Category: india

Indian ascetic with an iron necklace, India 18…

Indian ascetic with an iron necklace, India 1870.

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India’s first satellite – Aryabhata in 1…

India’s first satellite – Aryabhata in 1975

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Where Was The Seven Years’ War Fought?

Known by various names – the Pomeranian War (Sweden), the Third Carnatic War (India), the French and Indian War (USA), La guerre de la Conquête (Quebec) – it involved all the major European powers and spanned five continent. Which is why the conflict is sometimes called “World War Zero.”

This is how India’s First Rocket was tra…

This is how India’s First Rocket was transported in 1963

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Amazing photos of Chand Baori in Rajasthan, India, one of the…

Amazing photos of Chand Baori in Rajasthan, India, one of the deepest and largest stepwells in the world.

A Huge Cache Of 1700s-Era Rockets Found In Ind…

More than a 1,000 were discovered, unexploded, from an abandoned well at a fort in the Karnataka state in southern India. They ranged in size from 12 to 14 inches long. And they were all filled with potassium nitrate, charcoal, and magnesium powder. From their make and their contents, archaeologists identified the rockets as Mysore rockets, the first iron-cased rockets to be used successfully in military combat.

The rockets are believed to have belonged to the Muslim warrior king Tipu Sultan, who ruled over Karnataka’s Shivamogga district at the time. He was also a resolute opponent of the British East India Company. He fought four wars against the British company, ultimately dying in the fourth.

How Emperor Akbar Negotiated India’s Religious…

Emperor Akbar ruled the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1605. When he came to the throne, he confronted a problem that had plagued his predecessors: how to be a Muslim ruler over a majority-Hindu nation, that also had substantial numbers of various other religions including Buddhism and Jainism. He eventually came to believe that no religion could have pre-eminence. In fact, he was not even sure that any religion was “the truth” but were all humanity’s imperfect interpretations. The logical conclusion is that all subjects of his empire should be free to practice whatever religion they wished.

Akbar began to hold conferences weekly, with wise men from all faiths (no known women, though). He would apply their wisdom to questions of state. He slowly took over spiritual leadership, even getting the Muslim clergy to pronounce a fatwa (judgement) that as emperor, Akbar could adjudicate any dispute between religious authorities – even overruling the Qur’an if necessary for the public interest.

Legally, Akbar made two big changes. He abolished the hated tax levied on the Hindu majority, the jizya, the “contribution for not being put to death”. He also created a private faith for the elite. It was not a new religion, per se. It was a kind of Sufi system for the rulers, with 10 cardinal virtues, the essence of which was promoting tolerance. Akbar combined aspects of different faiths, borrowing from all the religions of his empire, to create an ethical code that he wished his inner circle to follow. He called this the Din i-Ilahi, or “Worship of God.” While it has been accused of being a pick-and-mix religion, Akbar did not proclaim it a religion, and he remained a Muslim all his life.

The Din i-Ilahi died with Akbar in 1605, and the jizya was reintroduced by Akbar’s great-grandson Aurangzeb in 1679.

Devi, The Great Goddess

Revered from the soaring Himalayan mountains in the north to the southernmost tip of India, Devi is the force that animates all living things. Her power manifests itself in every aspect of the natural world, including trees, water, and rocks. Devi also vitalizes believers, strengthening their hearts during times of adversity.

This particular sandstone sculpture of Devi was crafted sometime around 

975 to 1000 CE. She gazes at the viewer,  who is supposed to gaze back. Thus this Devi can bestow a “darshan” — a sacred gaze exchanged with the deity during worship.

A woman in the harem of the royal palace of Ja…

A woman in the harem of the royal palace of Jaipur, India, ca. 1857

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Where Was Chess Born?

In India! The original word for “chess” is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning “four members of an army”—which were mostly likely elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers.