Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ACK-074: Jagadis Chandra Bose

ACK #325 (#699)

Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose: Indian physicist, plant physiologist & Science fiction writer

Jagadis Chandra Bose was a physicist at Presidency College in Calcutta, India, who pioneered the investigation of microwave optics in the later 1800's. He invented radio communication before Marconi (check links: 1, 2, 3). Many of his instruments are still on display and remain largely usable now, over 100 years later. They include various antennas, polarizers, and waveguides, all of which remain in use in modern forms today.

He was also known as an excellent teacher who believed in the use of classroom demonstrations, a trait apparently picked up while studying with Lord Rayleigh at Cambridge. He influenced many later Indian physicists, including Satyendra Bose (no relation) who later went on to be an influential figure in 20th century physics.

Later he turned his attention to plant physiology, where he gained a new sort of fame with continued claims that plants had nervous responses (of a sort) similar to those of animals. This led him to explore the effects of drugs on plants, and later, non-organic materials such as metals, which he claimed showed similar effects. Much of this was demonstrated through the use of a device he invented called the crescograph, which magnified mechanical movements many times and allowed for the direct study of plant growth.

Life Summary

1858 - Born on the 30th of November, in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh), Bengal. Indian plant physiologist and physicist whose invention of highly sensitive instruments for the detection of minute responses by living organisms to external stimuli enabled him to anticipate the parallelism between animal and plant tissues noted by later biophysicists.

1880 - He was later sent to a hostel in an English school in Calcutta. After his graduation from Sr. Xavier’s College in Calcutta, Bose left for England for further studies.

1884 - Bose took his B.A. degree in the natural sciences with Physics, Chemistry, and Botany, from Cambridge, and simultaneously a B.Sc. degree from the University of London.

1885 - Bose became the officiating Professor of Physics at the prestigious Presidency College in Calcutta.

1895 - Bose designed a wireless telegraphy system with very sensitive receivers.

1896 - Bose wrote Niruddesher Kahini, the first major work in Bangla science fiction. Later, he added the story in the Obbakto book as Polatok Tufan. He was the first science fiction writer in the Bengali language.

1902-1906 - Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose had two of his pioneering books published. The first, Response in the Living and Non-Living was published and Plant Responses. He was the first Indian to get a US Patent (No: 755840) for "detector for electrical disturbances" in 1904.

1917 - He set up the Bose Temple of Learning in Calcutta which trains international scientists even today.

1920 - He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

1937 - Died on November 23rd on Giridih, Bengal Presidency, British India.

1997 - According to the June edition of the journal published by the U.S.-based Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world, installed at the National Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., was built on a device originally developed by Bose.

Read about more at Banglapedia, Wikipedia,,,,

Many many thanks to “Apoorva Chandar” for providing ACK scan.

Monday, February 23, 2009

ACK-073: Thanedar Hasan Askari

An out of print ACK #286

Thanedar Hasan Askari, an issue devoted to an idiosyncratic, apolitical police inspector in Uttar Pradesh in the 1930s. This is the whole of what the introduction to the issue has to say about him:

Sayyad Hasan Askari was born in an affluent and renowned family of Uttar Pradesh. After a brilliant record at the Police Training College, he became an instructor at the same institute. Fourteen years later he was transferred to Kanpur as a police officer. Askari distinguished himself as a man of principle. This Amar Chitra Katha brings a few episodes in the life of this extraordinary policeman
(inside front cover).

Thanedar Hasan Askari catches dacoits (the cover shows him leaping out at them from a palanquin in which he has been posing as a woman), and embarrasses his British superiors with his independence of mind. Once, to make an obscure point, he rides a horse into a courtroom. Later, he successfully practices homeopathy. He is loved by the people. Being too honest to curry favor, he retires as a lowly thanedar.

Giriraj Shah also praised him in his book Top Cops : Biographies of World’s Top Policemen (New Delhi, Cosmo, 2002, 3 Vols., 861 p., (set). ISBN 81-7755-200-7.) .

Many many thanks to “Apoorva Chandar” for providing ACK scan.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

ACK-072: The King in a Parrot's Body

An out of print ACK #191

Inside cover story

Jain monks took a keen interest in the spiritual uplift of the common people. To make their difficult philosophy accessible to the layman, they used the medium of stories.

Most of the stories teach that meritorious acts bring prosperity & evil acts untold misery. According to Jain philosophy, man is the master of his own destiny. He reaps what he sows. No outside force can help him get what he does not deserve, nor can it prevent him from getting what he does deserve.

The story of King Shuklapaksha has an underlying allegory. Shuklapaksha literally means the bright half of a lunar month and Krishnapaksha, the dark half. The king symbolises ggod and the minister evil. The confrontation between the two, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil, is the subject of this story.

Many many thanks to an “Anonymous friend” for providing ACK scan.

Friday, February 20, 2009

T-004: Tinkle #1

Father of Amar Chitra Katha & Tinkle

Anant Pai, (born 17 September, 1929) popularly known as Uncle Pai, is a renowned educationalist and creator of Indian comics, in particular the Amar Chitra Katha series, which retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters, and Tinkle, a children's anthology.

Early life

Born in Karkala, Karnataka to Venkataraya and Susheela Pai, he lost his parents at the age of two. At the age of twelve, he came to Mumbai, where he studied in Orient School, Mahim. He studied chemistry, physics and chemical technology at the University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT now UICT) and was a dual degree holder from the University of Bombay (now Mumbai). Endowed with a passion for publishing and comics, his failed attempt at creating a children's magazine (Manav, 1954) was followed by a career as a junior executive in the Times of India books division, putting him in the thick of affairs when Indrajal comics was launched by the Times Group. Indrajal featured reprints of popular American strip characters such as the the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, and later, indigenous characters like Bahadur and Dara.

The Amar Chitra Katha years

The idea behind starting a comicbook series devoted to Indian culture and history came to Pai from a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in February 1967, in which participants could easily answer questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question "In the Ramayana, who was Rama's mother?". He left his job and started Amar Chitra Katha the same year, with the help of late G. L. Mirchandani of India Book House, when most other publishers from Allied Publishers to Jaico had rejected the concept. Later, he took on the role of writer, editor and publisher. The series went on to become a publishing milestone for the Indian comic book scene, selling over 86 million copies of about 440 titles.

In 1969, Anant Pai founded Rang Rekha Features, India's first comic and cartoon syndicate, and started the children's magazine Tinkle in 1980. His involvement with the above, and the rapport he shared with his readers earned him the title "Uncle Pai".

Other works

Ramu and Shamu, Kapish, Little Raji, Rekha, Fact Fantasy, Funland and Funtime are some of the comic strips created by Pai, most of which continue to appear in newspapers and magazines. He has written and produced two video films, Ekam Sat (the Vedic Concept of God) and The Secret of Success, in English and Hindi.

Pai's other works include a number of books on personality development for children and teenagers, ("How To Develop Self-confidence", "How to Achieve Success", "How To Develop A Super Memory", UBS Publishers) and a series of audio book versions of Amar Chitra Katha stories, "Storytime with Uncle Pai" (Universal Music India, Dec 2001), where he plays the role of narrator-storyteller.


  • Karpoorchand Puraskar of Uttar Pradesh Bal Kalyan Sansthan (1994)
  • Yudhvir Memorial Award in Hyderabad (1996)
  • Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Sahitya Academy Award (1996)
  • Dr. T. M. A. Pai Memorial Award in Manipal (1997)
  • University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology's Distinguished Alumnus Award (1999)
  • Millennium Konkani Sammelan Award, Illinois, U.S.A (2000)
  • Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation's Award (2001)
  • Priyadarshni Academy Award (2002)
  • Vishwa Saraswat Sammaan (2003)
(~ From Wikipedia)

Check following links:
Do you remember the first Tinkle?

Many many thanks to “Ajay Misra” for providing ACK scan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ACK-071: Tales of Yudhishthira

ACK #174 (703)

Yudhisthira was also known as Bharata (Descendent of the line of Bharata), Ajatashatru (One Without Enemies), Dharmaraj. He always had good feelings in his heart even for his enemies.

Virtues like patience, stability, humbleness, tolerance, kindness and love were his strengths. Because of his courteous nature and good conduct, Yudhishthir was extremely popular in his childhood.

He was a master of the spear, and a maharatha, capable of combating 10,000 opponents at a time.


YUDHISHTHIRA. The eldest of the five Pandu princes, mythologically the son of Dharma, the god of justice.

With the Hindus he is the favourite one of the five brothers, and is represented as a man of calm, passionless judgement, strict veracity, unswerving rectitude, and rigid justice. He was renowned as a ruler and director, but not as a warrior.

Educated at the court of his uncle, Dhritarashtra, he received from the family preceptor, Drona, a military training, and was taught the use of the spear. When the time came for naming the Yuvaraja or heir apparent to the realm of Hastinapura, the Maharaja Dhritarashtra selected Yudhishthira in preference to his own eldest son, Duryodhana. A long-standing jealousy between the Pandava and Kaurava princes then broke forth openly. Duryodhana expostulated with his father, and the end was that the Pandavas went in honourable banishment to the city of Varanavata.

The jealousy of Duryodhana pursued them, and his emissaries laid a plot burning the brothers in their dwelling-house. Yudhishthira's sagacity discovered the plot and Bhima frustrated it. The bodies of a Bhil woman and her five sons were found in the ruins of the burnt house, and it was believed for a time that the Pandavas and their mother had perished.

When Draupadi had been won at the swayamvara, Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five brothers, was requested by his juniors to make her his wife, but he desired that she should become the wife of Arjuna, by whose prowess she had been won. Through the words of their mother, Kunti, and the decision of the sage Vyasa, the princess became the common wife of the five brothers. An arrangement was made that Draupadi should dwell in turn with the five brothers, passing two days in the separate house of each, and that under pain of exile for twelve years no one of the brothers but the master of the house should enter while Draupadi was staying in it.

The arms of the family were kept in the house of Yudhishthira, and an alarm of robbery being raised, Arjuna rushed there to procure his weapons while Draupadi was present. He thus incurred the pain of exile, and departed, though Yudhishthira endeavoured to dissuade him by arguing that the elder brother of a fatherless family stood towards his juniors in the position of a father.

After the return of the Pandavas from exile and their establishment at Indraprastha, the rule of Yudhishthira is described as having been most excellent and prosperous. The Raja "ruled his country with great justice, protecting his subjects as his own sons, and subduing all his enemies round about, so that every man was without fear of war or disturbance, and gave his whole mind to the performance of every religious duty. And the Raja had plenty of rain at the proper season, and all his subjects became rich; and the virtues of the Raja were to be seen in the great increase of trade and merchandise, in the abundant harvests and the prolific cattle. Every subject of the Raja was pious; there were no liars, no thieves, and no swindlers; and there were no droughts, no floods, no locusts, no conflagrations, no foreign invasions, and no parrots to eat the grain. The neighbouring Rajas, despairing of conquering Raja Yudhishthira, were very desirous of securing his friendship. Meanwhile Yudhishthira, though he would never acquire wealth by unfair means, yet prospered so exceedingly that had he lavished his riches for a thousand years no diminution would ever have been perceived."

After the return of his brother Arjuna from exile, Yudhishthira determined to assert his supremacy by performing the Rajasuya sacrifice, and this led to a war with Jarasandha, Raja of Magadha, who declined to take part in it, and was in consequence defeated and killed.

The dignity which Yudishthira had gained by the performance of the sacrifice rekindled the jealousy of Duryodhana and the other Kauravas. They resolved to invite their cousins to a gambling match, and to cheat Yudhishthira of his kingdom. Yudhishthira was very unwilling to go, but could not refuse his uncle's invitation. Sakuni, maternal uncle of Duryodhana, was not only a skillful player but also a dexterous cheat. He challenged Yudhishthira to throw dice with him, and Yudhishthira, after stipulating for fair-play, began the game. He lost his all, his kingdom, his brothers, himself, and his wife, all of whom became slaves.

When Draupadi was sent for as a slave and refused to come, Duhsasana dragged her into the hall by the hair, and both he and Duryodhana grossly insulted her. Bhima was half mad with rage, but Yudhishthira's sense of right acknowledged that Draupadi was a slave, and he forbade Bhima and his brothers to interfere.

When the old Maharaja Dhritarashtra was informed of what had passed, he came into the assembly, and declaring that his sons had acted wrongfully, he sent Draupadi and her husbands away, imploring them to forget what had passed. Duryodhana was very wroth, and induced the Maharaja to allow another game to avoid war, the condition being that the losers should go into exile for thirteen years, and should remain concealed and undiscovered during the whole of the thirteenth year. The game was played, and loaded dice gave Sakuni the victory, so the Pandavas went again into exile.

During that time they rendered a service to Duryodhana by rescuing him and his companions from a band of marauders who had made them prisoners. When Jayadratha, king of Sindhu, was foiled in his attempt to carry of Draupadi, the clemency of Yudhishthira led him to implore his brothers to spare their captive's life.

As the thirteenth year of exile approached, in order to keep themselves concealed, the five brothers and Draupadi went to the country of Virata and entered into the service of the Raja. Yudhishthira's office was that of private companion and teacher of dice-playing to the king. Here Yudhishthira suffered his wife Draupadi to be insulted, and dissuaded his brothers from interfering, lest by so doing they should discover themselves.

When the term of exile was concluded, Yudhishthira sent an envoy to Hastinapura asking for a peaceful restoration to the Pandavas of their former position. The negotiations failed, and Yudhishthira invited Krishna to go as his representative to Hastinapura. Notwithstanding Yudishthira's longing for peace the war began, but even then Yudhishthira desired to withdraw, but was overruled by Krishna.

Yudhishthira fought in the great battle, but did not distinguish himself as a soldier. The version of the Mahabharata given in Mr. Wheeler's work makes him guilty of downright cowardice. At the instigation of Krishna he compassed the death of Drona by conveying to that warrior false intelligence of the death of his son Aswatthaman, and his character for veracity was used to warrant the truth of the representation. His conscience would not allow him to tell an downright lie, but it was reconciled to telling a lying truth in killing an elephant named Aswatthaman, and informing the fond father that Aswatthaman was dead.

He retreated from a fight with Karna, and afterwards reproached Arjuna for not having supported him and Bhima. This so irritated Arjuna that he would have killed him on the spot had not Krishna interposed.

After the great battle was over Krishna saluted him king, but he showed great disinclination to accept the dignity. His sorrow for those who had fallen was deep, especially for Karna, and he did what he could to console the bereaved Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, as well as the many other sufferers.

He was made king, and was raised to the throne with great pomp, he acting as ruler under the nominal supremacy of the old King Dhritarashtra. There, after an interval, he asserted his universal supremacy by performing the great Aswamedha sacrifice.

The death of Krishna at Dwaraka and regrets for the past embittered the lives of the Pandavas, and they resolved to withdraw from the world. Yudhishthira appointed Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna, to be his successor, and the five brothers departed with Draupadi to the Himalayas on their way to Swarga. The story of this journey is told with great feeling in the closing verses of the Mahabharata.

Yudhishthira had a son named Yaudheya by his wife Devika; but the Vishnu Purana makes the son's name Devaka and the mother's Yaudheyi.

(~ From

Read more about him: Wikipedia

Many many thanks to “Apoorva Chandar” for providing ACK scan.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

ACK-070: Jasma of Odes

An out of print ACK #095

Inside cover story

Jasma of the Ode Tribe of Gujarat is remembered for her royalty of husband, for fearless conduct in the face of the might of king Siddharaj jaisingh and for her love of the rugged life of the nomadic odes. many folk song sung about her, to this day, in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

According to legend, in an earlier birth, Jasma was an Apsara (celestial nymph) and had been sent to earth by indra to distract the meditation of sage Nala. the engraged sage cursed her. " she would be born in the poor nomadic community of Odes and be forced to marry an ugly man". it was in fulfillment of this curse that she was married to Rupa, the ugly son of Bhalo Bhand.

A wandering bard of king Siddharaj jaisingh's court chanced to see Jasma and described what he saw to his king when he returned to the Court. The king has to see the dazzling beauty. When he did, he was captivated by her beauty and offered to marry her to make her the queen of Gujarat. Jasma looked him in disdain, spured his offer and rebuked him for having cherished such evil thoughts. This dialogue between the king and Jasma forms, perhaps the most eloquent part of the folksongs and is sung with embrassment by the inspired villagers.

A Temple is built in her memory which is situated at Pattan railway station, near Baroda in Gujarat State, INDIA.

Odra or Ode caste

During the medieval times, the state corresponding roughly with now-a-days Orissa passed under the various names such as: Utkala, Kalinga, and Odra (Udra) Desa. The state boundaries varied from time to time and were sometimes much larger. These land names are associated with peoples. The Okkala or Utkala, the Kalinga, and the Odra or Oddaka were mentioned in literature as tribes. Ancient Greeks knew the latter two as Kalingai and Oretes. Eventually the names got identified with the territories. The land was inhabited by semi-Hinduized tribes (shabaras) in the hinterland, a group of farming Brahmins (halua brahmuna) who practised invincible Tantra method near Jajpur area (the place of Goddess Biraja), and people of other castes and trades as well. For centuries before and after the birth of Christ, Kalinga was a formidable political power, extending from the Ganga river to the Godavari river. Approximately between the 11th and 16th centuries the name was twisted; the name Odra Desa was gradually transformed into Uddisa, Udisa, or Odisa, which in English became Orissa. The language of Odisa came to be known as Oriya. Ode tribe migrated to gujarat around 12th century for construction of temples in which they are more specialized. People who supplied stone and lime for construction work of temples. People from these region were called as Oddars, Vadderas and Waddars in Andhra, Tamil nadu and Karnataka. The important Deity of Odes is 'Jasma devi'.

(~ from

Many many thanks to “Ajay Misra” for providing ACK scan.

Friday, February 13, 2009

ACK-069:Tiruppan and Kanakadasa

An out of print ACK #186

This ACK is based on story of two great devotees for those God broke man made all boundaries:

1. Tiruppan Alvar (10th century CE), an untouchable devotee of Lord Ranganatha, belonged to the low caste of panas or wandering bards, playing on the instrument known as yal. He was a native of Uraiyur and great devotee of Vishnu enshrined in Srirangam. Fully conscious of his low birth he did not dare cross the Kaveri into Srirangam, and it was his habit to sing the praise of Ranganatha in soulful melody from the river Kaveri. Tiruppan Alvar was insulted by a priest for standing (or sleeping) in the way to the temple. The temple doors did not open to the priest, but a voice came from within the sanctum sanctorum that unless the priest takes the Alvar on his shoulders and circumambulates the temple three times and brings him in the Lord’s presence, the doors would not open. The priest had to obey, and thereafter, Tiruppan Alvar was hailed as a great saint.

2. Kanakadasa

Saint-Poet Kanakadasa (c 1509-1609 A.D.) belongs to the tradition of Haridasa literary movement which ushered in an era of devotional literature in Karnataka. Scores and scores of Haridasa have composed songs in praise of Krishna (incarnation of Vishnu). 'Haridasa' stands for 'servant of Hari', is another epithet of god Krishna. Right from 14th century to 19th, we find several Haridasas who wrote devotional compositions which could be set to music with simple instruments like Tanpura, and Tala (cymbals). They wrote kirtans, bhajans, prayers, lullabies, festival songs, and house-hold-chore songs. Written in simple and spoken Kannada, they had universal appeal.

Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa are the foremost among Haridasas. Besides conveying dvaita (dualism) tenets, they preached kindness and equanimity in a world full of sorrows. They condemned superstitions, hollow rituals and upheld virtues of a pious life.

No biographical details of Kanakadasa are available. Tradition makes him a member of shepherd (Kuruba) community who was a chief (nayaka) of security forces under a local king. His family deity or the deity he worshipped was Adikeshava of Kaginele, presently in Haveri district. Kaginele, now a village, was a prosperous place and trading center in middle ages.

If Purandaradasa gave up trader's job and balance (takadi) for tanpura and cymbals, Kanakadasa threw away his sword when the "inner call" came. Purandaradasa is supreme or 'king' among composers. Kanakadasa is a poet among composers. He wrote about two hundred songs (kirtans, padas and mundiges or philosophical songs) besides five major works.

Kanakadasa's major works are:

  1. Nalacharitre (Story of Nala)

  2. Haribhaktisara (crux of Krishna devotion)

  3. Nrisimhastava (compositions in praise of Lord Narasimha)

  4. Ramadhanyacharite (story of ragi millet) and an epic

  5. Mohanatarangini (Krishna-river).

Kanakadasa rationalized bhakti (devotion) by giving worldly similes. His writing has intimate touch that identifies the reader with the poet himself. His two famous compositions in translation are given below. One condemns caste system in a refined poetic way and the other wonders, at the colorful and baffling creation of God Almighty in child-like wonder.

His Nalacharite is based on the famous love-story of Nala and Damayanti, which appears in Mahabharata. Though a great devotee of Lord Krishna, Kanakadasa gives his own interpretation. Nala who is in love with Damayanti, exercises restraint svayamvara (choosing bride/bridegroom) ceremony to win over Damayanti by allowing Indra and other gods a chance to win over her. When he loses everything in a dice-game and goes to forest, stubbornly followed by Damayanti, he deserts her in sleep, hoping that she may go back to her parents and have better life. He later drives king Rituparna to second declared svayamvara of Damayanti, to see his wife married to a suitable person and be happy! Lord Krishna appears only once casually to rescue the caravan with which the hapless Damayanti was traveling and was attacked by wild elephants.

Haribhaktisara is essence of devotion to Lord Krishna as the name indicates. A work of one hundred and ten verses with chorus line 'deva rakshisu nammananavarata', it is a prayer song, sung by Madhva men and women in Karnataka while performing everyday chores. It teaches complete surrender to God.

Nrisimhastava is a work dealing with glory of god Narasimha (half man-half lion).

Kanakadasa's Ramadhanyacharite has quite an unconventional theme. It is about a battle of words between ragi (millet) and rice, each claiming superiority. They go to god Rama for justice. With the help of sages, Rama proves the superiority of ragi over rice. Ragi becomes blessed by absorbing quality of Raghava, another epithet of Rama. It is interpreted as poverty and humility being upheld by the poet above material wealth. Even today ragi is food of the poor.

Mohanatarangini, although a kavya (poem in classical style) written with all conventional eighteen descriptions, deals with eroticism. Pleasure-based eroticism of Shri Krishna with consorts and Aniruddha-Usha form the main theme.

It excels in depicting contemporary life. The description of Shri Krishna's Dwaravati (Dwaraka) is very similar to that of Vijayanagara, under Krishnadevaraya as noticed by foreign travelers. The market place with colorful stalls with various commodities, well demarketed lanes brimming with craftsmen, clients and merchants, royal garden parties and glory of the palace etc find place in Mohanatarangini. It echoes the contemporary Portuguese travelers' accounts. A drinking bout of men and women of working class is very picturesque. We feel as if Kanakadasa is providing a running commentary on an actually happening scene. It is for such unconventional and down-to-earth descriptions as also for social awareness that the great poet-saint has become immortal.

The Kanaka`s Peephole, Udupi

The Kanaka's Peephole, Udupi

Kanakana Kindi (window of Kanaka) enjoys a special place at the Shri Krishna temple of Udupi. There is a legend that Kanakadasa wanted to have a 'darshan' (encounter) of the idol. He was not allowed into the shrine by orthodox Madhwas, as Kanakadasa was not a Brahmin by birth. Kanakadasa then started singing praise of Lord Krishna and was lost to the outside world in a corner outside the temple. Suddenly there was a breach in the wall, where Kanaka stood, and Lord Krishna offered full darshan bending towards poet. A small window was constructed at the breach later. The idol has still a bend!

Today that window stands as a tribute to the unique saint of Karnataka. Almost all devotees who visit Udupi Krishna temple try to have a peep at the idol, through the petty window wishing to relive the ecstasy Kanaka had at the divine 'darshan'. It is also a memorial to Kanakadasa and eclectic Hindu belief that devotion, poetry and sainthood are above caste and creed and certainty above orthodoxy.

( Information about Kanakadasa from Kamat's Potpourri)

Many many thanks to an “Anon friend” for providing ACK scan.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ACK-068:Tachcholi Othenan

An out of print ACK #109

Thacholi Meppayil Kunjhu Othenan (Udayana Kurup of Thacholi Manikoth House) or more popularly Thacholi Othenan or Tachcholi Othenan was the legendary hero of North Kerala, who is thought to have lived 500 years ago. He was born in the family of ‘Manikkoth’ in Thacholi, near Vadakara, located 48 km north of Kozhikode. Highly stylised songs and stories of his valour and chivalry abound. His real name was Udayana Kurup. He is praised about in vadakkanpattu (ballads of North Kerala).

Othenan was known for his dignified and fearless behavior even when he was a boy. He was a very helpful friend to all, but merciless to enemies. He was respected by all, including the Zamorin of Calicut. He defeated Mathiloor Gurukkal, martial art expert, and killed him. Othenan, the legendary warrior of Kerala, was killed at the tender age of 32 by one of the Gurukkal’s disciples.

Thacholi Manikkoth, the kalari center, where Thacholi Othenan practiced Kalaripayattu is a place worth visiting. Thacholi Manikkoth Temple, dedicated to Thacholi Othenan, situated in Vadakara, organizes a martial arts festival during March or April, which draws a large number of people from far and near.

Many many thanks to an “Anon friend” for providing ACK scan.

Monday, February 9, 2009

ACK-067: Narsinh Mehta

An out of print ACK #094

He was born in Talaja (near Bhavnagar), in 1414(?), Vad Nagar Brahmin by caste.

At an early age his mother, father and uncle died. He lived with his brother and sister-in -law. From an early age he liked the company of Sadhu-Sant, so heard and sang many Bhakti Songs (poems that are prayers). He had immense faith in God and social life was of no interest to him. Narsinh Mehta faced lot of difficulties in his life time. His wife Manek died at very early age, his son passed away in his young age, Kuvar Bai, his daughter become widow. He was left with his widow daughter in law, besides King Ramandlink always created problems Narsinh Mehta but Narsinh Mehta's life revolved in Bhakti.

In his bad times the Almighty was always his rescue. Lord Krishna helped his daughter during her "Mameru". The Lord also helped his son during his marriage and at the time of Narsinh Mehta's father Shradh. Lord SriKrishna garlanded Narsinh Mehta in assembly of King Ram Mandlik.

Narsinh Mehta has composed all these happenings in his poems, which became very popular later. Prabhatia, Bhajans, Paad, Sri Krishna Nee Baal Ras Dan Lila, Prabhu Nee Bhakti, Gyan Na Padhu, Sudama Charitya are some of his best compsitions, which are extremely striking. Bhakt ShriMadh Bhagwat and Geet Govind are also in his poems. His poems have carved a ninche on our minds and heart. He died at the age of 66 in 1480(?).

(~ From

Read more about him:


2. Wikipedia

Many many thanks to “Ajnaabi” for providing ACK scan.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

ACK-066: The Taming of Gulla

An out of print ACK #282

This ACK is based on a true stroy which was written by an eminent Kannada writer Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar.


Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar (1904 - 1991), affectionately known as Gorur was an eminent Kannada writer; well known for his humor and satire. He was one of the two iconic Iyengar writers of Kannada literature alongwith the great Masti Venkatesh Iyengar.

Gorur's most well known book is the humorous travelogue "Amerikadalli Goruru", 1979; which is based on the experience of the traditional Iyengar in the techno-cultural world of the United States. The book had several memorable chapters like "Empire State Bhavana" (Empire State Building) and "Niagarada Manjukanye" (Maid of the Mist). Gorur also wrote several folk and fiction works like "Rasaphala", "Namma Oorina Rasikaru", "Puttamallige", "Bhoothayyana Maga Ayyu", "Hemavathi", "Garudagambada Dasaiah".

Gorur was born in the little hamlet of "Gorur" in Hassan district of Karnataka in Southern India in a family of Hebbar Iyengars. As a student he was influenced by the Indian Independence Movement and became a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He was jailed by the British administration in 1942 for his participation in the Quit India Movement.

Post Independence of India (1947), Gorur accepted employment in the Khadi Board Industries and later on began his glittering career as a pre-eminent Kannada writer. "Amerikadalli Goruru" won the acclaimed Sahitya Akademi award in 1979. "Bhoothayyana Maga Ayyu" was made into a blockbuster Kannada movie of the same name by noted director Siddhalingaiah, starring Vishnuvardhan, Lokesh and Shardha in 1975.

Gorur had four sons and a daughter and he outlived all his sons. Towards the end of his life, he lived in Bangalore alongwith his daughter. Gorur died peacefully in 1991, leaving behind legions of affectionate fans of Kannada literature.

(~ From Encyclopedia)

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

ACK-065: Agastya

An out of print ACK #69

. A Rishi, the reputed author of several hymns in the Rigveda, and a very celebrated personage in Hindu story.

He and Vasishtha are said in the Rigveda to be the offspring of Mitra and Varuna, whose seed fell from them at the sight of Urvasi; and the commentator Sayana adds that Agastya was born in a waterjar as a fish of great lustre, whence he was called Kalasisuta, Kumbhasambhava, and Ghatodbhava. From his parentage he was called Maitravaruni and Aurvasiya; and as he was very small when he was born, not more than a span in length, he was called Mina.

Though he is thus associated in his birth with Vasishtha, he is evidently later in date, and he is not one of the Prajapatis.

His name, Agastya, is derived by a forced etymology from a fable, which represents him as having commanded the Vindhya mountains to prostrate themselves before him, through which they lost their primeval altitude; or rather, perhaps, the fable has been invented to account for his name. This miracle has obtained for him the epithet Vindhyakuta; and he acquired another name, Pitabdhi, or Samudrachuluka, "Ocean drinker,' from another fable, according to which he drank up the ocean because it had offended him, and because he wished to help the gods in their wars with the Daityas when the latter had hidden themselves in the waters.

He was afterwards made regent of the star Canopus, which bears his name. The Puranas represent him as being the son of Pulastya, the sage from whom the Rakshasas sprang. He was one of the narrators of "the Brahma Purana and also a writer on medicine.

The Mahabharata relates a legend respecting the creation of his wife. It says that Agastya saw his ancestors suspended by their heels in a pit, and was told by them that they could be rescued only by his begetting a son. Thereupon he formed a girl out of the most graceful parts of different animals and passed her secretly into the palace of the king of Vidarbha. There the child grew up as a daughter of the king, and was demanded in marriage by Agastya. Much against his wills the king was constrained to consent, and she became the wife of the sage. She was named Lopamudra, because the animals had been subjected to loss (lopa) by her engrossing their distinctive beauties, as the eyes of the deer, etc. She was also called Kausitaki and Varaprada.

The same poem also tells a story exhibiting his superhuman power, by which he turned King Nahusha into a serpent and afterwards restored him to his proper form.

It is in the Ramayana that Agastya makes the most distinguished figure. Ho dwelt in a hermitage on Mount Kunjara, situated in a most beautiful country to the south of the Vindhya mountains, and was chief of the hermits of the south. He kept the Rakshasas who infested the south under control, so that the country was only gazed upon and not possessed by them.

His power over them is illustrated by a legend which represents him as eating up a Rakshasa named Vatapi who assumed the form of a ram, and as destroying by a flash of his eye the Rakshasa's brother, Ilvala, who attempted to avenge him. (See Vatapi.)

Rama in his exile wandered to the hermitage of Agastya with Sita and Lakshmana. The sage received him with the greatest kindness, and became his friend, adviser, and protector. He gave him the bow of Vishnu; and when Rama was restored to his kingdom, the sage accompanied him to Ayodhya.

The name of Agastya holds a great place also in Tamil literature, and he is "venerated in the south as the first teacher of science and literature to the primitive Dravidian tribes;" so says Dr. Caldwell, who thinks " we shall not greatly err in placing the era of Agastya in the seventh, or at least in the sixth century B.C." Wilson also had previously testified to the same effect: "The traditions of the south of India ascribe to Agastya a principal share in the formation of the Tamil language and literature, and the general tenor of the legends relating to him denotes his having been instrumental in the introduction of the Hindu religion and literature into the Peninsula."

(~ from

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ACK-064: Pradyumna

An out of print ACK #107

PRADYUMNA. A son of Krishna by Rukmini.

When a child only six days old, he was stolen by the demon Sambara and thrown into the ocean. There he was swallowed by a fish, which was afterwards caught and carried to the house of Sambara. When the fish was opened, a beautiful child was discovered, and Mayadevi or Mayavati, the mistress of Sambara's household, took him under her care. The sage Narada informed her who the child was, and she reared him carefully.

When he grew up she fell in love with him, and informed him who he was and how he had been carried off by Sambara. He defied the demon to battle, and after a long conflict slew him. Then he flew through the air with Mayavati, and alighted in the inner apartments of his father's palace.

Krishna presented him to his mother Rukmini "with the virtuous Mayavati his wife," declaring her really to be the goddess Rati.

Pradyumna also married Kakudmati, the daughter of Rukmin, and had by her a son named Aniruddha.

Pradyumna was killed at Dwaraka in the presence of his father during a drunken brawl.

Though Pradyumna passed as the son of Krishna, he was, according to the legend, a revival or resuscitation of Kama, the god of love, who was reduced to ashes by the fiery glance of Siva, and so the name Pradyumna is used for Kama.

The Vishnu Purana puts the following words into the mouth of Narada when he presented Pradyumna to Rukmini: "When Manmatha (the deity of love) had perished, the goddess of beauty (Rati), desirous to secure his revival, assumed a delusive form, and by her charms fascinated the demon Sambara, and exhibited herself to him in various illusory enjoyments. This thy son is the descended Kama ; and this is (the goddess) Rati, his wife. There is no occasion for any uncertainty; this is thy daughter-in-law."

In the Harivansa he has a wife named Prabhavati, daughter of King Vajranabha. When he went to see her for the first time, he changed himself into a bee and lived in a garland of flowers which had been prepared for her.

According to the Mahabharata, he was Sanatkumara, the son of Brahma.

(~ from
NOTE: Pradyumna (Sanskrit:प्रद्‍युम्‍न) is one of 24 lord Keshava (Vishnu) names which praised in all poojas.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ACK-063: The Story of a Scientist - Y. Subba Row

An out of print ACK (#306)
Following article was published in one of the best National Newspaper of India: THE HINDU (Thursday, Mar 13, 2003 by R.Parthasarathy)

Discoverer of miracle medicines
- Y. Subba Row (1895-1948)

YERLAGADDA SUBBA Row was born on January 12, 1895 at Bhimavaram in the old Madras Presidency. He passed through a traumatic period in his schooling at Rajahmundry and could eventually matriculate in his third attempt from the Hindu High School, Madras.

He passed the Intermediate Examination from the Presidency College and entered the Madras Medical College, where his education was supported by friends and Kasturi Suryanarayana Murthy, whose daughter he married later. Following Gandhiji's call to boycott British goods he started wearing khadi surgical gloves; this incurred the displeasure of M.C.Bradfield, his surgery professor. Consequently, though he did well in the written papers, he was awarded the lesser LMS certificate and not the MBBS degree.

Subba Row tried to enter the Madras Medical Service without success. He then took up a job as Lecturer in Anatomy at Dr.Lakshmipathi's Ayurvedic College at Madras. He was fascinated by the healing powers of Ayurvedic medicines and began to engage in research to put Ayurveda on a modern footing.

A chance meeting with an American doctor, who was visiting on a Rockefeller Scholarship changed his mind. The promise of support from Satyalinga Naicker Charities, Kakinada and financial assistance raised by his father-in-law, enabled Subba Row to proceed to the U.S.

He landed in Boston on October 26, 1923 and the real struggle started.

A generous person, by name Dr.Strong, came to his rescue and met his immediate expenses. His medical degree would not qualify for a scholarship or get him internship in Boston Hospitals. He made up by taking on various odd jobs.

Subba Row obtained the Diploma of the Harvard School of Tropical Medicine in June 1924. He then joined the Biochemistry Department and worked under the guidance of Cryrus Fiske in the area of muscle chemistry.

He developed a method for estimation of phosphorous in body fluids and tissues. This got entry into the biochemistry textbooks in 1930s. He got his Ph.D degree the same year.

Subba Row continued his research for a decade more at Harvard. His own independent contributions were hailed by his colleagues.

But he was denied elevation to a regular faculty position. He moved to Ledrale Laboratories, then a little known pharmaceutical firm, in 1940. He embarked on a programme of developing new drugs: this opened new approaches for the treatment of nutritional infections and worm-transmitted diseases.

He was Director of Research till August 1948: he was found dead (possibly due to coronary thrombosis) by his associates on a Monday afternoon. He was 53 years old. He was then in the prime of his research career.

Formulation of new drugs

Subba Row established a project for protecting American soldiers fighting in the Pacific, from malaria and filariasis. He developed the wonder drug Hetrazan. WHO spread its adoption as a key element in its worldwide campaign to eradicate filariasis.

He employed Dr. Benjamin Duggar to screen thousands of soil samples for anti-biotic producing bacteria and fungi. In august 1945, an interesting golden yellow mould was seen in a culture dish inoculated with extracts from soil samples.

This proved to be a potent antibiotic producer. The antibiotic was extracted in pure crystalline form, first in the tetra-cyline group.

For the first time, a single drug called Aureomycin could be used for controlling both gram-positive and the gram-negative bacterial germs. Fleming's penicillin could battle only the former, whereas Waksman's streptomycin only the latter.

Our nation owes a deep debt to Subba Row, for the antibiotics he discovered saved thousands of lives in 1995, when plague broke out in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

His colleague, George Hitchings who shared the Nobel Prize with Gertrude Elion (The Hindu, September 5, 2001), said: "Some of the nucleotides isolated by Subba Row had to be rediscovered years later by other workers because Fiske, apparently out of jealousy, did not let Subba Row's contributions see the light of the day" (In Quest of Panacea by S.P.K. Gupta, 1999).


American Cynamid honoured his memory with a plaque at its research laboratory and inaugurated the Subba Row library. A drug was named Subbaromyces splendens.

A memorial postage stamp was released and a bust erected in Hyderabad. A.C. College of Technology, Guindy sponsored a seminar to commemorate his memory.

The man who headed medical research during World War II, had to remain an alien, without the status of a green-card holder.

Many may not have heard the name of a man: in the medical world his contributions made a dynamic impact.

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