Thursday, November 13, 2008
Chandrayaan reached the final resting orbit, about 100 kms from the moon on 12th November 2008. Chandrayaan will remain in this orbit for the next two years. During its remaining lifetime of 2 years, the terrain mapping camera will make a detailed study of the moon's surface to create a three dimentional map of the moon. It will also search for minerals and ice.
ISRO has carried out three orbit-lowering moves since the spacecraft entered the lunar orbit on 8th November. The spacecraft, which was launched on October 22, was propelled on its 4,00,000-km voyage to the moon in a number of stages, with its orbit being raised progressively towards the moon by activating its liquid motor.
The tricolour landed on the Moon at 8.31 pm on 14th November, opening a new chapter in the history of India’s space exploration.The tricolour was painted on all sides of the 29 kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) which was attached to the top portion of the main lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan. The MIP is the brainchild of former President A P J Abdul Kalam who witnessed its separation from the main orbiting craft and its crashlanding 32 km from the Shackleton crater on the moon’s south pole from the mission control room at ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore.
During its flight, its video camera took pictures of the Moon, the spectrometer began its analysis and the altitude meter did what is known as a ranging. While approaching the Moon, it slowed down slightly, then spun. While spinning, its three instruments went into action. When it was 5 km above the Moon’s surface, the altimeter did the ‘ranging of the Moon’. ‘‘All this while the atmosphere was pretty tense in the mission control room,’’ said a scientist.
Other entities which have reached the Moon are the US, former Soviet Union, Japan (albeit via a malfunction that sent its orbiter crashing onto the lunar surface) and the European Space Agency (17 nations). India becomes the fifth member of this club.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Many questions about the Indus people who created this highly complex culture remain unanswered, but other aspects of their society can be answered through various types of archaeological studies.
There seems to have been another large river which ran parallel and west of the Indus in the third and fourth millenium BCE. This was the ancient Saraswati-Ghaggar-Hakra River (which some scholars associate with the Saraswati River of the Rig Veda). Its lost banks are slowly being traced by researchers by various modern techniques of satellite imagery. Along its now dry bed, archaeologists are discovering a whole new set of ancient towns and cities.
Harappa was a city in the Indus civilization that flourished around 2600 to 1700 BCE in the western part of South Asia.
Mohenjo Daro, or "Mound of the Dead" is another famous ancient city of the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished between 2600 and 1900 BCE. It was one of the first ancient cities in the world. The site was discovered in the 1920s and lies in Pakistan's Sindh province. Only a handful of archaeologists have excavated here, described in the introduction and illustrated essay Mohenjodaro: An Ancient Indus Valley Metropolis. The excavation at Mohenjo-daro was led by Rakhal Das Banerjee, E. J. H. MacKay, and Sir John Marshall.
The Indus Valley people were most likely Dravidians, who may have been pushed down into south India when the Aryans, with their more advanced military technology, commenced their migrations to India around 2,000 BCE. Though the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered down to the present day, the numerous seals discovered during the excavations, as well as statuary and pottery, not to mention the ruins of numerous Indus Valley cities, have enabled scholars to construct a reasonably plausible account of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Sikkim was an independent nation till the year 1975. However, in the spring of 1975, unavoidable circumstances led to its inclusion to the Indian Union as its 22nd state.
In 1947, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal.
Meanwhile trouble was brewing in the state after the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for the Nepalese. In 1973, riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. A historic agreement was made on 8th May, 1973, between the Chogyal, the leaders of the political parties representing the people of Sikkim and the Government of India supported by the unanimous desire of the members of the Sikkim Assembly. The Chogyal promulgated a Bill on the 4th July, 1974 as the Government of Sikkim Act, 1974. For the speedy development of Sikkim in the social, economic and political fields, section 30 of the Government of Sikkim Act, 1974 empowers the Government of Sikkim, inter alia, to seek participation and representation for the people of Sikkim in the political institutions of India. On the 28th June, 1974, after passing the Government of Sikkim Bill, the Sikkim Assembly resolved unanimously that measures should be taken, amongst other things, for seeking representation for the people of Sikkim in India's parliamentary system.
The Chogyal was proving to be extremely unpopular with the people. In 1975, the Kazi (Prime Minister) appealed to the Indian Parliament for a change in Sikkim's status so that it could become a state of India. In April, the Indian Army moved into Sikkim, seizing the city of Gangtok and disarming the Palace Guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the people voted to join the Indian Union. A few weeks later, on May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the monarchy was abolished.
In 2000, in a major embarrassment for the government of the People's Republic of China, the seventeenth Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who had been proclaimed a Lama by China, made a dramatic escape from Tibet to the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this issue, as any protests to India would mean an explicit endorsement of India's governance of Sikkim, which the Chinese still regarded as an independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognised Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted Tibet as a part of China. This mutual agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations. On July 6, 2006 the Himalayan pass of Nathula was opened to cross-border trade, further evidence of improving relations in the region.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
India's maiden lunar mission was launched successfully Wednesday at 6.22 am IST when the unmanned Chandrayan-1 spacecraft was placed in orbit by the Polar Launch Vehicle. All the different stages of the rockets performed flawlessly to place the spacecraft smmothly into orbit. With successful launch of Chandrayaan-I, India today became the sixth nation to send a moon mission. India joined the elite club of moon faring nations -- the US, Russia, European Space Agency, China and Japan.
Live Television pictures showed the PSLV-C11 blast off from Sriharikota off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state. About 18 minutes later, the 1,380 kilogram, or 3.042-pound, Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was placed into Earth's orbit amid loud cheers from Indian Space Research Organization scientists.
The Chandrayan objectives include finding water in the polar region of moon and Helium-3 gas, a replacement for fossil fuels. The mission will last about 30 months. The spacecraft is to reach its targeted lunar orbit at a height of about 62 miles from the surface after about two weeks, the Press Trust of India reported.
Another interesting objective of the Chandrayan-1 is the attempting to place the Indian flag on the moon's surface. If successful, it would make India just the fourth country in the world to have ever done so after Russia, America and Japan. The flag will fly all the 4,00,000 kilometers to the moon on Chandrayaan-1 and on command from Indian space scientists, it will hurtle down to the moon's surface. Called the Moon Impact Probe, this 35 kilogram computer monitor sized instrument was included on Chandryaan-1 at the proposal of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
The 11 payloads include five from India, three from the European Space Agency, two from the United States and one from Bulgaria.The U.S. payload consists of lunar mapping instruments. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said its Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources and its Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar will map the lunar polar regions looking for ice deposits.
The ground segment of the Chandrayaan mission mainly consists of Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN), Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) and the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC).
Monday, October 6, 2008
Bhitarkanika is a fascinating location of rich, lush green vibrant eco-system lying in the estuarine region of Brahmani- Baitarani in the North-Eastern corner of Kendrapara district of Orissa. The area is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East. The alley between the meandering creeks and rivers, houses the second largest viable mangrove eco-system of India.
Bhitarkanika is a hot-spot of biodiversity. During 2002 the Bhitarkanika mangroves having an area of 2672 sq-km. been declared as a Ramsar site being a wetland of international importance. It's home to India's largest population of giant salt water crocodile, the largest crocodile on earth. Also home to more than 215 species of avifauna including amazing eight variety of Kingfishers. It is the second largest viable Mangrove Eco-System in India. Gahirmatha beach, which forms the eastern boundary of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary sup ports the largest known nesting beach of olive ridley sea turtle in the world. Nearly half a million olive ridleys nest every year at Gahirmatha. Its 672 sq.kms. of mangrove forest & wetland, provides home to well over 215 species of birds including winter migrants from central-Asia and Europe. Giant salt water crocodiles and variety of other Wildlife inhabitate in this eco-system which form Asia's one of the most spectacular Wildlife area.
BHITARKANIKA NATIONAL PARK
An area of 145 Sq.kms. have been notified as Bhitarkanika National Park vide Notification No.19686/F & E dated 16.9.1998 of Forests & Environment Department, Govt. of Orissa. It has much significance with regard to ecological geomorphological and biological background which includes mangrove forests, rivers, creeks, estuaries, back water, accreted land and mud flats. Bhitarkanika National Park is the core area of Bhitarkanika Sanctuary.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary was declared vide notification No.6958/FF AH Dtd. 22.04.1975 over an area of 672 square kilometers. The Sanctuary comprising Mangrove Forests meandering rivers, innumerable criss-crossed tidal inundated creeks provide last refuge to the already endangered salt water Crocodile (Crocodile Porosus). Besides estuarine Crocodile, the Sanctuary is rich in avifauna mammalian and reptilian population. Theses Mangrove forests are good habitat for King Cobra, Indian Python and Water Monitor Lizard. A large number of water birds visit Bagagahan heronry which is an area of approximately 4 hectare. within the Bhitarkanika Forest Block near Suajore creek from the month of June to October. Most of the Birds are Asian open bill. Egrets. Black Ibis, Cormorants, Darters & etc.
Bhitarkanika is one of the largest contiguous patches of mangrove forest in the country, representing the Indo-Malayan mangrove community. So far 58 species of mangroves have been recorded in India of which 55 are found in Bhitarkanika. Mangorves forests are salt tolerant, complex and dynamic eco-system that occur in tropical and subtropical silt deposited inter-tidal regions. Bhitarkanika sustains more than 70 species of plants among Mangrove and its associates. Existence of three species of Rhizophora, Heritiera and Avicennia each and four species of Bruguiera are some of the interesting features of flora of Bhitarkanika. In Bhitarkanika a variety of wild rice grows abundantly in tidal mud flats. Based on the genetic strain of this wild rice, several saline and flood resistant varieties of rice have been developed.
Bhitarkanika harbours one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that 10 percent of the adults exceed 6 m length. Nearly 700 saltwater crocodiles inhabit Bhitarkanika and its associated river systems. Nearly half a million olive ridley sea turtles on an average, nest every year along the Gahirmatha coast of Bhitarkanika. Besides water monitor, which is common, yellow and common monitors are also sympatric here. The mangrove forests and its adjoining wetlands support large number of resident as well as migratory waterfowl. Of the 174 species of birds, 82 breed here and 57 species winter in Bhitarkanika. The endangered lesser adjutant stork also breeds here. Bhitarkanika is also home for several mammals. Five species of marine dolphins have been recorded from the area. The common species encountered in this area is the Indo - pacific humpbacked dolphin. Notable among the other mammalian fauna of Bhitarkanika are striped hyaena, fishing cat, jungle cat, smooth - coated otter, civet, Indian porcupine, wild boar, spotted deer and sambar. One of the largest heronries in the country is located here. More than 20,000 birds consisting of 11 species nest in this heronry during June to November every year.
Air : The nearest airport is situated at Bhubaneswar.
Rail : The nearest railhead is situated at Cuttack and Bhadrakh.
Road : One can reach the sanctuary from north through Rajnagar via Bhadrakh and from south through Rajnagar via Patamundai, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts in the world dating from c. 1500-500BCE. They form the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. They contain hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India. Along with the Book of the Dead, the Enuma Elish, the I Ching, and the Avesta, they are among the most ancient religious texts still in existence. Besides their spiritual value, they also give a unique view of everyday life in India four thousand years ago. The Vedas are also the most ancient extensive texts in an Indo-European language, and as such are invaluable in the study of comparative linguistics.
The four canonical Sanghitas or Vedas proper, of which the first three (trayi) are related to the performance of yajna (sacrifice) in historical (Iron Age) Vedic religion are:
1. the Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by the hot? or reciting priest;
2. the Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating priest;
3. the Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udg?t? or chanting priest.
4. the Atharvaveda, is one of the oldest and is relatively great in extent from a collection of praises, stories, predictions, apotropaic charms and some speculative hymns used by the priests.
Most Indologists agree that an oral tradition existed long before a literary tradition. Scholars have determined that the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally committed to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C. Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves), surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few hundred years. The Benares Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript of the mid-14th century, however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal belonging to the Vajasaneyi tradition that are dated from the 11th century onwards.
The Vedic period lasts for about a millennium, spanning the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. According to vedic researcher Gavin Flood and Michael Witzel, the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware). Michael Witzel gives 150 BCE (Patanjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200 BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda.
The four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda are the primary texts of Hinduism. They also had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Traditionally the text of the Vedas was coeval with the universe.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Ayurveda, an age-old system of India is widely used by millions in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka since ages and is also being increasingly used in the Western world as an alternative medicine system. Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is the most ancient of the six recognized Indian Systems of Medicine of the Indian subcontinent. It has its origins in the oral advice on living from the Vedic metaphysics (Charaka Samhita). The importance of Ayurveda, the science of life, the origin of most forms of natural and alternative medicine, is mentioned in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest philosophical texts of the world. It is widely considered to be the oldest continously practiced system of medicine on the planet, dating back to the pre-vedic period of 5000 BC. The Atharva-veda discuss Ayurveda in more detail, and classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita were written around 1000 BC. The Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita, a much referred ayurvedic text, says; "The three—body, mind and soul—are like a tripod, the world stand by their combination; in them everything abides."
The word "Ayurveda" is a tatpurusha compound of the word Ayus meaning "life," "life principle," or "longevity" and the word "veda", which refers to a system of "knowledge" or "wisdom." Thus "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "wisdom for living" or "knowledge of a long life". The related term of Suddha (pure) medicine refers to classical Ayurvedic medicine. According to this perspective, Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect "ayus", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony. Ayurveda is also one among the few traditional systems of medicine to contain a sophisticated system of surgery (which is referred to as "salya-chikitsa" (chikitsa=examination)).
Where ayurvedic knowledge ultimately developed is unknown, but oral myths, circumstantial evidence, and several early texts have been used to research its origins. Indigenous Indian medicine is probably as old as the Indus Valley Civilization dating back to 3000 BCE. The meticulously planned cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro are pointers not only to India’s rich cultural heritage but also to its advanced systems of hygiene and health care. The remains of deer antler and bitumen found in Harappa testify to the existence of a medical practice. It was between 1200 and 700 BCE, that the four sacred Vedas were composed. References to diseases, herbs and herbal cures can be seen in all the four Vedas especially in the Rig Veda. The Atharva Veda has many hymns eulogizing herbs. Many plants were worshipped as deities and invoked by incantations. There were also many Mantras (invocations) to combat jaundice, consumption and hereditary diseases among others. The Atharvan hymns chanted for the cure of diseases were known as Bhaishajyams and those for attaining longevity and prosperity were called Ayushyams. These hymns, especially the Ayushyams are considered to be the foundation for advances in later medicine.
In India, research in Ayurveda is largely undertaken by the statutory body of the Central Government, the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS), through a national network of research institutes. However, there is a huge gap between the number of sources of ayurvedic medicines and their proper scientific analysis. As a traditional medicine, many ayurvedic products have not been tested in rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials. Most clinical trials of Ayurvedic approaches have been small, had problems with research designs, lacked appropriate control groups, or had other issues that affected how meaningful the results were.
Despite these misgivings, some ayurvedic products, mainly herbs used for phytotherapy, have been tested with promising results. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since 1900 BC, and its derivative curcumin appears to have beneficial properties. Tinspora cordifolia has been tested. Among the medhya rasayanas (intellect rejuvenation), two varieties of sage have been been tested; one improved word recall in young adults, and another improved symptoms in Alzheimer's patients. In some cases Ayurvedic medicine may provide clues to therapeutic compounds. For example, derivatives of snake venom have various therapeutic properties. Many plants used as rasayana (rejuvenation) medications are potent antioxidants. Neem also contains beneficial pharmacological propertie. A review of Ayurveda and cardiovascular disease concluded that while the herbal evidence is not yet convincing, the spices are appropriate, some herbs are promising, and yoga is also a promising complementary treatment.
Ashtanga are the eight branches of Ayurveda:
1. Internal medicine - Kayachikitsa
2. Pediatrics - Kaumarabhritya Tantra
3. Psychology/Psychiatry - Bhuta Vidya
4. Ears, eyes, nose and throat - Shalakya tantra
5. Surgery - Shalya Tantra
6. Toxicology - Agada Tantra
7. Rejuvenation - Rasayana Tantra
8. Fertility Therapy - Vajikarana Tantra
(note: Tantra as a Sanskrit term is broadly defined as a system characterized by threads of multiply diverse techniques, methods, and practices used in special ways in order to achieve mental, physical and spiritual change, or knowledge through complex action)
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Disease is said to occur whenever the balance between these doshas is disturbed.
* Vata is the dynamic "kinetic" principle. It is the one of the most premier dosha that is responsible for major physiological actions in the body. It is not an organ that can be seen in the body but it is a presumed physiological character in the body that is responsible for the movements of other dosha i.e pitta and Kapha.
* Pitta is the thermal, explosive force behind the ability to transform everything. Pitta is generally designated as fire. It represents all the hot properties. This force represents transformation. Though they are unable to change but have the capability to change or modify and control the very important activities taking place in the body. The main activity of pitta in the body is to perform metabolism. It controls body temperature, maintains skin coloration, intelligence and understanding is also under control of pitta. In the psychological aspect of the body, pitta signifies anger, hate and feeling of jealousy. The place or the seat of pitta in the body where it resides is mainly our upper abdomen, including the organs like stomach and small intestines. It also resides in sweat glands, eyes, blood and skin. It also is involved in absorption, assimilation and providing nutrition to the body.
* Kapha is the cohesion that holds everything together. Kapha is referred to as the lubricating element in our body. It is moist in nature. It circulates in whole body and then nourishes the organs. It helps in connecting the various organs of the body, which without it may not be able to be united. Kapha holds the cells and the tissues of the body and helps in maintaining the bodily resistance. It is responsible for providing strength and maintains the natural resistance among the tissues. Kapha is present in the chest region, throat, head, sinuses of head and face, nose, mouth, stomach, body joints and is present in the form of mucus.
All Ayurvedic physicians believe that these ancient ideas, based in the knowledge discovered by the Rishis and Munis, exist in harmony with physical reality. These Ayurvedic concepts allow physicians to examine the homeostasis of the whole system. People may be of a predominant dosha or constitution, but all doshas have the basic elements within them.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Spearheaded by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India will launch Chandrayan I in 2008. According to ISRO, Chandrayan-1 is the first mission in "India's foray into a planetary exploration era in the coming decades." Chandrayan-1 will be the "forerunner of more ambitious planetary missions in the years to come, including landing robots on the Moon and visits by Indian spacecraft to other planets in the Solar System." The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) calls the Moon flight project Chandrayan Pratham, which has been translated as First Journey to the Moon or Moonshot One.
Chandrayan I, India's first unmanned mission to moon was announced on August 15, 2003. The 1,157-lb. Chandrayan-1 would be launched in the fourth quarter of 2008. The Chandrayan I mission envisages placing a 525 kg satellite in a polar orbit 100 km above the moon and it will be launched using a modified version of India's indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). At first, the spacecraft would circle Earth in a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). From there, it would fly on out into a polar orbit of the Moon some 60 miles above the lunar surface. The mission is expected to have an operational life of about 2 years.
The project's main objectives are high-resolution photography of the lunar surface using remote-sensing instruments sensitive to visible light, near-infrared light, and low-energy and high-energy X-rays. This will be accomplished using several payloads such as X-ray and gamma-ray spectrometers selected for the mission. In addition a total of about 10 kg payload weight and 10 W power are earmarked for proposals, which are now solicited. It will send back data that scientists on Earth would use to produce a high-resolution digital map of the lunar surface.
Considering the interest shown by the international scientific community, a provision has also been made to accommodate instruments from other countries, on Chandrayan-1. ISRO signed an agreement with ESA for including European instruments on board Chandrayan-1. The European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to support India's plan to send a probe to the Moon by providing three science instruments for Chandrayan-1. They will be identical to those already in orbit around the Moon on ESA's Smart 1 spacecraft, which is surveying chemical elements on the lunar surface. The lunar satellite would also house a U.S. radar instrument designed to locate water ice. These instruments are to complement the main Indian experiments.
Mission Objectives in detail:
* Carry out high resolution mapping of topographic features in 3D, distribution of various minerals and elemental chemical species including radioactive nuclides covering the entire lunar surface using a set of remote sensing payloads. The new set of data would help in unravelling mysteries about the origin and evolution of solar system in general and that of the moon in particular.
* Realize the mission goal of harnessing the science payloads, lunar craft and the launch vehicle with suitable ground support system including DSN station, integration and testing, launching and achieving lunar orbit of ~100 km, in-orbit operation of experiments, communication/telecommand, telemetry data reception, quick look data and archival for scientific utilization by identified group of scientists.
Specific areas of study:
* High resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging of permanently shadowed north and south polar regions
* Search for surface or sub-surface water-ice on the moon, specially at lunar pole
* Identification of chemical end members of lunar high land rocks
* Chemical stratigraphy of lunar crust by remote sensing of central upland of large lunar craters, South Pole Aitken Region (SPAR) etc., where interior material may be expected
* To map the height variation of the lunar surface features along the satellite track
* Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10 keV and stereographic coverage of most of the moon's surface with 5 m resolution, to provide new insights in understanding the moon's origin and evolution
India has announced that it plans to explore the Moon and will send an unmanned probe there by 2008.
Why send a probe to the Moon? While the South Asian nation has the second largest population on Earth, it is not a rich country with millions of uneducated and even homeless residents. Like all other nations sending machines and people to space, India considers funding of its space program to be a matter of prestige. In making the announcement in 2003, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said a Moon flight would showcase India's scientific capabilities.
A former science minster in the Indian government, physicist M.G.K. Menon told news media that Chandrayan-1 "will excite the younger generation." Menon also said the Moon flight would have the effect of "enormously increasing the confidence of the nation".
Whether India should embark on a manned mission or not is a subject of national debate since sending a man to the moon is a very costly affair. A manned mission would take seven to ten years to accomplish and would cost at least $2.2 billion. It was on July 20, 1969 that "Eagle", the lunar module landed on the moon and American Astronaut Neil Armstrong took "that one small step" paving way for "a giant leap for mankind". The last man landed on moon in the 70's. However, after such a "giant leap", the moon mission was mysteriously discontinued. It seems strange that man has not yet constructed a permanent manned base on the moon. A manned mission from India is yet to be decided. However, for the near future, there is the planned project of Chandrayan-2. More (Click Here)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Majuli or Majoli is a river island in the Brahmaputra river, in the Indian state of Assam. Majuli is often erroneously cited as the largest river island in the world by the Indian media, but in fact it is merely the largest freshwater island in South Asia. All of the above the river, its tributaries, the wet lands and the chaporis along with the island of Majuli make it the largest mid river delta system in the world. It is a pollution free fresh water island. Total area of the island was 1250 sq.km., now it is about 577 sq.km., having lost significant area due to erosion. Its length from east to west is about 90 km. & width from north to south is avg. 16 km. Majuli is a natural & cultural heritage site. With water bodies covering most of the areas , Majuli attracts plenty of birds both local & migratory. The island was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit.
The island is about 200 kilometres east from the state’s largest city — Guwahati, and is accessible by ferries from the town of Jorhat. It is located 20 km. off Jorhat town. Majuli is a civil sub-division of Jorhat District.
Majoli is also the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture. About 25—26 Satras are remaining now in Majuli of which the Satras of Kamalabari, Auniati & Garmur are worth mentioning. These Satras are propagating the religious ideology of great Assamese medieval Vaisnavite Saint Sankardeva & Madhavdeva, preaching Satria culture.
The concept of 0 (zero) was introduced in India as early as the 3rd century B.C. It was passed on to the Arabian scholars and also to the Chinese in the 9th century A.D. European scholars grasped the inmportance of zero in the 10th century A.D.
The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, which was long before the European mathematicians.
Algebra, trigonometry and calculus also orignated from India. Quadratic equations were introduced by Aryabhatta-I. Quadratic equations were also used by Sridhar Acharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10*53 ( i.e 10 to the power of 53 ) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C. during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera: 10*12( 10 to the power of 12 ).
The earliest available writing on astrology is Jatakatilaka by Sridhar Acharya, a Jain who also authored a work on general science called Sastrakavita and was patronised by Western Chalukya King Somesvara I.
Aryabhatta (AD 476 – 550) was the first in the line of great mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy. Aryabhata is the father of the Hindu-Arabic number system which has become universal today. His most famous works are the Aryabhatiya (AD 499 at age of 23 years) and Arya-Siddhanta.
Brahmagupta was an Indian mathematician and astronomer. Brahmagupta’s most famous work is his Brahmasphutasiddhanta. It is composed in elliptic verse, as was common practice in Indian mathematics, and consequently has a poetic ring to it. Brahmagupta had very important contributions in varied branches of mathematics as linear equations, quadratic equations, indeterminate equations, series theory, the number zero, Diophantine analysis, Pythagorean triples, Pell’s equation, geometry and trigonometry.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The official Sanskrit name for India is Bharat. India has been called Bharat even in the very early ages, at the very dawn of civilization.
The name `India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. It was the home of the earliest urban civilization of India, namely the Harappan Civilization. The most famous sites of the Harappan Civilization are Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The Aryan settlers also started the spread of their civilization from the Indus valley. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.
The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name `Hindustan’ combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.