Friday, 9 March 2018

65Th Annual Convocation of Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh (2018)

The Historical 65th Annual Convocation of Aligarh Muslim University was held on 7th March 2018 on Athletic Ground.

Ahead of His Excellency Sri Ram Nath Kovind President of India’s visit, heavy security was deployed at the university. Apart from local police, Rapid Action Force personnel have also been stationed. Mobile phones, cameras were banned in AMU convocation. Even polyester tents were not used for the ‘pandal’ as they are susceptible to fire.Only Doordarshan was allowed to record the visuals and the president’s speech provided by the AMU staff.
6 5th Annual convocation of AMU.Aligarh  
A controversy had erupted.The AMU students union had said--- "We are not opposing the President, but we oppose the 'Sanghi' mindset. In 2010, the President had said Muslims and Christians are alien to country that bothers us till date but we welcome him,". 

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind was the chief-guest of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)'s 65th annual convocation. It was after 32 years that an Indian President was Chief Guest at AMU convocation.Earlier; Giani Zail Singh during his tenure attended the 1986 AMU convocation. Before that, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad was in the University for the 1976 Convocation and Dr S Radha Krishnan was the chief-guest in 1966, and Dr Rajendra Prasad attended the 1951 convocation. 
President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind-Chief Guest at 65th Convocation of AMU. Aligarh

At the Annual Convocation of AMU, female students outshone male counterparts. Out of 218 medal recipients, 122 were female students while 96 were males. A total of 5, 381 degrees were awarded to 2891 graduates, 2094 postgraduates, 25 M Phil students and 371 PhD candidates. 
The programme started with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor delivered the Welcome Address, welcoming the Honorable President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind, the Honorable Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Sri Ram Naik and other distinguished guests & the students.
Members of AMU Horse Riding Club guarded the Procession of President of India
He also read the Annual Report & focused on AMU’s achievements in the near past.
AMU is ranked as the 6th best university in India by Times Higher Education, 2nd best University in India by the US News & World Report & 11th best Institution of Higher Education by the Ministry of HRD, Govt of India, said Prof Mansoor.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Tariq Mansoor Presenting Memento to President of India

Addressing the graduating students, the Vice Chancellor said: “You deserve accolades for hard work and now it is your duty to represent AMU Tehzeeb (Culture) by becoming loving and caring human beings and the best professionals of your field

Prof Mansoor urged students to serve the motherland in the best of ways. “Move ahead in life with ideas of nation building and academic excellence”. 
He also read the Annual Report & focused on AMUs achievements in the near past.
AMU is ranked as the 6th best university in India by Times Higher Education, 2nd best University in India by the US News & World Report & 11th best Institution of Higher Education by the Ministry of HRD, Govt of India, said Prof Mansoor.

His Excellency Sri Ram Nath Kovind came to deliver the Convocation Address with a huge round of applause from the students.Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Aligarh Muslim University has played a special role in India’s development and noted that it is going to complete 100 years of its establishment as a university in 2020.
Gold Medalist (5) Mr.Harsh Gupta Mechanical Engineering student  
The President said that students of AMU have made their mark not only in India but also in the other parts of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Shri Kovind also shared an incident that made him surprised, when he was on his state visit to Ethiopia last year, he met the wife of the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Roman Tesfaye & she had also been alumni of AMU.
Sana Saud of BUMS got 4 Gold Medals

Acceptances of alternative ways of thinking and mutual respect are "India’s natural way of life":AMU students, who are awarded degrees today and the students, who will be awarded degrees in future, are Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, and they will take India to new heights with contributions in nation building,” said the President.

He also said that he was also quite interested in visiting the Aligarh Muslim University as AMU has had a glorious history & has also been a seat of national importance.
Vice Chancellor Prof,Tariq Mansoor with recipients of Degree at Sir Syed House
 The President said that there is a very long list of distinguished students of AMU. They have excelled in politics, administration, education, law, science and technology, literature, arts and sports. He noted that Bharat Ratna awardee Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, anti-apartheid activist Dr Yusuf Mohammad Dadu, and former President of India Dr Zakir Hussein were students of this university. He also mentioned the contributions of, among others, Dr Syed Zahur Qasim, Professor A. Salahuddin and Dr Shahid Jameel to modern science.
Recipients of Degree at Lawn of Sir Syed House at High tea Party hosted by Vice Chancellor Prof. Tariq Mansoor
The President said that we live in an age of globalization – of building a world that does not just accommodate but celebrates diversity. And that combines the best of modern technology with the traditions and cultures of our society to build the India of our dreams. Such an India will help every Indian, every boy or girl – irrespective of background or identity – to realise his or her full potential. And such an India will be a beacon of hope for a restless world in the early 21st century.
The President said that in today's era, students of AMU are expected to take their place as among the best students of not only our country but the world. This is a period of mobility. We are all part of a Global Knowledge Society. In such a dynamic environment, engaging with teachers and students in other institutions will be helpful in cross-pollination of learning.
His Excellency Sri Kovind remarked that he was quite surprised when he came to know that the Gown he’s wearing is 60 years old and it has been worn by C. Rajgopalachari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Zakir Hussain & Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He added that he himself feels quite honored to be present at the 65th Convocation of Aligarh Muslim University.
Rector of the University, Ram Naik Governor of Uttar Pradesh said that on the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8), women students have bagged 56 per cent of medals for their academic excellence.
He further said that today women are making their marks in all aspects of life. “Women are part of all professions including the elite Air Force and other defense services,” said the Ram Naik.
“There are no short cuts to success and it is equally important to appreciate good work and avoid belittling others,” said Ram Naik. “I pray for AMU students to keep moving on the path of ‘Charaivithi Charaivithi’, which means moving forward for progress.
Harsha Gupta, B Tech Mechanical Engineering (five medals) and Sana Saud, BUMS (four medals) also delivered speeches at this graceful occasion.
Nawab Ibne Said Khan of Chattari (Pro Chancellor) and Prof Habibur Rahman Khan (Honorary Treasurer) were present on the occasion. Mr Mujeeb Ullah Zuberi (Controller of Examinations, AMU) and Prof Javaid Akhter (Registrar, AMU) conducted the programme.
AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor hosted a traditional high tea at the lawn of Sir Syed House to facilitate degree recipients and the guests.
University Tarana Team Members with President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind
President of India His Excellency Sri Ram Nath Kovind was much pleased and impressed by Traditional University Tarana “Ye Mera Chaman hai Mera Chaman”, that later he invited University Tarana Team at his place of stay University Guest House to listen Tarana again and honored the team members by a group photo session. Jai Hind.

Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of materials available on various sites on Net and some photos are from sources with thanks.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Travelogue of Kochi:Queen of Arabian Sea

Again I was tempting for a long journey.This time Travelling Destination was Kochi the Queen of Arab Sagar: Since the formation of Kerala in 1957, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court. Since 2000, Kochi has revitalized its economy, with a focus on tourism, information technology, and the port. Kochi got the title ofQueen of Arab Sagar” due to charming and tranquilizing beaches offering a breathtaking view and natural beauty mixed with its pristine water and tranquil ambience.Ernakulam is Railway station for Fort Kochi.

Colonization of India was started from Kochi. Portugal was first to establish its base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch and English. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the cheek of history. Fort is name of old Kochi. So when visiting Kochi, it must be clear that actually your are going to see the old Kochi town.
Fishing Nets-Kochi

Kochi was born in 1341, when a flood created a natural safe port that swiftly replaced Muziris (Kodungallur, 50km north) as the chief harbor on the Malabar coastline. The royal family transferred here from Muziris in 1405, after which the city grew rapidly, attracting Christian, Arab and Jewish settlers from the Middle East. The history of the European involvement in Kochi from the early 1500s on wards is dominated by the aggression of, successively, the Portuguese, Dutch and British, competing to control the port and its lucrative spice trade.
Local Market near Fishing Nets at Fort Kochi
Ferry For Fort Kochi

Let us start from Ernakulam which is over in the mainland part of Kochi city and well connected to the rest of Kerala and India.

We boarded a ferry towards Fort Kochi for just Rs. 8 (to and fro). It was a 30 mt journey. Surprised to get something this cheap. After a slow and yet comforting ride, we reached Fort Kochi.

Inside View of Ferry -Fort Kochi

ST. Francis church: (Where The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama was buried.)

St Francis Church-Fort Kochi

ST. Francis Church is the erstwhile resting place of Vasco-da-Gama.The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama who opened up the sea route to India , died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. 

ST. Francis Church is the erstwhile resting place of Vasco-da-Gama.The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama who opened up the sea route to India , died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. 

The first church built by Europeans in India is in Fort Kochi? Christianity was already prevalent in the region. It was efforts of St. Thomas, who arrived in 52 AD. The Locals he converted had followed their religion for centuries before the Portuguese arrived, bringing their own brand of Christianity. 

Inside View of St. Francis Church-Fort Kochi

The Hindu ruler gave them a strip of land, where they first built a fort, and within it, a church. This church, built of wood in 1503, was dedicated to Saint Bartholomew. Dutch arrived, and converted it to a Protestant Church, till it passed into British hands, and came to be called the ‘St. Francis Church’.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
It is a catholic church. Located close to St. Francis Church. This church was built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope IV. The foundation stone of the Santa Cruz church was laid on 3 May 1505, the feast day of the Invention of the Holy Cross; hence the magnificent edifice when completed was named Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica-Fort Kochi
When Dutch conquered over the Portuguese in Kochi in 1663, they destroyed many Catholic Churches but spared this Cathedral. When British took over Cochin they demolished it. It then took over 100 years to build a new building at the same site in 1887. Pope John Paul II proclaimed it a Basilica in 1984.
There are frescoes and paintings covering almost every inch of the cathedral, from the altar to the pillars, and walls to the ceiling. The art here is the work of Antonio Moscheni, a Jesuit brother and painter. He passed away just four days before the consecration of the church! 
 Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) In the heart of Jew Town, Mattancherry Palace is now a small but interesting museum. The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in 1545 AD, for Veera Kerala Varma, the then King of Kochi, as compensation for plundering a temple in the vicinity. They even built a shrine to the goddess Bhagavathy, his family deity
Indo Portuguese Museum-Fort Kochi

It is also known as the Dutch Palace after it was renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and the wooden palace has some interesting exhibits that help bring to life the multicultural history of Cochin but the most impressive is the intricate and well preserved Hindu murals depicting the famous epic of the Ramayana.
Besides the paintings, the palace museum has family portraits of the Kochi royal family, and some of their personal artifacts, and more interestingly, historical, geographical and political timelines of the region, which are a big help in understanding the history and heritage of Fort Kochi.
Bishop House-Fort Kochi
Bishop House-Fort Kochi
The Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi
t is believed that Jews first came to Kerala to trade in spices and ivory during King Solomon’s reign.Jewish Synagogue, situated at one end of the Jew Street, is at short walk from Mattancherry bus stand or from the boat jetty. Jews fleeing the Spanish inquisition in the early 16th century also reached Kochi, followed by immigrants from Baghdad, Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.
The newcomers, called paradesis (foreigners), constructed their own synagogue in 1568 just 30 yards from the maharajah's palace.

A lane leading to Synagogue--Fort Kochi
The lane leading to the synagogue has lots of shops selling local handicrafts, and cafés for you to sit and relax. Just walking through the area is an interesting experience.

This orthodox synagogue houses the sacred Torah scrolls written in goatskin and gold crowns gifted by various kings inside the carved red and gold tabernacle. The 18th century Chinese hand-painted blue and white tiles are a unique feature of the Synagogue. None of these exquisite 1100 porcelain tiles are identical.

The Synagogue also has Hebrew inscriptions dating back to the 14th century. The painting gallery at the entrance depicts the history of Jews in Kerala from the times of King Solomon.

Jew Street,Fort Kochi
The Jew Street of Kochi, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The place tells us about the life styles and customs of the communities that coexisted in the past.. Still having the charm of the old people happened to live here.
An Antique Shop at Jews Street-Fort Kochi

Jews Street-Fort Kochi

These days, walking on the Jew Street in Fort Kochi, one can still find the busy spice market, which once had a sizable number of Jewish people engaged in spice trade. Nowadays, one would also come across curio shops run by those from Kashmir; selling mostly wood carvings, oil lamps, spice boxes, snake boats and books on Indian subjects. Most of the Jewish settlers here have now left for their homeland Israel. 

Chinese Fishing Net – Fort kochi 
The ever lasting beauty of Kochi , brewed by the hands of history, It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets.
Fishing Nets-Fort Kochi

The Chinese fishing nets are the most recognizable landmarks in Fort Kochi, and are most visited for the fascinating sight they provide against the setting sun. However, there is more to them, than just their appearance. There are many stories about how these nets came to India.

Fishing Nets
The nets work on the concept of a cantilever―a pile of rocks is tied to ropes on one end, while the other side contains the net. A group of men raise or lower the rocks, while one walks on the bamboo pole to balance the weight. 

Some say that the nets were brought by Chinese traders during the reign of Kublai Khan in the 13th century, while others attribute it to the great Chinese navigator, Zheng He in the 14th century. Some even claim that it was the Portuguese who brought them here from China! However, the most interesting thing about them is that they are only seen here, in and around Cochin!

Local Market near Fishing Nets

Itenenry of Kochi is incomplete without a walk at promenade of Marine Drive and shopping in Lulu Mall,the India’s largest shopping Mall.

Marine Drive of Kochi

The Marine drive in Kochi is one of the best places to spend quality time leisurely in the city and provides an amazing view of the sea.The promenade is with a walkway of about three kilometres. The best thing about Marine Drive is that it is well maintained and cleaned properly and also has sitting arrangements for the visitors. 
Sun sets at Marine Drive-Fort Kochi
 Beauty of this place is the backwaters, with ships anchored at the harbour and that interests the tourists even more. The sound of the water gently swishing away as you gaze at the skyline of Kochi is an amazing thing to behold, and will certainly transport you to a world of your own.

Lulu Shopping Mall, Edapally

Kochi also has India’s largest shopping mall in Edappally – Lulu Shopping Mall owned and operated by EMKE Group. For a shopping experience in Kochi there are lots of markets but a visit to Lulu Mall is a treat with air conditioning and 300+ food outlets, stores and restaurants. Spanning 17 acres with a total built up area of 2.5 million square feet, the mall has a total retail space of 1.7 million square feet. 
This is end of my Travelogue of Kochi. I walked back to home Aligarh with charm of Kochi the Queen of Arab Sagar engraved in my memory for ever. My camera is full of such memories.The ever lasting beauty of Kochi brewed in the hands of history, frozen in time and takes it to the rich colonial heritage. There are innumerable heritage buildings, some dating back to the times of Vasco Da Gama, the first Portuguese sailor to India. If you can dream the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets of Kochi.
Beach --Fort Kochi

Written posted and photographed by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of informations available on net sources.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Battle of Bhima Koregaon

Koregaon Bhima is a village at a distance of 28 Km by road northeast of city Pune, on the left (north) bank of river Bhima. In this  village Koregaon Bhima: 200 years ago on 1st January 1818 a fierce battle was fought between the British East India Company and the Maratha ruler Peshwa Baji Rao II led an army of 28,000 soldiers. According to British records, about 500 to 600 Maratha soldiers were killed or injured in this Bhima Koregaon battle. On the other hand, about 275 British soldiers were killed and wounded.Mahars
Bhima Koregaon Battle-Credit Sources
Legend is that about 500 Mahar soldiers were under the British East India Company. Mahars, at that point were considered an Untouchable community, and were not recruited in the army by the Peshwas. While the soldiers included in British Forces were ArabsGosains and Marathas (the caste). 
The Mahars, though untouchables, had been valued for their military skills for centuries. They formed a significant portion of Shivaji’s army as well. However, when the Peshwas took over, the Mahars on account of their low caste status were ill-treated by the ruling Brahmins of a particularly orthodox bent of mind. Next time, the Mahars regained their former status of military glory was when the British employed a number of them in their military units.

Anglo Maratha War--Credit Wikipedia
Background of Bhima –Koregaon Battle

The Battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought over a revenue-sharing dispute between the British and the Maratha ruler, Peshwa Baji Rao II. He was the last Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. Peshwa Baji Rao II was installed as a puppet ruler by the Maratha nobles (Scindia of Gwalior, the Holkar of Indore, the Gaekwad of Baroda, and the Bhosle of Nagpur)

The British had subjugated and signed peace treaties with these factions, establishing Residencies at their capitals. The British intervened in a revenue-sharing dispute between the Peshwa and Gaekwad, and on 13 June 1817, the Company forced Peshwa Baji Rao II to sign an agreement renouncing claims on Gaekwad revenues and ceding large swaths of territory to the British. 

This treaty of Pune formally ended the Peshawar’s titular over lordship over other Maratha chiefs, thus officially ending the Maratha confederacy. Soon after this, the Peshwa burnt down the British Residency at Pune, but was defeated in the Battle of Khadki near Pune on 5 November 1817. The final battle was fought in village Bhima Koregaon, the final defeat.
After suffering several battle defeats. A dejected Peshwa then met with John Malcolm on 2 June 1818, and surrendered his royal claims in exchange for a pension and a residence in Bithoor.
Anglo Maratha War--Credit Sources
In 1851, the British erected a Victory memorial pillar at Koregaon-Bhima to honorVictory Memorial the soldiers -- mostly Mahars -- who had died in this battle. The obelisk was featured on the Mahar Regiment's crest until Indian Independence. While it was built by the British as a symbol of their own power.
 Today it serves as a memorial of the Mahars. Dr.B. Ambedkar visited the site. To commemorate his visit to the site, now thousands of his followers visit this memorial site every New Year's Day. 
Bhima Koregaon-Victory Pillar--credit Sources
Despite this, as per the Dalits version of the Koregaon-Bhima battle, Mahars approached Peshwa Bajirao II to let them join his army against the British. Their offer was turned down. That is when the Mahars approached the British, who welcomed them into their army.
The Battle of Koregaon ended with the British-led Mahar soldiers defeating the Peshwas. The victory was not just of a battle for the Mahars, but a win against caste-based discrimination and oppression itself.

Written and posted by Engr. Maqbool Akram: with help of materials and Photos on this topic available on net and in Wikipedia.