Saturday, December 15, 2007

Che Guevara

Che Guevara

Ernesto (Che) Guevara was born in Rosario in Argentine in 1928. After studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires he worked as a doctor. While in Guatemala in 1954 he witnessed the socialist government of President Jacobo Arbenz overthrown by an American backed military coup. Disgusted by what he saw, Guevara decided to join the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, in Mexico.

In 1956 Guevara, Castro and eighty other men and women arrived in Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the government of General Fulgencio Batista. This group became known as the July 26 Movement. The plan was to set up their base in the Sierra Maestra mountains. On the way to the mountains they were attacked by government troops. By the time they reached the Sierra Maestra there were only sixteen men left with twelve weapons between them. For the next few months Castro's guerrilla army raided isolated army garrisons and were gradually able to build-up their stock of weapons.

When the guerrillas took control of territory they redistributed the land amongst the peasants. In return, the peasants helped the guerrillas against Batista's soldiers. In some cases the peasants also joined Castro's army, as did students from the cities and occasionally Catholic priests.

In an effort to find out information about the rebels people were pulled in for questioning. Many innocent peoplewere tortured. Suspects, including children, were publicly executed and then left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others who were considering joining the revolutionaries. The behaviour of Batista's forces increased support for the guerrillas. In 1958 forty-five organizations signed an open letter supporting the July 26 Movement. National bodies representing lawyers, architects, dentists, accountants and social workers were amongst those who signed. Castro, who had originally relied on the support of the poor, was now gaining the backing of the influential middle classes.

General Fulgencio Batista responded to this by sending more troops to the Sierra Maestra. He now had 10,000 men hunting for Castro and his 300-strong army. Although outnumbered, Castro's guerrillas were able to inflict defeat after defeat on the government's troops. In the summer of 1958 over a thousand of Batista's soldiers were killed or wounded and many more were captured. Unlike Batista's soldiers, Castro's troops had developed a reputation for behaving well towards prisoners. This encouraged Batista's troops to surrender to Castro when things went badly in battle. Complete military units began to join the guerrillas.
The United States supplied Batista with planes, ships and tanks, but the advantage of using the latest technology such as napalm failed to win them victory against the guerrillas. In March 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower, disillusioned with Batista's performance, suggested he held elections. This he did, but the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 per cent of the voters in the capital Havana boycotted the polls. In some areas, such as Santiago, it was as high as 98 per cent.

Fidel Castro was now confident he could beat Batista in a head-on battle. Leaving the Sierra Maestra mountains, Castro's troops began to march on the main towns. After consultations with the United States government, Batista decided to flee the country. Senior Generals left behind attempted to set up another military government. Castro's reaction was to call for a general strike. The workers came out on strike and the military were forced to accept the people's desire for change. Castro marched into Havana on January 9,1959, and became Cuba's new leader.

In its first hundred days in office Castro's government passed several new laws. Rents were cut by up to 50 per cent for low wage earners; property owned by Fulgencio Batista and his ministers was confiscated; the telephone company was nationalized and the rates were reduced by 50 per cent; land was redistributed amongst the peasants (including the land owned by the Castro family); separate facilities for blacks and whites (swimming pools, beaches, hotels, cemeteries etc.) were abolished.

In 1960 Guevara visited China and the Soviet Union. On his return he wrote two books Guerrilla Warfare and Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War. In these books he argued that it was possible to export Cuba's revolution to other South American countries. Guevara served as Minister for Industries (1961-65) but in April 1965 he resigned and become a guerrilla leader in Bolivia.

In 1967 David Morales recruited Félix Rodríguez to train and head a team that would attempt to catch Che Guevara. Guevara was attempting to persuade the tin-miners living in poverty to join his revolutionary army. When Guevara was captured, it was Rodriguez who interrogated him before he ordered his execution in October, 1967. Rodriguez still possesses Guevara’s Rolex watch that he took as a trophy. In their book, Ultimate Sacrifice, published in 2006, Larmar Waldron and Thom Hartmann argued that in 1963 Guevara was involved in a plot with Juan Almeida Bosch to overthrow Fidel Castro.

Che Guevara, speech (21st August, 1960)

Almost everyone knows that I began my career as a doctor a few years ago. When I began to study medicine, most of the concepts that I now have as a revolutionary were absent from my store of ideals. I wanted to succeed just as everyone wants to succeed. I dreamed of becoming a famous researcher; I dreamed of working tirelessly to aid humanity, but this was conceived as personal achievement. I was - as we all are - a product of my environment.
After graduating, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my personality, I began to travel throughout America. Except for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I have visited all the countries of Latin America. Because of the circumstances in which I made my trips, first as a student and later as a doctor, I perceived closely misery, hunger, disease - a father's inability to have his child treated because he lacks the money, the brutalization that hunger andpermanent punishment provoke in man until a father sees the death of his child as something without importance, as happens very often to the mistreated classes of our American fatherland. I began to realize then that there were things as important as being a famous researcher or as important as making a substantial contribution to medicine: to aid those people.
But I continued to be, as we always remain, a product of my environment and I wanted to aid those people with my personal effort. Already I had traveled much - at the time I was in Guatemala, Arbenz's Guatemala - and I began to make some notes on the norms that a revolutionary doctor should follow. I began to study the means of becoming a revolutionary doctor.

Then aggression came to Guatemala. It was the aggression of the United Fruit Company, the State Department, and John Foster Dulles - in reality the same thing - and their puppet, called Castillo Armas. The aggression succeeded, for the Guatemala people had not achieved the degree of maturity that the Cuban people have today. One day I chose the road of exile, that is, the road of flight, for Guatemala was not my country.

I became aware, then, of a fundamental fact: To be a revolutionary doctor or to be a revolutionary at all, there must first be a revolution. The isolated effort of one man, regardless of its purity of ideals, is worthless. If one works alone in some isolated corner of Latin America because of a desire to sacrifice one's entire life to noble ideals, it makes no difference because one fights against adverse governments and social conditions that prevent progress. To be useful it is essential to make a revolution as we have done in Cuba, where the whole population mobilizes and learns to use arms and fight together. Cubans have learned how much value there is in a weapon and in the unity of the people. So today one has the right and the duty of being, above everything else, a revolutionary doctor, that is, a man who uses his professional knowledge to serve the Revolution and the people.

Now old questions reappear: How does one actually carry out a work of social welfare? How does one correlate individual effort with the needs of society? To answer, we have to review each of our lives, and this should be done with critical zeal in order to reach the conclusion that almost everything that we thought and felt before the Revolution should be filed and a new type of human being should be created.

Che Guevara, Tactics and Strategy of the Latin American Revolution (October, 1962)

There are no unalterable tactical and strategic objectives. Some- times tactical objectives attain strategic importance, and other times strategic objectives become merely tactical elements. The thorough study of the relative importance of each element permits the full utilization, by the revolutionary forces, of all of the facts and circumstances leading up to the great and final strategic objective: the taking of power.
Power is the sine qua non strategic objective of the revolutionary forces, and everything must be subordinated to this basic endeavor.
But the taking of power, in this world polarized by two forces of extreme disparity and absolutely incompatible in interests, cannot be limited to the boundaries of a single geographic or social unit. The seizure of power is a worldwide objective of the revolutionary forces. To conquer the future is the strategic element of revolution; freezing the present is the counterstrategy motivating the forces of world reaction today, for they are on the defensive.
In this worldwide struggle, position is very important. At times it is decisive. Cuba, for example, is a vanguard outpost, an outpost which overlooks the extremely broad stretches of the economically distorted world of Latin America. Cuba's example is a beacon, a guiding light for all the peoples of America. The Cuban outpost is of great strategic value to the major contenders who at this moment dispute their hegemony of the world: imperialism and socialism.
Its value would be different if it had been located in another geographic or social setting. Its value was different when prior to the Revolution it merely constituted a tactical element of the imperialist world. Its value has increased, not only because it is an open door to America but because, added to the strength of its strategic, military and tactical position, is the power of its moral influence. "Moral missiles" are such a devastatingly effective weapon that they have become the most important element in determining Cuba's value. That is why, to analyze each element in the political struggle, one cannot extract it from its particular set of circumstances. All the antecedents serve to reaffirm a line or position consistent with its great strategic objectives.Relating this discussion to America, one must ask the necessary question: What are the tactical elements that must be used to achieve the major objective of taking power in this part of the world? Is it possible or not, given the present conditions in our continent, to achieve it (socialist power, that is) by peaceful means? We emphatically answer that, in the great majority of cases, this is not possible. The most that could be achieved would be the formal takeover of the bourgeois superstructure of power and the transition to socialism of that government which, under the established bourgeois legal system, having achieved formal power will still have to wage a very violent struggle against all who attempt, in one way or another, to check its progress toward new social structures.

Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare (1961)

We consider that the Cuban Revolution made three fundamental contributions to the laws of the revolutionary movement in the current situation in America. First, people's forces can win a war against the army. Second, one need not always wait for all conditions favorable to revolution to be present; the insurrection itself can create them. Third, in the underdeveloped parts of America, the battleground for armed struggle should in the main be the countryside.

Content collected by: Ashish Asopa(B.Tech)


Born: 476 in Kusumapura (now Patna), India
Died: 550 in India

Aryabhata is also known as Aryabhata I to distinguish him from the later mathematician of the same name who lived about 400 years later. Al-Biruni has not helped in understanding Aryabhata's life, for he seemed to believe that there were two different mathematicians called Aryabhata living at the same time. He therefore created a confusion of two different Aryabhatas which was not clarified until 1926 when B Datta showed that al-Biruni's two Aryabhatas were one and the same person.
We know the year of Aryabhata's birth since he tells us that he was twenty-three years of age when he wrote Aryabhatiya which he finished in 499. We have given Kusumapura, thought to be close to Pataliputra (which was refounded as Patna in Bihar in 1541), as the place of Aryabhata's birth but this is far from certain, as is even the location of Kusumapura itself. As Parameswaran writes in :-

... no final verdict can be given regarding the locations of Asmakajanapada and Kusumapura.

We do know that Aryabhata wrote Aryabhatiya in Kusumapura at the time when Pataliputra was the capital of the Gupta empire and a major centre of learning, but there have been numerous other places proposed by historians as his birthplace. Some conjecture that he was born in south India, perhaps Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh, while others conjecture that he was born in the north-east of India, perhaps in Bengal. In it is claimed that Aryabhata was born in the Asmaka region of the Vakataka dynasty in South India although the author accepted that he lived most of his life in Kusumapura in the Gupta empire of the north. However, giving Asmaka as Aryabhata's birthplace rests on a comment made by Nilakantha Somayaji in the late 15th century. It is now thought by most historians that Nilakantha confused Aryabhata with Bhaskara I who was a later commentator on the Aryabhatiya.

We should note that Kusumapura became one of the two major mathematical centres of India, the other being Ujjain. Both are in the north but Kusumapura (assuming it to be close to Pataliputra) is on the Ganges and is the more northerly. Pataliputra, being the capital of the Gupta empire at the time of Aryabhata, was the centre of a communications network which allowed learning from other parts of the world to reach it easily, and also allowed the mathematical and astronomical advances made by Aryabhata and his school to reach across India and also eventually into the Islamic world.

As to the texts written by Aryabhata only one has survived. However Jha claims in that:-

... Aryabhata was an author of at least three astronomical texts and wrote some free stanzas as well.

The surviving text is Aryabhata's masterpiece the Aryabhatiya which is a small astronomical treatise written in 118 verses giving a summary of Hindu mathematics up to that time. Its mathematical section contains 33 verses giving 66 mathematical rules without proof. The Aryabhatiya contains an introduction of 10 verses, followed by a section on mathematics with, as we just mentioned, 33 verses, then a section of 25 verses on the reckoning of time and planetary models, with the final section of 50 verses being on the sphere and eclipses.

There is a difficulty with this layout which is discussed in detail by van der Waerden in . Van der Waerden suggests that in fact the 10 verse Introduction was written later than the other three sections. One reason for believing that the two parts were not intended as a whole is that the first section has a different meter to the remaining three sections. However, the problems do not stop there. We said that the first section had ten verses and indeed Aryabhata titles the section Set of ten giti stanzas. But it in fact contains eleven giti stanzas and two arya stanzas. Van der Waerden suggests that three verses have been added and he identifies a small number of verses in the remaining sections which he argues have also been added by a member of Aryabhata's school at Kusumapura.

The mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums of power series and a table of sines. Let us examine some of these in a little more detail.
First we look at the system for representing numbers which Aryabhata invented and used in the Aryabhatiya. It consists of giving numerical values to the 33 consonants of the Indian alphabet to represent 1, 2, 3, ... , 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. The higher numbers are denoted by these consonants followed by a vowel to obtain 100, 10000, .... In fact the system allows numbers up to 1018to be represented with an alphabetical notation. Ifrah in argues that Aryabhata was also familiar with numeral symbols and the place-value system. He writes in :-

... it is extremely likely that Aryabhata knew the sign for zero and the numerals of the place value system. This supposition is based on the following two facts: first, the invention of his alphabetical counting system would have been impossible without zero or the place-value system; secondly, he carries out calculations on square and cubic roots which are impossible if the numbers in question are not written according to the place-value system and zero.

Next we look briefly at some algebra contained in the Aryabhatiya. This work is the first we are aware of which examines integer solutions to equations of the form by = ax + c and by = ax - c, where a, b, c are integers. The problem arose from studying the problem in astronomy of determining the periods of the planets. Aryabhata uses the kuttaka method to solve problems of this type. The word kuttaka means "to pulverise" and the method consisted of breaking the problem down into new problems where the coefficients became smaller and smaller with each step. The method here is essentially the use of the Euclidean algorithm to find the highest common factor of a and b but is also related to continued fractions.

Aryabhata gave an accurate approximation for π. He wrote in the Aryabhatiya the following:-
Add four to one hundred, multiply by eight and then add sixty-two thousand. the result is approximately the circumference of a circle of diameter twenty thousand. By this rule the relation of the circumference to diameter is given.

This gives π = 62832/20000 = 3.1416 which is a surprisingly accurate value. In fact π = 3.14159265 correct to 8 places. If obtaining a value this accurate is surprising, it is perhaps even more surprising that Aryabhata does not use his accurate value for π but prefers to use √10 = 3.1622 in practice. Aryabhata does not explain how he found this accurate value but, for example, Ahmad considers this value as an approximation to half the perimeter of a regular polygon of 256 sides inscribed in the unit circle. However, in Bruins shows that this result cannot be obtained from the doubling of the number of sides. Another interesting paper discussing this accurate value of π by Aryabhata is where Jha writes:-

Aryabhata I's value of π is a very close approximation to the modern value and the most accurate among those of the ancients. There are reasons to believe that Aryabhata devised a particular method for finding this value. It is shown with sufficient grounds that Aryabhata himself used it, and several later Indian mathematicians and even the Arabs adopted it. The conjecture that Aryabhata's value of π is of Greek origin is critically examined and is found to be without foundation. Aryabhata discovered this value independently and also realised that π is an irrational number. He had the Indian background, no doubt, but excelled all his predecessors in evaluating π. Thus the credit of discovering this exact value of π may be ascribed to the celebrated mathematician, Aryabhata I.

We now look at the trigonometry contained in Aryabhata's treatise. He gave a table of sines calculating the approximate values at intervals of 90 /24 = 3 45'. In order to do this he used a formula for sin(n+1)x - sin nx in terms of sin nx and sin (n-1)x. He also introduced the versine (versin = 1 - cosine) into trigonometry.

Other rules given by Aryabhata include that for summing the first n integers, the squares of these integers and also their cubes. Aryabhata gives formulae for the areas of a triangle and of a circle which are correct, but the formulae for the volumes of a sphere and of a pyramid are claimed to be wrong by most historians. For example Ganitanand in describes as "mathematical lapses" the fact that Aryabhata gives the incorrect formula V = Ah/2 for the volume of a pyramid with height h and triangular base of area A. He also appears to give an incorrect expression for the volume of a sphere. However, as is often the case, nothing is as straightforward as it appears and Elfering (see for example) argues that this is not an error but rather the result of an incorrect translation.

This relates to verses 6, 7, and 10 of the second section of the Aryabhatiya and in Elfering produces a translation which yields the correct answer for both the volume of a pyramid and for a sphere. However, in his translation Elfering translates two technical terms in a different way to the meaning which they usually have. Without some supporting evidence that these technical terms have been used with these different meanings in other places it would still appear that Aryabhata did indeed give the incorrect formulae for these volumes.

We have looked at the mathematics contained in the Aryabhatiya but this is an astronomy text so we should say a little regarding the astronomy which it contains. Aryabhata gives a systematic treatment of the position of the planets in space. He gave the circumference of the earth as 4 967 yojanas and its diameter as 1 5811/24 yojanas. Since 1 yojana = 5 miles this gives the circumference as 24 835 miles, which is an excellent approximation to the currently accepted value of 24 902 miles. He believed that the apparent rotation of the heavens was due to the axial rotation of the Earth. This is a quite remarkable view of the nature of the solar system which later commentators could not bring themselves to follow and most changed the text to save Aryabhata from what they thought were stupid errors!

Aryabhata gives the radius of the planetary orbits in terms of the radius of the Earth/Sun orbit as essentially their periods of rotation around the Sun. He believes that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight, incredibly he believes that the orbits of the planets are ellipses. He correctly explains the causes of eclipses of the Sun and the Moon. The Indian belief up to that time was that eclipses were caused by a demon called Rahu. His value for the length of the year at 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes 30 seconds is an overestimate since the true value is less than 365 days 6 hours.

Bhaskara I who wrote a commentary on the Aryabhatiya about 100 years later wrote of Aryabhata:-

Aryabhata is the master who, after reaching the furthest shores and plumbing the inmost depths of the sea of ultimate knowledge of mathematics, kinematics and spherics, handed over the three sciences to the learned world.


The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Lhamo Dhondrub was, as Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso - Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun - The Presence.
When the 13th Dalai Lama passed away in 1935, the task that confronted the Tibetan Government was not simply to appoint a successor but to search for and discover a child in whom the Buddha of Compassion would incarnate.

In 1935 the Regent of Tibet went to the sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso at Chokhorgyal, about 90 miles south east of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. For centuries the Tibetans had observed that visions of the future could be seen in this lake. The Regent had a vision of three Tibetan letters, Ah, Ka, and Ma, followed by a picture of a monastery with roofs of jade green and gold, and a house with turquoise tiles. In 1937 high lamas and dignitaries carrying the secrets of the vision were sent to all parts of Tibet in search of the place that the Regent had seen in the waters. The search party that headed east was under the leadership of Lama Kewtsang Rinpoche of Sera Monastery. When they arrived in Amdo, they found a place matching the description of the secret vision. The party went to the house with Kewtsang Rinpoche disguised as the servant, and junior official Lobsang Tsewang disguised as the leader. The Rinpoche was wearing a rosary that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama, and the little boy of the house recognised it and demanded that it be given to him. Kewtsang Rinpoche promised to give it to him if he could guess who he was, and the boy replied that he was "Sera aga", which means in the local dialect "a lama of Sera". Then the Rinpoche asked who the leader was and the boy gave his name correctly; he also knew the name of the real servant. This was followed by a series of tests that included the choosing of correct articles that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama.
With these tests they were further convinced that the reincarnation had been found and their conviction was enhanced by the significance of the three letters that had been seen in the lake of Lhamo Lhatso: Ah could stand for Amdo, the name of the province; Ka for Kumbum, one of the largest monasteries in the neighbourhood; and the two letters Ka and Ma for the monastery of Karma Rolpai Dorje on the mountain above the village. In 1940 the XIVth Dalai Lama was enthroned.

The enthronement ceremony took place on February 22, 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
Education in Tibet
He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25 in 1959. At 24, he took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was conducted in the Jokhang, Lhasa during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year Tibetan calendar.

Leadership Responsibilities

On November 17, 1950, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power (head of the State and Government) after some 80,000 Peoples Liberation Army soldiers invaded Tibet. In 1954, he went to Beijing to talk peace with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Anniversary, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet.
His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted by Bejing's ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet, which ignited a popular uprising and resistance. This resistance movement spread to other parts of the country. On 10 March 1959 the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, exploded with the largest demonstration in Tibetan history, calling on China to leave Tibet and reaffirming Tibet's independence. The Tibetan National Uprising was brutally crushed by the Chinese army. His Holiness escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Some 80,000 Tibetan refugees followed His Holiness into exile. Today, there are more than 120,000 Tibetan in exile. Since 1960, he has resided in Dharamsala, India, known as "Little Lhasa," the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965, calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. With the newly constituted Tibetan Government-in-exile, His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to save the both the Tibetan exiles and their culture alike. Tibetan refugees were rehabilitated in agricultural settlements. Economic development was promoted and the creation of a Tibetan educational system was established to raise refugee children with full knowledge of their language, history, religion and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959, while the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became a university for Tibetans in India. Over 200 monasteries have been re-established to preserve the vast corpus of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, the essence of the Tibetan way of life.
In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a democratic constitution, based on Buddhist principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a model for a future free Tibet. Today, members of the Tibetan parliament are elected directly by the people. The members of the Tibetan Cabinet are elected by the parliament, making the Cabinet answerable to the Parliament. His Holiness has continuously emphasized the need to further democratise the Tibetan administration and has publicly declared that once Tibet regains her independence he will not hold political office.

In Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987, he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step toward resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms, and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet.
In Strasbourg, France, on 15 June 1988, he elaborated the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, "in association with the People's Republic of China."

On 2 September 1991, the Tibetan Government-in-exile declared the Strasbourg Proposal invalid because of the closed and negative attitude of the present Chinese leadership towards the ideas expressed in the proposal.
On 9 October 1991, during an address at Yale University in the United States, His Holiness said that he wanted to visit Tibet to personally assess the political situation. He said, "I am extremely anxious that, in this explosive situation, violence may break out. I want to do what I can to prevent this.... My visit would be a new opportunity to promote understanding and create a basis for a negotiated solution."

Contact with West and East

Since 1967, His Holiness initiated a series of journeys which have taken him to some 46 nations. In autumn of 1991, he visited the Baltic States at the invitation of Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania and became the first foreign leader to address the Lithuanian Parliament. His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. At a press conference in Rome in 1980, he outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: "We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between peoples. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between peoples." His Holiness met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1981, His Holiness talked with Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service held in his honor by the World Congress of Faiths: "I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one's own faith."

Recognition and Awards

Since his first visit to the west in the early 1973, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees in recognition of His Holiness' distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and for his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues and global environmental problems. In presenting the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award in 1989, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos said, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama's courageous struggle has distinguished him as a leading proponent of human rights and world peace. His ongoing efforts to end the suffering of the Tibetan people through peaceful negotiations and reconciliation have required enormous courage and sacrifice."

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the 1989 Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama won worldwide praise and applause, with exception of China. The CommitteeÕs citation read, "The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."
On 10 December 1989, His Holiness accepted the prize on the behalf of oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet. In his remarks he said, "The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred."

He also had a message of encouragement for the student-led democracy movement in China. "In China the popular movement for democracy was crushed by brutal force in June this year. But I do not believe the demonstrations were in vain, because the spirit of freedom was rekindled among the Chinese people and China cannot escape the impact of this spirit of freedom sweeping in many parts of the world. The brave students and their supporters showed the Chinese leadership and the world the human face of that great nations."
A Simple Buddhist monk

His Holiness often says, "I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, nor less."
His Holiness follows the life of Buddhist monk. Living in a small cottage in Dharamsala, he rises at 4 A.M. to meditate, pursues an ongoing schedule of administrative meetings, private audiences and religious teachings and ceremonies. He concludes each day with further prayer before retiring. In explaining his greatest sources of inspiration, he often cites a favorite verse, found in the writings of the renowned eighth century Buddhist saint Shantideva:

For as long as space enduresAnd for as long as living beings remain,Until then may I too abideTo dispel the misery of the world.
For as long as space enduresAnd for as long as living beings remain,Until then may I too abideTo dispel the misery of the world.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta, India into a wealthy Brahmin family. After a brief stay in England (1878) to attempt to study law, he returned to India, and instead pursued a career as a writer, playwright, songwriter, poet, philosopher and educator. During the first 51 years of his life he achieved some success in the Calcutta area of India where he was born and raised with his many stories, songs and plays. His short stories were published monthly in a friend's magazine and he even played the lead role in a few of the public performances of his plays. Otherwise, he was little known outside of the Calcutta area, and not known at all outside of India.

This all suddenly changed in 1912. He then returned to England for the first time since his failed attempt at law school as a teenager. Now a man of 51, his was accompanied by his son. On the way over to England he began translating, for the first time, his latest selections of poems, Gitanjali, into English. Almost all of his work prior to that time had been written in his native tongue of Bengali. He decided to do this just to have something to do, with no expectation at all that his first time translation efforts would be any good. He made the handwritten translations in a little notebook he carried around with him and worked on during the long sea voyage from India. Upon arrival, his son left his father's brief case with this notebook in the London subway. Fortunately, an honest person turned in the briefcase and it was recovered the next day. Tagore's one friend in England, a famous artist he had met in India, Rothenstein, learned of the translation, and asked to see it. Reluctantly, with much persuasion, Tagore let him have the notebook. The painter could not believe his eyes. The poems were incredible. He called his friend, W.B. Yeats, and finally talked Yeats into looking at the hand scrawled notebook.
The rest, as they say, is history. Yeats was enthralled. He later wrote the introduction to Gitanjali when it was published in September 1912 in a limited edition by the India Society in London. Thereafter, both the poetry and the man were an instant sensation, first in London literary circles, and soon thereafter in the entire world. His spiritual presence was awesome. His words evoked great beauty. Nobody had ever read anything like it. A glimpse of the mysticism and sentimental beauty of Indian culture were revealed to the West for the first time. Less than a year later, in 1913, Rabindranath received the Nobel Prize for literature. He was the first non-westerner to be so honored. Overnight he was famous and began world lecture tours promoting inter-cultural harmony and understanding. In 1915 he was knighted by the British King George V. When not traveling he remained at his family home outside of Calcutta, where he remained very active as a literary, spiritual and social-political force.

In 1919, following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops, Sir Tagore renounced his Knighthood. Although a good friend of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, most of the time Tagore stayed out of politics. He was opposed to nationalism and miltiarism as a matter of principle, and instead promoted spiritual values and the creation of a new world culture founded in multi-culturalism, diversity and tolerance. He served as a spiritual and creative beacon to his countrymen, and indeed, the whole world. He used the funds from his writing and lecturing to expand upon the school he had founded in 1901 now known as Visva Bharati . The alternative to the poor system of education imposed by the British, combined the best of traditional Hindu education with Western ideals. Tagore's multi-cultural educational efforts were an inspiration to many, including his friend, Count Hermann Keyserling of Estonia. Count Keyserling founded his own school in 1920 patterned upon Tagore's school, and the ancient universities which existed in Northern India under Buddhist rule over 2,000 years ago under the name School of Wisdom. Rabindranath Tagore led the opening program of the School of Wisdom in 1920, and participated in several of its programs thereafter.

Rabindranath Tagore's creative output tells you a lot about this renaissance man. The variety, quality and quantity are unbelievable. As a writer, Tagore primarily worked in Bengali, but after his success with Gitanjali, he translated many of his other works into English. He wrote over one thousand poems; eight volumes of short stories; almost two dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; and many books and essays on philosophy, religion, education and social topics. Aside from words and drama, his other great love was music, Bengali style. He composed more than two thousand songs, both the music and lyrics. Two of them became the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. In 1929 he even began painting. Many of his paintings can be found in museums today, especially in India, where he is considered the greatest literary figure of India of all times.

Tagore was not only a creative genius, he was a great man and friend to many. For instance, he was also a good friend from childhood to the great Indian Physicist, Bose. He was educated and quite knowledgeable of Western culture, especially Western poetry and Science. This made him a remarkable person, one of the first of our planet to combine East and West, and ancient and modern knowledge. Tagore had a good grasp of modern - post-Newtonian - physics, and was well able to hold his own in a debate with Einstein in 1930 on the newly emerging principles of quantum mechanics and chaos. His meetings and tape recorded conversations with his contemporaries such Albert Einstein and H.G. Wells, stand as cultural landmarks, and show the brilliance of this great man. Although Tagore is a superb representative of his country - India - the man who wrote its national anthem - his life and works go far beyond his country. He is truly a man of the whole Earth, a product of the best of both traditional Indian, and modern Western cultures. The School of Wisdom is proud to have him as part of its heritage. He exemplifies the ideals important to us of Goodness, Meaningful Work, and World Culture.
Rabindranath Tagore's

Conversation with Albert Einstein

Tagore and Einstein met through a common friend, Dr. Mendel. Tagore visited Einstein at his residence at Kaputh in the suburbs of Berlin on July 14, 1930, and Einstein returned the call and visited Tagore at the Mendel home. Both conversations were recorded and the above photograph was taken. The July 14 conversation is reproduced here, and was originally published in The Religion of Man (George, Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London), Appendix II, pp. 222-225.
TAGORE: I was discussing with Dr. Mendel today the new mathematical discoveries which tell us that in the realm of infinitesimal atoms chance has its play; the drama of existence is not absolutely predestined in character.
EINSTEIN: The facts that make science tend toward this view do not say good-bye to causality.
TAGORE: Maybe not, yet it appears that the idea of causality is not in the elements, but that some other force builds up with them an organized universe.
EINSTEIN: One tries to understand in the higher plane how the order is. The order is there, where the big elements combine and guide existence, but in the minute elements this order is not perceptible.
TAGORE: Thus duality is in the depths of existence, the contradiction of free impulse and the directive will which works upon it and evolves an orderly scheme of things.
EINSTEIN: Modern physics would not say they are contradictory. Clouds look as one from a distance, but if you see them nearby, they show themselves as disorderly drops of water.
TAGORE: I find a parallel in human psychology. Our passions and desires are unruly, but our character subdues these elements into a harmonious whole. Does something similar to this happen in the physical world? Are the elements rebellious, dynamic with individual impulse? And is there a principle in the physical world which dominates them and puts them into an orderly organization?
EINSTEIN: Even the elements are not without statistical order; elements of radium will always maintain their specific order, now and ever onward, just as they have done all along. There is, then, a statistical order in the elements.
TAGORE: Otherwise, the drama of existence would be too desultory. It is the constant harmony of chance and determination which makes it eternally new and living.
EINSTEIN: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.
TAGORE: There is in human affairs an element of elasticity also, some freedom within a small range which is for the expression of our personality. It is like the musical system in India, which is not so rigidly fixed as western music. Our composers give a certain definite outline, a system of melody and rhythmic arrangement, and within a certain limit the player can improvise upon it. He must be one with the law of that particular melody, and then he can give spontaneous expression to his musical feeling within the prescribed regulation. We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a superstructure of melodies, but we expect from the player his own skill in the creation of variations of melodic flourish and ornamentation. In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.
EINSTEIN: That is possible only when there is a strong artistic tradition in music to guide the people's mind. In Europe, music has come too far away from popular art and popular feeling and has become something like a secret art with conventions and traditions of its own.
TAGORE: You have to be absolutely obedient to this too complicated music. In India, the measure of a singer's freedom is in his own creative personality. He can sing the composer's song as his own, if he has the power creatively to assert himself in his interpretation of the general law of the melody which he is given to interpret.
EINSTEIN: It requires a very high standard of art to realize fully the great idea in the original music, so that one can make variations upon it. In our country, the variations are often prescribed.
TAGORE: If in our conduct we can follow the law of goodness, we can have real liberty of self-expression. The principle of conduct is there, but the character which makes it true and individual is our own creation. In our music there is a duality of freedom and prescribed order.
EINSTEIN: Are the words of a song also free? I mean to say, is the singer at liberty to add his own words to the song which he is singing?
TAGORE: Yes. In Bengal we have a kind of song-kirtan, we call it-which gives freedom to the singer to introduce parenthetical comments, phrases not in the original song. This occasions great enthusiasm, since the audience is constantly thrilled by some beautiful, spontaneous sentiment added by the singer.
EINSTEIN: Is the metrical form quite severe?
TAGORE: Yes, quite. You cannot exceed the limits of versification; the singer in all his variations must keep the rhythm and the time, which is fixed. In European music you have a comparative liberty with time, but not with melody.
EINSTEIN: Can the Indian music be sung without words? Can one understand a song without words?
TAGORE: Yes, we have songs with unmeaning words, sounds which just help to act as carriers of the notes. In North India, music is an independent art, not the interpretation of words and thoughts, as in Bengal. The music is very intricate and subtle and is a complete world of melody by itself.
EINSTEIN: Is it not polyphonic?
TAGORE: Instruments are used, not for harmony, but for keeping time and adding to the volume and depth. Has melody suffered in your music by the imposition of harmony?
EINSTEIN: Sometimes it does suffer very much. Sometimes the harmony swallows up the melody altogether.
TAGORE: Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value.
EINSTEIN: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than color. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.
TAGORE: It is difficult to analyze the effect of eastern and western music on our minds. I am deeply moved by the western music; I feel that it is great, that it is vast in its structure and grand in its composition. Our own music touches me more deeply by its fundamental lyrical appeal. European music is epic in character; it has a broad background and is Gothic in its structure.
EINSTEIN: This is a question we Europeans cannot properly answer, we are so used to our own music. We want to know whether our own music is a conventional or a fundamental human feeling, whether to feel consonance and dissonance is natural, or a convention which we accept.
TAGORE: Somehow the piano confounds me. The violin pleases me much more.
EINSTEIN: It would be interesting to study the effects of European music on an Indian who had never heard it when he was young.
TAGORE: Once I asked an English musician to analyze for me some classical music, and explain to me what elements make for the beauty of the piece.
EINSTEIN: The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.
TAGORE: Yes, and what deeply affects the hearer is beyond himself.
EINSTEIN: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.
TAGORE: And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.

Lakhsmi Mittal

Lakshmi Narayan Mittal (or Lakshmi Niwas Mittal) (born June 15, 1950) is a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist, born in Sadulpur Village, in the Churu district of Rajasthan, India, and residing in Kensington, London. He is the fifth richest person in the world, with a personal fortune of US$51.0 billion according to Forbes 500.

The Financial Times named Mittal its 2006 Person of the Year. In May 2007, he was named one of the "100 most influential people" by Time magazine.

Lakshmi Mittal

June 15, 1950 (1950-06-15) (age 57)Sadulpur, Rajasthan, India
Chairman & CEO of Arcelor Mittal
Net worth
$51.0 billion USD [1]
Religious stance
Profile on

Early years

Lakshmi spent his first years in India, living with his extended family on bare floors and rope beds in a house built by his grandfather. His family, from the Marwari Aggarwal caste, was from humble roots; his grandfather worked for the Tarachand Ghanshyamdas Poddar firm, one of the leading Marwari industrial firms of pre-independence India. They eventually moved to Calcutta where his father, Mohan, became a partner in a steel company and made a fortune.
Lakshmi was a keen student and his classmates knew him as a sharp student who was good with numbers. He graduated at the top from St. Xavier's College in Calcutta (Now known as Kolkata) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business and Accounting in 1969.


Lakshmi Mittal began his career working in the family's steelmaking business in India, and in 1976, when the family founded its own steel business, Mittal set out to establish its international division, beginning with the buying of a run-down plant in Indonesia. Shortly afterwards he married Usha, the daughter of a well-to-do moneylender. In 1994, due to differences with his father and brothers, he branched out on his own, taking over the international operations of the Mittal steel business, which was already owned by the family. The family of Mittal never spoke to the public about the reasons for the split, although, there were rumors it was due to financial instablity between the brothers.

The Mittal Affair: "Cash for Influence"

Controversy erupted in 2002 as Plaid MP Adam Price exposed the link between U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in the Mittal Affair, also known as 'Garbagegate' or Cash for Influence.Mittal's LNM steel company, registered in the Dutch Antilles and maintaining less than 1% of its 100,000 plus workforce in the U.K., sought Blair's aid in its bid to purchase Romania's state steel industry. The letter from Blair to the Romanian government, a copy of which Price was able to obtain, hinted that the privatisation of the firm and sale to Mittal might help smooth the way for Romania's entry into the European Union.
The letter had a passage in it removed just prior to Blair's signing of it, describing Mittal as "a friend."
In exchange for Blair's support Mittal, already a Labour contributor, donated £125,000 more to Labour party funds a week after the 2001 U.K. General Elections, while as many as six-thousand Welsh steelworkers were laid off that same year, Price and others pointed out. Mittal's company, then the fourth largest in the world, was a "major global competitor of Britain's own struggling steel industry, Corus, formerly known as British Steel." Corus and Valkia Limited were two of the primary employers in south Wales, particularly in Ebbw Vale, Llanwern, and Port Talbot.


Since 2005, Mittal has been the richest person residing in the United Kingdom. He is the President of the Board of Directors and CEO of Arcelor Mittal; Arcelor Mittal is the world's largest producer of steel, with assets in France, Belgium, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa, Poland, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Bulgaria, United States and Brazil. On July 13, 2005 it was announced that he had donated £2 million to the Labour Party, and on January 16, 2007 it was announced that he had donated a further £3 million. Although Mittal has been living abroad for many years, he claims he will remain an Indian.

Personal wealth

In March 2007, Mittal was reported to be the 5th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes Magazine (up from 61st richest in 2004). The Mittal family owns 44% of Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel company.
His residence at 18-19 Kensington Palace Gardens was bought from Formula One car racing boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2004 for $150 million (£70 million), the world's highest price ever paid for a house.
Mittal has two children. His son, Aditya Mittal, is the CFO of Arcelor Mittal. Mittal paid over $60 million (£30 million) to host his daughter Vanisha Mittal's wedding celebration in Vaux le Vicomte on 22 June 2004 and an engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles on 20 June 2004, the world's most expensive wedding ever. He even hosted a Bollywood night where superstars like Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai performed. Kylie Minogue also sang on stage.
Mittal's house in Kensington, London is decorated with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal. The extravagant show of wealth has been deemed the "Taj Mittal."
Recently, Mittal has emerged as a leading contender to buy Barclays Premiership clubs Wigan and Everton, but has so far refused to comment.
As of 8th October 2007, the 44.79% stake which the Mittal family have in Arcelor-Mittal was worth $47.159 billion dollars, down from $48.4 billion in late September. This makes him the world's 5th wealthiest man after Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim and Ingvar Kamprad. As of 11th October 2007, his stake was worth $50.56 billion dollars, making him the fifth person in the world to have more than $50 b wealth.


After witnessing India win only one medal, bronze, in the 2000 Olympics, and one medal, silver, at the 2004 Olympics, Mittal decided to set up Mittal Champions Trust with US$9 million to support 10 Indian athletes with world-beating potential. In comparison to his overall wealth, however, $9 million is quite insignificant and thus, Mittal cannot be considered a philanthropist.
For Comic Relief 2007, he matched the money raised (~£1 million) on the celebrity special BBC programme, The Apprentice.

His Quotes

Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be.Lakshmi Mittal
When people can see which direction the leaders are going in it becomes easier to motivate them.Lakshmi Mittal

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chandrashekhar Azad

Chandrasekhar Azad चंद्रशेखर आजाद (July 23, 1906February 27, 1931) was an Indian revolutionary and the mentor of Bhagat Singh. Chandrasekhar Azad is considered one of the most famous Indian revolutionaries, along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Ashfaqullah Khan.

Chandrashekhar Azad
July 23, 1906February 27, 1931
Image:Chandrasekhar tiwari.jpg
Chandrashekar Azad
Place of birth: Badarka, Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, India
Place of death: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Movement: Indian Independence movement
Major organizations: Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Kirti Kissan Party and Hindustan Socialist Republican Association


Chandrashekhar Azad, often called, Pandit ji was the founder of Garam Dal. He was the first to start the revolutionary struggle with arms against the oppressive Britishers. Chandershekhar a devout brahmin believed that his dharma was to fight for others.

Chandrashekhar said a soldier never relinquishes his weapon. Hence Chandrashekhar died with his weapon in his hand fighting with British.

Involved in Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpatrai He formed Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He was the guru for revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Bhatt, and Rajguru

Chandra Shekhar Azad was born on July 23, 1906 in village Bhavra in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. His parents were Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi. He received his early schooling in Bhavra. For higher studies he went to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi. He was an ardent follower of Hanuman and once disguised himself as a priest in a hanuman temple to escape the dragnet of British police.

Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, Chandrasekhar Azad actively participated in revolutionary activities. He received his first punishment at the age of fifteen. Chandra Shekhar was caught while indulging in revolutionary activities. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said "Azad" (meaning free). Chandrashekhar Azad was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip the young Chandrasekhar shouted "Bharat Mata Ki Jai"["Hail The Motherland!"] and "Gandhi ki Jai" ["Hail Gandhi!"] From then on Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to known as Chandrashekhar Azad. Chandrashekhar Azad vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and would die as free man.

After the suspension of non-cooperation movement Chandrashekhar Azad was attracted towards more aggressive and revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Chandrashekhar Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people and freedom fighters. Chandrashekhar Azad was involved in Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpatrai.

Along with Bhagat Singh and other compatriots like Sukhdev and Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HRSA). HRSA was committed to complete Indian independence and socialist principles for India's future progress.

Chandrashekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. On February 27, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at the Alfred Park Allah bad. He was betrayed by an informer who had informed the British police. The police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Chandrashekhar Azad fought alone valiantly and killed three policemen. But finding himself surrounded and seeing no route for escape, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself. Thus he kept his pledge of not being caught alive.

Chandrasekhar Azad was born on July 23, 1906 in Badarka village (Unnao, Uttar Pradesh) to Pandit Sita Ram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. Earlier going by the moniker Chandrasekhar Tiwari, after a court incident, he took the name Azad. He received his early schooling in Bhavra District Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. For higher education he went to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi. He was an ardent follower of Hanuman and disguised himself as a priest in a Hanuman temple to escape the British dragnet in pre-independence India.

He vowed that he would never fall in the hands of British, preferring valiant death against vegetative life. He in fact lived a free-life, never ever being nabbed by the British.


Chandrashekar Azad's dead body kept on publicChandrashekar Azad's dead body kept on  public display by the British to serve as a warning message for other revolutionaries. display by the British to serve as a warning message for other revolutionaries.

Young Azad was one of the young generation of Indians when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement. But many were disillusioned with Gandhi's suspension of the struggle in 1922 due to the Chauri Chaura massacre of 22 policemen. Although Gandhi was appalled by the brutal violence, Azad did not feel that violence was unacceptable in the struggle, especially in view of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919, when the British Army units killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and wounded thousands in Amritsar which deeply influenced the young Azad and his contemporaries.

At one point he was arrested while a teenager. When asked his name by the police, he replied Azad, which means "free" in Urdu. He once claimed that, while named "Azad," he would never be taken alive by police. Azad and others had committed themselves to absolute independence by any means. He was most famous for the Kakori train robbery in 1925 and the assassination of the assistant superintendent of police, John Poyantz Saunders, in 1928. Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people, or for beating and torturing arrested revolutionaries.

Azad was also a believer in socialism as the basis for India's future.

In Jhansi

In his very brief life of only 25 years, Chandrashekhar Azad had made Jhansi his organisation's hub for a considerable duration. He chose the forest of Orchha (15 kilometers from Jhansi) for practising shooting. He was a brilliant shooter and he used to train other members of his group here. Near the forests, on the banks of a small river called Saataar, near the temple of Lord hanuman, he established a small hut. He started living there in the disguise of Pandit Harishankar Brahmachari. He started teaching kids of the residents of nearby village Dhimarpura, and established good rapport with the local people. The village Dhimarpura is now named after him and is known as Azadpura. In Jhansi, he learnt how to drive a car at Bundelkhand Motor Garage in Sadar Bazaar, in cantonement area. In Jhansi, he met Sadashiv Rao Malkapurkar, Vishwanath Vaishampayan, Bhagwan Das Mahaur and they all became integral part of his revolutionary group. The then congress leaders from Jhansi Pandit Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar and Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat were also close aides of Chandrashekhar Azad. Chandrashekhar Azad stayed in Master Rudranarayan Singh's house at Nai Basti and Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat's house in Nagra. Jhansi was a safe place in Chandrashekhar Azad's words and as soon as he left Jhansi, he became a victim of betrayal from one of his former group members.

With Bhagat Singh

The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed by Sachindranath Sanyal just after one year of the Non co-operation movement in 1923. In the aftermath of the Kakori train robbery in 1925, the British clamped down on revolutionary activities. Sentenced to death for their participation were Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri. Two escaped capture, Sunderlal Gupta as well as Azad. Azad reorganized the HRA with the help of secondary revolutionaries like Shiva Varma and Mahaveer Singh. He is also an associate of Rasabihariboss. Azad, along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru, transformed the HRA into the HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republican Association) in 1927, whose goal was complete Indian independence based on socialist principles.

Chandrashekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. On February 27, 1931, Chandrashekhar Azad met two comrades at Alfred Park in Allahabad. He was betrayed to the British police by an informer. The police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Chandrashekhar Azad fought alone, killing three policemen. Being surrounded with no possible escape, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself, thereby keeping his pledge to not be captured alive. However, he was such a firce fighter and so loyal and committed to his cause that the Indian soldiers who saw him die only had the courage to approach his dead body, after 20 minutes. This was because, Chandrasekhar Azad induced the guilt of Indian soldiers and policemen working for the British government, whereever he went, claiming that 'they were not of the true Indian Blood'.

Contemporary View

Azad is a hero to many Indians today. Alfred Park was renamed Chandrasekhar Azad Park, as have been scores of schools, colleges, roads and other public institutions across India. Ever since Manoj Kumar's film, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, in 1964, Azad's character has become central to any film or commemoration of the life of Bhagat Singh. He was played by Sunny Deol in 2002, in the movie 23rd March 1931: Shaheed. In the movie "The Legend of Bhagat Singh", starring Ajay Devgan, Azad (played by Akhilendra Mishra) had a prominent role and was shown to kill himself rather than dying by the hands of foreigners.

The patriotism of Azad, Sukhdev, Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan was also depicted in Rang De Basanti, a contemporary Bollywood film starring Aamir Khan that released in February 2006. The movie, which draws parallels between the lives of young revolutionaries, such as Azad and Bhagat Singh, and today's youth, also dwells upon the lack of appreciation among Indian youth today for the sacrifices made by these men. Chandrashekhar Azad's role was played by Aamir Khan and it displayed the zeal in the man. The film also depicts the famous Kakori train robbery. In its climax, Azad is shown to shoot himself rather than dying in the hands of British.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh

(September 28, 1907March 23, 1931) was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most famous revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. For this reason, he is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr"). He is also believed by many to be one of the earliest Marxists in India. He was one of the leaders and founders of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).

Born to a family which had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the British Raj in India, Bhagat Singh, as a teenager, had studied European revolutionary movements and was attracted to anarchism and communism. He became involved in numerous revolutionary organizations. He quickly rose in the ranks of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and became one of its leaders, converting it to the HSRA. Singh gained support when he underwent a 63 day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners. He was hanged for shooting a police officer in response to the killing of veteran social activist Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and also increased the rise of socialism in India

Bhagat Singh at the age of 17

On September 28, 1907, Bhagat Singh was born into a Jat Sandhu[5][6] family to Sardar Kishan Singh Sandhu and Vidyavati in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Lyallpur district[7][8] of Punjab. Singh's given name of Bhagat meant "devotee". His family background was that of a patriotic Sikh family which had participated in numerous movements supporting independence of India. His father was influenced by the Hindu reformist Arya Samaj. His uncles, Ajit Singh and Swaran Singh, as well as his father were both part of the Ghadr Party led by Kartar Singh Sarabha. Ajit Singh was forced to flee to Persia because of pending cases against him while Swaran Singh was hanged.

As a child, he was deeply affected by the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre that took place in Punjab in 1919. When Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, he became an active participant at the age of 13. He had great hopes that Gandhi would bring freedom in India. But he was disappointed when Gandhi called off this movement following the Chauri Chaura riot in 1922. At this point he had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi's wishes by burning his government-school books and any British-imported clothing. In 1923, Bhagat famously won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. This grabbed the attention of members of the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan including its General Secretary Professor Bhim Sen Vidyalankar. At this age, he quoted famous Punjabi literature and discussed the Problems of the Punjab. He read a lot of poetry and literature which was written by Punjabi writers and his favourite poet was an Indian freedom fighter Allama Iqbal from Sialkot.

In his teenage years, Bhagat Singh started studying at the National College in Lahore,but ran away from home to escape early marriage, and became a member of the organization Naujawan Bharat Sabha (Translated to 'Youth Society of India'). In the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Singh and his fellow revolutionaries grew popular amongst the youth. He also joined the Hindustan Republican Association at the request of Professor Vidyalankar, which was then headed by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan.It is believed that he had knowledge of the Kakori train robbery. He wrote for and edited Urdu and Punjabi newspapers published from Amritsar. In September 1928, a meeting of various revolutionaries from across India was called at Delhi under the banner of the Kirti Kissan Party. Bhagat Singh was the secretary of the meet. His later revolutionary activities were carried out as a leader of this association. The capture and hanging of the main HRA Leaders also allowed him to be quickly promoted to higher ranks in the party, along with his fellow revolutionary Sukhdev Thapar.

Later revolutionary activities

Lala Lajpat Rai's death and the Saunders murder

The British government created a commission under Sir John Simon to report on the current political situation in India in 1928. The Indian political parties boycotted the commission because it did not include a single Indian as its member and it was met with protests all over the country. When the commission visited Lahore on October 30, 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai led the protest against the commission in a silent non-violent march, but the police responded with violence. The police chief beat Lala Lajpat Rai severely and he later succumbed to his injuries. Bhagat Singh, who was an eyewitness to this event, vowed to take revenge. He joined with other revolutionaries, Shivaram Rajguru, Jai Gopal and Sukhdev Thapar, in a plot to kill the police chief. Jai Gopal was supposed to identify the chief and signal for Singh to shoot. However, in a case of mistaken identity, Gopal signalled Singh on the appearance of J. P. Saunders, a Deputy Superintendent of Police.Thus, Saunders, instead of Scott, was shot. He quickly left Lahore to escape the police. To avoid recognition, he shaved his beard and cut his hair, a violation of one of the sacred tenets of Sikhism.

Bomb in the assembly

In the face of actions by the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. The purpose of the Act was to combat revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. The Act was defeated in the council by one vote.However, the Act was then passed under the ordinance that claimed that it was in the best interest of the public. In response to this act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb in the assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. Originally, Azad attempted to stop Bhagat Singh from carrying out the bombing; however, the remainder of the party forced him to succumb to Singh's wishes. It was decided that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, another revolutionary, would throw the bomb in the assembly.

On April 8, 1929, Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted "Inquilab Zindabad!" ("Long Live the Revolution!"). This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear. The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate on their part, a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators who found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury, and by the fact that the bomb was thrown away from people. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. He and Dutt were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing on June 12, 1929.

Trial and execution

Shortly after his arrest and trial for the Assembly bombing, the British came to know of his involvement in the murder of J. P. Saunders. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Bhagat Singh decided to use the court as a tool to publicize his cause for the independence of India.He admitted to the murder and made statements against the British rule during the trial. The case was ordered to be carried out without members of the HSRA present at the hearing. This created an uproar amongst Singh's supporters as he could no longer publicise his views.

While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and those facing trial. The reason for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indian political prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights. The aims in their strike were to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supply of toilet necessities and other hygienic necessities. He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region.

Bhagat Singh also maintained the use of a diary, which he eventually made to fill 404 pages. In this diary he made numerous notes relating to the quotations and popular sayings of various people whose views he supported. Prominent in his diary were the views of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.The comments in his diary led to an understanding of the philosophical thinking of Bhagat Singh. Before dying he also wrote a pamphlet entitled "Why I am an atheist", as he was being accused of vanity by not accepting God in the face of death.

On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. His supporters, who had been protesting against the hanging, immediately declared him as a shaheed or martyr.According to the Superintendent of Police at the time, V.N. Smith, the hanging was advanced:

Normally execution took place at 8 am, but it was decided to act at once before the public could become aware of what had happened...At about 7 pm shouts of Inquilab Zindabad were heard from inside the jail. This was correctly, interpreted as a signal that the final curtain was about to drop.

Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river. Today, the Bhagat Singh Memorial commemorates freedom fighters of India.


Bhagat Singh's political thought evolved gradually from Gandhian nationalism to revolutionary Marxism. By the end of 1928, he and his comrades renamed their organization the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He had read the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin and believed that, with such a large and diverse population, India could only survive properly under a socialist regime. These ideals had been introduced to him during his time at the National College at Lahore and he believed that India should re-enact the Russian revolution. In the case that India were not socialist, he believed that the rich would only get richer and the poor would only get poorer. This, and his militant methods, put him at odds with Gandhi and members of the Congress. He became the first socialist leader in India to make any gain. Even today, socialist leaders sometimes refer back to him as the founder of Indian socialism.


While in a condemned cell in 1931, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an Atheist in which he discusses and advocates the philosophy of atheism. This pamphlet was a result of some criticism by fellow revolutionaries on his failure to acknowledge religion and God while in a condemned cell, the accusation of vanity was also dealt with in this pamphlet. He supported his own beliefs and claimed that he used to be a firm believer in The Almighty, but could not bring himself to believe the myths and beliefs that others held close to their hearts. In this pamphlet, he acknowledged the fact that religion made death easier, but also said that unproved philosophy is a sign of human weakness.


Bhagat Singh was known for his appreciation of martyrdom. His mentor as a young boy was Kartar Singh Sarabha. Singh is himself considered a martyr by many Indians for acting to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, also considered a martyr. In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 8th April 1929, he stated that It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived. After engaging in studies on the Russian Revolution, he wanted to die so that his death would inspire the youth of India to unite and fight the British Empire.

While in prison, Bhagat Singh and two others had written a letter to the Viceroy asking him to treat them as prisoners of war and hence to execute them by firing squad and not by hanging. Prannath Mehta, Bhagat Singh's friend, visited him in the jail on March 20, four days before his execution, with a draft letter for clemency, but he declined to sign it.

Conspiracy theories

Many conspiracy theories exist regarding Singh, especially the events surrounding his death.

Mahatma Gandhi

One of the most popular ones is that Mahatma Gandhi had an opportunity to stop Singh's execution but did not. This particular theory has spread amongst the public in modern times after the creation of modern films such as The Legend of Bhagat Singh, which portray Gandhi as someone who was strongly at odds with Bhagat Singh and did not oppose his hanging. A variation on this theory is that Gandhi actively conspired with the British to have Singh executed. Both theories are highly controversial and hotly contested. Gandhi's supporters say that Gandhi did not have enough influence with the British to stop the execution, much less arrange it. Furthermore, Gandhi's supporters assert that Singh's role in the independence movement was no threat to Gandhi's role as its leader, and so Gandhi would have no reason to want him dead.

Gandhi, during his lifetime, always maintained that he was a great admirer of Singh's patriotism, but that he simply disapproved of his violent methods. He also said that he was opposed to Singh's execution (and, for that matter, capital punishment in general) and proclaimed that he had no power to stop it. On Singh's execution, Gandhi said, "The government certainly had the right to hang these men. However, there are some rights which do credit to those who possess them only if they are enjoyed in name only." Gandhi also once said, on capital punishment, "I cannot in all conscience agree to anyone being sent to the gallows. God alone can take life because He alone gives it."

Gandhi had managed to have 90,000 political prisoners who were not members of his Satyagraha movement released under the pretext of "relieving political tension," in the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. According to a report in the Indian magazine Frontline, he did plead several times for the commutation of the death sentence of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, including a personal visit on March 19, 1931, and in a letter to the Viceroy on the day of their execution, pleading fervently for commutation, not knowing that the letter would be too late.

Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, later said:

As I listened to Mr. Gandhi putting the case for commutation before me, I reflected first on what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposed to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment to be influenced by purely political considerations. I could not imagine a case in which under the law, penalty had been more directly deserved.

Saunders family

On October 28, 2005, a book entitled Some Hidden Facts: Martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh -- Secrets unfurled by an Intelligence Bureau Agent of British-India [sic] by K.S. Kooner and G.S. Sindhra was released. The book asserts that Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were deliberately hanged in such a manner as to leave all three in a semi-conscious state, so that all three could later be taken outside the prison and shot dead by the Saunders family. The book says that this was a prison operation codenamed "Operation Trojan Horse." Scholars are skeptical of the book's claims.


Indian independence movement

Bhagat Singh's death had the effect that he desired and he inspired thousands of youths to assist the remainder of the Indian independence movement. After his hanging, youths in regions around Northern India rioted in protest against the British Raj.

Modern day legacy

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) itself acknowledges Bhagat Singh's contribution to Indian society and, in particular, the future of socialism in India. To celebrate the centenary of his birth, a group of intellectuals have set up an institution to commemorate Singh and his ideals.

Several popular Bollywood films have been made capturing the life and times of Bhagat Singh. The oldest was Shaheed in 1965, starring Manoj Kumar as Singh. Two major films about Singh were released in 2002, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and 23rd March 1931: Shaheed. The Legend of Bhagat Singh is Rajkumar Santoshi's adaptation, in which Ajay Devgan played Singh and Amrita Rao was featured in a brief role. 23 March 1931: Shaheed was directed by Guddu Dhanoa and starred Bobby Deol as Singh, with Sunny Deol and Aishwarya Rai in supporting roles.

The 2006 film Rang De Basanti (starring Aamir Khan) is a film drawing parallels between revolutionaries of Bhagat Singh's era and modern Indian youth. It covers a lot of Bhagat Singh's role in the Indian freedom struggle. The movie revolves around a group of college students and how they each play the roles of Bhagat's friends and family.

The patriotic Urdu and Hindi songs, Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna (translated as "the desire to sacrifice") and Mera Rang De Basanti Chola ("my light-yellow-colored cloak"; Basanti referring to the light-yellow color of the Mustard flower grown in the Punjab and also one of the two main colors of the Sikh religion as per the Sikh rehat meryada(code of conduct of the Sikh Saint-Soldier) ), while created by Ram Prasad Bismil, are largely associated to Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and have been used in a number of Bhagat Singh-related films.

In September 2007 the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province announced that a memorial to Bhagat Singh will be displayed at Lahore museum, according to the governor “Singh was the first martyr of the subcontinent and his example was followed by many youth of the time."


Bhagat Singh was criticized both by his contemporaries and by people after his death because of his violent and revolutionary stance towards the British opposed to the pacifist stance taken by the Indian National Congress and particularly Mahatma Gandhi.[33] The methods he used to make his point—shooting Saunders and throwing non-lethal bombs—were quite different to the non-violent non-cooperation used by Gandhi. He was accused of having knowledge of the Kakori train robbery by the British.

Bhagat Singh has also been accused of being too eager to die, as opposed to staying alive and continuing his movement. It has been alleged that he could have escaped from prison if he so wished, but he preferred that he die and become a legacy for other youths in India. Some lament that he may have done much more for India had he stayed alive

Bhagat Singh

"The aim of life is no more to control the mind, but to develop it harmoniously; not to achieve salvation here after, but to make the best use of it here below; and not to realise truth, beauty and good only in contemplation, but also in the actual experience of daily life; social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity - of opportunity in the social, political and individual life." — from Bhagat Singh's prison diary, p. 124

"Inquilab Zindabad" (Long live the revolution)

"Kureh Khak hai Gardash main Tapash sai Meri ,

Main Voh majnu huan Jo Jindan main Bhee Azad Raha"

-Bhagat Singh