The Itinerary of a Revolution

Author : Anonymous

 

Date: 28th August 2014

 

The Arts Faculty Students Union (AFSU) cultural fest was in full swing. It was a night of revelry.  While the crowd went crazy to the tunes of music, scarier screams echoed in the darker corners of the campus. A girl was allegedly molested by a group of ten boys inside the boy’s hostel of the varsity and her male friend was beaten black and blue.

The news of the incident spread like wildfire. In the following days, a General Body meeting, fondly referred as a GB was called for. The GB came to a consensus that the authorities had to initiate the procedure for an impartial investigation of the matter to ensure justice for the victim. It was also decided that the students will peacefully campaign against gender inequality and violence on campus by performing plays, reciting poems, painting posters etc.

 

Date: 11 September 2014 to 15th September 2014.

The peaceful campaign against gender inequality and violence budded and bloomed. Echoes of protest were heard in the nook and cranny of the varsity. Walls came alive with graffiti. Songs of protest reverberated in the winding corridors. Through all these days, groups of students stayed back in campus at night, braving the natural elements, ignoring their hunger and thirst, hoping for the respected Vice Chancellor to lend his ear to their demands and initiate a fair, just and impartial investigation of the mishap that had occurred on the fateful night of the 28th. No official or academic activity was brought to a standstill.

The victim alleged that two members of the Executive Council or the EC, formed in the aftermath of the incident, had paid an uninformed visit to her home and badgered her with ‘offensive’ questions regarding her attire etc.

The students demanded the inclusion of a retired judge, a women’s rights activist and a psychologist among the EC members, in keeping with the UGC guidelines. Needless to say, the entire students campaign was ignored by the authorities, let alone their demands be heard!

The movement which had begun was hash-tagged “hokkolorob” which roughly translates into “let the voices be raised”. With each passing day, the movement gathered more and more supporters. With no political agenda and banner, this was a movement solely driven by the sensitive issue which lay at its core.

 

Date: 16th September 2014

After 150 plus hours of peaceful protest and repeated refusal of the authorities to enter a discussion with the students, it was decided that the peaceful sit-in demonstration in front of the official building of Aurobindo Bhavan would continue indefinitely until the respected Vice Chancellor agreed to initiate a meeting with the students and listen to their demands. Hours flew by. Again, it is to be noted that no official activity was hampered during the process, none of the academic or the non-academic stuff were prevented from entering Aurobindo Bhavan. The protesting students took care to ensure that all employees working inside the very same building were allowed a safe exit. The movement, at no point of time turned violent. The aim of the movement was not the impairment of the academic and non-academic activities of the campus.

 

The nightmare

The protestors refused to let go of their cause. Night crawled into the campus like a fugitive. The respected Vice Chancellor asked (read threatened) the students to ‘disperse’, failing which he said he would have to summon his ‘forces’ against them. At around 2 am, the lights in the porch of Aurobindo Bhavan went off. What followed was a mass brutalization of the protestors gathered in front of Aurobindo Bhavan that night. Clothes were ripped apart. Women were groped. Boots and batons rained down upon unsuspecting students. Around forty students, including a girl were arrested and kept in custody all night. About thirty seven students had to be admitted in a nearby hospital with grievous injuries.  Those who were less injured or had somehow escaped the wrath of the armed men, tended to their injured but not fallen protestors. The night air was thick with trauma and disbelief.

 

Date: 17th September 2014

 

After the initial hiccups over getting the arrested released from the lock-up, a peace rally, some 7000 strong marched from the Jadavpur University grounds towards Dhakuria-Golpark. The rally was joined by eminent theatre personalities, artists, academicians and people from various walks of life. Stalwarts of the society condemned the act of police violence on campus in various talk shows in the media.

 

Date: 18th September 2014

Another peace rally thronged the roads of the city, this time joined by numerous school students along with colleges and universities, in solidarity with the Jadavpur University students, number of protestors increasing to roughly ten thousand.

 

Date: 20th September 2014

This day saw one of the biggest peaceful, apolitical rallies in the history of student’s movements in West Bengal. Accumulating at the cultural hub of the city, Nandan, over 1 lakh students and supporters marched to Raj Bhavan, braving the weather gods as the city got drenched in incessant torrential showers for the entire day. All of Kolkata came together to raise their voices against gender inequality and police brutality on campus. Students from JNU, Presidency and innumerable other colleges and universities from all over the country marched for a cause. A delegation comprising of student representatives went to meet the Honourable Governor of Bengal, Mr. Keshari Nath Tripathy. The outcome of the meeting was a ray of hope for the students as the Hon’ble Governor promised to look into the matter and ensure a fair treatment of the whole affair.

 

This, however, was not to be the end of the fight for justice. At this juncture, the fight had only begun! It was only the first phase of the Hokkolorob Protests.

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Candle in the Wind

A photo taken by Ronny Sen

 

THE TRUE STORY BY LABONI CHATTERJEE - A STUDENT OF JADHAVPUR UNIVERSITY

“Molested! She has been molested!” rose the cry. The very trauma associated with the word was enough to give a lot of us goose bumps! After all, there was not a single girl who had not been groped somewhere or the other at some point of time! In spite of that, calling for a proper investigation and trialing the veracity of the claim of molestation, an impartial investigation of the matter was requested.  A campus which has been a cradle of the freedom would not have accepted punishment for the non-guilty. After all, victimizing the innocent is as heinous a crime as hushing up an actual offense! Demanding punishment without having concrete and sustainable proof against the person accused is condemnable!  Hence, the demand was to investigate and lend a ear to both the alleger and the alleged. However, even such a just demand fell on deaf ears! Therefore, the voice of protest was born and the language that the varsity students adapted was one of peace. Melodies and rhythms of protest rang in the nook and cranny of the vast campus. Yes. There were weapons. Yes. They were potentially lethal ones! After all, who doesn’t know that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword! Therefore, the voice of guitars and the bold strokes of the brush might have appeared to be a great threat to the intelligentsia of some! Probably the hum of songs that echoed in the darkness of the night scared them into denying a dialogue with these ‘miscreants’! Why, even the reasonability of a sit-in demonstration without hampering functioning of the university was questionable. But unleashing armed forces on students who had  given a cause as grave as gender inequality and campus safety their all for over 150 hours? I’d rather leave the reader to decide for themselves the justification behind the course of action taken for ‘dispersing’ a peace protest!

 

A lot has been seen and said since the fateful night of 17th September.  Like every story, this piece of history too has two sides to it. All of us have our eyes and ears, apart from something called a brain at our disposal and hence can decide for ourselves on what the truth is. A stand can accordingly be taken; keeping in mind the successive incidents (read mishaps)! One can believe in either this or that, or, for that matter, check out the WIKI page of the #hokkolorob protests and let their sense and sensibility arrive at a conclusion.

 

However, in other news, the turnout in the successive peace rallies with the primary agenda of raising a voice against police brutality on students has escalated from 5000 to a whopping 60,000 plus! Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai have been in solidarity besides a lot of other colleges and universities all over the country. The alumni of the varsity, spread over a 100 cities in countries all over the globe have united for a cause. Again, I shall leave it to the reader to decide on the motivation behind the heartfelt and spontaneous participation of so many for a cause that might, to some people, appear to be diminutive. But then, to each, his own!

On the ending note, the fight is far from over! In fact, it has only just begun! Let the candle burn bright in these stormy times!

 

P.S: It has been very difficult for me maintain an impartial stand on the matter and I apologize for every instance where I’ve let my emotions overpower me. But the, here is an anecdote. When I stepped into the university campus for the first time in my life, I was a wide-eyed teenager aspiring to be a part of the revolutionary cradle that the varsity has been! Jadavpur astounded me. I had grown up on stories that emerged out of the melting-pot of culture, ideals and lifestyle that the varsity has been!  For me, it was like stepping into life itself. Jadavpur taught me to think independently! Jadavpur taught me to never be ashamed of who I was! Jadavpur taught me the true meaning of sorority! Jadavpur was the brave mother who nurtured me for the battle of life! When I see my varsity mired in controversies and debates today, when I cannot hear the hum of music mingled with verses rising out of the depths of the campus, it feels like my freedom has been taken away from me! It feels like my mother is behind the bars! For me and lot of others like me, Jadavpur will be motherland! And therefore, fight shall we tooth and nail till freedom is ours!

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Food Fallacies

Old Grandma bustles about in the kitchen with a verve and vivacity unmatched, so much so that you would never believe she was born before Hitler perished. Her spotless apron gives away her expertise as she skillfully chops the greens into miniscule squares you could measure the dimensions of, and be ashamed of your drawing skills. Just as she puts down the knife and turns up the flame of the stove, Grandpa gives her a call from the garden. Buried knee deep in a twenty-inch trench, he asks grandma for a knife, evidently in pursuit of some prized possession. Without question, Grandma places the knife on the ground, and heads back to the kitchen when the wheezy voice is heard again. “How am I supposed to reach that? Why don’t you give it to me?” Helpless Grandma says, in her defense, “Don’t you know after half a century of being my husband, that I cannot give you a knife in your hand? It will sever our relationship!” And quietly dabbing her moist eyes with her apron, she heads for the kitchen again.

You can make out a Tambrahm when you see one. And Grandma is a giveaway. As she sets out the food on the table, it is impossible to miss her act of wetting her hand after placing the rice and before touching the curd. Her grandson hears her mumble “patthu” as she continues her chore. After a filling lunch, as the grandson sits watching TV, Grandma chides him, “Go wash your plate. Never sit with a used plate for even a minute longer than your last mouthful.” A reluctant grandson drags his feet to the sink, cleans his plate with water and resumes his position in front of the idiot box. The phone rings and the little boy’s face lights up as he hears his mother’s fond voice. After answering the general inquiries about food and health, he hands over the receiver to his grandmother. She is heard instructing her daughter not to eat anything within an hour of the onset of the eclipse that afternoon in London. “After the eclipse, you must take a head bath before laying a finger on even a crumb of bread”, she says. A few more reminders and clarifications follow, after which the receiver is returned to its holder as Grandma resumes her activities of cleaning the dining area.

Meanwhile in another part of the country, there are asthma patients swallowing live fish as an entirety, literally from head to tail, with a hope of getting rid of their chronic illness. A sneezing Jay witnesses this strange act on a news channel and is aghast by the stampede that ensues as several desperate believers fight for the coveted fish. As his mother serves him chicken soup to cure his cold, he seeks the explanation to this practice. His mother elucidates how when a live murrel fish stuffed with herbal paste wiggles its way down a person’s throat, the tail and fins help to clean the phlegm. Jay, too taken aback and simultaneously fatigued to be able to fire more questions, quietly swallows the chicken soup and goes to bed.

The large number of myths that surround a particular notion, as essential as food, are astounding. However, questioning it all and digging to its roots for a scientific basis depends upon an individual. As John. F. Kennedy aptly puts it, “the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic!”

 

Shreya G

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Symbolic Reconciliation

One of the longest debates that ever raged since the time mankind embarked on a quest to understand the Universe is about the creation of the Universe. Thinkers thus rally to either of the two camps: the Creationists and the Evolutionists. Each group has been relentlessly trying to prove the other wrong.

What many don’t understand is that Genesis and Evolution are two sides of the same coin. I believe that there have been a few people who have tried to put forward this point. First of all, there is no doubt that evolution is a very valid theory. Fervent supporters of Creationism would inveigh against such a statement. They believe that the entire Universe as we see it was made in a span of 6 days simply because the Bible says so. What one must realize at this juncture is that the first few chapters of the first book and most of the last book of the Bible are intensely symbolic. Interpreting them in a literal sense would be foolish.

There are two issues that merit discussion here: the beginning of the Universe and the origin of life on Earth. The Big Bang theory propounded by science seeks to explain the former issue. According to it, the Universe was once in a hot and dense state that rapidly expanded in what scientists call a Big Bang. It is believed that this occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago. This event released a hail of subatomic particles by conversion of energy into mass according to the famous equation: E = mc2 . These particles subsequently combined to form the first hydrogen atoms. Large clouds of such atoms and ions coalesced under the force of gravity to form stars. Within these stars atoms continued to combine with each other to form still newer elements, which were released in giant supernovae when stars die. Smaller clouds comprising a mixture of such elements formed planets which were drawn towards stars by gravity to form planetary systems like the solar system.

To look at the myriad stars twinkling as we look up on a clear summer night and say that all that magnificence was created in a single day is to dumb down the infinite wisdom of God. God doesn’t work like a magician or a conjurer. He laid down the laws of science and by those very laws he designed the Universe. “Let there be light”, He said. This is the moment of creation which corresponds to that time roughly 13.75 billion years ago when a singularity appeared in space and in a fraction of time that the human mind can barely comprehend, an intense burst of matter and energy occurred. Thus matter and energy came into being: “-and light appeared.”

Many people ask, “Where is heaven?” I have no definite answer to that, but I believe that it is a different dimension separate from the four dimensions that we know of. A dimension that cannot be perceived as it is, but was created on the second day. We read that God separated the two waters by a dome called the Sky on that day. Throughout the Bible, water is used to  symbolize the Spirit. When Ezekiel spoke of the stream of life giving water that flowed from the Temple, he was talking about the Holy Spirit that flowed from Jesus Christ, the Temple which was torn down and rebuilt in three days. I believe that the water separated by the Sky refers to the partition of the spiritual world into the heavenly realm and the earthly realm.

The formation of the Earth as explained by science is an interesting study. About 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth was a hot, uninhabitable place. The earliest geological period is thus called Hadean Era, corresponding to the hellish condition in the underworld, Hades. During this time, the atmosphere was thick with numerous gases like carbon dioxide, water vapour, hydrogen etc. About 3.5 billion years ago, the surface of the Earth gradually cooled and the molten surface solidified to form the crust. At the same time, the water vapour in the atmosphere condensed and further cooled the Earth. Correspondingly, we see that on the third day, God separated Earth into land and sea.

As the Earth cooled, the atmosphere began to clear. For the first time, the sun, moon and stars appeared in the sky as we see on the fourth day. All this was to lead to that climactic moment of the creation of life. Now, in the thick atmosphere that prevailed on Earth before, a primordial mix of compounds like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen etc, along with the highly charged atmosphere with frequent lightning led to a number of curious chemical reactions. Again, I can only marvel at the ways God works, because these reactions led to the formation of diverse molecules essential for the beginning of life. Compounds like ammonia, methane etc. mixed with water and more flashes of lightning later, amino acids, the building blocks of life were formed.

One of the landmark experiments to prove this theory was conducted by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey at the University of Chicago. They sealed a concoction of compounds: methane, ammonia, hydrogen, water in a glass flask to simulate the atmosphere of Earth 3.5 billion years ago. Then they passed electricity across a pair of electrodes in the flask creating arcs of electric spark to simulate lightning. They also heated the flask to a similar temperature as that on Earth at that time. Within a day, the mixture in the flask turned pink in colour. At the end of two weeks of operation, most of the carbon in the flask had formed organic compounds. Two percent of which were amino acids that are used to make proteins in living cells. Sugars were also formed. This proved that the building blocks of life could be formed in a clever way thought out by Almighty. Of course, the compounds in the flask didn’t spontaneously become alive. That may have taken several more years of reactions.

According to the theory of origin of life called Abiogenesis, once the Earth had cooled down and oceans had formed as we saw on the third day. The skies had cleared to let the sun rays fall on Earth and in the warm shallow seas a marvelous thing happened. The organic compounds had combined in mysterious ways to form crude single celled organisms. It was the beginning of Evolution, a wonderful tool that God used to populate the Earth with a variety of fascinating creatures. We see that God first filled the seas with living beings. Many scientists believe that it was in the warm shallow seas that the first forms of life appeared. The earliest invertebrate creatures were aquatic. From the seas, life migrated to the land as amphibians and subsequently, terrestrial organisms. All this happened on the fifth day.

By the sixth day, the land and the seas were filled with plants and animals. As evolution had its way, many creatures lived and died. God took his own time with evolution to create the crowning glory of His work - Mankind. How come the Bible talks about creation in six days when it took more than 10 billion years? We need to understand that Gods timescale is mind bogglingly different from ours. Moses and Peter had a vague idea about this difference. “A thousand years to you are like one day..” (Psalm 90:4), “There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years..” (2 Peter 3:8). Of course, a thousand years is a far cry from a billion years but then, I don’t think they could have comprehended such vast time scales then.

As I understand the world around us more and more, I have come to appreciate the magnificent wisdom of God at work in the Universe. Hence I see no conflict between religion and science. Paul said, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and the sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20). David also mused, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1).

When I see butterflies flit by as I walk wooded paths or watch the fireflies light up the night with their gentle glows, I am convinced that this beautiful world was designed by a loving God. These ephemeral creatures embellish the world around us and serve little purpose otherwise. They are proof that the world hasn’t evolved in a clinical way as science would have it. Everyone must take time to step out on clear summer nights to watch the night sky. If one is lucky enough they might behold an exquisite, faint streak of white stretching from horizon to horizon. For those who understand that the Universe was created by God, watching the galaxy we inhabit, the Milky Way, is an intensely spiritual experience. Take time to stop and admire the world around you. God lets His creations speak for Him. All you need to do is listen.

-Roshan Sam

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Bump into the Night

Everybody always talks about stuff that goes bump in the night but do we ever think about what might be lurking on us right now and what might coexist right alongside us? Have we ever thought about what the little billions and billions of things surrounding us could do?

Here is the story of a man who wanted too much and what the universe gave him when he asked for it.

The hair on my body rises and I know that I am being chased. I want to run but I stop myself because I have to see how theses monsters look but most of all I want to know if they feel pain too. I am going to hurt them in any and every way I know and I just hope that I do not regret it. But in case I do die, it would not matter now, would it?

So now I am going to regale you all with a tale as to why I am so very curious about all that goes bump in the night.

I was 18 and broke. Now that I remember, those good old days it seems a life time away from the person I am right now. Anyway, during those times I used to work as bouncer for a club and quite enjoyed my job. I was huge, still am and all I had to do was stand there and put on a scary face. I was a month into the job when I met the craziest chick ever. She was waiting in line just like a normal woman when she all of a sudden turned abnormal. There is no other way to describe the change, she just changed. One minute she’s texting and the next she’s looking up with a very very predatorial look in her eyes. She looks right past me into the club’s interior and you could just see her gauging the distance she had to run to get inside. Me, being the very inquisitive person I am waved her over and let her in. And then I, being the very foolish person I am too followed her in.

She went past the tables, the dance floor and then I knew for certain that her destination was the private rooms at the back. She went to the first room and came back out looking pretty disgusted. The second room had her cursing and the third, well she came back running and that made me wonder what she saw in there. So she goes into the fourth room and this time she stays in there. When I reached there, I heard the loud, heated whispers coming from beyond the curtain and I risked a peep. What I saw shocked me and stunned me but most of all caused me to go weak kneed with relief. I was now certain that there are things that go bump in the night. Oh, I am not talking about the vampires, werewolves and all that fairy-goblin stuff; I am talking the real deal here; humans controlled by the lesser beings. I saw the woman and a man, her acquaintance probably with standing over a very still body and the words that jarred me the most were; “Now we can infect her and make her really susceptible to our brethren.”

We always think we are at the top of the food chain but we are not the beings that live in abundance on Earth. Have you thought about viruses; about the fact their only function is to procreate regardless of the circumstance of the host; about bacteria, about how they have formed this very intricate system with humans? It’s true. Very true in fact. Humans die if all the bacteria on them are killed so you can be sure that we shall never be rid of those pesky creatures. They shall always be there. They just diversify. If a human goes too near the sun, he is going to fry, but bacteria? We sure as hell have no idea of finding out do we? Those damn things exist even in vacuum.

So now here we are back again in the alley with my hair all standing up. I keep my feet apart and brace myself for the blow that is going to knock me out, but I never get it. I see a guy dressed in black run past me and two more men following him. Damn!

Now what to do?

-Vyjayanthi N V

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Understanding Einstein- Part 1

The special  theory of relativity and the photoelectric effect-the first is what Einstein is more popularly known for to the multitude of people-even if the theory in itself is not easily understood-and the second is what Einstein won the Nobel prize for.

Yet, even a century later, it is only these names that strike a chord of familiarity to the laymen. What these actually mean remains as obscure and non-intuitive to many as it used to be then. The misconceptions that arise out of over-simplifications of this theory don’t help either. In a two part article we will try to understand the essence of these two theories and alleviate a few common misconceptions that exist.

Analyzing the special theory of relativity, most people assume-or have rather heard and hence firmly believe-states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The statement is not exactly a lie, but nor is it completely correct. What Einistein’s theory intrinsically meant was this: every object in this universe travels at the speed of light. Yes, you read that correct. But again, this statement requires some additional explanation. Before moving any further, allow me to digress a little and lay the foundation on which this explanation is based:

Consider yourself to be a part of a 100m sprint. A is the starting line and B is where you need to finish. Looking at the picture below, which path do you think you would take to finish faster? Path 1 or 2? The obvious answer here would be path 1 and you would probably state the reason to be that path 1 is “shorter”, and hence you can finish it in a lesser time interval. However, try to look at it from a different perspective. Path 1 is a line perpendicular to both the starting line and the finishing line. More technically, you could say that path 1 has a component only in one direction. While path 2, would have components in both the directions-along the direction of path 1 as well as the direction of starting line. In other words, while path 1 can be described completely in one dimension, path 2 is two dimensional in this reference plane if the starting line and path 1 are taken as the coordinate axes. Putting it slightly differently, were you travelling by path 1, your speed (more technically, velocity) would be confined in the direction of path 1. But were you to travel by path 2, your speed is divided in two directions-one in the direction parallel to path 1 and the other in the direction of starting line. If you were to start out at the same speed along both the paths, you would reach the finishing line later by path 2 because some of your speed in this case is diverted to the second dimension. Thus, your speed in dimension one, that parallel to path 1, is diminished as a component of it is diverted to the other dimension. So, even though your speed is the same objectively, you take more time to reach the finishing line by path 2 as the speed in the direction required to reach the finishing line is actually lesser than that in the first case. To put it simply, in both cases, you would travel at the same speed, but in the second case, your speed is divided between two dimensions.

Let us bring this concept to real life now. The real world is four dimensional-there are three spatial dimensions and one of time. Extending the above analogy here, you would find that light, consisting of photons, travels exclusively in the spatial dimensions, i.e., there is no component of its speed that is diverted to the dimension of time. Strange as it may seem, a photon is thus ageless-no time has passed for it; a photon born at the beginning of the universe has not aged a single second. While mortals like us, and the day-to-day objects that we see, travel at the speed of light in the dimension of time, our travel in the spatial dimensions is negligible compared to the path traversed by us in the time dimension. A photon is able to travel fast by diverting all its speed from the time dimension to the spatial dimension. This also explains time dilation-as you travel faster, time starts moving slower for you; a fact that has been rigoursly tested and verified. Looking at it the other way, instead of saying time moves slower, you could also say that once you start moving at speeds comparable to that of light, since you are diverting your speed from the dimension of time to the spatial dimension, you start moving slower in the dimension of time.

Thus, the statement, every single one of us travels at the speed of light. Just that photons use that speed in the spatial dimension, while we use it in the dimension of time.

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5 Greatest Things said about Sachin Tendulkar by non-cricketers

Sachin Tendulkar Quotes

Most professional cricketers have their own tale about the man known as Sachin Tendulkar. Their stories are usually about how they feared him, or how he crushed their team, or how he is modest and down the earth for his stature. Mostly they would talk about his super natural technique. But what does Sachin Tendulkar mean to the common eye? To the man who just admires him for who he is? Here is a list of 5 of the greatest quotes by men who haven’t taken up to the cricket field.

Sachin Tendulkar

“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives.”

- British Broadcasting Corporation

 

“On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!”

- Peter Rebouck, anAustralian journalist

 

Sachin was so focused. He never looked like getting out. He was batting with single-minded devotion. It was truly remarkable. It was a lesson.”

- Martina Navratilova, all time Tennis great

 

“I can be hundred per cent sure that Sachin will not play for a minute longer when he is not enjoying himself. He is still so eager to go out there and play. He will play as long as he feels he can play”.

- Anjali Tendulkar, Sachin’s wife

 

“I’ll see god when I die but till then I’ll see Sachin.”

“Commit all your sins when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the lord is watching!”

- Placards during India matches

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In the eyes of an extremist

It isn’t very surprising that Mahatma Gandhi’s death came as a result of murder. On this day, the 2nd of October, we celebrate the birth anniversary of man who changed the world with his ideology of non-violence. We know of his struggles, and we know the way he wielded his power to influence people. But there is so much more that we do not know.

The murder of Mahatma Gandhi

Nathuram Godse’s act of killing the Mahatma was actually the 6th murder attempt carried out on Gandhi. It happened on 30th January 1948. The previous five murder attempts took place in 1934, 1944 and 1946. It is quite astonishing to note that the first attempt to murder Gandhi came as early as 1934 – almost 14 years before the country attained independence. During these years, Gandhi did have a large number of followers. A number of people believed in his policy. But there were many others who didn’t. These people, who did not go the Gandhian way, were either Muslim extremists or Hindu extremists – the kind of people who took pride in their religion over the country. As long as the fight was between these 2 parties, the Mahatma had his way out in proving a point that internal fighting within the country led our nation nowhere.

The problem started to rise when India attained independence through Gandhi’s testified methods. One problem literally converted itself into other. The foreigners moved out of the country. But the extremists still didn’t find a solution to their ego. To feed their ego, they decided on partition. This is where Jinnah played an influential role. People believed his two nation theory was the only solution.

“I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah’s two nation theory. We, the Hindus are a nation by ourselves, and it is a historical fact that the Hindus and the Muslims are two nations.”

And thus the nation took to an anti-Gandhi policy – to split the nation based on religion. And how can one expect the Mahatma to silence himself on something that opposes his ideologies? Gandhi fought. But in vain. The decision to split the country was inevitable. However the death knell was hit when Gandhi performed an act, which angered a certain population of Hindu extremists. He fasted to order a sum of Rs. 55 crore to be paid to Pakistan to help the Muslims in their relocation. The Hindu extremists considered this to be a clear act of favoritism. It was their frustration about the Mahatma acting on his own will and terms according to his own ideologies. It baffled them.

Nathuram Godse was a child of the Hindu extremist group. When they could stand it no longer, they murder the greatest man of the nation for following himself. The world’s greatest leader was no more.

The man whose face is now printed on every currency in the nation, was killed in a war between a world of two extremists – the very same principle which he despised all his life.

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A Ball of Ice and Fire-Part 1

For the original article, tune into the August issue of Furore-Schrodinger’s Hat.

Fact or fiction?

FIRE AND ICE

He takes one painful step after another on the icy surface. Nothing but ice, for miles around. Half a yard above the surface, every part of his body is on fire, his perfectly insulated fire suit not doing enough to keep out the heat from the 800 degree Fahrenheit furnace all around him. The whole planet is nothing but burning ice…

Fact!

The planet is Gliese 436 b. It is so near a star that surface temperatures are as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can find ice on its surface at over four times the boiling point of water because the gravity in the planet is so powerful that all the vapour is compressed into ice.

THE SILENT ASSASSIN

The assassin wipes away a bead of sweat trying to make its way down his chin. He checks his gun again, more an involuntary twitch than a conscious action. A radio buzzes in his ear, as his fingers tighten around the trigger. He never misses. The assassin braces himself for the blood curdling scream. He knows he’s not going to hear one, but some habits die hard. The target continues to walk to his car, smiling contentedly. The target is assassinated… only he doesn’t know it yet.

Fact!

Though it sounds just like the Hypospray from Star Trek, this weapon actually exists! Scientists at MIT have created a device that injects a near supersonic dose of medication through your skin using a blast of air smaller than the proboscis of a mosquito. You can even inject it through someone’s eyeball and they wouldn’t feel a thing. Of course, it has other “non medical” applications too…

 

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