10 points from Asoka’s rock edicts

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Ashoka ruled the largest Empire in the Indian subcontinent, even greater the size of the present India. It is truly amazing to think that a single man ruled this enormous piece of land. Emperor Ashoka lived, ruled and died, and with time the people of India forgot this magnificent monarch of whom it is difficult to find a parallel. However his vision of an Empire lived on, and stood like a monument which could sustain the erosion of time. The inscriptions that Emperor Ashoka carved on stone across different places in his gigantic Empire is not just the constitution of the Nation he ruled, but unlike many of his contemporaries and who followed him, laid down the principles of conduct and morality to his subject, an Emperor cum Philosopher is not-too-often blend in history. We can compare him Gandhi, or with the Biblical King Solomon, but he is different, he was out of his time, and his messages along with his legend has stood the test of time. Monarchy has been displaced by and large, and everything related with it has been thrown out of the window, but through the skylight the light of wisdom of a unique monarch still hold so relevant, and it is because of his timeless messages. It is because of its relevance that I present you the translations of the rock edicts of Ashoka. read more

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The Third Battle of Panipat

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The Third battle of Panipat was fought on 14th January 1761, between the Afghan commander Ahmed Shah Abdaliand the Maratha general Sadashiv Rao Bhau, cousin  of the Maratha Peshwa  BalajiBaji Rao . After the death of Aurangazeb the last of the formidable of the Mughal Emperors the later Mughals failed to keep glory and the mighty Empire finally started to disintegrate. The Marathas soon gained an important place in Indian history and became an enormous power. A much cherished dream waiting to be realized lay before them- the overrunning of the Mughal Empire. But in Afghanistan a similar dream was cherished for a long time by the master general Ahmad Shah Abdali, who once had been the trump-card of Nadir Shah.  And who after his master’s assassination became the premier of the Durrani Empire. read more

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James Prinsep Illustrated Benares

Dusaswumedh Ghat. Benares.

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Prinsep (1799-1840), an antiquary and colonial administrator was assay master at the Benares Mint between 1820-30. The lithographs published in this collection (Benares Illustrated) were based on his original sketches of the various views of the ‘holy’ city of the Hindus. Of this view he writes: ‘ Conjunctions of the planets, eclipses and Sankrant, or the Sun’s entrance into the zodiacal signs, are accounted the most auspicious moments for bathing in the Ganges…For two or three days previous to such an event, pilgrims and travelling parties…assemble in groups upon the terraces and balconies of the temples and houses near the river. Every vacant spot is put in requisition and hired out by the square foot…the scene bears more the character of a fair (mela)…At the eclipse of the 25th Nov. the crowd was unusually great, and no less than forty lives were lost in the press of bathers at the first glimpse of the moon’s obscured visage. Most of the figures in the view were drawn and finished on the spot…The smoke on the left hand points out the spot on which the dead are burned, a place dedicated to Vishnoo…In the crowd are seen a couple of Missionaries distributing tracts with zeal as ardent, and perhaps as unavailing as that of the poor Suttees themselves.’ read more

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Goodwill Message on 162nd Anniversary of Santal Hul 2017

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Hul and the Scandinavian-Santal Legacy: The Glory and Irony of  History and Our Common Future

Goodwill Message 162nd. Anniversary of Santal Hul (2017AD)

By Prof. Tone Bleie, Head of Scandinavian-Santal Heritage Initiative (SSInherit)

JOHAR FROM THE HIGH-NORTH AND SCANDINAVIA

On behalf of the University of Tromsø, and the Scandinavian-Santal Heritage Initiative (SSInherit), I like to greet the organizers and participants of  the 162nd anniversary of Santal Hul Program. read more

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Prithviraj Chauhan versus Mohammad of Ghor

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Equestrian statue of Prithviraj Chauhan, Ajmer

History has its own heroes, whose story has survived the onslaught of time and become immortal. For hundreds of years their stories are told and retold again, and are passed down generations after generation.  The life of Historical heroes is shrouded in legend and folklore, which makes it difficult for writers and historians to represent their life and deeds based on real facts. In these circumstances the writer has to heavily rely on whatever available sources and carefully separate facts from fiction. If the hero was a charismatic person, leaving his footsteps in the dangerous field of battle to the rosy path of romance, the issue grows more complex. He invariably becomes the perfect character on whom hundreds of poems can be written, numerous plays can be staged and volumes of novels can be penned. One such imposing character in medieval India was the Rajput legend Prithvi Raj Chauhan. read more

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Indian Museum Calcutta

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Indian Museum

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century when the British were busy expanding the horizons of their ‘Indian Colony’ right then some great scholars were indulged in studying the heritage of their new colony. Sir William Jones was one of the greatest scholars present in India at that time and he was envisioning of forming a Society which would study and investigate everything what is produced by Nature or Man within the limits of Asia. Asiatic Society took birth in 1784, fifteen years before the great battle of Serringapatnam where the English defeated Tipu Sultan. Although Sir William Jones did not in express about the possibility of erecting a museum yet he had laid the very vital foundation on which this great monument would later be erected.  The Asiatic Society was founded on 15th January, 1784 and initially Governor General Warren Hastings was offered the President’s chair, Hastings declined the offer and made way for Sir Jones. read more

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Murshidabad Mangoes

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Purna Chandra Mazumdar was the Abul Fazl of Murshidabad, his priceless work, “The Musnad of Murshidabad” is a must read for anyone who wants to know about the old city of Murshidabad. Born in 1856, Purna Chandra Mazumdar grew up to be a brilliant scholar. He passed his law examination with credit, but refused the British Government’s offer for a magisterial post, preferring to practice law in his home town. Dedicated to public service he was held in high regard. Of a literary bent, he wrote, “The Musnud of Murshidabad”. In addition to this he became the legal advisor and the private secretary of the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad. He died in January 1912. [i] read more

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Notes on the Declassified Files of British Secret Service on A C N Nambiar

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Arathil Candeth Narayan NAMBIAR,

Arathil Candeth Narayan NAMBIAR, went to Berlin in 1924 as a journalist and worked with the Indian communist group there alongside his brother-in-law Chattopadhayaya (married to the OGPU agent Agnes SMEDLEY). He visited Moscow as a Soviet guest in 1929. On the outbreak of World War II NAMBIAR was expelled from Germany but later allowed to return as Subhas Chandra Bose’s deputy in Berlin, with special responsibility in cooperation with the Germans for the Azad Hind radio transmissions, becoming the German-financed leader of the Free India Movement in Europe when Bose moved to the Far East to join the Japanese. He was also concerned with the Indian Legion, composed of Indian PoWs, which in 1944 was absorbed by the SS. In 1944 Nambiar was appointed Minister without Portfolio in Bose’s provisional government and arranged the printing of Azad Hind passports. He was arrested in Austria in June 1945 and interrogated in September 1945 as a Nazi collaborator. This file includes the long report of his post-war interrogation which contains details of the various military groups set up by Bose for training in Germany and many other peripheral matters including the setting up of the secret Abwehr (Abwehr was a German intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944) transmitting station ‘Mary’ in Afghanistan. read more

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Esther Leach the Queen of Calcutta theatre

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By early nineteenth century the English had transformed Calcutta so much that it quickly pleased the eyes of the newest Englishman in the city. There were these big mansions, government buildings like the ones in London, there were Landaulets, Barouches criss-crossing the wide Calcutta streets. There was every comfort that a proud Englishman could think of. As far entertainment was concerned Calcutta was not far behind, occasionally there were would be lavish parties thrown by a generous host. There were clubs associations offering the opportunity to fill in the loneliness one usually has staying long away from home. The English had almost everything they could want, but something was clearly missing, the absence of which was clearly felt by everyone, because without this the English soul would never be fulfilled, and that was the charm of a breathtaking show of a Shakespearian play in a professional theatre. Although the English had found their way into Calcutta, the bard of Avon still awaited for a home in this magnificent city. read more

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Title of the book : Kalighat Hoard: The First Hoard From India

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About the AuthorSusmita Basu Majumdar was educated in Bhilai and Graduated from Kolkata. She is presently the Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta, where she did her Post Graduation and Ph. D. She specializes in Epigraphic and Numismatic Studies and has been contributing regularly on monetary history and currency patterns. Her publications includeLocal Coins of Ancient India, a new series, Coins of Malhar(2000), Essays on History of Medicine (2013, co-author Nayana Sharma Mukherjee) and Banglar Mudra Byabostha: Prachin o adhi Madhya yug (2013 Bengali) besides this she has contributed several articles in reputed peer reviewed Indian and International Journals, edited volumes. read more

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