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Eastward Ho!

Britain wants Indian engineers to help modernise their London-Glasgow railway link, and that's a real about turn! Nearly 150 years ago, Britain was the first country to use steam locomotives.The British also built the first rail tracks in India and set up India's railway network with one purpose - they wanted to collect raw material such as cotton from...

We Would All Scream Without Ice Cream

Can you imagine a summer without ice creams?It seems the Chinese, too, couldn't. For it was they who gave the world its first ice cream. In India, the Mughals are said to have introduced their kind of ice cream -- the kulfi. The exact date of origin of the ice cream is not known.Kulfi is a mixture of khoa,...

The Kite-Maker

The night was pitch dark. A street lamp shone dimly, creating pools of shadows along a tiny lane in Bareilly city. Sitting beneath the light was Imran. His nimble fingers were busy pasting thin sheets of coloured paper. He was making a kite.Even though he could barely see, he didn't fumble in his work. He could make these kites...

Teachers who Ticked Correct Answers Wrong

August 19: Do you know what a universal truth is? It is a truth that never changes, wherever in the world you might wish to test it.For example, we all know that the earth goes round the sun. It's a truth that will never change, at least not until the solar system lasts.Another universal truth we're told to believe...

Can You Speak Dolphin Language?

Can you speak dolphin language?
Mastering a language is not an easy task. Different countries have different languages, and each language in turn has different dialects. For instance, the Hindi usage, in Uttar Pradesh, is drastically different from the Hindi spoken by the Koli fisherfolk of Maharashtra. In fact, in smaller towns, there is a subtle shift in the spoken language, every few kilometers!Recent...

Ali Sardar Jafri

He was a poet who spoke out for the poor. He was also one who truly believed that India and Pakistan could be friends, if the countries tried hard enough. From the time he was arrested for writing against British rule in India, to when he climbed onto the famous Lahore "peace" bus with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee...

Makar Sankranti

The colourful kite-flying festival of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, which falls on January 14 each year, marks the end of a long winter and the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere. Hence the name Uttarayan.According to Hindu astronomy, it is on this holiest day in the Hindu calendar, that the sun enters the zodiac of Makara or...

Swimming in Trouble

July 1: All governments and leaders talk about children as the "future" of the nation - a "strong" nation. They specially talk about the need to encourage sports among children from an early age. But if you ask the young swimmers who participated in the National Swimming Championship for the 11 and 13-year-old category recently, they will tell you...

Footprints on Earth

Paw print of a royal bengal tiger
Have you ever been to a national park? If so, you must have tried to trace or locate a wild animal by trying to see its footprints on the soil. For example, people who go to Jim Corbett National Park, in Uttar Pradesh, India, spend most of their time looking for tigers. They do so by trying to look...

Basket-making in India

Weaving of baskets in India is an art as ancient as the making of pottery. Even the nomadic food gathering cultures wove reeds together to prepare baskets. Later, different materials and cultures developed a variety of basketry for domestic use, as well as for ritual purposes. They developed special patterns based on local traditions and techniques.Baskets as we know...

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