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It is indeed good news that the book showcasing the wisdom of India in the eyes of Western intellectuals is getting due recognition and appreciation from other states and abroad. After Karnataka and Punjab, the Government of Assam has recently consented to translate the research-based book by Shillong-based author - Shri Salil Gewali titled "Great Minds on India". The Chief Minister of Assam - Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma was amazed to know that so many top western scientists and philosophers have drawn a considerable amount of inspiration from ancient scriptures of India, particularly in the studies of modern physics, linguistic and astronomy. In the recent meeting with the author, the Chief Minister had highly appreciated Gewali's book and promised to read it thoroughly. Gewali's book was also approved for translation in the year 2020 by the former Chief Minister – Shri Sarbananda Sonowal but due to COVID-19, the translation work was delayed.
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Furthermore, the two scholars from Canada --- Dr Hema Murty -- Air Space Engineer at the University of Toronto, and Dr. Harsh H Thakkar of Sheridan College of Brampton, Ontario have sought permission from Mr. Gewali for the translation of 'Great Minds on India' into the Sanskrit language. After the translation, the Sanskrit edition will be published and circulated and utilized by Samskrita Bharati of Canada, besides its other branches in India, USA and UK. Gewali says that the book that has been praised by countless scholars and publication by the Government of Karnataka and Punjab has so far been translated into thirteen languages, including German.
'Great Minds of India' by Salil Gewali is an impressive compact book discussing the power that Indian ancient wisdomFile
A university scholar from Winchester, United Kingdom - Ms. Janet Murphy remarks:
" 'Great Minds of India' by Salil Gewali is an impressive compact book discussing the power that Indian ancient wisdom, thought and way of life had an impact on western minds, especially those who are of great historical significance, such as Voltaire, Albert Einstein, Ralph Emerson, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Mark Twain, HG Wells et al. It is hoped all right-thinking scholars will find Gewali's work extremely applaudable."
Prostitution in India is considered to be one of the oldest professions. It has been generally defined as promiscuous intercourse paid in either money or kind. The history of prostitution isn't new nor unique to India. It has been practised in almost all countries and every type of society since the establishment of the organization. Prostitution and the accompanying evil like human trafficking for prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human and endanger the welfare of the individuals, the family and the community.
The roots of human trafficking are deeply embedded in an age-old traditional prostitution system prevalent in several parts of the country, like the devadasi and the tawaifs. A Prostitute aka Tawaif is a woman who has turned to sell her own body as aware of others' pleasure for her daily sustenance whereas prostitution is the practice of sexual service in return for money.
According to Indian history, the earlier versions of prostitutes were known as "Devadasi" and were unlike anything we know of today, Devadasis used to dedicate their whole life to the devotion of Lord Krishna. It was believed that Devadasis consider the Gods as their husbands and therefore cannot marry any mortal men. They were later being called "Nagarvadhu's" meaning the "Brides of the town" and were often called upon by the royals and the rich to dance and sing. Singing and dancing was the turf and art form for these Nagarvadhus. To name a few, Amrapali-the state courtesan and a Buddhist disciple came to be known as "Vaishali ki Nagarvadhu".
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The historians have deciphered from historical texts and evidence that the Devadasi or Nagarvadhu's were treated with respect and honour by everyone and the Royal families. No man including the Kings and Mughals even dared to touch them. In fact, during the Mughal era, the prostitutes were treated akin to entrepreneurs and they enjoyed royal patronage. They came to be known as tawaifs. They excelled in and contributed to music, dance (mujra), theatre, and the Urdu literary tradition. They were considered authoritative and masters of etiquette. They had considerable influence in state affairs, religious and political developments for over centuries.
This was until the Britishers came to India, and Devadasi's presented their art form in front of them. Attracted to them the Britishers began the tradition of one nightstand. The British started calling these dancers for sexual pleasures and this paved the way for Prostitution in the country. Under British rule, Devadasis moved from dancing and singing to prostitution which led to the decline of temple dances.
During the late 16th and 17th centuries, when certain parts of India were colonized by the Portuguese; they captured and brought Japanese women to India as sex slaves. The military laid the foundation for brothels in the country which are now known as red-light areas for its troops across many parts of India. Women and girls from rural areas were employed by these brothels and were paid by the military directly. Trying to fulfill the sexual needs of their military the British Raj enacted the Cantonment Act of 1864 to regulate prostitution in colonial India as a matter of accepting a necessary evil.
A lane in Kamathipura, a red light district in Mumbai. Wikimedia Commons
Prostitution has seen a severe decline as a profession and their social status. By the end of the nineteenth century, the concept of biological race emerged which regarded inbreeding to conserve racial purity as superior. The British regime heavily focused on decreasing interracial breeding of the whites with other racial groups including Indians, to preserve their racial purity. Due to such structural changes in society, sex work came to be viewed as oppressive and exploitative for females.
Estimates are that child prostitution is a multi-million dollar industry in India. More than half a billion children are in Brothels and they are either sold by their parents who are struck with or victims of abuse. Close to 7000 girls are brought from Nepal to India as human trafficking. These children are then exported to the Middle Eastern countries as sex slaves. According to the Human Rights Watch Report, there are over 20 million prostitutes in India out of which 35% are below the age of 18 years.
According to Indian law, prostitution itself is not illegal but activities such as running a brothel, soliciting or luring a person into prostitution, traffic of children and women for prostitution are punishable under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA). However, the lives of prostitutes today are saddening and it is in the hands of society to evolve which could be catalyzed by Governmental Institutions. The male prostitution industry is still unrecognized by law and it calls for due attention.
Keywords: Prostitute, sex worker, tawaif, devadasi, human trafficking, laws
Samudragupta was a ruler of the Gupta Empire of Ancient India. He ruled over the country from 350-375 CE. It was under his rule that Ancient India peaked in all aspects and was came to known as the "Golden age of India". Samudragupta is known to be one of the best rulers of India. He is famous for his versatility and excellence in all fields from art and music to political and military knowledge. The son of King Chandra Gupta I and the Licchavi princess Kumaradevi personified the Indian conception of the hero in every way, shape, and form, he is pictured to be a muscular warrior, a poet, and a musician who displayed "marks of hundreds of wounds received in battle."
Upon his succession, he expanded the Gupta dynasty's boundaries through several conquests and battles. His empire stretched far and wide on the Indian subcontinent only excluding Kashmir, Western Punjab, and Western Rajputana and the region lying south of the Narmada river. From East to West, it spanned from the Brahmaputra River to the Arabian Sea. Samudragupta's conquest strategy was guided by the prevailing political and economic conditions. In the North was known as Digvijay which meant conqueror of the quarters, he conquered and annexed their territories, meanwhile in the south, it was Dharma Vijay which meant righteous conqueror, he defeated the kings but did not annex their territories as long as they give their throne to the empire as a tribune. He defeated the Naga kings of the north and humbled as many as twelve princes in the south. He politically unified India and brought it under his power. He was given the title "Maharajadhiraja" which translates to Kind of Kings. The British historian Vincent Smith who studied the inscriptions of the Allahabad pillar composed by a high-ranking official named Harishena made his comparison to the famous French military general Napoleon. He called Samudragupta "The Napolean of India".
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The British historian Vincent Smith studied the inscriptions of the Allahabad pillar called Samudragupta "The Napolean of India".Wikipedia
Samudra Gupta, being as versatile as he was; was devoted to the arts and music. He had a great love for poetry since he was a highly intellectual person and an accomplished poet. He was a great musician and excelled at playing Vina which is an Indian stringed traditional instrument trembling a lyre with large aplomb. He granted permission to the Sri Lankan king to build a Buddhist monastery and rest house for Sri Lankan pilgrims at Bodhgaya. His Empire led to a revival of art and culture to unprecedented heights. Economic motives of trade and tribute and political motives of fortifying India's frontier against foreign invasion lay far behind his policy of expansionism. It was under Gupta Empire that scholars like Kalidasa and Aryabhatta were given to this world. Samudragupta was a philosopher too. He is described as one who wanted to go deep into the tattvas or the wisdom of the sastras to be worthy of the company of the wise.
He issued a large number of gold coins under his Empire. His coins represent him both as a warrior and a peace-loving artist, with relevant suitable titles. Seven different types of coins were being minted- Standard Type, the Archer Type, the Battle Axe Type, the Aashvamedha Type, the Tiger Slayer Type, the King and Queen Type, and the Lyrist Type. The economic and political policies under his rule made his rule named "Swarn Yug" meaning "The Golden Era". The only flaw of the ruler was that he was an orthodox Hindu and a believer in the Brahminical systems of worship and rituals. But, in the true spirit of Indian tolerance, he was still liberal to all other religions.
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Undoubtedly Samudragupta was one of the greatest monarchs in Indian history. As a soldier, a warrior, a conqueror, a king, an administrator, and a patron of culture, he stands eminent among all the rulers of the country. Some regard him as the greatest emperor of the Gupta dynasty.
Keywords: Samudragupta, Gupta dynasty, Golden era, the great conqueror, art and culture.
Science and Technology are timeless and it has been debated that the pre-historic Rishis of India were knowledgeable and learned individuals. It is believed that the knowledge was passed down to the rishis and sages by the Gods and Deities. When we go through the historical texts and scriptures there are mentions of weapons like Narayanastra which as described in Puranas was a fire missile of Lord Vishnu, Sudarshana Chakra, a fast-spinning disc weapon which generated a huge amount of energy as it moved, Vajra, the electric shock generator of Indra, etc. The ancient texts are the written evidence that an enormous amount of exchange of energy, fire, and electricity happened whenever war was fought in ancient India.
Maharishi Agastya, an eminent and distinguished individual even during the pre-historic era. He possessed the knowledge from the deities. He played a crucial role in ancient science and medicine, thus he is also known as the father of Indian electricity, science, and traditional medicine. Tens of thousands of years ago from today, Rishi Agastya figured out a basic formula to generate electricity, thus he was also named Kumbodbhav meaning "Battery Born".
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In the book 'Agastya Samhita' composed by Rishi Agastya, the sources related to power generation are found. The principles and codes written in this book to generate electricity require a tremendous amount of knowledge including how to make a battery. He mentions several theories to create clean energy by generating electricity with natural resources. A similar formula is used to create modern-day batteries.
Rishi Agastya used an earthen pot, copperplate, copper sulfate, wet sawdust as a separator, and zinc amalgam to make his battery. He elaborates on the process as – "Take an earthenware; put the copper sheet in it. Cover it first with copper sulfate and then with moist sawdust. After that, put a mercury-amalgamated zinc sheet on top of the sawdust to avoid polarization. The contact will produce an energy known by the twin name of Mitra-Varuna (anode-cathode). Water will be dividing by this current into Pranavayu and Udanavayu. A chain of 100 containers is said to give an extremely powerful force. Agastya Samhita also gives details of using electricity for electroplating. This signifies that Rishi Agastya enumerated a way of polishing copper, gold, and silver by battery.
A similar formula to Agastya's battery experiment is used to create modern-day batteries. Twitter
The entire information about Rishi Agastya's experiment was successfully exhibited on August 7, 1990, during the fourth general meeting of Swadeshi Vigyan Sanshodhan Sanstha in Nagpur, among all of the scholars. Through numerous experiments, it has been deducted that the cell prepared from the formula laid down by Rishi Agastya gives an open-circuit voltage of 1.138 volts and a short circuit current of 23 mA.
Rishi Agastya derived working experiments of aerodynamic batteries as well. Rishi Agastya's achievement as one of India's oldest and wisest rishi is a remarkable feat that indicates the lustrous and rich history of the country. Ancient India had progressed by many marks in the past, leaving behind the world and other countries in many fields. India's technology and study were much more advanced than what was initially manifested. These principles and experiments have supplemented modern-day scientists to build up further experiments and studies, on a basis of ancient knowledge. The usage of age-old concepts and ideas even in today's technologically advanced world is a remarkable feat and honour for Maharishi Agastya.
Keywords: Rishi Agastya, Portable Battery, Ancient Science, Indian technology, Agastya Samhita.