Personality

Benzene: The Dream of Kekule:

Continuing the subject of dreams, it is pertinent to mention that lucid dreams had helped many to make great discoveries and inventions. Since my subject is chemistry, I will touch upon one such famous dream which laid the foundation for understanding the structure and chemistry of  aromatic compounds. As every one versed with chemistry knows, the benzene is the starting compound of aromatic compounds. Its structure was derived by Kukule’. His full name was Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz. Benzene was analyzed to have 6 carbon and 6 hydrogen atoms. Existing formula of all the organic compounds did not fit… Read More »Benzene: The Dream of Kekule:

Doyen of Assamese Films

Assam and its sister states namely Meghalya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland jointly called 7 sisters once upon a time constituted only one state and were known as Assam only. Like every other state and great diversity of cultures in India, Assam and its sister states have preserved their unique culture. One reason for this is lesser contact with rest of the country due to nature of terrain and Central government’s apathy for years. Despite being very rich in resources, the area has not seen the prosperity due to it. The most important ingredients for an area to… Read More »Doyen of Assamese Films

Professor Yasmin Saikia

One day a program on Ahoms-the kings who ruled the state of Assam for almost 700 years-was telecast on Doordarshan TV. It talked about how Tai Ahoms came to Assam from Yunnan province and settled here bewitched by the natural beauty of the land. I have been to the place and stayed there for 3 years and I can vouch for the fact. Although they ruled the state for such a long period, adopted the language of the region, married into the local inhabitants, the truth about the history is not all that clear. I searched on Google and the… Read More »Professor Yasmin Saikia

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier, son of a wealthy lawyer,  was a social climber, tax collector and widely held to be the founder of modern chemistry. He was born in 1743 and was put to guillotine in 1794 on the charges of selling the adulterated tobacco which was a luxury and was very costly. It came from colonies in South America established by Europeans and employed black people as captives. He discovered oxygen gas and named it so. Joseph Priestly, English scientist had also discovered this gas but named it “dephlogisticated air“. Both knew that the gas was closely associated with combustion in… Read More »Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Gautam Buddha

Gautam Buddha is the founder of Buddhism, the religion practiced by millions in this world. Hindu religion considers him as an avatar of Vishnu. He was born to Mahamaya the chief wife of King Suddhodhana of Sakyas. His mother had a dream in which she was carried by demigods to divine lake called Anavatapa in Himalayas. She was bathed by heavenly guardians. A great white elephant holding a lotus in his trunk came and entered her side. The dream was interpreted by king’s astrologers that a child would be born to her who shall either become a great emperor or… Read More »Gautam Buddha

Bhupen Hazarika

During the course of my postings in different places of the country, I was in Sibsagar, which is very important town in the upper Assam. It was once upon a time the capital of Ahom Kings who entered the Assam from Myanmar. They established their capital first in a place called Cheraideo which is nearby Sibsagar. Sibsagar itself was established by the Ahom king Shiv Singh. All around Sibsagar you will see many temples called Dols and Lakes which reminds you about the times of Ahoms. From this land of mystery and pristine natural beauty hails the most original composer… Read More »Bhupen Hazarika

How much Land does a Man needs?

Leo Tolstoy is considered as the greatest writer. His mammoth novel “War and Peace” is considered as the masterpiece. I read it long ago when I was doing my master’s degree. One of our friends gave me the jacket version containing two volume. At first its sheer size was so domineering as to deter me from attempting the reading. I went first for Anna Karenina and some of his stories. He hailed from a aristocratic family. In his youth he is said to be a spoiled youth. But in the later life, he relinquished all his possessions, handed over the… Read More »How much Land does a Man needs?

Leo Tolstoy and His Nagging Wife

The fame, popularity, money, property and genius is not a guarantee for a happy married life. As it was true in the case of Albert Einstein, it is true in case Leo Tolstoy, one of the world’s greatest writers. He wrote masterpieces like War and Peace and Anna Karenina. War and Peace ranks amongst the first 5 greatest novels of all time. It deals with the condition of aristocratic society of Russia at the time of Napoleon’s attack. Tolstoy’s early life was full of gambling, boozing and licentiousness though a struggle in his inner mind for shunning this life was… Read More »Leo Tolstoy and His Nagging Wife

Viramamunivar alias Father Costanzio Beschi: Great Tamil Poet

Perhaps the greatest literary figure in Later Tamil poetry was Viramamunivar (1680-1747). Actually it was the pen name of Father Costanzio Beschi, an Italian Jesuits who taught for 36 years in Tamil country. Like many early Christian missionaries, he lived in wholly Indian fashion and attained a complete mastery over the Tamil language and literary conventions. It is doubtful if any European before or since has gained so profound a knowledge of an Indian language. Beschi’s long poem “Tembavani” tells the stories from the Old and New Testaments in ornately beautiful Tamil. His style and the treatment of his themes… Read More »Viramamunivar alias Father Costanzio Beschi: Great Tamil Poet

Chandragupta Maurya

When Alexander the great entered Indian subcontinent he crossed Hindu Kush occupied Kabul  and reached Indus and crossed it, it was 326 BCE. The land of India thus attracted outsiders since times immemorial. Omphis, the king of Taxila had already submitted without much resistance. Beyond Jhelum river was the land ruled by warlike king of Punjab, Porus. Alexander was with great difficulty able to defeat Porus in a surprise attack. Porus was captured  and brought before his conqueror. Porus was said to be very tall and handsome man. At the time he was brought before Alexander, he had nine wounds… Read More »Chandragupta Maurya