Physical features of India – physiographic units

Name the physiographic units of India and briefly explain their formation.

I.Introduction: The Indian subcontinent is characterized by the diversified physical features. They exhibit striking contrasts in structure, altitude, climate etc.
II. Physiographic divisions: Physical features of India may be divided into four physiographic units.
They are
1. The Himalayas and their associated mountain ranges.
2. The Indo-Gangetic plains
3. The peninsular plateau.
4. The coastal plains.
1. Formation of the Himalayas: 
a. According to the Geologists, during Mesozoic times, the entire Himalayan area was occupied by a great Geosyncline called “Tethys sea”.
b. Angaraland was the land mass to the North of Tethys Sea. Gondwana land which contained the present peninsula was to the south of the Tethys Sea.
c. In the course of time, these two land masses split up and began to move apart.
d. Then the weaker Tethys Sea got compressed and buckled up.
e. After some million years due to immense compressional forces the sediments deposited in the Tethys Sea were folded to acquire the present form of Himalayan Mountains.
2. Formation of Indo Gangetic plains: 
a. In the wake of the Himalayan uplift, a ‘fore deep’ was formed in the intervening space between the peninsular plateau and the Himalayan Mountains.
b. Then an immense amount of Alluvium was deposited in this depression by the Himalayan Rivers. Thus it became the largest alluvial plain in the world.
3. Formation of peninsular Plateau: 
a. According to Geologists, it was a part of The Gondwana land.
b. It was a block of old crystal rocks lifted above the sea level in the pre Cambrian times, and never submerged again.
4. Formation of coastal plains: Were formed by the peninsular rivers.
 Physical Features of India

What are the parallel ranges of the Himalayas? Explain.

I. Introduction: The Himalayas form India’s northern frontier from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh with a distance of 2400 km and a width of 500 km.
II. Kinds of parallel ranges of Himalayas: The Himalayas comprise three parallel ranges with deep valleys and extensive plateaus. They are:
1. The Himadri (The greater Himalayas)
2. The Himachal or lesser Himalayas
3. The Siwaliks or outer Himalayas
The Himadri or Greater Himalayas: 
a. This is the highest loftiest and most continuous range with an average elevation of about 6100 mts.
b. It has the world’s highest and prominent peaks such as Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga etc.
c. It is formidable and snow bound through out the year and found with a number of glaciers.
d. It is mainly composed of crystalline and metamorphic rocks.
The Himachal range: 
a. This is a most intricate and rugged mountain system.
b. It is to the south of the The Himadri range with an altitude of 1000- 4500 mts.
c. Its width is varies between 50 and 80 kms.
d. The most important and longest range in the Himachal is the pirpanjal range of Kashmir.
e. Kashmir valley lies between Himadri and Pirpanjal range.
f. It has beautiful Kulu and Kangra valleys.
g. Many hill stations like Simla, Mussoorie, Nainital etc are situated in this range.
The Siwalikhs: 
a. It is the southern most range of the Himalayas.
b. It extends from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.
c. The Siwaliks in Jammu region are called Jammu hills and in Arunachal pradesh as Mishi hills.
d. The width of this range varies between 50 km in Himachal Pradesh and 15 km in Arunachal Pradesh.
e. Its average height ranges from 600 to 1500 mts.
f. These are backed by The ‘Duns’ and are covered with thick tropical deciduous forests.

Describe the importance of Himalayas.

A. I. Introduction: The Himalayas form India’s northern frontier from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh covering a distance of about 2400 km and with width of 200 to 500 km.
II. Importance of the Himalayas:
Barriers: The Himalayas act like barriers protecting the great plains of India from the cold winds of central Asia during winter. They also acted as impenetrable borders protecting the country from foreign invasions
Cause rains: The Himalayas are responsible for causing rainfall in the plains during summer and ultimately to have a monsoon type of climate in the country.
Perennial flow of water: Rivers originate in the glaciers of these mountains and cause the perennial flow of water. These lives contributed to the economic development of the Great Plains.
Scenic beauty: Himalayas are known for beautiful valleys like Kashmir Kulu, Kangra etc and hill stations. These valleys and hill stations attract tourist from all over the world and earn foreign exchange for the country.
Horticulture: Himalayan valleys are known for cultivation of fruits like Apples.
Vegetation: Alphine vegetation is an important contribution to the forest economy.
The gaps in the mountain ranges of Himalayas called passes- like Khyber, Bolan, permitted great exchange of culture and commerce with neighbouring countries.
III. Conclusion: Thus, there are many advantages of the Himalayas to India.

What is a pass? Give examples.

1. The gaps in the Himalayan mountain ranges which provide natural routes across them are called passes.
2. The important passes in the Himalayan mountain ranges are Khyber, Bolan, Karakoram, Nathula and Bomidila etc.

What is a ‘DUN’? Give examples from the Himalayan region.

1. The Siwalik Mountains are backed by a discontinued series of narrow longitudinal flat-bottomed strike valleys. These valleys are called as ‘Duns’
2. Dehra Dun and Patli Dun in Uttaranchal and Kotli Dun in Jammu are the examples of prominent “Dun Valleys”.

Name the important peaks of Himalayas. 

The Himadri range has world’s highest and prominent peaks. The Important peaks of The Himalayas are
1. Mt. Everest (8848 mts)
2. Kanchenjunga (8598 mts)
3. Makalu(8481 mts)
4. Dhaulagiri (8177 mts)
5. Manaslu (8156 mts)
6. Chooyu (8153 mts)
7. Nanga Prabhath ( 8126 mts)
8. Annapurna (8078 mts)

What is a plain? Describe the surface differences recognized with the geomorphology of Great Plains. 

I. Introduction: The land surface is not the same everywhere. There are various land forms i.e. mountains, Plateaus and plains.
II. Meaning of plain: The material eroded and transported by rivers is deposited at suitable places and thus plains are formed. A fertile land with level surface, gentle, slope and with heights far less than a plateau is called a plain.
III. Surface differences of Great plains: There are four important surface differences recognized with the Geomorphology of great plains. They are Bhabar, Terai, Bhanger, Khadar Bhabar: The Himalayan rives deposit gravel and unassorted sediments along the foot of the Siwaliks. This pebble studded zone of porous beds is known as Bhabar. It forms a narrow belt, only 8 to 16 km width in northern boundary of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Terai : Many small Himalayan rivers flow underground through Bhabar zone and reemerge on the surface creating 15-30 kms wide marshy tract called ‘Terai’
Bhangar : the older alluvium of the floodplain is called Bhangar’.
Khadar : The never alluvium of the floodplain is called ‘Khadar’. This zone is found with excessive dampness with a thick growth of forest and a variety of wildlife.


Compare and contrast the geomorphologic features between Malwa plateau and Deccan Plateau.

A. Introduction: The peninsular plateau is one of the physiographic units of India. It is broadly divided into Malwa Plateau and Deccan Plateau. 

Malwa Plateau Deccan plateau
1. It is bounded by the Aravallis on the northwest and the vindhyas on the south. 1. It is bounded by the satpura range on thenorth, western ghats on the west and eastern
2. Its extensions are known as Bundalkhand and Bhaghalkh and uplands in Uttar

Pradesh and in as Chota Nagpur plateau in

Jharkand.

2. Its extensions are Maharashtra Plateau onthe north and north west. Andhra plateau on

the south west and Karnataka plateau

on the south.

3. In its interior parts its surface isflat with isolated hillocks. 3. Its table land consists of horizontallyarranged lava sheets
4. No Deltas are found here 4. It has many deltas.
5. It occupies lesser area 5. It occupies larger area.
6. It is not much suitable for cropcultivation. 6. It is suitable for crop cultivation
7. It tilts towards the Gangetic plain. 7. It tilts towards the east.
8. It has less elevation than theDeccan plateau. 8. It has varied elevation from 900mts in the west to 300 mts on the east.

Distinguish the differences in physiography of Western ghats and Eastern ghats.

A. I. Introduction: Deccan plateau is bounded by the western ghats on the west and Eastern ghats on the east. East western ghats and Eastern ghats meet at Nilgiri hills. 

Western ghats Eastern ghats
1. They start from Khandesh in Maharastraand end at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. 1. They start from the hills of ChotanagpurPlateau in Jharkhand and run upto Nilgiris

in Tamil Nadu.

2. They are to the western side of theDeccan Plateau. 2. They are to the eastern side of theDeccan Plateau.
3. They are continuous chain of hills runningin a north-south with some gaps like palghat,

Thal ghat and Bhorghat gaps.

3. They are represented by irregularline of hills.
4. They are very close to the coast keepinga narrow coastal plain. 4. They are far away from the coast keepingbroad coastal plain.
5. They have structural unity and awell defined lay out. 5. They do not have any structural unityand a well defined lay out.
6. The northern part of western ghats is known as Sahyadri. Annamalai hills and cardamom hills arethe southern parts. 6. They have local names are called as Simahachalam in Visakhapatnam, Papi Kondalu in Wast Godavari etc. Nallamalai in Kurnool, Pachamalai and in Tamil Nadu.
7. Anaimudi in Kerala the highest peak. 7. The highest peak of Eastern ghats is found in chintapalli village of Vishakapatnam
8. There are dense forests. 8. Forest all not that dense as that to western ghats.

Compare the coastal plains of east and west.

East coastal plain West coastal plain
1. They stretch from Bengal to KanyaKumari. 1. They strech from Rann of Kutch tokanyakumari.
2. They are wider and flat. 2. They are narrow and uneven.
3. They are situated between TheEastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. 3. They are situated between the westernGhats and the Arabian sea.
4. Well watered deltas are found. 4. Long bars and lagoons are found.Deltas are not found.
5. Alluvial plains are formed by Mahanadi,Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery rivers. 5. Alluvial plains are formed by Narmada,Tapti, Sabarmati and Mahi rivers. These plains

are found to the north of west

coastal plains.

6. Irrigational facilities are well developed. 6. This region has less developedirrigational facilities.

Facts File:

The Himalayas are the young folded mountains.
The Himalayas were once occupied by the sea Tethys.
The Himalayas form India’s northern frontier from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.
The longitudinal extent of Himalayas is 5 lakh sq.km.
Greater Himalayas are also known as The Himadri.
K2 mountain peak is in Trans-Himalayan zone.
The highest mountain peak of The Himalayas in India is Kanchanjunga.
Pamir plateau is located in Trans-Himalayan zone.
The longitudinal extent of The great plains in India is 7 lakhs sq.km
The younger Alluvium is known as Khader.
Terai is a wide marshy track.
Bundelkhand upland is an extension of Malwa plateau.
Peninsular plateau is slightly tilting towards The east.
The highest peak in peninsular plateau is Annaimudi.
The Deccan plateau is bounded on north by sathpura range.
Narmada river flows through a rift valley.
Alakananda and Bhagirathi head streams formed the main stream of ganga.
The world’s highest and prominent peaks are found in Himadri range.
The most important Himachal range is Himachal.
South-west world extension of pirpanjal is called Dhaula Dhar range.
The world’s second highest peak is K2.
The longest glacier is Siachin.
The world’s highest table land is Pamir plateau.
Luni basin is found in Rajasthan plain.
Guru sikhar peak is situated in the Aravalli hills.
The important summer resort in M.P is pachmarhi.
The highest peak of the Nigiris is Doda betta.
The Ganga enters Bangladesh and then it is called Padma
The largest peninsular rivers Godavari.
Godavari joins Bay of Bengal near Rajamundary in A.P
A B
1. Manasarover2. older alluvium

3. Marshy tract

4. Pirpanjal range

5. West flowing river

a. Brahmaputrab. Bhanger

c. Terai

d. Himachal

e. Tapti

Project Tiger – Government’s effort to protect tigers in India

About Project Tiger:

Project Tiger is a tiger conservation program for in situ conservation of wild tigers in designated tiger reserves.

On 1st April 1973, the Project Tiger was launched by Mrs. Indira Gandhi in Palamu Tiger Reserve. [You may link it with 1972 Earth Summit]

3 subspecies of tigers are extinct out of traditionally recognized 8 subspecies.

Royal Bengal tiger is India’s dominant to subspecies of tiger, Panthera tigris tigris.

Tigers are the terminal consumer in ecological food pyramid. Tiger conservation will result in conservation of all the trophic levels in an ecosystem.

Royal Bengal Tiger

Objective of Project Tiger

To ensure a viable population of tigers for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.

Limit factors that lead to reduction of tiger habitat and to mitigate them by suitable management.

Site specific eco-development to reduce the dependency of local people on tiger reserve resources.

Challenges with Tiger Conservation

  • Protection against poaching
  • Fragmentation of habitat
  • Securing inviolate space for tiger to facilitate its social dynamics
  • Addressing tiger human interface
  • Restoration of corridors
  • Eliciting public support of local people by providing ecologically sustainable option.

Implementation of Project Tiger

Project Tiger was administered by National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Project Tiger is implemented in 18 states – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Funds: 100% central assistance is provided for non-recurring items of expenditure to the state. 50% matching grant for the recurring items (90% in the case of Northeastern states) based on the annual plan of operation of tiger reserve.

Voluntary relocation of people from core/critical habitats.

Addressing the human-wildlife conflict within the ambit of Wildlife (Protection)Act 1972.

The habitats covered under Project Tiger are:

  1. Shivalik Terai conservation unit
  2. North-East conservation unit
  3. Sundarbans conservation unit
  4. Western ghats conservation unit
  5. Eastern ghats conservation unit
  6. Central India conservation unit
  7. Sariska conservation unit

Various tiger reserves were created under core-buffer strategy

Core area:

The core areas are free of all human activities.

It has the legal status of National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary.

It is kept free of biotic disturbances.

Forestry operations like collection of minor forest produce, grazing, and other human disturbances are not allowed within.

Buffer area:

The buffer area are subjected to ‘conservation oriented land use’.

It comprises forest and non-forest land.

It is a multi purpose use area with twin objectives of providing habitat supplement to spillover population of wild animal from core conservation unit, providing site specific co-developmental inputs to surrounding villages for relieving their impact on core are.

Facts associated with Tiger Conservation

The number of tigers has improved to 2226 as per the latest census report released on January 20, 2015.

The all India tiger estimation is carried out once in every 4 years.

Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand is India’s 48th National Park.

Overview of the History of India

Thousands of years ago, India was home to the Indus Valley civilization, one of the world’s oldest civilizations. In the 300s and 200s BC, the Maurya Empire ruled the land. It became one of the largest empires in the world. Years later, the Golden Age of India would take place during the Gupta dynasty. Lasting from 319 to 554 AD, the Gupta dynasty produced new developments in science, great art, and advanced culture.

With the rise of Islam in the Arab nations, it began to spread into India. During the 10th and 11th centuries the Turks and the Afghans invaded India and ruled as the Delhi Sultanate. Years later the Mughal Empire would rise to power and rule the land for over 300 years.

In the 16th century, European explorers began to enter India. Britain eventually took control of India. In the early 1900s India began to fight for independence from Britain. Led by Mohandas Gandhi, non-violent protests were made against the British. After many years of struggling, India was granted independence from Britain in 1947.

The country was later divided up into India and Pakistan. Later East Pakistan became a third country, Bangladesh. India and Pakistan have had strained relations over the years including both countries testing nuclear weapons.

India does have significant problems including poverty, corruption, and overpopulation. However, the country has recently seen strong economic and technology development.

BCE

  • 3000 – The Indus Valley civilization is established in Northern India and Pakistan.
  • 2500 – Large cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro develop.
  • 1700 – The Iron Age begins in India.
  • 1500 – The Aryan peoples arrive from Central Asia. The Indus Valley Civilization collapses. The Vedic period begins. The oldest sacred scriptures of Hinduism are written.
  • 520 – Buddhism is founded by Siddharta Gautama.
  • 326 – Alexander the Great arrives in Northern India.
  • 322 – The Mauryan Empire is founded.
  • 272 – Asoka the Great becomes emperor of Maurya. He expands the empire greatly.
  • 265 – Asoka the Great converts to Buddhism. He implements many reforms in the government.
  • 230 – The Satavahana Empire is established.

CE

  • 60 – The Kushan Empire gains control of Northern India. Southern India is controlled by the Satavahana Empire.
  • 319 – The Gupta Empire takes control of much of India. The rule of the Gupta Empire is a time of peace and prosperity. Many advances are made in science and the arts during this time.
  • 500 – The decimal numeral system is invented in India.
  • 554 – The Gupta Empire begins to collapse.
  • 712 – Islam arrives in Northern India with the Umayyad Caliphate.
  • 1000 – The Ghaznavid Empire invades from the north.
  • 1210 – The Delhi Sultanate is founded.
  • 1221 – Genghis Khan leads the first invasion of the Mongols in India.
  • 1398 – The Mongols, led by Timur, invade Northern India.
  • 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives in India. He is the first European to reach India by sea. He establishes trade between Europe and India.
  • 1527 – The Mughal Empire is established by Babur.
  • 1556 – Akbar the Great becomes the Mughal Emperor. He will expand the empire to include much of the Indian Subcontinent. The arts and literature flourish during his reign.
  • 1600- The British East India Company is granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I to have exclusive rights to trade with India.
  • 1653 – The Taj Majal is completed in Agra. It is built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his of wife Mumtaz Mahal.
  • 1757 – The East India Company defeats Bengal at the Battle of Plassey.
  • 1772 – Warren Hastings is appointed the first Governor-General of Bengal.
  • 1857 – The Indians rebel against the rule of the British East India Company.
  • 1858 – The British Empire takes over the East India Company. The British Indian Empire is established.
  • 1877 – Queen Victoria claims the title the Empress of India.
  • 1885 – The Indian National Congress is formed in an effort to gain independence for India.
  • 1911 – The capital city is moved from Calcutta to Delhi by the British government.
  • 1920 – Mahatma Gandhi begins his campaign of non-violence against the British government.
  • 1930 – Gandhi leads the Salt March against the British salt monopoly.
  • 1942 – The Quit India Movement is launched by the Indian National Congress.
  • 1947 – India becomes an independent nation. The Muslim state of Pakistan is established in the north. Jawaharlal Nehru becomes the first Prime Minister of India.
  • 1948 – War breaks out between India and Pakistan over the border land of Kashmir.
  • 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
  • 1950 – India becomes a republic.
  • 1966 – Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, is elected prime minister.
  • 1971 – India goes to war with Pakistan over the creation of the country of Bangladesh from East Pakistan.
  • 1974 – India detonates its first nuclear weapon.
  • 1984 – Indira Gandhi is assassinated.
  • 1972 – India signs the Simla Agreement with Pakistan.
  • 1996 – The Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, becomes the major political party.
  • 2000 – The population of India passes one billion people.
  • 2002 – Tensions mount between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
  • 2004 – A large Indian Ocean earthquake causes a tsunami wave that hits India killing over 10,000 people.

Political History of Sri Lanka

Here is a detailed history of how Sri Lanka has been seen in the political scenario. Maithripala Sirisena has now won the presidential elections.

1956 – Solomon Bandaranaike was elected as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He made Sinhala the only official language. More than 100 Sri Lankan Tamils people were killed after the Tamil members of parliament protested.

1959 – On September 25, 1959, Solomon Bandaranaike was shot by Talduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk. He succumbed to injuries the next day.

1960 – Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes first woman Prime Minister in the world. She was sworn in on July 21, 1960 after her United National Party won the elections.

1965 – Opposition party wins the elections and tries reverse the nationalisation.

1970 – Sirimavo Bandaranaike re-elected and she brings back Sinhalese nationalism.

1977 – LTTE was formed.

1983 – ‘Black July’ riots erupt in Sri-Lanka; about 64,000 people were killed.

1987 – Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, which was intended to end the civil war between Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists and LTTE, signed.

1988 – Nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) protests against the Sri Lanka-India agreement.

1990 – Second Eelam War breaks. East Province taken over by Sri Lankan Forces after heavy fighting. The LTTE continue to kill civilians in the Eastern province.

1991 – LTTE suicide bomber kills Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, in Tamil Nadu. He was instrumental in bringing the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

1993 – An LTTE suicide bomber kills Ranasinghe Premadasa, the third President of Sri Lanka during a May Day rally.

1994 – President Kumaratunga again initiates peace talks with LTTE.

1995 – The third Eelam war breaks out after a suicide squad attacked two naval vessels in Trincomalee killing 12 soldiers.

1999 – A female suicide bomber attacks a police station in Colombo targeting the head of the terrorism unit, Mohammad Nilabdeen.

2000 – The European Union criticises both the Tamil Tigers and security forces concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

2003 – The Sri Lankan government and the LTTE hold peace talks and agree on a ceasefire.

2005 – Rajapaksa elected for the first time.

2006 – The political killings, child soldiers, abductions, and clashes between the government and LTTE creates tension around the country.

The Trincomalee massacre of students happened in 2006. It was considered to be act of state terror. Vankalai massacre of four minority Sri Lankan Tamils. It was also considered to be act of state terror.

2007 – At least 28 people, which includes 14 cadres of the LTTE, die in clashes between the security forces and the Tamil Tigers in September.

2008 – Government blames LTTE after 12 civilians killed and 100 injured over a suicide bomb attack. Government launches massive offense ending the 2002 ceasefire agreement.

May 2009 – On May 18, 2009 Velupillai Prabakaran was killed by the Sri Lankan army. The war between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan military reaches its bitter end and the Tigers decide to silence their guns in the interest of Tamil citizens.

March 2009 – Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan (Karuna), former deputy leader of the LTTE joins Rajapaksa’s cabinet.

2010 – Mahinda Rajapaksa re-elected. He promises to restore an independent National Human Rights Commission along with other commissions.

2011 – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was appointed to monitor the government’s implementation of Human Rights.

2012 – Rajapaksa government dismisses UN report which states that Sri Lanka intimidated UN members investigating abuses at the end of the civil war in 2009. UN blames itself for failure during Eelam war climax. The former Sri Lankan Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka freed after two and a half years. Sri Lanka was in the same state when it came to ensuring justice to the victims of numerous Human Rights violations.

Jan 2013 – Rajapaksa dismisses Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake after finding her guilty on three offences including financial irregularities.

Feb 2013 – On February 19, 2013 a series of photographs showed Velupillai Prabakaran’s 12- year son Balachandran hit by bullets by a British channel’s documentary. The incident created controversies against Sri Lanka’s armed forces conduct in their final stage of operation against the Tamil Tiger rebels. However Rajapaksa government denied shooting anyone.

Aug 2013 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says Sri Lanka was showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction.

Sept 2013 – Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wins election at the Northern provincial council.

Nov 2013 – Sri Lanka hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) but political heads of India, Canada and Mauritius skips the meeting.

2014 – President Mahinda Rajapaksa doesn’t allow the UN to investigate the war crimes during the Tamil Tiger insurgency.

Contibutions of Britain to the World

Britain worked largely as an imperial ruler for centuries. It enslaved kings, countries and millions of people on the planet – a quest that first began with the idea of establishing trade ties all over the world. However, as a nation, Britain and its people have made vast contributions to the entire world. Listed below are the top 10 contributions of Britain to the world.

Luxury cars:

Some of the very first engines, including automobiles were first invented in Britain. Centuries ago, only Britain could possibly fund the research and development required for producing working models of automobiles and other mechanical systems. Some of the world’s best luxury cars including Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Bentley were given to the world by Britain’s engineers.

Economic reforms:

A number of economic reforms that transformed the millions of lives on the planet were first conceptualized and implemented by Britain. Notable among these are the ideas of free trade, liberalism, capitalism and mercantilism. These economic reforms may have had adverse effects on some communities or countries in the world at some point in time but they’ve largely contributed in shaping the economic development of the world.

Constitutional monarchy:

Constitutional monarchy that later evolved into the present form of democracy – a government of the people, by the people and for the people – was a system of governance that Britain gave to the world. In a constitutional monarchy, a king or queen is not in the absolute control of the state of its people. It is the constitution which actually outlines the rules and regulations that have to be followed by everyone, including the head of the state.

Music revolution:

Pop music and other derivative genres magically took the world by storm over the last many decades. Music bands that formed in Britain grew up to become household names in dozens of countries in the world. Pink Floyd, Beatles and Rolling Stones are few names that would perhaps be remembered for generations to come. These bands laid the foundation of both cultural and anti-cultural revolutions in the world.

Literary revolution:

Some of the legends in the world of literature and poetry were Britons. Shakespeare, Kipling, Dickens and Milton are few great literary geniuses that Britain gave to the world. Till this day, even the most talented writers, poets and novelists are compelled to wonder if some of these people, Shakespeare for instance, were actually real and not mythical personalities created by combining works of many.

Strengthened the foundation of science:

Britain gave some of the best scientists and philosophers to the world. Newton, a British scientist postulated gravitational laws and invented Calculus that laid the foundation of several branches of Physics and Mathematics. Darwin, a British biologist who gave the theory of Evolution, influenced the opinions of billions of people on the planet.

Machine tools:

Machine tools are now used by millions of manufacturers all over the world. These tools are used to carry out mass production of prototypes or models. The concept of producing an object repeatedly by designing a machine tool was first conceived in Britain. It was the British Navy that first designed machine tools to create various components for their rigging in large quantities.

Industrial revolution:

It was due to industrial revolution in Great Britain powered by several scientific discoveries and inventions that the state looked forward to serious economic expansion in 16th and 17th centuries. While the state ended up enslaving many poorly run states and kingdoms across the world, it did carry forward the spark of industrial revolution in all countries it ruled, including America. True to the popular belief, Britain contributed a lot to the world at large, but the way it did so, remains questionable till date.

Mechanical inventions:

It is impossible to imagine a world without mechanical inventions such as railway, automobiles, gas turbines etc. We’d suddenly find ourselves in the 15th century if all modern day systems based on these inventions are taken away. All these mechanical systems were invented by researchers, engineers and scientists in Britain.

The English language:

The English language has played a big role in uniting the world. Today, ideas get communicated so easily from one country to the other only because billions of people on the planet can speak and understand English. Had there been no ‘Global Language’, acceptable to all countries in the world, many developing nations would have been unable to profit from the boons of industrialization, scientific advancements & technological innovations.

War – Provoking moments in Indo – Pak Relationship

The two countries have fought three major wars and there is no guarantee that a fourth one won’t happen. The Indo-Pak relationship has been strained and rebuilt over the years since independence; often the relations have hit rock-bottom. Here is a list of top 10 war-provoking moments in the history of Indo-Pak relationship.

Decapitation incident:

On January 8, 2013, Pakistani army men entered Indian Territory, killed two Indian soldiers, beheaded one and carried his head away. The incident that happened at the Line of Control angered the people of India. The incumbent government was further grilled by the media and the opposition parties. Heavy exchange of fire was witnessed on the border posts after this incident and a war like situation erupted.

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks:

After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the situation between the two neighbours touched a nadir unlike ever before. The relations worsened to such a degree that India deployed tanks and advanced artillery on the border. It was all set for an attack on Pakistan. Only after the mediation of international agencies did the whole situation got diffused to some extent.

Border killing in 2002:

The Pakistan Army lodged protest with their Indian counterparts that one of their junior officers was killed and his body badly mutilated by Indian troops on the Indo-Pak border. India rejected the complaint; however, the Pakistan Army warned India that the incident was enough to snowball into a war-like situation in the days to come. Nonetheless, the situation subsided over the days.

2007 Samjhauta Express bombing:

The bomb blasts in the Samjhauta Express – a train that ran from New Delhi to Lahore – in 2007 heightened tensions between the two countries. Most of the dead were Pakistani citizens. The investigations pointed fingers at some Indian nationalist organizations behind the attacks; however, none has been convicted. Although the two countries agreed that the act was aimed at sabotaging peace process, there is no denying that bad blood between two arch rivals continues over the incident.

Parliament attack:

On December 13, 2001, terrorists of Pakistani origin attacked the Indian Parliament in the capital, killing several security personnel. Investigations revealed that terrorists were trained by Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan for carrying out the operation. This caused huge uproar against Pakistan leading to massive mobilization of troops on the Indian side of the border.

Hijacking incident of flight 814:

On December 24, 1999, Indian Airlines flight number 814 was hijacked by terrorists from Kathmandu airport in Nepal and forced to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The plane carried 176 passengers. The terrorists, allegedly from Pakistan, demanded safe release of three militants languishing in Indian jails. The whole incident lasted for seven days and created huge tensions between India and Pakistan.

Atlantique incident:

On August 10, 1999, the Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistani patrol plane with 16 passengers on board after it entered Indian Territory. The incident took place near the Rann of Kutch, and right after the Kargil war. The situation was very tense in Pakistan after its loss in the war during the time. The incident flared up the already tense atmosphere in the area.

2011 India Pakistan border shooting:

The incident was recorded on August 31 and September 1, 2011, across the Line of Control near Kupwara district in Jammu & Kashmir. The cross firing led to deaths of one Indian soldier and three Pakistanis. Pakistan raised the matter in the International Court of Justice against the Indian involvement in the incident but to no effect.

Siachen:

In the year 1984, India launched a full-fledged operation – Operation Meghdoot – to capture back its territories from the illegal Pakistani hold on the Siachen Glacier. The operation got extended almost indefinitely and clashes erupted in 1985, 1987 and 1995 making the situation worse. It paved way to a war like situation that was somehow averted. However, the ongoing dispute over Siachen has lent the place the dubious distinction of being the world’s highest battleground.

Operation Brasstacks:

It was one of the largest operations ever conducted by India in the South-Asian region. It was conducted from November 1986 to March 1987. Pakistan took it for aggression from the Indian side and mobilized its army on the border. The situation was all set for yet another war between the two countries but the tensions somehow got resolved.

Things to know about Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Godse is one of the most mysterious characters in the Indian history about whom nothing much is available in documents. He was sentenced to death after executing the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. However, there is lot of mis-information propagated about him by the successive governments.

Plight of Hindu and Sikh refugees:

Nathuram Godse, though branded a Hindu fanatic by successive governments of the country was a person with a kind heart which felt pain of others. It was only after witnessing the plight of the Hindu and Sikh refugees that received lots of brutalities at the hands of Muslims in Pakistan, Godse became determined to execute Mahatma Gandhi who, according to him, was the prime reason for inviting such fate to the people of his country.

Muslim appeasement:

Nathuram Godse was a devout nationalist who could not bear the development of Gandhi appeasing the Muslim population of the country especially Jinnah and being overly generous to Pakistan. Similar to many other youth in the country, Godse found Jinnah’s politics as mere blackmail and could not stand the fact that his motherland was divided into two parts in front of his eyes.

Avid Vir Savarkar follower:

He was among the very few who believed in the ideology of Vir Savarkar in a real way and moulded his thinking accordingly. Though he followed writings of Gandhi too, he was more influenced by Savarkar’s works and it was quite late (during BJP rule) that Savarkar model found application in the working of the country that would strengthen the social and economic set up of the country. So he could also be termed as a visionary of his time. Though, his ideology was pro-Hindu but structurally faultless.

Freedom Fighter:

Unlike many other freedom fighters of the time, Nathuram Godse was a prominent name for his activities on the ground level. He followed Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement completely and could be termed as a valuable freedom fighter of the country. Had he not killed Gandhi, he would have been named as one of the foremost freedom fighters of the time, undoubtedly.

A writer and editor:

Nathuram Godse was hailed as a very learned man of his time and he even ran a newspaper named “Agrani” along with his partner in crime Apte. He was the editor of the newspaper and wrote articles for it. This shows the level of his intellect and devotion towards the people of the nation.

Man with a cause:

Although, killing of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be justified in any way, Godse’s side of the story has always been suppressed by successive governments of the country. Not only were his books banned, he was also charged with sedition. He was always a man with a cause and after executing Gandhi he stood his ground and even called the police to arrest him. Alas, the story behind the scene could never come out in the open.

Kind hearted soul:

Those who label Godse to be Hindu fanatic are wrong in their facts and should recheck the source of misinformation. Nathuram Godse was a much learned man who worked with Hindu families during the time of partition without harming any Muslim. Majority of the Hindus and Muslims on both sides were busy spreading violence during the time of partition, but Godse not only helped the people of every religion, he saved their lives from the violent mob. The misinformation of him being a Hindu fanatic has been propagated wrongly by the government of the time.

Social activist:

A Brahmin by birth, Nathuram Godse was brought up in a traditional Hindu culture. However, he grew up into a person with independent ideology that differentiated him from others. He was very intelligent and didn’t value superstitions and social evils like untouchability. He even joined anti-caste movements and fought against such evils of society with complete zeal.

Worshipped Gandhi to the core of his heart:

It is said that Nathuram Godse was one of the strongest supporters of Gandhi during his youth days and even worshipped him for his ideologies related to life and nation. He bred no personal hatred against Gandhi and even bowed before the Mahatma during the morning prayers, just before he fired shots at him.

From Gandhi’s supporter to killer:

Though majority of the Indians know that Nathuram Godse was a Gandhi follower, very few know the reason behind his decision to shoot the Father of the Nation. As per some documents written by Godse the primary reason behind his assassination of Gandhi was the latter’s adherence to the  unjustified demand by Jinnah for issuing Rs. 55 crore for Pakistan. It is believed that at that time most youth in the country supported this decision.

 

Kings in Indian History

The top 10 greatest kings in Indian history shaped the path we walk on now.

Maharana Pratap:

He was a Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. Known for his gallantry and magnanimity, Maharana Pratap opposed the Mughals, particularly Emperor Akbar. Chittor was conquered by the Mughals; Maharana Pratap won back most of his territory except his cherished Chittor. He had pledged to sleep on the floor and live in a hut until he won Chittor back from the Mughals which unfortunately he never accomplished in his life time.

Chandragupta I:

He was a major king in Indian history and also the founder of the Gupta Dynasty. He is believed to have formed several alliances with powerful houses through marriages into those families. He was the Gupta Emperor from 320–335 CE and called himself Maharajadhiraj which means king of kings to show his superiority over others. He ruled over territories like Prayag (Allahabad), Saket (Oudh) and Magadh (south Bihar).

Samudragupta:

He was the successor of Chandragupta I belonging to the Gupta Dynasty and was the greatest king of that dynasty. Samudragupta is the ruler who is known to have ushered in the Golden Age of India. A great warrior, a connoisseur of art and a generous ruler, Samudragupta was chosen for succession by his father inspite of him not being the eldest of his sons. Another quality that he is remembered for is his tolerance and patronage for other religions.

Ranjit Singh:

Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire based in Punjab in the early half of the 19th century. During his rule he brought the whole of the central Punjab from the Sutlej to the Jhelum under his sway. His empire was based on the foundations of the Khalsa with opportunities for accession to commanding positions not restricted only to the Sikhs. He was a tolerant king and was also known as the “Maharaja of Punjab”.

Prithviraj Chauhan:

Prithvi Raj III was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty. He ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi after succeeding to the throne at the young age of 20 and ruled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana. His elopement with the daughter of Jai Chandra Rathod of Kannauj, Samyukta , is a popular romantic tale of Indian history. But he is more importantly remember for having defeated Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 and later killing him during an archery show when blinded and imprisoned by the latter in 1192.

Kanishka:

Kanishka, also known as Kanishka the Great, was an emperor of the Kushan Dynasty. His empire extended from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. With Pataliputra as his main capital, his reign was famous for its military, political, and spiritual achievements. He also had regional capitals as far as present-day Bagram in Afghanistan. Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism and is still today considered as one of the greatest Buddhist Kings of India.

Shivaji:

Shivaji Bhosale was the founder and the greatest king of the Maratha Empire. Hailing from the Bhosle Maratha clan, he created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital. He was crowned as Chhatrapati for leading the struggle against the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire. He is remembered as a great warrior and a hero who united most of India against the Mughals. Shivaji is also known for pioneering the guerilla warfare methods using geography, speed, and surprise for attacks against more powerful and larger enemies.

Ashoka:

Ashoka is also known as Samraat Chakravartin. He belonged to the Maurya Dynasty and ruled from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. He reigned over most of the Indian subcontinent from the modern Iranian provinces of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned), through the Hindukush Mountains in Afghanistan, to the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. He is attributed to the global spread of Buddhism and the emblem of modern India is derived from the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

Akbar:

Akbar was the Mughal Emperor from 1556 until his death. The third ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, he succeeded Humayun at a very young age. He went on to become one of the greatest rulers in Indian history and the greatest Mughal Emperor, too. His empire included nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari river and he consolidated the same using marriage alliances and diplomacy. Akbar is known to have been a liberal ruler who believed in cultural integration.

Chandragupta Maurya:

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire and believed to be the first Emperor to have united India into one state. The Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya was the largest empire in Indian history up until that time. With his chief advisor Chanakya, he built a strong central administration and economy. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest rulers in Indian history known to have conquered Alexander the Great’s easternmost satrapies.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was a happy healthy baby. Her father, Arthur, worked for a newspaper while her mother, Kate, took care of the home and baby Helen. She grew up on her family’s large farm called Ivy Green. She enjoyed the animals including the horses, dogs, and chickens.

Illness

When Helen was around one and a half years old she became very sick. She had a high fever and a bad headache for several days. Although Helen survived, her parents soon realized that she had lost both her sight and her hearing.

Frustration

Helen tried to communicate with the people around her. She had special motions she would use to indicate that she wanted her mom or her dad. However, she would also get frustrated. She realized that she was different and it was extremely difficult to let others know what she needed. She would sometimes throw tantrums, kicking and hitting other people in anger.

Annie Sullivan

Soon Helen’s parents realized that she needed some special help. They contacted the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston. The director suggested a former student named Annie Sullivan. Annie had been blind, but had her eyesight restored by surgery. Perhaps her unique experience would allow her to help Helen. Annie came to work with Helen on March 3, 1887 and would be her helper and companion for the next 50 years.

Learning Words

Annie began to teach Helen words. She would press the letters of words in to Helen’s hand. For example, she would put a doll in one of Helen’s hands and then press the letters of the word D-O-L-L into the other hand. She taught Helen a number of words. Helen would repeat the words into Annie’s hand.

However, Helen still didn’t understand that the hand signs had meaning. Then one day Annie put Helen’s hand into water coming from a pump. Then she spelled out water into Helen’s other hand. Something clicked. Helen finally understood what Annie was doing. An entire new world opened up for Helen. She learned a number of new words that day. In many ways it was one of the happiest days of her life.

Learning to Read

Next Annie taught Helen how to read. Helen must have been very bright and Annie an amazing teacher, because soon Helen could read entire books in Braille. Braille is a special reading system where the letters are made out of little bumps on a page.

Imagine trying to learn how to read if you couldn’t see or hear. It’s truly amazing what Helen and Annie were able to accomplish. At the age of ten Helen could read and use a typewriter. Now she wanted to learn how to talk.

Learning to Talk

Helen Keller learned how to talk from Sarah Fuller. Sarah was a teacher for the deaf. By resting her hand on Sarah’s lips, Helen learned how to feel sound vibrations and how the lips moved to make sounds. She started off learning a few letters and sounds. Then she advanced to words and, finally, sentences. Helen was so happy that she could say words.

School

At sixteen years old Helen attended Radcliffe College for women in Massachusetts. Annie attended school with her and helped to sign the lectures into Helen’s hand. Helen graduated from Radcliffe in 1904 with honors.

Writing

During college Helen began to write about her experiences being deaf and blind. She first wrote a number of articles for a magazine called the Ladies’ Home Journal. These articles were later published together in a book called The Story of My Life. A few years later, in 1908, she published another book called The World I Live In.

Working for Others

As Helen grew older she wanted to help other people like herself. She wanted to inspire them and give them hope. She joined the American Foundation for the Blind and traveled the country giving speeches and raising money for the foundation. Later, during World War II, she visited with wounded army soldiers encouraging them not to give up. Helen spent much of her life working to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities, especially the deaf and the blind.

Interesting Facts about Helen Keller

  • Annie Sullivan was often called the “Miracle Worker” for the way she was able to help Helen.
  • Helen became very famous. She met with every President of the United States from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson. That’s a lot of presidents!
  • Helen starred in a movie about herself called Deliverance. Critics liked the movie, but not a lot of people went to see it.
  • She loved dogs. They were a great source of joy to her.
  • Helen became friends with famous people such as the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell and the author Mark Twain.
  • She wrote a book titled Teacher about Annie Sullivan’s life.
  • Two films about Helen Keller won Academy Awards. One was a documentary called The Unconquered (1954) and the other was a drama called The Miracle Worker (1962) starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.

Timeline of Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire (322 BCE – 185 BCE) was an Iron Age power in ancient India ruled by the Maurya Dynasty. With its origins in the Magadha kingdom, it was one of the world’s largest empires in its time and the largest ever in the Indian subcontinent. The Maurya Empire was known for a consistent and effective system of administration and finance that allowed for a thriving economy.

Chandragupta Maurya seizes the Nanda Empire.(c. 322 BCE) 

Though his reasoning is unclear, Chanakya, a Brahmin teacher, decides to destroy the Nanda Dynasty and guides a young man named Chandragupta Maurya in leading a guerilla campaign against the rulers. They spark a civil war, eventually forcing the current ruler into exile. The Nanda’s prime minister transfers power to Chandragupta, thereby beginning the Maurya Dynasty.

Chandragupta defeats Seleucus.(c. 305 BCE) 

The Macedonians, under Seleucus I Nicator, attempt to expand their empire into India. Chandragupta defeats them and claims a large swath of their territory in the peace negotiations, thereby expanding his empire westward.

The Maurya expand into the Deccan Plateau.(c. 300 BCE) 

Led by Chandragupta’s son, Bindusara, the Maurya expand east into the Deccan Plateau.

Bindusara inherits the throne.(298 BCE) 

At just 22 years old, Bindusara inherits rule over the empire. He expands the empire southward, conquering sixteen states and nearly all of the Indian peninsula. Only four kingdoms resist him, including the Kalinga Kingdom.

Asoka the Great inherits the throne.(273 BCE) 

Asoka, Bindusara’s son, inherits the throne following the death of his father. He proves himself to be a brilliant military commander and quickly crushes multiple revolts against his rule.

Asoka completes his conquest of Kalinga.(262 BCE) 

Asoka goes on to defeat the Kalinga kingdom. Although successful, over 100,000 soldiers and civilians are killed in the conquest, including many of Asoka’s own forces. Asoka personally witnesses the consequences of his aggression and decides to renounce war. He converts to Buddhism and sends missionaries to spread Buddhism throughout Asia.

The Edicts of Asoka spread.(c. 260 BCE) 

The Edicts of Asoka are spread throughout the empire. They outline the moral teachings of the emperor, including banning slavery, equal punishment under the law, and the fair treatment of animals.

The Lion Capital of Asoka is built.(c. 250 BCE) 

Asoka builds the Lion Capital of Asoka, a sculpture of four Indian lions back to back, at the important Buddhist site of Sarnath. This eventually becomes the emblem of India.

Dasaratha Maurya inherits the throne.(232 BCE) 

Due a misunderstanding, Asoka disinherits and blinds his original heir, his son, Kunala. Asoka eventually realizes the manipulation and has Kunala restored to court. However, upon his death, rule instead passes to Kunala’s grandson, Dasaratha Maurya. Under Dasaratha’s rule, much of Asoka’s territory is lost to the empire.

Samprati inherits the throne.(c. 224 BCE) 

Samprati succeeds Dasaratha, though sources are unclear as to whether he is Dasaratha’s son or brother. He is known for spreading Jainism and sponsoring Jain scholars.

Salisuka inherits the throne.(215 BCE) 

Salisuka succeeds Samprati and is known as a quarrelsome, unrighteous ruler.

Satadhanvan inherits the throne.(195 BCE) 

Satadhanvan succeeds Salisuka, and, under his rule, the empire continues to lose territory to outside invaders.

Brihadratha Maurya comes to power.(c. 187 BCE) 

Brihadratha Maurya comes to power in the Maurya Empire, but by this point the empire’s territory has greatly been reduced. He is still loyal to Buddhism.

Brihadratha is assassinated.(c. 185 BCE) 

During a military parade, Brihadratha is assassinated by the commander-in-chief of his guard, a Brahmin general. The general takes over the throne and starts the Sunga Dynasty. Under his leadership, he brings about a wave of religious persecution against Buddhists and a resurgence of Hinduism. This marks the end of the Maurya Empire.

The Indo-Greek Kingdom is established.(c. 180 BCE) 

The fall of the Maurya Empire leaves the strategic Khyber Pass vulnerable, which allows Demetrius, a Greek king, to conquer parts of Afghanistan and northwestern India. Demetrius forms the Indo-Greek Kingdom.