East India Company

Aloe vera

Aloe has a very long history of use. The sap was used medicinally by the Greeks and Romans, who obtained it from the island of Socotra. The Greek physician Dioscorides recorded the use of the leaves to treat wounds in the first century AD. Aloe had reached England by the 10th century, where it appears to have been one of the drugs recommended to Alfred the Great by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In the early part of the 17th century, the records of the East India Company show payments for aloe being made to the King of Socotra, who held… Read More »Aloe vera

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

Kallianwala Khooh: Another Example of British Brutality

Once upon a time, It was said that sun never set on the British empire. They colonised most of the world and plundered all kind of wealth by making the innocent inhabitants their slaves. India was subjected to this treatment for two centuries. In this process of subjugation, those who tried to oppose, were subjected to heinous crimes. One such famous incidence in firing on the unarmed and peaceful thousands of people in the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar Punjab. Another instance of their brutality came to light in the same district at Ajnala. There was a well called Kallianwala Khoo… Read More »Kallianwala Khooh: Another Example of British Brutality

Kanoji Angre

There is no doubt about the fact that Shivaji was a great hero. Why I am saying was, he was, he is, and always will remain in the hearts of Indians. Some say he was Hindu king but that is not true. He looked upon his people without any discrimination. But the qualities I admire him for are his bravery, fearlessness and presence of mind. Otherwise, who can even imagine that any person who is in clutches of such a mighty emperor as Aurangzeb at Agra could make his escape good from a place which is thousands of miles away… Read More »Kanoji Angre

Assam Tea

I first went to Silchar in 1987 in connection with my job posting there. It is a border district of Assam with Bangladesh. It is in the Barak valley and very poorly connected to rest of India. Most of outside people who go there are from Defense, Government employees and tea garden managers who are entitled to airfare from Kolkata. Air journey reduces the tiring circuitous journey by train through upper Assam which takes at least 2 days. It takes about an hour and for most of its flight, airplane flies over Bangladesh. I boarded a flight from Kolkata which… Read More »Assam Tea

Chessboard and Wheat Puzzle

Game of chess is a cerebral game. It is a game of strategy, advanced planning and endless possibilities. A chess player becomes so engrossed in it that he forgets about his other activities. Such was the condition of the main characters in the Satyajit Rays movie “Satranj ke Khilari”. The story is set in the reign if Nawab Wajid Ali of Lucknow and how by hook or crook the British East India Company took over the princely Avadh on the pretext that a king who is engrossed in licentious activities like dancing with nautch girls and singing cannot look after… Read More »Chessboard and Wheat Puzzle