Thursday, January 31, 2008

Samskrita Bharati and TTD - Initiatives for propagating Samskrit

At Bal Mandir, an orphanage run by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (in Andhra Pradesh, Bharat), no child is an orphan; every child has the initials `SV' added to its name. For example, `S.V.Ramudu'. Incidentally, SV stands for Lord Sri Venkateswara of Tirupati. Shri. Mukteswara Rao, Joint Collector of Hyderabad, shared this heartening information with senior Samskrita Bharati functionaries at Hyderabad (formerly known as Bhagyanagaram) on March 17, 2007. He was present at the inaugural of the two day `Akhil Bharatiya Upavesanam' (annual all Bharat meet) of Samskrita Bharati. He reminisced how how 400 chidren of Harijan community once recited Samskrit shlokas soulfully at the altar of Tirupati Venkateswara. He described the work of Samskrita Bharati in taking Samskritam – "that is a unifying force" – to all sections of society as an "extremely great service". As part of of its growth in all the 32 provinces of Bharat, Samskrita Bharati recorded a phenomenal 350 % increase in the number of Shibhirams (10 day spoken Samskritam course). These 12,500 Shibhirams were conducted during the Shri. Guruji Golwalkar Centenary Year (February 2006 - February 2007), as per the provincial reports. Remarkable was the visit of Shri. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, to one of those Shibhirams in Akola, Vidharbha province (Maharashtra, Bharat). Prakashji was "greatly impressed by the work of Samskrita Bharati", the Vidarbha karyakartha said. Nearly 700 of these Shibhirams were held in Harijan localities, according to Samskrita Bharati.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Synthesis of scientific knowledge and agriculture yields results

Though I feel that BT cotton could get him into problem in the long run, it is a great initiative by Venugopal.

Engineer spurns dollars, strikes white gold
Friday January 25 2008 02:59 IST

S Nagaraja Rao

PRODDATUR: Who could have imagined a young engineer striking it rich in farming at a time when others of his kind are frantically chasing dollar dreams?

K Venugopal Reddy, Best Farmer awardee, from Rajupalem mandal in Proddatur, just smiles away the query.

Growing cotton is a risky venture but by adopting modern pre and post-harvest practices and following the advice of scientists, Reddy has realised 13 quintals of cotton per acre that won him the award from the State Government.

A mechanical engineer by education, Reddy toiled hard for years raising the risky cotton crop, also known as White Gold. The engineer-turned-agriculturist adopts modern harvesting and management practices.

He has raised cotton in a 15-acre plot out of his 20-acre holdings. In the remaining five acres, he has raised other crops.

“I cultivated three varieties of BT Cotton of which Mico Nikanj and Krushidan have given good yield. I produced 13 quintals of cotton per acre.

It’s possible if we follow the advice of agricultural scientists and officials. Investment was less and the yield, much better,” he explains.

Recognising his hard work, the State Government has conferred the Adarsa Rythu award on him at the district level. Kadapa Mayor Ravindranath Reddy gave away the award during the recent Sankranthi Sambaralu.

“Even though I did a course in mechanical engineering, I have always been interested in agriculture and wanted to convert our fields into money spinners. I am happy and proud that my efforts are bearing fruit,” Venugopal Reddy says

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PSLV successfully puts the Israeli satellite Tecsar into orbit.

Once upon a time, we would take the help of foreign countries to put our satellites up into orbit. It is a matter of pride that our scientists at ISRO have now not only made us self-reliant but also put us up in the global map of successful service providers for satellite launching.


Photo courtesy: ISRO

ON A MISSION: The PSLV-C10 lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Monday. —

CHENNAI: On a cloudy day when the mist hung heavily in the air, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C10, successfully put the Israeli satellite Tecsar into orbit. It was a textbook launch with the “core-alone” configuration of the PSLV lifting off on time from the first launch pad at Sriharikota at 9.15 a.m. on Monday and injecting Tecsar into its precise orbit 19 minutes and 45 seconds after the lift-off. Tecsar, weighing 300 kg, is a remote-sensing satellite that can take pictures of the earth 365 days of the year, 24 hours of the day, through rain, clouds, day and night. It has a one-metre resolution. It was earlier known as Polaris.

It was a smooth countdown without any hiccup. At the appointed time of 9.15 a.m., the PSLV-C10 rose from the launch pad, built up momentum, and knifed into the sky with a reverberating roar. It was visible for a few seconds as it sped into a bit of a clear sky, then disappeared and became visible to be sheathed by the clouds again. The four stages of the PSLV-C10 ignited on time and jettisoned immaculately. Finally, the fourth stage put Tecsar into orbit. This was the 11th successful launch in a row for the trusty PSLV.

Contrary to custom, reporters and photographers were barred from entering the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota to cover the event. Israel reportedly wanted the launch kept under wraps.

The launch was executed under a commercial contract between the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), to which belongs Tecsar, and the Antrix Corporation, marketing agency of the Department of Space. Antrix has received a handsome amount from the IAI for launching the satellite. Satellite builders from Israel were present at Sriharikota.

G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation, told The Hindu at Sriharikota: “It was an absolutely perfect launch. Whatever we planned, we achieved on the dot. The satellite was injected into the desired orbit.”

Top ISRO rocket engineers said it was “one of the very best launches” of the PSLV. They called it “an excellent performance with a perfect injection of the satellite into orbit” with an apogee 580 km and a perigee of 450 km. The injection was done by the PSLV core-alone in which the six strap-on booster motors are removed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scientists, pundits, converge on Vedic Science

Scientists, pundits, converge on Vedic Science
( Ashok B. Sharma )

Visakhapatnam, January 6:
Scientists and pundits were of the view that essence of scientific truth in ancient Vedic and post-vedic Sanskrit literature was still relevant in modern times. Particularly the prescriptions of life style away from today's consumerism and deep insight into reality can be of help to the society.

The vacuum state described in quantum physics can be compared to the Brahman of Hindu metaphysics. This was for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress that vedic science got recognition and two successive plenary sessions were held on the issue on Sunday. The plenary session on Vedic Science was chaired by the Chancellor of the Tirupati-based Rashtriya Sanskrit University, VR Panchamukhi. The other plenary session on Brahman of Physics: Interface Between Physics and Vedanta, was chaired by SS Rama Rao Pappu of Miami University, US.

An exclusive exhibition was arranged to display scientific insight of Vedic rishis and scholars. Panchamukhi spoke about the essence of social sciences like economics, law, political science found in ancient texts. PV Arunachalam from Triupati highlighted the simple formulae of calculation in Vedic mathematics developed by the former Puri Shankaracharya, Swami Bharatiya Krishna Tirth from Atharva Veda mantras. However, VLS Bhimasankaram of Osmania University was of the view that the scientific knowledge contained in many Sanskrit
texts cannot to termed as Vedic, as these literatures were written in post-Vedic periods.

The keynote speaker of the second plenary session, ECG Sudarshan of the University of Texas said, "Physics deals with existence and change. As per quantum physics, an observer is an active agent in the process of change, while as per Adwaita Vedanta philosophy, he can be the presiding intelligence, ie. the Brahman of Physics." Sudarshan, who is a professor in Physics, is also reputed for discussing the relevance of Adwaita Vedanta philosophy in the West. He had been awarded Padma Vibhushan.

P Venugopal Rao from the US-based Emory University said: "the vacuum state described in quantum physics is nothing but Brahman of Hindu metaphysics. "

SS Rama Rao Pappu of US-based Miami University said, "Newtonian physics is similar to the Hindu Sankhya philosophy."

BD Nageswar Rao of Indiana University said: "the biological molecules cannot be explained without the help of bio-physics. In physics there are four force fields - ultimate substratum - namely gravitational field, electromagnetic field, weak interaction field and strong interaction field.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nano technology not new to Indians - Robert Curl

HYDERABAD: Nanotechnology might be of raging interestto scientists world-over now. But Indians had usednano materials in the 16th century “unwittingly” andenabled Arab blacksmiths in making “Damascus steelsword” which was stronger and sharper.

Delivering a talk on ‘The contributions of elementalcarbon to the development of nano science andtechnology’ at the Indian Institute of ChemicalTechnology (IICT) here on Monday and while interactingwith the media, Nobel laureate Robert F. Curl saidthat carbon nanotechnology was much older than carbonnano science.For the Damascus sword, Indians produced the rawmaterial -- mined iron ore and exported it. He saidthat up to the middle of 18th century, the steelswords depended on this particular material and whenthe mines in India stopped, “they lost thetechnology.” The Damascus sword when subjected toscrutiny by an electron microscope in 2006 had shownto contain large amounts of nanotubes.Similarly, glass materials produced in the Roman timehad nano materials. He said the glass was covered withnano particles of gold and silver. He said the peoplewere using such materials without understanding whatthey were doing for a long time.Prof. Curl shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996for discovery of fullerenes along with Richard Smalleyand Harold Kroto.

Replying to a question about the use of nano materialsin facial creams, he wondered whether they made anydifference. Asked whether he approved of their use, hereplied that he did not approve of using chemicalswhich were not thoroughly evaluated. “I feel with newmaterials, you have to be careful.” Asked about thediscovery of fullerenes, he said “this was all a luckyaccident.”

Prof. Curl was later given the ‘Lifetime AchievementAward in Science’ instituted by B.M. Birla ScienceCentre. Nirmala Birla, president of the sciencecentre, presented the award. The Nobel Laureate gaveaway B.M. Birla Science prizes to six young scientistsin the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Biology andMathematics.Dr. Krishna Dronamraju, President, Foundation forGenetic Research, also spoke.

http://www.thehindu .com/2008/ 01/01/stories/ 2008010155200600 .htm

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New institute for Ramayana studies

New institute for Ramayana studies 13 Jan 2008, 1103 hrs IST , PTI

NEW DELHI : People across the globe interested in studies on the Ramayana can now look forward to Assam's main city of Guwahati where an institute devoted to research on the epic will come up later this month. "The institute will be solely devoted to research on the Ramayana," noted Assamese litterateur Indira Goswami, in whose residence the institute will be set up, said. "At the beginning two students -- from anywhere in the world -- will be admitted for research work on the epic," Goswami told reporters over phone. The institute will be declared open on January 20. "Assam has a vibrant cultural tradition and the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have linked the state with the rest of the country in a strong way," she said. Goswami had approached the Assam government seeking sponsorship of scholarships for the researchers and the state promised to extend all possible help to her endeavour, she said. "The government's response has been positive," she said. There has also been an attempt to get affiliation of the studies at the institution with the Gauhati University. Goswami, given the Jnanpith Award in 2000, acquired her PhD in 1973 from Gauhati University for her thesis "Comparative Study of Goswami Tulsi Das' Ramcharita Manas and Madhab Kandali's Assamese Ramayana ". The first-ever Ramayana in the modern Indo-Aryan languages is believed to have been written in Assamese in the 14th century by Kandali.

Samartha Ramdas Swami - an inspiration

Had a darshan of Samartha Ramdas Swami’s “Samadhi” which has in the Sajjangarh fort. Ramdas swami remains an inspiration for the technique he developed in infusing Nationalism and Dharmic devotion among ordinary people across the country by his concept of Hanuman temple, a akhaada and a Paathashaala. His emphasis on Rashtra chintana along with spiritual sadhana is more relevant today than it was anytime before.

Makara sankranti

May this Makara Sankranti give us the light and vision to work together for a "Samarasa Bharat".