Phalgun Shukla 1, Vik.Samvat 2074, Yugabda 5119: 16 February 2018

1. FESTIVALS: Thaipusam





















1. FESTIVALS: Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February).  The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. In Nasokia, Fiji Rain and water cuts in Nadi failed to dampen the spirit of local and international Hindu devotees at the 92nd Vaarshika Thaipusam Thirunaal Festival. The devotees from Suva took the centre stage in a spectacular ritual where they pierced their bodies with Trishul (metal rods). A big crowd watched the proceedings. In George Town, Kuala Lumpur, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at Batu Caves for Thaipusam celebration on January 31, added excitement to the festive atmosphere of the lively event. One of the highlights of the celebration was the procession of two chariots from the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in the city, to the Sri Subramaniar temple in Batu Caves. Meanwhile, in George Town, kavadi-bearing devotees made their way to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani temple near Jalan Air Terjun to fulfil their vows.-GoTop


2. A PEEP INTO THE WORLD'S LARGEST TRIBAL FESTIVAL - MEDARAM JATARA: Sammakka Saralamma Jatara (famously known as Medaram Jatara) is a tribal festival celebrated every two years (biennially) in Medaram, located about 100 km from Warangal, Telangana. This is a festival of honouring the fight of a mother (Sammakka) and daughter (Saralamma) with the rulers against an unjust law. Medaram Jatara, which is a state festival of Government of Telangana, is believed to be the largest tribal congregation in the world and Bharat's second largest in terms of the number of devotees after Kumbha Mela. About 10 million people visited the Jatara in 2012 and this number could go up even further this year. The Jatara was held from Janury 31 to February 3 this year. The fair is celebrated for over four days and devotees offer jaggery (bangaram/gold) in a quantity equal to their weight.-GoTop


3. ICCS 6TH INTERNATIONAL ELDERS CONFERENCE, 2018: Addressing the concluding function of the 6th International Conference and Gathering of Elders in Mumbai, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarakaryavah Suresh (Bhayyaji) Joshi elaborated on respecting various forms and ways of worshiping the Divine, saying, "Bharat not only tolerates different religions, but accepts all ways of worship and also respects all various ways". He was addressing the concluding session of the four-day conference held in Keshav Srushti and Rambhau Mhalagi Prabodhini, Uttan, Mumbai. He further stated that "Bharat is a land that led no invasion of cultures & religions. History is witness to it."

With an aim to bring the ancient traditions and cultures from different parts of the globe together, ICCS organized the 6th International Elders Conference under one roof, for them to share, learn and understand the time-tested ancient ways of worshipping the Divine. The theme of the conference focused on the Feminine Divinities among all the ancient traditions across the world. The conference was set in motion on 1st February with spiritual prayers led by the elders of the ancient cultures. All elements of the Mother Nature were called upon for blessings of the universal well-being. For, all the energies and celebration of togetherness, a Shobha Yatra was taken out with colourful folk dances and music. 

Dr.Sonal Mansingh, Padma Vibhushan, Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, Padma Bhushan graced the occasion accompanied by the elders of different ancient cultures and organizers of the enormous event. Dattatreya Hosabale, Sah-sarkaryavaha of RSS, inaugurated the conference with a brief address. Dr. Sonal Mansingh, in her keynote address brought out the various forms of feminine divinities in the Hindu way of life and elaborated on their importance and role. The equilibrium in looking and worshiping the Divinities in all its forms comes out of the concept of Ardh-nareeshwar, she said. 

While Nature has been depicted to be in masculine and feminine form in Bharat and across various traditions of the world, this conference aspired to pursue primarily the expression of the feminine at the forefront of discussions with the great gathering. The leaders shed light on the significance of creating balance and harmony through their practices and strong beliefs in their ancestral folklore. 

The influential leaders and speakers gave various presentations on the theme of the feminine divinities and their role & significance in various ancient cultures. The audience's resemblance to their own custom similarities finally came to an end with a film on 'Eastern Shores of the western world' at the end of the day with more curiosities. The day was officially closed with cultural dance exhibits, outdoor fairs and sweat lodge arranged for the delegates with final good sleep wishes.   

Day two, i.e., February 2 began with a sacred folk song and prayer from the elders of Colombia in the presence of the "central fire" that remained lit throughout the duration of the conference. The ceremony was embraced by the audience and further to the day, elders of ancient cultures expressed their insights on 'Evolving stages of Feminine Divinity' and exploration of divinity through feminine aspects with additional keynote speeches of customs and ideologies around mother Divine. The presentations were impressive for one to hear and connect their own traditional stories in a newer perspective. Shakti, Durga, Kaali, Krishna, Mahesh and others were part of creative expression to focus the different aspects of feminine divine nature. 

A successful day ended with a pleasant view to the Kathak dance; inspiring classical music and the local Maharashtrian tribes swinging their moves on the regional folk songs for the delegates' entertainment.

On day three, Nepal and Latvia representatives respectively opened the morning prayers in their native traditions. In all the corners of Prabodhini Bhavan, drums and beats, songs and singing were heard everywhere leading everyone cherish the customs. The idea to understand the importance of being connected to the roots of one's origin on the deeper levels was the main drive of these traditions. Speakers spoke on various inquisitive topics in relation to the feminine divinity and how to create balance in nature.

The discussions and exchange of views and ideas happened in continuous flow through all the days, to ensure the renewing of one's mind & body balance. ICCS organized morning & evening sessions on Yoga alongside varied workshops for the delegates.

The heartfelt and soulful experience of this conference came to an end on 4th February with a gathering of thousands of individuals at Keshav Srushti for the Satya Narayanan Maha Puja. Elders offered prayers and invoked blessings in their traditional ways for peace and oneness.

"The global diversity will flourish when vibrant Bharat will take the leadership based on millennia old time tested culture", said Shri Bhayyaji Joshi to assure the ancient cultural Elders. Vinod Tawade, Minsiter for Education & Culture, Government of Maharashtra, was the honored guest to grace the auspicious occasion. He appreciated the efforts of ICCS for taking an initiative to bring the ancient cultures together, having the commonalities like worshipping Mother Earth. Tawade was thankful to the delegates for their visit to Maharashtra and making the conference a success. -GoTop


4. PM MODI LAYS THE FOUNDATION STONE OF ABU DHABI'S FIRST HINDU TEMPLE: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi on January 11 laid the foundation stone for a new temple for the Hindu community living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The temple will be the first to be built in Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE which is home to a huge Bharatiya diaspora. The UAE has two Hindu temples which are located in Dubai. Devotees from Abu Dhabi and other emirates have to drive to Dubai for prayers and offerings. During the PM's previous trip in 2015, the UAE government had announced the allocation of land in Abu Dhabi to build a temple.

While addressing Bharatiya diaspora in Dubai after inaugurating the temple project, Pradhan Mantri said, "I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam to people across the world."Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) will manage the temple. The temple complex will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey. -GoTop


5. HINDUTVA AND BHARAT ARE INSEPARABLE: MOHAN BHAGWAT: "Hindutva and Bharat are inseparable. Bharat will survive so long as 'Hindutva exists'", said RSS Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohanrao Bhagwat in Guwahati on January 21. Addressing a mammoth rally of swayamsevkas in uniform and RSS sympathizers in thousands at College of Veterinary Science Ground, Khanapara, Sarasanghachalakji said that the world is looking at Bharat with great hope to guide it on the path of peace and tranquility. This was the first rally of such magnitude organized in Assam ever since the RSS started its activities in this remote region in the mid-forties. Over 32,000 swayamsevaks participated in the event donning the RSS uniform while some 40,000 RSS sympathisers gathered to listen to the organisation's chief. They came from nearly 90 percent of Hindu villages in the Brahmaputra Valley, Meghalaya and Nagaland comprising 'Uttar Assam' Region of the RSS system.

Assam Mukhya Mantri Sarbananda Sonowal and several of his ministerial colleagues, ruling BJP MLAs, MPs, other noted politicians, heads of village bodies, 20 titular tribal kings - from the Karbi, Naga, Khasi, Hajong, Tiwa, Garo, Jayantiya and Mishing communities - and more than 10 Satradhikars of different Vaishnava Satras of Assam were among the dignitaries who attended the rally. -GoTop


6. 'RESTORING LOST PROSPERITY IS OUR MISSION': "Restoring lost prosperity of the country is our National Mission. This mission should be part of every Bharatiya's life. It is expected that every businessman deals keeping it in view," said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, while delivering a lecture on the topic of 'Nationalism and Ethical Practices in Business'. The lecture was jointly organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). IMC Chairman Dr Lalit Kanodia, BSE Director General Arvind Pradhan and Chief Executive Officer Operation Ashish Kumar Chauhan also shared the dais.

Shri Bhagwat further said with the growth in Bharat's trade and business, the entire world would witness growth. But it requires some changes. We need to increase employment and every member of the business has to act as part of a family. We need to set our own paradigms in business. -GoTop


7. 'MAKE AT LEAST 10 PER CENT VILLAGES PRABHAT GRAM': The RSS workers engaged in rural development activities across the country had detailed discussion on village development activities on February 3 at Bharat Bharati, Betul, Madhya Pradesh. Addressing the workers, RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat said farming and cow rearing are the keys for village development. He stressed on preservation of seven wealths-land, water, forest, cow, cattle, energy and people through five shaktis of the village-religious power, youth power, women power, good people and the collective power of the people. Sarsanghachalakji also emphasized on education, health, sanskar and self-reliance for village development. The villages which have all such facilities are called Prabhat Gram in the RSS parlance and the number of such villages in the country today is 318. Shri Bhagwat called upon the workers to make at least 10 per cent villages of the country as Prabhat Grams. -GoTop


8. BHARATIYA ENGINEER PART OF TEAM AWARDED SCI-TECH OSCAR: An engineer raised in Mumbai, Vikas Sathaye, was part of the team that bagged the scientific and engineering award at the Oscars 2018 Scientific and Technical Awards on February 10. The four-member team was honoured at the Beverly Hills ceremony "for the concept, design, engineering and implementation of the Shotover K1 Camera System", which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences describes as a "six-axis stabilized aerial camera mount" that has an "enhanced ability to frame shots while looking straight down".

In his statement to the press, Sathaye said that in 2009 he joined a new company called Shotover Camera Systems in Queenstown, New Zealand, which is where he worked on the aerial mount. "One of the reasons to start this company in Queenstown was the natural beauty and stunning scenery which attract a lot of film producers and directors," he said.

"The camera mount gets attached to the base of a helicopter, which carries the camera and lens. Its primary function is to eliminate any vibration from reaching the camera and thus getting steady footage. The other function for the camera mount is to move the camera head in the desired direction as required by the camera operator, who sits inside the helicopter and uses a joystick to control the camera head movement," Sathaye explained.The aerial mount or gimbal used for 3D aerial filming was named Shotover K1. -GoTop


9. SUBEDAR MADAN LAL FOUGHT TERRORISTS WITH BARE HANDS TO SAVE HIS FAMILY: In the second week of February, Madan Lal fought a group of heavily armed desperate terrorists with bare hands, took scores of bullets on his chest and arms, yet ensured that the assailants could not inflict much harm on his family. Subedar Madan Lal Choudhary, 50, eventually fell to the AK 47 bullets fired by the terrorists, who attacked his quarter at Sunjuwan Army station in Jammu, but still foiled their plan to cause maximum damage.

Madan Lal Choudhary, who rose to the post of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) - a Subedar - belonged to a family of defense force personnel. -GoTop


10. TRINIDAD HINDUS OBSERVE SHIVA RATRI WITH REVERENCE AND DEVOTION: Against the deafening songs of calypso, soca, steelpan and mas revelers marking the closing day of the annual Carnival, a pre-Lenten festival, devout Hinduism in this oil-rich economy observed Shivaratri with reverence and devotion in over 400 mandirs and thousands of homes across the country. 25 percent of Trinidad’s  population of 1.4 million are Hindus. 

For the past weeks, there have been scores of Bhagwan Shiva yagnas, pujas and religious activities. Homes were properly cleansed and bhajans to Bhagwan Shiva echoed across the land, whilst several radio stations with exclusive East Bharatiya programing hosted sessions dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva. It was a full night of devotion as mandirs opened their doors for devotees who kept vigil and made offerings: the milk of pure devotion, the ghee of pure thoughts, the water of pure knowledge, the milk-curd of pure actions, the honey as well as bel leaves, black sesame seeds, among other ingredients. The core point of the devotion was the continuous chanting of "Om Namah Shivaaya." And as this mantra was echoed, this nation had become a national shrine. -GoTop


11. BHARAT 6TH WEALTHIEST NATION SAYS REPORT: Bharat has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of $8,230 billion, while the United States topped the chart, says a report. According to a report by New World Wealth, the United States is the wealthiest country in the world as the total wealth held in 2017 amounted to $64,584 billion, followed by China at the second place with $24,803 billion and Japan with $19,522 billion at third. Total wealth, refers to the private wealth, including property, cash, equities. -GoTop


12. IN A WHITE HOUSE FIRST, A PIO GIVES A PRESS BRIEFING: Bharatiya-Americans have done so well in private and public life in the United States that milestones such as the election of the first "desi" Congressman, governor, senator, or the appointment of the first "desi" to an ambassadorship or cabinet post has inevitably led to questions about when one would enter the Oval Office.

Raj Shah, 33, a Republican operative who is formally deputy assistant to President Trump and also the deputy White House press secretary, held center stage in the James SBrady briefing room, becoming the first Bharatiya-American to speak for the US government. Indeed, immigration issues featured high on the day's topics, even as scores of Bharatiya-Americans demonstrated outside the US Congress in bitter cold seeking a resolution to the green card backlog that has put high-skilled professionals and their children in a spot. Shah, himself a son of Bharatiya immigrant professionals (mother a dentist and father an engineer), had a reassuring message for them: the Trump administration is committed to ending the diversity lottery visa (which gives nationals of every country a shot at emigrating to the US) to help reduce the green card backlog (which would favour Bharat). Trump himself confirmed the position later in the day tweeting: "Time to end the visa lottery. Congress must secure the immigration system and protect Americans." -GoTop


13. HINDU UNITY MUST FOR FREEDOM, VICTORY AND PROGRESS: INDRESH KUMAR: Addressing a largely attended Hindu Samarasata Sammelan in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh on February 11, Indresh Kumar, senior RSS functionary and Patron of various social organizations including Muslim RashtriyaManch (MRM) and Bharat-Tibet Sahyog Manch (BTSM), gave a clarion call for Hindu consolidation underlining the fact that Hindu unity is the only assurance of freedom, victory and progress.He urged the thousands who gathered on Sunday at the sprawling PG College Ground from over 700 villages of this janjati-dominated district of Madhya Pradesh to remain united as a Hindus.The event began with worship of Bhagwan  Hanumanji's portrait by Indresh Kumar and saints participating in the event.In his inspiring speech Indresh Kumar said that the ancestors of today's Muslims and Christians were Hindus and we should relate ourselves with them. Appealing to all members of the society including those of SC and ST communities, he said that Hindu stands for unity while division stands for death. Unity ensures freedom; victory over differences caused by language, states etc. and progress, he said.The conference was attended by over 50000 people coming from 716 villages of the district. Presence of State Minister Antar Singh Arya, MP Subhash Patel and other public representatives, and over 50 saints was inspiring. -GoTop


14. IIT ALUMNUS SETS UP SANSKRIT CHAIR AT IIT-MADRAS FOR SCIENCE, VEDAS: The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) will soon get a 'Sanskrit Chair', attached to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, to study "Bharat's legacy of science and technology in the Vedas, with special focus on Sanskrit language". The Chair has been funded by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, "spiritual head" of the Science of Spirituality and Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission, who is also an IIT-M alumnus.

A senior IIT-M administrator said Maharaj has contributed Rs 90 lakh for the endowment and scholarship programme. "Using this fund, we will set up the Chair to explore science and technology in the Vedas," said the official. The funding includes a one-time contribution of Rs 75 lakh, and a named endowment for student scholarship - Rs 15 lakh annually, for four years.

The Chair will be headed by Sampadananda Mishra, a Sanskrit expert and director of Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC). "I have a yogic approach to science and culture. Sanskrit is a scientific language, it is a language that expresses Bharat's soul. I hope I will be able to make this language familiar for the youth in IIT-M," said Mishra, who has written books like The Wonder That Is Sanskrit and Hasyamanjari- a Book Of Humorous Stories In Sanskrit. -GoTop


15. CATHAY PACIFIC PARTNERS WITH PURE YOGA TO BRING YOGA TO THE SKY: Cathay Pacific has partnered with Pure Yoga to launch a new inflight well-being programme, 'Travel Well with Yoga', this month. In harmony with the airline's 'Life Well Travelled' campaign, the series of videos have been developed by esteemed Pure Yoga instructors to help passengers ease into their journeys with yoga and meditation exercises and tips. Passengers can now view 'Travel Well with Yoga' in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese across all Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon routes by accessing the Lifestyle section on their inflight entertainment screens.

Split into six easy-to-follow videos featuring founding teacher Patrick Creelman and senior instructor & co-founder Almen Wong, the series demonstrates yoga and meditation routines that can be done before, during or after a flight. Exercises are designed to improve circulation, enhance joint mobility and relax the mind for a comfortable and restful journey. -GoTop


16. CHINA AGREES TO LET MANSAROVAR YATRA VIA NATHU LA PASS: Government said China has agreed to allow Bharatiya pilgrims to embark on the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim after the route was closed last year in the wake of the Doklam standoff. Videsh Rajya Mantri Gen VK Singh informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply that the Yatra through this route was not undertaken last year after the Chinese government cited unfavourable conditions to ensure safety of pilgrims and smooth conduct of the yatra.

Videsh Mantri Sushma Swaraj also discussed it with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in December last year. "Subsequently, the Chinese government has confirmed resumption of the yatra on this route," Singh said. -GoTop


17. BHARAT’S GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INDEX RANKING IMPROVES, CLIMBS TO 44 OUT OF 50: Bharat has substantially improved its ranking, to 44, in the latest Global Intellectual Property Index (GIPC) released by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce Feb. 8.

"For the first time, Bharat has broken free of the bottom ten percent of economies measured, and its score represents the largest percentage improvement of any country measured. This is further evidence of a country on the move," GIPC Vice President Patrick Kilbride said in a statement.

Bharat's overall score has increased from 25 percent (8.75 out of 35) last year to 30 percent (12.03 out of 40) in the latest, sixth edition of the index, the report said. Last year, Bharatranked 43rd out of 45 countries in the index, with an overall score of 8.4 points.

Bharat currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index 2017. In 2016, it climbed up the innovation ladder to reach 66th position from 81st in 2015 – an improvement after five years of continuous drops in its ranking. -GoTop


18. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Visitors:


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. -  Jiddu Krishnamurti -GoTop





Priyadarshi Dutta

Demetrios Galanos, the 19th century Greek Indologist, embraced and enriched both Indian and Greek cultures through his knowledge quest and deep insights. No wonder both India and Greece are recalling him more than Alexander today

Two hundred years ago, there lived a Greek 'Pundit' by the name Demetrios Galanos (1760-1833) in Varanasi. Son of a wealthy family from Athens, and trained in priesthood in the seminary at Patmos, he ended up in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as tutor to children of Greek merchants in the city. But within a few years, he relocated to Varanasi, where he mastered Sanskrit. It became his consuming passion to translate Sanskrit texts into Greek, a language few could understand in India and nobody would publish in.

Galanos spent the last 40 years of his life in Varanasi until he passed away and interred in the local Christian cemetery.

His plans to return to Greece, after it achieved independence from the Turkish rule in 1829, never fructified. None of his works were published during his lifetime except The Aphorisms of Chanakya, which Captain Nicholas Kephalas, through whom the manuscript had been sent to Greece, plagiarised and published under his own name. At death, Galanos left behind volumes of handwritten folios. But replete with alpha, beta, gamma, kappa, lambda, mu and nu - they were no more intelligible to the local populace (including the British residents) than hieroglyphics are to the tourists in Egypt.

But fortunately, these works were collected and despatched to Athens. The best part of them were published in seven volumes between 1845 and 1853, and preserved in the National Library of Greece.

They comprised i) verses from Bhartrihari, abridged The Aphorisms of Chanakya and Jagannath Das' Bhaminivilasa ii) Jain Amarchand'sBalabharathi iii) Bhagvad Gita iv) Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa v) ItihasSamucchaya (derived from the Mahabharata) vi) stories from Panchatantra, Hitopadesha and Sukasaptati and vii) Devi Mahatmya.

The posthumous publications of Galanos instituted a new discipline in Greece viz Sanskrit studies or Indology. The newest manifestation of Galanos' legacy is the Athens Centre for Indian & Indo-Hellenic Studies (2016) that offers courses in Sanskrit, Hindi and Indian philosophy. I recently met DimitriosVassiliadis, Professor of Sanskrit and Hindi, who heads the Centre. Vassiliadis, an author of several books with subjects spanning from Buddha to Tagore, was recently in India to participate in a conference organised by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on Galanos in New Delhi and Varanasi.

Other delegates included Australia-based Greek author Dennis Dinopoulos, Anthropologist professor PavlosKavouras and danseuse LeedaSenthala from Athens. From the Indian side, the speakers were professor Bharat Gupt, professor Udai Prakash Arora, AK Singh. The conference included musical feast called Greek Ragas & Improvisation by Thimios Atzakas & Group.

The spellbound audience was given full latitude to participate in discussions. Always fond of upsetting the applecart, I turned on a new subject which created a zing. I pointed out that around the time Galanos was poring over the Sanskrit texts, Indians (in Bengal) were rediscovering ancient Greece. It was actually a part of modernising India.

The world knows about Lord Byron (1788-1824), the British Romantic poet, who wrote quite a few poems about Greece, and perished in the Greek War of Independence. But few are aware that Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-1831), the Prometheus of Bengal Renaissance, wrote poems about ancient Greece and War of Independence sitting 6,000 km away in Calcutta. His poems included -Thermopylae (1826), Greece (1827), The Greeks at Marathon (1825), Address to the Greeks (1826) and Phyle (undated).

Sensing the duplicitous stance of Britain and France, in the Greek War of Independence, Derozio, like Byron, advocates absolute self-reliance. 'Will Europe hear? Ah! No-ah! no/She coldly turns from thee; Thine own right arm, and battle-blade/Must win the victory'. He sums up 'And then will Europe hear? - she shall/But not a mournful strain;/The world will hear exultingly/That Greece is free again' (Greece, 1827).

In 1833, when Galanos passed away, the first history of Greece appeared in an Indian language. Written by KhettroMohun Mookerjea, the Bengali book titled, 'Greek Desher Itihas' was published by Calcutta School-Book Society. It was a translation of Oliver Goldsmith's History of Greece (1809). The Bengali text ran into 400 pages. This was followed by another book titled, ‘Greek DesherItihas’ (1857) by Dwarkanath Vidyabhushan, a translation of Leonhard Schmitz's book, A History of Greece for the Junior Classes. Vidyabhushan, a professor of Sanskrit College in Calcutta, later distinguished himself as the editor of reputed Bengali weekly Somprakash. He informs that Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the Principal of Sanskrit College and noted social reformer, brought him Schmitz’s book and motivated him to translate it into Bengali.

Despite dissimilarities in the works, Galanos on the one side, and Derezio, Mookerjea and Vidyabhushan on the other, there was a deeper unity of purpose. Galanos, it appears from the body of his work, was interested in shaping the minds of his compatriots. He did not lose himself in the deep woods of Vedas, Upanishads and Shastras. He chose those kinds of works like Bhagvad Gita, Chanakya Neeti, Panchatantra, Hitopadesha, Raghuvamsa among others, which could instruct the future generation of Greeks in ethical conduct, prudence and discreetness. Galanos’ works were letters to his countrymen.

Derozio, Mookerjea and Vidhyabhushan were figures of Bengal Renaissance. They wanted to shape a new nation by instilling the virtues of patriotism, heroism and duty to the society. Ancient Greece exemplified these values. That is why even a Sanskritist like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was insistent that his peer DwarkanathVidyabhushanfamiliarised the Bengali readers with history of ancient Greece.

To the renascent Italy (14th-16th century), Republic France and Victorian England, the idea of ancient Greece represented high point of civilisation. Nor was its effect lost on India.

Those who wield the pen in seclusion are also nation-builders. Isocrates (436-338 BC), one of principal Attic orators (actually an essayist), spent more years in his refining his panegyric on the Persian War than Alexander took to conquer Asia till Afghanistan. Isocrates' modern compatriot Galanos devoted more time to intellectual work. No wonder, India and Greece are recalling him more than Alexander today.

(The writer is an independent researcher. Views expressed herein are personal, Daily Pioneer 13 February 2018) -GoTop