The present book entitled ‘Gleaned Essays’ is a collection of essays on various topics written from time to time to meet some academic requirements. In writing the essays, I have taken the support of various books, journals and magazines. I am grateful to all of them.
DTP by Menonimus Menonimus
Barpeta, Assam (India)
Cardamom, the queen of all spices, has a history as old as mankind. It is the dry fruit of a herbaceous perennial plant. The warm humid climate, loamy soil rich in organic matter, distributed rainfall, and special cultivation and processing methods make Indian cardamom unique in aroma, flavour, shape and parrot green colour.
Two types of cardamom are produced in India. The first type is large, which is not of much importance as it is not traded in the market. It is cultivated in the north-eastern region of the country. The second type is produced in the southern states and traded in the market. They are mainly cultivated in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. As per the market rules, earlier only 7mm quality was traded on the exchanges. But later it relaxed its norms and now 6 mm quality is traded in the exchanges.
Cardamom is the costliest spice after saffron. Indian cardamom is known in two main varieties: Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom. The Mysore variety has leaves of cineole, and limonene and hence more aromatic. India being the world’s largest producer and exporter has emerged as a major producer and exporter of cardamom.
The main cropping season for cardamom in India is between August-February. Cardamom reaches the yield stage two years after planting. The primary physical markets for cardamom are Kumily Vandenmodu, Jekkady, Puliyarmala in Kerala and Bodinikore and Kumbum in Tamil Nadu.
Kerala is the main producer of cardamom and contributes up to 60% of the total production. Karnataka produces about 25% of the total production of cardamom. Ooty is the main producer of cardamom in Tamil Nadu and contributes about 10-15% of the total production. Apart from India, Guatemala also produces around 1,000-2,000 tonnes of cardamom per year. Due to the low quality of Guatemalan cardamom, it is available at cheap rates. 0 0 0.
Science and Religion
Many people believe that science and religion are opposed to each other. But this notation is wrong. Actually, both are relatives of each other. There is no doubt that the methods of science and religion are different.
The method of science is observation, experiment and experience. Science takes it as a progressive march towards perfection. The rules of religion are faith, intuition and the spoken words of enlightened people. In general, while science leans towards logic and rationality, spiritualism is the essence of religion.
In earlier times when man appeared on earth, he was stunned by the violent and powerful aspects of nature. In some cases, the usefulness of various natural objects overwhelmed man. Thus began the worship of the forces of nature – fire, sun, rivers, rocks, trees, snakes etc. The sacred texts were written by people who had developed a harmony between their outer nature and their inner self. His aim was to enrich, elevate and liberate the human soul and mind. But the priestly class monopolized scriptural knowledge and interpretation for their own benefit.
Thus the entire human race was chained. The truth was disregarded and progressive, liberal and truthful ideas or ideas expressing doubt were suppressed and their holders punished. It was in these difficult circumstances that science emerged as the savior of mankind. But its path was not smooth and safe. Scientists and free-thinkers were suppressed. This was the fate of Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno and others. But at the same time, science gained ground. 0 0 0.
Pizza-It Evolution and Popularity
It took nearly 3,000 years of food evolution for pizza pie to reach its current delicious state of today. Although flatbreads have been around for 6,000 years, the word “pizzare” began to appear in Italian writings around 1000 BCE. The word ‘pizza’ is believed to have originated from an old Italian word meaning ‘a point’, which in turn became the Italian word “pizzare”, meaning to pinch or break.
Tomatoes were first brought to Italy from South America in 1522. Earlier tomatoes were considered poisonous. Luckily, the poor farmers of the region eventually got over their skepticism about the tomato in the 17th century and began adding it to bread dough, and the first pizzas were made.
Before the arrival of the tomato in the 1500s, the first pizzas in Naples were white, made with garlic, olive oil, salt, anchovies, and probably lard. Neapolitans were the first to embrace the tomato because it was considered poisonous in Europe as a member of the nightshade family. As the popularity of tomatoes grew, people started using them more and more. Mozzarella cheese was also slowly gaining ground. Mozzarella became available in Italy only when buffaloes were imported from India in the 7th century (mozzarella was first made from buffalo milk). Its popularity grew very slowly until the end of the 18th century. In fact, until 1889, cheese and tomatoes were not available on pizza.
The most widely regarded pizza (tomato, mozzarella, basil) was created on June 11, 1889, by a pizza maker named Rafael Esposito. This pizzaolo (pizza-maker in Italian and pizzaolo in Neapolitan) made a special pizza for a visit by Queen Margherita of Savoia. They made three different pizzas, but the Queen fell in love with one in particular, in which the three ingredients represented the three colors of the Italian flag. The Italian flag was represented by tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white), and basil (green). Esposito named the pizza “Pizza Alia Margherita” in honor of the Queen. Whether Esposito was the first to use those ingredients, it is known as a classic Neapolitan pizza or a modern tomato and cheese pizza.
In the late 19th century, pizza migrated to America with the Italians. By the turn of the century, Italian immigrants began opening their own bakeries and selling groceries as well as pizza. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first true American pizzeria in New York City in 1905 at 531/3, Spring Street, a part of the city known as “Little Italy”.
In India, pizza has become a popular food recently. It has become a fashion and also a way to show that a famous person is a part of western culture. In fact, it is much more than a fashion statement. The popularity of the food is on the rise. This thing has become clear from a report in Fortune magazine. Pizza Hut and Domino’s, the two giants of the pizza industry, are in fierce competition with each other in India. There are 134 Pizza Hut and 149 Domino’s locations in India, with each chain opening 50 stores a year.
Fortune claims that the popularity of pizza in India is due to its similarity to the indigenous cuisine of India. Unlike the Chinese and Japanese, Indians eat sourdough bread (roti/naan), and a popular traditional version marinates it in butter and garlic – not unlike garlic bread, which is often ordered at both Domino’s and Pizza Hut franchises in India.
Paneer (cheese) is ubiquitous in the northern cuisine of India. Tomatoes and all kinds of chutneys are in vogue everywhere. Combine these ingredients into a gooey, oily, savory dish that you can eat with your hands — as Indians traditionally do — and you’ve got a hit. Compare it to other popular food or noodles. Sometimes, it falls off our fork and off the plate, and here we are in a complete mess. Also, the embarrassment would have been that the place must have been a famous restaurant or a boss’s party. One thing that sparks love among everyone for pizza is that we all can eat it with our hands. 0 0 0.
Discovery of Automobile
Early automobiles were sometimes ‘horseless carriages’ powered by a gasoline or steam engine. Some of them were so noisy that cities often prohibited their use because they frightened the horses.
Many countries helped develop the automobile. The internal combustion engine, invented in Austria and France, was an early leader in automobile manufacturing. But the most rapid improvements in the automobile after 1900 occurred in the United States. As a large and developing country, the United States needed cars and trucks to provide transportation in places that were not served by trains.
Two brilliant ideas made mass production of the automobile possible. An American inventor named Eli Whitney thought of one of them, known as ‘parts standardisation’. In an effort to speed up production at his gun factory, Whitney decided that every part of a gun could be machined, so that it was like all other parts of its kind.
Another American, Henry Ford, developed the idea of the assembly line. Before Ford introduced the assembly line, each car was built by hand. Of course, such a process was very slow. As a result, automobiles were so expensive that only wealthy people could afford them. Ford proposed a system in which each worker would have only one side of the wheels. The other will put the wheels on the car. And yet, another would cast the bolts that were holding the car’s wheels in place. Each worker is required to learn only one or two routine tasks.
But the really important part of Ford’s idea was getting to the worker. An automobile frame resembling a steel skeleton was mounted on a moving platform. As the frame moved behind the workers, each worker could attach a part. When the car reached the end of the line, it was fully assembled. Oil, petrol and water were mixed and the car was ready to go. With the increase in production made possible by the assembly line, automobiles became very affordable and more and more people were able to afford them.
Today it can be said that the wheels drive America. The four rubber tires of the automobile propel America through work and play.
Even though it would be difficult for most Americans to imagine what life would be like without a car, some have begun to realize that the automobile is a mixed blessing. Traffic accidents are on the rise and big cities are plagued by traffic congestion. Worst of all, perhaps, is the air pollution caused by internal combustion engines. Each car engine burns hundreds of gallons of fuel each year and pumps hundreds of pounds of carbon monoxide and other gases into the air. These gases are the source of smog in big cities. Some of these gases are toxic and hazardous to health, especially for people with weak hearts or respiratory diseases.
One solution to the problem of air pollution is to make a car that does not pollute. That’s what many big automakers are trying to do. But making a neat car is easier said than done. So far, progress has been slow. Another solution is to eliminate car fumes altogether by getting rid of the internal combustion engine. Inventors are now working on turbine-powered cars as well as steam and electric cars. But most of us won’t be driving cars powered by batteries or boiling water for quite some time yet. Many automakers recognized that it would take years to develop a practical model powered by electricity or steam.
To make the world free of pollution—pollution comes not just from cars, but from modern industrial life—many believe that many of us need to make some fundamental changes to the way we live. For example, Americans may have to cut down on the number of privately owned cars and rely more heavily on public mass transit systems. Certainly, traffic congestion and air pollution can be reduced by the widespread use of new transit systems. But these changes sometimes come face to face with other more urgent problems. For example, if a factory closes because of non-compliance with government pollution standards, a large number of workers suddenly find themselves without a job. Questioning the quality of the air they breathe becomes less important than worrying about the next paycheck. Strict action should be taken if we have to reduce traffic accidents, traffic congestion and air pollution. While wheels have brought better and more convenient transportation, they have also brought new and unexpected problems. Progress, it turns out, has more than one face. 0 0 0.
The Ig Nobel Prizes
The Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes. They are awarded each year in early October for ten unusual or insignificant achievements in scientific research. The stated purpose of the awards is to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” Awards are sometimes outright criticism (or gentle satire), but are also used to indicate that even the most seemingly absurd avenues of research can yield useful knowledge. Organized by the scientific humor magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Research’ (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes Nobel laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater. This is followed by a set of public lectures by the winners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The first Ig Nobel was created in 1991 by Mark Abrahams, editor and co-founder of Annals of Improbable Research. He is the master of ceremonies at all subsequent award ceremonies. Prizes were awarded at the time for discoveries “that cannot or should not be reproduced”. Ten prizes are awarded each year in a number of categories, including the Nobel Prize categories for physics, chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature, and peace, but also other categories such as public health, engineering, biology, and interdisciplinary research. The Ig Nobel Prizes recognize real achievements, with the exception of the three prizes awarded in the first year to the fictional scientists Josiah Carberry, Paul DeFanti, and Thomas Kyle.
The awards are sometimes outright criticism (or gentle satire), as in the two awards given to homeopathy research, the Kansas and Colorado State Boards of Education for their stance on the teaching of evolution in “science education”. Awards, and Social Affair followed by Social Lessons. However, more often than not, they draw attention to scientific articles that have some humorous or unexpected aspects. Examples range from the statement that black holes meet all the technical requirements for being a place in hell, to research on the “five-second rule”, a tongue-in-cheek belief that food spilled on the floor is contaminated. This will not happen if it is lifted within five seconds. In 2010, Sir Andre Geim became the first person to receive both the Nobel Prize and an individual Ig Nobel Prize.
The awards are presented by the actual Nobel laureates, originally at a ceremony at MIT (a lecture hall), but now at the Sanders Theater at Harvard University. It contains several jokes including Miss Sweetie Poo, a little girl who repeatedly cries out, “Please stop, I’m bored,” in a louder voice if the speaker is on for too long. The award ceremony traditionally ends with the words: “If you haven’t won the award and especially if you have, better luck next year!” The event is co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students.
Throwing paper airplanes onto the stage is a long-standing tradition at the Ig Nobel. In previous years, Roy Glauber, a physics professor, cleaned the airplane platform as the official “broom keeper” for years. Glauber was unable to attend the 2005 awards as he was traveling to Stockholm to claim the actual Nobel Prize in Physics. Representatives from the Museum of Bad Art also often attend to display some pieces from their collection.
The ceremony is recorded and broadcast on National Public Radio and shown live on the Internet. The recording is broadcast every year on the public radio program Science Friday, the Friday after US Thanksgiving. In recognition of this, the audience chants the first name of Ira Flato, the host of the radio show. 0 0 0.
Jane Goodall the Conservationist
Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934 in London, England. On his second birthday, his father gave him a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. Jubilee was named after a chimpanzee at the London Zoo and that seemed to be the change in Jane’s life. To this day, Jubilee sits in a chair in Jane’s London home. Jane was fascinated by animals and animal stories from an early age. By the age of 10, she was talking about going to Africa and living there among the animals. At the time, in the early 1940s, this was a revolutionary idea because women did not travel to Africa alone.
As a young woman, Jane finished school in London, attended a secretarial school, and then briefly worked as a documentary filmmaker. When a classmate invited her to visit Kenya, she worked as a waitress until she could find the fare to travel there by boat. Then she was 23 years old.
Once in Kenya, she met the renowned paleontologist and anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey. He was impressed by her deep knowledge of Africa and its wildlife and hired her to assist on a fossil-hunting expedition to the Olduvai Gorge. Dr. Leakey soon realized that Jane was the best person to carry out the study he had been planning for some time. He expressed his interest in the idea of studying dead animals through paleontology instead of studying animals living in the wild with them.
Dr. Leakey and Jane began planning a study of a group of chimpanzees living on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kenya. At first, the British officials did not approve of his plan. At that time he felt that it was very dangerous for a woman to live alone in the jungles of Africa. But Jane’s mother, Wayne, agrees to live with her so that she will not be left alone. Finally, the authorities give Jane the necessary clearance to go to Africa and begin her studies.
In July 1960, Jane and her mother arrived in Gombe National Park, then known as Tanganyika and now Tanzania. Jane faced many challenges when she started her job. The chimpanzees did not accept her immediately, and it took months for them to become used to her presence in their territory. But she was very patient and focused on her goal. Gradually, she was able to enter their world.
At first, she could see the chimpanzee with binoculars from a distance. As time passed, she was able to use camouflage to move her observation point closer to them. Eventually, she was able to sit among them, touch, pat, and even feed them. This was an amazing achievement for Jane and a breakthrough in the study of wild animals. Jane named all the chimpanzees he studied, saying in his journals that he felt each chimpanzee had a unique personality.
One of the first important observations Jane made during the study was that chimpanzees make and use tools like humans to help them obtain food. Earlier it was believed that only man uses tools. Also thanks to Jane’s research, we now know that chimps eat plants and fruit as well as meat. In many ways, it has helped us see how similar chimpanzees and humans are. In doing so, it has made us more empathetic toward these creatures, while helping us to better understand ourselves.
The study, started in 1960 by Jane Goodall, is now the longest field study of any animal species in its natural habitat. Research at Gombe continues today and is conducted by a team of trained Tanzanians.
Jane’s life has included much more than just studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. During his studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1965. In 1984, he was awarded the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Award for helping millions of people understand the importance of wildlife conservation to life on this planet. She has been married twice: first to a photographer and then to the director of a national park.
After studying chimpanzee behavior for nearly 40 years, Dr. Jane Goodall is now the world’s most famous chimpanzee. He has published many scientific articles. He has written two books and won many awards for his phenomenal work. The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation was founded in California in 1977, but moved to the Washington, DC area in 1998. Its goal is to take necessary action to improve the environment for all living beings.
Dr. Goodall now travels extensively, lecturing, visiting zoos and chimpanzee sanctuaries, and speaking to youth involved in environmental education. He is truly a great conservationist and a wonderful human being. 0 0 0.
Swachh Bharat Mission
(Clean India Mission)
Swachh Bharat Mission is a massive mass movement that seeks to build a clean India by 2019. Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi always stressed on cleanliness because cleanliness leads to a healthy and prosperous life. Keeping this in mind, the Government of India started the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2 October 2014. This mission covers all rural and urban areas. The urban component of the mission was implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development and the rural component by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
The mission aims to cover 1.04 crore households, provide 2.5 lakh community toilets, 2.6 lakh public toilets and a solid waste management facility in each city. Under the programme, community toilets will be built in residential areas where it is difficult to construct individual household toilets. Public toilets will also be constructed at designated places like tourist places, markets, bus stations, railway stations etc. The program will be implemented over a period of five years in 4,401 cities. Of the Rs 62,009 crore to be spent on the programme, the Center will spend Rs 14,623 crore. 7,366 crore to be spent on solid waste management, 4,165 crore to be spent on individual household toilets; 1,828 crore on public awareness and Rs 655 crore on community toilets.
The program includes the eradication of open defecation, conversion of insanitary latrines to flush latrines, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and behavioral change among people with respect to healthy sanitation practices.
The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been reorganized into the Swachh Bharat Mission. The mission aims to make India an open defecation-free country in five years. Under the mission, a huge amount will be spent on the construction of about 11 crore 11 lakh toilets in the country. The technology will be used extensively to convert waste into wealth in rural India in the form of bio-fertilizers and various forms of energy. The mission is to be implemented on a war footing with the involvement of each and every Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad in the country besides involving large sections of the rural population and school teachers and students in this effort.
As part of the mission, the provision for a unit cost of individual household toilets has been increased from ₹10,000 to ₹12,000 to provide availability of water, including storage, hand washing and cleaning of toilets, to rural households. The Centre’s share for such toilets will be 9,000, while the state’s share will be 3,000. For north-eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir and special category states, the central share will be 10,800 and the state share will be 1,200. Additional contributions from other sources would be permitted.
A ‘Clean India Run’ was organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 2 October 2014. Around 1,500 people participated and the event was flagged off by President Pranab Mukherjee, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement. The participants in the run included officers and staff of the Secretariat, the President’s bodyguards, guards from the Army and the Delhi Police as well as their families. Ph D students of NIT Rourkela have made a short film on Swachh Bharat, giving the message that Swachh Bharat is not a one-day phenomenon. It should be a part of our life, then only we can achieve our goal of Swachh Bharat (Clean India).
Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) has been set up to facilitate and channelize individual philanthropic contributions and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to achieve the objective of Swachh Bharat (Clean India) by the year 2019. The money will be used. To achieve the objective of improving the level of cleanliness in rural and urban areas including schools. The allocation from the fund will be used to supplement departmental resources for such activities. To encourage contributions from individuals and corporates, modalities for providing tax exemptions wherever possible are being considered. 0 0 0.
Archeology: The Study of Past Human Culture
Archeology is the scientific study of the remains of past human culture. Archaeologists investigate the lives of early people by studying the objects that people left behind. Such objects include buildings, artwork, tools, bones, and pottery. Archaeologists can make exciting discoveries, such as a tomb full of gold or the ruins of a magnificent temple in the middle of the jungle. However, the discovery of some stone tools or hard corn kernels may reveal even more about early people.
Archaeological research is one of the main tools for learning about the societies that existed before the invention of writing about 5,000 years ago. It also provides an important complement to our knowledge of ancient societies that left written records. In America, archeology is considered a branch of anthropology, the scientific study of humanity and human culture. However, European archaeologists consider his work to be closely related to the field of history. Archeology differs from history in that historians primarily study the lives of people as recorded in written documents. Archaeologists seek information about how, where, and when cultures developed. Like other social scientists, they look for reasons why major changes have occurred in certain cultures. Some archaeologists try to understand why ancient people stopped hunting and started farming. Others develop theories about what caused people to build cities and establish trade routes. In addition, some archaeologists look for reasons for the decline of early civilizations such as the Maya in Central America and the Romans in Europe.
Archaeologists examine any evidence that may help them to explain how people lived in the past. Such evidence ranges from the ruins of a large city to a few stone blocks that someone left behind long ago.
There are three basic types of archaeological evidence–artifacts, features, and ecological facts. Artifacts are objects that were made by people and that can be moved without changing their appearance. Artifacts include objects such as arrowheads, vessels and beads. Artifacts from societies with written histories may also include clay tablets and other written records. The features mainly include houses, tombs, irrigation canals and other large structures built by ancient people. Unlike artifacts, features cannot be separated from their surroundings without changing their appearance. Ecological facts show how ancient people reacted to their environment. Examples of ecological facts include seeds and animal bones. Any place where archaeological evidence is found is called an archaeological site. In order to understand the behavior of the people who lived at a site, archaeologists must study the relationship between the artifacts found there, the features, and the ecology. For example, the discovery of a stone spearhead near the bones of an extinct species of buffalo at a site in New Mexico suggested that early humans hunted buffalo in that area.
If objects are buried deep in the ground, their position on the earth also worries archaeologists. Scientists study the layers of soil and rock in which objects are found to understand the conditions when the objects were placed there. In some places, archaeologists find deposits of several layers called strata. In geology, the archaeological study developed from the study of layers of rocks is called stratigraphy. Archaeologists use specialized techniques and equipment to accurately collect archaeological evidence. They also keep detailed records of their findings because most archaeological research destroys the remains being studied. The first task of an archaeologist is to locate the sites. Sites can be found above, underground or under water. Some large sites are easy to find because they are clearly visible or can be traced to descriptions in ancient stories or other historical records. Such sites include the pyramids of Egypt and the ancient city of Athens in Greece.
Archaeologists use systematic methods to search for sites. The traditional method of locating all sites in an area is through a foot survey. In this method, archaeologists walk themselves over measured distances and in pre-determined directions. Each one goes on to find archaeological evidence. Scientific methods are used to aid in the discovery of underground sites. Aerial photography, for example, can reveal variations in vegetation that indicate the presence of archaeological evidence. Archaeologists describe, photograph, and count those objects. They group objects by type and location. Three steps are followed to interpret the evidence found. They are classification, dating and evaluation. 0 0 0.
The Macaque Monkey
A prominent feature of macaque monkeys is the presence of cheek pouches in which these primates temporarily store food. Give them their favorite food and whatever else they can in these cheeky pouches that can inflate on the sides. Food will be digested later.
Most macaques obtain a good amount of their food on the ground foraging for fruits, insects, leaves, twigs, and more. Spiders are also a welcome addition to the hilarious menu of these curious monkeys. Most macaques prefer squat and thickset in build.
Various types of macaques are considered to be the hardest of all monkeys. There are half a dozen species of macaques in the Indian region. While four of these (lion-tail, pig-tail, stump-tail and Assamese) have a limited distribution range, the first is widespread in the Nilgiri Mountains of South India and the latter three in the Northeast, Rhesus and Bonnet.
The rhesus monkey, named after a human blood factor, is an animal that was once exported in large numbers for medical research, especially for testing newly developed drugs, including Salk’s vaccine against poliomyelitis. Vaccine development was also involved. The rhesus, the common monkey of northern India, is easily recognized by a prominent patch of reddish-orange fur across its pelvis and tail.
It is found south of the Godavari River, rising to about 9,000 feet in the Himalayas, and is probably gradually expanding its range. Found in small numbers in Mumbai’s Borivali National Park, often with a troop of bonnets and langurs.
The bonnet has a long tail and does not have a reddish-orange patch on its back (rump). But a centrally parted bonnet of the darkest, longest hairs that emerge from force-drowning gives it its common name.
It is a common monkey of peninsular and southern India, found south of the Godavari River. It is often seen in the National Park of Mumbai. 0 0 0.
Infection and trauma have been major causes of death throughout human history. Modern medicine has won significant victories against both, and the leading causes of poor health and death are now chronic degenerative diseases, such as coronary artery disease, arthritis, cataracts, and cancer. These have a long latency period before symptoms appear and a diagnosis is made. It follows that the vast majority of apparently healthy people are pre-sick.
Several national surveys show that malnutrition is common in developed countries. It’s not the calorie or micronutrient deficiencies associated with developing countries; but a deficiency of several micronutrients, usually combined with caloric imbalance or excess. The incidence and severity of type B malnutrition would appear to be worse if new micronutrient groups such as essential fatty acids and flavonoids were included in the survey.
However, the pharmaceutical model has also created an unhealthy dependency culture in which few of us accept responsibility for maintaining our health. Instead, we have delegated this responsibility to health professionals who know little about health maintenance or disease prevention.
Based on pharmaceutical thinking, most intervention studies have attempted to measure the effect of a single micronutrient on disease occurrence. The classical approach says that if you give a compound formula to test subjects and get a positive result, you can’t know which component is providing the benefit, so you need to test each component separately.
So do we need to analyze the nutritional status of each individual and design a formula specifically for that? While we do not have the resources to analyze millions of individual cases. There is no need to do this. Most people are consuming small amounts of micronutrients, and most of the micronutrients concerned are very safe. Accordingly, a comprehensive and universal program of micronutrient support is perhaps the most cost-effective and safest way to improve the nation’s general health. 0 0 0.
The Artificial Glacier
In fact, necessity is the mother of invention. When there was a shortage of water in Leh and its surrounding areas, life was not taking the name of stopping. Why? Because Chewang Norphel, a retired civil engineer of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, came up with the idea of artificial glaciers.
Ladakh is a cold desert at an altitude of 3,000–3,500 m above sea level, with an average annual rainfall of less than 50 mm. Glaciers have always been the only source of water. Unlike the rest of river/monsoon-dependent India, agriculture is completely dependent on the melting of glaciers. But with the growing effects of climate change over the years, rainfall and snowfall patterns are changing, resulting in severe shortages and drought conditions. Given the harsh winter conditions, the window for cultivation is usually limited to one crop season.
It is situated between the natural glacier above and the village below. The site closest to the village and at the lowest elevation melts first, providing water during the critical sowing season during April/May. More layers of snow ensure a steady supply to the farms. Thus, farmers are able to manage two crops instead of one. It costs around Rs 1,50,000 and above to make it.
Affectionately called the “Glacier Man”, Mr Norfel has designed over 15 artificial glaciers in and around Leh since 1987. For his pioneering effort, he was awarded the Padma Shri by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015.
Here are some basic steps in making an artificial glacier.
At higher elevations, river or stream water is diverted north to a shaded area of the hillside, where the winter sun is blocked by a ridge of mountain ranges. In winter/early November, the diverted water is carried up the sloping hill through distribution channels. Stone embankments are built at regular intervals that obstruct the flow of water, causing shallow pools to freeze, forming ice floes along the slope. The ice formation continues for 3–4 months resulting in a large accumulation of ice called an “artificial glacier”. 0 0 0
Positive Thought, Patience and Perseverance
Have you ever failed so badly at something that it was the last thing on your mind to think of doing it again?
If your answer is yes then you should understand that you are not a robot. Unlike robots, we humans have feelings, emotions and dreams. We are all built to grow despite our circumstances and limitations. When life follows our path, it feels great to thrive and try to make our dreams come true. But what happens when it doesn’t? What happens when you fail in spite of all your hard work? Do you stay down and give up or do you get back up again? If you are willing to persevere and keep going, you have what experts call ‘grit’.
Falling or failing is one of the most painful, embarrassing and terrifying human experiences. But it is one of the most educational, empowering and essential parts of living a successful and fulfilling life. Do you know that persistence (patience) is one of the seven virtues that have been described in society as keys to personal success and well-being? The other six are curiosity, gratitude, optimism, self-control, social intelligence, and enthusiasm. Thomas Edison is an example of patience for trying over 1,000 times to invent the light bulb. If you are reading this with the lights on in your room, you will realize the importance of his success. When asked why he kept going despite hundreds of failures, he only said that they were not failures, they were hundreds of attempts toward making the light bulb. This statement not only shows his patience but also his optimism to see the bright side.
Patience can be learned to help you become more successful. One of the techniques that can help is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that helps a person stay in the moment by bringing awareness to their experience without judgment. This practice has been used to silence the noise of fear and doubt. Through this simple practice of mindfulness, individuals have the ability to stop the self-destructive spiral of hopelessness, despair, and frustration.
What have you done to overcome negative and self-destructive feelings of failure? Reflect on what you did, and try to use those same powerful resources to help you today. 0 0 0.
Chennai: The Soul of India
South India is known for its music, art and rich literature. Madras or Chennai can be called the cultural capital and soul of Mother India. The city is built in stark contrast to the terrifying high-rise structures of Mumbai and Kolkata. It has vast open space and ample greenery. The majestic Giant Mount Road looks like a wide and deep river. Take a stroll on Marina Beach in the evening to refresh your face with the glow of the sea. The wind cools the body, refreshes the mind, sharpens the tongue and brightens the intellect.
One can never feel dull in Chennai. The intellectual and cultural life of the city is amazing. Every street corner in Chennai has a literary forum, a debating society and a music, dance and drama club. The wise argument, dazzling wit and sharp irony enliven the meetings, both political and literary, a young men’s association that attracts brilliant speakers and equally brilliant listeners to its meetings. It’s a great experience to watch speakers use their eloquent arms. Chennai’s speakers are overall suave and urban, though of the aggressive, fire-eating variety often seen in political campaigning. The urbane speaker slowly weaves his arguments as a soothing Carnatic tune wail.
Music concerts and dance performances attract packed houses. There is hardly any cultural family in Chennai who does not learn and patronize music and dance in its pristine purity. The ‘Kala Kshetra’ of Rukmani Devi Arundel is a famous international centre. It has brought out hundreds of eminent maestros and dancers who have brought name and glory to our country. Carnatic music has its own charm. It has the soft beauty of the moon and the soft movement of the stars. Thousands of people flock to the ‘grounds’ of the temple to get swayed by the melodious tunes of their favorite singers. They sit outside all night in the scorching heat, swaying to the beats of the ‘Nadhaswaram’ and lounging to the measured beats of the ‘Mridangam’. Ms. Subbulakshmi is considered the Nightingale of the South.
Gods can descend from heaven to see South Indian girls dancing. There are many varieties of South Indian dance – Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, etc. Age can neither fade away nor customs can stop its beautiful diversity. Bharatanatyam is the most graceful and enchanting dance, while Kathakali is the most masculine. South Indian dances combine sensuality with chastity. Here, every muscle and fiber of the body vibrates to life, and as the movement progresses, a divine flame-like ecstasy appears in the body as if it is invading heaven.
South Indian dress, especially that of men, is purely simple. There you can’t tell a judge from an ‘orderly’ by their dress. South Indian women also look charming and beautiful in their colorful Kanjeevaram and Mysore silk sarees.
South Indian dishes, especially ‘Dosa’, ‘Idli’ and ‘Vada’ are very tasty to eat. One can enjoy them almost everywhere in India as well as in some foreign countries. Madras ‘idli’, which was a favorite of Gandhiji, is served with ‘sambar’ and ‘coconut chutney’. 0 0 0.
The Glory of Mewar Kingdom
Maharana Pratap ruled Mewar only for 25 years. However, he achieved such magnificence during his reign that his glory crossed the boundaries of countries and time transformed him into an immortal personality. He became synonymous with bravery, sacrifice and patriotism along with his state. Mewar was a major Rajput kingdom even before Maharana Pratap ascended the throne. The kings of Mewar, with the help of their nobles and subjects, had established such traditions in the state, which enhanced their glory despite having a small area and a small population under them. There were several occasions when the state flag was seen to be lowered. Due to the bravery and ingenuity of the people of Mewar, their flag once again rose high in the sky.
Mewar was fortunate in the sense that barring a few, most of the rulers were capable and patriotic. This glorious tradition of the state lasted for about 1500 years from the reign of Bappa Rawal. In fact, 60 years before Maharana Pratap, Rana Sanga had taken the state to the peak of fame. His fame went beyond Rajasthan and reached Delhi. Two generations before him, Rana Kumbha had given a new status to the state through victory and development works. Literature and art also flourished during his reign. Rana himself had an inclination towards writing and his works are read with reverence even today. The climate of his kingdom was conducive to the creation of high-quality works of art and literature. These achievements were the result of a long tradition passed over many generations.
For a long time, the life of the people of Mewar must have been peaceful and prosperous. Otherwise such extraordinary achievements in these fields would not have been possible. This is reflected in their art and literature as well as in their loving nature. They make up for their lack of admirable physique with their firm yet pleasant temperament. Due to the cheerful and generous character of the people here, the environment of Mewar remains lovely.
Amazing workmanship can be seen not only in the forts and palaces of Mewar, but also in public utility buildings. The ruins of several structures that still stand in their grandeur are testimony to the fact that Mewar was not only a land of heroes, but also a place of art and culture. Literature and art flourished amidst the invasion and bloodshed and the creative activities of literature and artists did not suffer. Imagine how glorious the period must have been when the Vijay Stambh was built, which is still a specimen of our great ancient architecture. Kirti Stambha stands tall in the same fort, which shows how liberal the administration of that time was, allowing people from other communities and states to come and do construction work. It is pointless to get into this debate about whether the Vijay Stambh was built first or the Kirti Stambh. The fact that the two capitals stand side by side suggests the closeness between the king and the subjects of Mewar.
The cycle of time does not remain the same. While the reign of Rana Sanga played an important role in taking the state to the pinnacle of glory. This also proved to be his slavery. History took a turn. The fate of Mewar, the land of heroes, started deteriorating. Rana tried to save the day with his acumen which was running contrary to the current and glorious traditions for some time. 0 0 0.
The Shocking Effects of Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of mortality with bronchogenic carcinoma of the lung and a factor in death due to diseases of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach and cervix, and coronary heart disease.
Nicotine is the major substance present in smoking that causes physical dependence. Additives harm the body. For example, ammonia can result in a 100-fold increase in the smoking potency of nicotine.
Levulinic acid, which is added to cigarettes to mask the harsh taste of nicotine, can increase nicotine’s binding to brain receptors, increasing nicotine’s ‘kick’.
The smoke from the burning end of a cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals and 40 carcinogens. It has long been known that tobacco smoke is carcinogenic or cancer-causing.
Smokers’ lungs annually accumulate pounds of sticky black stuff. The invisible gas phase of cigarette smoke consists of nitrogen, oxygen, and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxide. These gases are toxic and in many cases hinder the body’s ability to transport oxygen.
Like many carcinogenic compounds, they can act as tumor promoters or tumor initiators by acting directly on the genetic makeup of body cells leading to the development of cancer.
When smoking, within the first 8-10 seconds, nicotine is absorbed through the lungs and quickly ‘transferred’ into the bloodstream and spread throughout the brain. Nicotine can also enter the bloodstream through mucous membranes such as the mouth (if tobacco is chewed) or the nose (if snuff is used) and even through the skin. Our brain is made up of billions of nerve cells and they communicate with each other through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
Nicotine is one of the most potent nerve poisons and binds stereo-selectively to nicotinic receptors located in the brainstem, autonomic ganglia, medulla, neuromuscular junctions. It is located throughout the brain and plays an important role in cognitive processes and memory.
The nicotine molecule is shaped by a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including muscle movement, breathing, heart rate, learning and memory. Nicotine, due to its similar structure with acetylcholine, when it enters the brain, binds to acetylcholine sites and produces toxic effects.
In higher concentrations, nicotine is more lethal. In fact, even a drop of pure nicotine falling on the tongue can kill a person. It has been used as an insecticide for centuries.
Recent research studies suggest that acute nicotine administration will result in an increase in dopamine release from the brain, a perception of pleasure and enjoyment, an increase in energy and motivation, an increase in alertness, and a feeling of power in the early stages of smoking increase.
However, despite these superficial effects, research shows that the association between smoking and memory loss is strongest among people who smoke more than 29 cigarettes per day and is independent of socioeconomic status, gender, and associated medical conditions is related. Smoking may accelerate age-related memory loss and the details are not yet clear. Some studies suggest that repeated exposure to high nicotinic smoke related to ‘brain-wiring’ is nothing but neuro-biochemistry related to complex interactions between genetic experience and the biochemistry of brain cells.
‘NO’ is a unique molecule that plays important roles in many beneficial and some detrimental brain and body mechanisms, for example, synapse formation, drug tolerance and local regulation of cerebral blood flow, Parkinson’s disease, etc. It has also been found that people who smoke more cigarettes a day have weaker memory than non-smokers in middle age.
Some experts say that smoking is linked to memory problems because it contributes to the narrowing of the arteries that restrict blood flow to the brain. One of the causes of memory decline in relation to brain function may be loss of dendrites due to nerve cell death or reduced density of interconnected neuronal networks, the tiny fibers that connect one nerve cell to another. Abstaining from smoking is essential not only to avoid these systemic effects but also to reduce adverse effects on the environment. 0 0 0.
Mahatma Gandhi and His Basic Education for Transforming Society
Mahatma Gandhi was a freedom fighter, a social reformer, an advocate of social equality, a humanitarian thinker and above all the Father of the Nation of India.
Mahatma Gandhi’s original name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was born in Rajkot in Gujarat on the 2nd of October 1869. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Prime Minister of Rajkot. His mother Putlibhai was a saintly lady.
He took his early education in Rajkot and after passing the Entrance Examination he went to England and became a lawyer. Gandhi practised law first in the Bombay High Court. In 1893 he went to South Africa as a bar at law. He went there for a year but under the pressure of circumstance, he happened to spend twenty years of his life in South Africa. During his life in South Africa, he undertook some humanitarian work for the betterment of the Indians living in that land. There he founded farms called ‘Tolstoy’ and ‘Phoenix’ by means of which he tried to educate the illiterate peasants and showed a path of moral and disciplined way of life.
In 1915 he returned to India and took the leadership of the Indian National Congress and undertook several movements such as- the Civil Disobedience Movements, Quit India Movement, Khadi Movements etc. against the British. At last under his leadership, India got independence from the British on the 15th of August 1947.
He was assassinated by a fanatic Hindu named Nathuram Goddse on 30th January 1948.
Besides being a freedom fighter, social worker, he was a great thinker also. As a thinker, he was deeply influenced by the teachings of Vedic scriptures, especially by the Holy Gita. He was also influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and John Ruskin. The pursuits of truth, freedom, social equality, human brotherhood and non-violence in achieving the goal of life were the main basis of his philosophy. He left behind him some theories of his own pertaining to politics, economics, religion, sex life and education. All his theories came out of his practical and experimental life. His theory of education took mould as a reaction to the educational policy of the West imposed upon the Indians.
According to Gandhi, “Education is the all-round drawing out of the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit. Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. It is one of the means whereby one can be educated.” He thought that education should cover the entire field of life and must provide opportunities for the full development of the mental, moral, spiritual and physical attributes of man.
Gandhi noticed that the then-prevailing system of education was not only wasteful but positively harmful. Most of the boys were lost to their parents and to the occupation to which they are born. They pick up evil habits, affect urban ways and get a smattering of everything in which they are involved. Hence he put forward a system of education that is termed as, ‘Basic Education’. The aim of basic education is to transform children into model villagers. According to Gandhi, character-building was completely independent of literary training. It could not be imparted by books. He said, “It can be done through the living touch of the teachers.”
Gandhi made an experiment with his new educational system by founding some Ashram as–Tolstoy Ashram and Phoenix Ashram in South Africa and Sabarmati Ashram and Sewagram Ashram in India.
Gandhi’s educational theory had a clear social orientation. He envisaged the education of the whole man through craft. Gandhi considered the introduction of craft to education for he believed that it would at once transform education, society in general and the personality of the youth. Gandhi had laid a sound educational theory that aimed at character building and it was craft-centered and self-supporting. He did not give an explicit, integrated and comprehensive theory about how his educational institutions were to be managed. However, Gandhi managed his educational institutions very successfully with sound and inspiring academic leadership. He meticulously documented all the details pertaining to the founding and management of his ashrams which were residential institutions where learning and living were designed to be a simultaneous and integrative process.
Gandhi conceived, built and successfully managed his educational institutions through his four successive ‘ashram models’– as mentioned above. All four were pioneering experiments in his respective historical contexts that progressively wove learning and living into a concurrent process. The unique moral genius of Mahatma Gandhi designed a scheme of education in which learning and living were reciprocally transformational processes. His philosophy of non-violence became an increasingly central and dominant motif in each of the successive models.
At first sight, Gandhi was a paradigm case of transformational leadership. Gandhi as a transformational leader recognized and harnessed the needs and demands of his followers to higher purposes. Gandhi did this through a vital teaching role that shaped, altered and elevated the values and goals of his ashram inmates to a higher level through empowerment and inspiration. He wanted to bring about a social change that satisfied his followers’ authentic needs i.e. service to the motherland. In all four ashrams, Gandhi lived with his trusted and disciplined followers and developed transformative goals through open discussions and dialogues with them. Thus Gandhi was able to unearth the needs of others and understood the nature of the followers’ reality. As a part of the moral issues in all his ashram schools, Gandhi gave first priority to developing the culture of the heart as the foundation for building the character of the pupils. For this he trained his followers to be disciplined themselves by practising and observing vows such as- Truth, Love, Chastity, Control of the Palate, Non-stealing, Non-possession of Property, Physical Labour, Swadeshi Outlook, Fearlessness, Removal of Untouchability and Tolerance Gandhi was concerned with moral issues and this helped to raise his followers’ level of consciousness on dimensions like self-sufficiency and community upliftment. Thus he proved to be a transformational leader.
He loved his job and had a great deal of affection for the residents with whom he worked. This passion and personal enthusiasm motivated his followers to perform at their highest levels as well. Gandhi’s passion was a reflection of his ashrams and their inhabitants. Gandhi demonstrated the characteristics of a transformational leader which helped his followers transform themselves and their ashrams. He encouraged creativity, fostered open communication, demonstrated forward-thinking, shared responsibilities and exhibited commitments which helped ashram residents to meet the challenges of the future. Gandhi’s compelling visions provided his followers with a sense of purpose and encouraging commitment. Further, his followers gradually achieved more and pursued a worthy goal. His visions created a real meaning for his followers in establishing a standard of excellence. Gandhi’s effective vision helped to bridge the present and the future, developing a high level of morale among his supporters.
Information was circulated in his ashrams through upward and downward communications. Gandhi’s idea of small, self-contained communities is very conducive to social harmony. He believed in economic and social democracy and promoted the education of equality. Violence had no place in the Gandhian world view. He believed in a social order based on justice, equality and freedom. He never approved the then-prevailing system of education which was not suitable for Indians. Gandhi urged mutual love between the teachers and pupils.
Gandhi was a vertebrate critic of the present-day university education system. He considered education in arts as sheer waste which destroys the mental and physical health of the students and leads to unemployment. It did not fit people for independence but only enslave them. In 1944 he suggested that the scope of his basic educational movement should be extended and it should become literally ‘education for life.’ Thus it should include pre-basic, post-basic and adult education. It should extend from the moment a child is conceived and it should continue till the moment of death. 0 0 0.
The Role of Sufism in Cultural Integration in North-East India
Sufi or Sufism in Islam refers to a person or way of life or ‘ism’ that is based on true Islamic sentiments. A Sufi in Islam bears the following characteristics or qualities-
First, a Sufi in Islam is a person who philosophizes and mysticizes Islamic principles and thinks that all beings are creations and manifestations of only one God.
Second, he is more inclined towards spiritual devotion than worldly matters.
Third, he often breaks away from his family ties to become an ascetic and his life itself becomes an institution of spiritual guidance.
Fourth, his abode becomes a pilgrimage for spiritual upliftment.
Fifth, he leads a simple and pious life and attracts people’s attention not just by sermons but by his lofty personality and love for all irrespective of caste and creed.
Sixth, he thinks that the salvation of the human soul is the highest goal of human life and is possible through self-purification and meditation on God.
Seventh, he moderates Islam to some extent for the sake of racial harmony, while maintaining the core spirit of Islam.
Sufism in Islam as an independent ‘ism’ originated after the demise of Hazrat Muhammad (SM), especially during the Umayyad dynasty which changed the republican character of government to a monarchy. They adopted many unIslamic principles and diluted the real spirit of Islam. At this, disgusted with the corruption and despotism of the Umayyad rulers, many devout Muslims began to oppose their activities and seek a path of self-purification. They sought to attain salvation through devotional practices, meditation and retirement from society. The third century after Hijri appears to be the early period of Islamic Sufism.
Although Islam entered India during the Prophet’s lifetime through Arab traders, Sufism came to India as early as the eleventh century. But in Assam, Sufism made its mark at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Records show that the first Sufi to come to Assam was Shaikh Jalal Uddin Tabrizi and hence the line of Sufis is still running its operations over a vast area of Northeast India. Among the Sufi saints of Assam, after Shaikh Jalal uddin Tabrizi, mention may be made of Hazrat Shah Badar, Shah Sikandar, Pir Shah Madar, Pagal Pir, Ghiyas uddin Awliya, Hazrat Azaan Fakir, Hazrat Amjad Ali, Shah Akbar, Shah Sufi, Shah Kamal and many more. Sufis in Assam are called by many titles like Pir, Baba, Awaliya, Khaja, Fakir, Shadu, Pagla etc. and the place where they live is called Dargah or Khanqah (temple).
Let us present a brief description of some of these Sufis as under:
The first of the Sufis who found their way to Assam is called Hazrat Jalal uddin Tabrizi. Where he came from is not known. But it is known that he came to Assam during the third decade of the thirteenth century with the invading army of Hussamuddin Iwaz in 1226 AD. He happened to make his residence at Garigaon, about ten kilometers west of Guwahati. He still has a mosque and a mausoleum (mazar) at Garigaon. He breathed his last there in 1244 AD. The Dargah established by him is called Garigaon Dargah.
The second influential and famous Sufi was Ghiyas uddin Awaliya. He came to Assam in 1321 AD with the invading army of Sultan Ghiyas Uddin. He made his residence in Hajo. His dargah is called Powa Mecca Dargah.
Thirdly, mention may be made of Badi Uddin Shah Madar, who is said to have come from Medina during the thirteenth century. But where he established his dargah is not known for sure.
Another famous and influential Sufi saint of Assam who came from abroad is Syed Shah Milan popularly called Azaan Fakir. He came from somewhere in a western country with the Mughal invading army in the early seventeenth century. His contribution to Assamese culture and racial integration is immense. He probably died around 1696.
Another Sufi saint who migrated from Baghdad, Iraq in 1906 was Hazrat Shah Nasiruddin Baghdadi. He established his Khanqah at Jaleshwar, Goalpara, where he lived till his death in 1936.
The contributions of the above mentioned Sufi Saints to the cultural integration of the vast region of North-East India are enormous, which can be counted under three heads— (a) influence on educational, linguistic and literary integration, (b) influence on religious integration, (c) Effects on socio-cultural and artistic assimilation. Let us discuss these effects below:
Educational Linguistic and Literary Integration
The influence of Sufi saints in the field of education, language and literature are very prominent and outstanding. They introduced a new force in the then-chaotic literary field of Assam. From the very beginning, the centers (temples) of Sufi saints have been playing an important role in the educational development of the people. Many Sufi saints established ‘Maktabs’ and ‘Madrasas’ (schools) near their Khanqahs. Mention may be made of the Mazharul Uloom Madrasa established by Hazrat Naseeruddin Baghdadi at Katrihara, Goalpara.
Rudra Singh among the Ahom kings was a great patron of art and literature. During his reign some popular literary works mainly romances of profane and secular nature entered Assam through Muslim saint-poet Shaikh Manjhan whom the king used to recite some romantic literature like- Shah-Pari Mrigawati Charita which was composed in Assamese under the influence of the Hindi poet Qutuban.
Like poetry, some popular ballads in Assamese flourished under the influence of the Sufi saints. For example, the Mani Kuwarar song, Abdul Ghaffar’s Chikan Shariyar Git that narrate the story of how a Muslim maiden was loved by one of the Ahom kings. Among other ballads of Islamic character, there are Sat Nawabar Git, Baramahi Git etc.
The most excellent and admirable literary works of Sufi saints cum poets are Zikir and Jaris. Ajan Fakir (Shah Milan) was foremost among them. The Zikir and Zari are works of high literary quality with full Islamic spirit. These are devotional in nature. The following lines may be quoted at random,
”Hindu Musalman Ek Allahhar Farman
Hinduk Puriba Muminak Gariba.”.
(Hindus and Muslims are bound by the same set of divine laws of Allah. The act of crematting a Hindu and burying a Muslim signifies one end which is death.)
In another Jari, we read
”Mor manat aan Bhaab Nai O Allah
More Manat Aan Bhaab Nai
Hindu Muslim Ek Allah Farman
Akherat Ek Allahr Naam.”
(In my mind, O Allah I have no separate thoughts. Hindus and Muslims are under one law. The final word of all services is Allah.)
In another Jari we find,
Dhan Jan Putra Bharya Sabe okaran
Chhaya Muthe Beri ache mayar karan.
(The wealth, friends, wives and children are all futile. They are only shadows that surround you on account of illusion.)
Besides the assimilation of Islamic tenets and spirits with Assamese literature, many Persian and Urdu words and phrases have got entered into the vocabulary of Assamese literature through the Sufis of Assam. Mention may be made of sarkar, muakkil, faujadar, hakikat, ferista, haram, manjil, matabbar, paida, nabab, darbar, dil, dushman, tamam, kiyyamat, khejmat, khana, khata, jahan, ukil, ujir etc.
The Sufi saints of Assam contributed greatly to the development of both the substance and spirit of the Assamese language and literature, which has exerted considerable influence on the formation of cultural integration among the different castes in North-East India.
Impact on Religious Integration
Sufi saints have rendered commendable service in the field of religious unity in North East India. The Sufi saints themselves imbibed the words of the Prophet to ‘spread to others what you have heard from me.’ The Sufis took this message of Muhammad (pbuh) to heart and dedicated their lives to the propagation of Islam and its sacred messages to mankind. Thus from the very beginning, it seemed that the Sufi centers (khanqahs) actually became centers of missionary activity. Many Sufi saints entered Assam with the invading Muslim troops. But a large section of Sufi saints had entered Assam when the central government of Kamrup disappeared and the people of Assam became easy prey to oppression and exploitation and feelings of uncertainty, despair and terror prevailed in their minds. They sought solace in religion. Sufi saints took an active and eager part as reformers and spiritual guides to save the people from such wretched conditions and to infuse new hopes among them. The Sufi saints were successful in converting people from different tribes and communities to Islam on a large scale. They performed the following roles as high missionaries –
First, the saints liberalized and modified the tenets of Islam to make them easily practical by the common people.
Secondly, the Sufi saints tried to remove the high and low discrimination prevailing in society and opened the door for the backward and untouchable communities to enter Islam.
Along with liberating people from social discrimination, Sufi saints bound them with the feeling of fraternity and friendship. Mosques, Dargahs and Mazars are the main Muslim religious institutions that have been playing an important role in the social and cultural life of the Assamese people.
Through songs, bhajans and zikir-zaris, the Sufi saints tried their best to show that in the eyes of Allah there is no discrimination of high and low, caste and creed. All are the creation of the same God. Sufi Saint Sultan Baba composed:
Main Mussalmano nahoi, Hinduo nahoi
Mullao nahoi, kajio nahoi
Mor manat mrityu bhoi nai.
(I am neither a Mussalman nor a Hindu, nor even a mullah or a kaji. I also fear not to die.)
It is observed that Sankardeva was also influenced by the principles of Islam as the principles of Vaishnavism of Sankardeva are actually Assamese Kalima Taiba’s translations. Shankardev says
Ek deva, ek seva ek bine nai keha.
(There is only one God who alone is worthy to be worshipped, except Him there is none.)
In real-life situations, we see that there are many joint Hindu and Muslim villages in Assam where the two communities live together. They are living together in the same village with different prayer houses in the form of Namghar, Mandir, Dargah and Masjid. Communal relations are so cordial in some villages that Muslim villagers often visit their Hindu brothers in namghars and partake of the same offerings with the Hindu brothers. Similarly, Hindu villagers are also seen visiting the shrines of Pirs, Khanqahs and Dargahs.
Thus the main principles of Vaishnavism and Islamic Sufism were integrated and not only helped in developing a deep sense of mutual respect and tolerance among the people but also enriched each other’s religious rituals. Thus, like Sufism, many rituals are found in Vaishnavism which has been in Islam. Perhaps being imbibed with the influences, Vaishnavism laid stress on honest earning and plain living. It also emphasized the external chastity of men. After sleeping, eating, and having sexual intercourse, a person becomes impure and should take a bath. A Vaishnava should not be addicted to drugs and should keep honest company. It also advises women not to mix freely with other men and that they should cover their bodies from head to toe with a cloth so that no one could see any part of their bodies. Yet the teaching of socio-economic factors in Vaishnavism is believed to have been imported from Islamic teachings, which became possible only as a result of harmonious relations between the two pious groups. The effect of this harmonious relationship between Sufism and Vaishnavism pervaded the field of fine arts and became a veritable culture of the people. Such good relations between Hindus and Muslims of Assam greatly helped in the germination of a deeply secular outlook in Assamese social life from the beginning till today. If there is a riot, it happens because of dirty politics and not because of religious, social and cultural identity. This secular social trend becomes stronger and stronger as the long corridor of centuries passes. Even in the busy days of Hindu-Muslim riots in different parts of India, Hindus and Muslims of Assam gather in Namghar or Masjid or Dargah courtyard to express their disapproval of any enmity between people of the same land. Rather in the present times, such a non-communal feeling is gradually being developed in Assam whose slogan is –
”Ajan Shankarar deshat
Hatya santrash banda karak.”
(In the land of Ajan and Sankar stop killing and terror.)
Impact on Socio-cultural and Artistic Assimilation
With the influences of Sufistic activities as well as Islamic civilization, a new dimension was ushered in the field of socio-cultural assimilation in almost every field of life because the Sufis, obviously the Sufi saints did not bring only the religious teachings but they came with the very zeal of already established civilization, which has flourished in Arabia and central Asia. The Sufi taught the principle of patriotism as part of faith and inspired them to accept Assam as their homeland.
It is recorded that the Ahom royal officials employed a considerable number of Muslims as weavers, drapers, tailors, masons and even in the armory. The royal officials, being satisfied with their Muslim employees in various fields, showed their passion for increasing the Perso-Arabic elements in the Assamese culture. There is no doubt that the use of enamel gold ornaments, dome-shaped masonry work, use of metal spittoons, smoking pipes, hookah etc. are the result of cultural assimilation with the Muslims.
The Matrimonial ties also contributed greatly to the creation of cultural integration in the northeast region of India. It is known that Shah Milan (Ajan Fakir) married an Assamese girl from Sibsagar, by whom he had three sons.
Similarly, the Sufi saints had established an environment that not only contributed to the development of socio-cultural elements but also created a living cultural style that has become an integral part of the present cultural spirit of the Assamese people. 0 0 0.
Courses and Curricula in the Madaris and Diyarul Uloom in Assam
Madaris (Madrasa) and Diyarul Uloom have been the most prominent institutions of religious learning. Since the rule of the British in India many big Islamic institutions like Madaris and Diyarul Uloom had been formed in the country. Assam was not opposed to it and during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, a large number of Madaris and Diyarul Uloom have been established. Some of them are established and managed by the people and some of them are established solely by the government.
The Madaris managed by the government of Assam are Pre-senior Madrassas, Senior Madrassas, Title Madrassas and Arabic Colleges. The numbers of these are as follows-
Provincilized Senior Madrassas, Title Madrassas and Arabic Colleges are 74 in number.
Non-Provincilized Pre Senior Madrassas=527,
Senior Madrassas = 100
Title Madrassas = 8
Arabic College = 01
On the other hand, the non-government institutions managed by the people are Diyarul Uloom, Madarisul Banat, Madarisul Hifz etc. Some of them are governed by the Tanjimul Madarisul Qaumiya Board, (Nil Bagan, Hojai) and others are individuals without being governed by any board.
There are about five thousand institutions in Assam. Outside the board, about seven hundred Madrassas have been being managed by the people. The Course and Curricula of these non-governmental institutions are going to be discussed in brief as under-
Diyarul Uloom = 241
Madarisul Banat = 75
Madarisul Hafiz = 388
DIYARUL ULOOM (HOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE): The term ‘Diyarul’ has been derived from the plural form of the Arabic word ‘Darul’ the meaning of which is ‘house’ or ‘building’. The plural form of ‘Ilmun’ is ‘Uloom’ the meaning of which is ‘Knowledge’. Diyarul Ulooms are the main centre points of Islamic education. These institutions are established and governed by the people. Some Diyarul Ulooms are established in some districts of Assam as in Barpeta, Nagaon, Cacher, Dhubri, Karimganj, Bongaigaon, Goalpara etc. during the ruling period of the British. Nowadays in every district there have been established various Diyarul Uloom where Muslims are in lead. Some famous Diyarul Ulooms are as follows-
Darul Uloom (Joynagar, Hojai); Darul Uloom (Jalaliya, Hojai, Nagaon); Darul Uloom (Bashkandhi, Cachar); Darul Uloom (Gobindapur, Cachar); Darul Uloom, (Barbala, Barpeta; Darul Uloom, (Kharichala, Barpeta); Aljamiya-E- Salafiya, (Itervita, Barpeta), Kajaikata Hussainiya Madrassa (Chapar, Dhubri); Title Madrassa (Dhubri), Darul Uloom, Garigaon (Kamrup), Baghbari Madrassa,(Karimganja) etc. In these Madrassas, the Koran, Hadith, Fiqua, Akaid, Arabic Grammar etc. are taught. In some Madrassas, the books prescribed by the SEBA are also taught. For example, we can cite the courses and Curricula of those Madrassas below:
There are three branches of learning as- (1) Maulana Branch, (2) Hafijiya Branch and (3) English Speaking and Computer Course in non-governmental Islamic institutions.
At first, the Maulana Branch is going to be discussed below;
The 1st Class: MAKTABI- AWWAL: In this class, these courses are taught as (i) Muwallimul Quran, (ii) Urdu Pehli, (iii) Urdu Kaidah, (iv) Adiyatu-al-Mashura, (v) Masnun Duai, (vi) English, (vii) Assamese and (viii) Khush Khatt (Good Hand Writing Practice).
2nd Class: MAKTABI DAUM: (I) Talimul Islam Dawam (ii) Quran Sharif Reading (iii) English (iv) Mathematics, (v) Iqra Urdu and (vi) Khush Khatt.
3rd Class- MAKTABI SAWAM: (i) Talimul Islam, (ii) Quran Reading, (iii) English, (iv) Assamese, (v) Mathematics, (vi) Iqra Udru, (vii) Khus Khatt, (viii) Tarikh (First Part), (ix) Environmental Studies etc.
4th Class- FARSI PEHLI: (i) Tariqul Islam, (ii) Gulastan Bustan, (iii) Iqra Urdu (Fourth and Fifth Part) (iv) Qirat Mashq, (v) English, (vi) Shams, (vii) Assamese, (viii) Pharsi ki Paheli and (ix) Khus Khatt.
5th Class: AARABI- AWWAL: (i) Panjeganj, (ii) Sharahmiyati Amil, (iii) Shiratun Nawbabi, (iv) Alkiratul Washiya and (v) Reading of the Holy Quran.
6th Class AARABIA DAUM: (I) Al Kiratul Wajhiya (Part II), (ii) Nafhatul Adab, (iii) Hidayatul Nahu, (iv) Asan Muntiq (Philosophy), (v) Mir Kat (Philosophical Book), (vi) Nurul Iza, (vii) Ilmu Siga, (viii) Kuduri (full), (ix) Khashiyati Abuwab, (x) Nurul Iza, (xi) Ilmu Siga (xii) Khashiyati Abuwab, (xii) Reading of the Holy Quran.
7th Class AARABI SHAHRAM: (I) Sharhi Wakiya, (ii) Durul Balagat, (iii) Qudhuri, (iv) Kafiya, (v) Nafhatul Adab, (vi) Mishkatul Akherain, (vii) The Holy Quran Translation (last Five Para), (viii) Talimul Muwallim (ix) English (x) Khilaphaee Rashedin etc.
8th Class AARABI SHAHAREM: (i) Sharhi Wakiya, (ii) Ushule Shashi, (iii) Durusul Balagat, (iv) Kuduri, (v) Ashiyatul Hadith, (vi) Tafsirul Ushul etc.
9th Class- AARABI PANJAM: (i) Mukamat Al Hariri, (ii) Hedaya Awwal, (iii) Nurul Anuwar, (iv) Shullamil Uloom, (v) Quran Transalation, (vi) Mukhtarisul Mani, (vii) Meiftahul Tariq (viii) Manarul Anuwar,
10th AARABI SASHAM: Tafshir al Jalalain Part I & II (ii) Hedaya Part II ( Islamic Jurisprudence), (iii) Hisami, (iv) Mirji, (v) Al Faujul Kabir fi Usul al Tafshir (vi) Mabadiul Phalsafa (vii) Dewan al Mutanabbi, (viii) Dewan al Hamasa.
11th AARABI SAPTAM: (i) Mishkatul Masabih, Part I & II, (ii) Hedaya Part III & IV, (iii) Sharhi Aqaid, (iv) Nukhbatul Fikir, (v) Siraji, (vi) Mukaddamatul Mishkat al Mashabih, (vii) Tarikhul Majahirul Islam.
12th Class: DAURA HADITH: Shahih al Bukhari, (ii) Jamiya –al Tirmiji, (iii) Sunani Abu Daud, (iv) Muwatta Imam Malik, (v) Tahawi, (vi) Sunani Nasai, (vii) Sahih Muslim, (viii) Muta-e- Muhammad, (ix) Sunane Ibne Majah.
MADARISUL BANAT: Banat is the plural form of ‘Bintun’ means ‘girl’ and ‘Madrassa’ means ‘school’. Madrassatul Banat is the most prominent institution of religious education for Muslim women. In Assam, some Madrasatul Banats are established during the twentieth century. But a large number of Banat Madrassas are established in the twenty-first century in every district of Assam where Muslims are in lead. In every Madrassa, there are attached hostels. Some students live in the hostels and some students are day students. Some prominent Madrassatul Banats are as follows:
Jamiyatul Banat, Balapara (Barpeta); Al Jamiyatul Islamiya, Balargodam (Dhubri); Khanua Banat Madrassa (Mangaldoi); Banat Madrassa (Dharang); Joynagar Banat Madrassa (Hojai), Sheik Ahamed Ali® Madrassatul Banat (Kayakuchi, Barpeta); Madrastul Muminat (Kayakuchi; Kalgachiya, Kharichala in Barpeta District); Khandakarpara Banat Madrassa,(Barpeta) etc.
Courses and Curricula of Banat Madrassas approved by Tanjim Madrassa Qaumiya, Nilbagan, Hojai as follows:
MADRASSATUL HIFZ: Madrassatul Hifzs are also prominent institutions of religious education for Muslims. These Madaris are established and governed by the people. Some Hafijiya Madrassas are attached to Diyarul Uloom and a large number of Madrasatul Hifzs are separately established. These Madaris are also established in the twentieth century but a large number of Madaris are established in the twenty-first century to meet the necessity of people. With the increase in the population, the necessity of religious education has also increased. Consequently, many Madarisul Hifzs are set up. These types of Madaris are established for boys and girls separately. Madarisul Hifzs for boys are many in number. But the Madarisul Hifzs for girls are fewer in number. Some famous Madarisul Hifzs are as follows;
Madarisul Hifzs, Jalaliya (attached to Darul Uloom); Madrasatul Hifzs, Joynagar (attached); Garigaon (Kamrup) attached; Miftahul Quran (Kalgachiya); Hussainya Hafijiya Madrassa; Madrasatul Hafijiya (Barpeta); Mandiya Hafijiya Madrassa, (Barpeta); Lakhipur Tahfizul Quran; Hifz Branch Darul Yatima Goalpara; Darul Yatima, Gauhati. 0 0 0.
Hazarat Umar: His Life and Achivement
Hazarat Umar: His Life
Hazarat Umar® was one of the best associates of the Prophet Muhammad (Sm), the Second Caliph of Islam, a great conqueror, a noble administrative reformer, a stern consolidator of Islam and the Islamic Empire and an ideal emblem of worth imitable personality in the history of Islam as well as in the history of mankind.
Birth and Parentage: Umar® was born in 583 A.D. in a distinguished Quraysh family of the Addiya clan. His call name was Hafs. The name of his father was Khattab and his mother’s name was Hantama.
His Physical Structure and Qualities: Physically he was tall, robust, and strong. The color of his skin was that of almond. In his boyhood, he earned fame as a learned poet, orator and wrestler. Trade was his occupation. For business purpose, he traveled Persia and Syria several times and earned practical experience for life.
His Conversion to Islam: He inherited Idolatry from his predecessors and was dead against the newly advent of Islam. One day, being instigated by Abu Sufyan, he was going to cut off the head of the Prophet Muhammad (Sm) with an open sword. But on the way, he heard that his sister and sister-in-law had converted to Islam. Being furious, he went first to their house in order to teach them a hard lesson. But going there, he happened to hear the reciting of the Holy Koran and was surprised by its melody and spiritual massage. Its melody and spiritual message softened his heart so much that a change came over him. He threw off the sword of his hand and ran to the Prophet. He prostrated down his feet and prayed to him to bless him with the message of Tawhid. Then the Prophet Muhammad gave him the lesson of Kalima and thus Umar converted to Islam. The conversion of Umar to Islam became a glorious turning point for Umar.
Umar’s Services to Islam before His Accession to the Throne of Khalifa: Umar’s conversion to Islam was of immense value to Muhammad (Sm.) and his mission. He himself took a vow to serve the prophet and his mission till the last day of his life and began to render his service which can be enumerated briefly as below:
Since his conversion, he became one of the best companions of the Prophet and helped him in every way which gave a new strength to the mission of Muhammad (Sm.).
After his conversion, the Muslims began to preach Islam openly and they began to offer prayer in the Kabba. In this case, Umar’s prowess, boldness and spiritfullness become instrumental.
When Muhammad (Sm.) was in a fatal situation for being vehemently opposed by the Quraysh, then Umar after the suggestion of the Prophet, migrated to Madinah ahead of Muhammad (Sm.) and helped the Prophet both in fortune and adversity.
It was Umar who introduced the custom of Azan (Prayer Call) in Madinah and later on this custom was granted by a divine message.
He took an active and bold part in many battles against the enemies of Islam as the battle of Badr, Uhud, Khandak, Hunain, Khaibar etc. He showed praiseworthy valor and unprecedented strategy in the battle of Khandak.
At the time of making the treaty of Hudaibiah, he protested against the unreasonable demand of the Quraysh and advocated in favor of the Muslims.
In the Makkah Expedition, he played a vigorous role and was able to catch Abu Sufyan, the fatal opponent of Islam.
In the Tabuk Expedition, Hazarat Umar placed half of his life-long savings in the war-fund.
After the demise of Muhammad (Sm), he took a decisive part in electing Abu Bakr as the first Khalifa of Islam and it was Hazarat Umar who first swears allegiance to Abu Bakr. He remained a constant associate of the Caliph in weal and woe till the demise of the Caliph.
These were the services rendered by Hazarat Umar® to Islam before his accession to Caliph hood (Post of Khalifa).
Umar’s Accession to Caliph-hood (Throne): In 634 A. D. the first Khalifa of Islam, Hazarat Abu Bakr, died and Hazarat Umar® was elected unanimously as the Second Khalifa of Islam. His reign was full of events. With his accession to the throne, he devoted himself to the act of consolidating Arab as a land under one Islamic banner. And consequently, he conquered the two rival empires viz. the Persian Empire and the Byzantine Empire. Besides this, his reign is replete with far-reaching reformations.
Hazarat Umar® was not an imperialist, but circumstances led him to turn his eyes to the rival Persian Empire to the north and to the Byzantine Empire to the North-West.
His first credit as an expansionist of Arab goes to the conquest of the Persian Empire. The causes of the conquest of Persia were as follows in brief:
The Persians looked at the Muslims with the eyes of dead foes and they were trying their best to pluck off Islam in the bud which was unbearable to the Muslims.
In the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, he sent an envoy to the court of Persia but the Persian King Khushraw insulted the envoy and thereby incurred the rage of the Mohammedans.
In addition to this, the enmity of the Persians was revealed in the rebellion of Bahrayn, during the reign of Abu Bakr, when they helped the enemy of the Muslims.
All these silent causes hatched the enmity between the Persians and the Muslims and consequently, the Khalifa Umar® was compelled to send a military expedition against the Persians.
He sent his two great Generals Muthanna and Abu Ubayda against the Persians and through a series of battles as- the battle Namarraq, battle of Jasr, battle of Buwaib, battle of Quadisiya, battle of Jalula etc. the Arabs conquered the whole of Persia (Iraq and Iran) and established Muslim rule.
On the other hand, the hostility between the Muslim and the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire consisting of Syria, Palestine and Egypt) was going on in such a situation that incurred the displeasure of the Arabs. During the life-time of the Prophet, the relationship between the two was liberal. But later on, the relation began to cool down. Once an envoy sent by the Prophet was murdered by a Christian Prince of Banu Gassan, Syria. Thus the hostility between the Muslims and the Byzantines began to increase and at last, the Khalifa Hazarat Umar® was compelled to stand against them.
For all these external causes the Khalifa set his greatest General Khalid bin Walid and through a series of battles, the provinces of Byzantine Empire as Syria, Palestine and Egypt came completely under the sway of the Arabs.
Thus Hazarat Umar® made an expansion of the Arab territory.
Along with his political career, he introduced some new administrative systems and reforms that became models of inspiration for rulers after him.
Death: One morning, while he was saying his prayer in the Masjid Nababi, he meet a death of martyrdom in 643 A.D. in the hands of a Persian slave named Abu Lulu leaving behind him an astonishingly glorious rule with exemplary reformative deeds of ten years and two months.
Hazarat Umar’s Achievements
Umar’s Achievements are immense and have occupied a vast and glorious chapter in the history of the World. His achievements may be enumerated as political achievements, administrative achievements, agricultural achievements, and achievements earned through public welfare measures. These have been brought into account in brief below:
Political Achievements: Before the accession of Hazarat Umar® to the throne of Khalifa Arab was only a geographical territory, but it was Umar who for the first time led Arab to the glory of a vast empire. He humiliated the age-long glory and pride of the vast Persian and Byzantine Empires and put the Arabs in a place of ever glory and reverence. This was the beginning and within just only a century many counties of the world came under the sway of the Muslims.
By conquering the said empires Hazarat Umar® led the Arabs to self-dependency both economically and commercially.
He strengthened Arab nationalism. When the Arabs extended their empire to the north and west occupying the two vast empires their pride and morale led them to feel superior to the rest and this added fuel to Arab nationalism.
Hazarat Umar did not conquer the land but also conquered the heart of the conquered people by giving them a better way of life.
With the conquest of the Persian and Byzantine Empires, the rich heritage and culture of the two inspired the Arabs and consequently, the Arabs began to go ahead both in cultural and intellectual branches of knowledge.
Administrative Achievements: His administrative achievements were unprecedently new for those days because he introduced many new measures in the administrative machinery as:
He framed the constitution of the state on the basis of democracy. The democratic creed begun by Abu Bakr bore fruit and reached its height during Umar’s reign. He had two consultative bodies as: Majlis-us-Khas and Majlis-us–Am. The bodies were called Majlis-us-Shura (Council of Advisors). In all important affairs, he took advice from the Shura.
With the extension of the empire, Hazarat Umar divided the country into fourteen provinces and each province was given under Wali (Governor). Again each province was divided into several districts and again the districts were divided into some sub-divisions. The district officers were called Amil.
Hazarat Umar introduced the Muslim era of Hijrah in his empire which is still in circulating in the Arabian countries.
He made a scrutinized reform in defense (force) departments and he classified it as-infantry, cavalry, archery, scout etc. He, for the first time, introduced salary system instead of jaigiri system to the soldiers. This system made the soldiers more dutiful and honest.
Umar established a department of finance under the name of Diwan which was in charge of the revenue administration of the center as well as the province. The Diwan was to regulate the disbursement of the revenue of the empire.
He first separated the Judiciary from the Executive and he employed a kaji to manage the judiciary.
He established jail in every administrative headquarter. He introduced banishment (exile) for the culprit.
He introduced census in Medina which was the beginning of counting the population of any country. Later on, his example was followed by the rest of the world.
He established a police department for the safety of the lives and property of his subjects.
He for the first time introduced Shariat Law in the judiciary and Kajis were to be scholars in the Koran and Hadith.
He prohibited the slave system; especially he stopped the selling of war prisoners as slaves.
Later on, his administrative reforms were taken as a model for many countries.
Agricultural Achievements: Hazarat Umar® took steps to develop the agriculture of the country and for this, he dug many canals. He dug the famous Amirul- Mumenin- Canal, Suez Canal for which agriculture, as well as the trade with other states, became easier.
He introduced a system of founding a godown for Baitul Mal (State Treasury) with the surplus goods and money which he distributed among the needy.
For his liberal policy of agriculture, the production of the state increased and for that, the economy of the state began to rise up.
Achievements Earned Through Common Welfare Measures: For the dissipation of education, he established many madrassas. He, for the first time, employed the women in the service of the wounded soldiers. He gave equal rights to women with men for education.
He introduced a pension system for old people, widows, and martyrs’ families.
He introduced census in Medina which was the beginning of counting population in any country. Later on his example was followed by the rest of the world.
All those reformative activities show that he was advanced for his age.
Achievements Earned Through His Personality: Hazarat Umar’s® achievements as a man as well as a leader rests on his character and personality also. All the best qualities that a man should have were combined in him. Impersonality, dutifulness, and simplicity were the chief features of his character.
Hazarat Umar, though was a ruler of a vast empire, lived like an ordinary man. He owned neither personal bodyguards nor grandeurs like that of other kings or rulers.
He did not have any splendid palace as his residence or any costly robes. He lived in a hut made of the leaves of date trees and he himself wore patched clothes.
He was the embodiment of strictness and softness. He was very strict with those who transgressed laws and was very kind and sympathetic to those who were poor and needy. During his reign, he used to walk along the street to observe the condition of his subjects. During the day of famine, he carried the sacks of food on his own head to distribute among the distressed people.
In the matter of justice, he was so strict that once he gave severe punishment to his own son for taking wine.
In his eyes high and law, rich and poor, kith and stranger were equal. Nepotism and partiality could not touch him.
Conclusion: The study of his life and works shows that he had almost all the qualities of those who have owned the reputation of turning the course of history. To conclude it would not be an exaggeration to say that in Hazarat Umar® there was a combination of the objectivity of Socrates, the wisdom of Solomon, the softness of Buddha, the heroism of Napoleon, the strategy of Alexander the great, the leading capacity of Moses, simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi and patience of Jakaria.
His place in the whole history of Islam is after none but after only the Prophet Muhammad(Sm). 0 0 0.
Ma’ruf al- Rusafi: His Life and Poetry
Birth and Parentage:
Ma’ruf al-Rusafi (1875- 1946) was a distinguished modern Arabic humanitarian poet and critic.
He was born in 1875 to a mixed Kurdish-Arab family. The family was poverty-stricken. Little is known about his father. He was solely brought up by his mother at his grandfather’s house. He was allotted a dark room where he was inclined to solitude and meditation. His mother had a long hope to give her child an adequate education.
His mother sent him to one of the maktabs where he managed to memorize the Holy Koran and learned the elements of calligraphy. Then he went to a primary school namely at Madrasah al-Rashidi. But he failed in the examination and hence he devoted himself to literary studies. During that time, he went into contact with Al-Alusi and Abbas al-Qassab.
As he was poverty-beaten he became a school teacher in Al Rashadiyyah and then to Al Barudiyyah in Bagdad. He worked there till 1908. During this period he took to writing poetry. In 1941 he left Falluza for Bagdad and lived in Adhmiyya till his death on 16th March, 1946.
He is considered to be one of the greatest poets of modern Arabic literature. But he wrote very little compared to the poets of his generation. A single Diwan was first published in 1910 in Beirut and then in large to include some of his later poems in 1949. It contains social poetry, political verses and love poems. Al-Rusafi also translated some Turkish works into Arabic and wrote some valuable literary criticism.
The literary influences on Al-Rusafi were entirely Arabic. He was fascinated first by Mutanabbi and then by Ibn Malik, half of whose ‘Alfiyya’ he had learned by heart. The skepticism of Al-Marufi is reflected in his poetry too.
Among the neo-classists Maruf al-Rusafi was a close affinity with Hafiz Ibrahim and echoes his sentiments on national and social issues. Shwaki and Mutran also influenced him but a little.
Maruf al-Rusafi believed in God as displaying Himself in every individual life is beyond question. But it is hard to know exactly what he thought of Muhammadism. He certainly criticized Muhammad in his book entitled ‘The Personality of Muhammad’.
The philosophical poems of Rusafi deal mainly with the mysteries of the universe, especially the phenomena of life and death. Yet in his philosophical poems, he produced nothing new that can be safely added to the achievements of original philosophers.
Like other poets, Maruf al-Rusafi is not free from the panegyric form of poetry, but the number is very few and mostly full of personal complaints and pessimism. He especially praised Abdul Muhsin al-Sa’dun, who was the Prime Minister of Iraq in the late twenties and who used to help Rusafi financially and tried to bring about reconciliation between him and King Faisal I. He also praised General Nuri Pasha al-Sa’id; several time Prime Minister of Iraq, Abdul Latif Pasha al Mandil and Sayyid Mudahhir al- Sha’wi.
In the field of satire Rusafi composed some most poignant forceful lines. They were mostly directed against the critics of his poetry, at times he did not refrain from using obscene language but fortunately, those fine verses were not included in his Diwan.
Although Maruf-al-Rusafi tried to break the old tradition of poetry, he was not altogether free from them. Thus he started some of his poems with self-phase or weeping over the abode of a departed beloved and imitated the diction of Pre-Islamic poems and even reproduced the same figures of speech. Moreover, pornography held a special fascination for Maruf but those poems savoring immorality were cut out of his Diwan. Amongst other books by him is ‘Bada’ at la Khala’ah’ (Beauty and not Immorality). He even composed after the fashion of Abu Nuwas and other Abbasid poets, some love lines on masculine beauty.
In his elegies, he is more natural than in his panegyrics. He wrote elegies even upon his enemies. His best elegies are mostly composed on Seikh Muhyyiddin al-Khayyat, Mahmud Shawkat Pasha, Mahmud Shukri al-Alusi.
The most outstanding service of Rusafi towards Arabic poetry lies in his versification of new themes and his invention of new figures of speech. His Favorite similes were to liken the sunset to a glittering sword dripping with, the tears of an orphan, intermingled with blood. He spoke of the sun as raising its sleeve made wet with its molten light, or as a damsel bidding her lover farewell and waving her handkerchief. He was fond of comparing the Euphrates and Tigris to two lines of tears.
Rusafi’s hatred of artificiality and imitation was so great that he shunned the arts of rhetoric as far as he could.
Rusafi was capable of using the rarest rhymes, which poets would usually avoid without doing violence to the language. But at times he employed colloquial terms and phrases because he believed that the classical language should be enriched from time to time with foreign words and colloquial expressions, after due polishing. He was very much fond of long matters. Often his verses lacked the sweet music which characterized the poetry of his Egyptian contemporary Ahmed Shawqi who also excelled in his dramatic ability, wider erudition, and colorful vision of life.
The best-known descriptive poems by Maruf al-Rusafi are: Ala Jisr Maude, Alal Busfur, Waqfatun fir-Rawdh.
Among modern inventions, Rusafi described the train and drew and made a comparison between steam power and electricity. He also described the ingenious lines. His description of the watch deserves special mention. Moreover, sometimes he composed Bacchic poems and portrayed scenes of revelry, and described songstress and dancers.
As for the love poems of Rusafi, they lack warmth and strength of emotion. He loved beauty and its entirety and never attached himself to any particular woman. Yet he was far from the adventurous exploits of Omar bin Abi Rabi’ah and Imrul Qais.
By composing his verses in the perfect tradition of neo-classicism, Rusafi gave a brilliant lead to the poets of his age and upcoming generations. Till today he remains the most extensively quoted poet of all the Iraqi poets in the field of modern Arabic literature. 0 0 0.
Ameen Rihani: His Life and Humanist Vision
Brief Life Sketch: Ameen Rihani (1876- 1940), was a root-conscious humanist writer who advocated the introduction of modernism (especially Western culture) in the Arab World. He was born in Freike (in modern-day Lebanon) on November 24, 1876. Rihani was one of six children and the oldest son of a Lebanese raw silk manufacturer, Fares Rihani. At the age of eleven, he was sent to the United States. His schooling began there and learned the rudiments of the English language. In the meantime, his father and uncle established themselves as merchants in a small cellar in lower Manhattan and facing the need for an assistant in their business they took away the boy from school and made him the chief clerk, interpreter and book-keeper of the business.
During this time, Ameen made acquaintance with American and European writers. He eventually became familiar with the writings of Shakespeare, Hugo, Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Whitman, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Emerson and some others. Ameen had a natural talent for eloquent speaking. Thence he took up his pen in his hand and began writing. He wrote both in English and Arabic.
Literary Career and Humanistic Vision: As a writer, he was a humanist and his whole endevour was to awaken the East to the light of western modernity. Most of his writings are replete with his national thinking and humanist vision. We can enumerate his National Thinking and Humanist Vision as follows:
His National thinking and humanist vision are, to say in a brief phrase, the two sides of the same coin. But he, as a humanist, has no separate entity; it has taken birth and evolved within his thoughts concerning the welfare of the Arab World.
Ameen Rihani repeatedly called upon his compatriots to follow a life commitment to the Arab homeland, culture and world society. He commended his humanism and dialectical identity to his Arab contemporaries. Rihani insisted on embracing this identity to counter his feeling of being unprotected as a Christian Lebanese in the Arab World and to avoid the loss of well-defined as an Arab citizen of the world. Rihani’s loyalty is not to only his homeland but to the greater Arab land and through it he dedicated to serving humanity. Rihani adopted his humanist outlook as a positive response to trans-culture and often painful formation in two distinct worlds- East and West. His life and activities reflect his tireless endeavour to balance his East-West belongings in a dynamic association that aimed at bringing both and for the sake of humanity. His vision of a humanist is the outcome of such endevour.
Rihani is humanist in two senses–one is universal and the other is rational. Rihani wished to see the Arabs contribute to human civilization and play a role on the world stage. He was committed to seeing a new Arab society on rational and universal principles of human progress. He was the first Syrian-Lebanese immigrant to force his own way into the world of intellectuals. His early published writings in Arabic convey his rebellion and reflects his inner struggle with the tension between two cultures. The initial contact with the West proved to be crucial in shaping Rihani’s intellectual development and personal identity. His keenness for self-education and Western source obliged him to come to terms with the cultural conflicts between the two different worlds.
His interaction with the Arab community in New York and Arab societies in Lebanon, Syria and Arabia alerted him to see the issue of Arab weirdness, ignorance and religious fanaticism. His national thinking concerns co-existed with universal concerns including the global conflict of the western culture and its materialism. For his national-universal commitment, he became known as ‘Fayasuful Al-Freike’ (the philosopher of Freike) in his lifetime and after his death. Rihani deeply involved with the aspects of Western culture not only through his wide range of reading but also through his own writing in English.
His comprehensive reading in Arabic deepened his appreciation of the Arabic heritage. His first translated work was the translation of the works of Abu- Ala- Al Ma’aari. And such he became the leading representative and interpreter of Eastern culture in the West. His ‘Book of Khalid’ is the foundation of a new trend within the Lebanese –American culture, which was the first book ever authored by an Arab. It was also Rihani’s best expression of his aspiration.
His genuine interest in the Arab cause gained him the confidence of the Arab rulers and helped him play an important role in creating some common interest among them. On the other hand, as the product of two civilizations-Eastern and Western, he was afforded with confidence to criticize certain stages and aspects of underdevelopment and backwardness in Arab life. He proudly described the glory of Arabia and its people. He fairly criticized them and called upon them to unite and adopt modern means of progress in order to face the challenge of the modern world.
Rihani came to believe that Arab nationalism would be the salvation of the Arabs and that unity would be their means of redressing the injustices of colonialism and persistent western expansionism because of his realism and approach. His Arab nationalism was based on Syria or Lebanese unity and thus he called for a broader cultural, geographical, and political unity among all tribes of Arab. Rihani’s broad vision surrounded a united Peninsula, Iraq and geographical Syria including Lebanon and Palestine.
Of course, Rihani shared many ideas with his contemporary nationalists. He considered that geography, history, language, and culture are essential elements of Arab nationalism. Rihani was a historian with a dialectical knowledge of Arab history. He was a loyal nationalist without a romantic attitude toward the past. He did not overestimate the Arab national trends in relation to that of humanity as a whole. On the contrary, Rihani was the first Arab intellectual to deal critically while learning from its positive aspects.
He always took pride in the Arab contribution to world civilization and he pressured that the Arabs were entitled to their share of the glory of the civilization just as the Europeans. He believed that the Arabs could be able to achieve progress with today’s science and that is possible only by combining the positive values of Western civilization. There were two elements in the dynamic culture of the nation. One was spiritual aspiration from the past and the other was material advancement scientifically enlightened future that would create a new society. A nation would be completed with the powers of the West and play an effective role on the world stage. Rihani’s deep estimate and pride in the Arabic cultural heritage led him to view it, religion aside, as a binding source of the whole Arabian Peninsula. According to him, language takes priority over religion. Naturally Arabic was his first identity. Of course, Rihani acknowledged the Islamic dimension in Arabic culture which was upheld by the Muslims as well as by the Christians. He said, “The Arabs were before Islam and before Christianity. The Christians as well as the Muslims should know that Arabism (Al- Uruba) is before everything and above everything.”
Rihani was one of the pioneers of the modern secular Arab nationalists while not completely rejecting the relation between Islam and Arabness. He always insisted that Arabism was distinct and went beyond Islam to embrace all Arab Muslims and non-Muslims, even those who live outside the peninsula. Liberation from foreign occupation and domination was for him the highest political and national interest which more than any blood or cultural ties would determine the people’s will and desire to live together as one nation. He argued that the people in Lebanon and Syria share a common interest in getting rid of the mandate of the outsiders. Rihani thus highlighted the performance of will and aspiration in determining Arab identity and unity which was a remarkable novelty in the Arab nationalist discourse.
He advocated the development of a just and civil political institution: a solid infrastructure of schools , colleges, hospitals, water wells, facilities for oil and mineral extraction, modern means of communication and productive human resources. Ameen Rihani was a pioneer of democracy and human rights in the modern Arab world. He insisted on modern democratic government, secular national education, economic development and liberation from foreign bonds both in culture and civil rights. These conditions were essentially related to his ideas of progress, democracy, justice and freedom which Rihani emphasized as basic human rights that are indispensable for the building of the new Arab nation. Despite his criticism of the abuse of the western democracy, Rihani still believed that the constitutional parliamentary civil rule is better than other forms of government. He realized that Arabia was in need of a civil government but he supported constitutional monarchy in Arab Peninsula. Rihani believed that a monarch – a wise, just and paternal leader- suited Arabia more than a republican government. The people of Arabia had developed a keen emotional interest in the existence of monarchy and paid homage to the rulers’ paternal authority. Moreover, Arabia at the time laced the educational means to cause a sudden change in its political culture. Hence we find a distinct pragmatic accent in Rihani.
Ameen Rihani wrote in favor of the world which he saw to be striving for freedom, justice and peace. His world was the Arab world, though not rich in power but rich in resources and heritage, the contribution of which to the world civilization was immense. He believed that the Arab nation should adhere to progressive aims and methods. Its national secular education should expand to embrace modern science and philosophy as he thought it would develop the new Arab nationalism into universal nationalism. In its dynamic vision, he expected the Arab nation to borrow certain western values in particular modernization. He insisted on the matter that the Arab nation would not survive unless it adopts progressive initiation in all matters of development. Rihani insisted that the Arab nation should have evolved a positive relationship with the Western and Eastern nations, a relationship without any sense of superiority and envy. He glorifies saying that the Arab nation is a peace-loving nation that would not tolerate any foreign interference in their home affairs. He fought continuously against political oppression and social injustice by the western powers upon the Arabs, especially in Lebanon. Rihani personally wrote in 1931 and addressed to his people and to his companions that self-determination is necessary to get people’s rights in hand. He wrote, “Fight against the mandatory government and oppressive government.” By urging jihad upon his people, Rihani certainly did not declare a ‘Holy War’ against the West in the sense some Middle East experts interpret the word today. Rihani certainly favored the spiritual struggle and peaceful resistance .including revolt, boycott and going on strike. He even welcomed imprisonment for the sake of rights and freedom before the declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Ameen Rihani defined the Arab Renaissance (Al-Nahda al-Arabia) in three words as: Unity, Peace and Education. These concepts are independent. One cannot be achieved without the other. And without inter-Arab and Arab-West co-operation. Rihani argued that the Arab nation should first be united and continuously should work towards this aim. He did not hesitate to criticize the Arabs in order to stimulate their progress and unity. Rihani’s concept of Arab unity was a realistic programme for a real society which was meant to be a real democracy–a just society but not necessarily a complete imitation of Western democracy. He aimed at building a modern Arab in harmony with World Society. He was confident that the spirit of modern Arabism portend an opening to modern scientific inquiry and democratic forms of government. Rihani believed that with self-confidence in its inherent moral values, the Arab nation would reach the patriotic national and the universal summit.
Thus we can come to the conclusion that Ameen Rihani was, from head to foot a national thinker of the Arab World who struggled throughout his life to see a unified modern scientifically developed Arab nation and within this, his humanist vision had got evolved as parallel to his national thought. 0 0 0.
Al-Akhtal: His Life and Poetic Career
Al-Akhtal: His Life
Al-Akhtal was an Arabic poet of the 7th century. He was born either at Hira or near Rosafa. His date of birth is not known for certain but it is guessed that he might have been born around 640 A. D. in a Christian family. He remained a Christian throughout his life. Some members of the Ummayad Period tried to convert him to Islam but failed. He was a man of loose morality. He used to spend his hours in the taverns with the singing girls. He was a heavy drunkard also. He forsook his first wife and married a divorced woman.
All through his life, Al-Akhtal enjoyed the favour of the Ummayad sovereigns. During the reign of Muwawiya, he was embroiled in political affairs. He was a close companion of Yazid I and composed poems in praise of him. He died in 715 A. D. in his own house.
Al-Akhtal: His poetic Career
He was one of the three great poets of the Ummayad Period. His opponent two poets were Zarir and Farazdak. Akhtal wrote poetry in praise of wine. His poetry may be divided into two classes as – satire and eulogy. He wrote satire ridiculing and insulting his opponents and against the opponents of the Ummayads. In his eulogies, he glorified the Ummayads. Though he belonged to the Islamic period yet he was pre-Islamic in his thought and outlook. He imitated his contemporary poet Asha and derived inspiration from his poetry. His style and language were superior to that of his other contemporary poets. He also composed some love poems in which he praised his beloved and his tribe. As a poet, he was so reputed that once a procession was set out in praise of him under royal patronage. 0 0 0.
Abu Nuwas: His Life and Poetic Career
Abu Nuwas (d. 810 AD) was one of the great poets of the Abbasid period. He was a boon companion and court jester of Caliph Harun al–Rashid. He took birth in the middle of the eighth century in Ahwaz, the capital of Khuzistan. He received his education in Basra which he called to be his native city. He studied poetry at Kufa under the learned Khalaf al Ahmar. After this, he came to the court of Harun al-Rashid and enjoyed his favour throughout his life. Abu Nuwas by nature was an immoral, drunkard, and blashphemist.
He wrote poems dealing with the themes of praise, ridicule and love. He felt that pleasure was the principal business of life and that religious scruples should not be permitted to stand in the way of enjoyment. No doubt he was a licentious poet, but he revealed and expressed with dignity the ideas and manners prevailing in the court and upper class of society. He précised what he preached through his writings. He wrote the world-famous ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ and for it, he is known throughout the world. His place as a poet may not be above all of his contemporaries but he is next to none. He died in 810 A. D. 0 0 0.
Abul Atahiya: His Life and Poetic Career
Abul Atahiya (748-818 A D) was a great poet of the Abbasid Period. He took birth in Kufa to a very poverty-stricken family. His father was a cupper. Since his boyhood, he used to assist his father in his business. Then he went to Bagdad and there he by means of his poetic career, was able to draw the favour of Caliph Mehdi. After Mehdi, he got the favour of Harun al-Rashid. The caliph being pleased at his poetry blessed him with riches.
He was a very thoughtful poet. The influence of Islamic thought is present in his poetry. His poetry is characterized by simplicity of style and deepness of thought. He wrote some better love poems in praise of Utba with whom he fell in love. But she consequently ignored his love and thus Atahiya failed to marry her. Since then he renounced composing love poems and began to write ascetic or philosophical poetry. The main themes of his poetry were the transient of human life, the hollowness of joys and pleasure, sorrow and sufferance. Through his poetry, he invoked people to devotional life and admonished them to live a better and honest life. He for the first time introduced simplicity of style and showed that poetry may take birth without the presence of traditional themes and thoughts. In his own time, he could not get a universal reputation but now-a-days he is recognized as a great poet because of the simplicity of style, spontaneity of thought, and artlessness of language contrasted with the labored artificiality of his contemporaries. He breathed his last in 818 A. D. 0 0 0.
Abu–Ala-al–Ma’arri: His Life and Poetic Career
Life Sketch: Abul-Ala al-Ma’arri (973- 1057 A D) was an Arabic poet, philosopher, and a man of letters. He was born in 973 A. D. at Marratun in Syria. In his childhood, he was attacked by smallpox, and resultantly he got blindness. Though he was blind he bore a sharp brain and an extraordinary power of memory. He began his education at home under his father and then he went to Aleppo for higher education. There he began his poetic career. He wrote that he never eulogized anyone with the hope of gaining a reward but only for the sake of practicing his skill. Then he returned to his home city and began lecturing on poetry, antiquities and philology. After some years he went to Bagdad, the nucleus of Islamic culture and education and met with many scholars, poets and philosophers of his time. But he returned to his home after spending one and half years in Bagdad on the occasion that his mother was ill. After his mother’s death, he chose a life of seclusion and adopted a vegetarian diet. He died in 1057 A D.
Poetic Career: He was a philosophical poet. Though he belonged to the religion of Islam and lived a moral and honest life, yet he was scrupulous regarding some beliefs of Islam. The poetry that he composed in his earlier life was compiled under the title ‘Sadkatul Zand’. In this anthology of poetry, he followed the tradition of his predecessors. But his later poems bear the stamp of his originality both in style and philosophy. His later poems are collected in the anthology entitled ‘Luzumiyyat’. In his poetry, he reflected almost all the aspects of his times including the degeneracy and corruption of the tyrannous rulers, venial judges and hypocritical theologians. As a poet, his place may not be with the great poet of his time but as a philosophic poet, his place is after none. 0 0 0.
Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:
- Advertisement Writing
- Amplification Writing
- Note Making
- Paragraph Writing
- Notice Writing
- Passage Comprehension
- The Art of Poster Writing
- The Art of Letter Writing
- Report Writing
- Story Writing
- Substance Writing
- School Essays Part-I
- School Essays Part-II
- School English Grammar Part-I
- School English Grammar Part-II..
Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:
- English Literary Essays
- Essays on Current Topics
- Essays on Indian Culture
- Essays in English
- Miscellaneous Essays Relating to Indian Subjects