Jnanpith Award

The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”. Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral.

From 1965 till 1981, the award was given to the authors for their “most outstanding work” and consisted of a citation plaque, a cash prize of ₹1 lakh (equivalent to ₹47 lakh or US$69,000 in 2016), and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.The first recipient of the award was the Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup who received the award in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950. The rules were revised in subsequent years to consider only works published during the preceding twenty years, excluding the year for which the award was to be given and the cash prize was increased to ₹1.5 lakh (equivalent to₹21 lakh or US$32,000 in 2016) from 1981.

As of 2015, the cash prize has been revised to ₹11 lakh (equivalent to ₹12 lakh or US$17,000 in 2016) and out of twenty-three eligible languages the award has been presented for works in fifteen languages: Hindi (ten), Kannada (eight),Bengali (six), Malayalam (five), Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, and Urdu (four each), Telugu (three), Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil (two each), Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit (one each). The award has been conferred upon fifty-seven writers including seven women authors. In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to win the award and was honoured for the 1965 novel Pratham Pratisruti(The First Promise), the first in a trilogy.

The nominations for the award are received from various literary experts, teachers, critics, universities, and numerous literary and language associations. Every three years, an advisory committee is constituted for each of the languages. The language of the most recent recipient’s work is not eligible for consideration for the next two years. Each committee consists of three literary critics and scholars of their respective languages. All the nominations are scrutinised by the committee and their recommendations are submitted to the Jnanpith Award Selection Board (Pravara Parishad).

High Court

High court usually refers to the superior court of a state. There are 24 High Courts at the state and union territory level of India which, together with the Supreme Court of India at the national level, comprise the country’s judicial system. Each High Court has jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories. Below the High Courts is a hierarchy of subordinate courts such as the civil courts, family courts, criminal courts and various other district courts. High Courts are instituted as constitutional courts under Part VI, Chapter V, Article 214 of the Indian Constitution.

The High Courts are the principal civil courts of original jurisdiction in each state and union territory. However, a High Court exercises its original civil and criminal jurisdiction only if the subordinate courts are not authorized by law to try such matters for lack of pecuniary, territorial jurisdiction. High courts may also enjoy original jurisdiction in certain matters if so designated specifically in a state or federal law.

Each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a District and Sessions Judge. He is known as a District Judge when he presides over a civil case, and a Sessions Judge when he presides over a criminal case. He is the highest judicial authority below a High Court judge. Below him, there are courts of civil jurisdiction, known by different names in different states. Under Article 141 of the Constitution, all courts in India (which includes High Courts) are bound by the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court of India by precedence.

Judges in a High Court are appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the governor of the state. High Courts are headed by a Chief Justice. The Chief Justices are ranked fourteenth (in their state) and seventeenth (outside their state) in the Indian order of precedence. The number of judges in a court is decided by dividing the average institution of main cases during the last five years by the national average, or the average rate of disposal of main cases per judge per year in that High Court, whichever is higher.

The Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in the country, established on 2 July 1862. High Courts that handle a large number of cases of a particular region have permanent benches established there. Benches are also present in states which come under the jurisdiction of a court outside its territorial limits. Smaller states with few cases may have circuit benches established. Circuit benches (known as circuit courts in some parts of the world) are temporary courts which hold proceedings for a few selected months in a year. Thus cases built up during this interim period are judged when the circuit court is in session. According to a study conducted by Bengaluru-based NGO Daksh on 21 high courts in collaboration with Ministry of Law and Justice (India) in March 2016, it was found that average pendency of a case in High courts in India is 3 years.

Invention of Internet

The history of the Internet begins with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. Initial concepts of packet networking originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET. The first message was sent over the ARPANET from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Nikola Tesla toyed with the idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, and visionary thinkers like Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems of books and media in the 1930s and 1940s. Still, the first practical schematics for the Internet would not arrive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of an “Intergalactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” a method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the Internet.

The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network. The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognisable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

Satyendra Nath Bose

Satyendra Nath Bose
Satyendra Nath Bose

Satyendra Nath Bose (1 January 1894 – 4 February 1974) was an Indian physicist from Bengal specialising in theoretical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 1954 by the Government of India.

The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac.

While presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe, Bose intended to show his students that the contemporary theory was inadequate, because it predicted results not in accordance with experimental results.

In the process of describing this discrepancy, Bose for the first time took the position that the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution would not be true for microscopic particles, where fluctuations due to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle will be significant. Thus he stressed the probability of finding particles in the phase space, each state having volume h3, and discarding the distinct position and momentum of the particles.

Bose adapted this lecture into a short article called “Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta” and sent it to Albert Einstein with the following letter:

Respected Sir, I have ventured to send you the accompanying article for your perusal and opinion. I am anxious to know what you think of it. You will see that I have tried to deduce the coefficient 8π ν2/c3 in Planck’s Law independent of classical electrodynamics, only assuming that the ultimate elementary region in the phase-space has the content h3. I do not know sufficient German to translate the paper. If you think the paper worth publication I shall be grateful if you arrange for its publication in Zeitschrift für Physik. Though a complete stranger to you, I do not feel any hesitation in making such a request. Because we are all your pupils though profiting only by your teachings through your writings. I do not know whether you still remember that somebody from Calcutta asked your permission to translate your papers on Relativity in English. You acceded to the request. The book has since been published. I was the one who translated your paper on Generalised Relativity.

Einstein agreed with him, translated Bose’s paper “Planck’s Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta” into German, and had it published in Zeitschrift für Physik under Bose’s name, in 1924.

The reason Bose’s interpretation produced accurate results was that since photons are indistinguishable from each other, one cannot treat any two photons having equal energy as being two distinct identifiable photons. By analogy, if in an alternate universe coins were to behave like photons and other bosons, the probability of producing two heads would indeed be one-third (tail-head = head-tail).

Bose’s interpretation is now called Bose–Einstein statistics. This result derived by Bose laid the foundation of quantum statistics, and especially the revolutionary new philosophical conception of the indistinguishability of particles, as acknowledged by Einstein and Dira.

In 1937, Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his only book on science, Visva–Parichay, to Satyendra Nath Bose. Bose was honoured with title Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government in 1954. In 1959, he was appointed as the National Professor, the highest honour in the country for a scholar, a position he held for 15 years. In 1986, the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences was established by an act of Parliament, Government of India, in Salt Lake, Calcutta.

Bose became an adviser to then newly formed Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. He was the President of Indian Physical Society and the National Institute of Science. He was elected General President of the Indian Science Congress. He was the Vice-President and then the President of Indian Statistical Institute. In 1958, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was nominated as member of Rajya Sabha.

Kunjunni Mash

Kunjunni Mash
Kunjunni Mash

Kunjunni, popularly known as Kunjunni Mash (Mash is the Malayalam equivalent of teacher/master), was a noted Indian Malayalam poet. He was considered as a children’s poet and his poems were short like him. He always led a humble life. Kunjunni was born in the village of Valapad in Thrissur to Njayapilly Illathu Neelakantan Moosath and Athiyarathu Narayani Amma on 10 May 1927. Kunjunni started his career as a teacher at the Chelari school. He joined Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama High School in Kozhikode in 1953. He was an inmate of the Ashrama and taught, looked after and interacted with the hostel boys there. He retired from teaching in 1982 but continued to live in the Ashrama, which he had found to be most suitable for his unostentatious life and writings known for their simplicity, till he retired to his district for health reasons.He was known for writing short poems which appeared to be childlike in form, but conveyed a message. Kunjunni handled the column for children in the Mathrubhumi weekly under the pseudonym “Kuttettan”. He appeared in Bhoomigeetham, a film directed by Kamal. His autobiography, Enniloode, is noted for its candour, humour and simplicity.

His major works include:

  • Oonu Thotturakkam Vare
  • Pazhamozhi Pathayam
  • Kunjunniyude Kavithakal
  • Kadankathal
  • Vithum Muthum
  • Kutti Pencil
  • Namboodiri Phalithangal
  • Raashthriyam
  • Kuttikal Padunnu
  • Undanum Undiyum
  • Kutti Kavithakal
  • Kalikoppu
  • Pazhanchollukal
  • Pathinanchum Pathinanchum
  • Aksharathettu
  • Nonsense Kavithakal
  • Muthumani
  • Chakkarappava
  • Kadalippazham
  • Kalikkalam
  • Kunjunni Ramayanam

Charan Singh

Charan Singh
Charan Singh

Chaudhary Charan Singh (23 December 1902 – 29 May 1987) was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980. Charan Singh opposed Jawaharlal Nehru on his Soviet-style economic reform. Charan Singh was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India. Being a son of a farmer, Charan Singh opined that the right of ownership was important to the farmer in remaining a cultivator. Charan Singh’s political career suffered due to his open criticism of Nehru’s economic policy.

Charan Singh left the Congress party in 1967, and formed his own political party, Bharatiya Kranti Dal. With the help and support of Raj Narain and Ram Manohar Lohia, he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1967, and later in 1970. In 1975, he was jailed again, but this time by then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, daughter of his former rival Nehru. She had declared the state of emergency and jailed all her political opponents. In the 1977 general elections, the Indian populace voted her out, and the opposition party, of which Chaudhary Charan Singh was a senior leader came into power. He served as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in the Janata government headed by Morarji Desai.

Charan Singh died on 29 May 1987.

Zakir Husain

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain

Zakir Husain (8 February 1897 – 3 May 1969) was the 3rd President of India, from 13 May 1967 until his death on 3 May 1969. An educator and intellectual, Husain was the country’s first Muslim president, and also the first to die in office. He was also the shortest serving President of India. He previously served as Governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962 and as  Vice President of India from 1962 to 1967.

Husain, then only 23, was among the small group of students and teachers who founded a National Muslim University, first founded in Aligarh on Friday 29 October 1920 then shifted to Karol Bagh, New Delhi in 1925, then after shifted again on 1 March 1935 in Jamia Nagar, New Delhi and named it Jamia Millia Islamia (a central university). He subsequently went to Germany to obtain a PhD from the Frederick William University of Berlin in Economics. While in Germany, Husain was instrumental in bringing out the anthology of arguably the greatest Urdu poet Mirza Assadullah Khan “Ghalib” (1797–1868).

He returned to India to head the Jamia Millia Islamia which was facing closure in 1927. He continued in that position for the next twenty-one years providing academic and managerial leadership to an institution that was intimately involved with India’s struggle for freedom from the British Rule and experimented with value-based education on the lines advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and Hakim Ajmal Khan. During this period he continued to engage himself with movements for educational reforms in India and was particularly active in the affairs of his old alma mater the MAO College, now the Aligarh Muslim University.

Soon after India attained independence, Husain agreed to be the Vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University which was facing trying times in post partition India because of active involvement of a section of its teachers and students in the movement for creation of Pakistan. Dr. Husain, again, provided leadership during a critical phase of the history of the University at Aligarh from 1948–1956. Soon after completing his term as Vice Chancellor he was nominated as a member of the Upper House of Indian Parliament in 1956, a position he vacated in 1957 to become Governor of the State of Bihar.

After serving as the Governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962, and as the second Vice President of India from 1962 to 1967, Husain was elected President of India on 13 May 1967. In his inaugural speech, he said that the whole of India was his home and all its people were his family. During his last days, the issue of nationalization of banks was being hotly debated. The bill, in the end, received presidential consent from Mohammad Hidayatullah, (acting president) on 9 August 1969.

During his presidential tenure, Zakir Husain led four state visits to Hungary, Yugoslavia, USSR and Nepal.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1963