History, Travel

Eating Humble Pie

Sir Issac Newton’s remains are buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.  I was on a walking tour and our guide Tom, pointed out  Charles Darwin’s grave, also in the nave.  Two outstanding scientists with towering intellects who have had a remarkable influence on our understanding of Science.  Fittingly, in between their graves, is a plaque marking the spot where…

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History, Music

Tansen

When I turned nine, my cousins gifted me a couple of Amar Chitra Kathas for my birthday.  These were comics that retold tales from Indian mythology and history.  One of them was on Tansen, the legendary singer from the court of the Mughal emperor, Akbar.  This was my introduction to the story of Tansen.  He was one of the “Navaratna”…

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History, Travel

Jallianwala Bagh

It’s April 13, 1919. It is the festival of Baisakhi, a harvest festival in Punjab celebrated by people of all faiths. You are perhaps a Sikh farmer from the hinterlands of Punjab and you have come to Amritsar to visit the Harmandar Sahib. Your visit to the holy site completed, you eat at the Langar (community kitchen) and then plan…

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History, Music

The Lonely Mughal

  As a subject in high school, History was a seemingly limitless study of various dynasties of yore.  The lessons focussed largely on dates of events, conquests, administrative reforms and either largesses or depredations of the ruler in question.  The Mughal dynasty, given its prominence, spanned a few chapters.  Akbar enjoyed the lion’s share followed by Babur and Aurangzeb.  A footnote…

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History, Travel

Pul Kanjri

What would you do if you were an all-powerful ruler and your favorite dancer was upset that she lost one of her silver slippers while fording a canal? You would build a bridge of course!  The ruler was the Lion of Punjab – Ranjit Singh, the dancer was called Moran and the place where the bridge was built is Pul Kanjari,…

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