Jagdish Chandra Bose

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A Multidimensional Scientist

He is the father of Bengali fiction. IEEE honoured him as one of the fathers of radio science. A crater on the moon is named after him. A polymath, biologist, physicist, botanist, biophysicist, archaeologist all rolled into one, and also a writer of English fiction. He was India’s first modern scientist and the first scientist to scientifically show that plants too are living beings and have similar life cycles and functions like animals. As a biophysicist, he invented the crescograph, an instrument for measuring the growth of plant. When we speak of the contributions of this multidimensional scientist, words are found lacking. He is today reverentially known as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose.

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Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose

Birth and Education

J C Bose came into this world on November 30th, 1858, at Munishiganj, Bengal Presidency, in today’s Bangladesh. He started his education in a Bengali vernacular school.

Bose gives us a glimpse into his childhood upbringing, at the Bikrampur Conference speech of his in 1915. This is recorded in the book ‘Jagdish Chandra Bose’, a biographical account by Vishvapriya Mukherji.

At that time, sending children to English schools was an aristocratic status symbol. In the vernacular school, to which I was sent, the son of the Muslim attendant of my father sat on my right side, and the son of a fisherman sat on my left. They were my playmates. I listened spellbound to their stories of birds, animals and aquatic creatures. Perhaps these stories created in my mind a keen interest in investigating the workings of Nature. When I returned home from school accompanied by my school fellows, my mother welcomed and fed all of us without discrimination. Although she was an orthodox old-fashioned lady, she never considered herself guilty of impiety by treating these ‘untouchables’ as her own children. It was because of my childhood friendship with them that I could never feel that there were ‘creatures’ who might be labelled ‘low-caste’. I never realized that there existed a ‘problem’ common to the two communities, Hindus and Muslims.”

Bose joined the Hare School in 1869 and then St. Xavier’s School at Kolkata. He graduated from the Xavier’s college, Calcutta University in 1879 and left for England to pursue a course in medicine. However, due to health issues, he had to discontinue this course, as the odour in the dissection room worsened his health situation. He secured admission into Christ College in Cambridge, to pursue natural science, and received the Natural Science Tripos Certificate from Cambridge University and a Bachelor’s degree in Science from London University.

Bose subsequently began his scientific research, which he pursued with full vigour, despite facing many hurdles, including racial discrimination and fund shortage.

Radio Research

He soon achieved great success in remote wireless signalling and was the first to use semiconductor junctions to detect radio signals. The magnanimity of Bose was such that he did not go for patent for this invention of his, but made his inventions public, for others to further his research. This led to Guglielmo Marconi doing further research on radio transmission, and being credited as ‘the inventor of Radio’, when the actual credit should have gone to Acharya Bose.

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Acharya J C Bose, the first to demonstrate Radio Waves

Plant Research

The other major contribution of Bose was in Plant Psychology. Here his own invention, crescograph came in handy as he used it to measure plant responses to various stimuli. He scientifically proved the similarity between plant and animal tissues, and thereby also proved that even plants experienced pain and other sensations.

Bose also performed a comparative study of the fatigue response of various metals and organic tissue in plants.

Also in Metals

Apart from research in plants, Bose also went into the behavior of metals.

Sister Nivedita was a Scots – Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She and J C Bose had great mutual respect for each other. Sister Nivedita actively encouraged the scientist in his research works.

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Sister Nivedita

She throws light in one of her articles on Bose’s research and findings on metals:

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An Extract from Sister Nivedita’s article

In this field, his two major works include Response in the Living and Non-Living and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants.

The other works being,

  • Response in the Living and Non-living,
  • Plant response as a means of physiological investigation,
  • Comparative Electro-physiology: A Physico-physiological Study,
  • Researches on Irritability of Plants,
  • Life Movements in Plants Volume I
  • Life Movements in Plants, Volume II,
  • Physiology of the Ascent of Sap,
  • The physiology of photosynthesis,
  • The Nervous Mechanisms of Plants,
  • Plant Autographs and Their Revelations,
  • Growth and tropic movements of plants,
  • Motor mechanism of plants.

In 1917, he founded the Bose Institute one of the earliest and perhaps the first modern research institute in India.

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Bose Institute, Kolkata

Bose subsequently delivered many lectures on his scientific research and discoveries, in India and other parts of the world.

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Bose lecturing on the “Nervous System” of plants at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1926

Science Fiction

Bose also excelled in another field and it is science fiction. In 1896, Bose authored Niruddesher Kahani, The Story of the Missing One, which was one of first works in Bengali Science fiction.

Other Recognitions

Bose held many honours and positions during the course of his life. Some of them being,

  • President of the 14th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1927
  • Knight Bachelor, in 1917, a part of the British honours system
  • Member of the Vienna Academy of Sciences in 1928
  • Member of the League of Nations Committee for intellectual cooperation
  • Member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters in 1929

Legacy

Today, his legacy stands tall as he is credited with the invention of the first wireless detective device, and also with the discovery of sensations and feelings in plant life. Acharya Bhavan, the residence of Bose, built in 1902, has been converted into a museum, which houses many of the instruments that he used. These include antennas, waveguides and polarizers, and remains to be used even to this day.

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Acharya Bhavan Museum

In 1958, the government of India issued a stamp in his name.

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The Indian Botanical Garden was renamed in his honour as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanical Garden in 2009.

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Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden

In 2012, Bose’s millimeter band radio was recognized as IEEE Milestone in electrical and computer engineering, a unique recognition for a discovery in India.

While summing up the legacy and life of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, it will be apt to say that, He is one of the architects of Modern India, especially in the scientific sphere.

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Constitution Day

“Sama Vidhan”

Constitution Day is also known as Samvidhan Divas, Sam meaning “equal” and Vidhan, “making, creation”. A Samvidhan, a Constitution stands for a set of laws that facilitates equality and justice in a civilized society. Constitution is an integral part of any democracy, which ensures that people are supreme and shall have equal rights, while being a citizen of that country. The modern English dictionary defines a Constitution as, “a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.”

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While India has its own constitution post independence, Constitution Day is more of a recent origin. The government of India declared 26th November as Constitution Day, on 19th November 2015. This day was earlier observed as National Law Day.

Why this day?

26th November 1949, was the day when the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The constitution came into effect on 26th January 1950, the day which is celebrated every year as Republic Day.

The year 2015 had a special significance as it was 125th anniversary of B R Ambedakar who chaired the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly and played a key role in drafting the constitution.

However Constitution Day need not be seen as a day honouring Ambedkar alone. There were many other prominent people at the helm, who are joint architects of our constitution.

Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya

Even a decade before the Indian Constitution was prepared and adopted by the Constituent Assembly, the constitution was already being shaped by someone else and from a different quarter. It was in Tripura!

The last king of Tripura, Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya, notified a constitution having 68 articles, seven parts and three schedules in July, 1941. It came into being at least nine years before the Indian Constitution was adopted.

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Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya

King Bikram in late 1930s toured many parts of Europe and also met Hitler in Germany. On returning to India, he came to the opinion that monarchy would not continue for much longer in the coming modern age, not just in Tripura, but in whole India as well.

He got down to framing a constitution not just for his kingdom of Tripura but for the whole country. This was a clear 6-7 years even before India was given Independence and even before World War-2.

King Bikram set up a constitution drafting committee in 1939, headed by himself. The contribution of King Bikram’s constitution preparing effort, paved the way for the constitution of India, which was prepared by the constituent assembly, a decade later.

The important features of Tripura’s contribution to Indian constitution being,

  1. Preamble
  2. Gender neutrality
  3. Emergency provision
  4. Judicial institutions
  5. Interpretation Provision
  6. Independence of judiciary and executive
  7. Ideas of representatives

It is quite baffling that even during the British rule, the Tripura King, in his written constitution, had made a core concept of democracy.

Architects of Indian constitution

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who later went on to become the first President of India, was the president of the Constituent Assembly and played a leading role in the creation of our constitution. He appointed the drafting committee with B R Ambedkar as the chairman, along with six other members and a constitutional adviser.  These members were Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant,  Kulapathy M Munshi, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, N Gopalaswami Ayengar, B L Mitter, Mohammed. Saadullah and D P Khaitan. The constitutional advisor was Sir Benegal Narsing Rau.

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Baba Saheb Ambedkar with Constitution Drafting Committee Members

A draft was prepared by this committee on 4th November 1947, and submitted to the Constituent Assembly, and which was then debated for the next 2 years, with as many as 2000 amendments, before being adopted on 26th November 1949.

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Dr. Ambedkar Submitting the First draft of the Indian constitution to Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

The original constitution was handwritten by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in Italic style with beautiful calligraphy. This final version was then signed by all the members of the Constituent Assembly in January 1950, and the constitution came into effect on the 26th of the month, and since then has been the guiding light of this nation.

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Prem Behari Narain Raizada writing the constitution

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Dr. Rajinder Prashad examining the original Manuscript of Constitution of India presented by Prem Behari Narain Raizada.

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Dr. Rajendra Prasad signing the Constitution of India.

Granville Austin

Granville Austin, an American author has brought out in detail in his work, The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation on how the Indian constitution was framed and why the members of the Constituent Assembly wrote their constitution as they did.

For this work of his, the government of India honoured him with Padma Shri, in 2011.

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Granville Austin

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Dharmasastras

Dharmasastras are ancient law books of this land, which prescribe moral code of conduct for citizens and a set of guiding principles for jurisprudence.

India had many Dharma Sastras which have been its constitution in ancient times, and which have facilitated in a prosperous and just rule, making “Bharat that is India” one of the few continuous civilizations.  The Indian Constitution starts with the phrase, “India that is Bharat….”. ‘Bha’ stands for knowledge and ‘Ratha” means to relish. Bharatha is the land of people who relish knowledge. Bha also means, effulgence, light. Bharath is the land that shines with the effulgence of knowledge and wisdom.

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The Irony

Ironically however, the Constitution of India draws its light, heavily from other countries, and is not drawn from Indian Dharma Sastras.

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Influence of other constitutions on Indian Constitution, Source Wikipedia

The Indian sastras like Veda, Purana, the Dharmasastras and other Indian scriptures make for a great exposition of law, and were based on Dharma, the eternal law based on principles of Nature. It is time we draw in from these ancient Dharma Sastras, and adopt them in our constitution, wherever suitable to modern times, to facilitate further the prosperity of this great nation and civilization.

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An image of Nataraja in our constitution

Portrait of Queen Lakshmi Bai and Tipu Sultan In Original Copy of Constitution of India

Image of Lord Krishna Having Conversation With Arjuna During Mahabharata War In Original Copy of Constitution of India

Uniform Civil Code

The Constitution of India speaks of Uniform Civil Code, in article 44 of the Directive Principle of the Constitution, which says, “The State shall endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” Uniform Civil Code is the proposal to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.

This is another aspect of equality that we need to adopt, if we are to truly follow the meaning of Samvidhan as being equal and same for everyone, in its true sense.

National Milk Day

The Multiple Significance of Milk

India is the largest producer of milk in the world. Milk in India is not just a drink to be had over breakfast, and goes beyond its dietary and nutritional value. The cow is revered as a sacred animal and worshipped as “Go-Mata”, “mother cow”, and the milk it gives is equivalent to ambrosia. Milk in Samskrt is called Ksheer and the sweet pudding that is made with milk and other products is called Kheer.

Samudra Manthan

This association of milk with nectar, sweetness goes back to the legend of Samudra Manthan, when the Ocean of Milk was churned to secure Amrita, ambrosia, and a number of other things from the Ocean. Milk is thus associated with productivity.

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Samudra Manthan

Kamadhenu

One of the beings to have emerged during the churning of the Milk Ocean was Kamadhenu, the divine cow, Kama meaning ‘wish’ and Dhenu ‘to provide’. In Purana, Kamadhenu is revered as the cow that could produce anything and fulfil our needs and requirements. Cow is thus revered in this land as the symbol of prosperity, and the greatest item it gives, is the milk.

Krishna-The butter thief

The legends of Krishna are replete with Him stealing milk, butter, cream and curds from the houses of gopas and gopis, the cowherds.  The milk here is symbol of divine love, as Krishna relished the devotion of the local milk maids in Vrindavan. He is endearingly called Kheer Chora.

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Krishna stealing Butter

More on Krishna and the events of His life in our Krishna trilogy, “Historical Krishna”.

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Ksheera Sagara

Lord Vishnu in the Purana is depicted as lying on a coiled snake, Adishesha in the Ocean of Milk, Ksheera Sagara. This cosmic milk here is akin to the pure consciousness which is churned by divine will to bring about Creation, symbolized by the emergence of Brahma from Narayana. The milk here represents the primordial divinity, from which the whole of universe arose.

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Lord Vishnu in Ocean of Milk

More on the Milky Ocean and Creation, in our book and film “Creation-Srishti Vignana”.

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Milking Milk

The nutritional value of milk and its by-products mean that they are recommended for consumption at every stage of life.  Through milk, we can obtain a series of other food products such as butter, cheese, yoghurt and cream, rich in protein. Thus milk is also associated in English vocabulary as “making the best out of a situation or thing”, when we say, “to milk something”.

Varieties of Cows

There are three main varieties of cows, namely, Bos Taurus – the European Jersey cows, Bos Senegus – the African cows and Bos Indicus – the Indian cows.

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The Myth

However, during the British times, “the milking of cows” took on a negative side, when a propaganda was spread by the British administrators that Jersey cows were superior to Indian cows, in terms of quantity and quality.

The low productivity of Indian cows was due to a completely different reason than the breed. The great famines which were artificially thrust on India from the late 1800s by the British, not only starved to death many men, women and children but first, their cows and cattle.

Many healthy, indigenous breeds of cattle of India were lost in these famines. The ones that remained, were too emancipated to produce enough milk or good progeny.

Now, in order to increase the so called “low productivity of Indian cows” as well as increase the number of healthy cows, the semen of the Bos Taurus – Jersey cow was inserted into Indian cow through in-vitro fertilization. The mixed breed offsprings have been called Jersey cows in India.

These mixed breed cows are not native cows and have difficulty in adapting to Indian environment. This difficulty in adapting leads to complex problems which affect the life and milk productivity of these cows.

In reality, the Indian native breeds are overall cost effective, even though the milk yield in some breeds could be lower.

Intrinsic Quality in Milk

Recent research clearly tells us that the milk given forth by Bos Indicus and Bos Taurus are different on a crucial count.

Milk is consumed by mammals, including humans, for its nutritive value of protein that it offers in the early growth stage, when milk is consumed maximum. Modern research has identified two types of milk proteins, classified as A1 Beta Casein and A2 Beta Casein.

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Image courtesy: drjockers.com

A2 Beta Casein is the kind of milk protein found in human milk, goat milk, sheep milk and in the milk of the Indian cows, the Bos Indicus. This variety of milk has been found to be of higher beneficial value to humans, next only to mother’s milk.

In contrast, the Jersey cows, which come under the Bos Taurus category, give milk protein of A1 Beta Casein variety. A1 Beta Casein is suspected to cause Autism, Schizophrenia, Stomach ulcer, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease and so on.

The other animal whose milk contains high values of A1 Beta Casein protein, is pig.

Due to such ill effects of milk, seen in the western world where only the Bos Taurus cows are prominent, many researchers and doctors the worldover, have declared milk to be harmful to human health in the long run.

But sadly, without differentiating the A2 Beta Casein milk of the Bos Indicus from the A1 Beta Casein milk of the Bos Taurus, milk in general is now being viewed suspiciously by Indians too.

Indian cows milk nutritive

Tests conducted specifically on the two different species of cows, using the scientific lacto process, show that, not only is the milk of Bos Indicus, the native Indian cow, not detrimental to health, but on the other hand is actually nutritive in nature.

The Indian cow’s milk has been found to be nutritive and nourishing to humans, especially babies.

It is this beneficial nature that has been extolled right from the Veda, to the lores of the land. While the yield of the Indian native breed may be lower, it seems to be most ideally suited for India, on account of

  • this cow’s milk being more suited for human consumption
  • the cow itself being more suited for Indian conditions of food and weather.

The White Revolution

With the efforts of the National Dairy Development Board, Dr. Verghese Kurien, called the ‘milk man of India’, started an initiative called Operation flood in 1970 at Anand, Gujarat.

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Dr. Verghese  Kurien

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Operation flood logo

The logo of the National Dairy Development Board has the hump unique to the Bos Indicus cows, from a Harappan seal.

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National Dairy Development Board logo

In its early days, when Dr. Verghese Kurien had approached one of the multinational companies who specialized in milk production among their other activities, to help India in bringing this White Revolution, an official of that company is reported to have haughtily replied that, he

“would not allow natives to handle a sensitive commodity like milk”.

Couple of decades down the line, after the roaring success of the cooperative effort in making India the highest milk producer in the world, the same official came to congratulate Kurien on the effort. Dr. Kurien is reported to have reparted,

“What do you think of the natives now?”

 Dr. Kurien Verghese is today honoured as the ‘Father of White Revolution’, and his birth anniversary on 26th November is aptly observed as “National Milk Day” every year.

Guru Tegh Bahadur

A crucial year it was, the year 1675 CE; the free thought, of the people of the land was trampled by the Mughals.

Kashmiri Pundits

It was during that period, a delegation of about 500 Kashmir Pundits led by Pundit Kripa Ram met Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandapur Saheb with their harrowing experiences and tales of torture by Aurangzeb, forcing Hindus to convert to Islam.

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Guru Tegh Bahadur  
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Pundat Kripa Ram approaching Tegh Bahadur

The choice was “Convert-Or-Perish”.

Guru Tegh Bahadur took upon himself the task of rescuing not just the Kashmir Pundits but the entire society.

But why Aurangzeb, was bent upon converting the Kashmir Pundits in the first place?

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  Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb vexed with the enigma, of thriving Hindu presence in, despite centuries of Muslim rule, vis-à-vis, the total annihilation of native cultures in other Muslim lands, called his Court to order one day and beseeched them for a solution. His council of advisors then suggested, that, the Seat of Hindu thought and inspiration must be identified and destroyed; they conclusively opined that, this was the only sure way of ensuring that the perennial flow of faith is put to an end.

Having said that, Varanasi, Kasi was identified as the Seat of Hindu faith and the Brahmins of Varanasi, were identified as its custodians.

They were pulled up tortured and asked to convert.

Aurangzeb then, repeated the same torture, formula on the Kashmiri Pundits.

The Sikhs were looked up to as the martial force of the land, were approached by the Kashmir Pundits.

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Sikhs being approached

Guru Gobind Singh

Gobind Rai, who later became the tenth and the last Sikh Guru, the force behind the Khalsa movement, the beacon who showed the world, what, unquestioned obedience is, by way of the “panch-pyaara” –was at that time, 9 years old and was sitting beside his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

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Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Tegh Bahadur, gallantly took upon himself, the, responsibility of protection.

He asked the Kashmir Pundits, to go and tell Aurangzeb that,

  1. Kashmir Pundits would convert to Islam; If Guru Tegh Bahadur converts.
  2. Therefore the Brahmins of Varanasi would too convert
  3. The entire Hindu faith would eventually would convert to Islam

Guru Tegh Bahadur goes Delhi

Delighted at such an easy solution of converting the entire lot of Hindus into Islam, Aurangzeb invited Guru Tegh Bahadur to Delhi. Guru Tegh Bahadur along with his disciples Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dyal Das, went to Delhi and met Mughal Aurangzeb.

Guru Tegh Bahadur, held extensive discussions on Religious, Philosophical, Spiritual, Logical, Scientific and even on mundane matters to dissuade Aurangzeb from converting Hindus to Islam.

Aurangzeb was deeply disappointed and disillusioned and seething with vengeance made two offers to Guru Tegh Bahadur:-

  • Either embrace Islam or
  • Face beheading

The great Guru preferred beheading than to convert to Islam.

Aurangzeb, the so called ‘Embodiment of Benevolence’, as described by our History books, ordered that Guru Tegh Bahadur and disciples should be killed.

This henious act was carried out on 24.11.1675.

In the presence of Guru Tegh Bahadur, his disciples were done to death one after the other.

Bhai Mati Das

Bhai Mati Das was cut into two halfs by slicing through head downwards.

Mati Das while standing erect was tied between two posts. He was asked if he had any parting words, to which Mati Das answered, “I request only that my head be turned toward my Guru as I am executed.” Two executioners placed a double-handed saw on his head. Mati Das serenely uttered “Ek Onkar” and started reciting the Japji Sahib, the morning prayer of the Sikhs. He was sawed across from head downwards.

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Bhai Mati Das being cut into two

Sculpture depicting Mati Das, sawn into pieces after he refused to convert to Islam in Aurangzeb’s court

Dyal Das

Dayal Das abused the Emperor and his courtiers for this act. He was tied up like a round bundle and thrown into a huge cauldron of boiling oil. He was boiled alive into a block of charcoal.

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Dayal Das being boiled alive

Sati Das

Sati Das condemned these brutalities. He was wrapped round with cotton and burnt alive and then he was hacked to pieces limb by limb.

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Sati Das being burned alive

Tegh Bahadur

Then Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded.

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Guru Tegh about to be beheaded

All this happened on 24th November, 1675 AD at Chandni Chowk under the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb.

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Now the questions arise:-

  1. Why should Guru Tegh Bahadur become a martyr, when he had all chances to escape inhuman torture and death?
  2. Why should Bhai Mati Das, Dyal Das and Sati Das die, when they too have had all chances to escape merciless torture and death?
  3. For whom they endured all the inhuman suffering and made all these sacrifices?

They suffered and sacrificed so that we can live in accordance with our native practises.

How many of us know all this?

How many even know the name of the Martyr Guru Tegh Bahadur? Is it not our duty to pay respects to the great Souls?

Sis Ganj Gurudwara

This haloed location, where they were martyred is now venerated as Sis Ganj Gurudwara situated in Chandini Chowk in Old Delhi.

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Sis Ganj Gurudwara

Guru Nanak Jayanthi

Guru Nanak’s Birth Anniversary is observed every year on the Full Moon Day of Karthika Month, which occurs in the months of October – November. This festival sacred to Sikhs, is variously known as Guru Nanak Prakash Utsav, Guru Nanak Gurpurab and Guru Nanak Jayanthi. Sikhs from all over the world remember their founder, Guru Nanak on this day and oragnize various religious events in His honour.

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Guru Nanak

Birthplace

Guru Nanak was born in the year 1469 CE at the village Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi, near Lahore in present day Pakistan. The place is now known as Nankana Sahib and is one of the holiest shrines for Sikhs.

Lineage

The founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, belongs to the Vedi clan, i.e., descendants of Kusha, son of Rama.

More on Guru Nanak’s lineage and his visit to Ayodhya in our book, “Ayodhya – War and Peace”, a part of the Bharath Gyan Series.

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Spiritually inclined as a Child

As a child, Guru Nanak was spiritually inclined and showed interest in spirituality at the tender age of six.

He joined school at the age of seven. Young Nanak displayed great knowledge even at that age. He dumbfounded his teacher when he explained the inner meaning of the first alphabet of Arabic, similar to the Mathematical 1, as symbolizing the Oneness of Divinity. Sikhs considered this event as a sign of divinity of Nanak at a young age.

Meditating as a Cowherd

When Nanak reached his teens, he had to look after the cattle, a job given by his father. In the middle of watching over the cattle, Nanak would dive deep into meditation and become unaware of his surroundings. The cattle would wander to other lands and feed on other’s crops. Nanak was reprimanded by his father many times for what he thought was a laxity on the part of his son.

Feeding the Poor

Nanak was married to a girl called Sulakhani, and gave birth to two sons. Nanak’s father gave him some money to be a merchant and support His family. But Nanak further annoyed his father when he spent all the money in feeding the poor. Nanak explained to his father that a noble act of helping others was the profit that he would seek through his life.

As Householder

Nanak was found a new job in granary by his sister’s husband at Sultanpur where his sister lived. Nanak moved to Sultanpur leaving his wife and children in the care of his parents. He settled down well into his new job as he was soon able to support his family. His wife and sons came to live with him. Nanak moved to a house of his own in Sultanpur along with his family.

Friendship with a Muslim

Nanak made friendship with a Muslim called Mardana. They both would meditate together everyday. In those days of great religious divide, this was an act that surprised many. Nanak had thereby sent his first message that there was only one God and people from all religions are brothers and sisters. Mardana became His disciple.

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Guru Nanak

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Bhai Mardana  

Disappearing into a River – The Transformation

Around the age of 30, Nanak went to bathe in the Kali River along with Mardana. Nanak immersed himself in water and disappeared. Everyone thought he had drowned. After 3 days, Nanak emerged from water saying, “Nao Koe Hindu, Na Koe Musalman” – There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim.” Nanak was now enlightened. People started referring to Him as ‘Guru’ Nanak.

Teachings

From then on, Nanak spent His time travelling, meditating and teaching people that there is only One God. The main principles of His teachings were Truth, Contentment, Compassion, Dharma and Fortitude. His teachings and life influenced lakhs of people. His teachings which were taken from all major religions were recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhs. Those who followed his teachings formed a separate religion called Sikhism.

Karthika Festival

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D. K. Hari & D. K. Hema Hari

Authors and Founders , Bharath Gyan

 

Karthik month starts with the Deepavali festival, a festival celebrated with lights and fireworks, on the New Moon of the month.

But Deepavali is not the only Festival of Lights. Besides Deepavali, the other festivals that are celebrated with lights during this month.

In South and East India, the month of Karthika is marked by the lighting of lamps every evening on the doorstep and porch. People light lamps throughout the month.

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During this season many temples all over South India conduct a festival called Theppa Utsavam, float festivalwherein the idols are mounted on a pontoon, platform which floats in the temple tank. The whole tank area is lit up with lamps and people gather to get a glimpse of the well decorated idols, pontoon and the tank.

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Theppa Utsavam

In Tamil Nadu, this period was also celebrated as Indra Mahotsav – the festival of Indra, the King of Deva.

In Orissa, this is the period ancient mariners take out the ships into high seas to travel eastwards. Bali in Indonesia used to be their popular destination then, hence this start of the journey was celebrated as the Bali Jatra festival, which continues to be celebrated even today. They let out small floats of lamps in the village ponds, local streams and rivers.

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Bali Jatra – a painting

The festival of lights is not limited to India alone. It is celebrated in the same period in Thailand too as Loy Kruthong, where the locals make beautiful floats of lamps in evenings, in water bodies.

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Loy Kruthong celebration

In the Jewish tradition in the month of November, a festival of lights is celebrated as the Hanukkah Festival, where candles are lit for seven days.

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An illustration of Hanukkah

In Central Europe, in the month of November and December, a festival of lights, “Carrying Menorah”, was celebrated right from the pagan times for well over 2000 years and more.

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We see that people all over the world have used lights to lift their spirits during the dark winter and have celebrated it as different festivals of lights. Also dark winter is when, one can see and truly enjoy the beauty of the lights.

With this knowledge let us all together, celebrate this whole coming month as the festival of lights and spread the joy and enlightenment that lights usher in.