15 Aug : India’s Independence celebrations

We all very well know that India got its independence today in 1947. This is a very special moment for every Indian. We celebrate this day with a bang every year.

But, I just want to request you all – While reading this, please make a list of our achievements as a nation, as a democracy and as a country. 

It was midnight when finally India achieved it’s Independence. The same time Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was delivering a speech – “Tryst with Destiny”. It was delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly in The Parliament, on the eve of India’s Independence, towards midnight on 15 August 1947. It focuses on the aspects that transcend India’s history.

Speech
Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.

The appointed day has come—the day appointed by destiny—and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow-stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation, who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.

We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.

And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.

JAI HIND.

— Jawaharlal Nehru, On the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947 (Fordham University)

#Hindi
1947 में आज भारत.. अंग्रेज़ों से आज़ाद हुआ था…भारत के इतिहास में इसे सबसे बड़ा और महत्वपूर्ण दिन माना जाता है… 1947 में आज ही के दिन ..देश के पहले प्रधानमंत्री जवाहर लाल नेहरू ने.. अपना मशहूर भाषण tryst with destiny दिया था…ये भाषण 14 और 15 अगस्त के बीच… आधी रात को….संसद के सेंट्रल हॉल में दिया था… इस भाषण की एक मशहूर लाइन ये थी कि इस समय आधी रात को जब दुनिया सो रही है.. तब स्वतंत्र भारत अपनी आंखें खोल रहा है…

वैसे आज भारत के साथ साथ 3 और देश अपना स्वतंत्रता दिवस मनाते हैं…ये तीन देश हैं कोरिया, बहरीन और Republic of congo…

14 Aug : What a beauty contest it was….

Today beauty pageants are being judged by robots. Also, robots are participating as beauty queens.

It was almost 109 years ago that the term beauty pageant and its concept came into existence. Today is the anniversary of the first ever international beauty pageant. The idea was brought to the world by Edwardian entrepreneur Robert Forsyth, the managing director of the Pier. And we must say… what an idea !

The first winner was Nellie Jarman from London, who became Miss Folkestone 1908.

Though it was first of its kind but the journey to the crown was not that easy. 
Initial judging was done from photos of the 350 contestants, 21 of whom were chosen for the finals. It is believed that the contestants were kept out of the reach of the World. The finalists were not allowed to be seen by people – they lived in a separate wing and were driven in closed carriages to the hall, where their charms were judged.
Also, the first beauty contest did not have a swimsuit round. It was only in 1921, that the girls were judged in swimsuits in Miss America contest.

#Hindi
दुनिया का पहला beauty contest आज 1908 में England के Folkestone (फोकस्टोन) में हुआ था. इस पहली कोशिश ने ही भविष्य में Miss Universe और Miss World जैसे आयोजनों के लिए ज़मीन तैयार कर दी थी. इस contest में 21 प्रतिभागी थी… जिनमें से लंदन की Nellie Jarman को Miss Folkestone का खिताब मिला.

14 Aug : Vehicle registration has a history too

How many of you have wondered about – how these cars get their number plates ? Specially how the digits, numbers and alphabets are organised without any symmetry ?

This is difficult to understand, so, let’s not get into these details. But one thins you must know that when and how the first motor vehicle got it’s registration number ?

The first motor vehicle registration plates were introduced in the Department of the Seine, France, by a police ordinance of August 14, 1893.

The scheme was extended to the whole of France by a decree of September 30,1901. It was applied to all vehicles capable of exceeding 30 kilometres per hour speed. By that time registration plates were already mandatory throughout Belgium.

For India, it is no different… 
The current format of the registration index consists of 4 parts :
– The first two letters indicate the state or Union Territory to which the vehicle is registered.
– The next two digit numbers are the sequential number of a district.
– The third part is a 4 digit number unique to each plate. A letter is prefixed when the 4 digit number runs out and then two letters and so on.
– The fourth part is an international oval “IND” and above it a hologram having a Chakra.

#Hindi
1893 में आज दुनिया में पहली बार वाहनों के registration की प्रक्रिया france में शुरू हुई थी. इसी के साथ गाड़ियों पर नंबर प्लेट लगाने की शुरुआत हुई थी. धीरे-धीरे इस प्रक्रिया को हर उस गाड़ी के लिए मान्य कर दिया गया… जो तीस किलोमीटर प्रति घंटे की रफ्तार से ज़्यादा तेज़ी से चलती है.

13 August : The story of ‘Stainless steel’

Stainless steel was produced for the first time today in 1913.
Credit goes to English metallurgist Harry Brearley.
He discovered that adding chromium to molten iron produced a metal that did not rust. This gave new life to the steel industry.
The efforts behind the discovery :
Basic problem encountered by an arms manufacturer was erosion of internal diameter of rifle barrels. This was due to heating and discharge gases. When Brearley was told about this he started looking for a steel better resistance to erosion than corrosion. After a series of experiments, he finally found the way out. Using first the crucible process, and then more successfully an electric furnace, a number of different melts of 6 to 15% chromium with varying carbon contents were made. The first true stainless steel was finally melted. It contained 0.24% carbon and 12.8% chromium. At that time, the steel was called ‘rustless steel’. Later, a local cutlery manufacturer Ernest Stuart gave the name ‘stainless steel’.

#Hindi 
1913 में आज ब्रिटिश धातु विज्ञानी Harry Brearley ने पहली बार stainless steel को बनाया था. उस समय इस खास मिश्रित धातु यानी alloy को “rustless steel” यानी ज़ंग ना लगने वाले steel के नाम से जाना जाता था. बाद में इसे stainless Steel कहने का सुझाव उस समय के एक local cutlery manufacturer, Ernest Stuart ने दिया था.

12 Aug : Sewing was not so easy before

Do you remember this ? singertailordeluxe1423814733

Edward_Harrison_May_-_Isaac_Merrit_Singer_-_Google_Art_Project

Old memories… The Singer Sewing Machine 
It was the first user friendly sewing machine. American inventor and entrepreneur Isaac Merritt Singer, made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Today in 1951, Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

The first sewing machine was patented in 1755. It was a double pointed needle with an eye at one end.
In 1790, the English inventor Thomas Saint invented the first sewing machine design, but he did not successfully advertise or market his invention.
The first practical and widely used sewing machine was invented by Barthélemy Thimonnier, a French tailor, in 1829.
The first machine to combine all the disparate elements of the previous half-century of innovation into the modern sewing machine, was the device built by English inventor John Fisher in 1844 for the processing of lace materials.

#Hindi
1851 में आज अमेरिकी आविष्कारक Isaac Singer को अपनी सिलाई मशीन के लिए patent मिला था.  Isaac Singer ने अपने sir name पर Singer Sewing Machine Company की शुरुआत भी की थी.

11 Aug : Expansion of India – Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a union territory in Western India. It is composed of two separate geographical entities: Dadra which is surrounded by Gujarat and Nagar Haveli, wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat. Silvassa is the capital of Dadar and Nagar Haveli.

This large part of land has historical importance. In pre modern and medieval times this land was ruled by the Maratha rulers. They signed treaties with Portuguese to safeguard the region from Mughals and British forces. In return they were offered to collect tax from the villages of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Portuguese became the sole ruler of the region after Marathas lost the battle of Panipat. The territory was under Portuguese influence till 1954, later it was annexed by India. Most interesting part is that none of Indian armed forces was involved in this action. Civilians and some nationalist organisations did the needful.

#Hindi
1961 में आज दादरा और नगर हवेली का भारत में विलय हुआ था और इसे केंद्रशासित प्रदेश बनाया गया था । इस केंद्रशासित प्रदेश की राजधानी सिलवासा है । यहां इसके इतिहास को भी समझने की ज़रूरत है। 1772 में दादरा और नगर हवेली पर मराठाओं का शासन था , ये वही समय था जब मराठाओं ने Santana नाम के पुर्तगाली जंगी जहाज़ पर कब्ज़ा करते हुए उसे नष्ट कर दिया था । इस नुकसान की भरपाई करने के लिए 1779 में मराठाओं ने पुर्तगाल के साथ एक समझौते पर हस्ताक्षर किए। जिसके तहत पुर्तगाल को Dadra और Nagar Haveli के 72 गांवों से राजस्व वसूलने का अधिकार दिया गया । 1818 तक Dadra और Nagar Haveli पर मराठा शासन कमज़ोर हुआ और वहां पुर्तगालियों के शासन की शुरुआत हुई । जो 1954 तक जारी रहा।

10 Aug : Calculating time would not have been that easy

The Royal Greenwich Observatory or RGO foundation stone was laid today in london in 1675.
It has two major contributions to the navigation system.
1. The line that divides the earth into two hemisphere, the Prime Meridian is at the Royal Greenwich Observatory or RGO.

Prime Meridian at Royal Greenwich Observatory
Prime Meridian at Royal Greenwich Observatory

2. The observatory gave us a standardised method of measuring time.

440px-Greenwich_clock
Greenwich clock with standard measurements

Both these systems are quite technical, but at the same time very interesting. Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The original cost of the Royal Observatory in 1675 was £520 i.e. ₹45281, which was actually £20 i.e. ₹1741 over-budget.

#Hindi
1675 में आज Royal Greenwich Observatory की स्थापना लंदन में हुई थी. Royal Greenwich Observatory का प्रयोग मुख्य रुप से navigation और खगोल विज्ञान के लिए किया जाता है. पूरी दुनिया को पूर्वी और पश्चिमी यानी दो हिस्सों में बांटने वाली prime meridian रेखा, इसी Royal Greenwich Observatory से  गुज़रती है.

9 Aug : Why “Leaning” Tower of Pisa ?

Nobody knew when they started constructing the tower that one day this tower would become world famous because of its faulty design. But it happened and today we all admire this beautiful tower. It’s the Leaning tower of Pisa.

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The structure was designed by Italian architect Bonnano Pisano. It took almost 200 years to build this structure. Construction started today in 1173, but the tower began to lean on one side by the time its builders got to the second floor in 1178. This was due to the soft ground. And that’s how a small fault created history.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has eight floors and is 183 feet tall. Visitors can climb the tilted staircase to upper levels of the tower and enjoy the slanted view of the world from the top. The tower is made out of white marble and features arched columns on the first seven floors that allow for an open ring of walk-space around the central chamber. A spiral staircase of 294 steps winds through the core of the building to the observation deck on top. The top floor is home to seven large bells that are tuned to the major scale.

#Hindi
1173 में आज ही के दिन पीसा की मीनार बननी शुरू हुई थी. इसे बनने में दो शताब्दियां लगीं थीं. इटली के मूर्तिकार बोनानो पिसानो ने 1173 में पीसा की मीनार का डिज़ाइन तैयार किया था. महज़ 4 साल में ही जब टॉवर की दूसरी मंज़िल का निर्माण हो रहा था, ये खुद ब खुद एक तरफ झुकने लगी थी. फिर भी इसका निर्माण जारी रखा गया और कुछ एहतियात लेते हुए बाकी की मंज़िलें भी बनाई गईं, और देखते ही देखते एक छोटी सी गड़बड़ ने इतिहास बना दिया.

8 Aug : ‘Mimeo’ – The pre-printing era

With the advent of latest technology and Electronic media, Printing is a yesteryear story. But it has a significance even today. Much before printing and photocopying, mimeograph was patented by Thomas Alva Edison. It was today in 1876 the printing world had its beginning.

Mimeograph machine or mimeo, is a low-cost duplicating machine that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. The technique is not of much use today.

Benefits : It was cheap, design friendly and did not require any skills to operate. Thus, the mimeograph machine became popular with the launch.

How it works : The stencil is wrapped around the ink drum then a piece of paper is drawn between the rotating drum and a pressure roller. Ink is forced through the holes on the stencil onto the paper.

Use : The mimeograph was used to created letters and symbols that made illustrations and art.

Mimeo-Graph today : There are still companies that make and sell highly automated mimeograph-like machines that are similar to photocopiers. The modern version contains a scanner, a thermal head for stencil cutting, and a large roll of stencil material inside the unit. It can make the stencil and mount them to the print drum automatically. Latest in the series is the Risograph.
#Hindi
1876 में आज थॉमस एल्वा एडिसन को अपने आविष्कार mimeo-graph के लिए patent मिला था। इसमें stencil और ink का इस्तेमाल किया जाता था। आधुनिक प्रिंटिंग प्रेस और प्रिंटर इसी mimeo-graph के विस्तार से बने हैं। प्रिंटिंग की कम लागत और अपने सरल design की वजह ये काफी लोकप्रिय था।

7 Aug : End of a Poetic Centenary

‘Gurudev’, that’s what the world calls him. He died today in 1941.
Rabindranath_Tagore_unknown_locationRabindranath Tagore, a writer, poet, musician and painter, is known for his noble prize winning creation ‘Gitanjali’, a collection of Bengali poems. He wrote his first poem at the age of 7. When he was 19, his first collection of poems ‘Bhanusimha’ was published.  His creations from ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ to our national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ to Bangladesh’s national anthem ‘Amar Sonar Baanglaa’  are out of this world. Unknown
Freedom from fear is the freedom
I claim for you my motherland! 

#Hindi
आज 1941 में मशहूर लेखक रबिंद्रनाथ टैगोर का निधन हो गया था. लेखन की हर विधा में रबिंद्रनाथ टैगोर ने अपनी छाप छोड़ी और उनकी रचना गीतांजलि के लिए उन्हें नोबेल पुरस्कार से सम्मानित किया गया था. उन्होंने रबिंद्र संगीत की रचना भी की थी. 8 साल की उम्र में टैगोर ने पहली कविता लिखी और 19 साल की उम्र में उन्होंने अपनी कविताओं का संग्रह ‘भानुसिम्हा’ प्रकाशित किया. उन्होंने ना सिर्फ हमारे देश के राष्ट्र गान ‘जन गण मन’ की रचना की बल्कि बांग्लादेश के राष्ट्रगान ‘अमार शोनार बांग्ला’ के लेखक भी वही थे. जलियांवाला बाग़ हत्याकांड के बाद 1919 में रबिंद्रनाथ टैगोर ने अंग्रेज़ों द्वारा दिए गए knighthood को लौटा दिया था. ‘गीतांजलि’ और ‘गोरा’ उनकी अनमोल रचनाओं में शामिल हैं. इसके अलावा उनकी लिखी तमाम कहानियों पर फिल्में भी बनाई गई हैं. जिसमें बिमल रॉय की ‘काबुलीवाला’, गुलज़ार की ‘लेकिन’, सत्यजीत रे की ‘घरे-बायरे’ और चारुलता और रितुपर्णों घोष की ‘चोखेर बाली’ शामिल हैं.