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The War of Currents and The Mystery of Nikola Tesla’s Missing Files

This article explains the war of currents which have had a great impact over the entire human civilization. It expose the truth and the struggle of the man, Tesla who sacrificed his entire life for the technology and the benefit of humanity. Second part will discuss about The Mystery of Nikola Tesla’s Missing Files.

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are two giants of electrical engineering whose inventions changed history. But the electricity between the two is no secret to the world.

Nikola Tesla contributed to the development of the alternating-current (AC) electrical system which is widely used today and to the rotating magnetic field, which is the basis of most AC machinery.

Born on July 10, 1856, Nikola Tesla went to the United States in 1884 and briefly worked with Thomas Edison before the two parted ways.

Edison, the iconic inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph and the moving picture and Tesla, whose inventions have enabled modern-day power and mass communication systems, waged a ‘War of Currents’ in the 1880s over whose electrical system would power the world. Edison’s direct-current (DC) electric power or Tesla’s alternating-current (AC) system.

A brief history of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

In 1884 Tesla arrived in the United States with little other than the clothes on him and a letter of introduction to the famed inventor and business tycoon Thomas Edison. Edison’s DC-electrical works were fast becoming the country standard. Edison hired Tesla and the two were soon working vigorously alongside each other, making improvements in Edison’s inventions.

However, several months later, Tesla and Edison parted ways because of a conflicting business-scientific relationship, which historians attributed to their incredibly different personalities. While Edison was a power figure who focused on marketing and financial success, Tesla was not business minded and was somewhat vulnerable.

After parting ways with Edison in 1885, Tesla received funding for the Tesla Electric Light Company. His task, as given by his investors, was to develop improved arc lighting. After successful completion of the project, Tesla was forced out of venture and for a time had to work as a manual labourer in order to survive.
His luck changed in 1887 when he gained public interest in his AC electrical system and funding for his new Tesla Electric Company. By the end of the year Tesla had successfully filed several patents for his AC-based inventions.

Here’s how the two rivaling inventors stack up:

1. Brilliance
Tesla had an eidetic memory. He could very precisely recall images and objects, which enabled him to accurately visualize intricate 3D objects and therefore, he could build working prototypes using few preliminary drawings.

In contrast, Edison was more of a sketcher and a repairer.

In the end, Edison held 1,093 patents and Tesla held less than 300 worldwide. Of course, Edison had a bunch of assistants helping him devise inventions, and had also bought some of this patents.

2. Forward thinking

Edison had dispelled Tesla’s AC system of electric power transmission, calling it ‘impractical’, instead promoting his simpler yet less efficient DC system.

By contrast, Tesla’s ideas were often more disorderly technologies that didn’t have existing market demand. His alternating-current motor and hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls- a first of its kind plant- truly electrified the world.

Tesla spent years working on a system that could wirelessly transmit voices, images and moving pictures. His ideas made him futurist. He later invented and patented Tesla Coil, which is till date used in radio, telephones, cell phones and television.

3. Impact

Edison’s enduring legacy is a result of his invention factories where tasks and inventions were carried out by legions of workers. After getting an idea, Edison would leave most of the experimentation on his assistants. By having multiple patents and inventions developing in parallel, Edison ensured a consistent, hefty financial supply to his assistants to continue running experiments and fleshing out more designs.

Tesla’s inventions are the backbone of modern power and communication systems, but he faded into anonymity later in the 20th century. Despite his many inventions and patents, he died an eccentric, destitute man in 1943.

Later life

Tesla’s AC systems eventually caught the attention of American engineer and businessman George Westinghouse, who was looking for a solution to supply the nation with long-distance power. Convinced that Tesla’s inventions will help him achieve this, he purchased his patents for 60,000 USD in cash and stock in the Westinghouse Corporation in 1888.

As the public interest in alternating current system grew, Tesla and Westinghouse stood in direct competition with Thomas Edison, who was intent on selling his direct-current system to the nation.

Edison also launched a negative press-campaign in an attempt to undermine the interest in AC power. All this while, Tesla continued his work and patented several more inventions during this period, including the ‘Tesla Coil’, which laid the foundation for wireless technology that is still in use in radio technology today.

Unfortunately for Edison, the Westinghouse Corporation was chosen to supply the lighting at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and Tesla conducted demonstrations of his AC system there. Two years later, in 1895, Tesla designed one of the first AC hydroelectric power plants in the United States at Niagara Falls. The next year, it was used to power the city of Buffalo, New York. This feat was widely publicized throughout the world.

With its repeated success and favourable press, the alternating-current system became the leading power system of the 20th century and it has remained the worldwide standard since.

The disgraceful fall

Tesla became obsessed with the wireless transmission of energy. In around 1900, he started work on his boldest project, to build a global, wireless communication system to be transmitted through a large electrical tower for sharing information and providing free electricity throughout the world.

With funding from a group of investors that included financial giant J. P. Morgan, in 1901 Tesla began work on the project in earnest, designing and building a lab with a power plant and a massive transmission tower on a site on Long Island, New York, that became known as Wardenclyffe.

However, investors started doubting the plausibility of Tesla’s system his rival, Guglielmo Marconi-with the financial support of Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison-continued to make great advances with his own radio technologies, Tesla had no choice but to abandon the project.

The Wardenclyffe staff was laid off in 1906 and in 1915 the site fell into foreclosure. Two years later Tesla declared bankruptcy and the tower was dismantled and sold for scrap to recover the debts he had accrued.

Edison’s Campaign to Discredit the AC Current ; Electrocuting Topsy , A female elephant to death

On January 4, 1903, Thomas Edison, inventor of the incandescent lightbulb, helped electrocute an elephant to death.

Topsy, a cranky female elephant at the Luna Park Zoo, had squashed three of her trainers in the past three years. Desiring to just be rid of her, the Luna Park Zoo decided to kill her, initially choosing to try to hang the elephant.

Edison had established direct current (electricity flowing only one way) as the standard for distributing electricity and was very wealthy from the patent royalties, royalties he could lose when George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla showed up with the idea of alternating current (electricity flowing in either direction).

Eager to prove his point and seek redemption as he had lost to Tesla almost a decade before in the War of Currents, he launched a campaign to discredit the new theory in which he would electrocute animals (usually cats and dogs, but sometimes horses and cattle). When zoo officials heard of Edison’s work they sought his help with Topsy. While he was not there, his company was more than willing to assist the zoo officials and prove the “dangers” of the AC. An Edison film crew even made a video of the procedure!

When the day arrived, Edison’s team attached copper electrodes to Topsy’s feet and ran a copper wire back to the group. To make sure that Topsy died and was not just made angry by the electricity, cyanide-laced carrots were fed to the elephant moments before she was electrocuted. Officials didn’t even need to worry. The 6,600 volts of AC killed Topsy immediately, and Edison’s point had been proven.

Death and legacy

Tesla suffered a nervous breakdown and eventually returned to work as a consultant primarily. But as time passed, his ideas progressively became more unusual and impractical. He also grew increasingly eccentric and devoted much of his time in caring for wold pigeons in New York City’s parks.

The Mystery of Nikola Tesla’s Missing Files

After Nikola Tesla was found dead in January 1943 in his hotel room in New York City, representatives of the U.S. government’s Office of Alien Property seized many documents relating to the brilliant and prolific 86-year-old inventor’s work.

It was the height of World War II, and Tesla had claimed to have invented a powerful particle-beam weapon, known as the “Death Ray,” that could have proved invaluable in the ongoing conflict. So rather than risk Tesla’s technology falling into the hands of America’s enemies, the government swooped in and took possession of all the property and documents from his room at the New Yorker Hotel.

What happened to Tesla’s files from there, as well as what exactly was in those files, remains shrouded in mystery—and ripe for conspiracy theories. After years of fielding questions about possible cover-ups, the FBI finally declassified some 250 pages of Tesla-related documents under the Freedom of Information Act in 2016. The bureau followed up with two additional releases, the latest in March 2018. But even with the publication of these documents, many questions still remain unanswered—and some of Tesla’s files are still missing.

Three weeks after the Serbian-American inventor’s death, an electrical engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was tasked with evaluating his papers to determine whether they contained “any ideas of significant value.” According to the declassified files, Dr. John G. Trump reported that his analysis showed Tesla’s efforts to be “primarily of a speculative, philosophical and promotional character” and said the papers did “not include new sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

The scientist’s name undoubtedly rings a bell, as John G. Trump was the uncle of the 45th U.S. president, Donald J. Trump. The younger brother of Trump’s father, Fred, he helped design X-ray machines that greatly helped cancer patients and worked on radar research for the Allies during World War II. Donald Trump himself cited his uncle’s credentials often during his presidential campaign. “My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” he once told an interviewer.

At the time, the FBI pointed to Dr. Trump’s report as evidence that Tesla’s vaunted “Death Ray” particle beam weapon didn’t exist, outside of rumors and speculation. But in fact, the U.S. government itself was split in its response to Tesla’s technology. Marc Seifer, author of the biography Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla, says a group of military personnel at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, including Brigadier General L.C. Craigee, had a very different opinion of Tesla’s ideas.

“Craigee was the first person to ever fly a jet plane for the military, so he was like the John Glenn of the day,” Seifer says. “He said, ‘there’s something to this—the particle beam weapon is real.’ So you have two different groups, one group dismissing Tesla’s invention, and another group saying there’s really something to it.”
Then there’s the nagging question of the missing files. When Tesla died, his estate was to go to his nephew, Sava Kosanovic, who at the time was the Yugoslav ambassador to the U.S. (thanks to his familial connection with Serbia’s most celebrated inventor). According to the recently declassified documents, some in the FBI feared Kosanovic was trying to wrest control of Tesla’s technology in order to “make such information available to the enemy,” and even considered arresting him to prevent this.
In 1952, after a U.S. court declared Kosanovic the rightful heir to his uncle’s estate, Tesla’s files and other materials were sent to Belgrade, Serbia, where they now reside in the Nikola Tesla Museum there. But while the FBI originally recorded some 80 trunks among Tesla’s effects, only 60 arrived in Belgrade, Seifer says. “Maybe they packed the 80 into 60, but there is the possibility that…the government did keep the missing trunks.”

For the five-part HISTORY series The Tesla Files, Seifer joined forces with Dr. Travis Taylor, an astrophysicist, and Jason Stapleton, an investigative reporter, to search for these missing files and seek out the truth of the government’s views on the “Death Ray” particle-beam weapon and Tesla’s other ideas.

Despite John G. Trump’s dismissive assessment of Tesla’s ideas immediately after his death, the military did try and incorporate particle-beam weaponry in the decades following World War II, Seifer says. Notably, the inspiration of the “Death Ray” fueled Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars” program, in the 1980s. If the government is still using Tesla’s ideas to power its technology, Seifer explains, that could explain why some files related to the inventor still remain classified.

There is evidence that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president, Henry Wallace, discussed “the effects of TESLA, particularly those dealing with the wireless transmission of electrical energy and the ‘death ray’” with his advisors, according to FBI documents released in 2016. Along the same lines, Seifer and his colleagues in The Tesla Files uncovered the role played by Vannevar Bush, whom FDR appointed as head of the Manhattan Project, in the evaluation of Tesla’s papers. They also looked at the possibility that FDR himself may have sought a meeting with the inventor just before he died.

By visiting some of the key places in Tesla’s life—from his laboratory in Colorado Springs to his last living quarters at the Hotel New Yorker to the mysterious wireless tower he built at Wardenclyffe, Long Island—Seifer, Taylor and Stapleton sought to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the celebrated, enigmatic inventor. They also traveled to California, where some of Tesla’s other groundbreaking ideas —many of which were seen as unrealistic or even crackpot during his own lifetime—now fuel some of the most dominant industries in Silicon Valley.

Although some of his more sensitive innovations may still be hidden, Tesla’s legacy is alive and well, both in the devices we use every day, and the technologies that will undoubtedly play a role in our future. “Tesla is the inventor of wireless technology. He’s the inventor of the ability to create an unlimited number of wireless channels,” Seifer says of the inventor’s lasting impact. “So radio guidance systems, encryption, remote control robots—it’s all based on Tesla’s technology.”

Credits to History Channel for the information on Tesla’s Missing papers.

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Surgical Strikes on Space : Mission Shakti, India successfully shoots down satellite in Space : ISRO ASAT Test

India has become the fourth nation after the US, Russia and China that has the capability to launch missiles to destroy satellites in low-Earth orbit. With the successful test-launch of the anti-satellite (ASAT) missile and destruction of the target today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised national address said India has crossed an important threshold in demonstrating its capability to defend its space assets.

First photos of the ASAT missile tested today against an Indian LEO satellite.

The missile clearly indicates a combination of the PDV upper stage and the Agni-4 booster.

This would be akin to India conducting a surgical strike in space, say scientists.


India had 48 orbiting satellites till recently – the largest such constellation in the Indo-Pacific region. They need to be protected as these are “sitting ducks”, according to experts. Today’s Mission Shakti showed that India was able to actively kill a satellite orbiting at an altitude of 300 kilometres.

which was the Target Satellite?

While PM Modi did not mention the name of the ‘target’ satellite, this was possibly the satellite called Microsat-R which was launched at an altitude of 277 km by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on January 24 this year. The satellite weighed about 740 kilograms.
During its launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan had told that the satellite was for defence research as reported by NDTV.

The Indian PSLV rocket that launched Microsat-R in January.

India has had the capability to conduct anti-satellite missile tests for at least 10 years, said a senior scientist of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who asked not to be named as reported by NDTV.

A man watches Prime Minister Modi addressing to the nation, on TV screens inside a showroom in Mumbai [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Why It’s a big challenge to hit the target?

Bringing down a satellite in high altitude is not easy since the satellite would have been traveling at a velocity of hundreds of kilometres per hour; to accurately target such a small speck is a big challenge. It is like shooting a bullet at another bullet from a distance of 300 km.

 

Will it create space debris?

Nations worry that such tests will cause space debris that poses problems for other satellites. There was much criticism of an ASAT missile test by China in 2007 as it scattered hundreds of pieces of space debris.

India’s test done at an altitude of 300 km may not leave space debris for too long, said G Madhavan Nair, former chairman of ISRO.

In 2012, when India conducted its first test of the Agni-5 missile from Dr Abdul Kalam Island, formerly Wheeler Island, the country has had a capability to kill satellites. The Agni-5 is an inter-continental ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 km and the then chef of DRDO, VK Saraswat, had confirmed that it can be used both to launch satellites and bring down satellites if required in times of emergency.

In all probability, India has used a new missile system that can target fast-moving satellites and bring them down. India had already demonstrated the capability by launching missile interception tests where an incoming missile was brought down in exo-atmospheric conditions.

 

India had anti-satellite missile capability in 2007, but no political will: Ex-ISRO chairman

Former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said on Wednesday that India had the anti-satellite missile capability more than a decade ago but there was no political will at the time to demonstrate it.

He said when China shot down an ageing weather satellite by launching a missile in 2007, India had the technology to undertake a similar mission.
“…now (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji has taken the initiative and he had the political will and courage to say that we will do this. We have now demonstrated this to whole world,” Nair said, as reported by  PTI.

He had headed the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), Space Commission and was Secretary in the Department of Space from 2003 to 2009.

Asked if India could have demonstrated the anti-satellite missile capability in 2007 itself, Nair said “certainly”, but it could not be done due to absence of “political decision” to go ahead with it at that time.

“Now, Modiji has courageously taken the decision,” he said.
The prime minister on Wednesday announced India had demonstrated the capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space superpowers.

On one hand the whole country is celebrating this achievement, on the other hand opposition is trying to politicize the events as the General Elections are approaching

Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed it as “Theatre”, Mamata Banerjee called it “limitless drama” and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav went a step ahead and stated that “China has done this before us”. Moreover, Former Defence Minister under the UPA government AK Antony, who served the position from 2006-2014, said that he was not informed about A-SAT operation.
As reported by Republic TV, former Defence Minister under the UPA government AK Antony, who held the post between 2006 and 2014, said that he was not informed of the ‘Mission Shakti’ during that time.

“I was not told by anybody about it. I was not told it started,” the former Defence Minister under UPA government said.
On being questioned about the claims made by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge saying that the mission was ready in 2012 but the scientists could not test it during that (2012-2013) time, he reiterated saying that he was not informed about the mission by the then government. AK Antony further refused to comment about Kharge’s statement, adding that he did not want to politicise the matter.

“Nobody told me if we were ready for this test under UPA. You can ask the Defence Secretary and check the records. I wasn’t told about this. I don’t want to politicise it, I wasn’t aware of the space warfare programme,” he added on being questioned about Kharge’s claims.
Responding on India’s remarkable achievement of becoming a space superpower after the successful completion of ‘Mission Shakti’ under PM Modi’s leadership, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had claimed that the Mission was ready during the UPA tenure as well. However, they could not go forward with it due to some reasons, which he did not disclose.

“This was ready in 2012 but could not be used at that time. It was ready that time only but now it is being tested. I can only say that the people who were involved during the making of this, I am thankful to them,” Kharge had said.

Antony’s remarks come in contradiction to the disclosure made by VK Saraswat, who was the DRDO chief during the UPA government, saying that India was ready to launch the mission during that time, however, the UPA government had blocked the Mission. Earlier, in an exclusive interview with Republic TV, former DRDO chief VK Saraswat had revealed that in 2012 and 2013, the UPA government had blocked ‘Mission Shakti’ even though the DRDO was ready with the necessary steps.

“We had already complete the stimulation process. We wanted to combine the capabilities of our Ballistic missile system and the developed capabilities of AGNI program to get results in the same direction. However, we still had to develop certain technology for which we wanted resources and permission. But no such permission was granted to us during 2012-13 and even 2014. But under the leadership of PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, we were able to get all the required permission. The DRDO set the integration, realisation and demonstration,” VK Saraswat said.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the opposition for what he called “clerical objections”, pointing out that India’s nuclear programme was on 365 days, regardless of elections. Mission Shakti, he said, “shows that India today is in safe hands”.

Anti-satellite weapons are considered an ultimate weapon since it can easily cripple a country as the global economy is so heavily dependent on satellites, from running banks and ATMs to communication links.

For the Indian Space Research Organisation, the year 2019 is significant in many counts. 2019 will witness some crucial preparations to hold the first unmanned (without astronaut) mission of Gaganyaan, slated to be held in December 2020 and the second unmanned mission in July 2021, which will be followed by the first Gaganyaan mission with astronauts in December 2021. Further, the year marks the 100th birth anniversary of its visionary leader Dr Vikram Sarabhai and the 50th year of its first successful test flight of an Indigenous Sounding Rocket RH-75 from Thumba, using in-house developed composite solid propellant.

A landmark achievement in the history of the ISRO and the premier institution then contributed significantly towards enabling the country to fulfil the vision of harnessing space technology for national development from this strong edifice of composite solid propellant technology, a major breakthrough which still helps the R&D institution to hold its untiring pursuit of space research and planetary exploration.

The composite solid propellant for the sounding rocket was named ‘Mrinal’, reportedly after Mrinalini Sarabhai, the classical dancer and wife of Vikram Sarabhai. It was used to launch the sounding rocket, designated as Dynamic Test Vehicle, DTV-75, on February 21, 1969, heralding the development of indigenous solid propellant technology in the country. Sounding rockets are experimental rockets, carrying a scientific payload for conducting research during suborbital flight.

It was under the leadership of R Gowarikar in the Propellant Engineering Division (PED) at Veli then known as SSTC the work on composite propellants was initiated for rockets. According to ISRO officers, the nature of the development being strategic in nature and due to lack of open literature, it was essential to design each experiment with caution.

Several experiments were conducted in the initial phase with the available raw materials consisting of polyester resin, ammonium perchlorate and aluminium powder. Finally a composition was found to work in static firing which had nitroglycerine added to improve its energy and processability. This was a major breakthrough in the nation’s composite propellant programme for processing large solid motors.

In 50 years, the ISRO has progressed to the ‘golden era’ of launch vehicles starting from the humble beginnings of launching small sounding rockets to Launch Vehicles such as PSLV, GSLV Mk 2 & GSLV Mk 3. Today ISRO has the capability to launch 4 Tonne class using GSLV MK3. This has been possible due the development of the mammoth S200 solid booster that powers the initial moments of the flight regime of GSLV MK3.

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The Artificial Famine that killed More than 5.5 million people in India

The true history of India includes thousands of atrocities on millions of Indian people  during the British Rule, one among the biggest atrocities includes, creating the artificial famine in India.  Lets shed our light on The Great Famine of India also called as the Southern India famine of 1876–1878 or the Madras famine of 1877.

It began in 1876 after an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau. Even though there was plenty of crop and grains stored, it was exported by the British rule which cited Malthusian theory of population control. It affected south and southwestern India (the British presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and the princely states of Mysore and Hyderabad) for a period of two years. In its second year famine also spread northward to some regions of the Central Provinces and the North-Western Provinces, and to a small area in the Punjab.  The famine ultimately covered an area of 670,000 square kilometres (257,000 sq mi) and caused distress to a population totalling 58,500,000. The death toll from this famine is estimated to be in the range of 5.5 million people.

Engraving from The Graphic, October 1877, showing two forsaken children in the Bellary district of the Madras Presidency.

In part, the Great Famine may have been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau. It was part of a larger pattern of drought and crop failure across India, China, South America and parts of Africa caused by an interplay between a strong El Niño and an active Indian Ocean Dipole that led to between 19 and 50 million deaths.

The regular export of grain by the colonial government continued; during the famine the viceroy, Lord Lytton, oversaw the export to England of a record 6.4 million hundredweight (320,000 tons) of wheat, made the region more vulnerable. The cultivation of alternate cash crops, in addition to the commodification of grain, played a significant role in the events.

Grain destined for export stacked on Madras beaches (February 1877).

The famine occurred at a time when the colonial government was attempting to reduce expenses on welfare. Earlier, in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, severe mortality had been avoided by importing rice from Burma. The Government of Bengal and its Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Richard Temple, were criticised for excessive expenditure on charitable relief. Sensitive to any renewed accusations of excess in 1876, Temple, who was now Famine Commissioner for the Government of India, insisted not only on a policy of laissez faire with respect to the trade in grain, but also on stricter standards of qualification for relief and on more meagre relief rations.Two kinds of relief were offered: “relief works” for able-bodied men, women, and working children, and gratuitous (or charitable) relief for small children, the elderly, and the indigent.

Map of the British Indian Empire (1880), showing the different provinces and native states, including those affected by the Great Famine of 1876–1878.

The insistence on more rigorous tests for qualification, however, led to strikes by “relief workers” in the Bombay presidency. In January 1877, Temple reduced the wage for a day’s hard work in the relief camps in Madras and Bombay this ‘Temple wage’ consisted of 450 grams (1 lb) of grain plus one anna for a man, and a slightly reduced amount for a woman or working child, for a “long day of hard labour without shade or rest.” The rationale behind the reduced wage, which was in keeping with a prevailing belief of the time, was that any excessive payment might create ‘dependency’ (or “demoralisation” in contemporaneous usage) among the famine-afflicted population.

Inmates of a relief camp in Madras (during the famine of 1876-1878), by Willoughby Wallace Hooper. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Temple’s recommendations were opposed by some officials, including William Digby and the physician W. R. Cornish, Sanitary Commissioner for the Madras Presidency. Cornish argued for a minimum of 680 grams (1.5 lb) of grain and, in addition, supplements of vegetables and protein, especially if the individuals were performing strenuous labour in the relief works.However, Lytton supported Temple, who argued that “everything must be subordinated to the financial consideration of disbursing the smallest sum of money.”

Child born of famine-stricken mother, by Willoughby Wallace Hooper. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons – Age: 3 months, Weight: 3 lbs.

In March 1877 the provincial government of Madras increased the ration halfway towards Cornish’s recommendations, to 570 grams (1.25 lb) of grain and 43 grams (1.5 oz) of protein in the form of daal (pulses). Meanwhile, many more people had succumbed to the famine. In other parts of India, such as the United Provinces, where relief was meagre, the resulting mortality was high. In the second half of 1878, an epidemic of malaria killed many more who were already weakened by malnutrition.

Engraving from The Graphic, October 1877, showing the plight of animals as well as humans in Bellary district

By early 1877, Temple proclaimed that he had put “the famine under control”. Digby noted that “a famine can scarcely be said to be adequately controlled which leaves one-fourth of the people dead.”

People waiting for famine relief in Bangalore. From the Illustrated London News (20 October 1877).

All in all, the Government of India spent Rs. 8 1/30 million in relieving 700 million units (1 unit = relief for 1 person for 1 day) in British India and, in addition, another Rs. 7.2 million in relieving 72 million units in the princely states of Mysore and Hyderabad. Revenue (tax) payments to the amount of Rs. 6 million were either not enforced or postponed until the following year, and charitable donations from Great Britain and the colonies totaled Rs. 8.4 million. However, this cost was minuscule per capita; for example, the expenditure incurred in the Bombay Presidency was less than one-fifth of that in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, which affected a smaller area and did not last as long.

A contemporary print showing the distribution of relief in Bellary, Madras Presidency. From the Illustrated London News (1877).

 

Famine in Mysore State

Two years before the famine of 1876, heavy rain destroyed ragi crops (a type of millet) in Kolar and Bangalore. Scant rainfall the following year resulted in drying up of lakes, affecting food stock. As a result of the famine, the population of the state decreased by 874,000 (in comparison with the 1871 census).

Sir Richard Temple was sent by the British India Government as Special Famine Commissioner to oversee the relief works of the Mysore government. To deal with the famine, the government of Mysore started relief kitchens. A large number of people journeyed to Bangalore, when relief was available. These people had to work on the Bangalore-Mysore railway line in exchange for food and grains. The Mysore government imported large quantities of grain from the neighbouring British ruled Madras Presidency. Grazing in forests was allowed temporarily, and new tanks were constructed and old tanks repaired. The Dewan of Mysore State, C. V. Rungacharlu, in his Dasara speech estimated the cost to the state at 160 lakhs, with the state incurring a debt of 80 lakhs.

 Famine stricken people during the famine of 1876-78 in Bangalore.

The mortality in the famine was in the range of 5.5 million people. The excessive mortality and the renewed questions of “relief and protection” that were asked in its wake, led directly to the constituting of the Famine Commission of 1880 and to the eventual adoption of the Indian Famine Codes. After the famine, a large number of agricultural labourers and handloom weavers in South India emigrated to British tropical colonies to work as indentured labourers in plantations. The excessive mortality in the famine also neutralized the natural population growth in the Bombay and Madras presidencies during the decade between the first and second censuses of British India in 1871 and 1881 respectively. The famine lives on in the Tamil and other literary traditions. A large number of Kummi folk songs describing this famine have been documented.

The Great Famine had a lasting political impact on events in India. Among the British administrators in India who were unsettled by the official reactions to the famine and, in particular by the stifling of the official debate about the best form of famine relief, were William Wedderburn and A. O. Hume. Less than a decade later, they would found the Indian National Congress and, in turn, influence a generation of Indian nationalists. Among the latter were Dadabhai Naoroji and Romesh Chunder Dutt for whom the Great Famine would become a cornerstone of the economic critique of the British Raj

Note: 5.5 million in British territory. Mortality unknown for princely states. Total famine mortality estimates vary from 6.1 to 10.3 million.

Source: WikiMedia

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Gouache Paintings from India (18-19 centuries), in British Museum

This post is all about the Gouache paintings sketched at Tanjore, Southern part of India around 18-19 centuries, that are on display at British Museum

Gouache – opaque watercolor, or Gouache, is one type of watermedia, paint consisting of natural pigment, water, a binding agent (usually gum arabic or dextrin, and sometimes additional inert material. Gouache is designed to be used with opaque methods of painting. It is used most consistently by commercial artists for posters, illustrations, comics, and for other design work.

Gouache has a considerable history going back over 600 years. It is similar to watercolor in that it can be re-wetted, it dries to a matte finish, and the paint can become infused with its paper support. It is similar to acrylic or oil paints in that it is normally used in an opaque painting style and it can form a superficial layer. Many manufacturers of watercolor paints also produce gouache and the two can easily be used together.

Gouache painting on paper – Depicting Kalki Avatara of Lord Maha Vishnu

Gouache paint is similar to watercolor, however modified to make it opaque. Just as in watercolor, the binding agent has traditionally been gum arabic but since the late nineteenth century cheaper varieties use yellow dextrin. When the paint is sold as a paste, e.g. in tubes, the dextrin has usually been mixed with an equal volume of water. To improve the adhesive and hygroscopic qualities of the paint, as well as the flexibility of the rather brittle paint layer after drying, propylene glycol is often added.

Gouache differs from watercolor in that the particles are typically larger, the ratio of pigment to binder is much higher, and an additional white filler such as chalk, a “body”, may be part of the paint. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.

Album leaf, painted on paper (European) with Siva, Parvati on nandi and Telugu inscriptions. Photo Credits: Veeramani Veera Swami

Gouache generally dries to a different value than it appears when wet (lighter tones generally dry darker and darker tones tend to dry lighter), which can make it difficult to match colors over multiple painting sessions. Its quick coverage and total hiding power mean that gouache lends itself to more direct painting techniques than watercolor. “En plein air” paintings take advantage of this, as do the works of J. M. W. Turner.

Gouache is used most consistently by commercial artists for works such as posters, illustrations, comics, and for other design work. Most 20th-century animations used it to create an opaque color on a cel with watercolor paint used for the backgrounds. Using gouache as “poster paint” is desirable for its speed as the paint layer dries completely by the relatively quick evaporation of the water.

 

Album leaf, painted on paper (European), with Siva Kalaharamurti and Telugu inscription. Credits: Veeramani Veera swami

The use of gouache is not restricted to the basic opaque painting techniques using a brush and watercolor paper. It is often applied with an airbrush. As with all types of paint, gouache has been used on unusual surfaces from Braille paper to cardboard.

A variation of traditional application is the method used in the gouaches découpées (cut collages) created by Henri Matisse. His Blue Nudes series is a good example of the technique. A new variation in the formula of the paint is acrylic gouache.

The term, derived from the Italian guazzo, also refers to paintings using this opaque method. “Guazzo”, Italian for “mud”, was originally a term applied to the early 16th century practice of applying oil paint over a tempera base, which could give a matted effect. In the 18th century in France, the term gouache was applied to opaque watermedia, although the technique is considerably older; it was employed as early as the 9th century in Persian miniature and had by the 14th century spread to Europe.

During the eighteenth century gouache was often used in a mixed technique, for adding fine details in pastel paintings. Gouache was typically made by mixing water colours based on gum arabic with an opaque white pigment. In the nineteenth century, water colours began to be industrially produced in tubes and a “Chinese white” tube was added to boxes for this purpose. Later that century, for decorative uses “poster paint” was mass-produced, based on the much cheaper dextrin binder. It was sold in cans or as a powder to be mixed with water. The dextrin replaced older paint types based on hide glue or size. During the twentieth century, gouache began to be specially manufactured in tubes for more refined artistic purposes. Initially, gum arabic was used as a binder but soon cheaper brands were based on dextrin, as is most paint for children.

Posting some Miniature Gauche Paintings, that are on display at British Museum.

Some of these are encased within a Wooden Box. Almost all these paintings were made in Tanjore, India (  under Maratha Influence ) during the Mid 18th Century to early 19th Century by the Artists with their captions on them and with Telugu Captions by local Artists.

Here posting the  set  on Ashtadikapalaka or Guardians of Eight Cardinal Directions.

The Guardians of the Directions  are the deities who rule the specific directions of space according to Hinduism and Vajrayāna Buddhism—especially Kālacakra. As a group of eight deities, they are called Aṣṭa-Dikpāla, literally meaning guardians of eight directions. They are often augmented with two extra deities for the ten directions (the two extra directions being zenith and nadir), when they are known as the Daśa-Dikpāla. In Hinduism it is traditional to represent their images on the walls and ceilings of Hindu temples. They are also often portrayed in Jain temples. Ancient Java and Bali Hinduism recognize Nava-Dikpāla, literally meaning guardians of nine directions, that consist of eight directions with one addition in the center. The nine guardian gods of directions is called Dewata Nawa Sanga (Nine guardian devata). The diagram of these guardian gods of directions is featured in Surya Majapahit, the emblem of Majapahit empire.

From British Museum, Wooden Box with Goddess Saraswati on its lid, containing Miniature Gauche Water Colour Paintings

Wooden Box with Goddess Saraswati on its lid, containing Miniature Gauche Water Colour Paintings

 

Esanan rides the Bull, guards the Northeast direction, holding the Trishula with Sati as his consort.

 

 

Kubera, God of the Riches, Guardian for the North Direction, atop his Horse, wielding the Gada or Sword. His consort is Bhadra.

 

 

Indra Guards the east Cardinal Direction, rules from Amaravathy with all the Suras, rides the white Elephant, Airavatha that emerged during Samudra Mandhan and holds the Vajra as his weapon. His consort is Sachi or Indrani. Here he is shown with the thousand eyes that he incurred as a wrath from Gautama Maharishi.

 

 

 

Vayu guards the Northwest direction, rides the spotted Gazelle, and holds the Staff or Flag in his hands. Svasti is his consort. His Kingdom is the Pawanloka.

 

Varuna, God of the sea or Oceans, Guardian of the West Direction, rides the makara Vahana, holding the Pasa or Nagapasa in his hands. His consort is Varuni.

Yama, Lord of Death, Guardian of the South Direction, rides the Black ( Water ) Buffalo, armed with his Danda and Noose, born of Surya with sandhya, and lives in Naraka or Yamaloka, is also considered to be the God of Justice or Dharma.

 

 

Niruti is the Guardian of the Southwest and commonly seen riding the Nara Vahana or Vedhala. Lance is his weapon.

Agni, Guardian of the South east direction, rides the caparisoned Ram, seen mostly as two headed and seven armed, holding the Staff as his weapon, married to Svaha, and borne of Kashyapa Rishi and Aditi, and worshiped in all faiths.

Post and Photo Credits to Dr. Ravi Chandran KP

 

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Great works of Raja Ravi Varma – legendary Indian painter of all time

Raja Ravi Varma was an observed Indian painter and craftsman. He is considered among the best painters in the historical backdrop of Indian workmanship for various tasteful and more extensive social reasons. Initially, his works are held to be among the best instances of the combination of European systems with a simply Indian reasonableness. While proceeding with the convention and feel of Indian workmanship, his artworks utilized the most recent European scholastic craftsmanship procedures of the day.

Besides, he was outstanding for making moderate lithographs of his works of art accessible to people in general, which extraordinarily improved his range and impact as a painter and open figure. In reality, his lithographs expanded the contribution of average citizens with expressive arts and characterized aesthetic tastes among ordinary citizens for quite a few years. Specifically, his portrayals of Hindu gods and scenes from the sagas and Puranas have gotten significant acknowledgment from people in general and are found, regularly as objects of love, over the length and expansiveness of India.

Raja Ravi Varma was born on 29th April 1848, in Kilimanoor, a small town of Kerala, India. He is well known for his unique oil paintings, mainly from the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Raja Ravi Varma managed to accomplish a beautiful union of the Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art.

Life history: Raja Ravi Varma was born at Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran of Kilimanoor palace in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore in Kerala. His father Ezhumavail Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad was an accomplished scholar, and his mother Umayamba Thampuratti was a poet and writer whose work Parvati Swayamvaram would be published by Raja Ravi Varma after her death. His siblings were C. Goda Varma, C. Raja Raja Varma and Mangala Bayi Thampuratti, who was also a painter. Raja Ravi Varma was married to Pururuttathi Nal Bhageerathi Amma Thampuran (Kochu Pangi) of the Royal House of Mavelikara and they had two sons and two daughters. Their eldest son, Kerala Varma, born in 1876 went missing in 1912 and was never heard from again. Their second son was Rama Varma, an artist who studied at the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, married to Srimathi Gowri Kunjamma, sister of Dewan PGN Unnithan.

Raja Ravi Varma’s elder daughter, Ayilyam Nal Mahaprabha Thampuratti, appears in two of his prominent paintings and was mother of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore. He had another daughter, Thiruvadira Nal Kochukunji Thampuratti, grandmother of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma Maharajah. His descendants comprise the Mavelikara Royal house while two of his granddaughters, including the said Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, were adopted to the Travancore Royal Family, the cousin family of the Mavelikara House, to which lineage the present Travancore Maharajah Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma belongs. Well known among his descendants are writer Shreekumar Varma (Prince Punardam Thirunal), artists Rukmini Varma (Princess Bharani Thirunal) and Jay Varma, classical musician Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma and others.

At a young age he secured the patronage of HH Maharajah Ayilyam Thirunal of Travancore, a relative, and began formal training thereafter. Raja Ravi Varma received widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873.He travelled throughout India in search of subjects. He often modeled Hindu Goddesses on South Indian women, whom he considered beautiful. Ravi Varma is particularly noted for his paintings depicting episodes from the story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, and Nala and Damayanti, from the Mahabharata. Ravi Varma’s representation of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian imagination of the epics. He is often criticized for being too showy and sentimental in his style. However his work remains very popular in India.

Raja Ravi Varma passed away on October 2, 1906. Major paintings of Raja Ravi Varma Village Belle Lady Lost in Thought Damayanti Talking to a Swan The Orchestra Arjuna and Subhadra Lady with lamp The broken Swarbat Player Shakuntala Lord Krishna as Ambassador Jatayu, a bird devotee of Lord Rama is mauled by Ravana Victory of Indrajit A Family of Beggars A Lady Playing Swarbat Lady Giving Alms at the Temple Lord Rama Conquers Varuna Nair Woman Romancing Couple Draupadi Dreading to Meet Kichaka Shantanu and Matsyagandha Shakuntala Composing a Love Letter to King Dushyanta Girl in Sage Kanwa’s Hermitage (Rishi-Kanya)

Posting some of his great paintings on this post

Portrait of the courtesan Vasanthasena, famously depicted in Śūdraka’s Sankrit play Mṛcchakaṭika

Krishnaleela Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Krishnaleela by Raja Ravi Varma
The Great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Bharatha paing with Lions Cubs
Goddess Kali
Photo of Raja Ravi Varma
Lady Going for Pooja
Portrait of Maharana Raj Singh

The best works of Raja Ravi Varma is with the Sanskrit play, The Recognition of Shakuntala

Shakuntala, also known as The Recognition of Shakuntala, The Sign of Shakuntala, and many other is a Sanskrit play by the ancient Indian poet Kālidāsa, dramatizing the story of Shakuntala told in the epic Mahabharata. It is considered to be the best of Kālidāsa’s works002E Its date is uncertain, but Kālidāsa is often placed in the period between the 1st century BCE and 4th century CE.

The protagonist is Shakuntala, daughter of the sage Vishwamitra and the apsara Menaka. Abandoned at birth by her parents, Shakuntala is reared in the secluded hermitage of the sage Kanva, and grows up a comely but innocent maiden.

While Kanva and the other elders of the hermitage are away on a pilgrimage, Dushyanta, king of Hastinapura, comes hunting in the forest and chances upon the hermitage. He is captivated by Shakuntala, courts her in royal style, and marries her. He then has to leave to take care of affairs in the capital. She is given a ring by the king, to be presented to him when she appears in his court. She can then claim her place as queen.

The anger-prone sage Durvasa arrives when Shakuntala is lost in her fantasies, so that when she fails to attend to him, he curses her by bewitching Dushyanta into forgetting her existence. The only cure is for Shakuntala to show him the signet ring that he gave her.

She later travels to meet him, and has to cross a river. The ring is lost when it slips off her hand when she dips her hand in the water playfully. On arrival the king refuses to acknowledge her. Shakuntala is abandoned by her companions, who return to the hermitage.

Fortunately, the ring is discovered by a fisherman in the belly of a fish, and Dushyanta realises his mistake – too late. The newly wise Dushyanta defeats an army of Asuras, and is rewarded by Indra with a journey through heaven. Returned to Earth years later, Dushyanta finds Shakuntala and their son by chance, and recognizes them.

Lad giving alms

In other versions, especially the one found in the Mahabharata, Shakuntala is not reunited until her son Bharata is born, and found by the king playing with lion cubs. Dushyanta enquires about his parents to young Bharata and finds out that Bharata is indeed his son. Bharata is an ancestor of the lineages of the Kauravas and Pandavas, who fought the epic war of the Mahabharata It is after this Bharata that India was given the name “Bharatavarsha”, the ‘Land of Bharata’

Birth of Shakuntala
Dhamayanthi and Swan
shakunthala patralekhana
Shakuntala
St Gregorios
susheela (modesty)
Rai Pannalal Mehta
Self Portrait of Raja Ravi Varma
keechaka and sairandri

Harihara Bheti [Hari(Vishnu) and Hara(Shiva) meeting] Vrishabha kunjaram

Lady Juggler
Maharani Chimanbai portrait
Parashurama
Grand Mom with her GrandSon
Damayanti Vanavasa
Sakunthala writing A letter

Rustic oil extractor
Taradevi
Shani Deva
Gopikas Complaining on little Krishna to His mother Yashoda

kerala girl during her Bath
Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi seating with their son Ganesha and his vehicle Nandi
Maharaja Sayaji Rao
Tanjore Madhava Rao
mityagarvist or manini
Chamarajendra Wadiyar
Portrait of an Indian Gentleman
Goddess Ambika
Decking the bride
Sri Audi Shankaracharya along with his disciples
Raja Ravi Varma’s daughter Mahaprabha with one of her sons
Ravana killing the Jatayu, while jatayu is trying to save her from the demon king Ravana

The Story of Ganga :

Survanshi king Dilipa’s son Bhagirath was performing a very harsh penance in the Himalayas. He wanted to bring river Ganga to earth from the heaven because only she could bestow nirvana to Bhagirath’s ancestors who were burnt to ashes because of sage Kapil’s curse.

After many years, Bhagirath was able to please Ganga. He heard the whispers from the heaven above “I am ready to come to earth as per your wishes but who will be able to stop my mighty tides and flow. I might sweep away the whole planet and end up in Patal Lok.”

Bhgirath was perplexed, he asked Ganga to provide a solution. Ganga replied that only Lord Shiva has the ability and valor to channelize her. If he agrees to keep me on his head, things will work out in favor of everyone. Hearing this, Bhagirath started praying to Lord Shiva. Pleased by the penance, Shiva agreed to let Ganga flow from his hair.

It was on the day of Dussehra when Shiva decided that it is time to fulfill his promise. He untied his hair and started looking at the sky without blinking his eyes. Ganga started flowing from the heavens and landed on Shiva’s head…not a single drop of water touched the earth.

The river got tangled in Shiva’s hair.

Answering Bhagirath’s prayers, Shiva took a strand of his hair and from there originated the Ganga that we know today. This place is known as Gangotri now and since Ganga came out of Shiva’s jata (hair), she is also known as Jatashankari.

However while flowing, Ganga demolished the ashram of sage Jahna, who got angry and stopped her right there. On Bhagirath’s appeal he later freed her that is why Ganga is also known as Jahnavi.

Ganga reached sage Kapil’s ashram where Bhagirath’s ancestors were burnt to ashes and liberated them so they could rest in peace. From there she gushed into Bay of Bengal, it is known as GangaSagar.

Sage Bhagiratha Bringing Ganga to Earth
Portrait of The Great Hindu Ruler, Maharana Pratap
Nizam of Hyderabad
Girl from malabar playing a musical instrument
King bharath meeting Lord Rama During his Vanavas
shakunthala and dushyantha
Hamsa Damayanthi
Reclining Woman

Looking into the Mirror
Goddess Saraswathi
Gypsies
Kaliyamardhana – Sri Krishna Dancing over the Snake Kaliya
Kadambari
Woman Holding a Fruit
Bharani Thirunal Lakshmi Bai (Varma’s sister-in-law)
Lanka Dhahan – Lord Hanuman sets lanka on Fire
The Royal Marriage
Lord Vishnu with s consorts Sri Devi and Bhumi Devi
Lord Ampthill
Lord Narayana with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi seated on Sesha Nag at Milky Ocean.
simhaka & sairandari
Goddess Lakshmi
Kerala Girl After Bath
Lord Vishnu saving 4 Vedas from the Demon king with his Matya Avata.
Maharaja Fateh Singh
Bharani Thirunal Rani Parvathi Bai
Disappointing News
Ambika
Arjuna and Subhadra
lord Shiva and Parvathi as Kirat

lady near well, taking out the water out
Prince Fateh Singh Rao
Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma
Dhamayanthi
Radha
Shankar Bhilli
Shanmukha with his consorts (Lord Kumara Swamy)
Historic Meeting of a local king with Foreign Merchants
Sairandhri
Lord Vamana with Bali Chartavarthi
Rani of Kurupam
shantanu and satyavati
Sita Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrughna, Hanuman along with Sri Rama
Lady with Veena

arjuna and subhadra
woman in thought
Sri Rama Giving life for Ahalya

Ahalya
Lord Hanuman bringing the Sanjeevini Mountain to save Lakshmana during the Ramayana War
Goddess Saraswathi
Death of Karna
NalaDamayanti (Nala leaving Damayanthi)
Ashoka vanasta Seetha
Yashoda and Sri Krishna

Photo Credits to RaviVarma.Org

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Last ‘blood moon’ eclipse of the decade – Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse January 2019

Few parts of the world are going to witness the rare cosmic event called Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse which is a result of three lunar phenomena happening together. And is the last ‘blood moon’ eclipse of the decade.

Let’s see why it is been called as “Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse” first.

 

Total Lunar Eclipse:

A total lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and covers the Moon with its shadow.

Super Moon:

This is called as a ‘Super moon’ because during this the Moon is at its closest distance to the Earth in the orbit and this point is known as the “perigee”.

In a super moon, our planet’s satellite appears 14 per cent larger and almost 30 per cent brighter in the sky.

Blood Moon:

The reason this is called a Blood Moon is because during a total lunar eclipse, the moon appears to take a reddish colour, hence the name Blood Moon.

What makes the moon turn red?

So why does the Moon appear red? During the lunar eclipse, the Moon is blocked from the sunlight since the Earth is in the way. Instead of reflecting sunlight as the Moon would have done at any other point, the Earth casts a shadow on the satellite

However not all sunlight is blocked, and because the Earth’s atmosphere allows the red wavelength light to pass through, the Moon reflects those and appears to have a reddish colour. This is because red light has a longer wavelength and can travel a longer distance, rather than blue light, which the Earth’s atmosphere filters out.

Wolf Moon:

Finally, this is called a Wolf moon is a part of tradition of referring to January’s full moon. There’s no actually wolf connection to the moon here.

 

A blood moon as seen from Sydney, Australia on July 28, 2018 CAMERON SPENCER, GETTY IMAGES

 

 

Visibility of this eclipse:

According to NASA, if the skies are clear the eclipse will be visible across North America, South America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, France and Spain. The rest of Europe and Africa will also get a glimpse of the Super Blood Wolf Moon.

7 Stages of the Eclipse:

A total lunar eclipse usually happens within a few hours. Totality can range anywhere from a few seconds to about 100 minutes. The July 26, 1953 total lunar eclipse had one of the longest periods of totality in the 20th century—100 minutes and 43 seconds.

There are 7 stages of a total lunar eclipse:

  • Penumbral eclipse begins: This begins when the penumbral part of Earth’s shadow starts moving over the Moon. This phase is not easily seen by the naked eye.
  • Partial eclipse begins: Earth’s umbra starts covering the Moon, making the eclipse more visible.
  • Total eclipse begins: Earth’s umbra completely covers the Moon and the Moon is red, brown, or yellow in color.
  • Maximum eclipse: This is the middle of the total eclipse.
  • Total eclipse ends: At this stage, Earth’s umbra starts moving away from the Moon’s surface.
  • Partial eclipse ends: Earth’s umbra completely leaves the Moon’s surface.
  • Penumbral eclipse ends: At this point, the eclipse ends and Earth’s shadow completely moves away from the Moon.

When the Eclipse Happens Worldwide — Timeline

Lunar eclipses can be visible from everywhere on the night side of the Earth, if the sky is clear. From some places, the entire eclipse will be visible, while in other areas the Moon will rise or set during the eclipse.

Event UTC Time
Penumbral Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 02:36:29
Partial Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 03:33:54
Full Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 04:41:17
Maximum Eclipse 21 Jan, 05:12:14
Full Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 05:43:15
Partial Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 06:50:39
Penumbral Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 07:48:02

 

How long will the total lunar eclipse last?

The total lunar eclipse, which is also being called as a Super Blood Wolf Moon, will last around one hour and two minutes. This is peak eclipse or the greatest eclipse period, which is when Moon comes closest to the axis of Earth’s shadow

The entire eclipse will start at 7:34 pm PST / 11:41 pm EST and last till 10.50 pm PST and this includes partial and total eclipse. The peak eclipse will start at 8.41 pm PST and end at 9.43 pm PST. For India, this comes to 10.11 AM on the morning of January 21 and ending at 11.13 am IST on January 21, however, the eclipse will not be visible to people in India and other Asian countries. The entire event, which includes total as well as partial lunar eclipse will reportedly last for three and a half hours.

Appearance of Super Blood Wolf Moon

 In the first phase, no real difference will appear in the moon. In the second phase, a partial eclipse will appear. About 90 minutes later, it will reach totality. The moon will give a  reddish glow. The process then goes in reverse.

How to see Super Blood Wolf Moon

There’s no need of any special equipment to watch Super Blood Wolf Moon. If the weather is clear, stargazers will be able to enjoy this celestial show.

 

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Ancient Terracotta idols unearthed by the floods and reveals the existence of an ancient civilization

Sometimes the Natural disasters would do the job of revelation of our past, the outstanding discovery of ancient terracotta idols on the banks of the Pampa river at Edayaranmula, near Aranmula, Kerala State, India,  exploring the Ancient Pampa Valley civilisation, During the excavations of Archaeology Department of India.

A few fisher men had sighted terracotta figurines along a caved-in portion of the river bank near Anjilimoottilkadavu at Edayaranmula.

When a few fishers from Kerala decided to visit the Pamba basin in Aranmula In early  September 2018, little did they expect to stumble upon a piece of history hitherto unknown to the world.  As they rowed toward the part of the river bank that had sunken-in during the floods, they came across ancient terracotta artefacts stuck between roots of trees that were uprooted. Excited to discover a secret buried in the river bed for so long, the fishermen immediately contacted the archaeological department to further excavate the area.

Sapta Matrikas unearthed from Aranmula _ Photo By KrishnaRaj K

A month post this incident, the Kerala Department of Archaeology has begun a rescue excavation to uncover more hidden terracotta treasures.

As per the historian’s early observations these figurines pointed to a centuries-old rich civilisation that prevailed in the Pampa river basin. It is a first of a kind discovery from the banks of Pampa and invited deeper studies.

Terracotta Figures of Sapta Matrikas – Photo By KrishnaRaj K

The work, currently in progress at the Kozhipalam region in Aranmula, has led to several more terracotta idols being recovered from the trenches.

Krishnaraj, who is also part of the excavation team, said that the first samples of idols that were found by the fishermen were stuck inside the roots of trees that had been uprooted by a flood induced landslip in the region. Upon further excavation, the team recovered more clay idols, most of them having similar patterns.

The pieces include male and female figurines, snake heads, bust of a man and a twin female terracotta statue. The Aranmula-based Pampa Valley Civilisation Study and Research Centre has taken up the matter with Minister for Archaeology Kadannappally Ramachandran, who directed the Archaeology Department to conduct a detailed study and excavation of the site.

Stylized Naga, Found at Aramula – By Krishnaraj K

A team of experts comprising S. Bhoopesh, conservation engineer, and Rajeshkumar, curator, attached to the State Archaeology Department, visited Edayaranmula and examined the artefacts on October 1. Meanwhile, Mr. Puliyoor contacted historians M.R. Raghava Warrier and M.G.S. Narayanan. Prof. Warrier visited Edayaranmula in the first week of October and said that the artefacts might be 800-1200 years old.

Terracotta Figures – Courtesy The Hindu

As reported by The News Minute,  “Mostly, the idols had seven faces. A group of seven women sitting close together was a prominent kind of figurine. We also found male figurines and Naga (serpent) figurines. The idols look like they belonged to a place of worship — like a sacred grove for the naga gods (pambin kavu). The concept of Sapta Kanya (seven virgins) or Sapta Matrika (a group of mother goddesses) is a common theme in the idols. Votive sculptures or shilpams used for idol sacrifice was also excavated from the region,” he said.

 

“Saying that is a bit much. A civilisation stands as a huge era in history, consisting of many generations of people and their progress. Here we are talking about small tribes living close to the river. The idols found are mostly used for worship,” Krishnaraj added.

Naga idol found in Aranmula

A few of the figurines have been currently preserved at the Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam, a local institute in the area which teaches vastu, architecture, culture etc. Another small sample of the idols is with the Directorate of Archaeology as they were taken for initial inspection. The excavating team has also kept all the idols they found and unearthed from the basin.

The centuries-old terracotta pieces include parts of male figurines and Naga images Credits to Manorama Online

 

Cist burial site discovered on the opposite banks of the Pamba during excavations

A cist is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East. A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow.

Cist Burial Found Near the Excavation Site – Photo By KrishnaRaj K

“We are going to send them for Thermoluminescence dating, a process used to determine the exact age of the figurines by identifying the time elapsed since the material was exposed to sunlight or heat. We will be sending the samples to Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun,” he said Reported by The News Minute.

The team along with local conservationists group Aranmula Pamba Paithrika Samrakshana Samithi have decided to build a museum in the region to preserve the findings from the river basin. Dr. Mohanakshan Nair, linguist and Sanskrit scholar, said the 13th Century text, Tirunizhalmala, also mentioned the heritage village of Aranmula on the banks of Pampa and on the presence of education centres there.

 

 

 

 

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From a small village in India to the Queen’s Crown, the incredible journey

We’ve seen in the history, how the wealth was moved from one country to other  through the wars and invasions. You’re going to read an incredible story of ‘the precious diamond’ whose journey has started from a small village somewhere in India to the crown of the world’s most powerful.

The Origin of the Diamond

The birth place of this world famous diamond is Kollur, a small village, in the district of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. It was one of the most productive diamond mine in the world till the mid 19th century. This mine is situated on the right bank of the eminent Krishna River. When the production of diamond was at its highest level in this region, it was recorded that nearly 60,000 people were employed in the mine, which includes not just men and women, but also children of all age groups. There is no record of its original weight, but the earliest well-attested weight is 186 old carats (191 metric carats or 38.2 g). This Diamond is holding a history of around 1000 years (As per Records).

The Koh-i-Noor in the front cross of Queen Mary’s Crown

 

As an Eye to Goddess Kali

It was initially owned by the rulers of kakatiya dynasty, one of the great and powerful dynasties of India, mostly ruled the southern parts of India. They donated this precious diamond to their “Family Diety (Kula Devatha)” Sri Bhadra Kali Temple, and it was installed as the left eye of Goddess Bhadrakali by the Kakatiya Dynasty in 11th century, the golden period for kakatiya dynasty.

As per Archaeological Survey of India and Temple records, In 1323 CE During the invasion, Muhammad bin Tughluq of delhi sultanate captured the kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra alive and destroyed the city Orugallu (Current name is Warangal) the capital city of kakatiyas. During this invasion, he took away the ‘precious Diamond’ along with other jewellery found in the temples, looted and destroyed the fort of Warangal.

Goddess Bhadra Kali, Warangal, India (Where the diamond was installed as the left eye of Main Deity Goddess Bhadrakali)
Ruins of Orugallu Fort, Warangal, India
With Mughal Empire

Babur, the Turco-Mongol founder of the Mughal Empire, wrote about a “famous” diamond that weighed just over 187 old carats – approximately the size of the 186-carat Koh-i-Noor. Some historians think Babur’s diamond is the earliest reliable reference to the Koh-i-Noor. According to his diary, it was acquired by Alauddin Khalji, second ruler of the Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, when he invaded the kingdoms of southern India at the beginning of the 14th century. It later passed to succeeding dynasties of the Sultanate, and Babur received the diamond in 1526 as a tribute for his conquest of Delhi and Agra at the Battle of Panipat.

 

Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. In 1658, his son and successor, Aurangzeb, confined the ailing emperor to Agra Fort. While in the possession of Aurangzeb, it was allegedly cut by Hortenso Borgia, a Venetian lapidary, reducing the weight of the large stone to 186 carats (37.2 g). For this carelessness, Borgia was reprimanded and fined 10,000 rupees. According to recent research, the story of Borgia cutting the diamond is not correct, and most probably mixed up with the Orlov, part of Catherine the Great’s imperial Russian sceptre in the Kremlin.

The Name Koh – i -Noor, and with Nader Shah

Following the 1739 invasion of Delhi by Nader Shah, the Afsharid Shah of Persia, the treasury of the Mughal Empire was looted by his army in an organised and thorough acquisition of the Mughal nobility’s wealth. Along with millions of rupees and an assortment of historic jewels, the Shah also carried away the Koh-i-Noor. He exclaimed Koh-i-Noor!, Persian for “Mountain of Light”, when he obtained the famous stone.

Nadir Shah (left), Shah Shuja Durrani (Middle) and Ranjit Singh (Right)
The value of Kohinoor in the words of Shah’s Consort,

One of his consorts said, “If a strong man were to throw four stones – one north, one south, one east, one west, and a fifth stone up into the air – and if the space between them were to be filled with gold, all would not equal the value of the Koh-i-Noor”.

Journey a way Back to India

After Nader Shah was killed and his empire collapsed in 1747, the Koh-i-Noor fell to his grandson, who in 1751 gave it to Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Afghan Empire, in return for his support.One of Ahmed’s descendants, Shuja Shah Durrani, wore a bracelet containing the Koh-i-Noor on the occasion of Mountstuart Elphinstone’s visit to Peshawar in 1808. A year later, Shujah formed an alliance with the United Kingdom to help defend against a possible invasion of Afghanistan by Russia. He was quickly overthrown, but fled with the diamond to Lahore, where Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire, in return for his hospitality, insisted upon the gem being given to him, and he took possession of it in 1813.

In 1893, the diamond returned to it’s mother land, but that’s not the end….

Acquisition by Queen Victoria

Its new owner, Ranjit Singh, willed the diamond to the East India Company administered Hindu Jagannath Temple in Puri, in modern-day Odisha, India. However, after his death in 1839, his will was not executed. On 29 March 1849, following the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Sikh War, the Kingdom of Punjab was formally annexed to Company rule, and the Last Treaty of Lahore was signed, officially ceding the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria and the Maharaja’s other assets to the company. Article III of the treaty read: “The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja-ool-moolk by Maharajah Ranjeet Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England (sic)”.

The Governor-General in charge of the ratification of this treaty was the Marquess of Dalhousie. The manner of his aiding in the transfer of the diamond was criticized even by some of his contemporaries in Britain. Although some thought it should have been presented as a gift to Queen Victoria by the East India Company, it is clear that Dalhousie believed the stone was a spoil of war, and treated it accordingly, ensuring that it was officially surrendered to her by Duleep Singh, the youngest son of Ranjit Singh. The presentation of the Koh-i-Noor by the East India Company to the queen was the latest in a long history of transfers of the diamond as a coveted spoil of war. Duleep Singh had been placed in the guardianship of Dr John Login, a surgeon in the British Army serving in the Presidency of Bengal. Duleep Singh would move to England in 1854.

Finally to the United Kingdom

In due course, the Governor-General received the Koh-i-Noor from Dr Login,who had been appointed Governor of the Citadel, on 6 April 1848 under a receipt dated 7 December 1849, in the presence of members of the Board of Administration for the affairs of the Punjab: Sir Henry Lawrence (President), C. G. Mansel, John Lawrence and Sir Henry Elliot (Secretary to the Government of India).

Legend in the Lawrence family has it that before the voyage, John Lawrence left the jewel in his waistcoat pocket when it was sent to be laundered, and was most grateful when it was returned promptly by the valet who found it.

On 1 February 1850, the jewel was sealed in a small iron safe inside a red dispatch box, both sealed with red tape and a wax seal and kept in a chest at Bombay Treasury awaiting a steamer ship from China. It was then sent to England for presentation to Queen Victoria in the care of Captain J. Ramsay and Brevet Lt. Col F. Mackeson under tight security arrangements, one of which was the placement of the dispatch box in a larger iron safe. They departed from Bombay on 6 April on board HMS Medea, captained by Captain Lockyer.

The ship had a difficult voyage: an outbreak of cholera on board when the ship was in Mauritius had the locals demanding its departure, and they asked their governor to open fire on the vessel and destroy it if there was no response. Shortly afterwards, the vessel was hit by a severe gale that blew for some 12 hours.

 

On arrival in Britain on 29 June, the passengers and mail were unloaded in Plymouth, but the Koh-i-Noor stayed on board until the ship reached Spithead, near Portsmouth, on 1 July. The next morning, Ramsay and Mackeson, in the company of Mr Onslow, the private secretary to the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the British East India Company, proceeded by train to East India House in the City of London and passed the diamond into the care of the chairman and deputy chairman of the East India Company.

 

The Koh-i-Noor was formally presented to Queen Victoria on 3 July 1850 at Buckingham Palace by the deputy chairman of the East India Company. The date had been chosen to coincide with the Company’s 250th anniversary.

The Great Exhibition

Members of the public were given a chance to see the Koh-i-Noor when The Great Exhibition was staged at Hyde Park, London, in 1851. It represented the might of the British Empire and took pride of place in the eastern part of the central gallery.

 

Its mysterious past and advertised value of £1–2 million drew large crowds. At first, the stone was put inside a gilded birdcage, but after complaints about its dull appearance, the Koh-i-Noor was moved to a case with black velvet and gas lamps in the hope that it would sparkle better. Despite this, the flawed and asymmetrical diamond still failed to please viewers.

The 1852 re-cutting

Originally, the diamond had 169 facets and was 4.1 centimetres (1.6 in) long, 3.26 centimetres (1.28 in) wide, and 1.62 centimetres (0.64 in) deep. It was high-domed, with a flat base and both triangular and rectangular facets, similar in overall appearance to other Mughal era diamonds which are now in the Iranian Crown Jewels.

Disappointment in the appearance of the stone was not uncommon. After consulting various mineralogists, including Sir David Brewster, it was decided by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, with the consent of the government, to polish the Koh-i-Noor. One of the largest and most famous Dutch diamond merchants, Mozes Coster, was employed for the task. He sent to London one of his most experienced artisans, Levie Benjamin Voorzanger, and his assistants.

On 17 July 1852, the cutting began at the factory of Garrard & Co. in Haymarket, using a steam-powered mill built specially for the job by Maudslay, Sons and Field. Under the supervision of Prince Albert and the Duke of Wellington, and the technical direction of the queen’s mineralogist, James Tennant, the cutting took thirty-eight days. Albert spent a total of £8,000 on the operation, which reduced the weight of the diamond from 186 old carats (191 modern carats or 38.2 g) to its current 105.6 carats (21.12 g).  The stone measures 3.6 cm (1.4 in) long, 3.2 cm (1.3 in) wide, and 1.3 cm (0.5 in) deep.[43] Brilliant-cut diamonds usually have fifty-eight facets, but the Koh-i-Noor has eight additional “star” facets around the culet, making a total of sixty-six facets.

The great loss of weight is to some extent accounted for by the fact that Voorzanger discovered several flaws, one especially big, that he found it necessary to cut away. Although Prince Albert was dissatisfied with such a huge reduction, most experts agreed that Voorzanger had made the right decision and carried out his job with impeccable skill. When Queen Victoria showed the re-cut diamond to the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, the Koh-i-Noor’s last non-British owner, he was apparently unable to speak for several minutes afterwards.

The much lighter but more dazzling stone was mounted in a honeysuckle brooch and a circlet worn by the queen. At this time, it belonged to her personally, and was not yet part of the Crown Jewels.  Although Victoria wore it often, she became uneasy about the way in which the diamond had been acquired. In a letter to her eldest daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, she wrote in the 1870s: “No one feels more strongly than I do about India or how much I opposed our taking those countries and I think no more will be taken, for it is very wrong and no advantage to us. You know also how I dislike wearing the Koh-i-Noor“.

                                    The Koh-i-Noor as it is today
Crown Jewel

After Queen Victoria’s death, the Koh-i-Noor was set in the Crown of Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII, that was used to crown her at their coronation in 1902. The diamond was transferred to Queen Mary’s Crown in 1911, and finally to The Queen Mother’s Crown in 1937. When The Queen Mother died in 2002, the crown was placed on top of her coffin for the lying-in-state and funeral.

All these crowns are on display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London with crystal replicas of the diamond set in the older crowns. The original bracelet given to Queen Victoria can also be seen there. A glass model of the Koh-i-Noor shows visitors how it looked when it was brought to the United Kingdom. Replicas of the diamond in this and its re-cut forms can also be seen in the ‘Vault’ exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London.

 

Queen Mary and the Koh-i-Noor, left to right: in her crown, wearing the crown for the coronation, wearing the crown without its arches, wearing the brooch setting on her neckline

During the Second World War, the Crown Jewels were moved from their home at the Tower of London to Windsor Castle. In 1990, The Sunday Telegraph, citing a biography of the French army general, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, by his widow, Simonne, reported that George VI hid the Koh-i-Noor at the bottom of a pond or lake near Windsor Castle, about 32 km (20 miles) outside London, where it remained until after the war. The only people who knew of the hiding place were the king and his librarian, Sir Owen Morshead, who apparently revealed the secret to the general and his wife on their visit to England in 1949.

Ownership dispute Continues

The Koh-i-Noor has long been a subject of diplomatic controversy, with India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan all demanding its return from the UK at various points.

The efforts of Indian governments to bring back Kohinoor

The Government of India, believing the gem was rightfully theirs, first demanded the return of the Koh-i-Noor as soon as independence was granted in 1947. A second request followed in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Each time, the British government rejected the claims, saying that ownership was non-negotiable.

In 2000, several members of the Indian Parliament signed a letter calling for the diamond to be given back to India, claiming it was taken illegally. British officials said that a variety of claims meant it was impossible to establish the diamond’s original owner,[53] and that it had been part of Britain’s heritage for more than 150 years.

In July 2010, while visiting India, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said of returning the diamond, “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty. I am afraid to say, it is going to have to stay put”. On a subsequent visit in February 2013, he said, “They’re not having that back”.

In April 2016, the Indian Culture Ministry stated it would make “all possible efforts” to arrange the return of the Koh-i-Noor to India. It was despite the Indian Government earlier conceding that the diamond was a gift. The Solicitor General of India had made the announcement before the Supreme Court of India due to public interest litigation by a campaign group. He said “It was given voluntarily by Ranjit Singh to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh wars. The Koh-i-Noor is not a stolen object”.

The Voice of Afghanistan

In 2000, the Taliban’s foreign affairs spokesman, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, said the Koh-i-Noor was the legitimate property of Afghanistan, and demanded for it to be handed over to the regime. “The history of the diamond shows it was taken from us (Afghanistan) to India, and from there to Britain. We have a much better claim than the Indians”, he said. The Afghan claim derives from Shah Shuja Durrani memoirs, which states he surrendered the diamond to Ranjit Singh while Singh was having his son tortured in front of him, so argue the Maharajah of Lahore acquired the stone illegitimately.

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American National killed by hostile Sentinelese tribe in remote North Sentinel island when he approached to convert the tribes to Christianity

An American self-styled adventurer and Christian missionary has been killed and buried by a tribe of hunter-gatherers on a remote island in the Indian Ocean where he had gone to proselytize, local law enforcement officials said on Wednesday

John Allen Chau, 26, was killed on North Sentinel Island, which is home to what is considered the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world and typically out of bounds to visitors, said Dependra Pathak, the director general of police in Andaman and Nicobar. He was killed by members of the Sentinelese tribe using bows and arrows.

The Sentinelese Tribe of North Sentinel island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Sentinelese

The Sentinelese are an uncontacted tribe living on North Sentinal Island, one of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. They vigorously reject all contact with outsiders.

It is vital that their wish to remain uncontacted is respected – if not, the entire tribe could be wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity. Contact imposed upon other Andaman tribes has had a devastating impact.

Following a campaign by Survival and local organisations, the Indian government abandoned plans to contact the Sentinelese.

The Sentinelese attracted international attention in the wake of the 2004 Asian tsunami, when a member of the tribe was photographed on a beach, firing arrows at a helicopter which was checking on their welfare.

The Sentinelese live on their own small forested island called North Sentinel, which is approximately the size of Manhattan. They continue to resist all contact with outsiders, attacking anyone who comes near. In 2006, two Indian fishermen, who had moored their boat near North Sentinel to sleep after poaching in the waters around the island, were killed when their boat broke loose and drifted onto the shore. Poachers are known to fish illegally in the waters around the island, catching turtles and diving for lobsters and sea cucumbers.

John Alley Chau (26) was shot dead by tribesman last week when he arrived at the North Sentinel Island, which is one of the world’s most isolated regions in the area and is off-limits to visitors. (Instagram/johnachau)

He sent back some handwritten notes from the island before his death

Chau also said in the blog: “I definitely get my inspiration for life from Jesus.”

Based on his social media posts, Chau appears to have visited India multiple times in the last few years, exploring and preaching in many parts of southern India.

Chau with a group of students around Mount Adams. (Instagram/johnachau)

“We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reported killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinelese Tribe in the Andaman Islands,” members of the Chau family said in a post on his Instagram page.

The family described him as a “beloved son, brother and uncle” as well as a Christian missionary, wilderness emergency medical technician, soccer coach and mountaineer.

“He loved God, life, helping those in need and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people,” the family said. “We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death. We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands.”

The family asked that local contacts not be prosecuted in the case.

View this post on Instagram

John Allen Chau

A post shared by John Chau (@johnachau) on

“A murder case has been registered against unknown persons,” Mr Pathak said, adding that the local fishermen suspected of illegally ferrying Chau to the 60-square-km island had been arrested on separate

Hours before he was shot dead with arrows by an endangered tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 26-year-old John Allen Chau had written a letter to his parents, asking them not to be “mad at them or at God” if he was killed.

Chau was shot dead by tribesmen last week when he arrived at the North Sentinel Island, which is one of the world’s most isolated regions in the area and is off-limits to visitors. He wanted to convert the tribes to Christianity.

In the letter dated November 16 and which was later obtained by DailyMail.com, Chau told his parents, “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people. Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed.”

“Rather please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil. This is not a pointless thing – the eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language as Revelations 7:9-10 states.”

“I love you all and I pray none of you love anything in this world more than Jesus Christ,” he said.

Chau signed off the letter with his name and ‘Soli Deo Gloria‘, which is Latin for Glory to God alone.

Besides the letter, Chau had also penned down several journal entries in which he expressed his desire and commitment to spreading the word of God among the tribe.

Buried In The Sand

Police said in a statement that they had launched an investigation into Chau’s death after being contacted by the U.S. consulate in Chennai.

“We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” a consulate spokeswoman said in an email, but declined to provide further details.

Mr Pathak said a Coast Guard vessel with police and experts on the tribe had gone to scout the island and formulate a plan to recover Chau’s body. North Sentinel Island is about 50 km west of Port Blair, the capital of the island cluster.

Chau made two or three trips to the island by canoe from Nov. 15, making contact with the tribe but returning to his boat, Pathak said. He told the fishermen on Nov. 16 he would not come back from the island and instructed them to return home and pass on some handwritten notes he had made to a friend.

The Contact with Sentinelese Tribe

In the late 1800s M.V. Portman, the British ‘Officer in Charge of the Andamanese’ landed, with a large team, on North Sentinel Island in the hope of contacting the Sentinelese. The party included trackers, from Andamanese tribes who had already made contact with the British, officers and convicts.

In the wake of the 2004 tsunami this member of the Sentinelese tribe was photographed firing arrows at a helicopter. © Indian Coastguard/Survival

They found recently abandoned villages and paths but the Sentinelese were nowhere to be seen. After a few days they came across an elderly couple and some children who, ‘in the interest of science’ were taken to Port Blair, the island’s capital. Predictably they soon fell ill and the adults died. The children were taken back to their island with a number of gifts.

It is not known how many Sentinelese became ill as a result of this ‘science’ but it’s likely that the children would have passed on their diseases and the results would have been devastating. It is mere conjecture, but might this experience account for the Sentinelese’s continued hostility and rejection of outsiders?

North Sentinel Island, home of the Sentinelese, as seen from above. © Survival

During the 1970s the Indian authorities made occasional trips to North Sentinel in an attempt to befriend the tribe. These were often at the behest of dignitaries who wanted an adventure. On one of these trips two pigs and a doll were left on the beach. The Sentinelese speared the pigs and buried them, along with the doll. Such visits became more regular in the 1980s; the teams would try to land, at a place out of the reach of arrows, and leave gifts such as coconuts, bananas and bits of iron. Sometimes the Sentinelese appeared to make friendly gestures; at others they would take the gifts into the forest and then fire arrows at the contact party.

The Sentinelese enjoy excellent health, unlike those Andamans tribes whose lands have been destroyed. © Survival International

In 1991 there appeared to be a breakthrough. When the officials arrived in North Sentinel the tribe gestured for them to bring gifts and then, for the first time, approached without their weapons. They even waded into the sea towards the boat to collect more coconuts. However, this friendly contact was not to last, although gift dropping trips continued for some years, encounters were not always friendly. At times the Sentinelese aimed their arrows at the contact team, and once they attacked a wooden boat with their adzes (a stone axe for cutting wood). No one knows why the Sentinelese first dropped, and then resumed their hostility to the contact missions, nor if any died as a result of diseases caught during these visits.

In 1996 the regular gift dropping missions stopped. Many officials were beginning to question the wisdom of attempting to contact a people who were healthy and content and who had thrived on their own for up to 55,000 years. Friendly contact had had only a devastating impact on the Great Andamanese tribes. Sustained contact with the Sentinelese would almost certainly have tragic consequences.

In the following years only occasional visits were made, again with a mixed response. After the Tsunami in 2004, officials made two visits to check, from a distance, that the tribe seemed healthy and were not suffering in any way. They then declared that no further attempts would be made to contact the Sentinelese.

Their extreme isolation makes them very vulnerable to diseases to which they have no immunity, meaning contact would almost certainly have tragic consequences for them.

Following a campaign by Survival and local organisations, the Indian government abandoned plans to contact the Sentinelese, and their current position is still that no further attempts to contact the tribe will be made.

Periodic checks, from boats anchored at a safe distance from shore, are made to ensure that the Sentinelese appear well and have not chosen to seek contact.

What’s happening now ?

( Update As of Now, 29/11/2018 1:50 PM IST)

This sentinel island currently comes under RAP (Restricted Area Permit) along with 29 other islands which are restricted for others to enter in. After this incident, the ministry of Home affairs thinking of relaxing the RAP permit to all these 30 islands.

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Chairperson Nand Kumar Sai has called for all necessary steps by the government to maintain the “Inviolability of North sentinel island” also the commission is of the view that the decession of the ministry of Home affairs on giving relaxation of RAP. In this review process, the commission is going to send their official team to Andaman and Nicobar Islands on December 4-5 for investigation.

As per Times of India, a leading news agency, in a statement issued by the commission the members have registered their concern that ” any agressive step to recover the body will distrub the peace and tranquility on the island”.

The commission was informed that a five member commitee lead by secretary (Tribal Welfare ) of the Andaman and Nicobar administration has been constituted by Lt. Governor of the union territory.
It will review the mechanism to prevent the landing of foreigners over the north sentinel island and posting the suggestions on to prevent such incidents in future. They are going to submit the report in next 30 days.

The commission had advised the government to be “Ultra – Sensitive” to the vulnerability of the ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups’ (PVTGs) such as the tribes of Northern Sentinel Islands, and any attempt for tourism development etc.

There are many hoaxes already spreading over the social media that the Indian government is going to send 5,000 of its army to capture this island are completely false. Please don’t believe in such news. Please follow us for ground level reality.

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44 years for the first interstellar radio message

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” So said sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke.

We have nearly 200 billion galaxies (As per Hubble Telescope), Discovering planets outside our Solar System has raised hopes that we may one day contact alien lifeforms.

Since the early 20th century, Our Scientists are trying their best to find a way to contact the intelligent life over this vast universe.

Keep all the possibilities a side; let’s give a thought, how about sending a message to space about the existence of Humans on our planet earth?

That was the day, exactly 44 years back, few got the same thought and sent a message to the universe, the message is named as Arecibo message, this post explains about the First interstellar radio message to the space.

Dr. Frank Drake, then at Cornell University and creator of the Drake equation, wrote a message with help from Carl Sagan, among others, The first  interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star cluster M13 in the hope that extraterrestrial intelligence might receive and decipher it. The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on 16 November 1974.  The message was aimed at the current location of M13 some 25,000 light years away because M13 was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at the time and place of the ceremony. The message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz and modulated by shifting the frequency by 10 Hz, with a power of 450 kW. The “ones” and “zeros” were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second. The total broadcast was less than three minutes.

The number 1,679 was chosen because it is a semiprime (the product of two prime numbers), to be arranged rectangularly as 73 rows by 23 columns. The alternative arrangement, 23 rows by 73 columns, produces an unintelligible set of characters (as do all other X/Y formats). The message forms the image shown on the right when translated into graphics, characters, and spaces.

This is the message with color added to highlight its separate parts. The actual binary transmission carried no color information.

The message consists of seven parts that encode the following (from the top down).

  1. The numbers one (1) to ten (10) (white)
  2. The atomic numbers of the elements hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, which make up deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) (purple)
  3. The formulas for the sugars and bases in the nucleotides of DNA (green)
  4. The number of nucleotides in DNA, and a graphic of the double helix structure of DNA (white & blue)
  5. A graphic figure of a human, the dimension (physical height) of an average man, and the human population of Earth (red, blue/white, & white respectively)
  6. A graphic of the Solar System indicating which of the planets the message is coming from (yellow)
  7. A graphic of the Arecibo radio telescope and the dimension (the physical diameter) of the transmitting antenna dish (purple, white, & blue)

 Numbers

The numbers from 1 to 10 appear in binary format (the bottom row marks the beginning of each number).

Even assuming that recipients would recognize binary, the encoding of the numbers may not be immediately obvious because of the way they have been written. To read the first seven digits, ignore the bottom row, and read them as three binary digits from top to bottom, with the top digit being the most significant. The readings for 8, 9 and 10 are a little different, as they have been given an additional column next to the first (to the right in the image). This is intended to show that numbers too large to fit in a single column can be written in several contiguous ones, where the additional columns do not have the least-significant-digit marker.

 

DNA elements

 

The numbers 1, 6, 7, 8, and 15 appear. These are the atomic numbers of hydrogen (H), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), and phosphorus (P), the components of DNA.

Nucleotides

 

Deoxyribose
(C5H7O)
Adenine
(C5H4N5)
Thymine
(C5H5N2O2)
Deoxyribose
(C5H7O)
Phosphate
(PO4)
Phosphate
(PO4)
Deoxyribose
(C5H7O)
Cytosine
(C4H4N3O)
Guanine
(C5H4N5O)
Deoxyribose
(C5H7O)
Phosphate
(PO4)
Phosphate
(PO4)

The nucleotides are described as sequences of the five atoms that appear on the preceding line. Each sequence represents the molecular formula of the nucleotide as incorporated into DNA (as opposed to the free form of the nucleotide).

Double helix

DNA double helix; the vertical bar represents the number of nucleotides. The value depicted is around 4.3 billion, which was believed to be the case in 1974 when the message was transmitted. It is currently thought that there are about 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome.

Humanity

The element in the center represents a human. The element on the left (in the image) indicates the average height of an adult male: 1.764 m (5 ft 9.4 in). This corresponds to the horizontally written binary 14 multiplied by the wavelength of the message (126 mm). The element on the right depicts the size of human population in 1974, around 4.3 billion (which, coincidentally, is within 0.1% of the number of DNA nucleotides). In this case, the number is oriented in the data horizontally rather than vertically. The least-significant-digit marker is in the upper left in the image, with bits going to the right and more significant digits below.

Planets

Earth

Sun Mercury Venus       Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

The solar system, showing the Sun and the planets in the order of their position from the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. (Pluto has since been reclassified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union, but it was still considered a planet at the time the message was transmitted.)

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun; its graphic is shifted up to identify it as the planet from which the signal was sent. Additionally, the human figure is shown just above the Earth graphic.

In addition to showing position, the graphic provides a general, not-to-scale size reference of each planet and the Sun.

 

Telescope

The last part represents the Arecibo radio telescope with its diameter: 2,430 multiplied by the wavelength gives 306.18 m (1,004 ft 6 in). In this case, the number is oriented horizontally, with the least-significant-digit marker to the lower right in the image. The part of the image that looks like a letter “M” is there to demonstrate to the reader of the message that the curved line is a paraboloid mirror.

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and NRAO

Since it will take nearly 25,000 years for the message to reach its intended destination (and an additional 25,000 years for any reply), the Arecibo message is viewed as a demonstration of human technological achievement, rather than a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extra-terrestrials. In fact, the core of M13, to which the message was aimed, will no longer be in that location when the message arrives. However, as the proper motion of M13 is small, the message will still arrive near the center of the cluster.  According to the Cornell News press release of November 12, 1999, the real purpose of the message was not to make contact but to demonstrate the capabilities of newly installed equipment.

Thanks to Google,

On 16 November 2018, Google released a Doodle to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the transmission of the first interstellar radio message to the space.

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