Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage.

The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 3 years.

The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mella is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag.

The Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years,[2] at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), HaridwarUjjain, and Nashik.

The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas', or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The previous Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it at the time the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history.

Kumbha Mela is a massive pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river. 

It is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Simha Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aries (Mesha Rashi) it is celebrated at Haradwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain.[10][11]

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag.

It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.[18]

The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river in whichever town it is being held.Nasik has registered maximum visitors amounted nearly to 75 million.

After visiting the Kumbh Mela of 1895, Mark Twain wrote:
It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.

  • The Purna Kumbha Mela will again be held at Prayag in the year 2013 (January 27 to February 25)
  • Nasik will host the Ardha Kumbha Mela in 2015 (August 15 to September 13)
  • Ujjan Purna Kumbh Mela 2016 (Also Known as Simhasth @ Ujjain) (April 22 to May 21)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sports in India

1. Norman G. Pritchard, an Anglo -Indian athlete from Calcutta, was the first Indian to take part in Olympic Games.

2. India made its official debut in the Antwerp Olympics in Belgium in 1920.

3. PT Usha became first Indian lady to enter the finals of any olympic event.

4. Leander Paes was the first Indian to win Junior US Open Title.

5.  Leander Paes won a bronze medal for India at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

6. Parimarjan Negi is the youngest Grandmaster in India.

7. Parimarjan Negi also holds the record for being the world's youngest International Master.

8. Vishwanath Anand is India's first Grandmaster.

9. First Olympic Gold Medal won by India was in 1928 Olympics in hockey.

10. P.T. Usha was nicknamed as Payyoli Express.

11. Ramanathan Krishnan, is the first Indian to win Wimbledon Junior Singles title.

12. Prakash Padukone is the first Indian to win All England Badminton Championship.

13. Anju Bobby George entered the finals of Women Long Jump at 2004 Athens Olympics.

14. Anju Bobby George is the first Indian athlete to win a medal in World Athletics Championship.

15. Milkha Singh was the first Indian athlete to reach Olympic finals.

Some Interesting Facts About India

1. State with lowest population in India - Sikkim

2. State smallest in area - Goa

3. State second smallest in area - Sikkim

4. Largest town of Sikkim - Gangtok

5. Most populous city of India - Mumbai

6. District with lowest population in India - Yanam in Pondicherry ( it lies in delta of Godavari river)

7. Union Territory with lowest population density in India - Andaman & Nicobar Islands ( a group of 572 islands lying in the Bay of Bengal)

8. Union Territory with lowest population in India - Lakshadweep ( has capital at Kavaratti)

9. Union Territory with highest population density in India - Delhi

10. Delhi was made the capital of India in 1911.

11. Delhi is surrounded by Haryana on all sides except the east where it borders with Uttar Pradesh.

12.  State with highest population in India - Uttar Pradesh

13. The five states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh account for almost half of the total India's population.

14. Union Territory with second lowest population in India - Daman and Diu

15. State with second lowest population in India - Mizoram

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Devaki Pandit

Devaki Pandit  is a playback singer from Maharashtra,India. She is also a trained classical singer.Besides Marathi, she has also sung songs in Hindi.She received[2][3] her initial music training from her mother Usha Pandit.In 1986, she recorded her first playback song for the film Ardhangi which went on to win her the Maharashtra State Award for "Best Female Playback Singer".She has not only given performances in India, but has undertaken concert tours all over the world at the invitation of prestigious institutions. She has also sung for various films, with renowned music directors, but her attention remains focussed on Hindustani Classical music. Devaki has developed her own style of singing and has won many hearts through her performances.
Here are some of the compositions of Devaki Pandit:

1) "Daayi Aankh Bole" from the film "Daayra"
2) "Phir bhor bhayee jaaga madhuban"  from the film "Saaz"
3) "Raag Baageshri" from her classical album named "Inner Soul"
4) Bhajan "Sai Se Lagan Kathin Hai.." from "Inner Soul"
5) The ghazal "Aankhonse Baatein..." with Hariharan in the album "Halka Nasha"
6) "Krishna Jal Mein.." & "Shyam Ki Ratt Ab Lagi..." from her album Vrindavan, music composed by Shrinivas Khale
7)"Sanwaren Rang raanchi.." & "Bhayee Hun Baawaree.." from her album "Mohane man Harayu".

Apart from this, she has also sung bhajans by Ramdas Swamiji in the album "Shyam Rang"; shlokas in "Upanishad Amrut";along with Shankar Mahadevan (music by Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma). Her other films include "Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa" with Jatin-Lalit, "Betaabi" with Vishal Bharadwaj, "Guddu" with Naushadji. She has recently released an Album called "Aradhana Mahakali", the music of which is composed by herself.

She has also sung for "Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia in his album named "Krishna Utsav".. Devaki's talent is also honoured by the prestigious awards bestowed upon her. She is the only recipient of the prestigious Kesarbhai Kerkar Scholarship for two consecutive years.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saul Bellow's Quotations

We are always looking for the book it is necessary to read next.
Saul Bellow 

What is art but a way of seeing?
Saul Bellow 

When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.
Saul Bellow 

Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.
Saul Bellow 
Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.
Saul Bellow 

Hapiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.
Saul Bellow 

Conquered people tend to be witty.
Saul Bellow 

Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.
Saul Bellow 

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.
Saul Bellow 

"[There is] an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for."[32]

"I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction."[33]

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."[34]

"People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned."[35]

What critics feel about Saul Bellow

Martin Amis described Bellow as "The greatest American author ever, in my view".[21]
His sentences seem to weigh more than anyone else's. He is like a force of nature... He breaks all the rules [...] [T]he people in Bellow's fiction are real people, yet the intensity of the gaze that he bathes them in, somehow through the particular, opens up into the universal.[22]
For Linda Grant, "what Bellow had to tell us in his fiction was that it was worth it, being alive."
His vigour, vitality, humour and passion were always matched by the insistence on thought, not the predigested cliches of the mass media or of those on the left which had begun to disgust him by the Sixties... It's easy to be a 'writer of conscience' - anyone can do it if they want to; just choose your cause. Bellow was a writer about conscience and consciousness, forever conflicted by the competing demands of the great cities, the individual's urge to survival against all odds and his equal need for love and some kind of penetrating understanding of what there was of significance beyond all the racket and racketeering.[23]
On the other hand, Bellow's detractors considered his work conventional and old-fashioned, as if the author was trying to revive the 19th century European novel. In a private letter, Vladimir Nabokov once referred to Bellow as a "miserable mediocrity."[24] Journalist and authorRon Rosenbaum described Bellow's Ravelstein (2000) as the only book that rose above Bellow's failings as an author. Rosenbaum wrote,
My problem with the pre-Ravelstein Bellow is that he all too often strains too hard to yoke together two somewhat contradictory aspects of his being and style. There's the street-wise Windy City wiseguy and then-as if to show off that the wiseguy has Wisdom-there are the undigested chunks of arcane, not entirely impressive, philosophic thought and speculation. Just to make sure you know his novels have intellectual heft. That the world and the flesh in his prose are both figured and transfigured.[25]
But what, then, of the many defects -- the longueurs and digressions, the lectures on anthroposophy and religion, the arcane reading lists? What of the characters who don't change or grow but simply bristle onto the page, even the colorful lowlifes pontificating like fevered students in the seminars Bellow taught at the University of Chicago? And what of the punitively caricatured ex-wives drawn from the teeming annals of the novelists's own marital discord?
But, Tanenhaus went on to answer his question:
Shortcomings, to be sure. But so what? Nature doesn't owe us perfection. Novelists don't either. Who among us would even recognize perfection if we saw it? In any event, applying critical methods, of whatever sort, seemed futile in the case of an author who, as Randall Jarrell once wrote of Walt Whitman, is a world, a waste with, here and there, systems blazing at random out of the darkness -- those systems as beautifully and astonishingly organized as the rings and satellites of Saturn.[26]
V. S. Pritchett praised Bellow, finding his shorter works to be his best. Pritchett called Bellow's novella Seize the Day a "small gray masterpiece."[5]
Bellow's account of his 1975 trip to IsraelTo Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account, was criticized by Noam Chomsky in his 1983 bookFateful Triangle: the United States, Israel & the Palestinians. Bellow, Chomsky wrote, "sees an Israel where ‘almost everyone is reasonable and tolerant, and rancor against the Arabs is rare,’ where the people ‘think so hard, and so much’ as they ‘farm a barren land, industrialize it, build cities, make a society, do research, philosophize, write books, sustain a great moral tradition, and finally create an army of tough fighters.’ He has also been criticized for having praised Joan Peters's controversial book, From Time Immemorial, which challenged the conventional history of the Palestinian people.[27][28]

Tough Words for 15-11-2010

1. Eristic: disputatious

2. Festinate: hasten

3. Mitis: malleable Iron

4. Mampara: fool

5. Crump: Make a noise typical of an engine lacking lubricants

6. Abroach: open

7. Fleche: spire

8. Apotropaic: preventing evil

9. Apocope: loss of final vowel

10. Fungible: interchangeable

Revisiting Daffodils! (How 'laughing' was replaced by 'jocund')

The Daffodils: 1802 Version

William Wordsworth's The Daffodils was modelled on an entry in his wife's prose Journal of 1802, and she also contributed what her husband considered the best two lines of the poem: They flash upon the inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude
The first version of 1804/07 was as follows:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of dancing daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 
The waves beside them danced; but they 
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay,
In such laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Republished in 1815, the poem had two changes and an extra stanza:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 
The waves beside them danced; but they 
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Both changes were immense improvements. Replacing dancing with golden avoided a repetition and gave the flowers a pollen-heavy splendour. And such a jocund company has a pleasing fulness of sound missing from such laughing company.

The added stanza brought amplitude to the poem — we see the daffodils in their wider setting — thoughtwinkle is not quite the right word (milky way stars may glimmer but not twinkle, though we could charitably suppose the milky way referred to the backdrop, not the stars themselves).
In general, however, poems have their optimal tone and size, and Wordsworth in a simple revision found both.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh state in India. It is on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river. It is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is about 12 miles (20 km) fromMortakka in Madhya Pradesh. The shape of the island is said to be like the HinduOm symbol. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means "Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound") and one to Amareshwar (whose name means "Immortal lord" or "lord of the Immortals or Devas").
Omkareshwar is formed by the sacred river Narmada. This is one of the most sacred of rivers in India and is now home to one of the world's biggest dam projects.While traveling from Khandwa to Omkareshwar, on the left side of road in the outskirts of Khandwa you can see the memorial to the celebrated singer, Kishore Kumar.


Posted on June 16th, 2010 by admin  |  No Comments »
Omkareshwar Project is a multipurpose project with an installed capacity of 520 MW with designed annual energy generation of 1166 million units in initial stage and annual irrigation of 2.83 Lac. Ha on a culturable Command Area (CCA) of 1.47 Lac. Ha. Total Catchment Area at the Dam site is 64880 Generation of power at Omkareshwar Project is directly related to the regulated release of water from Indira Sagar Project, hence it is one of the beneficiary project of Indira Sagar Project. Project has been commissioned in November 2007.
Salient Feature
LocationKhandwa District of Madhya Pradesh
Approach77 Kms. from Indore
Capacity520 MW (8 x 65 MW)
Annual Generation1166 MUs (90% dependable year.)
Project CostRs.2224.74 Crore (Nov. 2002 price level)
Beneficiary StatesMadhya Predesh
Year of Commissioning/Completion Schedule2007
Technical Features:
  • 949m long Concrete Gravity Dam, 53m high from the deepest foundation level.
  • 171.5m long H.R.C. and 145m long T.R.C.
  • A surface Power House to accommodate 8 units of 65 MW each.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah (1627-55) of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Indian sultans, who ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur from 1490 to 1686. The structure consists of a massive square chamber measuring nearly 50 m (160 ft) on each side and covered by a huge dome 43.3 m (142 ft) in diameter making it among one of the largest dome structures in world. It appears to have been the desire of the ruler to build a mausoleum that was comparable to that of his father, Ibrahim Adil Shah II. Since his father's mausoleum, known as the Ibrahim Rauza, was exceptional in composition and decoration, the only means of avoiding direct competition was through size.

The acoustics of the enclosed place make it a whispering gallery where even the smallest sound is heard across the other side of the Gumbaz. At the periphery of the dome is a circular balcony where visitors can witness the astounding whispering gallery. Any whisper, clap or sound gets echoed around 7 times. It is also said that the Sultan, Ibrahim Adil Shah and his Queen used to converse in the same manner. During his time, the musicians used to sing, seated in the whispering gallery so that the sound produced could reach every corner of the hall.

This mausoleum is one of the Bijapur's main architectural treasures. Despite its incomplete condition, the sheer majesty of the structure renders visitors awestruck. The towers with their hemispherical domes, the carved petal borders and parapet give the building an exoticism that blends with monumentality and prevents this building from becoming just another building emulating classic Mughal architecture. A building that inspires admiration for its boldness would most definitely have been a spectacular experiment in completion. 

Words picked from Free Rice Game

1. Vaquero - cowboy

2. Rejoinder - quick reply

3. Thespian - a theatrical performer

4. Potage - thick soup

5. Coquette  - flirt

6. Stripling - youth

7. Enounce - articulate

8. Plaintive -sad

9. Circumlocutory - wordy

10. Fractious - easily irritated or annoyed

11. Hussar - cavalryman

12. Dusky - swarthy

Friday, November 12, 2010

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad


Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born on November 11, 1888 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A leading figure in India's struggle for freedom, apart from being a noted writer, poet and journalist, he adopted the pen name Azad (Free). In his childhood, he had a traditional Islamic education, alongwith training in subjects like mathematics, philosophy, world history and science by tutors at his home. Through his own efforts, he learnt English, alongwith Western philosophy, history and contemporary politics. He visited countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. He opposed the partition of Bengal in 1905. He established an Urdu weekly newspaper in 1912 named Al-Hilal. It was consequently banned in 1914, following which he started a new journal, the Al-Balagh. 

He published many works criticizing the British rule and advocating self-rule for India. It was as a leader of the Khilafat movement that he became close to Mahatma Gandhi. He became the youngest President of the Indian National Congress in 1923.He always supported the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity and opposed the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. After India's independence, he served as the first Minister for Education. 

As India's first Minister of Education, he emphasized on educating the rural poor and girls. As Chairman of the Central Advisory Board of Education, he gave thrust to adult illiteracy, universal primary education, free and compulsory for all children up to the age of 14, girl’s education, and diversification of secondary education and vocational training.[17] Addressing the conference on All India Education on January 16, 1948, Maulana Azad emphasized,[17]
“We must not for a moment forget, it is a birth right of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen.”
He oversaw the setting up of the Central Institute of Education,Delhi which later became the Department of Education of the University of Delhi as “a research centre for solving new educational problems of the country”.[18] Under his leadership, the Ministry of Education established the first Indian Institute of Technology in 1951 and the University Grants Commission in 1953.,[19][20] He also laid emphasis on the development of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University.[21] He foresaw a great future in the IITs for India:[21]
"I have no doubt that the establishment of this Institute will form a landmark in the progress of higher technological education and research in the country."
His Birthday, November 11 is celebrated as National Education Day in India.

He served in the Constituent Assembly formed to draft India's constitution and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952 and in 1957. In 1956, he served as president of the UNESCO General Conference in Delhi. His exhaustive book on India's freedom struggle titled India Wins Freedom was published in 1957. This great leader passed away on February 22, 1958.

ow Others Viewed Maulana Azad

Mahatma Gandhi: “Maulana Azad is the most forceful, truthful, and fearless satyagrahi and fighter against oppression and injustice that I have come across”.
Jawaharlal Nehru: “ Though I am grateful to all my companions, I would like to mention especially Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose erudition has delighted me incredibly, and has sometimes overwhelmed me. In Azad along with the good qualities of the past, the graciousness, the deep learning and tolerance, there is a strange and unique mixture of the urges of today and the modern outlook”.
“Maulana Azad was a very special representative in a high degree, of the great composite culture which has gradually grown in India. He represented the synthesis of various cultures which had flown in and lost themselves in the ocean of Indian life and humanity, affecting and changing them and being changed themselves by them. In that sense, I can hardly conceive of any other person who can replace him, because the age which produced him is past.”

Maulana Azad’s Own Views

“I am a Muslim and profoundly conscious of the fact that I have inherited Islam’s glorious tradition of the last fourteen hundred years. I am not prepared to loose even a small part of that legacy. The history and teachings of Islam, its arts and letters, its culture and civilization are part of my wealth and it is my duty to cherish and guard them…… But, with all these feelings, I have another equally deep realization, born out of my life’s experience which is strengthened and not hindered by the Islamic spirit. I am equally proud of the fact that I am an Indian, an essential part of the indivisible unity of the Indian nationhood, a vital factor in its total makeup, without which this noble edifice will remain incomplete.”
“ If the whole world is our country and is to be honored, the dust of India has the first place………. If all mankind are our brothers, then the Indians have the first place.”
“ Not only is our national freedom impossible without Hindu-Muslim unity, we also can not create without it, the primary principles of humanity. If an angel were to tell me: “Discard Hindu-Muslim unity and within 24 hours I will give freedom to India”; I would prefer Hindu-Muslim unity. For the delay in the attainment of freedom will be a loss to India alone, but if the Hindu-Muslim unity disappears, that will be a loss to the whole humanity.”
“ It was India’s historic destiny that many human races, cultures, and religions should flow to her, and that many a caravan should find rest here…….. One of the last of these caravans was that of the followers of Islam. This came here and settled for good. In India everything bears the stamp of the joint endeavors of the Hindus and Muslims. Our languages were different, but we grew to use a common language. Our manners and customs were dissimilar, but they produced a new synthesis. No fantasy or artificial scheming to separate and divide us can break this unity.”