Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Exactly is Emotion

Chapter 1 from the book: Emotion: The Essence of Life, published by Unistar Books.

Are you a bit ashamed of being emotional. Do you think shedding tears or expressing love is a sign of weakness. Do you feel you do not reason properly, and are unable to make any decision because of your emotional profile. Do you think reason alone should be relied on in decision making, in relationships, in getting along in the world. You need not have such fears, for current research into the emotional domain shows that without emotions, you would neither be strong, nor intelligent, nor caring, nor would you be able to achieve anything in life. And those who think that reason alone ought to be our guide in life do not know that without emotions one cannot reason at all. You would be a cold automaton unable to experience the richness of life, unable to love, unable to hate, unable to share the finer sentiments that make us what we are.

It is rather surprising that those who have denigrated 'emotion' have done so very passionately, they have been very emotional about it, very touchy about it. The dichotomy between emotion and reason, however, is very ambiguous. The head versus the heart debate goes back to antiquity, yet nothing much seems to have been achieved. First of all people do not agree on what is 'emotion' and what is 'reason', yet they go on arguing endlessly about them. The first task, therefore, ought to be to understand the two terms, the concepts behind them, and the mechanisms behind them. Only then can there be some fruitful argument about them.

Emotions: Conceptual Issues

We use the word 'emotion' frequently, but if asked to define it, to explain it, we are at a loss. This is because though emotions are an integral part of our daily experience, they are extremely difficult to understand. Philosophers and psychologists say that emotions are mental states that were called 'appetite' by the Greeks, and 'affect' and 'passions' by other philosophers such as Rene Descartes and David Hume. The sheer range of phenomena covered by the word 'emotion' and other related terms makes it difficult to define it. The problem was summed up well by J. S. Brown and I. E. Farber in their theoretical paper on emotion. They begin by saying that no 'genuine order can be discerned within this field. Instead, examination of current treatments of emotion reveals a discouraging state of confusion and uncertainty. Substantial advances have been made in recent years with respect to theories of learning and motivation, but the phenomena of emotion have not, as a rule, been considered in these formulations and remain a tangle of unrelated facts'.[i]

Such theoretical difficulties in the study of emotions have led some theorists to deny the very existence of emotions. Predicting the redundancy of the term 'emotion', M. F. Meyer said in 1933: 'Why introduce into science an unneeded term, such as emotion, when there are already scientific terms for everything we have to describe? . . . I predict: The 'will' has virtually passed out of our scientific psychology today; the 'emotion' is bound to do the same.'[ii]

Not all go to such extremes however, but among the numerous difficulties in analysing emotions, one is due to the fact that so many systems of the body are involved in emotion. A second problem has been the tendency to separate emotion from cognition or rational thought processes. Recent studies show that the physiological and psychological processes that are responsible for the emotions are, however, interrelated.

The study of emotions remained neglected for centuries because it is believed that one the characteristic features of humans that separates them from the rest of the living creatures is the capacity to reason. It is no wonder, therefore, that thinkers have always emphasised this aspect at the expense of others.

The Problem of Terminology

The use of the word emotion in philosophy and psychology is comparatively modern. Hume wrote about it, but even he speaks generally rather of 'passions' or 'affections'. As various thinkers have used the word 'emotion' and other related terms, there has always been confusion and disagreement. A. Baier has noted, for example, that while 'emotion' used to mean 'violent passion', we now seem to use 'passion' to mean 'violent emotion'.[iii] Later, when the word 'emotion' gained currency its application was very wide.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, 'emotion' is an 'agitation, tumult, physical disturbance, disturbance of mind or feeling, affection of the mind. The word, the dictionary says, was rare before the second half of the 17th century. The Oxford English Dictionary (1989) tells us that the word emotion is an adaptation of Latin noun 'Ä“motion-em', which means 'of action'. In psychology, the word emotion means 'a mental 'feeling' or 'affection' (e.g., of pleasure or pain desire or aversion, surprise, hope or fear, etc.), as distinguished from cognitive or volitional states of consciousness. In German the word for emotion is 'affekt', and the Italian word for it is 'emozione'. Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology goes on to define 'emotion' as a total state of consciousness considered as involving a distinctive feeling-tone and a characteristic trend of activity, aroused by a certain situation which is either perceived or ideally represented.[iv]

Regarding other terms, let us take first take 'passion' which in Latin was chiefly a word of Christian theology, and that was also its earliest use in French and English: the suffering of pain, now usually the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross. Another entry in The Oxford English Dictionary on 'passion' calls it any kind of feeling by which the mind is powerfully affected or moved; a vehement, commanding, or overpowering emotion.

There are other words that are frequently used in connection with emotion, sometimes believed to be its synonyms: feelings, moods, sentiments, reflexes, instincts, and drives. It ought to be stressed here that there is a great deal of vagueness in how we use these words in our daily lives, and how they are used in philosophy and psychology. Even philosophers and psychologists often disagree about their meaning, and they use them variously.

Distinguishing between emotions and moods, Paul Ekman, a leading investigator and theorist on emotion, says that emotions typically last for a very short time, a second or even less, while moods last longer.[v] Davidson and Sternberg point out that the concept of mood refers to the feeling state when the object or cause is not in the focus of attention. In fact, people are often unaware of the causes of their moods, which may include minor events such as finding or losing some amount of money, as well as background variables such as a lack of daylight or exercise. Hence, moods lack a specific referent and usually come about gradually, are of low intensity, and may endure for some time. These differences are apparent in ordinary language when we say that we are afraid 'of' or angry 'about' something, but we are 'in' a good mood. As a result, emotions draw our attention to the eliciting event and are likely to interrupt other ongoing activity. Moods, on the other hand, remain in the background, and it is this diffuse and unfocussed quality that accounts for their pervasive influence.[vi]

Now we can take up the word 'sentiment' which in everyday use refers to conscious feelings. Shand and McDougall define 'sentiment' as complex dispositions acquired through individual experience, which underlie feelings and ideas. As for 'feelings', the notion of an 'inner sense' which perceives the perceiver's emotions is lent plausibility by the use of the verb 'to feel' in reports both of emotional states and of perceptions.

'Impulse' means a sudden wish or urge to do something. 'Reflex' is a simple pattern of response that is determined by a characteristic pattern of stimulation and by a preorganised bodily structure. 'Instinct' differs from 'reflex' as instinctive patterns are more complex and more persistent. Instinctive behaviour is more plastic, variable, adaptable to environmental conditions than reflexes. Instinctive acts are commonly determined by hormones, but a sustained chemical excitant is not characteristic of reflex actions, according to Paul Thomas Young.[vii]

The words 'instincts' and 'drives', however, have generated heated debate among thinkers, because to some they suggest some kind of biological determinism. This created problems for Darwin when he suggested that certain behaviours are innate and passed on, and Freud who suggested the idea of 'Eros' and 'Thanatos', the love and death instincts. But such objections are unjustified, for though human beings could be said to posses a free will, we are also biological beings, and most biological features are given to us by nature. Certain behaviour of most organisms is innate, and the organism will be predisposed to behave that way even if it grows in total isolation. Without some basic innate programme, most organisms would not be urged to do anything. William James put it aptly: 'Now why do the various animals do what seem to us such strange things, in the presence of such outlandish stimuli? Why does the hen, for example, submit herself to the tedium of incubating such a fearfully uninteresting set of objects as a nestful of eggs, unless she have some sort of a prophetic inkling of the result?'[viii] We might as well mention 'tropism' here, a term biologists use to designate a persistent orientation of the organism to a field of force, such as a moth, for instance, maintains a fixed orientation towards the candle flame.

Distinction must also be made between emotion state and trait. An emotion state, suggests Richard Lazarus, usually refers to a transient reaction to specific kinds of adaptational encounters. We say that someone is displaying or experiencing anger at a particular time and place; the state comes and goes with the circumstances. An emotion trait, on the other hand, usually refers to a disposition or tendency to react in a particular emotional way to an adaptational encounter. To speak of trait implies frequent recurrence of the state in diverse but specifiable circumstances.[ix]

Another word that we often use in everyday language is 'temperament'. A temperamental quality usually refers to an inherited profile of behaviour that predisposes a person to experience a particular affective reaction, given a relevant incentive. Like a mood, a temperamental quality is an individual difference construct. But, unlike mood, which does not imply a genetic pedigree, a temperamental quality does imply some genetic influence. Jerome Kagan clarifies this with an example: The state of fatigue provides an appropriate analogy. The fatigue produced by a poor night's sleep is an acute feeling state. A mood of chronic fatigue can be due to responsibility for caring for triplets for the first five years of their lives. Finally, the fatigue of a person who inherited a mild hypothyroidism is analogous to a temperamental quality.[x]

Certain instincts or drives are decidedly hardwired, but it does not mean that we are total slaves to them. As Steven Pinker explains, 'Saying that the different ways of knowing are innate is different from saying that knowledge is innate. Obviously, we have to learn about Frisbees, butterflies, and lawyers. Talking about innate modules is not meant to minimize learning but to explain it.' [xi]

[i] J. S. Brown and I. E. Farber, 'Emotions Conceptualized as Intervening Variables', Psychological Bullettin, 1951, pp. 465-95, quoted by James Hillman, Emotion, Routledge & Kegan Paul 1960, pp 6

[ii]M.F. Meyer,, That Whale among the Fishes ― Theory of Emotions; Psychological Review, 1933, pp. 300, quoted by Hillman, James, Emotion; Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1960, pp 32

[iii] A. Baier, What Emotions are About. Philosophical Perspectives, 4, 1-29, quoted in Companion to Philosophy of Mind, 1990.

[iv] Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Macmillan & Co, 1901

[v] Ekman, Emotions Revealed; Weidenfield & Nicolson 2003, p 50

[vi] Janet E. Davidson and Robert J. Sternberg (Eds), The Psychology of Problem Solving; Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp 265-66

[vii] P.T. Young, Motivation and Emotion; publisher not known as the front pages were found torn in the library Panjab University Library copy, pp. 79-80

[viii] William James; Broody Hen; quoted by Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works, Penguin Books, 1997, p185

[ix] Richards Lazarus, The Stable and the Unstable in emotion, in Nature of Emotion, Fundamental Questions; Ekman, Paul and Davidson, Richard J (Ed). Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 79

[x] Jerome Kagan, Distinctions Among Emotions, Moods, and Temperamental Qualities, in Nature of Emotion, Fundamental Questions; Ekman, Paul and Davidson, Richard J., Eds. Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 74

[xi] Steven Pinker; How the Mind Works; Penguin Books, 1997 SP; pp 315

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shiv Kumar Batalvi (October 8, 1937 — May 6, 1973)

HE was barely in his mid-thirties, but the end was nigh for Shiv Kumar Batalvi. For quite some time, his friends had been noticing that his otherwise fair skin was growing darker by the day. Excessive drinking had finally taken its toll. It was a sad end to a poet who, according to Amrita Pritam, was the 'darling' poet of Punjab.

Shiv Kumar Batalvi, the poet who literally dominated poetic gatherings in his short life, was born in Bara Pind Lohtian, (now in Pakistan). There is some confusion about the date of birth. While some scholars believe that he was born on July 23, 1936, others say that he was born on October 8, 1937. His parents, Pandit Kishan Gopal and mother Shanti Devi had to leave their village after Partition. The family chose to make Batala their new home, and Pandit Kishan Gopal continued to make a living as a patwari.

Shiv Batalvi did his Matriculation in 1953, and tried to do FSc from Baring Christian Union, Batala, but he failed to pass the examination. The young man was more interested in softer emotions than the composition of hydrogen or the laws of gravity. He would spend all his time with his friends. Somewhere along the line, he met Barkat Ram Yuman, and became his disciple. Pandit Kishan Gopal was very unhappy with his wayward son. Using his own influence, he somehow got Shiv a job as patwari. But if he hoped that the job might bring about a change in the errant son, he was mistaken. Shiv continued to let his heart rule his mind, and lived for a while in Qadian before finally moving to Chandigarh in the late 60s.

As his popularity grew in private mehfils, he saw the publication of his first book, Peerhan da Praaga, in 1960. It became an instant success, assuring Shiv Batalvi a permanent place among the great Punjabi poets. When the readers demanded more, the poet obliged them with a string of highly acclaimed books: Lajwanti, Aate diyan Chiriyaan, Mainu Vida karo, Birha tu Sultan, Dardmandaan diyan Aahaan, and his epic masterpiece Loona. The last mentioned book took him to the pinnacle of glory, and finally crowning him with the Sahitya Akademi Award.

After coming to Chandigarh, he joined the State Bank of India, Sector 17 as a PRO. Since he hardly showed any interest in office work, he was made librarian. The booths opposite the Kiran Cinema were his favourite haunt, and he could be seen with his friends there every evening after a 'hard day' at the Bank.

Shiv used to recite his poems in tarannum, and those who have been fortunate enough to have heard him say that although many great professional singers have rendered Shiv Batalvi's songs, none of them bettered the poet's own style of recitation.

Writer Mohan Bhandari, one of Shiv Batalvi's closest friends believes that as a lyrical poet, Shiv Kumar Batalvi has no equal in Punjabi literature. There was something extraordinary about his diction, his metaphors, his imagery, that he could paint a verbal picture of whatever he was writing about — a picture so vivid and real that people have his poems on their lips; no other poet can boast of such popularity. He was a hot favourite at Kavi Sammelans.

Reminiscing about old times, Bhandari continues: "Shiv used to often say that he was going to die soon . . . . Asaan taan joban rutey marna . . . . Kabraan udeekadiyan . . . . and so on. We never took him seriously, because we used to think that he was joking. And when I heard that he was gone, I couldn't believe it. I took a rickshaw and went to the Sector 22 market, in the hope that the news was nothing but a hoax, and that I would find him sitting there in one of the shops. I waited in vain for hours for that most colourful of our poets to turn up. I could never really get over his death. Even after so many years, I feel that he might just walk in any moment wearing his motia kameez and white pajaamas and Peshawari chappals."

Dadasaheb Phalke (1870 — 1944)

DHUNDIRAJ GOVIND PHALKE came to films through a long circuitous path. Having studied art at J. J. School of art in 1885, and later at Kala Bhavana, Baroda, he devoted his time mainly to painting landscapes. In due course, architecture began to interest him, and before long he was learning photography. Not satisfied yet, he also learnt three-colour blockmaking, photolithography and ceramics.

Dadasaheb Phalke, as he is affectionately called, was born in Trymbalkeshwar, Nasik. His father was an accomplished Sanskrit scholar. Phalke started his professional career as portrait photographer, went on to do stage makeup, and even assisted a German illusionist. An incurable drifter, he then started Phalke's Art Printing & Engraving Works at Lonavala in 1908, and later Laxmi Art Printing where he made photolitho transfers of Ravi Varma's oleographs. He, then, went to Germany to buy three-colour printing machines, and it appeared as if he had finally found his vocation in life. But that was not to be, for around 1910 he chanced upon to see the film The Life of Christ. The film made such an impact on his mind that he began to wonder if such films could be made in India with Indian themes. What began as an idle curiosity soon became an obsession, and he raised money and experimented with a few short films. Encouraged by what he made, he went to London in February 1912 to learn the art and craft of film-making. It was Cecil Hepworth of Walton Studios who trained him in the craft of film-making. Phalke bought a Willamson camera and returned India to set up Phalke Films on Dadar Main Road in Bombay. The money for this venture came from a loan against his insurance policy. His wife, Saraswati Phalke was an active partner in the venture. She not only managed the Studio but also looked after the technical aspects of film-making. Under this banner he made five films, beginning with Raja Harishchandra in 1913 The Company later moved to Nasik. He went to England again in 1914 to organise trade shows. He even had offers to stay on, but returned to India after buying the latest equipment. On his return he closed Phalke Films and established the Hindustan Cinema Films in 1918, and under this banner he made about 44 silent films, and one talkie titled Gangavataran. Phalke is generally credited with ushering in the motion pictures in India with the prodution of Raja Harishchandra.

Bhai Vir Singh (December 5, 1872 — June 10, 1957)

THE year 1898 saw the publication of Bhai Vir Singh's novel Sundari, a landmark in modern Punjabi literature. Some critics went so far as to call it the first novel of the Punjabi language. The plot dealt with the trials and travails of a small Sikh community during the Mughal Empire in the 18th century. This immensely popular novel ran into 35 editions, and was followed by Bijay Singh and Satwant Kaur, both novels. Then came Rana Surat Singh, often described as an epic poem. In this book, the poet paints a poignant picture of the lonesome life of a widowed queen, Raj Kaur. It has more than 1200 lines of some of the best poetry written in Punjabi. With this volume, Bhai Vir Singh began to write verse more regularly, ending up with an output of more than 500 poems. He also wrote three excellent biographies: Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar (1925), Sri Guru Nanak Chamatkar (1928), and Asht Gur Chamatkar (1951). He wrote only one play, Raja Lokhdata Singh, and did not write any novels after 1907. But he continued to write poetry and scholarly work.

Bhai Vir SinghBhai Vir Singh was born into a family of scholars, and he grew up in the holy city of Amritsar. He finished his Matriculation winning the district board's gold medal. When he was still at school, he was married to Bibi Chattar Kaur.

Considered to be the harbinger of modern Punjabi literature, Bhai Vir Singh wrote prose, novels, poems, plays and historical research. He also started publishing Khalsa Samachar, the first Punjabi daily. Through the pages of Khalsa Samachar, he tried to bring about social and religious reform such as importance of education, equal rights to women, abolition of the caste system, and so on. He established the Khalsa College in Amritsar, and with the help of Wazir Singh, he set up a lithographic press in Amritsar in 1892. The following year he started the Khalsa Tract Society with a view to serving the country and the Khalsa Panth. He was a great scholar not only of Sikhism but also of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

Bhai Vir Singh also edited and published Prachin Panth Prakash and Janamsakhi, the life-story of Guru Nanak Dev. He organised the Chief Khalsa Diwan, a representative body of the Sikhs for bringing about religious and social reforms. SInce very few cared to get themselves educated during his day, he formed the Sikh Educational Committee for spreading of education.

"For understanding different religions," he used to say, "the emphasis is not so much on points of similarity as on uniqueness. There are many things common between a cow and a buffalo; but the cow and the buffalo are not the same."

Bhai Vir Singh inspired novelists like Nanak Singh, Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid, Charan Singh Shahid, Master Tara Singh, and Gurbakhsh Singh.

Panjab University conferred on him a doctorate in Oriental Learning, and the Sahitya Akademi awarded him its first annual award for outstanding contribution to Punjabi literature. He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan. He was nominated member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1952.

"Bhai Vir Singh is one of those representative Indians," Dr Radhakrishnan said while evaluating the great poet's contribution to Indian literature, "deriving inspiration from the classical wisdom of our land and living it before our eyes."

Mahesh Yogi (January 12, 1917- February 5, 2008)

"MY system of meditation is a golden link to connect and harmonise materialism and spirituality. It is a direct process to integrate man's life on earth." Thus spake Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who took spiritualism to the masses and packaged TM or transcendental meditation in a more easy-to-understand form.

The third of four children, Mahesh Prasad Varma, now revered by his followers as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was born into a rather well-off family. The exact date of his birth is not known. January 12, 1917 is the one given by his uncle Raj Varma, other dates are October 18, 1911; January 12, 1918; and October 18, 1918.

He showed a natural disposition towards the sciences, and as he grew up he graduated from Allahabad University. "I was completely dissatisfied with what I studied in college. Because I knew - this can't be the whole knowledge. I was searching for something complete whereby I could understand everything." For a while he worked at a local factory, but his restless spirit bade him to become a disciple to the Shankaracharaya. And with this he renounced the world, took the vows of celibacy, and began to call himself Bal Brahmachari Mahesh.

The Maharishi travelled all over India and met many great men He told his listeners that life was short, and so there was no point in being miserable. "Then why waste time in helplessness and suffer any agony in life? Why suffer when you can enjoy? Why be miserable when you can be happy? Now, let the days of misery and peacelessness be over and let their operation become tales of the past. Allow not the past history of agony to be continued in the present. Be happy and gay."

He held, in the late fifties, a Seminar of Spiritual Luminaries in Mylapore with a view to finding out a practical formula of spiritual regeneration of the world.

The Maharishi's goal now was to make the whole world spiritual, and to do that he would have to spread his message quickly and effectively, but he realised that the rate at which he was going, it would take at least 200 years to achieve that goal. "Then I thought: I must go to the most advanced country, because I thought — the country is most advanced because the people of that country would try something new very readily." Once his message was accepted there, it would be easy enough to spread it to the rest of the world.

His book Science of Being and Art of Living was published in 1963. It was the summation of both the practical wisdom of the ancient Indian texts and the latest scientific knowledge of the West.

M. N. Roy (March 21, 1887 —January 25, 1954)

M. N. ROY'S life is the stuff thriller novels are made of. Fired by patriotic zeal, he joined the revolutionary movement at the tender age of 14. During World War I, he tried to get arms for Indian revolutionaries from Indonesia, China, and Japan. Dodging the British, Chinese and Japanese police with a forged French passport in the name of Father Martin, he reached the USA. Once there, he began to call himself Manabendra Nath Roy or M. N. Roy for short. He assumed so many more identities and aliases, in his long adventurous life, that people forgot his real name: Narendra Nath Bhattacharya.

M. N. RoyInspired by the daredevilry of firebrand revolutionary V. D. Savarkar, he himself led a life as exciting as that of his childhood idol. Quite early in life, he read Bankim Chandra's Anand Math. The book had a profound impact on the young man. Roy studied for a while at National College, when Sri Aurobindo was Principal. He soon joined the Yugantar group - an organisation that believed in violent revolution. As he indulged in more and more revolutionary activities, he began to figure prominently in police records. When the situation became an impossible one for him, he was forced to flee the country.

Having reached the USA, he started studying socialism, and was back to his revolutionary ways. When the USA joined World War I, there were orders to have him arrested. Fearless as ever, he jumped the bail and fled to the neutral Mexico, along with his American wife Evelyn Trent, under an assumed name of Manuel Gomes. Over there he organised a Socialist party, which later became the first Communist Party outside the Soviet Union. He became so popular there that the President of Mexico took him as his non-official adviser.

When Lenin heard of the exploits of Roy, he invited him to Russia. Travelling once again under an assumed name, he reached Russia for the second International Congress of Communists. Lenin was actually expecting a wizened old man from the east, but he was surprised to see a young and robust six-footer instead. Lenin was sufficiently impressed by his intellectual depth and called him the symbol of revolution in the East. Not the man to be overawed by big personalities, M. N. Roy was bold enough to speak out his mind whenever he disagreed with Lenin. He was asked to write for Pravda, the Party organ; was elected member of the Presidium; and was sent to Tashkent to lead the revolution. In fact there was also a proposal to send him as Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan so that he could guide the revolution in India. After Lenin's death, differences cropped up between him and the Communist leadership in Russia, and he left for China in 1926 to lend his strength to the revolution there.

He returned to India in 1930, and was arrested and sentenced to six years' imprisonment. At the end of his prison term, he joined the Indian National Congress, but at the outbreak of World War II, left the Congress and formed the Radical Democratic Party in 1940. By that time, his political philosophy had begun to show signs of change. He began to drift away from Marxism, and drew closer towards New Humanism.

Beginning his eventful life as as a nationalist revolutionary, Roy worked in at least twelve different countries spread over three continents. He ultimately was recognised as one of the leading philosophers of the modern Indian Renaissance. It must not be forgotten that for someone who held such powerful influence of young intellectuals of his time, Roy did not have the advantage of going to any big university. "And yet what marks out Roy as unique among the dramatis personae of the history of the revolution," remarks G. D. Parekh, "in our time is a rare combination of the love of freedom, unimpeachable integrity, a sense of loyalty, the courage of conviction, a passionate interest in ideas and their human implications, an unqualified involvement in the struggle for freedom together with complete detachment from the game of power politics."



Milkha Singh (c. 1931)

IN the blazing summer heat, two little boys are on their way to school. They are barefooted as their parents, being poor, can't buy shoes for them. Since the ground is too hot to walk, the boys are forced to run, and take shelter under the shade of the nearest tree. After a while, they run again till they find another tree. The cycle repeats until they reach their school at Kot Addu, another village about 10 km away from their own. The two friends hardly realise that they effectively run about 20 km every day, besides wading through two streams. It is perhaps this harsh routine that will make one of the boys run for his country in the Olympics a couple of decades on.

His immense popularity notwithstanding, very few know Milkha Singh the man. This tall and slim athlete grew up in a poor household in Gobindpura, Muzzaffargarh district, now in Pakistan. With the coming of independence, he lost his parents and three brothers in the genocide that followed Partition. He, however, managed to escape death by lying among the dead. Bearing immense hardship he finally reached New Delhi.

Having lost everything in life, he decided to join the Army, but was turned down because the authorities felt that he was too thin. However, when he tried again, he was selected in 1952.

As a jawan in Electrical Mechanical Engineering, Secunderabad, he reached the pinnacle of glory in athletics through sheer dedication and hard work. "What I am today," admits Milkha Singh, "is all thanks to the Army. It is the Army that discovered me, groomed me, and trained me. Before that I had not even heard of the Olympics or Asian Games. Havaldar Gurdev Singh was the one who groomed me, and trained me. That was all the training that I had. I set myself punishing schedules. I used to train so hard that several times I had to be carried home on a stretcher."

Milkha Singh shot into limelight when he took part in a race in 1954 in Patiala. The Maharajah of Patiala was on the look out for young sportspersons for the Melbourne Olympics. He was impressed with Milkha Singh's running action, and, thanks to him, he was sent for a coaching camp in Bangalore.

For a person who has been acknowledged as one of the top six athletes in the world after his success at the Tokyo Asian Games and in the Commonwealth Games at Cardiff, Milkha Singh is best remembered for his feat in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he missed the bronze in a photo-finish with a timing of 45.6 seconds. In all, he ran about 80 international races and won 77. He won the coveted Helm's Award in 1959, and is the only Asian to be selected for participation in the first Earth Run sponsored by UNICEF. Incidentally, the title 'flying Sikh' was given to him by President Ayub Khan of Pakistan.

It was Nehru and Kairon who persuaded the Army to relieve him so that he could takeover as Deputy Director of Sports, Punjab. And in this capacity he introduced sports wings in many schools, and also trained a number of promising athletes. "But my influence on the young athletes ended at school level," he laments, "because soon they would get picked up by various organisations and private companies to perform for them. I no longer had any control over them."

In order to train young world-class athletes, Milkha Singh offered his services to the Athletics Federation of India. "All I asked for was eight years' time without any interference. But they did not show any interest. I wanted to start a sports academy here, but again all my plans were thwarted."

Unmindful of bureaucratic apathy, the tireless runner carries on with his work. He is married to the former volleyball champion, Nirmala. His son is a promising golfer, and one of his three daughters had done a doctorate in sports. Although he is well-placed in life, he hasn't forgotten people who have been less fortunate. Last year, he adopted the seven-year-old son of Havaldar Vikram Singh who sacrificed his life while trying to recapture Tiger Hill.


Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw (April 3, 1914)

SOLDIERS are often honoured for their bravery, but it is usually at a formal function after a war, but Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw has the rare distinction of being honoured for his bravery on the battle front itself. During the World War II, he was leading a counter-offensive against the invading Japanese in Burma. As he charged forward with his men, a Japanese soldier suddenly emerged from the bushes and fired at him, wounding him seriously in the stomach. Fortunately, Major-General D. T. Cowan spotted Sam holding on to life. The General was aware of Sam's valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, the Major-General quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Sam saying: "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross."

Field Marshal S. H. F. J. ManekshawAnd yet this great soldier and officer who would finally become a Field Marshal many decades later, actually wanted to be a gynaecologist! He was born in Amritsar on April 3, 1914, and was the fifth child in a family of four brothers and two sisters. Endowed with a good sense of humour, this thin and wiry lad kept the family in splits with his jokes and mimicry. His father, Dr H. F. Manekshaw was a doctor, and Sam also wanted to be a doctor. But while he was at Hindu College, Amritsar, he saw an advertisement calling young men to enter the newly established Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun. Sam gave it a shot, and he was selected.

Commissioned in 1934, the young officer held several regimental assignments. He was soon a Second Lieutenant, and was attached first to the Royal Scots, and then to the Frontier Force Regiment. The 5' 10" dashing young officer soon fell in love with a charming and talented girl, Siloo, and married her in 1939.

Having recovered from those near-fatal wounds in Burma, Manekshaw went for a course at the Staff College, Quetta, and later also served there as an instructor before being sent to join 12 Frontier Force Rifles in Burma. He was once again involved in a fierce battle with the Japanese, and was wounded for a second time.

Towards the close of World War II, Manekshaw was sent as Staff Officer to General Daisy in Indo-China where, after the Japanese surrender, he helped rehabilitate over 10,000 prisoners of war. He, then, went on a six-month lecture tour to Australia in 1946, and after his return served as First Grade Staff Officer in the Military Operations Directorate.

Manekshaw showed acumen for planning and administration while handling the issues related to Partition, and later put to use his battle skills during the operation in Jammu and Kashmir. By 1957, he was a Major-General. As GOC-in-C Eastern Command, he handled the tricky problem of insurgency in Nagaland. The grateful nation honoured him with a Padma Bhushan in 1968.

Manekshaw succeeded Gen. Kumaramangalam as Army Chief on June 8, 1969. In a couple of years thousands of refugees from the then East Pakistan started crossing over to India as a result of oppression unleashed by the West Pakistan Army. The volatile situation got worse, and soon erupted into a full-scale war in 1971. During the military campaign, Manekshaw showed uncommon ability to motivate the forces, coupling it with mature war strategy. The war ended with Pakistan's unconditional surrender, and the formation of Bangladesh.

Manekshaw was honoured with a Padma Vibhushan in 1972, and was made Field Marshal in 1973.

Dr Raja Ramanna (January 28, 1925)

MAY 18, 1974:The countdown had begun to detonate the 'device'. Dr Raja Ramanna and his team of scientists waited with bated breath. 'A wireless relay of the counting was made audible to the photographers so that they could prepare themselves when the count reached five. For some reason the photographers cut off the counting relay at six and after that we heard nothing. We thought the worst had happened, and something had gone wrong, but about five seconds later, right in front of us, the whole earth rose up as though Lord Hanuman had lifted it.' And with that India made a giant leap into the nuclear age.

Dr Raja RamannaIndia's leading nuclear physicist, Prof Raja Ramanna was born into a distinguished family that had its connections with the Royal Court of the erstwhile Mysore State. B. Venkatachar, his grandfather's brother was a great Kannada novelist, who had also translated the novels of Bankim Chandra Chatterji into the Kannada. His father, B. Ramanna, was a judge in the Mysore state, and his mother Rukminiamma, was an exquisite lady, well versed in Indian classics as well as Shakespeare Dickens, and Walter Scott. When Dr Ramanna was born, they named him Bindignaville Krishnaraja Ramanna, but later they decided to shorten the tongue-twister to Raja Ramanna.

Dr Ramanna went to Bishop Cotton School in Bangalore, and later graduated from Madras Christian College. He got a doctorate from the London University in 1948. Back in India, he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. The young scientist was transferred to the Atomic Energy Commission (later renamed - BARC - Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) in 1953 where he took charge of the Nuclear Physics Division. By 1972, he rose to the position of Director of the BARC, and the following year he was appointed part-time Chairman of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Dr Raja Ramanna is best known for the crucial role he played in designing India's first reactor, Apsara, and later the fast reactor, Purnima, and of course the successful nuclear test at Pokhran.

Author of several scientific papers and Years of Pilgrimage, an autobiography, Dr Ramanna is a Fellow of the Indian Academy. He was given the S S Bhatnagar Award for Physical Sciences in 1963, a Padma Shri in 1968, a Padma Bhushan in 1973, a Padma Vibhushan in 1975, the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Award (1983), Meghnad Saha Award (1985), and R. D. Birla Memorial Award in 1985-86. He was Minister of State for Defence from December 1989 to November 1990.

Dr Ramanna is a rare combination of science and art. He is an accomplished and acclaimed pianist. He took a diploma of licentiate of the Royal School of Music in 1940, and studied music at Trinity College, London.

Dr Rajendra Prasad (December 3, 1884 — February 28, 1963

WHEN Dr Rajendra Prasad passed with a first class first in the entrance examination of the Calcutta University, the Hindustan Review said rather prophetically: "The young Rajendra is a brilliant student by all accounts. We wonder what the future has in store for him. We hope he will live to occupy a seat on the Bench of the High Court of his province, and receive the letter of appointment."

Dr Rajendra PrasadBut Rajendra Prasad went much farther; not only did he become the President of the Congress Party in 1932, but he also went on to become the first President of independent India in 1950.

Dr Rajendra Prasad was born in village Zeradei, Bihar, and was the youngest child in a family of three daughters and two sons. He studied at Presidency College, Calcutta, and passed the First Arts examination with top marks. He got an M. A. B. L and LL. M. and was all set for a brilliant academic career, but when he became a member of the Dawn Society, he came under the spell of nationalism. "Association with the Society stirred my thoughts. Examinations no longer held my attention, and my imagination was caught by public and social affairs."

Dr Prasad came in contact with Gandhi during the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917. Gandhi decided to enquire into the problems of indigo cultivators, but the district authorities and the members of the Planters Association tried to stop him. An externment order was passed by the District Magistrate which Gandhi disobeyed. Rajendra Prasad was greatly impressed by Gandhi's courage. At the time, Gandhi needed people with legal knowledge to record the statements of the indigo farmers, and he chose volunteers — the prominent among them being Gorakh Prasad, Brij Kishore Prasad, and of course, Rajendra Prasad.

Dr Prasad founded the English daily Searchlight in 1918, and the Hindi weekly Desh in 1920. He took active part in the Non-Cooperation Movement by starting along with Mazharul Haq, the Swaraj Sabha. When Gandhi called off the Civil Disobedience Movement, many of his staunch followers criticised him, but Rajendra Prasad was one of the few who stood by him. He was at the forefront of the Salt Satyagraha. In the beginning the authorities were hesitant to arrest Rajendra Prasad for fear of disturbances that might follow, but they finally arrested him and jailed him for six months.

When Subhas Chandra Bose resigned as President of the Congress Party in 1939, Rajendra Prasad was asked to fill the vacuum.

As World War II broke out, most of the members of the Working Committee were of the view that they should support the war if the British agreed to the demand for a National Government. But Gandhi differed with them, because supporting war would mean supporting violence. Rajendra Prasad supported Gandhi, and even went to the extent of resigning from the Working Committee, although he was later persuaded to withdraw his resignation.

The Quit India Movement got a very enthusiastic response from every region, especially from Bihar, but Rajendra Prasad was upset as there were reports of violence in Bihar.

Dr. Prasad was elected India's first President on 26 January 1950. He served as Interim President till 1952, when he was formally elected President after the first general elections. He occupied the chair until May 12, 1962. Many tried to persuade him to continue, but he firmly declined.

A great scholar that he was, he was awarded a doctorate by Patna University, an LL. D. by the Sagar University, Mysore University, and the Osmania University.

Dr Prasad had great expectations from the forthcoming generations: "It is the youth who would succeed to the heritage of history as also to the burdens and responsibilities of the future. The happiness and prosperity of our people would depend very largely on their idealism and enthusiasm, devotion and loyalty."

P. T. Usha ( May 20, 1964)

THE sports instructor of Thriottur Upper Primary School was casually overseeing little girls running about and trying to catch one another. What surprised him was the leopard-like alacrity and movement of a tallish ten-year-old girl who was obviously beyond the reach of anyone her age. From then on he began to groom the girl who ultimately, with the help of Madhavan Nambiar, her other excellent coach, became the Sprint Queen of India: Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha or P. T. Usha for short.

Usha, the second daughter of her parents, was born in Payyoli, Calicut district, Kerala. But it was her maternal grandfather who named her 'Usha' after a character in a poem that he was reading when Usha was born.

Little Usha tasted blood in Cannanore in 1977. She won a bronze in the high jump as well as in the 100 and 200 metres by equalling the then national record at the Kerala State School Meet. But before she went to Cannanore, many of her relatives actually cautioned her parents that Cannanore was far away, and it was not nice for girls to take up sports. But her parents had complete faith in her, and they stood by her. In fact when Usha was a little girl, her father used to wake her up early in the morning and go jogging with her. Usha, who had no ambition of becoming an athlete then, used to make excuses to avoid getting up so early in the morning, but her father was too clever for her. Usha was good in sport but she was also good in studies, in fact if her sports career had not taken off so well she might have become a doctor.

Later in 1977, Usha created a national record in the Kerala State Athletic Meet at Kottayam, when she finished the 100-metre race in 13 seconds flat. Again at the All-India School Meet at Trivandrum, she helped Kerala lift the championship trophy for the first time in 23 years. In the 1978 National Athletic Meet, Usha triumphed with four gold and one silver medal. Success followed success, and Usha the Moscow Olympics as the youngest participant. She didn't do too well in Moscow, but the experience of seeing other world class athletes in action was invaluable.

Usha missed the bronze in Los Angeles Olympics by a fraction of a second. As she sat alone that evening in her room, she received a message from Indira Gandhi, the then PM: "Don't worry. You may not have won a medal, but you have won the hearts of your countrymen."

When it was time for the Asian Games in Seoul in 1986, everyone had written her off because she had performed quite poorly in the Goodwill Games in Russia. But she proved them wrong by winning four gold medals and one silver.

Usha has always had a very mature attitude towards success and failure: "Winning made me more and more interested in athletics. Slowly, running became a part of my life. My only aim was to better my timing. . . . my aim is not to defeat anybody. That has never been my intention. I only want to improve my timing."

Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa (January 28, 1899 — May 15, 1993)

OFTEN referred to as the father of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Kodandera Modappa Cariappa was one of the most decorated generals of the Indian Army. He was in the very first batch of Indian officers of the Indian Army, and had the distinction of being the first Indian to qualify at Staff College, the first Indian Commanding officer, the first Indian Brigadier, the first Indian Army General Officer (1947), the first Indian Army Commander (1948), and the first Indian Commander-in-Chief (1949).

Field Marshal K. M. CariappaBelonging to the Coorg district of Karnataka, a region that is particularly known for its natural beauty and for giving India a regular supply of excellent soldiers and army officers, Cariappa often heard stories of valour of World War I veterans of his region. It was not long before he started dreaming of becoming an officer himself. He soon won his Commission, and found himself at Daly Cadets College, Indore. It was there that he learnt the basics of military warfare, battle tactics, leadership techniques, and administrative skills. His officers were very happy the way this young man was shaping up, so they sent him to the prestigious Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was made Second Lieutenant in 1919, and was posted first to the Second Battalion of the 2/88th Carnatic Infantry, and then to the 2/125th Napier's Rifles.

India was soon going to be independent, but Independence was coming at the cost of Partition. Cariappa was totally against Partition, but when the inevitable happened, he advised the new leaders that the defence of the realm should now be their top priority. Since most of the top officers before Independence were British, there was a vacuum after their departure. Cariappa realised this problem, and saw the need of setting up new institutions to train young officers. He believed that an "officer did not become a great commander without long experience and passion for study of war". A tireless worker that he was, his only complaint was that there were only 24 hours in a day, and not 48. "There is so much to do and so little time to do it." Cariappa always led from the front, and by personal example. He used to tell his jawans, "I will never ask you to do anything that I am myself incapable of doing." He believed that the Army should uphold its glorious tradition and should keep itself away from politics. He was also against the idea of the so-called 'martial races', for he believed that anyone could become brave and courageous if proper training was given, and the right atmosphere was created. He felt that raising regiments on the basis of religion or caste was the ploy by which the British kept Indians divided. So he tried to make the Army as democratic as possible.

After his long and illustrious career, Cariappa retired in 1953 prompting Nehru to say: 'People like you should never retire." After retirement he was appointed High Commissioner to Australia. But although he had retired, he never forgot his dear soldiers. In fact while in Australia, he was impressed by the methods that the Australian Government employed to help its ex-servicemen. Cariappa brought this to the notice of the Indian Government, and his recommendations were soon adopted.

Showing spiritual leanings from the beginning, Cariappa now found time to study the ancient scriptures, especially the Upanishads and the Bhagvadagita. In spite of all the love and respect the he got from his countrymen, there were times when he was appalled by the slow manner in which things moved. A man of action, he decided to enter politics, but ended up tasting defeat.

Recognising the General's role, President Harry Truman of the United States honoured him with the 'Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit', and the Indian Government made him Field Marshal.

Sir Jadunath Sarcar (December 10, 1870 —May 19, 1958)

THE place is Bodhgaya; the year1904: Four distinguished personalities are engaged in a very serious discussion. You have Rabindranath Tagore, Prof Jagdish Chandra Bose, Sister Nivedita, and Prof Jadunath Sarcar. They are disturbed by the announcement of the Partition of Bengal, and are wondering how to avert the impending division of their beloved land. While the others are a little depressed, Professor Sarkar assures them that they need not worry as long as they had 'Gurudeb' with them. To bolster their spirits, Professor Sarcar recites a poem by Tagore, that he (Jadunath) had translated a few days earlier:

Sir Jadunath SarcarWhat voice is it that I hear
From the land of dawn,
'Fear not! Fear not!
He who will give up his life
Retaining nothing
Will never end, never perish!

There were many aspects to Professor Sarcar's personality. He was a poet at heart, a prolific writer, football enthusiast, but above all a historian of uncommon abilities.

Born into a rich family, Professor Sarcar started his long and illustrious academic career at Presidency College as Professor of English and History in 1898; the following year he was transferred to Patna College. After the plans of Partition were abandoned, he was transferred to the newly established Bihar and Orissa Educational Service. He was often transferred from one university to the other, not because there he was not wanted, but because he was too brilliant, and everyone wanted him.

Sir Jadunath believed that although English was indispensable, the importance of Indian languages could not be ignored. He stressed the importance of secondary education, and laid a very strong emphasis on independent thinking: "India cannot afford to remain an intellectual pariah, beggar for crumbs at the doors of Oxford or Cambridge, Paris or Vienna. She must create within herself a source of the highest original research and assume her rightful place at the School of Asia, even as Periclean Athens made herself the School of Hellas."

As a teacher he was so dedicated to his work that he conducted all his classes even on the day of his retirement. Just before his retirement, the Governor of Bengal appointed him Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University.

For a man of his learning and intellect, honours and awards were there for the asking.The Royal Society of Great Britain and Ireland made him an honourary member in 1923; The English Historical Society invited him to become a Corresponding Member in 1935,The American Historical Association of Washington nominated him an Honorary Life Member in 1935, the Royal Asiatic Society of Bombay made him Honorary Fellow. And so many doctorates were showered upon him by various universities that in the end he stopped accepting them. The Panjab University honoured the great historian with the publication of Sir Jadunath Sarkar Commemoration Volume in 1957-58.

In his long career, he wrote over two dozen authoritative books on history, translated Persian historical works and records, translated Tagore's works into English. Professor Sarcar's enormous literary output could be judged by the fact that a list of his works, published in Life and Letters of Sir Jadunath Sarkar runs into 17 pages!

But the Professor had his own share of misery. In a string of personal tragedies, he lost three sons, four daughters, two sons-in-law, and a grandson. As he was advancing in years, his wife, Kadambini Debi became an invalid. Being a man of iron constitution, he nevertheless carried on writing, and of course reading his favourite authors:"The greatest gain of my life has been the companionship of the writings of great literary masters of the past — Sanskrit . . . literature and the Upanishads, European . . . literature, history and biographies . . . . These have given me a new kingdom into which no enemy can enter. In that Kingdom I get a new life."

K. L. Saigal ( April 2, 1904 - Jan 18, 1947)

SUFI Salman Yusuf had a number of people coming to him for various reasons. Some had domestic problems, some professional, others were suffering from a terminal illness. But one day a woman approached him. She had a young boy of 13 by her side. She had come to him because her son was an aspiring singer, but with the coming of adolescence his voice had begun to crack. The Sufi advised the boy not to sing for a couple of years, but did teach him a zikr and a nazm, and told the boy that he should hum the composition, and not sing it aloud.

K. L. SaigalThe little boy, Kundan Lal Saigal, would grow up to become one of the legends of Indian light classical music. But all his life he never forgot the lesson the Sufi had taught him, and that was about all the training he ever had in music. And yet when the Prayag Sangeet Samiti organised its annual music conference, it was Saigal that people wanted first of all on stage. In the presence of such masters as Pandit Onkar Nath Thakur, Ustad Faiyaz Khan, V. D. Paluskar, Narayan Rao Vyas, and Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Saigal did not have the courage to walk up to the stage and perform. He was finally persuaded to sing, and he very reluctantly agreed to sing. He began with a few bhajans and ghazals followed by songs from Street Singer, Chandidas, Yahudi ki ladki and so on bringing the house down with a thunderous applause. After the show he approached Ustad Faiyaz Khan for blessings. " I have nothing I can teach you that you do not know," the Ustad said, "I have learnt a lot from you myself . . ."

Son of a tehsildar working for Jammu and Kashmir, Saigal began his career with the Railways at Moradabad. Later he started selling typewriters for the Remington Company in Kanpur. There he met one Harish Chand Bali, a friend of R. C. Boral. the head of the music department of the New Theatres, Calcutta. Boral was a bit apprehensive about a Punjabi wishing to sing Bengali songs. To make matters worse, this six-feet-one-inch aspiring singer and actor was beginning to bald. How could he be a singing hero? But when Boral heard Saigal sing, he needed no further persuasion.

A string of albums and films followed: Subah ka Sitara, , Chandidas, Devdas, President, Dhoop Chaon, Zindagi, Tansen, Street Singer, Soordas, Shahjahan and many more.

For a singer not trained in classical music, his range was wide. Be it Rabindra Sangeet, hori, kirtan, baul, thumri, ghazal, bhajan, or geet, Saigal sang with uncommon command over his voice. It may come as a surprise to many that apart from Hindi and Urdu, he also sang in Bengali, Persian, and even Tamil! At a time when ghazals were either read or sung in tarannum, Saigal concentrated on gayaki, making the ghazal an extremely popular form of light music. Besides immortalising poets like Ghalib, and singing scores of bhajans and thumris, he gave us such classic film songs as: Jab dil hi toot gaya, Do naina matware, Ai dile bekrar kyon, Ek Raje ka beta lekar udane wala ghoda, Main Kya aanu kya jaadu hai.

Vinoba Bhave (September 11, 1895 — November 15, 1982)

THE young man lit a fire and, in the presence of his mother, started assigning his degrees and certificates to it. When his bewildered mother tried to stop him, he said politely: "I will never need them, mother. My path is different." Vinoba's path was 'different' indeed, and no one knew it better than his mother.

Vinoba BhaveAfter the incident, as Vinoba was trying to figure out the future course of his life, he chanced upon to read an extract of a speech delivered by Gandhi. The experience changed his outlook on life forever. He wrote a letter to Gandhi, and was surprised when he got a prompt reply. He wrote once again, and the response was as usual immediate. This interesting correspondence carried on for a while, until the two men decided to meet in person. "Providence took me to Gandhi, and I found in him not only the peace of the Himalayas but also the burning fervour of revolution, for freedom. I said to myself that both of my desires had been fulfilled." Gandhi himself was so impressed with his new disciple that he asked him to take charge of the then newly established ashram at Wardha.

For someone who would eventually become the most vocal supporter of Gandhi's non-violence policy, Vinoba Bhave, in his youth, was on the verge of becoming a firebrand revolutionary. He was inspired by Swami Ramdas's Dasabodh and Bal Gangadhar Tilak's writings in the Kesari. The young Vinoba was so disturbed by the British and their attitude towards Indians, that he had actually vowed to kill at least one Englishman in his lifetime.

As a student he was brilliant until his sixth class, but he gradually lost interest in studies. Later, mathematics and philosophy were his favourite subjects. "Next to God if I hold anything best," he once admitted, "it is mathematics."

When he was on his way to Bombay to appear for his Intermediate Examination, he alighted, on an impulse, at Surat, and took a train to Banaras. Once there, he started learning Sanskrit, and studying ancient scriptures. In due course, he also learnt many Indian languages, besides picking up French, Arabic, and Persian. Vinoba took the vow of celibacy at a very young age. He was a man of strict self-discipline who began his day at three in the morning.

In spite of his spiritual leanings, Vinoba found himself in the thick of the Freedom Movement. When he took part in the Nagpur Satyagraha, he was imprisoned for four months. He was jailed again for his part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. While he was in prison, he gave weekly discourses on the Bhagavadgita. These were later published in Marathi as Gita Pravachane.

A man who believed in practising what he preached, Vinoba decided to live among the the Harijans of Nalwadi. Gandhi sent Vinoba to Guruvayur, Kerala, to fight for the right of the Harijans to enter temples. Vinoba also participated in the Salt Satyagraha, and was arrested. He was arrested again in 1942 because he took part in the Quit India Movement, and was given three years for it.

After Independence, while he was working with the Harijans of Poachampalli, a rich landlord donated 100 acres of land for the welfare of the downtrodden. Thus the famous Bhoodan Movement was born with a view to enabling the landless peasants to have their own piece of land. In his endeavour he walked village to village all over India covering more than 40,000 miles, and managed to get 16,77,7111.6 hectares of land for the poor.

Vinoba Bhave believed every village ought to be a self-sufficient unit manufacturing its own basic requirements. He did not favour the growing of cash crops, as reliance on them makes the farmers greedy, and destroys their sense of brotherhood. "Now that political freedom has been attained," he told his countrymen, "we have to work for the establishment of equality. I have called that Sarvodaya. It is for the establishment of this that I am going village to village. I call this my five-year plan. If all of you take up this work for the next five years and during that time succeed in transferring five crores of acres of land, then a great non-violent revolution has taken place in India."

Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (August 18, 1872 — August 21, 1931)

FOR decades we have been hearing and even singing popular compositions like Sare Jehan se achcha, and Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram without really knowing the name of Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, the composer of these beautiful songs.

Vishnu Digambar PaluskarBorn at Kurundwad state of Maharashtra into a Brahmin family, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar inherited musical gifts from his

father Shri Digambar Gopal.who was a reputed kirtanist himself. While his parents and patrons were planning a career for him, he met with a serious accident and lost his eyes.

He was sent to Dr. Bhirbhire Kishore, the chief medical officer of a hospital in Miraj, who did his best, but failed. What he did not fail to notice was the extraordinary musical talent the hapless lad possessed. The kind doctor advised Vishnu's parents to send him to a good music guru, but since they were unable to afford the expenses, the doctor using his influence managed to make persuade Shri Hari Krishna Buwa, the court musician of Miraj, to teach him. Thus in 1887, at the age of 15 his training began and continued for the next nine years. Soon he started accompanying his guru on stage. But as the young disciple often outdid his master, his guru did not like it, and, unfortunately the relationship suffered.

Vishnu left Miraj for Aundh, and then to Satara where he held his first solo performance. Thence he went to Baroda, a prominent centre of music like Gwalior. He stayed at the Ram Mandir, where he used to practice in the wee hours. People came to listen to him in throngs, and as his fame spread, Maharani Jamuna Bai invited him to perform at the court. She later gave him a shawl and a gift of rupees three hundred, a considerable sum in those days. But she also advised him to leave Baroda, as she feared her envious court musicians might harm him.

Far more than his personal achievement, Vishnu was was worried about the lack of outlets available to the common masses to learn music, since only the elite and the privileged were given musical training. He wanted music to reach the masses; he wanted to train musicians not in dozens but in hundreds. To achieve this goal he would have to establish music academies, and to do that he would require a lot of money. To begin with he decided to hold public performances charging low ticket rates. Since more and more people could now afford to attend these concerts, more and more young men and women began to learn music. This democratisation of music was not liked by court musicians.

Since he himself had been trained in the rich traditions of the Gwalior gharana, he decided to spend some time there. His performances there were liked very well received, and he impressed great maestros like Guru Apte, Pandit Shankar, and Amir Khan. Maharaj Madho Rao invited him to perform at his court, and he also gave letters of introduction to the Rajas of Mathura and Bharatpur. In Mathura Vishnu learnt Hindi, Sanskrit, and Brij music. He also came in contact with Pandit Chandan Chaube, and learnt the dying art of Dhrupad music.He later went to Delhi, and in 1898 he was invited by Pandit Tola Ram to Jullundar to perform at Shri Hariballabh Sangeet Sammelan. He became so popular there and his fame spread all over Punjab.

Until then music was taught and composed orally, since we had not developed a method of writing music. Like Bhatkhande, Vishnu also studied the Western method of notation and with some modification adapted it to Indian music.

His dream of founding a music academy came true with the opening of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Lahore, in the early 1900s.

Among his books are:Sangeet Bal Prakash in three volumes, and equally valuable are his 18 volumes on ragas. When King George V came to India, Paluskar was asked to perform at the Royal Garden of Lahore.

When Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh were arrested in 1907, he sang Pagree Sambhal Jatta, and In 1923 he also sang Bande Mataram in spite of all opposition. He also performed during the non-cooperation movement.

Dhyan Chand (August 29, 1905 — December 3, 1979)

BERLIN Olympics, 1936. India are playing the favourites Germany in the Hockey finals. Germany's centre-forward Fritz scores a goal in the dying moments of the game. When everyone in the India squad have lost hope, Dhyan Chand suddenly puts India back in the reckoning by scoring an equaliser, and in the next five minutes scores two more goals to fetch a Gold for India.

Dhyan ChandThousands cheered the Indians that day, and among them was a person named Adolf Hitler. He was so impressed by Dhyan Chand's skill with the ball, that he is supposed to have told him: "I will make you Field Marshal if you join the German Army." Not the one to be swayed by praise, Dhyan Chand refused the offer politely.

For a man who rose to such dizzy heights of fame, Dhyan Chand was a very humble and unassuming man. Being the son of a sepoy, he, too, joined the army, and it was in the army that he was initiated into hockey by Major Bale Tiwari of the First Brahmin Regiment. When the regiment was disbanded, Dhyan Chand was transferred to the Punjab Regiment, where he soon established himself as the most talented player in the forces. He was sent to New Zealand, where out of 21 matches, the army won 18, drew two and lost one. The team scored 192 goals conceding only 24.

But Dhyan Chand's greatest moment arrived when he found himself in the Indian team that was being sent to Amsterdam for the Olympics. "The day of our dreams dawned," he recalled later, "On May 17, (1928) we confidently marched into the stadium to make our Olympic debut. We had travelled thousands of miles for this. People at home, quite a number of them were hyper-critical, had their doubts as to the wisdom of India's participation in the Olympics. We were determined to show the world that in this game our country was supreme." He was definitely not exaggerating, for in the matches that followed, Indians beat Belgium (9-0), Denmark (5-0), and Holland (3-0).

Commenting on the spectacular performance of the Indian team, and especially of Dhyan Chand, a Dutch sports reporter said:"An Indian hockey ball never obeys the laws of gravity, and has never learned that the shortest distance between two points is s straight line. The shortest way for the Indian ball is a zig-zag, a triangle or a circle, never a straight line."

Dhyan Chand also played for India in the 1932 Olympic Games, Los Angeles, and captained India in the 1936 Olympics, Berlin. His last appearance was in 1947-48 when he led the IHF team in Kenya.

After retirement, he was for a while the Chief Coach at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. He was awarded a Padam Bhushan 1956, and statue of his was unveiled at the National Stadium, New Delhi on August 29, 1965.

If he were alive today, he would have rued the sorry state Indian hockey finds itself in.Those who complain about lack of patronage or sponsorship should look to Dhyan Chand for his resourcefulness. In the end it is sheer talent and dedication that wins the day.

Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (1860 — September, 19, 1936)

VERY little is known about Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande's ancestry and his early years. It is believed that his father was incharge of Zawba Gora Ram Temple, and was a musician fond of playing the swarmandal.

Vishnu Narayan BhatkhandeIn his formative years Bhakhande was greatly inspired by Gyanotejak Mandali, the oldest music academy in India, founded by the Parsis in 1870. As he grew up and studied music deeply, he realised that India classical music had not only degenerated in the past centuries, and though it was of great merit, it was not systematised scientifically, thus leading to confusion and acrimony among its various practitioners. After careful thought he undertook the mammoth and spine-breaking task of codifying and writing Indian music. For the next twenty-five years of his life, he travelled all over India, met great masters, read whatever was available, and made exhaustive researches. He spent another 25 years studying contemporary and classical western music, modifying and adapting the Western notation system to suit Indian music.

A great scholar that he was, he wrote such exhaustive treatises as Shrimallakshya Sangeetam, Abhinava Ragamanjari, Abhinava Talamanjari, in Sanskrit; and Hindustan Sangeet Paddhati (4 vomumes) in Marathi, and in English he wrote the 2500 page magnum opus: A Comparative Study of the Music Systems of 15th, 16th. 17th and 18th Centuries. His other mammoth volume was the 3000 page Historical Survey of the Music of India. All these books were written between 1908 and 1933.

Impressed by Bhatkhande's dedication to music, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad of Baroda handed him over the Government College to him; Maharaja Madhavrao Scindia of Gwalior sought his expert advice and started Madhav Sangeet Vidyalaya; and at Lucknow founded Morris College of Music, now renamed Bhatkhande Sangeet Mahavidyalaya. In order to popularise classical music he also organised numerous music conferences in Baroda, Delhi, Lucknow.

Since he tried to make radical changes to the existing music tradition, he faced stiff opposition, especially from his contemporaries, but he carried on with his herculean task.

He adopted an ingenious methods to confound his critics by writing his books under various pseudonyms. He wrote Lakshyasangeet as, Bharatpurva-

khandanivasi Chaturpandit, Hindustan Sangeet Paddhati, as Pandit Vishnusharma, and for his compositions he used - Chatur, Harrang and so on, and for his text books he used his real name. If someone, let's say, criticised his views in Lekshyasangeet, he would refute the critics by quoting Pandit Vishnusharma (his own pseudonym)!

He and Vishnu were not very friendly. He was a scholar and scientist, whereas Paluskar was a saint and performer. Because Paluskar established the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, and went on to train a number of great musicians, his services received immediate recognition, whereas Bhatkhande's contribution though equally great, was not so easily appreciated.

Commenting on Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande's immense contribution to Indian Music, Professor G. H. Ranade says: "Although book-music was not considered his most important subject by Pandit Bhatkhande, his historical and technical discussion concerning it has proved most instructive to those newly interested in it. Those who were not familiar with the names of the Sanskrit books on music became familiar with them and because of their Marathi translations these books could be studied easily and, on occasion, provided material for attacking Bhatkhande himself. One cannot forget that the knowledge or strength (of the critics) in question is not their own — it belongs to Bhatkhande. For there is no doubt that it was through Bhatkhande's discussion of Sanskrit books that those rhetoricians who today call themselves researchers in music were born."

V. D. Savarkar (May 28, 1883 — February 26, 1966)

LONDON in the first decade of 20th century was becoming a hub of revolutionary activities, and the man most feared by the authorities was V. D. Savarkar, a spell-binding orator, and a fire spitting writer. When his presence became intolerable, he was arrested and deported to India. The steamer that was bringing him back to India stopped at the French port of Marsielles for some repair work. Savarkar sought permission to use the toilet, and escaped from its widow and swam across to safety. Soon the French police spotted him and arrested him, he tried to tell them to take him to the magistrate, but the British bribed the French police and Savarkar was back in their custody.

V. D. SavarkarThough Madame Cama and the International Court of Justice took objected his illegal arrest on French soil, the ultimate decision was given in favour of England.

Known for his daredevilry, Savarkar was born into a Chitpavan family of Maharashtra, that has given India great leaders like Bhandarkar, Ghokhale, Tilak, Agarkar, and Pranjpye.

After matriculation he went to Ferguson College, Poona where he organised Mitra Mandali to arouse the spirit of patriotism among Indians. The Partition of Bengal and the Swadeshi Movement had a great impact on his mind. After his graduation in 1905, he transformed the Mitra Mandali into Abhinava Bharat. Later he opened its branches in England, France, America, Germany, Hong kong, Singapore, and Burma.

Thanks to Bal Gangadhar Tilak' initiative, and a scholarship, he sailed for England in 1906. Once there he started Free India Society and roped in revolutionaries like Dr. Hardyal, Bhai Paramananda, V. V. S Iyer, Senapati Bapat, and Madan Lal Dhingra. About that time he got hold of a book on making bombs, and smuggled its cyclostyle copies into India.

Being a rare combination of a man of letters and man of action, to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the 1857 struggle, he wrote The First Indian War of Independence. The book was immediately banned by the authorities. Not the one to give up so easily, he got it published in Holland.

While in London he also qualified for the Bar, but the Inn of Court wanted his assurance that he would not take part in seditious activities.. This was not acceptable to Savarkar, and this put an end to his law career.

During his imprisonment in the dreaded jail of the Andamans, he wrote Echoes from Andamans, a vivid document describing the horrors of the black waters. He was released in 1924 because of intense public opinion. and because of his ruined health. He was allowed to go back to Ratnagiri provided he did not take part in politics. When the Congress Ministry assumed office in 1937, he was finally allowed to go free.

Savarkar revitalised the Hindu Mahasabha and countered the separatist policies of the Muslim League. He opposed the partition of India vigorously, and was convinced that Gandhi was sacrificing the interests of the nation in order to please the Muslims.

When Nathu Ram Godse assassinated, Savarkar was also implicated. At this stage he was defended by P. R. Das, the younger brother of Deshbandhu Chitranajan Das. But since nothing could be proved, he was acquitted of the charges honourably.

He was a staunch believer of the idea of Greater India, but he also believed in international peace and brotherhood. "The earth is our motherland," he once said, "mankind our nation and a human government based on equality of rights and duties is or ought to be our ultimate political goal."