Wednesday 30 January 2013

From Amby to Nano

(Reproduced is an article written by me & published a couple of years ago, but very appropriate even today)
The long years and the journey from Amby to Nano have been very eventful for the nation. It also provides a glimpse of the economic, sporting and technological progress of emerging India from the earlier years of foreign dependence for food, machinery and defence.

Two recent powerful images of India came through from Sydney Cricket Ground and the Auto Expo at New Delhi in the last few days. The first was a visibly upset Harbhajan Singh in a verbal duel with Andrew Symonds, along with a very composed and confident but hurt Anil Kumble giving it back at the Australians: “There are two teams out there; only one is playing cricket.”  The second was the Tata Motors unveiling its car in a blaze of glory and publicity with Ratan Tata driving the one- lakh car, thereby pulling off a one in a billion coup. And Ratan Tata modestly said. “This is the biggest thing I ‘ve done.” The world took notice. When did this last happen? And Nano, in this new-year, a symbol of modern and vibrant India, heading on to become an economic power.

Cricket for India and Indians is a way of life. The players are their heroes.  It has become associated with the national character. In the days of the Ambassador car, socialism and a weak economy, it is unlikely any Indian player would have reacted to Australia sledging the way Harbhajan did. And it would have been unthinkable, the captain of the Indian team would have the guts to call the rival captain and team a bunch of cheats – which is what Kumble did without mincing words.

Indians of the earlier generation, say from 40’s to 80’s would have been horrified by Sreeshant’s war dance against the South African’s and earlier by Sourav Ganguly’s shirt-waving act at Lord’s. The so-called Amby days, India was defensive because it was just irrelevant and economically weak. Invoking high ideals of Gandhism and respect was just a cover for our inability to deliver a timely blow – tit for tat. This is what happened in the 1962 war with China and 1965 war with Pakistan. Now in cricket we also have good fast blowers to give back as good as we can get.

In the Amby days or before the mid-1990’s, India was minor player in the world of sports, economics or politics. There were individual Indians who counted for some of their achievements and brilliance. Today, Kumble’s straight-bat comments and the outrage of India’s cricket fans are heard with respect because India dominates the cricket economy. Many thinkers and economists admit openly that the period between the India of the Nano and the India of the Ambassador is the period of many wasted years, so very valuable for a developing India. And the entire blame lays with the politicians, their planning and policy decisions. They were immune to the happenings around the progressive world.

If one looks at the nation closely, there are two India’s – one, an economic and emerging India, which dominates and demands to be heard. And the other political India, which still lives in a time wrap. It is tragic the importance of assertion and self-esteem by India’s cricket isn’t understood by our politicians, who are still comfortable to live in the Amby days and dusty roads.

Recently at the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan, it was amusing to see the politicians making policy statements, little realizing the changed equation between India and its diaspora. Earlier India looked to the Non-residents to remit money and invest some spare foreign currency in the country. However today it is the NRI and PIO cardholders who are basking in the reflected glory of an emerging India because of which they are now looked at with respect in the countries they reside.

Whatever may have happened in Australia between Symonds and Harbhajan, right or wrong, but in today’s world; it pays to be brash; it’s a sign of arrival. Has India arrived?

The old generation with the then economic and political environment exhibited a body language of a pronounced inferiority complex that marked the dealings of Indians with foreigners, especially whites. Many still carry the burden of servitude and the ‘yes sir’ attitude. Unfortunately, most politicians, including those professing Hindu nationalism suffer from this thinking. Witness the comments and the body language during overseas visits. Can you imagine an Indian politician bluntly telling a Chinese Premier or a Pakistan ruler, ‘stay away’ from Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir.

The day the two India’s – economic India and political India merge, and believes in the dictum strong shall prevail, India will be a super power in the true sense.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Boob Advertising – a daring concept

In the last week, a small news item – ‘Boob Advertising goes viral’ gave a new dimension to advertising and Communication. To what extent can one go to promote wares and make money too! People think totally out of the box and come out with innovative ideas to promote products.

A girl from Czech Republic has come up with an awkward way to make money by using part of her anatomy – by putting advertisements on her boobs. For just 5 pounds, punters can advertise their products or events on one of her breasts, with just 9 pounds for both. The mystery girl is not named in the ad posted on Czech website, saying that she’s a beautiful young girl and offers her breasts for greeting cards and adverts. One can send her the message with it written on her breasts in marker pen.

Last year, the boob campaign seems to be drawing a lot of attention for GoDaddy. It got lot of eyeballs and attention; communication experts say it was worth the money spent.

A Los Angeles woman decided to earn some money by selling ad space on her 40NN chest and Martz Communication Group P D Drew Scott has taken the offer for $2000. The idea was that since people are always staring at the well endowed assets anyway, she might as well make them prime advertising real estate that earns some money for her.

But readers what do think about Boob Advertising. Is this the new daring concept of promotion and communication?

Sunday 20 January 2013

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Thursday 17 January 2013

Indian success abroad

Many Indians have succeeded abroad and made a name for themselves and India. We should all be proud of them and their achievements. The most surprising thing is Indians are succeeding abroad where the environment is conducive and friendly unlike India with its outdated policies and laws that interrupt in your activities. They are doing extremely well in USA, UK and other developed countries.

Sometimes it makes one wonder would they be as successful, had they stayed back in India. Our archaic laws, policies and old system generally does not recognise talent or merit nor does it encourage people or businesses to grow. It gets mired in the policies, politicians and officials. But once they go abroad, in a very free and encouraging environment, their talent grows to its real potential and helps them to reach greater heights. Here talent is recognised and nurtured to get the bet out of a person.

Rono Dutta has become head of United Airlines, the biggest airline in the world. Vikram Pandit has become head of Citigroup, which operates Citibank, one of the largest banks in the world. Rana Talwar has become head of Standard Chartered Bank, one of the biggest multi-national banks in Britain, while still in his 40s. Lakhsmi Mittal has become the biggest steel baron in the world, with plants in the US, Kazakhstan, Germany, Mexico, Trinidad and Indonesia. Since India’s socialist policies reserved the domestic steel industry for the public sector; Lakhsmi Mittal went to Indonesia to run his family’s first steel plant there. Subash Chandra of Zee TV has become a global media baron, one of he few to beat Rupert Murdoch. He could never have risen, had he been limited to India with the monopoly of Doordarshan. But with modern technology, satellite TV made it possible for him to target India from Hong Kong. And from here he soared to greater heights.

Very few may have heard about 48-year-old Gururaj Deshpande. His communication company, Sycamore is currently valued at over $30 billion by the US stock market, making him perhaps one of the richest Indians in the world. Arun Netravali has become president of Bell Lab, one of the biggest research and development centres in the world with nearly 30,000 inventions and Nobel Prizes to its credit. Silicon Valley alone has over 100,000 Indian millionaires. Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi has become CEO of Pepsico Inc in 2006, a Fortune 500 company. Sabeer mehta invented Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for $400 million. Victor Menezes is number two in Citibank. Shailesh Mehta is CEO of Providian, a top US financial services company. Other Indians occupying top positions include - Rakesh Gangwal of US Air, Jamshed Wadia of Anderson and Aman Mehta of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp. In Washington DC, the Indian CEO High Tech Council has 200 members, all high tech chiefs.

Now the question arises, why do Indians succeed overseas and do not achieve much success in India. The main reason is our archaic policies, lack of transparency and laws not being enforced properly. Another reason is the neta-babu raj, which still raises it head though India is on the road to liberalisation. Indians going abroad find the rule of law in the countries a welcome change, where merit and talent is nurtured and encouraged irrespective of your origin, colour, caste, etc. People have a choice to innovate without being strangled by politicians, manipulators or regulations. 

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Maha Kumbh Mela – a spiritual ecstasy

The Purna Kumbh, the world’d biggest gathering of humanity at Allahabad started on January 14 on Makara Sankranti. It is estimated over100 million devotees, ranging from naked Nagas to common Hindu worshippers, streamed into the city of Allahabad to take a dip at the confluence of the rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati during Maha Kumbh Mela, starting this month. The inaugural day of the 55-day-long congregation often described as the ‘greatest show on earth’ was marked by ‘Shahi Snan’ in which Naga Sadhus marched to Sangam. The ordinary devotees and sadhus come here to experience the spiritual ecstasy the occasion offers. 

According to the Bhagavada Purana, the tussle between the gods and asuras for the Amrit Kalash, the pot of nectar of immortality that emerged from the Amrit Manthan (churning of the milky ocean) is decisive to the Kumb festivities on a large scale. It is believed in the tussle, nectat spilled in four places sacred to the Hindus – Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain – the venues of the triennial Kumbh and the once-in-12-years Purna Kumbh.

In ancient times, our learned ancestors set down an elaborate 12-year cycle for a meeting ground of saints and the vast population of Hindu devotees, sanyasis and divine seekers, as an attempt to refocus and reorient the mind of the devotees distracted by day-to-day responsibilities of life, towards spirituality, clean habits and nobler instincts. This 12-year cycle was set according to planetary configurations, decided by the enlightened ancestors and holy men to be spiritually beneficial, and supposed to create a highly charged environment of spiritual energy to guide the mind towards enlightenment and deeper meaning. The Kumbh became an opportunity to pause and reflect, to reassess life’s priorities. Bathing in the Ganga is symbolic of washing away the old mind and its way of old thinking and beginning afresh with a new mind, a new attitude and a new awakening. The Kumbh helps the ordinary folks to change and be inspired by mingling with the learned ones, sadhus, sanyasis and monks in a spiritual atmosphere.

The12-year cycles of the Kumbh spread across four different pilgrim centres, ensuring a large holy and spiritual gathering every three years, is a great opportunity to seek enlightenment and insight through pilgrimage and satsang. Kumbh gathering tends to replicate the triumph of the gods over the asuras in the quest for nectar of immorality. Pilgrims dive deep into themselves through this bath, to return with a moment that takes them beyond in life, where an individual is no longer I, but a part of the collective whole. The pilgrims who have been to the Kumbh Mela speak of this new feeling and a new awakening it inspires in devotees.  

Saturday 12 January 2013

Prasad – Food for the gods

During my visit to Mangalore in coastal Karnataka, I visited the Mangaladevi temple, from this deity the name of the city of Mangalore or Mangalapuram is derived; and Kateel Durga Parmeshwari temple and Dharmastala temple on the outskirts of Mangalore. At all these ancient temples, after darshan and pooja, I was honoured to have the prasad in the form of a vegetarian meal served on banana leaf in the sacred temple premises. The food though simple was divine with a flavour only you can expect in the temple precincts. The meal is served in the clean well laid out large and bright dining halls in the temple premises. In most cases the food is prepared by the priest and his extended family with other helpers. Most devotees consider it to be special to have prasad at the temple. Sacred food is a defining feature of devotion. Offering the food to the deities has its own traditional rituals and bestows benediction on the cook, the priests who offer the meal as well as the devotees who come from far and wide to consume the sanctified offering to the gods.

Hindu temples prepare food and first offer it to the deities, not just to satisfy the deity’s divine hunger but to sanctify the food. Only after this is the prasad offered to the devotees. Food and divinity have great significance for mankind as the provision of one facilitates the quest for the other. One gives life, the other light. The act of offering and eating become part and parcel of the human interface with the divine. The food of the gods though simple in form, does not lack richness, variety and subtlety. And its prepared sans onion and garlic but with energy-giving ingredients. Grains find place alongside refined rice and wheat, jaggery and honey are preferred over sugar and oils which enhance flavours, ensures nutrition and hydration, provide strength and spices aid digestion. And eating it on banana leaf adds to the flavour.

The joy of eating with people from far and wide which bring devotees together at one location is satisfying. So the he dispensation of food as a community meal in temples or other holy places, reiterate the oneness of mankind and the egalitarianism of divine blessing. In India, perhaps more than any other place in the world, sacred food is a defining part of devotion. The belief that even the divine need the same sustenance as the mere mortals, who look to them for blessing and help, some how brings the two closer at a level that all mortals can understand. That is the reason why sacred prasad and bhog the two categories of sacred food dispensed at temples, have always been regarded as special. And people normally would not like to miss it.

Food plays a central role in the Hindu concept of creation and cosmos. The cosmos represents a big food cycle and interdependence of all beings is expressed in the offering of food. And in India, rice is an integral part of everyday meal. So it’s natural then that it is offered to the gods in invocations, to ancestors during rituals such as shraadh and to the needy as part of seva. Bhog and prasad can be in a variety of forms from ladoos, other sweets to rich rice, grain, lentil and vegetable preparations in the regions own menus or recipes and dispense them to the gods and the devotees at specific times of the day.  The preparation whether in the temple community kitchens or ones home kitchen, but prepared keeping in mind all the strict rituals, tradition and sanctity; the preparation of the bhog and prasad is always delicious, nutritious and fulfils both body and soul when served in banana leaf or the traditional stitched leaves depending on the availability in the region.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Incredible India – Experiences

This is a painting by an Indian artist

During the mid and late seventies things were different. It was a different time, different generation where folks were innocent and still believed in family values, respect, and not tempted by material things. Little of the old tradition still existed in this India of that era. No television, no mobile phones and no foreign made cars. I was in college and trying to understand the world outside home and college.

Lassi in Agra
A group of college students left for north to visit Delhi and surrounding towns of interest. From Delhi we proceeded to Agra as Taj Mahal was on our list with other places to see. We were in great spirits, but due to the heat and travel, we were thirsty. We moved in to a small dabba like stall on the road side. There were few people having lassi. We ordered three lassis. Out came three pots of fresh lassi and three big glasses. We poured the lassi in to the glass; chatting amongst ourselves we finished the glass. We kept the glass down on the table and asked him, ‘bhaiya kitna hua.’ The middle-aged vendor had been observing us and said, ‘Ap bahar ke ho, Mumbai se?’ When we nodded he said, Maine apko logo ko bath karte suna aur apke basha se laga ap Mumbai ke hi hai.’ And further stated, ‘Ap hamare meheman hai, pahele pura lassi pi lo. Ye matka ka lassi ap hi ka hai. Pura pi lo, phir mai paisa lunga. Ap log jawan hai, lassi pi lo, aaram se pi lo. With great difficulty we finished the lassi in the pot, it was about two and half glasses in the pot. He chatted with us about Mumbai and later said, ‘Ye hui na bath, acha kiya pura pi lia, ab paise do. He smiled at us and told us to come again. The lassi was great and thick. The man was friendly and what an unique experience.

Groundnut in Andhra
Again in the late seventies, I and a couple of friends visited Cuddapah region of Andhra Pradesh.
While on our way to visit a mine, we had to cross the fields. While on our way with the mine-owner and his manager across the fields, we heard a group of local people calling out to us in Telegu. The manger told us, the farmers are asking us to come over. He also said, here the farmers have a custom that whenever they harvest the groundnut crop, if they see any strangers around, they invite and request them to have some. We proceeded in their direction. The farmers dusted a few stones and made us sit down. The simple folks plucked out the groundnut, cleaned and roasted them for us. They also packed some roasted ones and told us to carry it. While leaving, they offered us water from their pots and bid us goodbye. 

Vengurla and Waterbury Clock made in 1894
During my May 2011 visit to Konkan, I visited Uday Shirodkar, residing at Vengurla with his wife Sangeeta and sons Kiron (15 yrs) & Tejas (12 yrs). He is into spices business. He has a fascination for antiques with a good collection of old and rare items. He owns a Waterbury Clock made in Sept 1894. It is still in excellent working condition. He also has the original manual sheet giving Directions for setting the clock & alarm. It has been manufactured by Waterbury, Conn, USA. Hope the company takes note that one of their unique clock is still ticking and working fine in remote Vengurla, in Konkan region of western India.

These are the experiences we miss in today’s India. Hope it is alive in some corners of India? These simple folks teach us what real India is about. I only wish the present generation could experience this India.

Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, India

Monday 7 January 2013

P N Oak’s take on Taj Mahal

PN Oak is a well-known historian who has published a book, Taj Mahal: The True Story which touches on all these facts based on years of his study on Taj Mahal. As per his theory, Taj Mahal is not an Islamic mausoleum but an ancient Shiva temple known as Tejo Mahalaya which the fifth generation Moghul emperor Shah Jahan took over from the then Maharaja of Jaipur. Hence Taj Mahal is a temple and not a tomb. As per PN Oak this makes a world of difference; you miss the details of its size, grandeur, majesty and beauty when you think it as a mere tomb.......

Ask any child - who built Taj Mahal? The answer would be Shah Jahan. We all have grown up studying Shah Jahan, Taj Mahal and Mughal history in school. But PN Oak begs to differ on this. He has a different take on the history of Taj Mahal. According to him it is not the real truth. He backs his statement with a set of proofs that tell a different story. No one has challenged this except Prof PN Oak himself, who believes the whole world has been duped. Using captured temples and mansions, as burial place for dead courtiers and royalty was a common practice among then Moghul rulers. For example – Humayun, Akbar, Etnud-ud-Daula and Safdarjung are all buried in such mansions.

PN Oak is a well-known historian who has published a book, Taj Mahal: The True Story which touches on all these facts based on years of his study on Taj Mahal. As per his theory, Taj Mahal is not an Islamic mausoleum but an ancient Shiva temple known as Tejo Mahalaya which the fifth generation Moghul emperor Shah Jahan took over from the then Maharaja of Jaipur. Hence Taj Mahal is a temple and not a tomb. As per PN Oak this makes a world of a difference; you miss the details of its size, grandeur, majesty and beauty when you think it as a mere tomb. But when told you are visiting a temple place you wont fail to notice its annexes, ruined defensive walls, hillocks, moats, cascades, fountains, majestic garden, hundreds of rooms, arcaded verandas, terraces, multi-storied towers, secret sealed chambers, guest rooms, stables, Trishul (Trident) on the dome and the sacred symbol of ‘om’ carved on the exterior of the wall of the sanctum sanctorum now occupied by the cenotaphs. Oak’s inquiries began with the name of Taj Mahal. He also says the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan is a fairy tale created by court sycophants, blundering historians and sloppy archaeologists. Not a single royal chronicle of Shah Jahan’s time corroborates the love story.

PN Oak argues, the name Taj Mahal never occurs in any Moghul court documents or chronicle even in Aurangazeb’s time. The attempt to explain it away as Taj-i-mahal is therefore ridiculous. Mahal is not muslim vocabulary because in none of the muslim countries around the world from Afghanistan to Algeria, is any building or structure known as Mahal. The unusual explanation of the name Taj Mahal derives from Mumtaz Mahal who is buried there is illogical as firstly her name was never Mumtaz Mahal, but Mumtaz-ul-Zamani and secondly, one cannot delete the first three alphabets ‘Mum’ from a woman’s name to derive at a name of a structure. As the woman’s name  was Mumtaz (ending with ‘z’) the name of the structure derived from her should have read as Taz Mahal and not Taj (ending with j). Several European visitors during Shah Jahan’s era mention it as Taj-e-Mahal as per the times and tradition; a Sanskrit name Tej-o-Mahalaya, signifying a Shiva temple. Conveniently Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb avoided the Sanskrit term and called it a tomb. The tomb should be understood to signify not a structure but the grave or cenotaph inside it. More over if Taj is believed to be a burial place, how can the term Mahal, a mansion be associated with it. As the term Taj Mahal does not appear in Moghul courts, it is not logical to search for any Moghul explanation of the name. The name Taj and Mahal are of Sanskrit origin.

Actually the name Taj Mahal is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit term Tejo Mahalay signifying a Shiva temple – Agreshwar Mahadev, deity of Agra. The tradition of removing the footwear before climbing the marble platform existed even before Shah Jahan’s era, as it was a Siva temple. Had the Taj originated as a tomb, footwear need not be removed and are worn at a tomb. People visiting the structure may notice that the slab of the cenotaph is a marble basement in plain while its superstructure and the other three cenotaphs on the two floors are covered with inlaid creeper designs. This indicates that the marble pedestal of the Shiva idol is still in place and Mumtaz’s cenotaph are not original. Besides the pictures carved inside the upper border of the marble lattice plus those mounted on it, number 108, a number sacred in Hindu temple tradition. Workmen connected with the repair and restoration of the Taj who claim to have seen the ancient sacred Shiv linga and other idols sealed in the thick walls and in chambers sealed within below the marble basement. He accuses The Archaeological Survey of India maintaining a discreet silence and avoiding the probe to the hidden historical evidence.

There are twelve Jyotirlingas spread all over India. The Tejo Mahalaya ie Taj Mahal appears to be one of them, know as the Nagnatheshwar since its parapet is abound with Naga ie Cobra snake worshiped by the Hindus. Ever since Shah Jahan’s take over of the structure, all evidence of Hinduism was suppressed. The famous Hindu treatise on architecture, ‘Vishwakarma Vastushastra’ mentions Tej Linga amongst the Shiv lingas. Such a Tej Linga was consecrated in the Taj Mahal, hence it was known as Tejo Mahalaya. Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, is an ancient centre of Shiva worship. Many of its orthodox residents have through ages continued the tradition of worshiping at the five Shiva shrines before taking their last meal every night, especially during the month of ‘Shravan.’ During the last few centuries, the residents had to be content with worshiping at only four Shiva shrines – Balkeshwar, Prithvinath, Manakameshwar and Rajarajeshwar. They lost track of the fifth Shiva shrine which their forefathers had worshiped. The fifth was Agreshwar Mahadev Nagnatheshwar, the diety of Agra, the diety of king Cobra consecrated in the Tejo Mahalay which is the Taj Mahal. Also the local population who dominate in Agra and its surroundings are Jats. Their name of Shiva is Tejaji. PN Oak adds, the Jat special issue brought out by respected Illustrated Weekly of India (June 28, 1971) states that the Jats have built Teja Mandirs. Teja Linga is among the several names of the Shiva Lingas. From this it is apparent that the Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahalay, the abode of Tej.

PN Oak cites some documentary evidence to prove his point. Shah Jahan’ own court chronicle, the Badshanama admits (page 403 vol 1) that a grand mansion of unique splendour with a dome (Imaarat-a-alishan-wa-gumbaze) was taken from Jaipur of Maharaja Jaisingh place for Mumtaz’s burial and the structure was known as Raja Mansingh’s palace. The plaque put by the authorities outside Taj Mahal described the edifice as a mausoleum built by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took over 22 years from 1631 to 1653 to build it. Oak accuses the plaque of historical bungling. Firstly, the plaque cites no authority for this claim. Secondly, the woman’s name was Mumtaz-ul-Zamani and not Mumtaz Mahal as we are made to believe.

Prince Aurangazeb’s letter to his father emperor Shah Jahan is recorded in at least three chronicles titled – Aadaab-Alamgiri, Yadgarnama and the Muruqqa-i-Akbarabadi (edited by Syed Ahmed, Agra, 1931. Page 43. Footnote 2). In that letter Aurangazeb records in 1652 AD that the several buildings in the fancied burial place of Mumtaz were seen to be storeyed and were so old that they were all leaking, while the dome had developed a crack on the northern side. Aurangzeb, therefore ordered immediate repairs to the buildings at his own expense while recommending to the emperor that more elaborate repairs be carried out later. This is proof that the Taj complex was old as to need immediate repairs. And the ex-Maharaja of Jaipur retains in his secret personal ‘Kapad Dwara’ collection two orders from Shah Jahan dated December 18, 1633 (bearing modern nos R 176 & 177) requisitioning the Taj structure complex. That was so blatant usurpation that the then ruler of Jaipur was ashamed to make the document public.

The Rajasthan State archives at Bikaner have preserved three of the firmans addressed by Shah Jahan to the Jaipur ruler Jaisingh, ordering the latter to supply marble (for Mumtaz’s grave with Koranic grafts) from the Makranna quarries and stone cutters and carvers. Jaisingh was enraged at the blatant seizure of Taj Mahal that he refused to oblige Shah Jahan marble for grating Koranic engraving or cenotaphs for further desecration of Taj Mahal. He refused to send any marble and detained the stone cutters and engravers in his protective custody. The three firmans were sent to Jaisingh within about two years of Mumtaz’s death. Had Shah Jahan really built the Taj Mahal over a period of 22 years, the marble would have been needed only after 15 to 20 years not immediately after Mumta’s death. Moreover, the three firmans do not mention the Taj Mahal, nor Mumtaz, nor the burial. Even the cost and the quantity of the marble are not mentioned which proves that an insignificant quantity of marble was needed for some superficial work or minor alterations to the Taj Mahal. Otherwise Shah Jahan could never hope to build a fabulous structure like Taj Mahal by fully depending on the marble from a non-co-operative ruler Jaisingh.

Prof Marvin Miller of New York who had taken samples from the riverside doorway of the Taj had interesting results. Carbon dating tests revealed that the door was 300 years older than Shah Jahan. European traveler Johan Albert Mandelslo, who visited Agra in 1638 (only seven years after Mumtaz's death), describes the life of the city in his memoirs. But he makes no reference to the Taj Mahal being built. The writings of Peter Mundy, an English visitor to Agra within a year of Mumtaz's death, also suggest the Taj was a noteworthy building well before Shah Jahan's time. Fearing political backlash, earlier government tried to have Prof Oak's book withdrawn from the bookstores. There is only one way to discredit or validate Oak's research is open the sealed rooms of the Taj Mahal under authorized supervision, and let international experts investigate the truth. 

* We at Aneela Nike Post neither endorse or refute his claims and theories.


India's only Kite Museum in Ahmedabad houses a 16-feet long kite

The Patang Kite Museum in Gujarat's Ahmedabad is India's first and the world's second kite museum. It showcases around 125 kites from all over the country, including a 16-feet long kite featuring Garba dance and another made of 400 pieces of paper. It was inaugurated in 1986 at Sanskar Kendra, which was designed by the father of modern architecture, Le Corbusier.

Picture Post:
St Joseph's Church, Mangalore,
Karnataka, India


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