The naming of diseases is a fascinating subject. The Spanish Flu is regarded as the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century, killing anywhere between 50 & 100 million people. But the first signs of the pandemic were in the US, France, Germany & UK. So how did it get its name?
Turns out all the other countries were fighting the First World War at the time and bad news in the home front was generally censored. Spain was neutral & uncensored and therefore the 1st major reports came from there. And it became known the 'Spanish Flu.'
Syphillis was called the "French disease" in Italy & the "Italian disease" in France. The Dutch called it the "Spanish disease" & the Turks called it the "Christian disease." Basically, every one named it on who they did not like at the time.
The politics of diseases!

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More from @joybhattacharj

20 Nov
My main bookshelf, obviously deeply affected by its frequent appearances on screen in these Covid times, suddenly decided after its KBC cameo to raise its price, and collapsed on me. In trying to sort that one out, the shelf above collapsed.. Image
So I've finally had to do what I've resisted for almost a decade, cull my books. If you haven't done this, don't ever try it unless you have a couple of days in hand, so many memories, so many happy reads, and so so many treasures rediscovered that you buried at the back
The only rule I am following is that I will keep only the books which I think I will read or reread at some point in time, and ones that have sentimental value. So Holmes in all its variations stays, Christie stays. Flashman stays but a lot of fiction is going.
Read 5 tweets
7 Nov
On the 153rd anniversary of her birth, a story about Marie Curie. In 1890, 23 years old without any formal degree, she was working as a governess in her father's friends house in Warsaw to help support her sister who was struggling to get an education in Paris.
She fell in love with the elder son of the family who refused her as she had no prospects. Heartbroken and weary she wrote to her sister Bronia that she was stupid, would remain stupid and nothing would ever come of her life.
Thirteen years on she won a Nobel Prize along with her husband Pierre, and won another one for Chemistry eight years later.
On Marie Curie's birthday, giving up shouldn't ever be an option.
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov
It's Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das's birthday, one of our most amazing leaders, a top lawyer who had his suits laundered in Paris who gave it all up to work for the freedom struggle. He defended Aurobindo Ghosh was the first mayor of Calcutta & did amazing work with the Congress..
..but this thread is actually about his relationship with another man, Mahatma Gandhi. In 1922, Gandhi suspended the non-cooperation movement because of the Chauri Chaura tragedy. Das, Netaji and many others felt one isolated incident could not & should not derail the movement.
After the heated Gaya seassion, the Swaraj Party was formed with Das & Motilal Nehru as leaders. The Swaraj Party won the most seats in the Bengal elections in 1923. Two years later, Chittaranjan Das's health was failing and he was advised by doctors to move to a hill station
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
One of the most amazing stories in entrepreneurship originated from the revolutionary fervour of a man in Bengal. Nani Gopal had to flee Calcutta to avoid the British police and came to the US, where he took a job as a salesman & married an American schoolteacher
His son, young Amar supplemented his family income by repairing radios. “We put up signs in all the little hardware stores where my father used to sell his imported goods,” “The signs said, ‘We repair radios...
...So people would drop off their radios at the store and I’d take them home and repair them, and we’d give the store 10% of the invoice. I had a little pact with my father that if my grades remained good, I could go to school only four days a week..
Read 8 tweets
1 Nov
It's the formation day of two states, small in population, who punch hugely above their weight in sport, specially women's sport. Haryana & Kerala have given us PT Usha, Shiny Abraham, Anju Bobby George, the Phogat sisters, Saina Nehwal, Rani Rampaul and so many more!
Karnataka as well. Reeth Abraham, Ashwini Nachappa, Nisha Millet, Vandana Rao, Joshna Chinappa, though TN could also claim her..
Read 4 tweets
27 Oct
October 1947. The instrument of accession had not yet been signed, and thousands of tribal troops had started advancing towards Srinagar. Sardar Patel knew there was little time and turned to the one pilot he knew, Biju Patnaik, to help.
Patel announced the requisition of all civilian passenger planes on All India Radio, and Biju took charge of the operations.
The aircraft came from the No 12 squadron of the Royal Indian Air Force & the likes of Himalayan Aviation, Indian National Airways & many others.
The unit that was to take the first brunt of the attack was the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Ranjit Rai. Stationed at Gurgaon at the time, they immediately assembled at Willingdon airport.
Read 7 tweets

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