Modi Script: The oldest surviving Cursive Script

Modi and Balbodh (Devanagari) are the two scripts used to write the Marathi language. Among these two Modi scripts is the oldest and was prevalent until 20th century. It is a cursive script and designed for minimizing the lifting of pen from paper while writing.

There are many theories about the origin of Modi script and one of them is 13th century administration of Yadva Dynasty. From the 13th century to until 20th century Modi script was widely used.

Hemadri Pandit was the prime minister (1259 to 1274 C.E) in the empire of Seuna Yadav Dynasty of Devagiri. He is credited with inventing the Modi script for use in administrative work. Another theory suggests that Hemadri Pandit brought the Modi script from Sri Lanka to India and started its use in administration. The use of Modi has decreased since the independence of India, now the Balbodh style of Devanagari is the primary script used to write Marathi.

The shapes of some consonants, vowels, and vowel signs are similar to Balbodh script (ex. भ, घ, त,क्ष) Modi script differs considerably from Balbodh in terms of letterforms, rendering behaviors, and orthography. One characteristic feature of Modi script is its cursive nature. There are few fonts available for typing in Modi Script. Most documents in Modi script are handwritten and oldest of them are preserved at Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal (BISM) Pune.

In recent days local government bodies in Maharashtra had some difficulty in interpretation of old land records in Modi language. In British India, the printing machines were developed in large scale. The typesetting for Modi script was difficult so the printing in Devnagri script was done on a large scale which was easy for typesetting. Because of this printing revolution, the use of Modi script was discouraged and gradually it became out of use. During the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Modi script was used mainly for commercial documents.

The largest numbers of old documents in Modi script are at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra government has assigned the task of developing the Modi script to C-DAC. The monthly Pune-based newspaper Vasundhara Vrutta is the only newspaper published in Modi script.

These 7 Common Superstitions in India that will make you Believe them with logical scientific explanation

Since ages Indians are known for their wisdom and knowledge. The ancient Indians had knowledge of astrology, weather, Ayurveda. Many Indians, especially in village areas, believe different things which might look like superstition but have a scientific reason behind it. Below is list of such common beliefs,

  1. Hanging lemon and green chilies in Shops:

Superstition: The lemon and green chilies oven in the cotton thread is hung on the shop door to cast away evil eye of people or to keep away the evil spirits.

Scientific Explanation: The cotton thread in which lemon and green chilies are oven absorbs the fresh juice of the lemon and chilies. This juice acts as a natural pesticide and keeps away the flies and insects protecting the shop owner and customers from viral diseases.

  1. Braking Mirror:

Superstition: Using a broke mirror brings a bad luck.

  1. Scientific Explanation: The mirror is a delicate object and was used to be costly in olden days. So to protect it from breaking and encourage people to handle it carefully the use of broken mirror was not advised. Besides, there might be a psychological reason that using a broken object would give you the poor feeling.
  2. Cutting Nails and Shaving after Sunset:

Superstition: Cutting nails and shaving after sunset is believed to have attracted the evil spirits.

Scientific Explanation: Cutting nails or shaving requires sharp blades to be used with precision and it also requires light. To avoid getting hurt in absence of light the people were discouraged to cut nails after sunset.

  1. Do not sleep with your head facing North:

Superstition: if one sleeps with keeping the head in the north it is believed that it will invite death to that person or a misfortune in the person’s life.

Scientific Explanation: the ancient Indians were very much advanced in the field of astrology and magnetism. The Earth’s magnetic field would cause the increased blood flow towards head if one keeps the head in north direction while sleeping. This might cause the person to get agitated or if the person keeps the same habit for long period, it might cause brain stroke also. To avoid these health complications in India people are advised to not to sleep with their head facing North.

  1. Do not sleep under peepal tree at night

Superstition: It is believed that after sunset evil spirits roam around peepal tree and they might possess the person sleeping under it.

Scientific Explanation: The peepal tree releases co2 after sunset. If the person is sleeping under peepal tree after sunset then he might get breathing problem. To avoid this person was advertised to not to sleep under a peepal tree in the night.

  1. Lizard Falling On Human Is Bad Luck:

Superstition: In Indian society, people believe that if a lizard falls on a human then it might bring bad luck to him and the person is advised to drink cow urine to cast away the effect.

Scientific Explanation: The scientific reason behind the belief is that the lizard releases poisonous chemicals from its body to protect itself from predators. The cow urine has many medical properties and can act as an antibiotic.

  1. Do Not sweep the house after Sunset:

Superstition:  If you sweep your house after sunset it will be disrespect to Goddess Lakshmi and hence inviting poverty.

  • Scientific Explanation: In olden days there was no electricity and people were dependent on dim light of oil lamp. If a person sweeps the house after sunset then it might be possible that small gold ornaments might get swept out of the house while sweeping. To avoid these people were advised not to sweep the house after Sunset.

What we understand from above scientific explanations is that our ancestors were highly learned and wise people who cared for the people. They set up some rules to protect the general public who were not that much educated to understand the scientific reasons.

Understanding the history of Marathi Language

The Marathi language is predominantly spoken in Maharashtra (India) and neighboring areas. It is the 19th most spoken language in the world and 4th most spoken language in India. Marathi was the court language of Seuna dynasty kings of Devgiri in Maharashtra. Many religious texts have been written in Marathi, primarily to convey the religious knowledge to common people.

Most of the literature of Varkari Sampraday is in Marathi. In medieval period saint Dyaneshwar, saint Eknath has composed religious texts in Marathi. The treaties composed in Marathi on Bhagwad Gita saint Dyaneshwar is known as Dyaneshwari. Saint Tukaram also wrote many Abhang in the Marathi language.

With the rise of Maratha Empire, the importance of Marathi increased. Under the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the use of Marathi was encouraged in administration rather than the Persian language.

In the colonial period, the Christian missionaries translated Bible in Marathi. These translations are done by William Carey, the American Marathi mission, and the Scottish missionaries. the first Marathi newspaper Durban was started by Balshastri Jambhekar in 1832. The Marathi poet Keshavasut published his first poem in the year 1885. After Indian independence Marathi was accorded the status of a scheduled language on the national level. A novel Yayati by Kandekar is one of the most works done in Marathi in the 20th century. Vijay Tendulkar, P.L.Deshpande, P.K.  Atre & Prabodhankar Thackeray were the notable Marathi writers of the 20th century.

Jihadi Boli, Southern Indian Marathi, Varhadiare are few of the Dialects of Marathi language.

Marathi is written in different scripts such as Devanagari, Balbodh, and Modi script. The reference of Devnagri script is found on the 11th-century inscriptions on stone and copper plates. Most of the records from the medieval period and until 1950 are in Modi Script. Even today also we see some official records are in Modi script which requires the language expert to read it.

Marathi phonology and grammar is similar to other Indo-Aryan languages.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar the noted freedom fighter had coined Marathi words for words from the English language. Marathi borrows a lot of its vocabulary from Sanskrit. Marathi Language Day is celebrated on February 27. There are many organizations for the regulation, promotion, and enrichment of the Marathi language.

Top 6 haunted places near Pune

Every city has some taboo places with haunting stories about them. In Pune also there are many places where one would not dare to enter after sunset. Below is the list of top 6 haunted places in Pune,

  1. The Shaniwarwada Fort:

Shaniwarwada was the seat of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. This fort in Pune is said to have haunted by the spirit of Peshwa Narayanrao. The story of the assassination of Peshwa Narayanrao is that his uncle Raghunathrao asked the Gardis to capture Narayanrao but the message was changed by Raghunathraos wife and the Gardis assassinated Narayanrao. At the last moment of his life, he was said to have run towards the uncle’s residence shouting ‘Kaka Mala Wachwa’ meaning ‘uncle save me’. Some people have reported of hearing the cries of Narayanrao Shaniwarwada.

  1. Sinhgad College of Engineering:

Pune is the hub of engineering education and one of the college Sinhgad College of Engineering has a reputation for being strict towards the academic activities. In the past students from this college have committed suicide because of the pressure of study. The spirit of one such student is said to have to roam the Lonavala campus of the institute. The students of the college avoid going alone outside after sunset.

  1. Choice hostel Karve road:

It is one of the best accommodations available in Pune for students but it has on drawback it is haunted!. The students have reported of seeing a lady in red saree roaming the hostel premises though she hasn’t harmed anyone to date.

  1. Chandan Nagar:

A little girl in a white frock and a doll in her hand is cute but not when she is roaming the streets in the midnight. The residents of Chandan Nagar have seen a girl roaming in the night, she is said to have died during the construction of on building.

  1. The Mansion on Residency Club Road:

This mansion is said to have been haunted by a spirit of an old lady who was murdered in this mansion. People have reported of seeing a shadow of an old lady in the window asking for help.

6.      The Haunted House on MG Road:

The house on MG road is abandoned by its owners. It is said that a young girl is killed there and her spirit is roaming the bungalow. People have reported of hearing the cries of a girl and sound of banging of doors and windows.

In the end, it is up to an individual whether he/ she wants to believe in stories or not. But why take chances …. because someone might be watching you…..

Top 8 Archaeological wonders of Ancient India

Indian culture is one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world with its rich archaeological heritage. There are numerous religious archeological sites which constructed in past two thousand years and some are even older than that. Below is the list of top 8 archaeological wonders of Ancient India.

  1. Ajanta Caves

            © Archaeological Survey of India

 These caves are situated at a distance of 107 Km from Aurangabad (Maharashtra, India). In the modern era, these caves have been first spotted by an army officer in the Madras Regiment of the British Army in 1819 during one of his hunting expeditions. The caves were excavated in a horseshoe shape in different periods (from 2nd century B.C. to 6th century A.D.). The caves were used for Buddhist monk’s religious purpose. These caves are known all over the world for its religious paintings and murals which are in good condition even today.

 2.     Mahabalipuram

© Archaeological Survey of India

Mahabalipuram is the group of Hindu religious monuments situated in coastal areas of Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu, India). The name Mahabalipuram has its origin with demon king Mahabali killed by one of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu. It is also known by another name Mamallapuram, the title used by the king of Pallava Narashima Varman (AD 630-68)who has got the title of Mamalla; the great wrestler. There are nine monolithic temples, cave temples and famous among them are known after the five Pandavas of Mahabharata.

 3.     Konarak – Sun Temple

© Archaeological Survey of India

Built in the 13th century, it consists of the gigantic Solar chariot, Mayadevi Temple, Vaishnava Temple and numerous small shrines. It is situated in Puri district (Odisha, India). The temple was desecrated by Mughal king Jahangir in the 17th century.

4. Hampi

© Archaeological Survey of India

It is situated on the southern bank of river Tungabhadra (Karnataka, India). This monument of Vijayanagara Empire was built between AD 1336-1570, from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasiva Raya. Many foreign travelers have written glorious descriptions of Vijayanagara Empire in their travel accounts.

Temples of this city are known for their large dimensions, bold and delicate carvings, traditional depictions which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesa are noted for their massiveness and grace.

 5.     Rani ki Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell)

© UNESCO

 Rani ki Vav is an intricately constructed stepwell, built as a memorial to an 11th century AD king Bhimdev I by his widowed queen Udayamati.  It was added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites on 22 June 2014. It is situated in Patan (Gujrat, India). There are many Hindu religious sculptures. The steps begin at ground level and reach deep well below. There is also a 30 Km tunnel below the last step of the well which leads to the town of Sidhpur near Patan.

6.     Sanchi

© Archaeological Survey of India

The construction of Stupa at Sanchi was started by emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. There are numerous Stupas within few miles of Sanchi. Emperor Ashoka ordered the construction of many stupas around the country where mortal remains of Lord Buddha were to be kept. Since the fourteenth century, Sanchi remained deserted and uncared for till 1818 when General Taylor rediscovered the site.

7.     Dholavira

© Archaeological Survey of India

 Dholavira is an archaeological site at Khadirbet in Kutch District (Gujarat, India). The name Dholavira was given in the name of a modern day village 1 kilometer from the location of the site. It is one among the five largest Harappan cities in the Indian subcontinent. There are identified seven major cultural stages at this site numbered Stage 1 to stage 7. The excavations at the site have helped to understand the Indus Valley Civilization.

8.     Nalanda

©wikipedia

Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. It is situated. It is situated at 95 Km southeast of Patna (Bihar, India).Nalanda got its importance in 5th century A.D. as a great monastic cum educational institution for oriental art and learning. Students from all over the world came here to gain knowledge.

It was founded by Kumaragupta I (413-455 A.D.) of the great Gupta dynasty. Excavations at the site by Archaeological Survey of India during 1915-37 and 1974-82 have exposed six major brick temples and eleven monasteries.

From above examples, we know that ancient Indians were highly advanced in the art of building massive stone structures, Astrology, and irrigation system. The conservation of these sites will be great heritage for us and the attraction for the foreigners.

After India it’s Nationalist win of Shinzo Abe in Japan

Shinzo Abe wins Japan Election replicating his friend the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an absolute majority of two third seats.

To catch on the increased support among Japanese people, the prime minister announced snap election in a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on September 25, 2017.

The 48th general election of members of the Lower House or the House of Representatives took place on 22 October 2017. The election results declared on 22 oct. shows trust of Japanese nationals on Shinzo Abe’s governing coalition of LDP and NKP.

Shinzo Abe’s governing coalition of Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito formerly called New Komeito (abbreviated NKP) own the absolute majority of two third seats. The campaign started with a focus on issues such as taxes, threats by China and North Korea, Constitutional reforms.

The success of Abenomics which refers to the economic policies advocated by Shinzo Abe since the December 2012 general election helped him win the 2017 election. Abenomics is based upon ‘three arrows’ of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms.

The opposition party CDP has failed to gain the trust of voters against Shinzo Abe’s ruling LDP. The new political party ‘Party of Hope’ launched hours before the announcement of elections turned to be Party with no Hope in wake of popular enthusiasm towards LDP.

Shinzo Abe thanked Japanese people for his historic win and supporting the policies of his government. He assured to tackle security issues related to North Korea and promised investments in education and pension system.

Shinzo Abe a right-wing nationalist aims at reviving the Japan’s military power and military reforms which will help in the offensive defence of Japan. Article 9 of japans constitution forbids war as a mean to settle international disputes involving Japan. The majority gained in this election will allow Shinzo Abe to propose changes in the constitution which limit its military to self defence role. Mr. Abe said on Sunday that he hoped to gain the public support for his proposed revision to Japan’s constitution.

The LDP successfully convinced Japanese people that, only it can protect the Japanese interest from the geopolitical threats by North Korea and China.

In September, India hosted Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for indo Japan summit in Gujarat. Shinzo Abe and his wife visited religious and cultural places in India. The honourable Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Shinzo Abe on his big election win,

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/922300769432494081

Since Narendra Modi took over as PM in 2014 the Indo Japanese relations transformed enormously.  The successful conclusion of a Civil Nuclear agreement between India and Japan despite the fact that India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) shows the commitment of Japan towards India. Another important marker of indo Japan relationship is the proposed Ahmadabad-Mumbai bullet train project. This 500 km project is financed by Japan with credit of US $ 17 billion which has to be repaid in 50 years with a nominal interest rate of 0.1%.

Gujarat 2017 Election: Voters Trust on BJP

Since 1995 to till date the Bharatiya Janata Party has given a stable and efficient government in Gujarat. The trust built by the work of the then chief minister of Gujarat and now the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is the reason behind enthusiasm of voters towards BJP.

As Chief Minister, Modi favoured privatization. The creation of groundwater-conservation projects especially checks dams have led to rising in groundwater levels. From 2001 to 2010 Gujarat had the agricultural growth rate of 10.97 % which is highest of all the states. Gujarat has the highest production of genetically modified cotton. When TATA Company’s NANO manufacturing plant has been stalled by agitation in west Bengal, Modi offered land in Gujarat to Tata Motors to set up a plant. The reforms in GSEB enabled it to provide 24×7 electricity to most consumers.

The different schemes launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have won the hearts of the people and these schemes have been very beneficial especially to an economically poor section of the society.

Lakh’s of people are attending BJP election rallies and they are ready to take next step in development with BJP. The BJP is all set for its biggest win in Gujarat election.

Three Panipat Battles which changed the history of India

In Medieval India, Delhi was the most important political centre and Panipat was an ideal Battleground near Delhi. The invaders who entered from North West part of India and attacked Delhi have often encountered strong Indian resistance. The Three Big Battles at Panipat which changed the course of Indian history are explained below.

 First Battle of Panipat:

The first battle of Panipat was fought between Invading forces of Babur and the ruler of Delhi sultanate Ibrahim Lodi. Back home Babur was struggling to establish a strong kingdom. He focused his attention towards the east and conquered Kabul in 1504. Daulat Khan Lodi the political opponent of Ibrahim Lodi and the governor of Lahore invited Babur to overthrow Ibrahim Lodi. In the battle, Babur set up a trap and disintegrated the Ibrahim Lodi’s Army. Babur was the first king who ended the outdated ways of war and used canons in the battle. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire. Ibrahim Lodi was killed on the Battleground.

Second Battle of Panipat:

The second battle of Panipat was fought between the ruler of Rajputana king Hemu and the Army of Mughal Emperor Akbar in1556. Humayun lost is an empire to Sher Shah Suri who established the Sur Empire in 1540. After the death of Sher Shah Suri in 1553 the war of succession broke out. In this situation Humayun made quick advances and recaptured the territory lost by him. When Humayun died on 26 January 1556, Hemu conquered the Mughal territory. Upon hearing the defeat of Mughal army Akbar and his guardian Bairam Khan prepared to recapture Delhi. They looted the poorly guarded Hemu’s artillery which was being transported. In the second Battle of Panipat, Mughal army had only 10,000 cavalries with them but the looted artillery was very advantageous. The king Hemu had 30,000-strong cavalry and 500 war elephants. In the war when king Hemu was about to win the war he was wounded by an arrow and fell unconscious. King Hemu was captured and beheaded by Bairam Khan.

Third Battle of Panipat:

The third battle of Panipat was the biggest of the three battles involving over 125,000 troops fought at Panipat on 14 January 1761. The war was fought between Maratha army led by Sadashivrao Bhau and invader Ahmad Shah Abdali. The political unawareness of Sadashivrao Bhau, divided Maratha forces were the main reasons for defeat of Maratha Army.  After the battle was over Hindus were massacred in large scale by Abdali’s Army. The women chose to jump into the well to avoid the tortures of Abdali’s Army.   The bodies of Vishwasrao and Bhau were recovered by the Marathas and were cremated according to their custom.

Indian Philosophy

India has always been a land of seekers. Hindu religious books have answered the most basic question ever occurred to mankind, Where do we come from and what should we do to attain salvation. For Hindus, the ultimate goal of life is to attain Moksha. Indian philosophical schools stressed on the fulfilment of four goals Arth, Dharma, Kama and Moksha.

The two major schools of Philosophy are Orthodox school and Heterodox school of thought. The orthodox school of thought is based on Vedas and has six sub schools called as Shada Darshana. The Heterodox school of thought questioned the Vedas and existence of God.

The six Orthodox subschools are,

Samkhya School:

The Samkhya Sutra written by great Indian sage Kapil Muni explains salvation through knowledge. It said lack of knowledge is the root cause of all the suffering. It believed in Dualism or Davitvada.

Yoga School:

the word Yoga literally means union. Yoga is the union of physicalmental, and spiritual practices which originated in ancient India.

Nyaya School:

This school explains salvation through the technique of Logical Thinking.

Vaisheshika School:

Vaisheshika school is known for its insights into Naturalism and it is a form of atomism in natural philosophy. Vaisheshika explains how ones experiences are derived from dravya (substance), guna(quality),karma (activity), samanya (commonness),vishesha (particularity), amavaya (inherence).

Mimamsa School:

the word Mimamsa literally means reasoning and interpretation. This school believes the eternal truth in Vedas and stresses on the fulfilment of duties prescribed by Vedas to attain salvation.

Vedanta School:

this school of thought is based on Upanishads. It explains the similarity of nature of the self and Bramh. This school believes if one attains the knowledge of the self then he automatically attains Bramha.

The three Heterodox sub Schools are,

Buddist Philosophy: this school is founded by Gautam Buddha who was born in 563 BCE at Lumbini (Nepal). Buddhism speaks of four noble truths. First, there is suffering in Human life. Second, the fundamental cause of all the suffering is Desire. Third, he advises us to destroy passion and love for materialistic life. Fourth, the liberation can be attained through eightfold path explained in Buddhism.

Jain Philosophy:

the Jain Philosophy first told by Rishabha Deva, the first Tirthankara ( wise Person). There are 24 tirthankar and twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE. Jainism believes that right perception and knowledge combined with right conduct can help to attain salvation.

Charvaka School or Lokayata Philosophy:

Brihaspati was the founder of this school of thought. It was among the first school of thought which propagated materialistic view to achieving salvation. This school does not consider ‘Eather’ as one of the elements of earth because it cannot be experienced through perception.

Indian Literature

Indian literature comprises of religious Sanskrit scripts as well as literature in regional languages. Since ancient times the religious knowledge in Sanskrit has been transferred orally through generations. Here in this article, we will summarize the work different sages, poets, philosophers in Sanskrit as well as regional languages.

*Vedic Literature

Vedic literature comprises of four Vedas, Upanishads and other Sanskrit literature.

Rig-Veda: Rig-Veda is the oldest of four Vedas consisting of 1028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is mainly focused on the subject of life, death, creation and sacrifice.

Atharva Veda: It is mainly known for its focus on the treatment of different ailments, traditional Indian medicine and issues related to everyday life of a householder.  it is a collection of 730 hymns.

Yajur Veda: Yajurveda concentrates on rituals and sacrifices to be made in Yajna.

Sama Veda: It is the Veda of songs and ways of reciting the mantras. It consists of Hymns, Raga (musical notes) and Raginis.

*Literature in Pali and Prakrit

The Buddhist and Jain religious books are mainly written in Pali and Prakrit.

*Literature in regional languages:

Tamil (Sangam) Literature:

The kingdom of Pandya called assemblies of poets and writers. These assemblies are known as Sangam and the literature produced in these assemblies is called Sangam Literature. Thiruvalluvar was a celebrated Tamil Philosopher best known for his work ‘Tirukkuṛaḷ’ a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economic matters, and love.

Kokasandisan and Bhasa Kautilya are the major works of Malayalam Literature in the medival period.

Kannada Literature: the Ratnatraya or the three gems of Kannada Literature are the three renowned poets Pampa, Ponna and Ranna,

Bengali and Odia literature:

Mangal Kavyas are the Hindu religious text of Bengali literature written in medieval period. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was the famous nationalist Bengali writer. Our national song Vande Mataram was an expert taken from his novel. Shankerdev composed devotional poetry in Assamese.

Gujarati, Rajasthani and Sindhi literature:

Gujarat was known for the Bhakti movement and this movement has influenced the Gujarati literature. The renowned saint Narsinh Mehta has composed devotional songs for Lord Krishna. Dingal and Pingal are the two main types of fictional writings in Rajasthani. Sant Mirabai’s devotional literature in Rajasthani is very famous. Sindhi literature is influenced by the culture of Rajasthan and Gujarat. One of the prominent writers of Sindhi literature was Dewan Kauramal.