Sunday, October 14, 2018

Autobiography of a a River

I am a river. I like to give you an account of my life. You may laugh to think what is the value of the autobiography of a river. You may laugh if you like. Men write their autobiographies. They have importance in their own way. I have importance in my own way.

Birth and early career:
I was born long ago in an obscure place in a mountain. Several very small streams of water joined together to form one bigger stream. That is how I was born. I am that bigger stream. I am restless from my birth. I cannot stay at one place. So I flow down the mountain. I leap from one rock to another. I am full of life and vigor. As I flow down, I gather strength. My current is very strong here. I carry down with me broken rocks. At last I come down to the plains.

My career in the upper plains:
Here I begin to widen in my course. People begin to make use of my water. Here it is as pure as anything. In my upper course, people have built up towns of pilgrimage. They have built temples on my banks. Hundreds of people bathe in my sacred water. They worship the deities in those temples. They regard me as very sacred. There are also several health resorts in my upper course. People from many parts of the country come there for a change. They walk on my banks. They enjoy the natural beauty. They recover their lost health and return home with a happy heart.

My career in the lower plains:
I have said before that I am very restless. I am constantly on the move downwards. Leaving the upper plains behind I flow down through the lower plains. My water increases the fertility of the fields on either side of my banks. Abundant crops grow there. The country become prosperous.

Towns on my banks:
People have built large towns on my banks. Some of these towns are centres of culture. Some have commercial importance. People carry on trade and commerce. They ply boats and steamers along my surface. These carry many important goods for trade. People travel from one place to another in boats and steamers. Hundreds of people bathe in  water. They use my water for drinking and other purposes.

Efforts to control me:
During the rainy season I carry large quantities of rain-water from the mountain. My surface rises. Sometimes I overflow the banks and cause flood. People suffer much. But am I to blame for this ? What can I do if huge quantities of rainwater flow down me from the mountain? Your Government has now tried to control my furious nature in the rainy season. In my upper course sometimes I fall down several hundred feet from a great height. Here your Government has built barriers across me to hold back my water. It has built dams to store up the surplus water to irrigate the land to help agriculture. Electricity is also generated here with the power of my water. This electricity is cheaper. It helps industry in towns and even in remote villages. Thus you may see how I help you.

My career in the lowest course:
In this way I go on. I have no rest. “Men may come and men may go, but I go on for ever.” Your Government has tried to control my furious nature. But it is a very difficult task to control me always. Sometimes I play the part of a destroyer. I wash away my banks. I destroy towns and villages. Again I play the part of a creator. I carry down sediments. These are deposited in some places where the current is not strong. New land is formed there. This land is very fertile. This is done near about the place where I join the sea.

Ports at my mouth:
I flow on to join the sea. This is my goal. This portion of my course is called my mouth. People have built ports here. Factories have been built on my banks. This makes the country prosperous. But the factories do one great harm. In my upper course my water is very pure. But here the municipalities of the towns and the factories throw away all sorts of impurities into my water. This pollutes my water. I am not to blame for this.

This is my life history. There is one great difference between men and me. I am constantly on the move to join the sea. Men are born and they die. I have no death. I will flow eternally. I will do great service to men. They should, therefore, remain grateful to me.

Autobiography of a Banyan Tree

I am a banyan tree. My abode is a small town. It’s developing fast. I am just twenty. You may term me youth. These days’ banyan trees hardly survive for seventy to eighty years. I am telling about the life-span for my variety. We have three types based on place of growing, viz. rural, suburban and metropolitan.
The rural banyan trees are also termed as classical type. They are on the verge of extinction. Their average life-span is four-hundred years. In the countryside, assemblage for market, meeting, musical orchestra, drama, etc. takes place beneath their shadow. You will find their reference in the classics of prolific story-tellers Bankim Chandra, Tarashankar, Prabhatkumar, Sarat Chandra and the like.
I belong to town category. Before I narrate my bringing up, let me add a few words on our life struggle. We live in small town or suburban. Our births generally take place in disputed places. It may be due to human touch or natural reasons. Thus, very often you will find germination of our seeds at places like the cracks of old buildings, decomposed portion or holes in trees, heaps of garbage, etc. It’s needless to mention that we face turbulent and uncertain periods in our childhood. Sometimes, people become ruthless upon us. They don’t hesitate to uproot. Beheading is a common onslaught. Especially, it’s unleashed upon us with fanfare on the eve of Durga Puja. Thus, it’s difficult for us to grow by the side of streets in the town. There is no scope for extending roots underneath as well. The workers of Drinking Water Supply Department do not hesitate to cut our roots on the plea of laying pipes. The onslaughts from other departments like PWD, BSNL, TNGC, etc just add insult to the injuries. Sometimes, activists styled as environmentalists do cry for our save. But, it’s showy; they are biased towards metropolitan sect.
But, there is always an element of natural selection. At times, the Nature favours us to grow even in rocky soils. My comrades feel it lucky if a stone underneath comes out due to exposure in weather. The disciples of Lord Shiva are often found worshipping it. So, a place of worship gradually develops underneath the banyan tree. It gets the share of milk offered to God. The waste of other eatables acts as manure. The local people forms committee for the protection of the banyan tree. So, it survives for a long period.
The metropolitan type of banyan tree was first witnessed in Japan. The Japanese are a bit short in height in general. They find it difficult to climb trees. So, they make us dwarf by trimming our roots and keeping us half-fed. It has an ornamental name ‘Bonsai’. In metropolitans, there is craze for Bonsai. These dwarfs are also spreading to small towns. I am too young to ascertain the life-span of metropolitan banyan trees. Sometimes, the metropolitan people keep them alive through various processes from tissue culture to cloning after clinical death of a dwarf.
Now, I shall narrate the story of my life. I am an inhabitant of a suburban. Let me keep the name of the place secret, as I don’t want get exposed. A crane mother helped me see the light of the Nature. Actually, she swallowed some banyan-fruits. One such seed fell in a hole of a tree with her excreta. The plant was dead and almost decomposed. It allowed me to grow steadily for about one year. One elderly brother helped me to attain my youth hood from my infant. My mentor had his own interest. He owns a grocery shop. It’s first in the row of a series of shops by the side of a road of my native town. There was some open space by the side of his shop followed by drain. The people preferred to use the place for toilet. Sometimes, the ammoniac smell of urine made the life miserable for the inmates and customers who visited the shop. After some calculative thoughts, my brother planted me at the vacant place. Initially he used to pour water upon my roots religiously to ensure my survival. The soil was fertile due to formation of urea from urine.  Within three months fresh leaf appeared on my branches. It gave immense pleasure to my mentor.
The subsequent development was quite fast. One day a procession for immersion of the idol of Goddess Manasha was passing by the road. My mentor joined them joyfully. He then put forward a proposal before the devotees to leave the idol beneath my shadow. By that time, the participants became tired. They agreed to the proposal without hesitation. My association with the Goddess Manasha was fruitful. Gradually people started keeping other idols, especially Goddess Kali, after worship, by the side of Manasha. My mentor also encouraged them as it deterred people from using the place as toilet. In the evening he lighted candles and incent-sticks before the assemblage of God and Goddess. Now, the place has been established as a place of worship. Lord Shani is also worshipped at this place every Saturday.
But, there is a sad note as well. Due to the widening of road my counselor has been evicted. He has to restart his business at another place. I have grown up as well. My head now touches the overhead electric wires. Every year my branches are shaped. I gladly bear with the situation. Fortunately for me, no water-supply pipe has passed close to my vicinity. However, OFC cable of BSNL is passing close to me. It keeps me apprised about the latest technology. I am hopeful that I can live the average life-span of a suburban banyan tree. 

Autobiography of Taj Mahal

I am very happy today as I am able to write an autobiography on my own self. I always wanted to do that. First of all let me introduce myself to you all. I am Taj Mahal, one of the greatest architectures of the world of all time. I am widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". I am a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. I was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Behind my creation there was a history. On June 17, 1631 Shah Jahan’s wife and beloved Mumtaz Mahal died after delivering her fourteenth child Gauharar. Shah Jahan stood dazed, unable to comprehend the situation. She had died leaving all her children, her mother, and relations to his care. But he had promised her never to remarry and to build the grandest mausoleum over her grave. Her body received a temporary burial in the Zainabadi Garden in Burhanpur and within six months it was removed to Agra. Shahjahan had already acquired from Raja Jai Singh a plot of land on the Yamuna riverside. There on the tomb of dead Mumtaz, my foundation was built on a platform of 22′ high and 313′ square, was started in 1632 in a frenzy with thousands of artisans and labourers, toiling ceaselessly.

My building process goes on with excessive labour and cost, prosecuted with extraordinary diligence and took 22 years for my completion. Gold and silver esteemed as common metal, and marble as ordinary stones. Shah Jahan had chosen the best specimen of designs offered by the famous designers of the world. The materials to my construction were collected from different parts of the world like turquoise from Tibet, jade and crystal from China, chrysolite from Egypt, lapis from Afghanistan, coral from Arabia, amethyst from Persia, quartz from the Himalayas, malachite from Russia and diamonds from Hyderabad in India. The water that used in my construction was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism. Over 1000 elephants were used to transport my building materials. It took the labour of 22,000 workers to construct my monument. A board of architects supervised the construction. Lahori is treated as my main designer. About 50 million rupees were spent to build up me.

Shahjahan issued ‘farmans’ to Raja Jai Singh ordering immediate and constant supply of the Makrana marble for the tomb which was situated in the centre of my foundation. An inclined two and a half mile long road ramp was built to carry huge marble slabs to my top. In absence of wood, the scaffolding was of brick. I was being risen higher and higher with every sunset. Within nearly six years, my main edifice of the tomb was complete. In the words of Ustad Ahmad Lahori, chief architect of the project: " And above this inner dome, which is radiant like the heart of angels, has been raised another heaven-touching, a guava-shaped dome…crowning this dome of heavenly rank, the circumference of whose outer girth is 110 yards high flittering like the sun with its summit rising to a total height of 107 yards above the (level of the) ground."

The legendary gold railing of my tomb was subsequently replaced by an octagonal latticed screen (Mahajar-i-mushababbak) of the most marvelous craftsmanship with an entrance fashioned of jasper after the Turkish style, joined with gilded fasteners. It costs over 10,000 rupees but it is the most splendid work of art, well worth its weight in gold. It stands enclosing the two cenotaphs.

  Humayun's Tomb and the tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana in Delhi had served as model for me with their dome-topped structure raised on a high platform. Akbar's tomb at Sikandara lent my dominant four-pillar design. Its splendid calligraphic ornamentation by Amanat Khan inspired Shahjahan to entrust my ornamentation to the same artist. Each tower is 133 feet tall. The tomb is a wide large structure that stands on a on a square plinth and it is the central focus of my entire complex. My central dome is 58 feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula at Agra, built by Nurjahan for her father, had the most innovative and grand pietra dura decoration, a mosaic of exquisitely colored hard precious stones inlaid into the white marble. The lyrical rhythm of the floral motifs had an amazing beauty, which I greatly emulated. The crypt and the cenotaphs at my surrounding carry pietra dura decoration of a fabulous unexcelled elegance. In those days the cost of my expenses worked out to 50 lakhs and the annual revenue of 30 villages was earmarked for the regular maintenance of me.

Unwilling to allow the native artisans all the credit for this excellence, Father Manrique in 1641 advanced the preposterous claim of the Italian jeweler Geronimo Veroneo as the architect. But this claim could never be proved and remained a legend only. I derive much of my charm from the sprawling garden laid out in the Persian Char Bagh style. The fountains and canals provide a grand reflection of mine, accentuating the Paradise imagery. In my death-inspired monument rows of cypresses lead the eye to the tomb in white marble standing at the extreme end of the garden, rather than in the center as at other Mughal tombs.

  I was nearly completed within ten years around 1643. Tavernier claimed to have seen the commencement of my work. I had been started in 1632. It did not take 22 years and twenty thousand men for workers in my construction. In fact, Tavernier first arrived in Agra in 1641 when I was nearly finished. Later on the tomb of Satti-ul-Nisa, chief maid of Mumtaz and later on of Jahanara and the mosques built by Sirhindi Begam and Fatehpuri Begam were added to my complex.

  In 1652, Aurangzeb pointed out the leakage in my dome on the northern side. The garden also was water logged during the rains. These defects were immediately attended to by Shahjahan. There is no truth in the familiar tale that Shahjahan had the hands of his chief architect chopped off to prevent building him another building of my same reputation and beauty. Before he met his fate, this architect, it is said, was allowed to take in the last look at me to ensure perfection. At this moment he hammered the dome at the point, which caused leakage. This only adds to my legendary perfection in all details.

  In 1648 Shahjahan had shifted capital to Shahjahanabad. He already had the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor. He never remarried but his lust for life continued unabated. Bernier, Tavernier, and Niccola Mannuci provide salacious details about the Mughal Emperors private indulgences. As prisoner in the Agra fort during his last days, Shahjahan fell terribly ill. His parched throat could hardly swallow a few drops of ‘sherbat’. Nicola Manucci relates a tale that a faqir in Bijapur had warned Shahjahan that the day his hands stopped smelling of apples he would die. Shahjahan recalled the words and smelt his hands. A sigh escaped his dry lips. He casted his last lingering glance at me from his bed in the Musamman Burj. His tired eyelids closed on a shattered heart forever. And so died on January 31,1666.

Jahanara planned a funeral procession befitting the grand Mughal. She was herself a prisoner. Hence she couldn't order people. A small number of insignificant menials carried the body through the small Watergate to the river. Quietly Shahjahan's body left the fort where he had embellished the magnificent marble palaces and pavilions. In the early hours of the day his body was entered into the crypt. It is rather a poignant end for the fifth Mughal Emperor. It is said that Shahjahan's favorite elephant Khaliqdad sensing the tragedy also died as the burial was in progress.

Nicola Manucci adds a spicy tale of Aurangzeb's reaction to Shahjahan's death. Aurangzeb sent a trusted man to pass a heated iron over his father's feet, and if the body did not stir, then to pierce the skull down to the throat to make sure that he was really dead. Orders were sent to I'tibar Khan not to allow his burial until the arrival of Aurangzeb in person. Once Shahjahan had escaped Bijapur in a coffin to reach Agra. The son remembered the tricks his father could play. But court chronicles mention that Aurangzeb reached Agra 25 days after the burial when all he did was to enact a brief scene of simulated grief, and offer fake condolences to Jahanara as a ploy to snatch jewels in her possession.

  Only Tavernier mentions the beginning of another tomb for Shahjahan, across the river. Historians and archaeologists dismiss this idea. However, the foundations of a mammoth building, deep huge wells on which stood plinth structures now exposed due to erosion of land under water, and lone cupola at the end of a long boundary wall replicating me, are all too evident of the abandoned enterprises. For once

Tavernier could be believed. His Majesty Firdaus Ashvani, (Shahjahan's posthumous title) was buried beside the Empress, the only asymmetrical work at me.

Moving further down the history, it was at the end of the 19th century that British Viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908, as a measure to restore what was lost during the Indian rebellion of 1857: I being blemished by British soldiers and government officials who also deprived the monument of my immaculate beauty by chiseling out precious stones and lapis lazuli from my walls. Also, the British style lawns that people see today adding on to my beauty is remodeled around the same time. Despite prevailing controversies, past and present threats from Indo-Pak war and environmental pollution, this epitome of love continuous to shine and attract people from all over the world.

Now more than three centuries have passed and I am seen by millions of visitors every year continues to retain a romantic aura about me. Some women like Mrs. Sleeman would exclaim "I would die tomorrow to have such another rover me". I am still "the grand passion of an Emperor's love," as Edwin Arnold wrote, or as Tagore said of me "one solitary tear… on the Cheek of time." The subtle play of light on the white marble dome creates my own moods to which even the hardest cynic ultimately succumbs. Millions and millions of photographs taken but they fail to capture the quintessence of my inner secret heart.History of immortal love of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal is the integral part of my history. Even today, I symbolize the true love in this ungrateful, corrupted world.

The End

Autobiography of Mobile Phone

The day I was born :
I am very happy today as I am able to write an autobiography on my own self. I always wanted to do that. First of all let me introduce myself to you all. I am a mobile phone; which you all might owe. I am a Nokia X2-01. I am a very good looking phone and strong like Shaktimaan; even though my skin is black; but still ladies get charmed by my appearance and wish to buy me as well. But now it is very different; I am very old and damaged as well. But still I remember the day I was born. I was manufactured in one of the factory where many of my kind are manufacture.

I was totally taken care of as I was very latest phone and people were dying to buy me as soon as I come to the mobile store. The workers in the factory were very caring as they took care of me very well and packed me in a box and then send me to one of the best mobile store. But still I was packed and was kept inside a storeroom and I was patently waiting for my number to get opened up and be in front; so that every can praise my beauty and surly I will be taken by someone very soon.
Out of the mobile store :
I was still in the box at storeroom; as many of me kind were there; so it was taking a lot of time for me to get out of that stupid storeroom. I really hated that small Dark room; as there were many other brand mobile phone also who were totally jealous of me as I was in demand. They used to tease me as I was black; but no one show my inner beauty. I got totally sick of the place and every day I used to pray that someone will come and will get e out of this sick place. And finally that day came; when a thin looking boy; who I guess was the salesmen came up to me and took me happily and got me out of that storeroom. And here I was in the mobile store where customers used to come and buy whichever handset they like.

I was very desperate to know who have bought me; but I saw that one couple took me happily and were saying to each other that their daughter will be happy to get me as her birthday gift. So my owner was still a mystery to be. And it was making me madder as I was wondering why a girl would like to have a handset which actually suits men? Anyways I was on my way to see who was my sweet and lovely owner?
I was in a place almost like heaven :
Finally they got me out of their car and there was a huge party going on and I was just happy to see the happy face when she will receive me as her birthday gift. The couple handed me to her with overwhelming joy and I almost got deaf as my lady was out of mind when she screamed with joy after receiving me. She opened me and I saw her; a very beautiful looking 18 years old girl. And the very first think this did is kissed me; I got shy.

The reason she was so happy because I was here first ever cell phone. And that whole day she was showing me to all of her friends and was even proud of me. She was not leaving me for a single second and not only this she was awake the whole night to explore all my features. I was very happy to get such a sweet girl as my master and her home was just like heaven to me and I never wanted to leave that place.
Happy days gone; thanks to children :
Everything was going fine; it was almost six months that I was with her. She was very sweet to me; even the kisses got less; but still she respected me a lot and whenever she used to keep me anywhere; it was with care and safety; it just felt as I was a small child. Yes; I remember one time; she was talking to someone; and suddenly she got so angry that she threw me in her sofa; thank goodness; it was sofa, otherwise I was almost going to get damaged. But after when she got calm down; she took me and was looking for any damaged and I am happy that she didn't found even one. But I cannot forget that day when her sister and her two children came to stay for two weeks.

Those two little girls were always being me and they used to take me and play with me when my owner, Ria was not around. She used to scold them not to touch me. But those two devils were very naughty. And on the worst day of my life; one of the girl; took me and throw me directly from the balcony; I landed up in the garden area and broken into pieces; I was helpless; but still active. My owner came running to me and tries to fix me; but she was not able to. Even she cried for my accident. Her father then took me and told her that I will give it to some repair guy; and he will fix it. And your cell phone will be back with you in the best condition. And there I was taken away from her with a hope I will return to her very soon.
The repair shop - unlucky for me :
Her father dropped me to the repair shop. The guy seems to be very rude. As soon as he took me; he threw me in a box; where many cell phones was thrown and they were in a very bad condition as I was. But they were really nice cell phone and they were sharing their sad story of how they landed up here in that smelly shop, even I shared my story too. After almost one week of boring stay; that rude fellow took me out and repaired me; I was given a new body as my original one was damaged; thanks to that girl! And finally I was repaired; I was really very happy to see myself; I was looking so handsome; more than I used to look before.

And now I was simply waiting for my owner's father to come and take me away from this filthy place. But I guess; god had set something else for me. As I was waiting; I show a young looking guy coming to the shop to buy a recharge and as the shop guy was searching for his recharge card; he just took me and kept me in his pocket hurriedly. And this happened because that shop guy didn't keep me back in the box; so I was quite easy for anybody to take me and that only happened. I was very scared; as I didn't knew what is going to happen?
I got a very rude master :
I was shivering like anything. That he took me out of his pocket and I saw my people were around me and were checking me out and my new owner was telling them the story how bravely he took me from the store. And that is it; after that I was never taken care of. He used to make some calls and so many sms through me so carelessly that only after few months that some of my keys were not working; but still that shameless guy was using me so roughly that I lost my shine and functionality too. And one day he gave me to one guy who used to collect waste stuffs. Yes I was now a waste; I cannot believe that such things would happen to me. But as it is said that there is always a door open for you. That guy took me and gave me to a store were waste thing get recycled. And now I have a hope that I would soon get recycled to something useful and people will use me with care and respect that I deserve.

Right now I am still in the shop and waiting for to get recycled. But still sometimes I miss my very first master and I pray to god that when I will get recycled to a new cell phone' I will again be brought by her only. Let see what will happen. But now I am feeling very happy to share my life with you all and I just want to say one thing that whenever you are buying a new cell phone take care of it very well and don't disrespect it as I got. Then only that cell phone will be local to you till he takes his last breath.

Project:XI ...Autobiography of a Coin

Autobiography of a Coin

I was born in the fires of an ancient forge in the hills of the Hindu Kush. Amid the clatter of hammers and the chatter of Greek, I paused on a battered anvil for the final pangs of my creation. Beneath me lay a hardened die bearing the image of my king; atop me pressed another, etched with horsemen and some mirror-image words. Then the hammer struck, hard and heavy, ringing out the news of my nativity. With each blow the dies dug deeper into my flesh, stamping their images as father and mother of a freshly minted coin.
As I look back across two millennia for these earliest memories, I marvel at my long, now legendary, journey from mine to mint to market to museum. I remember Rome as a rising power, a century before the first Caesars; I recall the early days of Emperor Asoka's moral conquests and the building of China's Great Wall. I have outlived six of the seven wonders of the ancient world. (I am told the Great Pyramid still stands.) Yet I am no mute ruin: Money talks. Mine is the voice of history, recorded by numismatists trained to hear my ancient stories of art, industry, worship, and war. My eloquence can turn back time, and carry us all to the golden age of my youth, when legends traced my origins to a colony of giant ants.
Most gold in ancient times was mined by condemned criminals and slaves whose lives meant little to their taskmasters. In my day, the mines of Egypt were legendary hives of human misery. But it was said that gold in great abundance could be found near India, where giant ants piled gold-bearing dust at the entrances of their tunnels. These ants—nearly the size of dogs, the legend said—defended their burrows fiercely against men who dared to steal the spoils of their digging. But such danger was trivial given the normal costs of ancient mining, and so the legend spread as far as Greece. When Alexander the Great invaded the Indus Valley in the fourth century BC, his Greek soldiers eagerly searched for this legendary lode. Local guides displayed for them the dappled skins of the ants themselves, but the invaders could not find a single mound of precious gold.
Only a few generations later, however, Greek settlers were gathering large quantities of gold in this very region. These descendants of Alexander's warriors created a wealthy kingdom called Bactria, famous for its beautiful silver and gold coins like me. (See Aramco World, May/June 1994.) Where, scholars have long wondered, did the Greek kings of Bactria find so much precious metal? International trade constitutes one obvious source, but giant "ants" might be another. Two thousand years after I was born, explorers discovered that burrowing marmots on the remote Dansar Plateau, near the borders of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, do indeed heap mounds of gold-bearing earth at the mouths of their burrows. (See page 13.) These stocky rodents, called "mountain ants" by the Persians who passed the legend on to the Greeks, grow to the size of small dogs and pitch up meter-high hills of auriferous subsoil. Even in modern times, local tribes harvest this gold in an age-old tradition that recalls the legends of my youth. It is possible, after all, that inhuman marmots, rather than inhuman misery, brought my gold to the forges of man.
From the moment I left the royal mint of my king Eucratides, eager hands grasped for me. I was a beauty then, the envy of every monarch and merchant from the Indus to the Euphrates. Great artists had carved my parent dies in mirror-image, etching tiny Greek words and figures backward so that these negative forms would produce positive impressions on my two faces. The result, when smashed into 8.5 grams (0.3 oz) of gold, is a splendid coin called a stater—a treasure of art as well as riches. My obverse (the "heads" face produced by the lower, anvil die) boasts a once-brilliant portrait of King Eucratides, framed in a circle of small dots. Behind the king's neck trails the royal diadem, a ribbon tied around his head as the unmistakable emblem of his office. His cloak, engraved in high relief, is that of a cavalry commander, and his great crested helmet resembles a Boeotian design lauded by the historian Xenophon as the best headgear for cavalrymen. Attached to my king's helmet is a frontlet that sweeps back and ends in bull's horns and ears. Some consider this a symbolic evocation of Alexander the Great's war-horse Bucephalus ("Ox-head"), who had horns according to some accounts, and who had been buried by Alexander near my own birthplace. Like Alexander, my king rode with valor at the head of his elite cavalry and conquered with an aggressive Greek spirit.
In fact, Eucratides called himself "the Great" long before that title was given to Alexander by the Romans. On my reverse (the "tails" side produced by the upper, punch die), you can still read the exalted caption "King Eucratides the Great." No Greek had ever put such words on his coinage before, but modesty was never my king's style. The armed horsemen who gallop within the inscription are Castor and Pollux. In Greek mythology, they were the sons of Zeus who would suddenly appear in a crisis to save the day, much like Eucratides himself, who wrestled the Bactrian throne from a faltering dynasty. These twins carry palms, brandish spears, and wear felt caps topped with stars.
Behind the rear legs of the trailing horse, you can discern a Greek monogram, W . This mark identifies either the mint or the magistrate responsible for my creation. Nearly every gold and Silver coin minted in Bactria carries such a birthmark, but the exact meaning of the many symbols has long been lost. For example, some scholars think that my monogram indicates the city of Balkh or Aornus; others see only the initials of some unknown Greek official who served a few months as midwife in the delivery of my king's new money.
If you look past the scars of my long life, I am as beautifully Greek as the Parthenon itself, though I was born 5000 kilometers (3000 mi) east of Athens. I am the mind of the West imprinted on the precious metal of the East. The implications haunt me. Am I propaganda etched on plunder, or the product of a peaceful integration? Do I personify apartheid or a partnership? The design and distribution of currency are deliberate, official acts, so money can never be neutral in the struggles of any society. Look at a nation's coins and you will see the scatter-shot of its cultural canon: Even a melting-pot like America has a partisan coinage, its message overwhelmingly white, male, European, and Christian. In ancient Bactria, I was no less biased. My milieu is entirely Mediterranean, and my intrinsic value kept me beyond reach of the marginalized poor of the non-Greek population. Gold circulated over the heads of these farmers and servants, who relied upon small denominations of bronze or silver for their meager purchases. My king minted for them some square, bilingual issues struck on an Indian weight standard, but I belonged to colonial Greek aristocrats, the ruling elite of Bactria.
Unlike small bronze and silver coins which travel swiftly but never far, my gold brothers and I ranged into territories quite distant from our monarch's own marketplaces. Throughout the Middle East, Hellenistic states were quick to accept gold coins struck on a common Greek standard with recognizable types. I, for example, would be recognized in any market from the Balkans to Bactria. I had no restrictive local features, as did my square bilingual cousins, and my denomination conformed to the Attic Greek system used nearly everywhere in Alexander's old empire. The range of my travels can be easily documented: In Mesopotamia, for example, another Greek king so admired my design that he shamelessly stole every detail for his own coinage.
But globe-trotting gold cannot be too careful, for everywhere, insatiable melting pots stand ready. My parent dies produced as many as 20,000 siblings identical to me; now, of them all, only I have survived the gauntlet that gold runs. The most critical moment in any money's life is the day it ceases to be currency. Once a coin can no longer circulate in a given place or time, human hands are quick to convert it into some more useful form. Most of my brothers became bullion again, their identities soon lost in the issues of other, less ancient kings. Some may exist still as a statue's thumb or a goblet's lip, but I would not recognize them. I carry the last known imprint of our shared dies because an unusual circumstance spared my life.
Painful and defacing though it was, mat occasion added 2000 years to my story and gave me an unexpected career. A sturdy loop of metal was fused to my reverse side, right across my galloping horsemen. The attachment was sized to fit a finger, and I became a signet ring. This ancient operation changed the whole pattern of my life. My surfaces no longer wore evenly; instead, my obverse suffered horribly as it rode that band exposed to daily bumps and bruises, while my reverse design was now shielded from the world. I lived a strange new life on the wrong side of the human hand, banished from the palm where coins enjoy the camaraderie of active currency. Who had done this to me?
The Greeks, as far as I could determine, were gone. Shortly after my king's reign, Bactria fell to successive waves of nomadic invaders. Some of them later settled in the region and created the Kushan empire, astride theiamous Silk Roads that linked the empires of Rome and China. One Kushan ruler so exceeded my own king's ambitions that he proclaimed himself not only "the Great," but also "King of Kings, Son of Heaven, Caesar"—a title that is simultaneously Iranian, Indian, Chinese, and Roman. Although I finally found myself outside the closed world of my Greek makers, I felt welcome among these eclectic Kushans. They borrowed freely from my past. One of their graves contained a magnificent cameo imitating my design, and signet rings of Greek style were common elements in their elaborate gold-spangled costumes.
Eventually lost or interred—I cannot recall which—I reluctantly returned beneath the soil of Central Asia. For twenty centuries I slept; you cannot imagine the burden of time. My gold kept its luster while all around me the corrosive poisons of earth ate away the baser metals. Above me, kings gave way to caliphs and khans as new realms dawned and died. Other gold shone for the civilizations of Muslims, Mongols, and Mughals while I lay undiscovered, underground, my fame forgotten. Neither man nor marmot rescued me—until modern times.
Then, I suddenly awoke and saw myself reflected in the wide dark eyes of a jubilant discoverer. My new guardian considered the expedient of the melting pot, but my unusual appearance gave him pause. Not just another antique coin, I was a warrior's signet, well-suited to his own station. He was an Afghan officer, and I found a new home on his hand. There I was schooled in the long history I had missed. I learned that Bactria had become Afghanistan, where the weapons were new but the wars unchanged. Great powers still converged upon this rugged and remote bastion in order to control the gateways between Europe, Asia, and India. Now, however, this struggle was called "the Great Game." Intrepid spies from czarist Russia and imperial Britain crept along the snow-filled passes of Central Asia, and tired armies clashed in places called Kabul, Kandahar and the Khyber Pass. Rudyard Kipling and others romanticized the struggle, but brave men did not bleed the less for all this talk of games. I saw the fight firsthand.
This conflict had at least one happy consequence. British officers sent to India and serving in the Afghan campaigns soon began to collect the coins of ancient Bactria. While some melted down the bronzes in order to make cannon, most realized the historical value of these relics. Silver and gold were the prizes of these men who avidly sought to rediscover the forgotten kings of my youth. As these beautiful coins made their way to England, many ended up in the British Museum and stimulated generations of scholarly research. Lacking much else to guide them, historians and numismatists found in us a mine of fresh information about such monarchs as my own Eucratides.
One of the British officers who brought back gold from India was Major Charles H. Strutt. In the middle of the 19th century, Major Strutt amassed a fair collection of Bactrian and Indian coins, of which I was certainly the finest. Although he first saw me as a signet ring on the hand of an Afghan officer, the learned major immediately recognized me as a coin of great rarity. No other stater of Eucratides had ever been found, so I was a fabulous prize to be procured as the crown of his collection. I had no idea what this would mean for my career.
When I passed into Strutt's possession, he decided that I should become a coin again. In a determined operation to remove the ring, my reverse caught up with the 2000 years of scarring that my obverse had already suffered. The stubborn weld would not come free of my prancing horses. Like a wad of chewing gum, it sits there still. Worst of all, in a desperate attempt to cut the blemish away, my new owner chiseled deep into it and inadvertently sawed clear across my design. His effort to pry loose the offending lump peeled up the edges of the wound, and let his long blade bite painfully into my soft metal. Tiny striations on my edge, just in front of my king's face, betray the grip of the pliers which held me hard during the terrible ordeal.
My reward for this suffering was the pampered world of the collectible coin. My numismatic rarity more than compensated for my battered condition, so humans henceforth cared for me more than in any age since my birth. That esteem conveyed me more than once to 13 Wellington Street in London, the distinguished home of Sotheby's, the art auctioneers. My first trip there came in 1874, when Major Strutt's entire collection ("featuring a unique stater of Eucratides") was exhibited for sale. On the afternoon of January 26, I was promoted from the collection of Major Strutt to that of a Colonel Strutt. I am the only specimen the colonel bought at the auction, perhaps bidding high for sentimental reasons. Colonel Strutt, perhaps a relative of the seller's, knew my colorful story and won me with a bid of £25, far more than I would ever fetch again.
Many years later, Colonel Strutt sold me to a collector whose appetite for precious metal knew no bounds. Hyman Montagu gobbled up gold and silver coins like a man possessed by the need to possess. A successful lawyer, he found leisure in collecting coins and medals by the thousands; he also produced scholarly publications based on his acquisitions. He began collecting in 1878, and in 1882 became a member (and later an officer) of the Royal Numismatic Society. In fact, he had a considerable reputation in the field long before he purchased his first ancient coin in 1889. He soon owned many Greek masterpieces, as well as the world's largest private collection of Roman gold.
I arrived as one of the earliest ornaments of Montagu's collection of ancient coins. In 1892, I figured among his 29 "Unpublished and Rare Greek Coins" in an article he wrote for The Numismatic Chronicle in London; this occasioned the first publication of my photograph. Montagu mentioned my former career as a signet ring, and the damage done by my conversion back to coin. He must have gotten the story from Colonel Strutt himself as part of my noteworthy pedigree.
Hyman Montagu died a few years later, on February 18, 1895; his huge collection was hauled to Sotheby's for a series of memorable sales. I was the 774th specimen listed in one of the many auctions needed to disperse his accumulation of coins. It took six days to sell off the Greek coins alone, for a total yield of nearly £9000. I was one of six Bactrian coins auctioned on the sixth day, at a price of six pounds. Thus, on March 28, 1896, I left Sotheby's for the distinguished collection of Henry Osborne O'Hagan. Like Montagu, my new master was a determined buyer; he bought 49 of Montagu's Greek coins. I found in my new home the happy company of childhood friends, the coins of other Bactrian kings. Eventually I settled alongside four silver issues of Eucratides, lucky survivors of the ages. After a dozen years, however, O'Hagan chose to "relinquish the pursuit" of numismatics. Back to Wellington Street I went, my cousins and I, to the auction block again.
On May 9,1908, my future was determined by a disappointing bid of little more than two pounds, the victorious offer of Charles Theodore Seltman. His father had been present in 1896 when O'Hagan paid three times that amount for me. My injured pride now matched my injured appearance, but at least I was in the possession of an illustrious scholar. Destined to become an expert in classics and archaeology, curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum and an accomplished author, the younger Seltman carried me off to Cambridge University. His academic acumen later earned him medals from the Royal Numismatic Society, the Royal Society of Arts, and the American Numismatic Society in New York.
In November, 1921 I was purchased from Seltman by the president of the latter society, the incomparable Edward T. Newell; he paid less than $14. I should have felt flattered, for Newell never paid more than a few dollars for any coin. A Yale graduate and scion of a wealthy family whose fortune had been made selling wagons to American pioneers, Newell amassed an incredible coin collection and also wrote a small library of numismatic books and articles. His reputation placed the United States in the forefront of scientific research on ancient coins, and he devoted untold energy and resources to the development of his beloved American Numismatic Society. When he died in 1941, I was one of 87,603 coins he bequeathed to the institution over which he had presided since 1916.
Safely off the market at last, I thus completed my odyssey from ancient mine to modern museum. Wars might ravage the lands through which I had passed most of my life, but Manhattan offered permanence, peace, and protection. In a stately building on Audubon Terrace, overlooking the Hudson River, I still reside in a tiny box in the sliding drawer of a locked cabinet in a guarded vault. I have been watched over by some of the great names in Greek numismatic science, and visited by experts on Bactrian history intent on the stories I can tell. But—unless there is another reversal of fortune in my future, like the many in my past—my traveling days are done, and I have bid good-bye to the busy world beyond these sheltering walls. The myriad acts of kings, Caesars, and gold-giving lords have brought me here to rest.
Nearly two hundred coins of Eucratides surround me now, but none of them is gold. I am still quite exceptional and am often mentioned in publications; in 1968, however, I ceased to be unique. After all those centuries, another stater of Eucratides finally surfaced in eastern Iran. It is a little lighter in weight and has a different monogram, and it has none of my scars, nor my romantic history. It lives with the huge 20-stater medallion of Eucratides in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris. More surprising still, since 1993 a stunning "crowd" of about 10 more Eucratides staters has been parading through the major auction houses of Europe and America. All of these new specimens appear as fresh as the day they were minted; most were struck from the same dies—though not the dies that gave me birth—and were never scattered into circulation. They must have been buried before they had much chance to live. Perhaps part of a lost military payroll, or of an emergency hoard hidden during the wars of my king's reign, these examples show how beautiful I once was. I marvel that my brothers can bring nearly 4000 times my last purchase price, not adjusting for inflation—or for the value of my adventures.
What am I then worth? I refuse to name a price. What are dollars or dinars to me, the illustrious ancestor of so much modern money? I am the golden voice of a great voyage that may only have just begun. I am more than money, and these memoirs serve notice that I am not yet spent.

Monday, October 8, 2018




In author's birthplace, the quarter-to-four-anna zamindar house was famous for the car festival of Lord Krishna that was held in its grounds. That festival was held once in every year during the monsoon season. Though it rained every year, the huge crowd gathered at the festival ground. Also the children like the author went to the fair under the supervision of the servants. Children were given money to enjoy the fair and buy toys, dolls. In the fair, there were variety of different toys. The toy called "Spoilt Baby" was most popular toy among the children. Also there were clay made toys like cats, hounds in chains, cows, birds etc. Those toys seemed very real in colour and design. The children whistled the palm or coconut leave trumpets. When the car of Lord Krishna was drawn, no child was allowed to go near the car as it might cause fatal accident. Sometimes, as a belief, few men immolated their lives under the wheel of the car. Thus the car festival of Lord Krishna was celebrated in the birthplace of the author.

Anit Barui





This text is the first chapter  of Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri's most famous book "An Autobiography of an Unknown Indian"


Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri



On 23 November 1897, at Kishoreganj, MymensinghBritish India (present-day Bangladesh)


Chaudhuri was educated in Kishorganj and Kolkata. For his FA (school-leaving) course he attended Ripon College in Calcutta along with the famous Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Following this, he attended Scottish Church College, Calcutta, where he studied history as his undergraduate major. He graduated with honors in history and topped the University of Calcutta merit list.


  • The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian (1951)
  • A Passage to England (1959)
  • The Continent of Circe (1965)
  • The Intellectual in India (1967)
  • To Live or Not to Live (1971)
  • Culture in the Vanity Bag (1976)
  • Clive of India (1975)
  • Hinduism: A Religion to Live by (1979)
  • Thy Hand, Great Anarch! (1987)
  • Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse (1997)


On 1 August 1999 (aged 101) at Lathbury RoadOxford, England



Writer's birthplace was Kishoregunj. That town was divided into two nearly in equal by the river. The part of the writer contained mosque, temple, library, courts, treasury, school, hospital. On the other side, there were bazar and all important shops. As a result of it, that part majorly backed the economics of town. So the part that belonged to the writer was enriched with the strength of religion, culture, politics and divine rituals and they took pride in them and they always hated the people of other side.


Writer's birthplace was Kishoregunj that was divided into two nearly in equal sizes by a river. On the opposite side of the river there were thirty or forty small huts. Those huts were inhabited by the prostitutes. The author feared and hated those women. If whenever they visited the author's side for any reason and came in front of the author, the boy author, in fear, used to put his hands on his eyes  or run away to avoid their sight.


The people of the author's side did not have to cross the river and go to the other side unless there was a quarter-to-four-anna zamindar house. The zamindar i.e. the owner of that house had fifteenth sixty fourth share of a big estate property on the other side. That estate was founded in late 18th century or in early 19th century. That zamindar house was famous as an attraction as in that house there was water supplier tank that supplied pure, clearest and coolest water in the town for drinking.


NADIA. 9932160978.