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Subhas Chandra Bose: The first man to set up a government of free India

Subhas Chandra Bose: The first man to set up a government of free India

Subhas Chandra Bose (1867 to 1945): Can the enemy of your enemy be your friend? Would you ask your enemy’s enemy for help even if they had done things that were terrible? The famous Indian freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose made this troubling choice in his fight to liberate India of British rule during World War II. He reached out to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in order to fight against British rule. He did not live to see India gain independence....

Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh

March 23 is the death anniversary of one of the most heroic figures of the Indian freedom movement. Few people remembered it, though. Forget the rest of India, even the children of the village where he was born, do not know anything about him. And to think that the young man in question, Bhagat Singh, gave up his life for the ideal of a free and better India! Today, over 50 years after Independence, the people of his village still do not have access to drinking water and a tap, writes The Indian Express newspaper....

Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi

Thinker, statesman and nationalist leader, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi not only led his own country to independence but also influenced political activists of many persuasions throughout the world with his methods and philosophy of nonviolent confrontation, or civil disobedience. Born in Porbandar in Gujarat on October 2, 1869, his actions inspired the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore to call him “Mahatma” (“great soul”). For him, the universe was regulated by a Supreme Intelligence or Principle, which he preferred to call satya (Truth) and, as a concession to convention, God....

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

Mystic, painter and Nobel laureate for literature, Rabindranath Tagore was a prolific writer (3,000 poems, 2,000 songs, 8 novels, 40 volumes of essays and short stories, 50 plays), who drew inspiration both from his native Bengal and from English literary tradition. His major theme was humanity’s search for God and truth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his collection of well-known poems Gitanjali (Song Offerings). Born in Calcutta on May 7, 1861, Rabindranath was the youngest of fourteen children....

The Day Mother raised the Flag

The Day Mother raised the Flag

On August 15, at the stroke of midnight, the Indian flag replaced the Union Jack of the British Empire. And millions of Indians went to sleep in a state of excitement. For, they would literally wake up in a free country. Among them was a five-year-old girl called Amrita Rangasami. She lived with four siblings and a young widowed mother, in a bylane of Madras (now Chennai). Sixty-year-old Amrita, a senior journalist and scholar, remembers the day clearly, as if it were yesterday....

When Grandma challenged British Rule

When Grandma challenged British Rule

Whenever I go to my ancestral home in Nainital, I never forget to brush my hand across an engraved name-plate and feel the name on it. The name belongs to my great grandfather who used to work for the British Empire. For his loyalty, he was rewarded with the title of ‘Rai Saheb’. Having worked with the British for years, Rai Saheb gained in wealth and name. And everyone in the household feared him. Well, not exactly....

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 last year, Ali Sardar Jafri spent his entire working-writing life speaking out for what he believed in....

Q is for Queue and not Queen any more

Q is for Queue and not Queen any more

July 22: Ever found your school uniform displayed on the pages of your textbook? Well, students of schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), did. In a colourful English primer brought out by MCD a few days ago. It is called ‘My First Book’, says a report in ‘The Times of India’. These students saw a picture of their school-uniform, telling them what the alphabet U stands for. Unlike other primers showing the boring old umbrella....

The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

October 28: The roots of the present-day education system in India lie in British attempts, more than one and a half century ago, to raise a breed of English-speaking Indians who were ‘babus’ or clerks and could manage the affairs of the British rulers. That is why the study of English has always been stressed in India, even if it is at the expense of the country’s languages. And why English is India’s first language today....

Teachers who Ticked Correct Answers Wrong

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 is that our teachers know more than us. It’s a non-scientific universal truth, for sure....

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