International Day of Rural Women

India is an agrarian society. Farming has been a vocation of Rural Women. Woman is a natural home maker. Rural women not only maintain their homes, but also take part in agriculture related activities, for in Rural areas and in agrarian societies, agriculture is the main vocation, and everyone in the family pitches in their bit. Rural women by nature being able bodied and hardworking, take on hard and back breaking work that agriculture demands.

The world celebrates October 15th every year as International Day for Rural Women, to celebrate the key role that women play in sustaining our lives.

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Resources held by Rural Women

The key resources and wealth in an agrarian society are

  • Land
  • Water
  • Good Seeds
  • Cattle for farming

Rural women were the custodian of these resources in ancient India.

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Fertility chain of women, their Stree Dhana

Land

In ancient India, it was also the birthright of women to own land. Property that was held by the women was transferred to other women in the family like daughter, daughter-in-law or granddaughter.

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Water

For agriculture to succeed, copious water is required. India has bountiful rainfall every year during the monsoons. This water needs to be harnessed for use through the rest of the year. All across India, through the ages, it is the rural women, who have stood in the forefront of ensuring the proper harnessing and use of water,

  • In their own houses and in their farmlands
  • In the society

They have been part of and instrumental in the construction and maintenance of the over 10 lakh community based, water harnessing systems, spread out across the face of this land. These were repaired and maintained every year as a process for sustaining the fertility of the land through the ages.

This process of giving sustained fertility to the land, through water harnessing is called Pushkaram, which is why the water tanks in every village, near temples, is called Pushkarni, meaning that which gives fertility.

How did women help in bringing this fertility to the land?

Women by nature like to adorn themselves with jewellery and hold it as their family heirloom. Women generally do not part with their jewellery or gold.

But we see that all the way from ancient to medieval India, women have happily parted with their jewellery and donated it voluntarily as a monetary contribution for the construction of water harnessing projects and also to maintain them through the centuries and millennia.

This voluntary contribution of wealth, demonstrates that women were not only physically involved by offering their labour but were also emotionally involved in ensuring the fertility of their land.

The women understood the role of water as the root cause of prosperity and being the people who handled it maximum, they assumed the responsibility to ensure its availability for their families and their land.

Seeds

It has been a common tradition amongst Indian farmers through the ages until even today, to have the seeds to be sown, handed out by the woman of the house, at the time of sowing.

While today it may have got reduced to a mere ritual, the practice in ancient days was a natural role for the women, post the harvest, to identify and isolate the best grains from the harvest and preserve it for sowing during the next season. Rural Women 4

Women selecting the best seeds

She took on and played with an inborn flair the role of storing the grains for consumption of the family as well as the seeds for sowing.

The seeds or Bheeja were stored and safeguarded from rodents in a separate silo within the house itself. These were called Orai in Tamil. The women were well versed with native techniques of preserving these seeds from rodents, germs and decay.

This was her share of responsibility for the quality of the next crop.

Cattle

Cattle which has been another key input to farming was revered not only for its physical role in ploughing. The ancient knowledge base of India was very evolved scientifically and had scientifically found the dairy and waste output from the cattle to be of immense value in farming, medicine and dietary practices.

Hence cattle had a special place in the eyes of the Indians and has therefore been one of the forms of wealth of the land for a very long time.

Cattle were symbols of prosperity and fertility. While cattle were referred to as Gomatha – i.e. as a Matha or Mother in the form of a Cow, the task of looking after this mother, was also an inborn natural activity for the women.

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It was the woman of the house, who looked after the family cattle.

Her close bonding and involvement with the cattle, as also the respect she accorded to the cattle is evident in the innate Indian practice from age old times of women dressing up the cattle with flowers and other special anointments and praying to them for prosperity before embarking on important activities.

Even to this day, this practice continues in some of the traditional homes in India.

Griha Lakshmi

Thus we see that rural women have held, looked after and nurtured the assets of the family and land, especially those that were associated with fertility which led to prosperity.

When the women held land, cows, seeds and water in the society, it is but natural that they also held the respect in the family from the male members and the society at large. She was the Griha Lakshmi of the house.

World Student’s Day

A student-teacher relation is one of the prominent relationships in anybody’s life.

While the celebrates Teacher’s Day on 5th October, India celebrates Teacher’s Day on 5th September, on the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the 2nd President of India, and a great Teacher himself who inspired many students.

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Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

World Student’s Day

The World Student Day celebrates the Birthday of another Indian Teacher, who has been a great role model and inspiration for the students.

His name is Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam!

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Dr. Abdul Kalam

Dr Kalam’s life and achievements

Dr. Kalam was born and brought up in Rameshwaram. He went on to do his graduation and higher studies in Physics and Aerospace Engineering.

Missile Man

Subsequently, he spent his life as a scientist, working mainly at Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).  He was the scientist who played a major leading role in India’s Military Missile Development and Civil Space Programme.

He was therefore known as the Missile Man of India.

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Dr. Kalam, The Missile Man of India

He also played a pivotal role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.

Bharat Ratna

Dr. Kalam has been the recipient of innumerable awards, including Bharat Ratna, India’s most prestigious award.

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Dr. Kalam receiving the Bharat Ratna from President K R Narayanan in 1997

11th President of India

Dr Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India, in 2002, and served his term until 2007. He is probably the most popular President that India has ever had, and is widely referred to as “People’s President.”

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Why as “Student’s Day”?

So, why was his birthday chosen as “Students Day”, and not as some other day, as Dr. Kalam had many achievements in varied fields?

This People’s President was also “Student’s President”, and Dr Kalam during the course of his presidency inspired millions of students to pursue excellence.

When Dr. Kalam was once asked, “How he would like to be remembered – as a scientist, as a missile man, as the President of India or as a Bharat Ratna?”

His reply was that, he wanted be known as a Teacher who interacted with students, and inspired them.

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Dr. Kalam interacting with Students

The great love that he had for students made the United Nations declare his birthday on 15th October as World Student’s Day.

Student

Who is a Student?

Manavar

Since Dr.Kalam is a Tamilian, let us first look for the meaning of this word in Tamil.

In Tamil, the word used for a Student is Manavan, meaning one who uses his mind. A Student uses his mind to acquire knowledge.

Chatr

A student is known by the term Chatr in Samskrt.

Vidyarthi

But, the most common term used in almost all the languages of India is the word “Vidhyarthi”, which is made from two words, Vidya and Arth.

Vidya, Vid, Veda

Vidya comes from the word Vid, which means knowledge, which is etymological root for the term Veda as well.

Arth

Arth, means to seek, desire and wish.

So the term Vidyarthi essentially means one who is a seeker of knowledge.

Student for Life

Knowledge is endless, as there is infinite more to be known. Thus one is a Student through his life.

Kalidas in his compendium, Subashita Ratna Bhanda Kharaha says,

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A good Teacher

A good Teacher understands his Students very well, and allows them to develop knowledge and skills, according to their limitations and interests.

The following farewell message from Veda Vyasa to His students speaks volumes about how a Teacher should deal with students.

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Be Humble

On this Student’s day, let us reflect on our lives, and chose not to be arrogant, and continue to learn form everything and everybody around us, showing gratitude to our Teachers in all humility.

That will be a befitting tribute to the “Student Man”, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.

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Valmiki Jayanthi

valmiki-ramayana

Valmiki –  Author of Ramayana

Valmiki, the man who chronicled the life times of Rama and the values Rama stood for, was born 7150 years ago.

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Valmiki

Incident that led to the First poem

Over 7150 years ago, deep in a forest, two Heron birds, Krauncha, were mating. A hunter shot one of them down with his arrow. Valmiki who happened to observe this incident was moved by pathos and from Him naturally came forth the verse:

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Valmiki moved by pathos

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Valmiki – Adi Kavi, the first poet

Thus came the first poem of humanity through pathos – “Sokah Slokatwam Aagatah”. It is for composing this poem, Valmiki is referred to as Adi Kavi, the first poet.

Valmiki badly shaken by this incident returned to His ashram, unable to utter anything further.

He then remembered to have said something on that occasion and asked His sishya, Bharadwaja if he remembered what He had said. Bharadwaja repeated what He had heard from Valmiki and they both were surprised at the particular pattern and rhythm in His utterance.

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Valmiki and his disciple Bharadwaja

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, the celebrated English poet expresses poetry as,

“Poetry is a spontanesous overflow of powerful feelings, takes its origin from emotions, recollected in tranquility”

This seems to fit aptly for the incident of Valmiki watching the Krauncha bird and the outcome being the first poem.

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William Wordsworth

Valmiki, a forest hunter

Valmiki also means “anthill”. Before he turned into a poet and Rishi, Valmiki was a forest hunter, a wayside robber called Ratnakar, who out of remorse went so deep into penance, that he was covered by an anthill and therefore got the name Valmiki.

He emerged from this anthill and penance, endowed with the gift of writing.

From Robber to Rishi 

In ancient India, a person could choose a Varna depending upon attitude, aptitude and skill.

In a life span, one could choose to be in different Varna at different times, depending upon the need and desire in that phase of life.

But, being accepted into any Varna, depended upon the skill and ability of that individual to adapt to the demands of that Varna.

That was the essence of Varna migration in its true sense.

The classic case of one such early Varna migration is that of Ratnakara. From being a way side robber in a forest, he became the great Rishi Valmiki, who composed the Ramayana.

Rishi Valmiki, Author of the Ramayana

More on this Varna-Jathi conept in our book, Breaking the Myths – About Society.

Valmiki Ramayana

Valmiki’s magnum opus is the epic, Valmiki Ramayana.

According to the Indian thought, 16 Guna, qualities, make a complete and perfect human being, they being,

When Valmiki asked a question of Narada, whether there ever existed a person, in the past or the present, endowed with all these 16 qualities, Narada replied that there was a person indeed, living in Valmiki’s times itself, who had all these 16 noble qualities and it was none other than Rama, the King of Ayodhya. Valmiki inspired by Rama, therefore penned the historic account Ramayana to highlight these 16 qualities of Rama for posterity and says so in the Ramayana.

 

kah nu asmin sampratam loke

gunavaan kah ca viryavaan

dharmajnah ca krtajna ca

satya vaakyo drdha vratah

 

“Who really is that person in this present world,

who is principled, and also a potential one,

a conscientious one, a redeemer

and also a truth-teller and self-determined in his deed.”

– Valmiki Ramayan 1.1.2

Many Ramayanas

There have been many Ramayanas written by different authors over centuries. These later day texts cannot be termed as being completely historical, because they are based on the information available at their times.

Hence these later versions are not called Itihasa. They are popularly known as kavya or beautiful poetry.

Valmiki Ramayana, the authentic historical text

In contrast to all this, the Ramayana written by Valmiki alone can be considered as authentic historical text, which is why the text has been classified as Itihasa, meaning ‘it thus happened’.

A Biography of Valmiki

Valmiki Ramayana is a historical biography because Valmiki, the author of the original Ramayana text was a contemporary of Rama.

This has been explicitly stated in the text itself. This story was not penned a few hundred years after the life of Rama. In fact, Valmiki was the guardian to the wife and sons of Rama, Lava and Kusha.

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Valmiki teaching Ramayana to Lava and Kusha

This one fact gives it the credibility of being an authentic historical account. If you look at various historical texts world over, we find that the records of the events which happened, have usually been written down as history, about a few hundred or even few thousand years post the events having taken place, leaving room for some gaps.

In the case of Valmiki Ramayana, it is a text written by a person, Valmiki, who was a contemporary to the people and period of event.

Valmiki also plays an integral role in the events of Ramayana.

As the legend continues, Sita delivered twin sons – Luva and Kusha who learnt the Ramayana from Valmiki and narrated it to Rama.

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Luva and Kusha narrating Ramayana to Rama

The authenticity of the text

As to the authenticity of the content of Valmiki Ramayana that He had collated, Valmiki himself vouches for it, when He meets Rama for the first time and introduces Himself as,

Prachetsoahem dasmey putroh raghavnandany

Ne ismarahmeanritam vakyamimo tu tav putroko ||

Valmiki Ramayana 7.96.19

i.e., Valmiki proudly says to Rama,

“I am the 10th son of Pracheta, and I never remember speaking even one untrue sentence.”

This emphatic statement of Valmiki gives a strong dimension of credibility to His Ramayana.

It is even more incredible given that Rishi Valmiki earlier in life was the highway robber Ratnakar. Even as being a highway robber, He had not uttered a lie. This speaks volumes about the truthful character of the person Valmiki, and the life He led.

That the Ramayana is an itihasa and that it was written by Valmiki during the lifetime of Rama, His wife Sita and their sons Lava and Kusha can been seen from the language in the text. Ramayana is not written in the past tense or future tense, it is primarily written in the present tense.

This goes to indicate to us from a different angle, that it is a biography by Valmiki of the happenings during his times.

Revered and Worshipped

Valmiki is revered and worshipped all across this land. There exists many places of worship in his name. One such less known place, is the Balmiki Temple in Peshawar, which lies in ruins today.

Valmiki temple in Peshawar, Pakistan

More on this temple in our book, Breaking The Myths – About Identity.

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More on Valmiki and the historicity of Rama in our Books “Historical Rama”, “Ayodhya – War and Peace” and “Ramayana in Lanka“, and film “Historical Rama”.

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Today, Valmiki has a fond place in the homes and hearts of everyone in this land, as the Adi Kavi, who gave us the Ramayana, which has shaped the cultural ethos of our civilization and the world, across places, across times, for many a millennia.

Sister Nivedita

Sister Nivedita was one of the foremost disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She was born Margaret Elizabeth Noble at County Tyrone, Ireland, on 28th October, 1867.

A teacher, an author, a nurse and a social worker.

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Sister Nivedita

School Teacher, Founded a School

In her early days, Sister Nivedita worked as a school teacher and founded a school.

Meeting Swami Vivekananda

In the year 1895, she met Swami Vivekananda in London and became his disciple. She was given a new name by Swami Vivekananda – Nivedita, meaning ‘The Dedicated One’ when she was initiated into Brahmacharya by her Guru on 25th March, 1898.

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Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita

 

A Epitome of Service

She was indeed dedicated to the welfare of the society. She was an epitome of her Guru’s dictum – “Service to man is Service to God”.

Moving to India

Nivedita soon made India her permanent residence and started staying in Calcutta to work for the Ramakrishna Mission established by Swami Vivekananda.

Opening a School for Girls

Nivedita was particularly concerned about education for girls. In this regard, she opened a school for girls at Bagbazar in Calcutta.

Instrumental in setting up Indian Institute of Science

Sister Nivedita played a vital role in the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

 As a Nurse

In 1899, when Calcutta was under plague epidimic, Nivedita played the role of a nurse for poor patients.

Providing Support to Bose

Nivedita also participated in spreading Indian Science and Culture. She was the one who supported India’s famous scientist J C Bose who founded the wireless Radio during his tough times and helped him gain recognition by lending him financial assistance.

Guru to Bharathiyar

Mahakavi Bharathiyar considered Sister Nivedita as his Guru. She inspired him to fight for women’s rights. She opened his eyes on women’s liberation.

An Able Author

Nivedita was also an able author who wrote many books such as ‘Kali the Mother’, ‘The Web of Indian Life’ and ‘The Master as I saw Him’ among many other works.

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The Book

In her memory

Today, many schools In India have been named after her.

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The government of India has also released a stamp in her name.

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Sister Nivedita passed away on 13th October, 1911 at the age of 43 at Darjelling.

World Migratory Bird Day

India, a Home to Migratory Birds

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India is fortunate to be blessed with migratory birds that make this land their home every winter, many times to escape the severe cold of Siberia or the Arctic as the winter in tropical India is more pleasant.

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Migratory Birds that make India their home at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

 Some of the well-known, migratory bird sanctuaries of India are,

1. Ranganthetu, an island in the Cauvery River near Mysore

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Ranganthetu Bird Sanctuary

Image courtesy – The Hindu, Nov 2, 2012

  1. Vedanthangal, a huge lake south of Chennai

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Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Image Courtesy – LiveChennai

  1. Point Calimere, on the coast of Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu

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Point Calimere Bird Sanctuary

Image Courtesy – IRCTC Toursim

  1. Chilka lake along Orissa coast

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Greater Flamingos and ducks flying at Chilka Lake, Odisha – largest wintering ground for migratory birds in India. 

Image Courtesy – The Hindu, April 4, 2014, Photo by K.Ramnath Chandrashekar

  1. Kokrebellur in Karnataka, is a 2 level village. Villagers live at one level and birds at another level.

The main species of birds found in this sanctuary are Spot-billed Pelican, Ring Necked Parkeets and Painted Stroke. The name Kokrebellur means Village of the Storks.

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Pelicans at Kokrebellur

                          Image Courtesy – Koshy Koshy, Wiki Commons , Flickr

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Painted Stork at Kokrebellur

Image Courtesy – WildTrails

In Villages

Apart from these bird sanctuaries, there are many villages through the country, visited by migratory birds.

In Rajasthan, the villagers of Kichan, feed the cranes, as a part of their culture.

In Tamil Nadu, in south, near Tirunelveli, we have the Koodankulam, which is now better known for the new Atomic power plant. Migratory birds have been visiting this place since time immemorial.

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Painted Storks in Koodankulam / Koothankulam

Image Courtesy – Praveen Muralidharan, The Hindu, Oct 17, 2014

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Pelicans in Koodankulam / Koothankulam

Image Courtesy – M.B.Ramesh, The Hindu, Oct 17, 2014

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Koodankulam Atomic Plant

The Care the Villagers show

What is interesting to note is that, in all these bird habitated villages, the villagers resist from bursting firecrackers during Deepavali, not to scare away the birds.

This shows the concern villagers have shown, even before the modern laws came into force.

For, all these villagers, look at these birds as harbingers of good luck.

The bird droppings are natural fertilizers for their fields.

Like these, there are innumerable places, the migratory birds have chosen, to make their homes for few months in a year.

Wildlife protection laws have been enacted to ensure the conservation of these water bodies and sanctuaries so that these birds have their immediate environment.

Flyways

These migratory birds fly long distances in a corridor, which we now term as ‘flyways’.

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Migratory flyways of birds through India

Image Courtesy – Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISC, Bangalore

For example, the Bar tailed godwit bird, is tracked to fly non-stop for about 10,200 kilometres. What avionics, what energy!

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Bar tailed godwit bird

Photo Courtesy – Nick Chill (Flickr)

But what stuns everyone, including scientists is the migratory Flyway or should we say “FlyHeight” of the Bar Headed Goose, called Paramahamsa in India. Hamsa means a goose, swan. It is characterized by the presence of 2 distinguishing bars on the back of its head.

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A Bar Headed Goose – Anser Indicus, Paramahamsa of India

Photo Courtesy – GoPetsAmerica.com

This bird, whose binomial name or scientific name is Anser Indicus, breeds in Central Asia, especially Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tibet etc. during the summer there.

As winter starts to descend there, it flies across the Himalaya, at 20000 ft, over the heights of some of the highest Himalayan peaks and finds comfort in South Asia, especially India. This has earned it the name Anser Indicus.

It is a common sight in many parts of India, including in southern parts of India, during the months of Indian winter.

The ability of this bird to rise up to such great heights where the air is rarefied with hardly any pressure, oxygen is low and temperatures are biting cold and fly without damage, all the way to southern parts of India, is a mystery that continues to baffle scientists even today.

The bar headed goose, Paramahamsa, Anser Indicus, can certainly be regarded as a veteran migratory bird.

Amazing

Isn’t it amazing that birds, from times going back, beyond mankind, have been coming to these places, travelling long distances, year after year, to nest, to roost?

Generation after generation, these migratory birds have it in their genes, to take this seasonal annual journey.

World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day is observed on the second Saturday of May, every year.

This day is dedicated to bringing awareness for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. Various programs are held the world over towards involving and empowering people to take up causes, to protect migratory birds in the environment where they live.

World Sight Day

World Sight Day

World Sight Day is the annual eye awareness day held on the second Thursday of October, for global attention on Blindness and Vision impairment.

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Sight, Drishti, Etymology

The word ‘sight’ comes from the old English word Gesicht, meaning ‘faculty to see’.

In the Samskrt, the word used for Sight is Drishti.

Ophthalmology

The Science of Eye treatments, Ophthalmology has been in vogue in India from time immemorial. The word Ophthalmology comes from the Greek word ophthalmus, meaning ‘eye’ and logia meaning ‘Study of’. Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

Rishi Nimi Videha

One of the earliest Ophthalmologist in Ayurveda is Rishi Nimi Videha. He lived about 22 generations before Janaka, the father of Sita. We have been able to date the times of Rama, Sita and Janaka to be around 5100 BCE, i.e 7100 years back.

More on the Dates and the Historicity of Rama, Sita and Janaka in our book, ‘Historical Rama’.

As Rama, Sita and Janaka lived 7000 years back, Rishi Nimi who was 22 generations before them, would have lived around 8000 years ago.

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King Janaka and Sita

This tells us that Ophthalmology has been studied and practised in India since last 8000 years.

Susruta

Susruta, the father of surgery in Ayurveda, compiled his treatise Susruta Samhita which deals with all surgical procedures refers to Rishi Nimi as Adi Bhishag, meaning the first doctor.

             Sushruta                                  Susruta Samhita

Susruta and his shishya, disciple excelled mainly in cataract surgery, its detailed step by step process, the bladder surgery and dissection procedures.

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Susruta Performing surgery, a painting

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A step by step procedure as per Ayurveda method extracted from Susruta Samhita

Serfoji Maharaj

In Tanjavore, a ruler Serfoji Maharaj who was the 7th descendant of Chatrapathi Shivaji had done research on sight, eye care and Ophthalmologic surgeries.

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Serfoji Maharaj

Kannappa Nayanar

Among the Shaivite saints, there are 63 saints called Nayanmars. One among them is Kannappa Nayanar who donated both his eyes to Lord Shiva. Why and How he donated his eyes is a famous lore of this land. The kshetra where this event took place is Kalahasti near Tirupati.

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Kannappa Nayanmar donating his eyes to Lord Shiva

This huge world exists for us through our small eyes.

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Let us save and donate our eyes

Let us save our eyes when we are alive. Let us donate our eyes so that others who are not so fortunate can see with our eyes after our times. The land of India is well know for Dhana, charity. Netra Dhana is one of the foremost.

R K Narayan

R K Narayan is one of the leading figures of modern Indian English literature, famous for his many works, especially the “Malgudi Days”. He was born on 10th October, 1906 in Chennai.

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R K Narayan

Resident of Mysore

He was a resident of Mysore, an idyllic place then, a royal town, for, it was the seat of Mysore Maharaja.

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Mysore, the Royal Town

Malgudi Days

He shot to fame with his signature book ‘Malgudi Days’. He coined the word Malgudi from the two of the most happening places in Bangalore, Malleshwaram and Basavanagudi. He took the syllables MAL from MALleshwaram and GUDI from BasavanaGUDI, which combined to give the name Malgudi.

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Malgudi Days

His book Malgudi Days was serialized by Doordarshan and was at the top of the charts for a couple of years and more.

Even now Doordarshan reruns Malgudi Days regularly, bringing in nostalgia of the 1980s and 1940s of Mysore

Other Works

Novels

The novels written by R K Narayan include ‘Swami and Friends’, ‘The Bachelor of Arts’, ‘The Guide’, ‘The World of Nagraj’, ‘The English Teacher’, ‘A Tiger for Malgudi’ among others.

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Novels of  R K Narayan

Non Fiction

Among his well known non-fictional works are ‘The Emerald’, ‘My Dateless Diary’, ‘My Days’ and ‘A Writer’s Nightmare’.

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Non Fiction by R K Narayan

Mythology

He is also wrote books on Indian legends like ‘Gods, Demons and Others’, ‘The Ramayana’ and ‘The Mahabharata’.

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Ramayana and Mahabharata by R K Narayan

Film on Book

One of his other famous books ‘The Guide’ was made into a popular feature film of 1960s featuring Dev Anand.

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The Guide Film featuring Dev Anand

Struggles

He struggled all through his life to make his ends meet financially, which he has brought out in his autobiographical work “My Days.”

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Brother R K Lakshman

His brother R K Lakshman was equally famous as the cartoonist who made generations look up to reality in a humorous way.

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R K Lakshman drawing a Cartoon

Won many Awards

R K Narayan was decorated with prestigious awards like Padma Vibhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award. He was also awarded the prestigious A C Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in United Kingdom. The A C Benson Medal is awarded to those who produce commendable works in the field on fiction, history and poetry.

R K Narayan passed away on 13th May, 2001 leaving behind Swami in Malgudi.