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A Syllabus for Harmony

November 24: A syllabus where a chapter on Habba Khatoon, a famous Kashmiri poet, jostles for space along with chapters on papier-mâché, hanguls (deer), apples and Kashmiri rugs? Well, these subjects are what primary school students in Kashmir, are going to be reading in their textbooks - and it is not without reason. The violence in Kashmir seems to be...

What is Esperanto?

Esperanto is an artificial international language created by Dr Ludovic Lazarus Zamenof between 1877-85. Zamenhof, who grew up in Warsaw, Poland, was convinced that a common language would be necessary to resolve many problems as language barriers helped to aggravate problems between nations. Zamenhof realised that none of the major European languages, French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Russian could...

Chinese Sparrows

Once there was a merchant who happened to acquire six sparrows from China. "They'll make a fine gift for my lord," thought the merchant. But knowing the lord to be very superstitious and always concerned about omens, he suspected that His Lordship might not like the number 'six'. In order to make the number a lucky 'seven', he added one...

The Chair

Once the mountain kingdom of Nepal was ruled by a liberal and kind-hearted king. He liked discussing problems of the state with important people of his kingdom. This practice made him popular and successful. In one such meeting, he noticed that no one except himself had a comfortable seat. Being kind-hearted, he was concerned. He decided to get suitable seats...

The Man who Saved the Moon

A kind-hearted man, looking down into a well, saw the reflection of the moon in the water. "Oh! My God! The moon has fallen into the well," he muttered mournfully and hurried to fetch a hook tied to the end of a long rope. Quickly, he let the hook fall deep into the well, holding fast to the rope. The hook hit...

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Born on September 5, 1888 in Tirutlani (now in Andhra Pradesh), Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan rose to become one of modern India’s most respected scholars and statesmen. He was born to teach as a major part of his life was spent as an academic. He taught philosophy at the universities of Andhra, Mysore and Calcutta. He also held a professorship in...

The Tiger and the Dried Persimmons

There was once a small and sleepy village, surrounded by mountains on all sides. A tiger lived on the mountain behind the village. Whenever he climbed to the top of the mountain and roared, the people in the village trembled with fright. On a winter night, when all the world seemed to be covered with snow, the tiger climbed down. He...

Take Care

Look out for the traffic! Be careful! Don't fall into the drain!" "Oh, Mum! I'm only going to the shop to buy you a loaf of bread. The way you're going on, the neighbours will think I'm cycling all the way to London! You know there's very little traffic on our quiet estate roads… and anyway, the drains are not...

A Lucky Hunter

There was once a hunter who, on the seventh birthday of his son, decided to go hunting to get something nice for the feast. But as he reached for the gun on the wall, it slipped from the pegs, hit the stone mortar below and alas, its barrel was bent like the letter L. "Father, that's a bad sign," cried...

Children and Water

Educators Wynne Harlen and Jos Elstgeest take us on a wonder-filled trip into the scientific world in their classic book: UNESCO sourcebook for science in the primary school, published by the National Book Trust in association with Unesco publishing. Water is a common yet exciting material, freely available almost everywhere, which lends itself to an endless variety of...

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The Scent of an Enemy

It seems the fish were always a smart lot. Only, humans took some time to realise the fact. Some years ago, scientists had discovered...

Which is the Oldest Church in India?

In 52 A.D. Thomas Didaemus, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ is believed to have landed at Musiris (Cranganore) in Kerala. He...

What is the Software for Life?

We all use computers. If you use Windows on your machine, like me, you will have a small button at the the bottom of...

The Great Escape

On the outskirts of a bustling city near the sea coast was a zoo named Kananvan. It was famous all over the world for...

Why do Plants Lean Toward Sunlight?

Plants kept inside a room always grow in the direction of the window. In woodlands where there is a thick canopy of trees and...