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The Key that could have saved the Titanic !

 The infamous ship RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic ocean after crashing into an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. The Titanic was one of the most grandest and luxurious ships of its time: standing an incredible 882 feet long and 175 feet high, with amenities such as royal suites and electric baths on board. Various films and documentaries have been made on the story of the Titanic, perhaps the most famous one being the 1997 version starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.   Titanic (1997) The Crash On the 10th of April, 1912, the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage. The ship sailed normally for the first four days without seeing much action.  On the evening of 14th April, however, the Titanic received warnings from other ships about drifting ice near the Great Banks of Newfoundland. The captain chose to ignore these warnings and continue to move forward in full speed. He was immensely confident that a few pieces of ice could do no harm
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The Story Of Hemu: A Grocer who became the King of India

 Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, or Hemu, was born in 1501 in the Alwar province of Rajputana(now Rajasthan) in a family of Dhusar Brahmins. Soon after his birth, his family shifted to the small town of Rewari(in present-day Haryana) in search of better prospects. Being a grocer's son, he was brought up to be a shopkeeper; but, of course, Hemu wasn't any ordinary tradesman--from a relatively young age, Hemu displayed remarkable intelligence and a fiery sense of ambition. During this time, following the death of the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri (the founder of the Suri dynasty in India), his son Islam Shah Suri took over the empire. However, Islam Shah's brother Adil Khan resisted his rise to power and rebelled against the empire. In the battle that followed, Adil Khan's army was routed by Islam Shah and he had to flee for his life. Giving notice to this political development, Hemu realized that the Imperial Army chasing the rebels would soon pass through Rewari, and would sure

The Bombay Stock Exchange: How was it formed?

Little would a stranger looking at the subtle Phiroze Jeejeebhoy tower in the old part of Bombay know that the building houses about US$2.87 trillion in public wealth! The Bombay Stock exchange is one of the most reputed and renowned stock exchanges in the world and the oldest stock exchange in Asia. It has delivered sizeable returns to the investors in its products and has directly, or indirectly, employed hundreds of thousands of people over the years.   The Story:  In the 1850s British India, five stockbrokers decided to conduct daily sale meetings under a banyan tree in front of the Bombay town hall. Over the years many people were attracted by the profitability of the business and started joining the stockbrokers' group. Due to its increasing size, the group had to constantly keep shifting venues. Stockbrokers in downtown Bombay, c.a. 1865  Finally, in 1874, the group relocated to the place presently known as Dalal (Hindi for broker) street in South Bombay. A year later, the g

Who was Rash Behari Bose? : The Forgotten Hero.

 Rash Behari Bose was born on the 25th of May, 1886 in the Bengal province of India. As a teenager, he was expelled out of school for questioning the ways of teaching in British India--the revolutionary zeal burned inside him from a young age. A few years later, he ran away from home; his objective was to enter the British army, learn their techniques and use it against them. After being denied entry into the infantry because of his Bengali lineage, he obtained a job as a clerk in  Fort William  (a British military station) but was forced to conceal his identity. Bose's secret was, however, discovered later and he was shamefully kicked out of his job; unmoved, Bose swore to take revenge. He went onto get a job at a research institute in Dehradun, where he taught other young men how to make bombs and use firearms. In 1912, he was forced to go incognito after being identified as one of the perpetrators of a bomb attack against the British Viceroy . R.B. Bose The uprising of 1915...

The Belgian Town inside the Netherlands...

Baarle-Nassau-Hertog is a quiet and relaxed town located in a rather overlooked part of Northern Europe. The town is home to one of the most obscure international borders in the world-- and yeah, as a result of that, is located both in Belgium and the Netherlands. Just look at the images below and you'll get a better sense of the situation. Like always, I'll keep this one short and sweet. The Belgian side of the town is known as Baarle-Hertog and the Dutch side as Baarle-Nassau; a casual line made up of white crosses runs across town and separates the two countries.                                So how did this extraordinary situation come into being?  To answer this we'll need to go back to the 12th century.  The History In 1198, the Duke of Brabant(a province in the Netherlands) gave away most of his land in Baarle to the Count of Nassau(then the Lord of Breda). Some pieces of land although remained the property of the Brabants, which they used to collect taxes. In 1648,

A Brief Summary of Portuguese attempts to find a Sea Route to India (1450-1609)

Background For centuries, goods from the east were brought in by Arab merchants at Constantinople (now Istanbul), where they were sold off to European traders at profitable amounts. These traders, in turn, transported the goods, mostly spices and fabrics, across Europe.  But this well-established trading cycle collapsed in 1453 when the Turks captured Constantinople and stopped the free passage of goods from the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. The Turks demanded unreasonably high taxes and didn't guarantee safety against pirates, making it very difficult for the Europeans to trade peacefully. Out of desperation, the Europeans started to look for an alternate route to India and beyond. Map of Trade Routes around Turkey, ca.1028 European Merchants (15th Century AD) The Journey begins... During the 1450s, Prince Henry, "The Navigator" of Portugal was making significant attempts to find a different route to India. He believed that going southwards along the African coa

Seward's Folly: The Biggest Blunder in Geopolitical History? (by Russia...)

 The 30th of March, 1867 was a historic day for the United States of America; 1.5 million  k m 2  of practically barren ice was purchased by the government from the Russian Empire for a whopping $7.2 million (equivalent to $132 million 2019 dollars).  At the time, many people believed that this was a sheer waste of public funds and won't benefit the United States in any way. Consequently, many opponents named the purchase as 'Seward's Folly' after the Ameican figurehead of the deal, Secretary of State William Seward.   With hindsight, we can see that all of this criticism was irrational and unjust. Today, Alaska contributes more than 50 billion dollars each year to the US economy with its main exports being oil, natural gas, and seafood. So, according to me, the acquisition of Alaska was a very wise move by Seward and evidently proved to be very fruitful for the US in the long run.  Therefore, the question we are gonna ask in this blog is whether or not the sale of Alas

The Beirut blast. What caused it?

 This Tuesday (4th August), a massive explosion in the evening hours rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The explosion occurred in the city's port area, killing at least 135 people and wounding about 5000. The Facts. The blast is said to have taken place at 6:07 pm local time near the Beirut port and central district. A massive smoke cloud accompanied by a thundering noise, shook the people of Beirut during the generally peaceful evening hours. The powerful gust created due to the blast is said to have pierced through cars, walls, and even entire houses. The explosion set off an earthquake of 3.3 on the Richter scale and its effects were even felt in Cyprus--240km away. Along with the disastrous loss of lives, the blast has also damaged the city economically with the Governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, saying that the mishap has resulted in US$ 90 billion worth of loss.  The (possible) Cause. According to Lebanese PM Hassan Diab, 2,750 metric tones of volatile ammonium nitrate, w

A Virtual Tour of the Amer fort and....

I caught the mythology and history bug while reading comics based on great Indian epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana and loved visiting historic monuments since I was a small child. Whenever my family used to visit these monuments or landmarks we always used to hire a guide to show us around.  I was always stunned to see the immense knowledge a guide had about that particular place, especially considering that most of these people could not read and write. Gradually, I developed a strong obsession with the history and heritage of my country and started associating myself further with it.  Recently, I read reports of monuments being reopened in India after a 2-month lockdown, but almost instantly realized that people won't visit these places until this crisis completely subsides and a vaccine for the virus is introduced. This thought led me to think about the tourist guides working in these monuments. It was pretty clear that the tourist guides were completely jobless amid this

Not the usual blog....

A few days ago, the expressive, 'fancy' writer inside me, quite unexpectedly decided to come to life. I was viewing pictures of naturally formed chalk cliffs for one of my chemistry assignments and felt a startling urge to write a piece describing their divine beauty. So, I did write something. Now before you move on, just to let you know this is not going to be a usual informative blog and is completely out of theme regarding the usual genre of the blog. Also, this piece of writing is simply a product of my imagination and is therefore not an accurate portrayal of real-world settings. Well then, here it goes: The Cliffs by the coast The majestic coastline, surrounded by dazzling white chalk cliffs, looked like it was straight out of a picture postcard. The barnacled beach seemed like a splendid line of embroidery between the sea and the coast. The bracing sea breeze coated the skin with a rejuvenating layer of mist. The clouds were turning darker every minute and spread

The India-Nepal border dispute explained. Is it a Chinese conspiracy?

All right, so in this post, I'm going to talk about two nations between whom a serious border dispute was the most unanticipated thing ever. India and Nepal have enjoyed blissful relations since the 1950s. Under the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty of peace and friendship , Nepal became the only country in the world to allow Indian citizens the freedom of movement within its territory. Nepalese citizens can also travel into India visa-free. So to say, India and Nepal have shared an 'open border' since 1950. The question then arises what is this discourse all about?                               The Problem: Recently, Nepal produced a new political map which included the areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura under its territory. Now, the problem is that these areas have effectively been under Indian control since 1947 and since the 1962 Indo- China war, India even maintains a strong military presence there. To get a better understanding of all of this look at the map

Sweden’s eccentric way of tackling the corona-virus.

Apart from being the country of origin of global brands like IKEA and H&M, Sweden is also known for housing one of the happiest populations in the world and why won’t you be happy when there are only 190 annual school days in your country! Personally, I think the Swedes are the most ‘chilled-out’ people in the world. Don’t trust me? Look at Sweden’s ‘radically different’ approach to handle the Covid-19 crisis. What if I told you that while the rest of Europe remains under strict lockdown, Sweden has not shut down its transportation systems, schools, and even restaurants and cafes remain functioning? Believe it or not, this is the truth, apparently, the Swedish government believes that social distancing is a matter of self-regulation and cannot be imposed by the government. This might well be true as we can see in India itself that despite severe government regulations, a lot of people are taking to the streets and trying to defy the lockdown. Although the Swedish ideology might

What was the Maginot line and why did it fail ?

    The Maginot line, named after the French Minister of War, André Maginot, was a chain of costly fortifications built along the Franco-German border. It was built by the French in the 1930's to prevent any German attack from the east such as the devastating German offensive during WWI. The line consisted of about 5000 blockhouses, 78 shelters , around 350  casemates  and approximately  142 ouvrages ( or defensive structures). The Maginot Line was designed to ensure that the French forces had enough time to mobilize, in case of a German attack. The French believed that the Maginot line was the 'work of genius' and was almost impenetrable. French troops along the line A plan for a fortification in the Maginot Line                                            The Question then arises why did such a strong chain of fortifications fail to stop the German advance into France in 1940? The answer is actually quite simple. The Maginot line did not extended through