Saptapadi

Sapta means 7 and Padi means steps.

Sapthapadi, the 7 steps is an important ritual in a marriage ceremony.

7 steps together

Here the bride and the bridegroom enter into an understanding as they do Pradakshina, circumambulate in the Agni, fire altar 7 times,

“My life partner, with these 7 steps that we take together holding hands.”

1.  Not stray from being companions.

2.  We shall have deep liking affection towards each other.

3.  Together have a noble bent of mind.

4.  May our thinking, ideas and ideals be Alike.

5.  Together we shall enjoy the bounties of food, desires and wealth.

6. Together we shall carry out our duties towards the prosperity of our progeny, family and society.

7.  Oh the truthful one, let us together tread this noble path.

Universal Practice with minor variations

While the concept is same, it is all about 7 steps. In Hindi, it is called Sathphera

Interpretation and regional variations have occurred which is but natural.

This is the practical sharing of aspirations of a husband to his wife at their poignant moment. It is these thoughts and the symbolic 7 steps that is practiced in this form or in minor variants across the land in Nagara, Grama and among Vanavasi too.

The ritual of Sapthapadi is not just creating a bond between husband and wife but is a ritual that binds the civilization across the land across times.

There is an interesting Indian legend on the significance of Sapthapadi.

Significance of Saptapadi – Savitri Yama conversation

After Yama had taken the life of Satyavan, Savithri the wife of Satyavan quietly follows Yama, for the soul of Satyavan had left its body and was in Yama’s hand now. After some distance, Yama observes Savithri following him and asks her to go back to her husband’s body. Savithri then tells Yama that Satyavan’s soul is with Yama and hence is following him. Savithri wants to engage Yama in a conversation, which Yama initially refuses. Savthri then says that she has walked with Yama more than 7 steps and she is now his friend and would like to engage in a conversation with him.

At the end of their ensuing dialogue, Savithri with her guile is able to win over Yama and retrieve her husband.

The point to be taken from this story is walking more than 7 steps together makes one a friend to engage in a conversation. The Sapthapadi, the 7 steps is the beginning of the life long journey of the couple, where they have the ageless time honoured, given right to engage in conversation to overcome obstacles, including even winning over Yama. That is the strength of Sapthpadi, Sathphera.

Why February has only 28 Days?

February comes from Februus

The name February comes from the Roman God Februus.  Februa in Roman language also signifies the festival of purification that was celebrated in Rome during this month.

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Why does February have only 28 days?

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Julian Caesar

Julius Caesar who ruled Rome around 40 CE introduced the Julian Calendar.

Julius Caesar wanted to make his name not just popular but eternal.

Towards this purpose, he included his name Julius as a month in the calendar and thus came July, bearing his name. He also ensured that the month with his name had the maximum days and hence July has 31 days.

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Julius Caesar

Augustus Caesar

His successor Augustus Caesar, not wanting to be left behind, also wanted his name in history. He added his name to the following month and called it August. As he did not want his month August to be inferior to Julius in any way, he ensured that his month too had 31 days.

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Augustus Caesar

February to pluck

From where did Julius and Augustus pick their additional day from?

The month of February was there for them to pluck out the days from and add to their months.

National Science Day

Discovery of Raman Effect

National Science Day is observed annually on 28th February, the day Dr. C.V. Raman discovered the ‘Phenomenon of the Scattering of Light’ which has now come to be called, ‘The Raman Effect’. This day was constituted by the Government of India in 1986, on the recommendation of National Council of Science and Technology.

Definition

The Raman Effect is defined as the change of wavelength exhibited by some of the radiation scattered in a medium.

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Raman Effect Illustration

Dr. C V Raman

Dr. C. V Raman wins Nobel Prize

Dr. C.V. Raman performed his experiment on scattering of lights while working at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata (IACS). For this discovery of his, he became the first Asian to get a Nobel Prize in the field of science in 1930.

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Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata (IACS)

Dr. K.S. Krishnan

Dr. Raman’s colleague, Dr. K. S Krishnan worked along with him. On February 28th  1928 evening, Raman had to go out of the laboratory on some pressing work. Dr. Krishnan who was researching in the laboratory, fortuitously observed for the first time the ‘Phenomenon of Scattering of Light’. An elated Dr. Krishnan recorded it in his worksheet. Dr. K.S. Krishnan thus became the first person to observe the ‘Raman Effect’.

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Dr. K. S. Krishnan

Rayleig

Before the discovery of Raman Effect, the prevalent concept was that of the English physicist Rayleig who in the 1870s tried to explain the blue colour of the sea and the sky.

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English Physicist Rayleig

Rayleig had expressed that the blue sky was the reflection of blue sea.

Dr. C.V Raman’s Research

Dr. C.V. Raman was not satisfied with this explanation. His fascination for the colours and their reasoning was further accentuated during sea voyage in 1921. He studied the scattering of the sun light by the air molecules to explain the blur colour of the sky. He also studied the scattering of light by the water molecules. This study led to his findings being termed the Raman Effect.

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Dr. C.V. Raman in his laboratory

Why the Sky and Sea appear blue?

When the sunlight hits the particles, the blue light is scattered the most and the red light the least. Due to this, both the sea and the sky appear blue.

He expressed how the water particles selectively absorb the red light and reflect the blue because of which we see water as blue.

Further Research

Dr. C.V. Raman continued his research in the phenomenon of light scattering, in other liquids and solids as well. This persistent research revealed the newer aspects of the behaviour of light.

Rigour and Diligence, not costly equipment

The apparatus with which Raman Effect was discovered cost less than Rs. 200 then. It consisted of a pocket spectroscope, a pair of complementary glass filters, a mirror, a condensing lens, and some liquid samples. It shows that even with simple instruments, it is possible to do path breaking research in pure sciences. What is needed is rigour and diligence and not just costly equipment.

National Science Day

This discovery of the ‘phenomenon of scattering of lights’, is regarded as one of the great achievements of modern science in India and is commemorated every year as National Science Day.

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Sir C V Raman pointing to information on a large blackboard as he gives a lecture, 5 August 1958. (Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sir C V Raman pointing to information on a large blackboard as he gives a lecture, 
5 August 1958

Marathi Language Day

Marathi Language Day is observed in Maharashtra, every year on February 27th. This day commemorates the birthday of Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar, an eminent Marathi author.  It was officially established by the Government of Maharashtra to celebrate the Marathi language.

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Marathi, A Popular Language

Marathi is one among the ancient languages of India, and is substantially derived from Prakrit. It is the official language of Maharashtra, and is also co official language in the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. It is the fourth most spoken language in India. It has around 8 crores / 80 million speakers. It is listed among one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Marathi is included as a part of the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution, and thus it holds the status of a scheduled language, i.e. it is one of the official languages of the Union of India.

Early Marathi works

The earliest Marathi works can be traced to the works of many saints, and are philosophical and devotional in nature. An early Marathi inscription was found at the foot of Bahubali statue at Shravanabelgola.

Bhaskarbhatta Borikar and Mukundraj

Bhaskarbhatta Borikar is one of the early known poets, who composed many hymns in Marathi. Mukundraj is another Marathi literary giant, dating to 1200 CE. His work Vivek Sindhu consisting of 18 chapters and 1671 verses is one of the earliest books in Marathi. He also authored the Param Amrit, which has 303 verses in 14 chapters. These works deal with the Advaita philosophy.

Sant Jnaneshwar

Sant Jnaneshwar is a literary giant in Marathi literature, from the 13th century. He is a revered saint, a devotee of Lord Vithhala, who composed Amrutanubhav, a work on his experiences in yoga and meditation. He also wrote Bhavartha Deepika, also known as Jnaneshwari, which is an extensive commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

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Sant Jnaneshwar
Sant Namdev

Sant Namadev is another Marathi poet saint, contemporary to Sant Jnaneshwar, who composed many Marathi poems in praise of Lord Vithhala of Pandharpur. He also composed many devotional hymns in Hindi, which has been included in the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

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Sant Namdev
Sant Eknath

In the 16th century CE, Sant Eknath was another literary figure who composed many devotional songs, and also authored many works such as the Eknath Bhagavat, Bhavarth Ramayana, and many other works.

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Sant Eknath
Sant Ramdas and Sant Tukaram

In the 17th century, when Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj who established the Maratha Empire, Sant Samarth Ramadas and Sant Tukaram were the famous poet saints during his times. Samarth Ramadas, who was the Guru of Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj, authored Dasbodh in Marathi, which are his teachings on the way to liberation.

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Sant Ramdas with his disciple Shivaji Maharaj

It is to be noted that all these works of the poet saints revolved around the divinity of Lord Vithhala, the deity enshrined at Pandharpur, in Maharashtra, which to this day is a famous pilgrimage centre. Much of the works in Marathi is owed to the devotion inspired by Lord Vithhala. Another Marathi devotional work, which comes to mind is Bhaktha Vijaya, a book on the lives of the saints who propounded the Bhakti Rasa. This was composed by another Marathi literary figure, Mahipati, who lived in the 18th century.

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Vithhala, the Lord of Pandharpur

In recent times, Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar is one of the Marathi giants in literature, whose birth is today officially recognized as Marathi Language Day.

Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar

Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar is one of those Marathi scholars and author who popularized Marathi, through his poems, short stories and novels. He was born on 27th February 1912, and passed away on 10 March, 1999. In a career that started from pre independence days, this eminent poet wrote 16 volumes of poems, three novels, 7 volumes of essays, 8 volumes of short stories and 18 plays.

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Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar

Famous Works

Some of his famous works like Vishaka, published in 1942, was an inspiration for the Indian Freedom Movement. Another popular work of Vishnu is in the field of plays. His play Natsamrat in Marathi is regarded as one of the masterpieces in the history of Indian literary. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for this work of his.

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Vishakha, the famous work of Vishnu Viman

Recipient of many awards

Vishnu Vaman has been the recipient of many state and national awards for his achievements in Marathi literature. He was awarded the Danyapith award in 1987 and Padma Bhushan in 1991. He was the chairman of Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Sammelan, a Marathi Conference forum, for many years.

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Marathi language Day

Thus to honour his contributions in Marathi Literature, the government of Maharashtra found it fit to celebrate his birthday as Marathi Language day every year. On this day, the government organizes various events on Marathi languages, which include seminars and essay competition that are held in schools and colleges.

All in all, a day to honour the Marathi Language. Cumulatively all Marathi authors and their works are celebrated on this day.

Surgical Strike-3

Three Surgical Strikes

India in the last few years have carried out three Surgical Strikes.

  1. Surgical Strike at Indo-Myanmar border on 10th June 2015
  2. Surgical Strike in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) on 29th September 2016.
  3. Surgical Air Strike into Pakistan on 26th February 2019.

All these strikes have been successful.

Third Surgical Strike – Air Strike

This Surgical Air Strike has been carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF), to destroy 3 terror camps 2 POK – in Muzzafarabad and Chakothi and one in Pakistan – in Balakot.

 Thus this strike was not limited to POK, but was deep into Pakistan territory of Balakot.

Balakot

Abbottabad

This town Balakot is geographically near Abbottabad, where Pakistan was hiding the dreaded terrorist Osama Bin laden, where the US Army seals struck to eliminate him.

Air Strike carried out by Indian Air Force on Pakistan Terror camps
A representative image    

1000 Kg Bomb

The payload of the bombs dropped at the terrorist camp in Balakot was in the range of 1000 kgs.

The effect of dropping a 1000 kg bomb in one spot is that everything there is smashed to smithereens.

Even Earthworms cannot survive

Even earthworms cannot survive that heavy pounding.

300 terrorists eliminated

It is guesstimated that about 300 terrorists have been eliminated in these air strikes.

First since 1971

Indian Air force has not crossed the Line of Control (LOC) since 1971. 

India has done so now decisively. 

Pakistan – Terroristan

For long, Pakistan has been nurturing and harboring terrorist to such an extent that it is now recognized by the world community not as not Pakistan but Terroristan.

Deep Striking ability of IAF

This day February 26th should be remembered for the valour and the deep striking capacity of the Indian Air Force.

India’s right to defend itself

India should at frequent intervals eliminate these terror bases in Pakistan to keep India safe from bomb blasting. Regular and Robust attacks are a hall mark of a country that can rightfully defend itself and flex its muscles in defending itself.

If Israel can carry out surgical strikes, If USA can carry out surgical strikes, India too has clearly given the message that it can carry out repeated surgical strikes, and successfully at that, and tellingly at that.

A resounding message.

More on the Surgical Strikes carried out by India, in our book, “Knowing New India”.

Pamban Bridge

India’s First cantilever bridge

Pamban Bridge is India’s first cantilever bridge that connects Rameshwaram with mainland India. The bridge was opened on February 24, 1914.

It was also India’s first Sea bridge and one of the longest bridges in the country.

The bridge is the life line to Rameshwaram Island.

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Pamban Bridge

Scherzer central span

The 65.23 metre long rolling central span of the 2.06 km long bridge, is named after William Scherzer, the German engineer who designed and built the span.

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William Scherze
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The central rolling span

It opens up like a pair of scissors to allow vessels to pass through under the bridge.

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1964 Cyclonic storm

In 1964, even when a severe cyclonic storm hit this part of the area, Scherzer’s central span withstood nature’s fury. What is further remarkable is how this entire bridge was restored for traffic in a mere 46 days under the leadership of the man behind the Delhi Metro, E.Sreedharan, who was then posted in the Southern railway.

Of course, Rameshwaram has yet another bridge just parallel to it which was built in 1998. But that is a road bridge.

Longest for around 100 years

Pamban had stayed as the longest sea bridge of India for close to a 100 years, until it was surpassed by the 2.3-km Bandra-Worli sea link built recently on Mumbai’s western coast. But then again, Bandra-Worli Sea Link is only a road bridge.

Pamban has much more load to carry as it is a rail bridge. Starting as a metre guage railway line it was upgraded to a broad guage line in 2007 and then again in 2009 it was further strengthened to carry goods train.

Among the world’s old and historic bridges, the London Bridge is one of the more famous ones.

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London Bridge
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In comparison with London bridge

In comparison to the London Bridge, the Pamban Bridge has had to face much more fury from Nature as it is built over a Sea.

It is located in world’s second most corrosive environment after Florida which makes it maintenance a challenge and a round the year activity. It is an activity that has been going on unfailingly for the last 100 years.

A train journey on this legendary sea bridge is sure to put everyone in awe. In awe of nature power and human skills!

World Thinking Day

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Can we afford to think only for one day a year?

Thinking and Questioning are innate to man every day. Intellect develops through the process of thinking, questioning & seeking answers.

Thinking is known as “Chintan” in Samskrt. Thinking thoughts and expressing them through discussions in collective sittings or camps, called Chintan Shivir or Chintan Baithak, has been a part of our culture and tradition.

How did this day come to be called the World Thinking Day?

The Birthday of Scouting and Guiding founder Robert Baden Powell and his wife Olave Baden Powell are commemorated as World Thinking Day by the scouts and guides family worldwide.

                   Baden Powell and his wife Olave Baden Powell

Interesting link

It is interesting to note that the Swastika symbol was used by Baden Powell.

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Swastika Symbol in the early Scouts Handy Book

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 Thanks badge issued by the Scouts and Guides under Robert Baden Powell

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The card sent by the Baden Powells

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Robert Baden Powell on the Swastika Symbol

 The Image Swastika finds use in all ancient societies and is still used in India.

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Similarity between Swatika and the spiral galaxy

The word Swastika comes from Su, meaning ‘good’, Asti meaning ‘well-being’ and Ka meaning ‘of’.

Swastika is not just the well-being of health, Swasth, but the well-being of everyone in society, in knowledge, in character, and overall in Nature. Unfortunately, during World War II , Hitler, his people and his armies grossly misused the symbol due to which profound the symbolism of Swastika has been viewed negatively in the last 6 decades.

                    Hitler abused the Swastika symbol. A taboo now

We need to look for its original meaning, its knowledge, for the well-being of society and the world.

Like this, on this World Thinking Day, many other thoughts should be looked at from the right perspective.