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Karl Marx

Karl Marx

German economist, philosopher, and revolutionist, Karl Marx’s writings form the basis of the body of ideas known as Marxism. As one of the most original and influential thinkers of modern times, Karl Marx produced, with the aid of Friedrich Engels, much of the theory of modern socialism and communism. Born on May 5, 1818, Marx lived in a period of unrestrained capitalism when exploitation and misery were the lot of the industrial working classes, and it was his and Engels’ humanitarianism and concern for social justice that inspired his work....

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

German-American physicist Albert Einstein contributed more than any other scientist to the 20th-century vision of physical reality. In the wake of World War I, Einstein’s theories, especially his theory of relativity, seemed to many people to point to a pure quality of human thought, one far removed from the war and its aftermath. Seldom has a scientist received such public attention for having cultivated the fruit of pure learning. Born in Ulm in Germany on March 14, 1879, Einstein’s parents were nonobservant Jews who moved from Ulm to Munich when Einstein was an infant....

Ruff and Kabir

Ruff and Kabir

Ruff was everyone’s favourite. Three feet tall and four feet long, sparkling eyes, moist nose, a lovely shade of brown and so cuddly. He was the loveliest German Shepherd anyone had seen. Ruff went to the park every evening with Tanya and her Grandpa. And all the children would be waiting for him there. “Ruff’s come!” they would all shout and rush to hug and pat him. Ruff loved the attention he got. Very willingly he would take toddler Kanishka on his back for a joy ride....

What an Enigma!

What an Enigma!

December 9: It has been 55 long years since the second World War ended but several relics from that period still attract curiousity. The Enigma Code Machine, for instance. While the police have been chasing wild geese trying to find the Enigma, one fine day it just landed up on their doorstep, but without three vital parts that ran the machine. The police claim to have arrested the thief now. The Enigma Code Machine became famous as the device the Nazis used to encrypt top-secret messages during the Second World War of 1939 – 1945....

What is Esperanto?

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 be made universal as they were all difficult languages to learn. The difficulty in mastering grammar would put native speakers at an advantage with respect to those who did not speak them fluently....

A Train Journey beyond Childhood

A Train Journey beyond Childhood

The year was 1938, and the fear of war was looming before Europe. Hitler’s Nazi Germany was becoming more and more arrogant, with its fearful philosophy of the superiority of their (Aryan) race and the inferiority of the impure Jewish race, which made them less than human. That year holds the key to one of the most tragic and unknown events of the Second World War era. For, in 1938, 10,000 German-Jewish children bade a final farewell to their parents before being sent off to foster homes in England....

Polite Police

Polite Police

July 8: Very soon, a banner will appear in the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in Delhi. It will read: The Tourist Police For you, with you, Always. But, most people are scared that it might actually mean “The Tourist Police, For you, with you, after you, Always. Polite Police [Illustration by Sudheer Nath] Disappointed with the police force and its rude ways of dealing with the public, the Ministry of Tourism now wants to have its own police force, says a report in ‘The Indian Express’ newspaper....

Sundari

Sundari

Sundari was my cousins’ immediate neighbour. She lived with Lalit Kapoor and his German wife, Hazel, in their beautiful bunglow in Nizammudin East. This goes back many, many years, when I used to come to Delhi from Indore for my holidays. I must have been six or seven years old then. I saw her for the first time from my cousins’ balcony. She was lazing in the garden enjoying the sun on that wintry afternoon....

Roy of Light

Roy of Light

November 4: While cities and towns have the privilege of an electricity connection, there are still a number of remote villages in India that lack this facility. Their homes remain shockingly dark, even on the threshold of the twenty-first century. It’s a reality that the Indian government has done little to change. Providing electricity to all of India appears to be beyond its reach, even today. So the loudest cheers must be reserved for the man who says, yes, it’s possible to light up all the villages in India, even the poorest, most remote ones....

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