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The Real Gandhi – impressions of a tribute

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  Amal Kiran (1904-2011), the gifted author of more than 50 books on literature, poetry and history penned a tribute to Gandhi in the 1950s titled ‘The Real Gandhi – An impartial estimate of his Greatness”. In all my readings on Gandhi and his life story, I have not seen a finer tribute and assessment […]

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Indian influence on ancient Lithuania

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I just discovered that ‘back in the day’, Vedic culture existed even in – hold your breath.. Lithuania. I had to look up where Lithuania was to derive some meaning out of this finding. It is a tiny country (about half the size of Tamil-Nadu), situated all the way near the Baltic sea and having fewer […]

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The extraordinary relevance of August 15 in world history

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Why is today that special? Is there something more to it than its being India’s independence day? Amal Kiran, in his brilliant 1950 essay “August 15 – Its World-Significance” observed that there are several “spectacular associations” with this date that make it a date with “momentous implications for the values of civilization”. [Amal Kiran (1904-2011), was […]

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Archaia Olympia, the Greeks and Physical culture

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We are now in the thick of the Olympian spirit; the games have started, and our modern age is celebrating the athletic ideal just as the Greeks did 3,000 years ago. But there are a few notable differences : Back then, women were not allowed to even watch the games; Now, not just are women […]

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The most beautiful evocation of Raag Kaushi Kanada

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This recording from a live concert in 1968 is the ‘stuff of legends’. It is by far the most soulful rendition of a particular Raag (Kaushi Kanada) that I know of, and I felt this ought to be shared. Play the file (see download link on bottom left) In Indian classical music, the Raag is […]

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Konark – An Odyssey in Stone

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Last month during our week’s sejourn in east India,  we finally visited the incredible Sun Temple of Konark, Odisha. Considering that the temples in Orissa had not exactly overwhelmed us in their cleanliness or sanctity (despite the awe-inspiring architecture), our first reaction to  the sight of the Sun Temple was “Thank God, this place is not […]

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The Phenomenon that was Leonardo Da Vinci

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We recently spent a weekend in Milan where we got to see some of Da Vinci’s work. It wasn’t very clear when we bought our tickets, but we found out that visitors get precisely 15 minutes to see The Last Supper, and tickets have to be booked sometimes months in advance! There was another exhibit […]

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Dayananda Saraswati (1824 – 1883)

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_ The history of the world is but the biography of great men – Thomas Carlyle, Scottish thinker, historian Yesterday marked the 128th year of passing of this giant among men, an original thinker, a creator, and one of the greatest leaders of the Indian renaissance. Sisirkumar Mitra, in his book Resurgent India remarked about […]

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V – The Imperative before us

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..He would guide the world, himself he cannot guide. Savitri, Sri Aurobindo The ‘they’ versus ‘us’ conflict All the wars that we observe the world over seem distant or separate from us. They tend to be at best a subject, an issue, worthy of having an opinion on maybe, but not anything more. And this […]

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IV – Peace, force and the psychological basis of war

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“No real peace can be till the heart of man deserves peace; the law of Vishnu cannot prevail till the debt to Rudra is paid.” [1] “The weakness of the human heart wants only fair and comforting truths or in their absence pleasant fables; it will not have the truth in its entirety because there there is much […]

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