Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Conflict Diamonds (Part 2)

The word ‘Blood Diamonds’ is used for those diamonds which are illegally mined, sold and the money earned from it is used to purchase arms. Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, The Democratic Republic of Congo, The Republic Of Congo were the places where illegal diamond mining was done. To check such activities Angola was put under U.N. sanctions in 1998 forbidding other countries buying diamonds from it. In Sierra Leone following the U.N. mediation led to the signing of the agreement between the government and Revolutionary United Front (RUF) known as Lome Peace Agreement. Liberia also faced U.N. sanctions in 2001, same happened in the other areas. Now there is peace in these areas.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Conflict Diamonds (Part 1)

Panning for diamonds in Sierra Leone.

The word ‘Diamond’ has been derived from a greek word “adamas” , which means unconquerable. Diamonds are made of pure carbon and are so far the hardest natural substance known to man.
Diamonds are since long symbols of social status. Every famous diamond of the world has a sorrow tale to tell as many people have died to own it and many have died to steal it. These gems can be transparent, truculent white, yellow, green, blue, or brown. Diamonds have played a great role in many battles and have given birth to human tragedies.
Diamond was first discovered in India and Borneo in the river beds and later on in the eighteenth century in Brazil. In Africa they were discovered between December 1866 and February 1867 on the south bank of the Orange River. After the discovery, within 15 years the African mines produced more than what India had produced for the last 2000 years. This increase meant that the prices of diamond would not fall as there was a sharp decline in the production of Brazil.
Diamonds are found 150 Km. below the earth’s surface. The diamonds make their way up the surface captured within liquid hot rock or magma. Once they reach the surface diamonds can be found in volcanic pipes called kimberlite pipes or in loose mineral deposits called alluvial deposits.
Alluvial deposits are created by diamond pipe erosion and are easily excavated. They require very little financial capital to be invested in the removal. This is due to the fact that they are often found in riverbeds and along the coast and they do not require highly advanced mining techniques nor due they require a large amount of human capital. The simplest method of mining alluvial deposits is with a shovel and a pan. With this method diamonds and soil are shoveled into a hand held pan where they are separated by agitation and shorted by eye. More advanced methods of mining use large machinery that moves the alluvial in to large shorting pans that send different densities to smaller picking tables followed by a grease table. Since diamonds are mostly water repellent, they are sorted in alluvial deposits by using grease. While other minerals develop a water coding and slide of the grease, the water resistant diamonds stick to the grease and are collected. Mining kimberllite pipe requires a more advanced degree of mining technology and is more expensive. The first step in mining a kimberlite pipe is to dig the pit. In “open-pit” or “open-cast” mining, the layers of rock are dug up and eventually tunnels and pipe are build so the hard ore material can be removed with large hydraulic shovels and trucks. The hard rock is broken into pieces with shovels and other methods until the rock is small enough to be remove from the mine by truck. When the kimberlite ore is deep underground it must be removed by mining a series of underground shafts in the pipe that allow the ore to be carved off and make its way down the tunnel to a draw point. At these points the crushed ore is brought up to the surface for processing. Only about 20% of the world’s diamonds are taken from pipe mines, and the remaining 80% of diamonds are alluvial.
In 1866, the first diamonds in Africa were found. Before the discovery of diamonds in South Africa diamonds were very scarce and they were highly valued. Following the discovery of diamonds in Africa the production of diamonds increased tenfold in the next tens years.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The British hand in Dividing India

“For decades after 1885 communalism served as a second line
of defence of both imperialism and the reactionary forces.
But with the passage of time it became their chief
political and ideological instrument.”
(Bipan Chandra – one of the foremost historians of modern India)

British can be held responsible to a large extent for the partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947.It were they, who if did not fan the fire of communalism, did not even try to control it. Imperialists never acknowledged the responsibility and even some of the Indian historians don’t believe in it. According to them this theme was only used by the nationalists to rouse the people against the British.
To a certain extent they are right. British could not have been successful in sowing the seed of communal hatred if there would not have been something within the Indian society to provide the fertile soil. But it is also a fact that if there would have been a nationalist government in power than they would certainly had checked its growth. It did not happen so because British were in power and they wanted that Indians should continue to fight among themselves.
It was in the 19th century that the country witnessed a rise in the nationalist movement and also a nation in the making. Britishers were afraid because it produced a serious threat to their rule. Back home in Britain the number of people who questioned the British rule over India were increasing. In the beginning Britishers used to justify by using the terms such as --- White man’s burden, civilizing mission etc. With the passage of time these things lost their shine and the Britishers began looking for some other reason so as to justify their rule. So they fanned communal hatred and declared that they must continue to rule for the protection of the minorities.(If this was the reason why they did nothing to provide a safe passage to nearly 14.5 million people who had to migrate to the other side of the border during partition, out of which nearly 1 million died )
 If Hindus and Muslims would have been united then it would have been difficult for the british to continue their rule over India
 If they supported Muslim communalists this doesn’t mean that they were anti-Hindu. They only wanted to divide the Indians.
 After creating a wedge between Hindus and Muslims then they tried to bring regional communalism. Punjabis vs Bengali vs Bihari etc.
 They did not support Hindu communalism not because they had sympathy with the Muslims because support to the hindu communalism meant uniting nearly 80% of the population. This would have certainly strengthened the Indian National Congress(I.N.C.)
 The Britishers created following divisions :

• Hindus , Muslims and Sikhs
• Agricultural and non-agricultural classes
• Martial and non martial races
• Punjabi, Bengalis, Biharis etc.
• To divide Hindus they invented the term The Depressed classes
• Created divisions between the rural and urban population

When the things went out of control they decided to divide and quit, leaving all the mess to be cleared by the Indians themselves.

I would like to end with a couplet from a poem written on the plight of women during the partition days.

Ik royee si dhee Punjab di, tu likh maaray wein
Aj lakhaan Dhiyan rondiyan, Waris Shah noon Kehn…….

[When one daughter of Punjab cried, you cried a river over her
(by writing Heer)-Today thousands of them are crying – in vain –for your attention]
Amrita Pritam (One of the best known Punjabi Poetess)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Freedom and Partition of India

The red Boundry shows the pre-partitioned India

The partition of India led to the creation of Dominion of Pakistan(later Islamic Republic of Pakistan) on 14 August, 1947 and Union of India (later Republic of India) on 15 August, 1947.   
The partition came along with Freedom from the British rule. Thousands of people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their country could no have even imagined that one day their beloved country would be divided with so much bloodshed. 

In the next post I will be discussing the role of the British in dividing India.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

"The Great Arsenal of Democracy"

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The Great Arsenal of Democracy is one of the most famous of 30 speechse given by Roosevelt, then the President of America. The term Arsenal of Democracy was used by Roosevelt for Detroit (Michigan) where the auto industry had started to produce war goods for being supplied to Britain.The speech was given on December 29, 1940, the time when Nazi Germany had ran over almost all of the Europe with Britain only standing in way. Nazis had joined hands with Italy and Japan (Axis Powers). They were also collaborating with Soviet Russia.The speech was given to arouse the American people in suport of the war effort. America polity at that time was divided into Interventionists and Isolationasits. While the former supported the intervention into the war the later were against it. However the speech certainly helped to turn the wave in favour of the Interventionists.
The term 'Arsenal of Democracy' was not originally coined by Roosevelt but by Jean Monnet, who was working as the supply coordinator and economic liaison to the United States for the French government in exile. During a meeting withe Rossevelt he had coined the phrase but was asked to use the phrase again. Since then Roosevelt has got all the adulation for the phrase. He had used this celebrated phrase in the following lines:
"We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is
an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves
to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency,
the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war."
Note: for full text of the speech 'The Great Arsenal of Democracy' visit the following link :

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Female Education in India

“Education commences at the mother’s knee,
and every word spoken within the hearsay of little
children tends towards the formation of character.”

Female education in India is not a gift of modern civilization; we have brilliant tradition of it in our country. At least 20 women composed Rigvedic hymns. Gargi and Matreyi were the leading philosophers of the time. Women in the Vedic era so excelled in the sphere of education that even the deity of learning was conceived of as a female popularly known as ‘Saraswati’. Girls were allowed to enter in to Gurukuls along with boys. There are also instances of female ‘rishis’ such as Ghosa, Indrani, Urvashi etc. However, the status of women gradually declined during the post Vedic period. Child wives without education became the order of the day. The situation continued to decline till the coming of the British and the general national democratic awakening, which took place in India during the second half of the nineteenth century. The social reform movements which arose as a result of the interaction with the western civilization stressed on educating the women. The pioneering work of women’s education was done by such socio-religious reform bodies as Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna mission and also Danish, American, German and British missionary societies.
Jawahar Lal Nehru had once rightly said,

“Educate a man and you educate one person.
Educate a woman and you educate the whole family.”

Education, in reality, is the most valuable gift that parents can give to their daughter. If a girl is educated then she can also opt for a job if the need arises. So she would not be considered as a burden on the family. This would check the social evil of female foeticide. As an educated wife she would be interested in family planning as well. Studies have shown that illiterate women have high fertility and mortality rate. Many women prefer to have more children so that they could look after her in old age. But being educated she would certainly understand the advantages of a small family. Also being educated she would be able to participate in the day to day proceedings of the family. This would only add up one more voice and an opinion.
An educated mother would be more conscious about the health and hygiene of the family than her illiterate counterpart. Studies have proved that lack of education affects the general health of the family. Also infant mortality is inversely related to the educational level of the mother. For example, in Kerela female literacy ratio is highest (86%) and has lowest infant mortality rate with highest life expectancy. On the other hand in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where female literacy ratio is lowest, life expectancy is also lowest. Besides general health inculcating good moral values in her children would be one of the top priorities of any educated mother. In the long run, well brought up children are an asset which any society would love to possess. This is how the civilization moves.

Friday, June 29, 2007

List of Presidents of India

01  Dr. Rajendra Prasad                   January 30, 1950-May 13, 1962
02  Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan         May 13, 1962- May 13, 1967
03  Dr. Zakir Hussain                       May 13, 1967- May 3, 1969
*     Varahagiri Venkata Giri            May 3, 1969-July 20, 1969
*     Muhammad Hidayatullah         July 20, 1969- August 24, 1969
04  Varahagiri Venkata Giri            August 24, 1969-August 24, 1974
05  Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed       August 24, 1974-February 11, 1977
*     Basappa Danappa Jatti             February 11, 1977-July 25, 1977
06  Neelam Sanjiva Reddy              July 25, 1977-July 25, 1982
07  Giani Zail Singh                      July 25, 1982-July 25, 1987
08  Ramaswamy Venkataraman     July 25, 1987-July 25, 1992
09  Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma       July 25, 1992-July 25, 1997
10  Kocheril Raman Narayanan      July 25, 1997-July 25, 2002
11  Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam            July 25, 2002-Present

* Acting Presidents

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

'President' KALAM

According to me the most deserving candidate at this time India has for the post of president is surely Mr.Kalam. He deserves a second term.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Name of months

Dedicated to janus, the Roman god of doors, with two faces looking backward to previous year and forward to New Year

Februa was the Roman purification festival, took place of this time of year.

From mars, the Roman god of war.

From aperire, latin for open, beacuse plant begin to open to this month.

Probably comes from maia, the Roman goddess of growth and increase.

Either from a Roman family name junius which means young, or perhaps after the goddess juno.

Named after julius caesar by mark antony in 44b.c. before it was quintiles fifth month of Roman calendar.

Named after king Augustus in 8 b.c.

From septem, seven, seventh month of Roman calendar.

From octo, eight as an octopus which has eight legs.

From novem the ninth month in Roman calendar.

From decem the tenth month of Roman Calendar

Who Discovered America?

Colombus in order to find a route to Asia sailed West but he landed in America by chance. He thought that the place he has found was Asia. However it was during Amerigo Vespucci's second trip that he realised that it was not India but a new continent. So no doubt Columbus found the new place but it was Vespucci who recognised it.

Children at War

Children are being used for Military action as soldiers or saboteurs.They were used in Poland during the Warsaw Uprising. Later on during the Vietnam war, Iran-Iraq war, Africa specially in Congo and in Palestinian occupied terrotries.
Red Hand Day on February 12 is an annual commemoration day to draw public attention to the practice of using children as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts.

Pandita Ramabai

I am posting here the link of my Term paper on PANDITA RAMABAI, which I submitted to my sir, Prof.Sumir Sharma during M.A. II year in History at Arya College, Ludhiana.

Hannibal Barca

bust of Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca (247 BC - 183BC)is considered as one of the finest commanders in the history. He was the son of Hamilcar Barca.He belonged to Carthage (Carthigian). HIs greatest achievement was his march from Iberia over the Pyreness and the Alps into northern Italy with his army including war elephants.

During his invasion of Italy, he defeated Romans in the battles at Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae.However he could not attack Rome whic was heavily guarded.He remained in Italy for over a decade.However had to return when Romans invaded Carthage, where he was defeated in the battle of Zama.He fled to Seleucid court and then to the Bithynian court.When Romans demanded his surrender, he preffered to commit suiciderather than submit.

victory for behenji

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has won the elections in Uttar Pradesh with clear majority.Patty's election symbol is Elephant.Mayawati will become Chief minister of highest populous state(Uttar Pradesh) for the 4th time.

This party was actually formed by Kanshi Ram in 1984.He was inspired by the philosophy of Ambedkar.Themainaim of the party was to mobilise the Dalits(who are regarded by some as lowest among the Indian castes).
The party represents Indianised form of Communism.In the beginning it was only for Dalits but in 2007 it fielded 94 Brahmin candidates.The party has won 207 seats in total.


What were the Crusades?

The word crusade has been adopted from the French word ‘croisade’, which means “Marked by the Cross.” 
A series of military conflicts of a religious character are termed as the Crusades. These wars (1095 - 1291) were sanctioned by the Pope in the name of Christendom. The aim was to recapture Jerusalem and the sacred "Holy Land" from Muslim rule. These were launched in order to halt the expansion of the Muslim Seljuq dynasty into Anatolia. They reacted in response to a call for help by the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire.
In 1076, the Muslims occupied Jerusalem, which was the holiest place for Christians- Jesus, was born in nearby Bethlehem, had spent most of his life in Jerusalem and was also crucified in Jerusalem on Calvary Hill. It was because of this Christians called Jerusalem the "City of God".
However, Jerusalem was extremely important for the Muslims also. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had been there. So Muslim world cherished when Jerusalem was captured. A beautiful dome - called the Dome of the Rock - was built on the rock where Muhammad was said to have sat and prayed. It was so holy that no Muslim was allowed to tread on the rock or touch it when visiting the Dome.
Therefore the Christian fought to get Jerusalem back while the Muslims fought to keep Jerusalem. These wars were to last nearly 200 years


Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached an impassioned sermon to take back the Holy Land.

Though the list is not complete but it is still useful for understanding Crusades
Nov, 1095: Pope Urban II presided over the Council of Clermont and called the First Crusade into being
Spring, 1096: Peasants' Crusade set out from Europe
Aug, 1096: Emperor Alexius of Constantinople shipped the Peasants' Crusade over the Bosporus
Late Summer, 1096: First Crusade leaders were departing Europe
Oct 1096: Peasants' Crusade annihilated in Anatolia by the Turks
Spring, 1097: First Crusade contingents assembling in Constantinople
End of Apr, 1097: First Crusade began the march in Anatolia to Nicaea
Late May, 1097: Nicaea surrendered to Alexius
Late June, 1097: First Crusaders marched overland from Nicaea toward Dorylaeum
Oct 21, 1097: Crusaders arrived before Antioch; long, bitter siege ensued
Early Feb 1098: Emperor Alexius' General Tacitius left the siege of Antioch
Mar 10, 1098: Citizens of Edessa gave Baldwin control of the city
Jun 1, 1098: Stephen of Blois & a large group of French left the siege of Antioch
Jun 3, 1098: Firuz opened Antioch to Bohemond and the First Crusaders
Jun 5-9, 1098: Kerbogha arrived before Antioch & besieged the besiegers
Jun 14, 1098: Peter Bartholomew found the Lance
Jun 28, 1098: Crusaders beat back Kerbogha's siege of Crusader Antioch
Nov 27-Dec 11, 1098: Crusaders captured M'arrat-an-Numan; army restless for Jerusalem
Jan 13, 1099: Raymond of Toulouse led the first contingent away from Antioch and toward Jerusalem
Feb 14, 1099: Raymond began the desultory siege of Arqah, near Tripoli
Late Mar, 1099: Godfrey and Robert of Flanders joined the siege of Arqah
Mid-May, 1099: Raymond finally gave up on Arqah; all present marched to Jerusalem
Jun 6, 1099: Citizens of Bethlehem invited Tancred to protect them
Jun 7, 1099: Godfrey et al. arrived before Jerusalem
Jun 13, 1099: Crusaders failed to take Jerusalem by storm
Jul 15, 1099: Godfrey breached the walls of Jerusalem near Herod's Gate and soon was elected the "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre"
Aug 12, 1099: Crusaders beat back the Fatimids at Ascalon
1100-18: Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem
1113: Hospitallers of Jerusalem recognized by the papacy as an independent group
1118-31: Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem
1118-9: Hugh of Payns created the Order of the Temple
1124: Fall of Tyre to Crusaders; now most of the coast in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
1131-43: Fulk of Anjou, King of Jerusalem
Dec, 1144: Zengi took Edessa, sparked the Second Crusade
Dec, 1145: Pope Eugenius III issued Quantum praedecessores to initiate the Second Crusade
1146: Bernard of Clairvaux active in preaching the crusade
Oct, 1147: Lisbon fell to crusaders and Portuguese; Almeria fell to Spanish
Jul 1148: Louis VII of France, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emperor Conrad III in the East on the Second Crusade
Sep, 1144: Zengi was assassinated; Nur ad-Din acceeded to Aleppo
1143-63: Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem
Jul 15, 1149: Dedication of the Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Apr, 1154: Nur ad-Din took Damascus, united Muslim Syria
1160s: Series of invasions by Crusaders into Egypt
1163-74: Amaury, King of Jerusalem
1169: Shirkuh became vizier in Egypt and accepted Nur ad-Din's leadership
1174-85: Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem
May 1174: Nur ad-Din died
Oct, 1174: Saladin took Damascus
Nov, 1177: Crusader army defeated Saladin at Mont Gisard
1183: Saladin took Aleppo
1185-6: Baldwin V, King of Jerusalem
1186-94: Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem
Jul 4, 1187: Saladin won the Battle of Hattin, and took most of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
May, 1189: Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) left Europe on the Third Crusade
Jun 10, 1190: Frederick I drowned in Anatolia
Jul 1190: Kings Philip of France and Richard of England set out on the Third Crusade
Winter 1190-1: French and English stayed in Sicily
Jul 12, 1191: Acre surrendered to Kings Philip, Richard and Guy; Philip departed the Holy Land for France shortly afterward
Sep 7, 1191: Richard met Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf
Nov-Dec 1191: Richard's Crusaders marched toward Jerusalem but turned back to the coast
Jun 1192: Richard's Crusaders marched again toward Jerusalem but turned back again
Oct 9, 1192: Richard Lionheart departed the Holy Land
Mar 4, 1193: Saladin died
1197: Abortive Crusade of Emperor Henry VI
1198-1224: Albert of Buxtehude expanded the Baltic Crusades
Aug 1198: Pope Innocent III called the Fourth Crusade
1199: Political Crusade against Markward of Anweiler
Nov 1202: Venetians and Crusaders sacked Zara, a Christian port on the Dalmatian Coast
Apr, 1204: Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople
1208: Pope Innocent III called the Albigensian Crusade
Jul 1212: King Alfonso VIII of Castile expanded the Reconquista; King Sancho VII of Navarre won the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Dec 1215: Pope Innocent III issued Ad liberandam calling the Fifth Crusade during the Fourth Lateran Council
Dec 1217: Fifth Crusaders attacked Mount Tabor
May 1218: Fifth Crusaders began the siege of Damietta
Aug 1221: Fifth Crusade, in the Nile Delta, surrendered
Jun 1228: Emperor Frederick II, King of Jerusalem through marriage to Isabell (Yolanda), sailed East on the Sixth Crusade
Feb 1229: Al-Kamil surrendered Jerusalem to Emperor Frederick II
1240s: Popes Gregory IX and Innocent IV called Political Crusades against Emperor Frederick II
1248: King Louis IX departed for the Holy Land on the Seventh Crusade
Jun, 1249: Louis reached Damietta
Apr, 1254: Louis departed the Holy Land
Jul, 1270: Louis IX's Last Crusade; Louis died in North Africa
1291: The Fall of Acre
Oct 1307: King Philip IV surpessed the Templars in France
1330-1523: Hospitallers continued crusade action from Rhodes
1334: Crusader navy defeated Turkish pirates in the Gulf of Edremit
1334-1402: Crusaders held the port of Smyrna
1365: Crusaders under Peter I of Cyprus sacked Alexandria
1396: Crusade of Nicopolis
1426: Egyptians gained control over Cyprus
1492: Fall of Granada and the appearance at subsequent celebrations of a Genoese ship's captain with odd ideas about sailing to India
1798: Fall of Hospitallers on Malta to Napoleon