by D.K.Hari & D.K.Hema Hari, Founders, Bharath Gyan
Sir Mokshagundam Visveshvarya’s is among the greatest Engineers that this country has ever seen. He is known to have built many structures throughout his life. He built the Vidhana Sabha Assembly in Bangalore. The dams built by him stand to this day as a testimony of his great engineering skills. His birthday is thus an occasion to honour all engineers.
Sir M Visveshvarya
Birth and Education
Sir Visveshvarya was born on 15th September, 1860 at Muddenahalli village of Chickballapur district in Karnataka.
Birthplace of Sir M Visveshvarya
He did his gradutation in Arts from Madras University in 1881 and went on to pursue civil engineering at the College of Science in Pune.
Sir Visveshvarya’s first major project was when he joined the Indian Irrigation Commission where he was give the task of constructing an irrigation system for the Deccan region.
Flood Security System, Hyderabad
His next major work was to build flood security system in Hyderabad.
Father of Karnataka
Karnataka is a state that has benefited greatly from the skills of Sir Visveshvarya. He is considered the ‘Father of Karnataka”.
Role in many industrial ventures
His skills both as an engineer came into play in many projects that have this day become major institutions and industries. He played a major role in the building of
*Iron and Steel Company in Bhadravati
* the Mysore Soap Factory,
* the Bangalore Agricultural University,
*Vidhana Soudha Assembly, Bangalore,
*The State Bank of Mysore, Bangalore and
*Jayachamrajendra Polytechnic Institute among many other industrial ventures.
Visveshvarya Iron and Steel Plant, Bhadravati
Jayachamrajendra Polytechnic Institute
Vidhana Soudha, Karnataka Assembly, Bangalore
State Bank of Mysore, Bangalore
He was also the chief engineer of the construction of Krishna Raja Sagar Dam.
Krishna Raja Sagar Dam
An Administrator and a Visionary
Sir Visveshvarya was not only a great engineer and outstanding administrator but was also a visionary.
There are many anecdotes about his integrity and honesty.
He used to use the candle, pen and ink provided by the government when writing notes related to work and, use his own candle, pen and ink when writing letter to his wife.
Engineer’s oath & Sir M Visveshvarya
The Canadian universities, engineering graduates, oath ceremony for graduation reads,
Engineer giving his oath
When we go through the oath ceremony, we realize that Sir Visveshvarya actually lived the above oath through his life.
Commander of Indian Empire
For his great engineering skills and contribution in the same field, he was made the Commander of Indian Empire by King George 5.
Sir Visveshvarya was conferred the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country, in 1955.
Bharat Ratna Sir M Visveshvarya with Jawaharlal Nehru
Sir Visveshvarya lived till the age of 101 and passed away on 14th April, 1962.
Sir M Visveshvarya memorial in Meddennahali
Educational Institutions in Name
Today, there are many educational institutions in his name in the country such as the Visveshvarya National Institute of Technology in Nagpur, Visveshvarya College of Engineering in Bangalore and Visveshvarya Technological University, Belgaum.
Visveshvarya Technological University, Belgaum
His statues can be found in many places across the state of Karnataka.
A Statue of Sir M Visveshvarya
A stamp has been released in his honour by the Government of India.
Engineers, the foundation
Engineers are the foundation of any developed civilization. India being the oldest surviving civilization has a long lineage of Engineers who are referred to as Vishvakarma.
Let us honour them
Let us on this day honour Bharat Ratna Sir M Visveshvarya along with engineers of modern India.
Subramanya Bharati, popularly known as ‘Mahakavi Bharathiar’, is one of the greatest Tamil poets, who through his poems encouraged patriotism among people at the time of Indian Freedom Struggle.
Leading Literary Figure
Considered one of the leading figures in Tamil literature, Subramanya Bharati’s works mainly ranged in social, religious and patriotic arena.
Subramanya Bharati, affectionately called Bharathiar was born in Ettyapuram on December 11th, 1882. He completed his education in Tirunelveli and Varanasi.
Birth Place of Bharathiar
Taking part in Freedom struggle
He joined the Indian National Congress and carried out revolutionary activities against the British rule, an aspect of which was his stirring poetry through which he kindled nationalism in people.
He also wrote articles for newspapers such as Swadeshamitra and India.
A National Poet
Mahatma Gandhi called him a national poet.
Poems on Women Emancipation
Among his poems were also many songs for women’s emancipation with the title of Kannama.
Coming to Pondicherry
The British police issued a warrant against him in 1908 for carrying out revolutionary activities. Bharathiar then went to Pondicherry, a French colony and lived there for the next 10 years. Here, he translated the Bhagavad Gita into Tamil.
Friendship with V O Chidambaram Pillai
Bharathiar was a close friend of V O Chidambaram Pillai, the other great freedom fighter who started the Swadeshi Shipping Company, forcibly closed by the British, as they perceived it as a threat to British interests.
V O Chidambaram Pillai Swadeshi Shipping Company
Bharathiar’s end came when he was shoved aside by an elephant in mast, at the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, Madras. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away on 11th September, 1921.
Parthasarathy Temple, Thiruvallikeni
Among his great grandchildren, Rajkumar Bharati is carrying forward his legacy.
The home where he spent the last few years of his life in Triplicane, also called Thiruvallikeni, has been named Bharathiar Illam, which stands adjacent to the Parthasarathy Temple.
In Tamil Films
The songs of Bharathiar have been used in the Tamil films and Carnatic Music, for the past many decades.
Feature Film – Bharathi
Bharathi, a film on the life of Bharathiar was released in the year 2000. This film won the National Film Award for best Tamil Feature Film, for the year 2000.
Bharathi Film on Bharathiar’s life
Streets, Associations and University in name
Almost every town of Tamil Nadu has a Bharathiar street. Tamil associations in different cities of the world have been named after him. There is a University in his name at Coimbatore. Such are his literary achievements.
Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
Stamps in name
There are also stamps and coins released in his name by the government of India.
Stamp on Bharathiar
Statues and Idols
Many statues have been erected for Bharatiyar all over Tamil Nadu. There are also some temples where his idol can be found. One such place is in Madhya Kailash temple in Adayar, Chennai, which has an idol for Bharathiar.
Statue of Bharathiar, Chennai Statue of Bharathiar, Pondicherry
All these speak of the immense popularity and wide acceptance of this Mahakavi.
Jatindranath Mukherjee is one of the main Indian revolutionaries from Bengal, who fought against the British Rule.
Leader of Yugantar Party
He was the leader of the Yugantar party that carried out freedom related activities, against the British. He was actually at the helm of the party at a very young age.
Bagha Jatin – A Tiger
He was nicknamed Bagha Jatin, Bagha meaning tiger, for the great courage he showed at a tender age, in revolting against the British.
Young Bagha Jatin
Indoctrinating Indian Soldiers
One of the main contributions of Bagha Jatin was that he and his party inculcated cognitive strategies and revolutionary spirit in Indian soldiers, for an uprising against the British.
His famous slogan was, “Amra Morbo, Jagat Jagbe”, meaning “We shall die to awaken the nation”.
‘A divine personality’
Gandhiji was so impressed by this revolutionary youth that he referred to Bagha Jatin as ‘a divine personality’.
Mahatma Gandhi and Bagha Jatin
Loved by Englishmen
Irrespective of Bagha Jatin’s revolutionary activities, he was also loved by many Englishmen. Charles Augustus Tegart, a colonial police officer had once remarked that if Bagha Jatin was born in England, then probably a statue would have been built for him and placed next to Nelson’s at Trafalgar Square. What he meant to say was that the great personality that Bagha Jatin was would have been highly revered in England.
Charles Augustus Tegart
Hard and Soft
The impeccable character of Bagha Jatin was both hard and soft. He had a soft corner for those suffering and a charitable nature. At the same time, he demonstrated great physical bravery and prowess while fighting the colonial rulers.
Above caste and religion
Another striking quality in Bagha Jatin was that he was beyond the narrow confines of caste and religion. He even financially helped a Muslim women by sending her money every month.
Brave End and appreciation in death
Bagha Jatin’s revolt against the British led to a backlash from the colonial rulers. Bagha Jatin was mortally wounded by the British police and passed away on 10th September, 1915.
Bagha Jatin during his last moments
Even at his death, there was a word of appreciation from the opponent forces. Charles Tegart, the colonial office who was part of the police squad that killed Bagha Jatin said, “Even though I had a duty to perform, I had a great admiration for Bagha Jatin. He died in an open fight.”
Today, his statue stands tall at the Victoria memorial in Kolkata.
Bagha Jatin statue at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Institutions, places in name
Many institutions and places in Bengal have been named after this great freedom fighter.
Bagha Jatin Railway Station, Kolkata
Bagha Jatin Passenger
Bagha Jatin Hospital, Kolkata
Amar Chitra Katha
Amar Chitra Katha paid a fitting tribute to Bagha Jatin by bringing out his story.
It is due to the sacrifices of such freedom fighters that finally led to the British vacating India in 1947.
- Sandeep Singh, Business Consultant, Writer, Friend of Bharath Gyan
The syllable ‘gu’ means shadows
The syllable ‘ru’, means he who disperses them.
Because of the power to disperse darkness the guru is thus named.
— Aaradvayatka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5
There is an unfortunate artificial darkness created around Teachers Day and Guruutsav. I tried to understand the darkness and learned quit a bit about Teacher, Guru, Teachers Day, World Teachers Day, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and Gurupurnima. I am sharing the same.
Sanskrit has got four words Sikshak, Adhyapak, Acharya and Guru which are often used as synonym. Each of these words can be broadly understood as:
Teacher being equivalent to Sikshak
Professor being equivalent to Adhyapak
Principle being equivalent to Acharya
Guru doesn’t have an equivalent word in English. Hence it is used as Guru in all the languages.
Teacher gives the basic education.
Guru is a word much bigger than Teacher. As a noun the word means the imparter of knowledge. As an adjective, it means ‘heavy,’ or ‘weighty,’ in the sense of “heavy with spiritual wisdom”. Guru is one’s spiritual guide on earth. One is considered ‘orphan’ without a guru.
In fact a Tamil saying describes the word “Guru” beautifully:
“Guru illaakru vidhaiyum illai, mudhal illaarku labamum illai” i.e. This saying in Tamil means The Person who has no guru has no skill; just like a business without principle makes no profit.
Teachers’ day is celebrated in many countries but date varies from country to country.
World Teachers’ Day is distinct from Teachers’ days, and is officially celebrated across the world on October 5.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday, is celebrated as Teachers Day on 5th September from 1962 in India. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in a Telugu family at a village near Thiruttani , in Tamil Nadu near the border of Andhra Pradesh. His thesis for the M.A. degree was “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions”. His philosophy professor, Dr. Alfred George Hogg commended that Radhakrishnan has done most excellent work. Radhakrishnan’s thesis was published when he was only 20.
According to Radhakrishnan himself, the criticism by Hogg and other Christian teachers of Indian culture “disturbed my faith and shook the traditional props on which I leaned.” Radhakrishnan himself describes how, as a student, “The challenge of Christian critics impelled me to make a study of Hinduism and find out what is living and what is dead in it. My pride as a Hindu, roused by the enterprise and eloquence of Swami Vivekananda, was deeply hurt by the treatment accorded to Hinduism in missionary institutions.” This led him to his critical study of Indian philosophy and religion, and a lifelong defence of Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”.
For his services to education he was knighted by George V in 1931. He stopped use of the title after India became independent. He preferred to use his academic title of ‘Doctor’. In 1939 Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya invited him to succeed him as the Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU). He served as its Vice-Chancellor till January 1948. His political career started after BHU.
Radhakrishnan did not have a background in the Congress Party. His motivation lay in his pride of Hindu culture, and according to Brown, “He had always defended Hindu culture against uninformed Western criticism and had symbolized the pride of Indians in their own intellectual traditions.”
Gurupurnima falls on the day of, Purnima (full moon), in the month of Ashadh (June–July) of the Shaka Samvat (Gregorian calendar). Gurupurnima is as old as civilisation and is celebrated by all spiritual religions of India. Indian from all the fields, ranging from music to dance, academic to sports etc. celebrate this day by thanking their teachers as well as remembering past teachers and scholars.
Looking at above facts, it makes perfect sense to observe Radhakrishnan’s birthday as Guruutsav rather than as Teachers Day. Radhakrishnan was beyond “direction or language” division. Infact efforts should be made to celebrate his birthday as International Guruutsav Day. The world will be happy to accept it.
Paul Artur Schillp has said “….nor would it be possible to find a more excellent example of a living “bridge” between the East and the West than Professor Radhakrishnan.” While Michael Hawley said “Radhakrishnan’s concern for experience and his extensive knowledge of the Western philosophical and literary traditions has earned him the reputation of being a bridge-builder between India and the West.”
Last but not the least, Modern English, which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible, is generally dated from about 1550. And only after the United Kingdom became a colonial power, English spread outside England. To top it more than 65% of English words are actually taken from other languages including from India. It will also be important to mention that the word Guru is more English than the modern day apologists of English and as old as English itself. The word Guru was first used in English in the year 1613.
Legendary Hockey Player
Dhyan Chaand, the legendary Indian hockey player is counted among the greatest sportmen this country has every seen.
‘Hockey ka Jadugar’
The greatest hockey player the world has known. Known for his great ability to score goals, he was nicknamed ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’.
Internationally, he was called “The Wizard” for his great ability to control the ball. His name was verily synonymous with hockey.
Dhyan Chaand, the Hockey Wizard
Dhyan Singh was born on August 29th, 1905 in Jodhpur.
Practicing under Moon light
He later got the name “Chaand” as he used to practice hockey under moon light, Moon in Hindi is Chaand. We should remember that there were no flood lights in those days.Thus came about his name Dhyan Chaand.
Dhayanchand practicing under moonlight
From Moonlight to Limelight
From being under ‘moon light’, Dhyan Chaand soon came under international limelight.
He displayed his skills against the British Hockey team at the London Folkstone festival, scoring 36 of India’s 72 goals in 10 matches.
1928-Summer Olympics in Amsterdam
In 1928, the Indian Hockey Team participated in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this tornament, Chaand helped India gain a victory score 3-0, by scoring 2 goals.
Gold Medal of Amsterdam Olympics Dhyanchand in action during the Amsterdam Festival
Wizard of Hockey
Dhyan Chaand’s impeccable control over the ball was such that, people soon started having doubts as to whether he had hidden a magnet in his hockey stick. The ball always seemed to stick to his hockey stick when he was playing. Once, during Indian hockey team’s sojourn to Japan, the Tokyo hockey officials had a similar doubt. They broke open his stick to see whether there was a hidden magnet within. Such was his magic!
Dhyan Chaand scoring a goal
Playing with Walking Stick
In another amusing incident, a lady from the audience asked Chaand to play with her her walking stick. He was able to score goals even with that walking stick.
1932 Olympics in USA
In this Olympics, the Indian hockey team defeated the United States 24-1. Dhyan Chaand scored 8 of these goals and made it a one sided contest.
1933 The most memorable moment
Interestingly, the most memorable moment for Dhyan Chaand according to him was in a match in which he did not score a goal. This was the Beighton Cup final of 1933. The contest was between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes. In this closely fought match, Dhyan Chand provided a crucial pass for the only goal of the match won by Jhansi Heroes.
Jhansi Team with the Beighton Cup
1935 Tour of New Zealand and Australia
This was another memorable tour for Dhyan Chaand as he scored 201 of the total 584 goals by the Indian team in 43 matches. Needless to say, the Indian team crushed their opponents.
Meeting Don Bradman
During this tour of Australia, Dhyan Chaand met Don Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer. After seeing Dhyan displaying his skills, Bradman paid his tributes to the Indian hockey magician remarking, “He scores goals just like we score runs in cricket.” That was the consistency and ease with which Dhyan Chaand scored goals.
Don Bradman Dhyan Chaand
1936 Olympics – Hitler impressed
Even the Nazi dictator Adoloph Hitler was impressed by Dhyan Chaand’s skills. In the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Dhyan Chaand led the Indian Hockey Team. In the first round of the final, Indans lead German 1-0. In the second round, the Indian team managed 6 consecutive goals.
Dhyanchand displaying his magic during the Berlin Olympics
At this moment, the Germans resorted to body play, trying to win by foul means. Dhyan Chaand was injured as he broke one of his teeth. He however continued to play.
Hitler who was in the audience couldn’t see his team being crushed. He left midway.
Adolph Hitler at Olympics, 1936
During the course of the match, the Germans sensed a foul play at the ease with which Dhyan Chaand was scoring, inspite of his breaking his teeth. He was ordered to change his stick. The magic however continued and Indians won the final 8-1.
Dhayan Chand, the hero of Berlin Olympics
An invitation to become German
The next day Hitler called Dhyan Chaand for a meeting. Hitler offered him German citizenship for his scintillating performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior position in the German military. Dhyan Chaand however refused saying, “India is my India”.
Hitler Dhyan Chaand
After World War
In the subsequent years from 1939, no matches could be played as the World War-2 was on. After the Word War, Dhyan Chaand continued to display his magic. He hit 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa.
In 1948, Dhyan Chaand retired from the sport. The glory of Dhyan Chaand did not fade. Many statues were erected in his honour. The citizens of Austria erected his statue with four hand and four sticks, displaying his control over the ball.
The astro-turf hockey pitch at the Indian Gynkhana Club in London has been named after Dhyan Chand.
The Dhyan Chaand astro turf hockey pitch, London
In his own country, a statue of his can be found near India Gate, Delhi. Many such statues in honour of Dhyan Chaand can be found all across the country
Dhyan Chaand Statue, India Gate
Dhyan Chaand Statue, Jhansi Dhyan Chaand Statue, Vishakapatnam
The Indian Government has issued a stamp in his honour in 1980.
Stamp on Dhyan Chaand
Dhyan Chaand’s birthday is also observed as National Sports Day India. The Dhyan Chaand Award has been institued by the government in his memory.
Dhyan Chaand Award
The Gentleman – Good husband
Inspite of his greatness, Dhyan Chaand was simple at heart. An incident with a fan shows his strong roots in Indian culture. In an exibition match that he played at Prague, a lady fan who was impressed at his game, came upto him and requested to allow her to kiss him. Dhyan Chaand politely refused saying, “I am a married man”.
Rush of Pakistani fans at Lahore station
Sometime after 1947, Dhyan Chaand was in Lahore railway station as part of the Indian on their way to Peshawar, to travel from thereon to take part in Joshan celebrations, Afghanistan. Hundreds of Pakistani fans rushed to have a glimpse of Dhyan Chaand. There was much rush at all stations as many trains arrived late by 4 hours at Peshawar.
A forgotten hero
It is sad that we have forgotten such a hero. A fitting way to remember and honour him would be confer Bharat Ratna on him. That will an apt tribute to this great sportsman.