Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Geographical Hero: Vasco da Gama

 In the series of geographical heroes I am going to introduce the extraordinary voyages of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524). This man was one of the most successful explorers from the Age of Discovery (the period in 15th-17th Century history where Europeans engaged in extensive exploration around the globe).
Portugal was already famed for it’s explorers, particularly Bartholomew Dias, who reached the Cape of Good Hope, Africa in 1488. The Portuguese then wanted to go further and reach India to establish trade for spices.  In 1492, da Gama commanded the defense of Portuguese colonies against the French in Guinea. Then he set sail for India with four ships: the Sao Gabriel, the Sao Rafael, the Berrio and one other cargo ship.
Vasco da Gamma and his crew would have used a variety of navigation aids that would have been available during this period in history, including: astrolabes, charts, compasses, and traverse boards.  These navigational aids were used to measure the angle between objects above the ocean, such as the horizon, sun or stars. This would have enabled the calculation of the ships position at sea. Nothing quite like the GPS technology we have today.
So, in 1497 the crew sailed down the coast of Africa and made a short journey into the Atlantic, before swinging back to reach the south of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. The explorers passed round the Cape of Good Hope and sailed up the east coast of Africa, and then crossed the Indian Ocean to reach Calicut (now Kozhikode) by May 1948.  This was the first totally water-based route to India.
This was the first of many journeys to India for the Portuguese, making Portugal one of the most important trading and naval powers in the Indian Ocean. When da Gama reached India, his final destination, he bought spices and silk cloth. He left again for Portugal in 1499.  On da Gama’s second voyage, he made stops in Africa, and when visiting Mombasa (now Kenya) he made a peace treaty between Africa and Portugal. That peace treaty was the first ever treaty of peace and friendship between an African country and a European country. While he was there he put up a monument, the original is no longer present but a replacement monument has been built (see below).
In 1502 da Gama destroyed the Arab trading centers in India and along Africa’s East coast and set up Portuguese trading centers, securing Portugal’s position as one of the most important global trading powers. Later, in 1524, after da Gama had set up many trading centers King John III named him Viceroy to India. During that same year he also became Admiral of India. Unfortunately, later that year, he died in Cochin, his body was returned to Portugal however many memorials remain worldwide recognising his efforts in global exploration and trade expansion.
The tomb of Vasco da Gama lies in the Jerónimos monastery in Portugal.
The achievements and effects of the journeys of da Gama stretch far beyond the borders of Portugal, and this is reflected by the global spread of memorials to the man who pioneered trade with India. The memorial in Durban, South Africa provides a further example, unveiled in 1897, 400 years after Da Gama was first sighted in this area.
A truly remarkable man who ultimately changed the dynamics of exploration and trade in the age of discovery.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Vasca Da Gama I would recommend:
The Career and Legends of Vasco Da Gama by Sanjay Subrahmanyam or for the younger audience (or for those that would like more pictures) Vasca da Gama: Quest for the Spice Trade by Katherine Bailey.


"Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where you end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel always. Be you, and be okay with it."...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Proud to be an Indian

Mother and motherland are greater than heaven! I LOVE OUR INDIA.Know not what good I performed in my previous birth and know not what yoga I might have performed before, I have been blessed to be born in this heavenly land. Not sure what precious flowers I worshipped with I have been blessed to be born to this mother land.I sincerely pray god to be in India untill my death and to be born in India in future births. 

I have got tons of reasons to love my country,but the most important thing is I LOVE MY COUNTRY and i need no reasons for it.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

The 1947 Partition of India

We all know that India was partitioned in 1947 and while some would call it "The Year of the Lion", the others would call it "The Year of the Rat". It affected hundreds of millions of human lives. But since then very little thought has been given to the reasons, the circumstances and the consequences of Partition for all the people of the sub continent ever since.

World War 2 had been a bitter struggle for life and death of the United Kingdom, India's imperialist masters at the time and their Indian colony was assured of independence as a reward for their support to defeat the AXIS Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). Not all the political parties in India supported the war effort. All India Congress Party under the leadership of Mr. MK ("Mahatma") Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were conspicuously opposed to the continuing British rule over India and had become an obstacle. There had been widespread civil disobedience across the country, particularly in Maharashtra, UP and Bihar. However, All India Muslim League, the party claiming to speak for all the Indian Muslims remained neutral.

With long memory and a spirit of vengeance the British decided to leave India but only after partitioning it between the Muslims and the Hindus. However, since All India Congress Party continued to insist on speaking on behalf of all the Indians, including the Muslims, the term "Hindus" became "The Rest".

By this insistence of All-India Congress Party, the Muslims were rewarded with FIVE provinces of India while the Hindus ended up with nothing. Hindu religion was not enshrined in her Constitution as the State Religion. India still remained under Congress Party that was committed to the rights of the Muslims as much as to the rights of the Hindus. In this equation, the unfortunate Hindus became twice losers.

Islamic Pakistan set about total ethnic cleansing of the non Muslim minorities while the Rest of India became secular and protective of Muslim life, property, constitutional rights and safeguards. It is this fact that has continuously soured relations between the two communities in PI (Partitioned India).

Since Congress Party were in absolute control of PI, they could simply brainwash their subjects into forgetting Partition and, instead, to look at the achievements of its own leaders in driving the British out of India. The subservient "Indian coolie" media continued to champion the new ideology of make-believe world in which a fragment of India is still called "India", SOUTH Kashmir is still known as "Kashmir" and the small fragment of the original grand province of The Punjab is still known as "Punjab". The people of India really swallowed the Congress bait "hook, line and sinker".

Pandit Nehru, aware of his High Treason, set about playing the tunes of "Hindu-Muslim Bhai Bhai", Secularism, adoration of Gandhi and his Ahimsa Parmo Dharma, lulling the people into accepting his Dynasty as the legitimate and rightful rulers of India for ever. Thus he could successfully prevent any inquisitive patriotic eyes from probing into his treacherous role at Partition.

In due course of time Nehru Dynasty acquired so much power over the people of India that more of them saw their salvation in worshipping Nehru and his politically convenient mentor Gandhi, rather than questioning his role at Partition or his secularism and morality. The Gandhis, as the Nehru Dynasty came to be known to further mislead and fool the people as to their real genealogy and ideology, had a paranoia about freedom of speech. They controlled the media, particularly Broadcasting, that is crucial in an
illiterate country like India, and closely watched any journalist and editor "stepping beyond the line". They put their foot down on 1947 and all what happened to the ordinary people of India in that year.

Whatever was to smear their fair name in the world, was ruthlessly ELIMINATED or CRUSHED. Some dare devil democrats and champions of freedom of speech were severely punished during the Emergency declared by Pandit Nehru's daughter in 1975. It was a hammering that was to keep the nation's HEAD DOWN for another quarter of a century.

There were two unfortunate consequences of this Suppression of Truth about Partition. Firstly, the guilty were never punished and secondly no official report was commissioned on PARTITION to list the losses- both HUMAN and MATERIAL, or record the political consequences like the wars over Kashmir. Nothing was put down in the Constitution enacted under Nehru's close scrutiny on 26 January 1950 about reunification of the country. The questions, "What direction will India, Pakistan and Bangladesh be going?" and, "What will be the consequences of that for peace in all parts of former India?" have never been answered.

As a result of this extreme suspicion of 'people power', the two new States bore the brunt of brutality. It meant that Nehru Dynasty were beyond Law and NO enquiry could be conducted about their treason and corruption at and after Partition. No one could question their vast wealth in the shape of bank accounts and properties in India and abroad, and the various "foundations" that siphon off nation's savings in a big but unseen way. SOUTH Kashmir and EAST Punjab have remained afflicted with militancy that has held life to ransom. Both States are related in an ironic way, being the illegitimate product of Partition.

It is estimated up to a million people were killed during the Partition, with the Punjab suffering the highest death toll - Imperial War Museum, London