Tag Archives: Bihar

Does Anyone Know The Famous Mathematician Aryabhatta Belongs To Bihar?

10 Jun

Aryabhatta (476-550 A.D.) was born in Patliputra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. Many are of the view that he was born in the south of India especially Kerala and lived in Magadha at the time of the Gupta rulers; time which is known as the golden age of India. There is no evidence that he was born outside Patliputra and traveled to Magadha, the centre of education and learning for his studies where he even set up a coaching centre. His first name “Arya” is hardly a south Indian name while “Bhatt” (or Bhatta) is a typical north Indian name even found today specially among the great “Bania” (or trader) community of Bihar.

Whatever this origin, it cannot be argued that he lived in Patliputra where he wrote his famous treatise the “Aryabhatta-siddhanta” but more famously the “Aryabhatiya”, the only work to have survived. It has mathematical and astronomical theories that have been revealed to be quite correct in modern mathematics. For instance he wrote that if 4 is added to 100 and then multiplied by 8 then added to 62,000 then divided by 20,000 the answer will be equal to the circumference of a circle of diameter twenty thousand. This calculates to 3.1416 close to the real value Pi (3.14159). But his greatest contribution has to be zero. His other works include algebra, arithmetic, trigonometry, quadratic equations and the sine table.

He already knew that the earth spins on its axis, the earth moves round the sun and the moon rotates round the earth. He talks about the position of the planets with its movement around the sun. He refers to the light of the planets and the moon as reflection from the sun. He goes as far as to explain the eclipse of the moon and the sun, day and night, the contours of the earth, the length of the year exactly as 365 days.

He even computed the circumference of the earth as 24835 miles which is close to modern day calculation of 24900 miles.

This remarkable Bihari was a genius and continues to baffle many mathematicians of today. His works was then later adopted by the Greeks and then the Arabs.

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Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’

9 Jun

Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ (September 23, 1908– April 24, 1974) was born in a poor Bhumihar Brahmin family in Simariya village, in the Begusarai district of Bihar. As a student, his favorite subjects were history, politics and philosophy. He studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Maithili, Bengali, Urdu and English literature. Dinkar was greatly influenced by Iqbal, Rabindranath Tagore, Keats and Milton. He translated works of Rabindranath Tagore from Bangla to Hindi.

His works are mostly of ‘Veer Rasa’, or the ‘brave mode’, although Urvashi is an exception to this. Some of his greatest works are Rashmirathi and Parashuram ki Prateeksha. He is hailed as the greatest Hindi poet of ‘Veer Rasa’ since Bhushan. Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi wrote that he was very popular among people whose mother-tongue was not Hindi and he was a symbol of love for one’s own mother-tongue. Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote that for his proper respect he should get four Gyanpith Awards – for poetry, prose, languages and for his service to Hindi. Rambriksh Benipuri wrote that Dinkar is giving voice to the revolutionary movement in the country. Namvar Singh wrote that he was really the sun of his age. Hindi writer Rajendra Yadav, whose novel ‘Sara Akash’ also carried a few lines of Dinkar’s poetry, has said of him He was always very inspiring to read. His poetry was about reawakening. He often delved into Hindu mythology and referred to heroes of epics such as Karna. He was a poet of anti-imperialism and nationalism, says well-known Hindi writer Kashinath Singh. He also wrote social and political satires for socio-economic inequalities and exploitation of the underprivileged. A progressive and humanist poet, he chose to approach history and reality directly and his verse combined oratorical vigour with a declamatory diction. The theme of Urvashi revolves round love, passion, and relationship of man and woman on a spiritual plane, distinct from their earthly relationship. His Kurukshetra is a narrative poem based on the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. It was written at a time when the memories of the Second World War were fresh in the mind of the poet. Krishna Ki Chaetavani is another poem composed on events that led to the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata. His Samdheni is a collection of poems reflecting the poet’s social concern transcending the boundaries of the nation. In his Sanskiti ke Chaar Adhyay he said that despite various cultures, languages and topography, India stands united, because however different we may be, our thoughts are the same.

He received awards from Kashi Nagri Pracharini Sabha, Uttar Pradesh Government and an award by the Government of India for his epic-poem Kurukshetra. He got the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1959 for his work Sanskriti ke Char Adhyay. He was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1959 by the Government of India. He was awarded the LLD degree by Bhagalpur University. He was felicitated as Vidyavachaspati by Gurukul Mahavidyalaya. He was felicitated as Sahitya-Chudamaniby Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur on 8 November 1968. Dinkar was awarded the Jnanpith Award in 1972 for Urvashi. He also became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, in 1952.

On September 30, 1987, to mark his 79th birth anniversary tributes were paid to him by the then President of India, Shankar Dayal Sharma. In 1999, Dinkar was one of the Hindi writers featured on a set of commemorative postal stamps released by Government of India to celebrate the “Linguistic Harmony of India.” marking the 50th anniversary since the Indian Union adopted Hindi as its official language. The government released a book on Dinkar’s birth centenary authored by Khagendra Thakur. At the same time a statue of him was unveiled in Patna at the Dinkar Chowk, and a two-day national seminar was organised in Calicut University.

The Legendary Hindi Poet “Baba Nagarjuna”

8 Jun

“Baba Nagarjuna” was Born in 30th June 1911 as Vaidya Nath Mishra in the village Satlakha, his mother’s village, he was fondly called baba by his followers. Baba was known for his revolutionary ideas and unconventional lifestyle. His writings inspired generations and he was known for his candid and anti – establishment views.

Born in a lower middle class Brahmin family of Tarauni village in Darbhanga district of Bihar, Nagarjun lost his mother when he was barely three years old. His father lived as a vagabond and hedonist. So as a child Nagarjun had to depend upon compassionate relatives and some generous landlords for financial help for his education. He showed excellence in the learning of the ancient Indian languages like Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit first at the rural centres and later in the cities of Varanasi and Calcutta where, along his higher studies he also worked for his livelihood. Though, Nagarjun’s academic expenses could be met by the scholarships which he won as a bright student, he always bore the fact on his mind that he had also to support his father who could barely earn any money by himself.

After the years of learning and semi-employment in Calcutta, Nagarjun moved to Saharanpur (U.P.) where he got a full time teaching job. Apparently Nagarjun had moved to a better paying job but in fact his unsatiable urge to delve deep and yet deeper into the traditional wisdom of India particularly the Sanskrit treatises and philosophical discourses, Buddhist scriptures and handwritten manuscripts of sorts put him on the path of an unstable nomadic existence.

This pursuit took him to Sri Lanka where in the Buddhist monastery of Kelania he had to adopt Buddhism to have free access to the well guarded manuscripts which were inaccessible to the outside world. (This had a precedent. Nagarjun’s mentor Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan had to pass through the same experience). It was in 1935 that Nagarjun became a Buddhist monk. As an imperative he had to change his name.




That is when he started his literary career with Maithili poems by the pen-name of Yatri in early 1930s. By mid 1930s, he started writing poetry in Hindi. This is when he adopted the name Nagarjun. A wanderer by nature, Nagarjun spent a considerable amount of his time in the 30s and the 40s traveling across India. He was influenced by Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati.

He also participated in many mass-awakening movements before and after independence. Between 1939 and 1942, He was jailed by the British courts for leading a farmer’s agitation in Bihar. For a long time after independence he was involved with journalism. He played an active role in Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement prior to emergency, and was jailed during the period of emergency. He was strongly influence by Leninist-Marxist ideology. This was one of the reasons that he never found patronage from the mainstream political establishments. Coupled with this, his own vagabond way of life, became the cause of his extreme poverty. He spent his last days in illness and poverty in the poor localities of Delhi and Darbhanga. He died in 1998 at the age of 87 in Darbhanga.
Baba’s style of writing had tinge of social and political satire and protested againt the poltical regime of the times. He wrote on wide range of issues and was loved by all for his hard hitting and incisive views.

The subjects of his poetry are varied. Effects of both his wandering tendencies and activism, is clear in his middle and later works. His famous poems like Badal ko Ghirate Dekha hai , is a travelogue in its own right. He often wrote on contemporary social and political issues. His famous poem Mantra Kavita, is widely considered the most accurate reflection of a whole generation’s mindset in India. Another such poem is Aao Rani Ham Dhoenge Palaki, which sarcastically humiliates the then prime minister of India, Pt. Nehru, for the extravagant welcome thrown by him for Queen Elizabeth.

Besides these accepted subjects of poetry, Nagarjun found poetic beauty in unconventional subjects. One of his most astonishing works is a poem based on a female pig called paine daanto wali. Another such creation is a series of poems on a full-grown jack fruit .

Because of the breadth of his poetry, Nagarjun is considered the only Hindi poet, after Tulsidas, to have an audience ranging from the rural sections of society to the élite. He effectively freed poetry from the bounds of elitism. was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1969 for his historic book Patarheen Nagna Gachh. He was also honored by the Sahitya Akademi by appointing him its fellow in 1994.
 
A Socialist to the core of his heart, it was probably only Nagarjuna, after Munshi Prem Chand, who strongly advocated the cause of the downtrodden and the exploited. He wrote extensively about the rotten social system which, according to him, was being used to exploit the peasantry.

Nagarjuna was basically anti-establishment, because he was not compromising by nature. This is why he even rejected the offer of nomination to the Rajya Sabha and thrice to the Bihar Vidhan Parishad.Unfortuanlety on 5th Nov 1998 Baba breathed his last in the Khwaja Sarai locality of Darbhanga town in Bihar in the small house of his eldest son, Shobha Kant. About a month before his death, his daughter-in-law made a sentimental appeal to all Hindi lovers to come forward and give financial help to the seriously ill poet. Her appeal fell on deaf years. His famous protest poetry Om recently featured in Sanjay Jha’s movie Strings bound by faith and thanks to this effort of Sanjay the new generation is discovering the magic of Baba’s writing.

How Irfan Alam becomes Hero of Rikshawpullers in India

7 Jun

Irfan alam born in begusarai district, bihar started off with 100 such rickshaws in 2007. Today, over three lakh rickshaw-pullers from across the country are registered with Sammaan Foundation . While 10,000 and odd are pedaling the special rickshaws, the process is underway to help others. US President Barack Obama called him to attend the “Entrepreneurship Summit” scheduled for April in Washington DC, America.

A 27-year-old from Begusarai in Bihar and his typically Indian thirsts of entrepreneurship exhibited through his company Sammaan Foundation that he established in Patna in 2007.
Irfan Alam, the founder and chairman, Sammaan Foundation came out with an innovative idea and transformed it into a business model. It relates to the cycle rickshaw pulling business where the men engaged hardly made a respectable earning. Alam’s idea made it profitable and honorable with small but innovative changes. In Alam’s business plan, rickshaw puller makes the ride for the commuter more comfortable and enjoyable with provision of music, magazine/news papers, and even first aid. He designed the rickshaws in such a way that it gives ample space to put the advertisement on the side, front and back panels of the rickshaw. Rickshaw puller additionally earns from various value-added services such as sale of mineral water, juices, mobile recharge, courier collection, bills collections. The company intrudes for the first time prepaid rickshaws in India.

How Engineer & CEO Gyanesh Pandey Lighten Up The Bihar Villages

6 Jun

Gyanesh Pandey, a native of the village of Baithania in the District of West Champaran in Bihar had in the course of his life made an interesting journey via boarding schools to premier Engg schools in Varanasi and New York worked in the Power Management Semiconductor industry. Ratnesh Yadav, a native of Patna, had just moved back home from Delhi to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

The duo sincerely felt the need for rural development in Bihar in particular and India in general and saw immense opportunities right at home. Rural electrification was considered more of a necessity than an option. The conventional technologies and grids have failed to deliver and the pervasive energy starvation in the country is a rather known reality. A solution that used non-conventional technology for distributed generation of electricity was a no-brainer.

What needed years was finiding the right technology that fit the economic model for the rural space. A hunt that dedicated efforts from nanotechnology driven Polymer Solar Cells to the Jatropha based Biodiesel, and pretty much everything in between only led to realizations about how the different non-conventional technologies employing renewable resources lacked substance when it came to applying them to solve a broader problem.

Gyanesh had a change of heart after a failed Vipassana course in late 2006 and by February 2007, he was back home for good – for the first time in life – chucking a promising career in the greener pastures of Semiconductor industry in the USA.

Having ran out of the more talked about and presumed promising options, a chance encounter with a Gasifier salesman, Mr Krishna Murari, proved to be a fresh ray of hope in the so far rather frustrating pursuit of the two friends. They learnt how several rice millers in the state of Bihar were using the decades old technology of Biomass gasification to power their mills using Rice Husk – largely a no-good by-product of their operations.

Rice Husk – perhaps the only Bio-waste in the lives of rural folks – was just the perfect source to power the dream of rural electrification. There was a catch though – all of the prevalent rice-husk based gasifier systems ran in what is called the ‘dual-fuel’ mode of operation where the Producer Gas produced by the Gasifiers was used in conjunction with 35-50% Diesel to power the Diesel Engines. This suited a Rice Miller just fine by saving him 50-60% of Diesel but wasn’t good enough to fit the economic model of Rural Electrification.

Why not use the gasifier based systems in ‘Single Fuel mode’ without any Diesel, was an obvious question. The answer available, which came from multiple research works in many reputed institutions, was very negative. Rice Husk, an amorphous and low density fuel produced a gas that had very high tar content and was rather dirty in general. The experts deemed it unfit for the Single-Fuel mode of operation.

Having demonstrated remarkable yield levels in one of oldest IC Fabrication units of North America, Gyanesh didn’t see it as much of a problem. A dirty gas can clog the engine but if the engine is cleaned before the clog hampers the operation, why can’t it work – was the simple thought. The thought was much appreciated by a scientist with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Mr S. K. Singh, and without any previous experience with Biomass Gasification, the persevering duo undertook the revolutionary task of shifting the paradigm in the rural as well as renewable energy space. They got their gasifier fabricated at a local workshop, procured a cheap CNG engine from a small supplier and modified it suit their purpose.

What had been a rather lofty and continuously unyielding idea for over five years took less than five months to realize and on the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence, a remote and run-down village of ‘Tamkuha’( Literally meaning Fog of Darkness) in the infamous Dhanaha region (often called the University for Kidnappers) of West Champaran district in the state of Bihar experienced electricity for the first time. The work was done under the banner of Samta Samriddhi Foundation, an NGO setup by duo in Bihar.

‘After sixty independent years, we have found freedom from Darkness’, said Mr Rambalak Yadav, a local teacher on the occasion. Having zeroed-in on the technology, carving a lucrative business model wasn’t much of a task. Much of the elements had been in the mind all through the long journey and it came together rather well on the ground.

Having a good enough business model and a working technology in the backwaters of Bihar doesn’t guarantee any larger success. The breakthrough needed exposure. Exposure came through the efforts of Gyanesh’s college friend, Manoj Sinha, a business student at University of Virginia at the time. Manoj had been aware of the work on the ground and he undertook the task of presenting the work to the world. Manoj was assisted in his efforts by his classmate Charles Ransler. The model proved to be a great success at various Business Plan competitions and Husk Power Systems was born. With the success came prize money, exposure and a stream of willing investors and the rest, as they say, is history…

Ranbir Kapoor Lights Up Village In Bihar

3 Jun

The villagers in Lakhisarai, Bihar, have much to thank Ranbir Kapoor for – the Bollywood star sponsored solar lamps in the developing village during the Greenathon 2010, and today that’s proved beneficial.

Much more economical than kerosene lamps, solar lamps have helped students study, women work in the kitchens and small-scale workers earn more as they can work late hours.

The area of Purani Bazar, especially, has benefited with Ranbir’s sponsorship.

“Purani Bazar in Lakhirsarai has a lot to thank Ranbir Kapoor for,” said a source. “The vegetable vendors here had to wrap up before sundown because there was no electricity. Some of them would do their business by the light of kerosene lamps. But it cut into their earnings. Moreover, some days they couldn’t even light these as kerosene was not available easily. Now Ranbir Kapoor’s solar lamps have lit up their lives.”

Ranbir was part of the Greenathon 2010 that helped raise money to offer solar power to 160 villages across the nation.

Prakash Jha (Filmmaker, Producer & Social Worker)

2 Jun

LeadBihar-director-prakash-jhaPrakash Jha was born and raised at his family’s farm in Bettiah, West Champaran, Bihar, India. He did his schooling from Sainik School Tilaya, Koderma district and Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Bokaro Steel City. Later, he joined Ramjas College, Delhi University to do B.Sc (Hons) in Physics; though he left studies after one year and decided to go to Bombay and become a painter, though while he was preparing for J.J. School of Arts, he happen to witness the shooting film Dharma and got hooked on to filmmaking.
Soon he joined the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune in 1973, to do a course in Editing, though midway through it, the institution was closed for while, due to student agitation, so he came to Bombay, and started working, and never went back to complete the course.
While still midway through his course, he started working on films independently, in 1974 and made his first documentary, ‘Under the Blue’ in 1975, and continued to do so for next 8 years. During this period he made some highly politically charged documentaries, like the one of ‘Bihar Sharif riots’, titled, Faces After Storm (1984), which received considerable attention, as it was banned within 4–5 days of its released though later it won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film for the year.
Finally, he made his debut, as a feature film director, Hip Hip Hurray in 1983, scripted by Gulzar and starring, Raj Kiran and Deepti Naval as leads. Next came, the film he received most recognition with, Damul (1984), which won the National Film Award for Best Film and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie in 1985. The film was based on the bonded labour issue in Bihar. In 1986, he directed, Parinati, based on the story by Vijaydan Detha.
Over the years he has made over 25 documentaries, nine feature films, two television features and three television series. His last film, Raajneeti, which was a contemporary take on the epic, Mahabharat, starring Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Naseeruddin Shah, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar and Ranbir Kapoor was a critical and box office success.His forhcoming film is Aarakshan which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan Deepika Padukone and Prateik Babbar.
Prakash Jha fought and lost election to the Lok Sabha from his native Champaran in 2004. He again lost election to the Lok Sabha in 2009 as Lok Janashakti Party candidate from West Champaran.
For the last five years Prakash Jha has been seriously involved with development initiatives in Bihar. He has been spearheading growth in infrastructure, health care and vocational training facilities in the state through the NGO Anubhooti.
Prakash Jha is the chairman of Anubhooti, a registered society that has been working for cultural development , improvement of health care, disaster management and the upliftment of farmers and socio-economic backward people in Bihar since 1991.
Most recently, the organization has been working for flood survivors. After the Kosi flood on 18th August, 2008, Anubhooti has provided complete relief to 6000 people since September 2008. Anubhooti has created a model village, Hindolwa village, for the flood affected and is working towards their complete rehabilitation.