Monthly Archives: March 2015

Amartya Sen

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Amartya Sen              Amartya Sen

India : Indian Nobel Laureate in Eco Science

Amartya Kumar Sen (born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist and philosopher who since 1972 has taught and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States. He has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indexes of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 and Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics. He was also awarded the inaugural Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize in recognition of his work on welfare economics in February 2015 during a reception at the Royal Academy in the UK.

He is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He served as the chancellor of Nalanda University. He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, a distinguished fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an honorary fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he served as Master from 1998 to 2004. He is also known for being one of the strongest champions of rationalism, secularism, and egalitarianism in India and has condemned the ghettoization of Ambedkar as a Dalit leader.

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Mrcus Tullius Cicero

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Mrcus Tullius Cicero

Mrcus Tullius Cicero

Roma:Diplomat and Orator

Marcus Tullius Cicero Ancient Greek: sometimes anglicized as Tully 3 January – 7 December  was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

Petrarch’s rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, “Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity.” The peak of Cicero’s authority and prestige came during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.

Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. It was during his consulship that the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by executing five conspirators without due process. During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar’s death Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. He was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during attempted flight from the Italian peninsula.

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri        Nirad C. Chaudhuri

India : Great Indian British Writer

Nirad C. Chaudhuri (23 November 1897 – 1 August 1999) was a Bengali−English writer and man of letters. He was born in 1897 in Kishoreganj, then part of Bengal in British India, now in Bangladesh.

Chaudhuri authored numerous works in English and Bengali. His oeuvre provides a magisterial appraisal of the histories and cultures of India, especially in the context of British colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Chaudhuri is best known for The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, published in 1951. Over the course of his literary career, he received numerous accolades for his writing. In 1966, The Continent of Circe was awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Award, making Chaudhuri the first and only Indian to date to be given the prize. The Sahitya Akademi, India’s national Academy of Letters, awarded Chaudhuri the Sahitya Akademi Award for his biography on Max Müller, Scholar Extraordinary

In 1990, Oxford University awarded Chaudhuri, by then a long-time resident of the city of Oxford, an Honorary Degree in Letters. In 1992, he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire

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Johann Sebastian Bach

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Johann Sebastian Bach        Johann Sebastian Bach

Germany : Immortal Musician

Johann Sebastian 1685 – 28 July 1750 was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over 300 sacred cantatas of which 190 survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach was born in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach, into a great musical family. His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father probably taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, and his brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. Apparently at his own initiative, Bach attended St. Michael’s School in Lüneburg for two years. After graduating he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, Cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig, and Royal Court Composer to Augustus III. Bach’s health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Modern historians believe that his death was caused by a combination of stroke and pneumonia.

Bach’s abilities as an organist were respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

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Zarathustra

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Zarathustra        Zarathustra

Iran : Founder of Zoroatrianism

Zoroaster also known as Zarathustra  was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Though he was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, his birthplace is uncertain. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known through the Zoroastrian texts.

Avestan, the language spoken by Zoroaster and used for composing the Yasna Haptanghaiti and the Gathas, on archaeological and linguistic grounds, is dated to have been spoken probably in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. The Gathas in contrast to the mythological Avesta place the chronology of Zoroaster much later in history, with the most conservative being dated to around the mid-sixth century BCE and the most liberal estimate being c. 1,000 BCE. Arthur Emanuel Christensen dates Zoroaster to c. 625 BCE, but Ebrahim Pourdavoud Herzfeld and Johannes Hertel date Zoroaster as existing between 550–523 BCE.

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Ashoka The Great

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Ashoka The Great         Ashoka The Great

India : Great King and Patron of Buddhism

Ashoka Maurya commonly known as Ashoka and also as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE. One of India’s greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over a realm that stretched from the Hindu Kush mountains in the west to Bengal in the East and covered the entire Indian subcontinent except parts of present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The empire’s capital was Pataliputra  with provincial capitals at Taxila and Ujjain.

In about 260 BCE Ashoka waged a bitterly destructive war against the state of Kalinga .He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had done. He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. “Ashoka reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations.” Ashoka converted gradually to Buddhism beginning about 263 BCE. He was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha. “Ashoka regarded Buddhism as a doctrine that could serve as a cultural foundation for political unity. Ashoka is now remembered as a philanthropic administrator. In the Kalinga edicts, he addresses his people as his “children”, and mentions that as a father he desires their good.

Ashoka is referred to as Samraat Chakravartin Ashoka – the “Emperor of Emperors Ashoka.” His name “Aśoka” means “painless, without sorrow” in Sanskrit  In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya (Pali Devānaṃpiya or “The Beloved of the Gods”), and Priyadarśin (Pali Piyadasī or “He who regards everyone with affection”). His fondness for his name’s connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or the “Ashoka tree” is also referenced in the Ashokavadana.

H.G. Wells wrote of Ashoka in his book The Outline of History: “Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star.” Along with the Edicts of Ashoka, his legend is related in the 2nd-century Ashokavadana (“Narrative of Ashoka,” a part of Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa (“Great Chronicle”). The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

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Propet Mohammed

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Prophet Mohammed        Propet Mohammed

Mecca : Founder of Islam

Muhammad  full name Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim  from Mecca, unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. Believed by Muslims and Bahá’ís to be a prophet and messenger of God, Muhammad is almost universally considered by Muslims as the last prophet sent by God to mankind.While non-Muslims generally regard Muhammad as the founder of Islam, Muslims consider him to have restored the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets in Islam.

Born approximately in 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. After his childhood Muhammad primarily worked as a merchant. Occasionally he would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer; later, at age 40, he reported at this spot, that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “God is One”, that complete “surrender”  to Him is the only way acceptable to God, and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to other Islamic prophets.

Muhammad gained few followers early on, and met hostility from some Meccan tribes. To escape persecution, Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia before he and his followers in Mecca migrated to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. After eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca. The attack went largely uncontested and Muhammad took over the city with little bloodshed. He destroyed the pagan idols in the city and sent his followers out to destroy all remaining pagan temples in Eastern Arabia. In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from the Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. Before his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and he had united Arabia into a single Muslim religious polity.

The revelations , which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad’s teachings and practices  found in the Hadith and sira literature, are also upheld by Muslims and used as sources of Islamic law While conceptions of Muhammad in medieval Christendom were largely negative, appraisals in modern history have been far more favorable. Other appraisals of Muhammad throughout history, such as those found in medieval China, have also been positive.

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Prem Chand

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 Prem Chand         Prem Chand

India : Rather of Hindi Fiction

Premchand (31 July 1880 – 8 October 1936), better known as Munshi Premchand, Munshi being an honorary prefix, was an Indian writer famous for his modern Hindustani literature. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent, and is regarded as one of the foremost Hindustani writers of the early twentieth century. Born Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, he began writing under the pen name “Nawab Rai”, but subsequently switched to “Premchand”. A novel writer, story writer and dramatist, he has been referred to as the “Upanyas Samrat” by some Hindi writers. His works include more than a dozen novels, around 250 short stories, several essays and translations of a number of foreign literary works into Hindi.

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Kali Das

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Kali Das          Kali Das

India : Great Sanskrit Dramatist

Kālidāsa  was a Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His floruit cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the 5th century AD.

His plays and poetry are primarily based on the Hindu Puranas.

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Lewis Carroll

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Lewis Carroll         Lewis Carroll

England : Author of Alice in Wonderland

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson 27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll was an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poem Jabberwocky, and the poem The Hunting of the Snark, all examples of the genre of literary nonsense. He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy. There are societies in many parts of the world dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of his works and the investigation of his life.

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