February 2013

About the Power of Breathing

Breathing is our life. It goes on unnoticed until we are having some problem with our body. It is our constant companion from the time we are born and till the time we leave this world. Following our body breathing can calm our mind. One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh has led an extraordinary life. Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. He tells us about breathing like this. The breathing is a stable… Read More »About the Power of Breathing

Opium poppy: Seeds of Trade

Britain ruled India not for nothing. They exploited the abundant natural resources as well its simple folks. They earned huge profits by exporting tea, opium and cotton to Europe. They employed the Indians like Africans as labors in many of their colonies overseas where there was a shortage of labor for cultivation. Opium obtained from poppies grown in the fertile valley of Ganges in Bihar was considered of high quality because of its high alkaloid morphine. It was traditionally grown in this region since the times of Mughals who were heavy users of it and many of their princes are… Read More »Opium poppy: Seeds of Trade

Harappa Culture Continued

In the last post on Harappa Culture we described some features of the civilization. Science and intuition of some extraordinary men have enabled us to understand the Harappa Culture and its people. As mentioned the cities streets were straight and very broad. Then as usual there were side streets running into the houses. Houses were in general quite large and built on a uniform pattern. There was a large courtyard and on its three sides were rooms and kitchen. Courtyard opened on fourth side to the street. Thus the windows opened against the walls of the houses on the opposite… Read More »Harappa Culture Continued

Janjira Island Fort

Murud is a beach 165 kilometers away from Mumbai. You go to Alibaugh which is also a beach town situated on the Arabian Sea and is halfway between Mumbai and Murud. The scenery of Konkan region is breathtaking after you leave the Alibaug for Murud. There are coconut palm and areca groves on the way. Sea is everywhere blue and green. Road runs parallel to sea coast. There are small hillocks on the way. On holidays lots of people visit the beaches here. There are boats available which takes you to the fort. One has to be very careful though… Read More »Janjira Island Fort

Tobacco & Slavery

When America was in the process of colonization by European powers who began settling their people there, they required large numbers of labors to work on their farms. Most of the people who were enslaved and sold in America were Africans. The transatlantic slave trade involved many millions of people, and its history and legacy have had an impact all over the world. There were European slave traders, ships’captains and sailors as well as African traders and the African people captured and enslaved. They cultivated the land which were highly fertile and produced crops in vast quantities. Colonizers saw that… Read More »Tobacco & Slavery

Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Lascars were sailors on the European ships mostly on the British ships when the European powers were locked in great tussle for taking control of the routes and spices found in India. The British finally ousted all others and took control of India, first as East India Company and from 1857’s mutiny onwards for almost 100 years as British India Empire. The term “Lascar” is derived from Persian word “Lashkar” which means army or a group of soldiers. They worked on the foreign ships under Lascar agreement which gave the owners more powers under which lascars could be shifted from… Read More »Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Dean Mahomet: The founder of First Curry in UK

Sheik Dean Mahomet is credited with being the first Indian to open a Curry House in UK in the year 1810 and it was called Hindoostane Coffee House. It was situated in George Street of central London. It introduced Hookah in England and served Indian culinary dishes. The premises is now a building called Carlton House. To many who are now part of the city’s expansive curry house business, Mahomet was a pioneer. Mr Mahomed’s plan had been to serve “Indianised” British food which would appeal to the Indian aristocracy in London as well as British people who had returned… Read More »Dean Mahomet: The founder of First Curry in UK

Plants used for Medicinal Purposes

The different parts of many plants have been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes. History records many such observations. The first plant is Caesalpinia pulcherrima  plant. It is commonly seen in India. The studies note, contains compounds that have powerful antiviral benefits, especially effective against human herpes viruses and adenoviruses, which cause the common cold. Caesalpinia pulcherrima prevents these viruses from replicating. Other recent studies demonstrate that extracts from the flower, stem, leaf, fruit, root, and seed of Caesalpinia pulcherrima are also effective against wheezing, bronchitis, malarial infection, tuberculosis, other bacteria, fungi, and some parasites.’ (Counter, 2006) It is… Read More »Plants used for Medicinal Purposes

Harappa Culture

In the early part of 3rd millennium, three great civilizations developed nearly simultaneously on Nile, Euphrates & Indus rivers. We know a great deal about the first two because they have left us written records in the form of papyrus scrolls or long engravings on stones. People of Indus valley did not left hardly any written records except few inscriptions on the seals. So knowledge about Indus valley civilization is incomplete. Archaeologists call this civilization Harappa culture after the modern name of the place in Punjab located on the left bank of river Ravi. Meohenjo Daro, the second city, is… Read More »Harappa Culture

Dehradun in Pictures

Dehradun is situated in a valley and a part of the region called Kedarkhand. It lies between Himalayas & Shivalik hills. Shivalik hills are named after God Shiva who is revered very much because this God’s adobe is at Mount Kailash in Himalayas. The weather here is generally very cold during winters due to its proximity to Himalayas. But it does not experience fog much as compared to the plains. Also there is not much breeze and weather is sunny and pleasant during the day. All around the city, there are beautiful places endowed with natural beauty. The weather is… Read More »Dehradun in Pictures