Monthly Archives: April 2015

Searching the elusive Saraswati !!!!!

We have been taught in our school about Indus Valley civilization and how it was replaced by arrival of the people from west which have been called Aryans. That the Indus Valley civilisation was spread between Indus  and Yamuna rivers. Exacavation at many locations established many huge settlements like Harrapa in Pakistan side punjab and Mohenjodaro in Sind district. But it is not the end. So many sites have been established belonging to this civilisation throughout North India beginning from plains of Punjab and Haryana to as far south as Dholavira in the Kutcch coastal area of gujarat.

This civilisation thus was spread into the fertile flat plains served by many rivers like five rivers of Punjab, Indus River, Yamuna river and so many of their tributaries. These are perennial rivers with the origin in the glaciers of Himalayas. They bring about huge supply of water as well as rich alluvial soil. Thus the area is suitable for agriculture.

The civilisation is said to highly advanced as is evident from the town and unban planning, sanitary system, baths, water harvesting and trade with many countries in the west. But even then it is said that these people did not develop any language or whatever symbols are there still have not being interpreted.

Then it is also said that one fine day this civilisation disappeared. There are many theories like inundations due to changing course of the rivers which cannot happen short time. Another very strong reason is the invasion of these areas by fair colored people from the west. These are said to be pastoral people rearing cattles and riding chariots driven by horses. These were the people who are called Aryans and since they vanquished the native dark colored people who were pushed south wards or those remained were obliged to be inferior to their conquerors.

It is also said that the Vedas are their creation. How the pastoral people can create such profound literature? In these Vedas, another river figures prominently or rather dominates. It is river Saraswati. This river is said to have been responsible for the developments of the civilisation along its banks. It is said to be flowing between Satluj and Yamuna and going all the way down towards Sind after merging with Ghaggar river and then Hakra river combinedly called Ghaggar Hakra river.

Ghaggar which is sometimes synonym with Saraswati still exists but even the Vedas mention that at the Saraswati has dried down at many places is elusive today. It is definitely not the elusive third river of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati trio which does not fit the route mentioned in the Vedas. Since so many of remains of Indus Valley civilisation have been discovered in Haryana like Rakhigarhi-which is said to be spread over the largest area than earlier sites like Harappa fall near the path said to had been followed by the Saraswati . This means that Vedas existed at the time of Indus Valley civilisation people and invasion theory is not plausible. Many scholars like Michel Danino agree with this theory in his book “The lost river: on the trail of the Saraswati“. The following map is proposed by him.

But many like Doctor R.C.Thakran, professor of history at university of Delhi  who has done research on the geological and soil aspects of areas along the Ghaggar river contest the existence of river as being responsible for giving rise to such a big civilisation. It is too small a river with its catchment area in the lower Shivaliks. Thus at the most , this must have been a season river. The variation in the moisture content of the soil in the dry beds decline sharply with the distance travelled indicating that flow was not large enough so as to saturate the subsoil equally all along. Sediments are identical to those of Shivalik hills in composition indicating the source in the Shivaliks. Anyway the present reality is that river is not visible anywhere.

But government in Haryana is bent on its revival. Based on the scriptures, it will excavate the river said path to revive the past Aryan glory with which we North Indian identify ourselves. There are plans to pump the water from underground through tube wells into the excavated river.

According to the report the work is already begun. As reported in the times of India newspaper reproduced below.

As part of its attempt to revive Saraswati river, Haryana government on Tuesday initiated excavation work at Rolaheri village in Yamunanagar district.

Inaugurating the work, Haryana assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal said the project would once again take the culture and heritage of India to the golden period. Officials say that south Indian scholar Dr Ratnakar has shown interest in initiating the work on the project.”

Let us hope to be positive. But the conclusions based on the facts not the sentiments.

 

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Ten Worst Mistakes in History

Everyone makes mistakes but the following fatal mistakes caused huge losses to the individuals or companies. These mistakes are mostly of financial nature. These were published in the Economics Times of India.
10 worst mistakes in History
1. Turning down J.K Rowling: 12 publishing houses rejected Harry Potter’s manuscript before Bloomsbury took her on the advice of company chairman daughter. Rowling has earned $ 1billion till now.

Rowling

Rowling

2. Throwing away that Bitcoin portfolio: James Howells bought 7500 bitcoins in 2009 when their value was next to nothing. The stock value rose to $911 per Bitcoin in 2013 giving James Howells a portfolio of worth $6.7 million. Only trouble was that he had thrown the hard drive away without a minute thought. Read “The Guardian Story”.

bitcoin

James Howell

3. Not buying Google for $1 million: Larry Page and Sergei Bin went to sell the search engine to Excite CEO George Bell in 1999. Bell rejected the offer and now the value of Google is $365 billion.

google

4. Not shooting the Hitler: In 1914 the British soldier Henry Tandey came across the injured and unarmed lance corporal Adolf Hitler in a ditch but decided not to kill a soldier in cold blood.

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5. Selling 610000 shares instead of 1: In 2005 a Japanese trader cost J-COM Co., Ltd. company $190 million after a so called “fat finger” trade in which he sold 610000 shares for 1 yen instead of selling 1 share for 610000 yen as he was supposed to do.
6. Angering Genghis Khan: Genghis Khan sought to open diplomatic and trade relations with Ala ad din Muhammad the shah of neighboring Khwarejmid Empire, modern Iran during 13th century. After offer was rejected and a diplomat of Khan was beheaded, Khan attacked the kingdom with 2,00,000 strong army and utterly destroyed the empire.
7. Turning down Brian Acton and Jan Koum for a job: Facebook rejected them in a job interview in 2009 and a few years later Facebook paid $19 billion for “Whatsapp” which the duo founded after being rejected.

whatsapp_founders_ceo_freetouse

8. Ordering trains that were too wide: France spent $15 billion on a fleet of trains this year. Unfortunately they were too wide for 1300 platforms across the country requiring 50 million Euros to fix.
9. Signing Brian Poole and the Tremeloes: In 1962, record studio Decca auditioned two bands in their London studio deciding to sign Brian Poole and Tremeloes. The band they rejected was 4-piece outfit from Liverpool called Beatles.

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10. Misspelling a company name: Company sued British government for pound 9 million after a clerical error inserting a rouge “s” in the name causing the wrong company being named for liquidation. The company to be sued for was called Taylor and Son Taylor and Son and with additional s became Taylor and Sons which collapsed after this wrong liquidation.

Travels along Morni Hills Road

Morni is a hill station about 55 kilometers away from Chandigarh. Morni in local language is referred to peahen. The name is derived from the name of girl of a local ruler. There were many small princely states all over Shiwalik hills. The rulers were mostly Rajputs many of whom owed allegiance to Mughals.  Morni hills were ruled by Rajputs from Sirmaur which is near Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.The place is situated in Shiwalik hills and can be reached through a road from Panchkula. The map of the road is given below:

The road is serpentine because hilly area begins just after crossing the Panchkula and after a continuous climb for about 20 kilometers from Panchkula, the path begins to descend. I have gone up to point where this descent begins.

There are hills covered with wild shrubs and trees including teak. When you begin the journey towards Morni from Panchkula there are hills covered with thorny acacia trees. Hordes of monkeys roam along the road. All day they are there squatting on edges of road and climbing on the adjacent trees. People who came to visit Shiva temple near Berwala, gave them banana and other eatables. This causes the menace to normal visitor who is afraid to get down.

On the way, is Gauri Shankar temple which is seldom open. It seems more of a private property of some Guru who enjoy immense clout over politicians rather than a public place as the temples are generally opened to public. After about 8 kilometers there is small bridge on a seasonal branch of Ghaggar river which is dry in the summers. There is a place with dense trees and foliage along the river which is marked as a bird sanctuary. But you have to be very patience for sighting the birds.

There are few fields where farmers can be seen working. The area beyond Panchkula suddenly takes on an idyllic character. Hills along gorges seem like walls of brown mud completely devoid of greenery except the exposed roots of some trees at the top. In these walls, one can see parrots clinging  on to the holes which they must have dug for raising their nests.

One can also come across, the men and women sitting in the cars stopped at different spots engaged in cavorting activities from the city giving slip to their legal partners. Groups of young boys and girls can be seen drinking and making merry. Due to the drunken driving in the hills many a times fatal accidents have been reported.

There are Langoors also hiding in the bushes and occasionally coming into open on the road or to cross the road. They seem to be shy of humans and avoid humans unlike the monkeys. There are many birds and trees which bear flowers and adorn the landscape.

Birds


Trees


Animals

Palash Flowers: The Fire of Jungle

Near Panchkula which is our native place are Shivalik hills. One of places in these hills is called Morni. The entire route is through hills and zigzag. There are streams passing through under the bridges. A number of wild trees and plants grow. It is a very picturesque site.

We go on to that route many times just for drive. There are hordes of monkeys and langoors. This time we went yesterday. There is a part of jungle adjoining a stream and lots of trees which is marked as bird habitat.

From the beginning of the hilly road, there were beautiful blossoms of trees called Palash. There season has just begun. At many places there are clumps of many of these trees. The intense light red colored flower bunches look as if jungle is on fire. There are very few leaves on these trees when they bloom. For more information on this flower. see my another blog post “Flame of Forest

A lots of insects and bees converge on these trees for nectar. Similarly many birds can be seen visiting these trees.

We took some shots…

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Sleep deprived school teenagers

When Bejamin Franklin coined this advice “Early to bed, early to rise”, perhaps  he did not have teens in his mind. Also back then in his days, the pressure of schooling was not much. Even in our times, life was non competitive and relaxed. This is not the case today. Kids began going to school very early on. 

It has been found that schools which start early morning, teens are not fresh. They find themselves tired and sleepy. Now the science has begun to unravel the chemistry behind the sleep. 

Our bodies follow a rhythmic cycle of 24 hours duration. During this cycle, our bodies undergo different changes. For example blood pressure is more in the day than during night. These activities are controlled by certain clocks called biological clocks which are produced in the brain. These rhythmic cycles are called circadian. 

One such chemical called melatonin is responsible for control of sleep. It is synthesised from an amino acid called tryptophan by action of enzymes. There is a intermediate product also which is called serotonin. Melatonin triggers the sleep. The reactions sequence is given below.



How the brain gets signals from the areas controlling eyes light and directs the production and breakdown of enzymes during night and day.



The production of enzymes especially SNAT which converts the serotonin to melatonin depends upon the time of the 24 hours cycle. As the sun goes down, it’s production begins to increase and so is the production of sleep inducing melatonin. During night time, it is bound to a phosphate ion which results in its high stability. As the morning comes, the enzyme begins to degrade and our brain signals wakefullness. 

It so happens that the production of SNAT and melatonin in teens happens 2 to 3 hours later than children and adults, so teen find it difficult to go to sleep early. Since teens on average require 9 hours of sleep, going to bed late means deprivation of sleep. This results in laziness, sad mood, and poor performance in class. 

In USA , many schools have changed the starting time to late that is around half past eight and found the rise in the performance of the teens and cheerful attitude. 

Soirée of birds

It finally seems that winter is over. The days have become longer and time seems to be lingering. The light seems to be blinding the eyes. Poplars which were bald during the winter have acquired the sparkling green leaves hiding their skeletons. Every other plant and tree has stirred to life.

There is a large increase in the numbers of birds like pigeons, parrots, mynas and others whose names are not known. This is due to the maturing of wheat crops. Many birds can be seen making nests frantically to lay eggs and continue their future generations to gain immortality of their genes by passing them on to coming generations.

In front of our home, there are meadows and water bodies around which the tall grasses and other bushes and vegetation abounds. Ducks and bittern can be seen in these waters. The tall bushes and grasses also provide the roosting place to many kinds of birds except pigeons which have colonised the buildings along with human beings.

Everyday when evening approaches, I sit in the balcony to watch the sky in the west getting coppery red with the sun going down until it dips behind the buildings in the west. Eagles roam the sky. Once in a while a hawk can be seen hovering steadily in a point in the sky pinpointing its prey on the land and descending with blinding fury.

But most beautiful scene is when small groups of birds fly in patterns sometimes going up, then down, left and right. Another group starts from another location and after graceful flight in the sky separate gtoups coalesce and become a single group. Then another and another groups come and join them. 

Why they do it every evening? Is it a sort of get together and show to bonding? Must be they share their experiences during the day and take stock of their flock. After meeting again they get separated to find their roosting places for the night. God only knows. 

This goes on and as it becomes more and more dark, these groups break and settle in the bushes around the water bodies, trees in the fields. Although it is very difficult to photograph them because of their sheer mobility and unpredictable changes in the direction still some photographs I have taken and shown below.





Resolution is not to the point but still the observation is proved.

88 th Marathi literary festival in Ghuman Punjab

This year 88th Marathi Literary Festival was celebrated thousands mile away from Maharashtra in a non descriept village called Ghuman in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. Looks surprising why? The reason is that this village has an important link with Maharastra. Great saint Namdev came here during his wanderings and remained here for 18 years. He is said to have born in Naras-Vamani village of Satara district in Maharashtra, Bhagat Namdev. It was during 12 to 13 century but there are doubts. Anyway it was before the founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak was born. image Imagine about 800 years ago how the saint must have travelled nearly 2000 kilometres when the means of transportation were few and far between. And also why he chose this place only. During these years saint preached here about the one god and leave the bad customs like casteism plaguing the society here. 

In one of his compositions , he tells the God, how he was thrown out from the temple as he belonged to lower caste. He himself beseeches the God why He had ordained him to be born in the family of cloth dyers which is considered low caste. He tells God that he has returned out from your temple and sitting at the backside of the temple. Full poem in Gurumukhi with English meaning is reproduced below.



 People here still rever him. His teachings were so pious that 61 of his Shabads were included in Adi Granth , the holy book of Sikhs by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth guru of Sikhs.