Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
He was instrumental in planning and leading the storming of Delhi in 1857 to crush the uprising. A famous story about him is that one night during the Great Uprising of 1857, he strode into the British mess tent at Jullunder, coughed to attract the attention of the officers, then said, "I am sorry, gentlemen, to have kept you waiting for your dinner, but I have been hanging your cooks." He had been told that the regimental chefs had poisoned the soup with aconite. When they refused to taste it for him, he force fed it to a monkey - and when it expired on the spot, he proceeded to hang the cooks from a nearby tree without a trial.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Centred around the rule of the last Mughal king-Bahadur Shah Zafar, the book describes the events of his time. Zafar, despite being a weak king, emerges as a very reasonable man, who could have done little at the age of eighty. The mutineers also called contemptuously ‘pandies’ by the British, had committed excesses against the British officials and civilians, the British showed no clemency or humanity in crushing them. They suppressed it with even greater cruelty. At the end of the book when the region of old Delhi was captured by the British and rebels crushed, the British soldiers took to raping ladies from the noble families. ‘As many as three hundred begums of the royal house- not including former concubines in the palace were taken away by our troups after the fall of Delhi' he quotes a British writer. The British suspected that the mutineers had raped English ladies, which was proved to be false after an investigation was carried out. The British indulged in looting houses after houses. They shot or hanged its occupants. The anarchy and all-round violence was akin to ‘The French Revolution’, Dalrymple writes.
The great Urdu poet who survived the British onslaught by a quirk twist of fate was aghast at the hell like situation in Delhi. He saw a great civilization dying. He writes in a letter to a friend, 'The light has gone out of India. Would it be surprising if I should lose my mind from this onslaught of grief?' Ghalib laments ‘had you been here you would have seen the ladies of the Fort moving about the city, their faces as fair as moon and their clothes dirty, their paijama legs torn, and their slippers falling to pieces. This is no exaggeration..'
The Last Mughal makes reading history a pleasure like a thriller. The book ends with a warning by Edmund Burke that those who fail to learn from history are always destined to repeat it.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Once popularly known for its bewitching dancing girls in the 19th century, the street is named after a Marathi word 'chawri', which means meeting place. The street got this name mainly because here a 'sabha' or meeting would take place in front of a noble's house and he would try settling the disputes before it would reach the emperor. A second reason is probably that a gathering used to get organized when a respected dancer performed and showed the finer nuances of her skill. The whole ambience of the street however got changed after the 1857 war when British destroyed many huge mansions of the nobles.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Don’t desist from action, you may become a liberating agent for some unfortunate snake (It’s not a joke!). If you are trapped hopelessly, never loose hope, a rodent may turn up to help you. Sometimes, inaction is better than action.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Happy with his spiritual development, he went to heaven and met Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the world. There he boasted about his austerities and his conquest over Kamadev. Lord Vishnu tried to test the spiritual achievement of Narad. With his power he created an illusionary city. Where there was a king and his beautiful daughter Shrimati. Narad went to the city and met the king there. The king welcomed Narad and said, ‘my daughter has now become of marriageable age. She has all the qualities of a good girl. We have made arrangements of a Swayamvar (where a girl chooses her future husband among host of eligible suitors) where I have invited eligible suitors.’ Narad , struck by the beauty of the princess, Narad fell madly in love with her, ‘I too will join the Swayamvar . It will be great if she choose me.’ Narad went to Lord Vishnu and asked him to make him as handsome as the lord himself is. Lord Vishnu laughed upon seeing Narad hopelessly in love. Lord Vishnu granted him the handsomeness of his physic but made his face look like a monkey. Narad had no time to see himself in mirror. In haste he went to the Swayamvar and took his seat among the other suitors.
The Princess arrived on the scene with a garland in her hand and surrounded by her maids and friends. She found no one attractive in the Swayamvar. She was aghast when she saw Narad. He looked very ugly with his monkey face. Narad couldn’t understand what the matter was. At that very time Lord Vishnu arrived on the scene. He was the very epitome of handsomeness. The Princess immediately put the garland in his neck. Lord Vishnu holding the hand of the Princes disappeared from the scene. Narad was crestfallen. He went to the abode of Lord Vishnu and started cursing him. He was in great mental agony.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Details about the lives of Bharthari and his brother Vikramaditya are from the tales of Baital Pacchisi (Twenty five tales of Baital), translated as 'Vikram and The Vampire' by Sir Richord Francis Burton, in 1870.
This is a fiction. But there is wisdom to be learnt from such stories. Like money and power cant buy you love. Never take your love for granted, you might be in for a shock. Men renounce the world when they lose power over their women. A man must find his true goal in life early. Even those whom we regard as of loose character (Lakha) can show a great strength of character, etc.
If you think that there is something more to the story, please write in. It is open to interpretations.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
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