 1674 he was officially coronated as Chatrapati or the King of Hindavi Swaraj. Later he expanded his rule up to Jinji and Vellor in South. He was a good administrator and tolerant towards all the religions. He built many forts and even water-forts on the West coast line.
            He later developed a knee problem and died in 1680.

KABIR

KABIR

            Kabir (1399-1448) was a great Saint of India. He belonged to the ‘Bhakti’ sect.
          It is said that Kabir was Hindu by birth. Infant Kabir  was founded by a Muslim couple, who were weaver by profession. They brought up Kabir as their own son.
          Kabir’s Dohe or the devotional poems are still sung by the masses. He always tried to bring the Hindus amd the Muslims together as he did not differentiate between any religions. He was against the orthodox customs and religious rituals. He preached against these through his poems. He believed that the caste system divided people further and created bitter rifts.
          Kabir did not have any conventional education, but his thinking was highly evolved and he thought ahead of his times. Once at the Kashi Ghat, Swami Ramanand touched him and Kabir felt as if he had reached enlightenment. Thus he considered Swami Ramanand as his Guru.
          Kabir’s devotional songs are complied in to well-known collections like Kamini,Sabad, Bijak and Shakti. The religious scriptures of Sikhs, ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, contain many of Kabir’s Padas and other devotional creations. His preaching, put in a simple language, have deep meanings.
           There are a few legends about Saint Kabir’s death. His followers, ‘The Kabirpanthis’, believe that he lived for 120 years and died in the year 1519. But the researchers, who have studied Kabir’s life, claim that he died in 1448. He died in the place called Maghar. There is another legend that after his death, there was a tussle between the Hindus and the Muslims over performing his last rites. But when the shroud was lifted, in the place of the mortal remains, were only few flowers.

KALIDASA

KALIDASA

             The cultural heritage of India dates back to ancient times. Art and literature was well developed even in those old times. Poet and dramatist Kalidasa (376-454)
  belonged to that era. He is still renowed for his great literary work in Sanskrit.
            Kalidasa has written famous plays like Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Vikramorvasiyam and Malavikagnimitra, then poems Meghdoot and Ritusamhar and also epics like Raghuvansha and Kumarasambhavam.
            Kalidasa was one of the prominent courtier or nine jewels of Chandragupta Vikramaditya, a ruler of the Gupta Dynasty. He lived in Ujjain. It is said that Kalidasa was born in a shepherd family. Although Kalidasa has written epics, he has not written mush about his personal life. Whatever information available, is only though legends and stories.
           Kalidasa’s work has been translated into many languages and thus has become world famous. Shakuntalam is his best-known work. It tells the story of Shakuntala and King Dushyanta. Vikramorvasiyam is the play based on the legend of Urvashi and Pururava. The third play Malvikagnimitra is more about whatever happened around the court and the society of the royals.
          The epic poem Raghuvansh is the narration of Raghu dynasty. But this epic is not complete. Another lyrical work is Kumarasambhavam, which tells about the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the the birth of their son Kumara (Kartikeya), the God of war.
           In Ritusamhar, Kalidasa has described the nature and its changes in all the six seasons. His Meghdoota is acclaimed as the best and the finest work of literature. This is a story of a Yaksha in exile, who missed his wife and so sent a message through cloud.

LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI

India second Prime Minister - Lal Bahadur Shastri

             Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966) was the second Prime Minister of India, who devoted his entire life in the service of the netion.
             In his early years he had to face difficulties as his father Sharda Prasad died when Lal Bahadur was only two years old. Lal bahadur was born on 2nd October 1904 at Mughal Sarai in Uttar Pradesh. He grew up at his grandparent’s place. While still in the high school, he heard speeches of Lokmanya Tilak and Gandhiji, and decided to throw himself in the freedom struggle.
            He left his studies and was arrested for taking part in a procession. Later he was allowed to go, as he was very young. Then he completed his education from the Kashi Vidyapeeth and got a degree of ‘Shastri’.
            Then onwards his life was only for his country. He worked with Lala Lajpat Rai in ‘The Servants of the people Society’ and later became President of the same. He got married to Lalita Gauri in 1927.
            As the freedom movement intensified, Lal Bahadur took active part in it. He worked at the grass-root levels, motivating the common and ignorant people to fight for the country’s honour. He was imprisoned on seven different occasions and spent more than nine years in jail.
            Shastriji was a man of great integrity and honesty. Even in the jail he observed the rules and discipline. During the Quit India Movement of 1942, he went underground and worked from Anand Bhavan, Pt. Nehru’s home in Allahabad.
             When India became independent, he was appointed as a Minister in the U.P. government. Even as a Minister of Police and Transport, he endeared himself to all with his smiling face and soft spoken ways. Impressed by his honesty, sincerity and hard work, Pt. Nehru appointed him as the Minister for the Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet, in 1950. But after two consecutive rail accidents in 1956, he refused to continue and resigned, taking the responsibility of the accidents. Then he was the Minister for Commerce and Industries and in 1961 became the Home Minister.
             After Pt. Nehru’s sudden death in 1964, Shastriji was unanimously elected as the Prime Minister of India. There were many problems facing him, mainly the hostile neighbouring countries. This tiny and soft spoken man showed a will of iron at the time of Pakistan invasion in 1965. ‘Force will be met by force’, were his words. On the suggestion of UNO, he went to Tashkent to sign a cease-fire treaty. But the strain took its toll on his frail health. After signing the treaty, he suffered a fatal heart attack and passed away at Tashkent on 11th January 1966.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Family

Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri with party leaders - June 1964

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

LALA LAJPAT RAI


Lala Lajpat Rai
             The great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928) was known as the ‘Punjab Kesari’ or the Lion of Punjab. He was one of the three revolutionary leaders, who were together called as Lal-Bal-Pal, the other two being Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal.
             He was the son of Munshi Radhakishan Azad and Gulab Devi. Lala was born on 28th January 1865 in Dhudike village of Moga district of Punjab.
             In 1905 Bangal was partitioned by the British government. The Indian leaders were against it. British government applied extreme measures to suppress up to fight against the injustice. They arouse the common people and instilled national pride and self-respect in them. These three were the first Indian leaders to demand complete independence.
             In 1920, Rai was appointed the President of the All India Trade Union Congress. He also attended the 8th International Labour Conference in Geneva in 1926. He witnessed the labour movement in U.S.A. and England.
             Rai was imprisoned on several occasions during the freedom struggle. He led the Non Cooperation movement in Punjab. When Gandhiji suspended this movement because of the violence at Chauri Chaura, Rai did not agree with it and formed the Congress Independence Party.
            He was a very good writer and orator. He produced a journal, Arya Gazette, in which he mainly wrote about Arya Gazette, in which he mainly wrote about Arya Samaj. His speeches against the oppression of the British rule were inspiring to the masses. He founded the ‘Servants of the People Society’. This organization tried to bring social reforms as well as tried to help the freedom movement.
            He was a person who led from the front. He himself led the procession against Simon Commission. He was brutally beaten up in a meeting after the lathi charge, became historic- ‘Every blow aimed at me is a nail in the coffin of the British imperialism.’ He couldn’t recover fully from the fatal injuries and passed away on 17th November 1928.
Lala Lajpat Rai with Lokmanya Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal

LATA MANGESHKAR

LATA MANGESHKAR 

            Lata Mangeshkar (1929) is the Nightingale of India. The Royal Albert Hall recorded a grapf of her voice with the help of a computer and it is the most perfect voice in the world.
            She was born on 28th September 1929 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. She is the eldest of the five brother sisters. During childhood she learnt music from her father Pt. Deenanath Mangeshkar, who was a classical singer.
           Lataji’s father died when she was only 12 years old. She took up the responsibility of her siblings and began acting in Marathi films. In 1942 she first sang for the film ‘Pahili Mangalagaur’. She worked with Master Vinayak’s company as a staff artiste. So when the company moved to Bombay, she too, left Sangli and came to Bombay.
            Here she began training under Amanat Ali khan Bhindibazarwale. Later she learnt from Ustad Amanat Khan Dewaswale and Pt. Tulsidas Sharma
            From 1947, Lataji began singing for Hindi films. But it wasn’t very easy and she had to face many hardships. Music director Ghulam Haider had faith in her and he gave her a chance to sing for Bombay Talkies. When she sang for music director Naushad for the film Andaz, it became a great hit. Then onwards her career graph soared only upwards.
           Lataji is a very versatile singer. Most singers can sing only in two octaves, but Lataji can sing in three octaves. She has sung gazals, songs, bhajans, pop etc. with equal ease. She has sung in more than 20 Indian languages. She is the most recorded singer in the world. Lataji has also composed music under the name ‘Anandghan’.
           After 1962 chinese invasion, when Lataji sang ‘Aye mere vatan ke logo’, it brought tears to the eyes of Prime Minister Pt. Nehru. She was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1989, Padma Vibhushan in 1999 and Bharat Ratna in 2001. Apart from these, she has received innumerable other awards. She was the first Indian to sing at the Royal Albert Hall in 1974. Watching cricket and photography are her two favourite hobbies. She is also involved in charity work.
           Lataji now sings only some selected songs, but everyone wishesh that she should continue to spread the joy of her singing for years to come.
Lata Mangeshkar sings 'Ai mere watan ke logon', bringing Nehru to tears

Lata Mangeshkar with Mahendra Kapoor, Saira Banu, Dilip Kumar and  etc.

Lata Mangeshkar with Asha Bhosale and sisters

Lata Mangeshkar and Family 

Monday, 21 January 2013

LOKMANYA TILAK

Lokmanya Tilak

           The lion of India, Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) motivated the people of India by his roar, ‘Swaraj is my birth right and we shall procure it’.
            He was born on 23rd July 1856 at Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. He was very intelligent and a scholar in Mathematics and Sanskrit. He was bold, truthful and never hesitated in speaking his mind. He always stood up against injustice.
            Tilak got married to Satyabhama when he was 16 years old. He completed his education in Pune. After graduating from the Deccan College in 1877, he also earned a degree in law. Instead of talking up a well-paid government job, he decided to dedicate himself to the service of the nation.
            Tilak realized that to achieve independence, it was essential to awaken the common man. For that a good education was necessary. So he, along with his friends, started the ‘New English School’ in 1880. In order to reach the masses and motivate them, Tilak launched two periodicals, Kesari – a Marathi weekly and Maratha – an English weekly. Tilak wrote in a very sharp and hard-hitting language. So the people were shaken out of their slumber and stood up to fight for their country’s freedom.
           Tilak also got involved in many social reform issues. He opposed the child marriages but was in favour of widow marriage. He initiated the public celebrations of Ganapati festival and Shivaji’s birthday, to bring people together and organize them to fight for the nation. Tilak was repeatedly arrested and jailed for writing against the British government. His health suffered in jail.
            In 1905, when people protested against the partition of Bengal Province, the government took strict actions to suppress the protest. Tilak condemned the government through his writings. So he was arrested and sent to Mandalay for six years rigorous imprisonment. He wrote his famous ‘Geeta Rahasya’ in Mandalay jail. His wife expired during this period when he was in the jail.
            After his release, he began Hom Rule League and traveled all over the country explaining this Movement and arousing people to fight for the country. But his health kept deteriorating. Finally he passed away on 1st August 1920.
The rare picture of Lokmanya Tilak

 Lokmanya Tilak Familly 

MAULANA ABDUL KALAM AZAD

Maulana Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed (1888 - 1958)

             Maulana Azad (1888-1958) was a renowned freedom fighter as well as a poet, a scholar and a leader of Indian National Congress.
            He came from a family of Maulanas. Maulanas are well qualified Islamic scholars and religious clerics. But Maulana Azad was not a practicing cleric.
            His mother was an Arab and his father, Maulana Khairuddin, was a Bengali Muslim, who had left India in the 1857 Mutiny and had settled in Mecca. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was born in Mecca on 11th November 1888. Later the family settled in Calcutta.
            Maulana Azad was a linguist with a mastery over several languages like, Arabic, English, Persian, Hindi and Urdu. His name Abdul Kalam means the Father of dialogue and he was very good at debating.
            He joined the freedom struggle he came in contact with the revolutionary leader Shyam Sunder Chakravarty. Maulana helped in establishing secret revolutionary centres all over North India and also in Bombay. He launched Al-Hilal, an Urdu patriotic weekly, in 1912. Though this, he wrote in a forceful language, which the British could not tolerate. They shut down the paper in 1916 through the Press Act. But then Maulana Azad started a new paper.
            In 1919 he began the Khilafat Movement. Later he came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He joined Indian National Congress in 1920 and supported the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1923 he became the President of Indian National Congress. Gandhiji considered him as one of his trusted lieutenants.
            Maulana Azad was appointed as the first Minister of Education in the independent India’s Central Cabinet. He served from 1947 till his death in 1958. He was a strong supporter of Pt. Nehru’s socialist views which were essential to develop a secular government. Maulana Azad had penned many books.
            He passed away on 22nd February 1958 and was posthumously honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1992.
MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD WITH Dr.RADHA KRISHNAN

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad with Mahatma Gandhi

Milkha Singh

           Milkha Singh (1935) is the ‘Flying Sikh’, who raised our country’s name high up in the world of sports. So far no one has been able to surpass his magical timmings which broke world records in 1958.
           Milkha Singh was born on 8th October 1935 at Layalpur (now in Pakistan) he had to face hard times as he lost his parents during the partition and then he had only his brother and sister for support.
           In 1953 he joined Indian army and there he trained himself for 4oo metres race. His skills were noticed during the 1956 national games at Patiala. Later he broke the 200 and 400 metres running records at Cuttack. At the third Asian games held at Tokyo, Japan in 1958, he established new records in 200 and 400 metres running. In the fourth Asiad at Jakarta, Indonesia, he won a gold medal in the 400 metres race.
            In those times, there were no coaches to train the athletes, nor were any facilities available for the sports persons. Yet, just by his own talent and very very hard work, Milkha Singh managed to break previous records. He even left behind Asia’s well known athelet Abdul Khaliq of Pakistan in the 200 metres run.
            Milkha Singh is married to Nirmal, who herself is a former International player. They have one son and three daughters. His son Chiranjeev Milkha Singh is a golf champion.
            Milkha Singh missed the Olympic gold medal just by a slight error of judgement. In 1958 he won the gold medal in the British Commonwelth games, which no Indian has won so far. He was honoured with Padma Shri in 1958.
            At present Milkha Singh is the Additional Director of Sports and Youth Programme of Education Department.
Congratulating Sushil, Milkha Singh said that he had fought well and deserved to win a gold, though he was unlucky not to get it in the end

Nirmal Milkha Singh with son Jeev and husband Milkha

MIRZA GHALIB

MIRZA GHALIB 

         Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) is considered as the greatest poet of all the times.
         His real name was Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan. In the beginning he used Asad as his Takhallus or the pen name. But as there were other poets with the same name, he decided to take up the name Ghalib, which means a conqueror.
         Mirza Ghalib was born in 1797 at Agra. He was a descendent of the royal families of Turkey. His father and uncle died when he was quite young. So there wasn’t any senior male member to govern the family. This definitely had an effect on Mirza Ghalib during his growing years. Then he moved to Delhi and lived in a rented house on the Balli Maaran Mohalla. His house is now a national monument. He and his family survived on the state pension and the entire family suffered lot.
         Not much is known about Mirza Ghalib’s Formal education. He was already writing poetry at the age of ten years. When he was thirteen years old, he was married to Umrao Begum, who was from an aristrocratic family.
         Mirza Ghalib had a good command over Persian and his work in that language is acclaimed for great quality. He had no Ustad or a guide to teach him Shairi or poetry. At first his Urdu poems appeared difficult to comprehend. But as he began writing in a simpler way, his work was unanimously acclaimed.  
         Though Ghalib is known more for his Urdu Shairi, he has also written a lot of Urdu prose so he is also known as the ‘Father of the comtemporary Urdu Prose’. His gazals are famous for its expression of life and philosophy.
          Ghalib considered himself as a free spirit and belived in living life his own way. He enjoyed drinking and gambling. In Delhi, gambling was considered as an offence, so once he was apprehended for it. It is said that Ghalib was a courtier in the court of the Mughal Emperor. But he never held any post nor did he ever work for earning money. He lived either on the state pension or the money borrowed from the friends.
           Mirza Ghalib was a caring and a warm hearted person. He was a Shia Muslim, but he believed more in humanity than in any religion.
           Ghalib’s famous work is Diwan-e-Ghalib. He also was an untiring letter writer and has written about the general principles of Persian letter writing. In the book Gul-e-Rana he has compiled the selection of Persian and Urdu verse.
           Mirza Ghalib died on 15th February 1869.

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