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Jun 14 11 tweets 4 min read
Caste-based #reservations are always a subject of debate but the #quotasystem is much older than most people think. The first reservations on economic grounds were introduced in #India as early as 1902. 1/11 On 26th July 1902, an order was issued by the ruler of the princely state of #Kolhapur. It said that 50% of all vacancies in offices/government jobs will be filled by the #backwardclasses. This order sent shockwaves across British-India. 2/11
Jun 14 4 tweets 3 min read
Many of us are aware of the many contributions of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of #Kolhapur to social reform, including the introduction of #reservation in government jobs for #backwardclasses in 1902. But #DidYouKnow what triggered this drastic step? 1/4 While performing religious rituals in the Panchganga River in October 1899, he noticed that the priests were not chanting mantras from the Vedas, but from the Puranas. The explanation given to him by the palace priests left him aghast! 2/4
Jun 13 5 tweets 3 min read
It is widely believed that the #MuslimLeague had always wanted to create a nation for #Muslims, and was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Not true. Jinnah was not its founder, and the League initially had no intention of creating #Pakistan. So what are the facts?
#IndiaAt75 The Muslim League was created in 1906 to empower Muslims in the subcontinent and push a pro-nationalist agenda. Jinnah joined the party in 1913. The idea of Pakistan was first ideated by Muhammad Allama Iqbal, a philosopher-poet and a member of the league, in 1930.
Jun 12 4 tweets 3 min read
In the early 20th century, India's freedom struggle entered ‘modern India’s first age of fire’, a phase where radical thinkers fuelled a #revolutionary movement against the #British in #India. 1/4
#IndiaAt75 Image Maharashtra and Bengal became powerhouses of revolutionary activities. As organizations like the Jugantar Party and Anushilan Samiti attracted the educated youth, revolutionaries like the Chapekar brothers and Khudiram Bose became martyrs and an inspiration for many. 2/4 Image
Jun 7 13 tweets 6 min read
What was Mohandas #Gandhi doing carrying wounded #British soldiers off the battlefield in #SouthAfrica in 1899? Gandhi was merely leading by example, in the ambulance corps he set up to support the British against the Boers in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). 1/12
#war But why would Gandhi support the British, especially since he had experienced the humiliation of racial discrimination in South Africa soon after he got there? It was #OnThisDay in 1893 that Gandhi was thrown off a train for refusing to comply with racial segregation laws. 2/12
Jun 6 10 tweets 6 min read
The India-Pakistan War of 1971 turned the INS Vikrant into one of India’s shining #war heroes but #didyouknow that this legendary aircraft carrier started life as the HMS Hercules in the Royal Navy? That didn’t stop her from winning glory for the #IndianNavy! 1/10
#navalhistory It seemed as if the Vikrant - India’s first aircraft carrier - would never see action. She was 28 years old when she played a pivotal role in the ‘Bangladesh War’ of 1971; she was in poor shape; and her speed was just 25 kmph, almost half her designed speed. 2/10
Jun 6 10 tweets 5 min read
Many know where Bengal’s bravest son, #SubhasChandraBose - Netaji – lived in #Calcutta, as he famously escaped house arrest from his home at Elgin Road, in 1940. But not many know where Netaji’s ancestral home or ‘Desh-er-bari’ is. 1/10 Now called ‘Subhasgram’ in honour of #Netaji, it is just 25 km south of #Kolkata, in a village formerly known as Kodalia. Simple and elegant, the two-storey homestead is being restored. 2/10
Jun 5 4 tweets 3 min read
“I stopped eating rice the day I learnt how much water it takes to harvest a kilogram of paddy.” Sunderlal Bahuguna thus spoke of #carbonfootprint decades before we even started using the term. He could see a looming #climatecrisis like no one else of his time did. 1/4 Image Bahuguna was one of India’s early environmentalists. He walked 4,700 km from #Kashmir in the North to Kohima in the North-East to draw attention to the destruction of his Himalayan homeland by mega development projects. 2/4
May 27 11 tweets 7 min read
In the early 20th century, an #Indian Raja could snap his fingers and turn the fate of a #Spanish flamenco dancer into an Indian queen... as did the besotted ruler of the princely state of Kapurthala in #Punjab. A modern retelling of a #Cinderella story set in Spain. 1/11 How exactly did Anita Delgado, a Spanish dancer trying to eke out a living to support her family, become Maharani Prem Kaur? It all began when Maharaja Jagatjit Singh was in #Madrid to attend the wedding of King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1906. 2/11
May 26 13 tweets 7 min read
Owned by #kings, dukes & sultans, worn by Marie Antoinette, used to pay off a royal debt – and said to carry an ancient curse. It would have to be a #diamond. But not just any diamond. It’s the Hope Diamond, and it's from Guntur in #AndhraPradesh. 1/12 Image The Hope Diamond is the world’s largest and most legendary blue gemstone. And equally remarkable is its tale, which begins in the famed Golconda Mines in Guntur. But it began life under a different name. 2/12
#gems #minerals
May 25 8 tweets 6 min read
Can a lip-smacking chicken #curry be used as a tool for #revolution? Believe it or not but Rash Behari Bose, an #Indian revolutionary, did just that while on the run in #Tokyo. Bose was born #OnThisDay in 1886. 1/8
#food #cuisine #recipes Image During the early 20th century, the #British in #India were feeling the heat as there was an upsurge in revolutionary activities during India's #freedomstruggle. A revolutionary from #Bengal, Bose played an important part in the movement. 2/8
May 14 7 tweets 4 min read
#DidYouKnow that the modern version of badminton originated in ‘Poona’, or Pune in Maharashtra? It was a pastime for bored British army officers, their families and friends, and was first played in the backyards of their sprawling bungalows. 1/7
#Badminton #sports Invented in the mid-19th century, badminton was named ‘Poona’ after the city of its origin. But its earliest version goes back 2,000 years to a game called jeu de volant, played in #Greece and #China. Here, a shuttle-like object was smacked with the feet. 2/7
May 13 4 tweets 4 min read
#DidYouKnow that the Nassak #Diamond, one of the 20 greatest diamonds in the world, is named after the city of Nashik in Maharashtra? Emerging from the famed Golconda mines, it adorned the crown of Lord Shiva in the Trimbakeshwar #Temple near Nashik. 1/4
#jewellery #minerals As with most of the world’s most valuable #gems, the Nassak too has a dramatic story. It was originally with the #Mughals, who acquired it during their conquest of Golconda in the 17th century. Then they surrendered it as war booty to the #Marathas. 2/4
May 13 12 tweets 5 min read
For over 400 years, history has been haunted by Anarkali, the beautiful court dancer who was buried alive by Emperor Akbar, for her love affair with Prince Salim (Akbar’s son and the future Emperor Jahangir). But is the story fact or #fiction? The truth will surprise you! 1/11 Image This tragic love story has many modern retellings, including the 1960s classic Hindi film Mughal-e-Azam. But if Anarkali is just #folklore, whose grave lies in the magnificent ‘Tomb of Anarkali’ in the heart of #Lahore, the former Mughal capital? 2/11 Image
May 12 5 tweets 3 min read
What are hundreds of skeletons doing at the bottom of a lake in an icy Himalayan wasteland? When the snow melts, it pulls back a frozen curtain, exposing 600-800 skeletons, some 1,200 years old! What spooky secrets does Roopkund Lake in Uttarakhand hold? 1/5 #Archaeology Image At an elevation of 5,029 m, Roopkund Lake is very remote. One theory is that these are the remains of a King, his family and attendants, who died here while on a pilgrimage 1,000 years ago. Other theories include fallen soldiers during war and victims of an epidemic. 2/5 Image
May 11 9 tweets 6 min read
#OnThisDay, in 1951, the famous Somnath Temple in #Gujarat was restored to its former glory. In the words of the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, it proved that “the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction". 1/9
#Indianhistory Image The Somnath #Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva as ‘Lord of the Moon’, has been one of the most sacred shrines in #India for over 1,500 years. Due to its fame as a centre of wealth, it was attacked and plundered by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 CE. 2/9
#Hindu #religion Image
May 4 9 tweets 4 min read
Rockets were once a deadly weapon of war but did you know that high-end rockets were invented by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, who died #OnThisDay in 1799 CE? His rockets were so effective, they even left a mark on the American national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. 1/8 Rockets had been used in #war by the Chinese and Arabs in medieval times but their casings were made of bamboo, wood and cardboard. They were no more than fireworks used in battle to light up the night sky or to frighten enemy horses. 2/8
May 3 6 tweets 4 min read
Science or sorcery? The #IronPillar of Delhi had everyone stumped for ages, till scientists solved its metallurgical mystery. The question was: how could an iron pillar be exposed to Delhi’s heat, dust, cold and rains for 1,600 years without the slightest trace of rust? 1/6 Image Standing in the Qutb Complex, the #IronPillar is a 4th century CE, Gupta-era monument. An inscription in #Sanskrit and the Brahmi script reveals that it was erected by King Chandra (probably Chandragupta II) and that it celebrates his victories in battle. 2/6
May 2 8 tweets 3 min read
What' the link between Lahore’s oldest red-light district and two of the subcontinent’s greatest Emperors? It’s hard to imagine today but till 250 years ago, Heera Mandi was a royal neighbourhood and a hub of culture & the performing arts. Come, follow its twists and turns. 1/8 Image #Lahore was the capital of #Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, and what later became a bazaar was set up to house the attendants and servants of the royal court. It was called Shahi Mohalla or Royal Neighbourhood. 2/8 Image
Mar 29 8 tweets 3 min read
#OnThisDay in 1857, an Indian sepoy in Bengal fired a bullet that would ricochet across the subcontinent and all the way to England. He was Mangal Pandey and he was protesting new bullet cartridges that offended the religious sentiments of Indian sepoys in the army. Two months later, sepoys in Meerut rebelled for the same reason, triggering the Revolt of 1857, a turning point in Indian history. It was the most powerful revolt against the British in India but not the first. A thread on other revolts against British rule in the subcontinent.
Mar 26 5 tweets 2 min read
She was an early feminist in Hindi literature and one of the four pillars of the Chhayawadi or Neo-Romanticism movement (1918-1938). She was Mahadevi Verma and she was born #OnThisDay in 1907. Image Verma was fearless. She walked out of her child marriage and lived as an ascetic. Her works, such as Shrinkhla Ki Kadhiyaan and Neerja, mirrored the pitiable social status of Indian women. In her essay Hindu Stree Ka Patnitva, she compared marriage to slavery.