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Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2013

History of Sirilanka


The actual origins of the Sinhalese are shrouded in myth. Most believe they came to Sri Lanka from northern India during the 6th century BC. Buddhism arrived from the subcontinent 300 years later and spread rapidly. Buddhism and a sophisticated system of irrigation became the pillars of classical Sinhalese civilization (200 BC-1200 AD) that flourished in the north-central part of the island. Invasions from southern India, combined with internecine strife, pushed Sinhalese kingdoms southward.

The island's contact with the outside world began early. Roman sailors called the island Taprobane. Arab traders knew it as "Serendip," the root of the word "serendipity." Beginning in 1505, Portuguese traders, in search of cinnamon and other spices, seized the island's coastal areas and spread Catholicism. The Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in 1658. Although the British ejected the Dutch in 1796, Dutch law remains an important part of Sri Lankan jurisprudence. In 1815, the British defeated the king of Kandy, last of the native rulers, and created the Crown Colony of Ceylon. They established a plantation economy based on tea, rubber, and coconuts. In 1931, the British granted Ceylon limited self-rule and a universal franchise. Ceylon became independent on February 4, 1948.

Post-Independence Politics

Sri Lankan politics since independence have been strongly democratic. Two major parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have generally alternated rule.

The UNP ruled first from 1948-56 under three Prime Ministers--D.S. Senanayake, his son Dudley, and Sir John Kotelawala. The SLFP ruled from 1956-65, with a short hiatus in 1960, first under S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and then, after his assassination in 1959, under his widow, Sirimavo, the world's first female chief executive in modern times. Dudley Senanayake and the UNP returned to power in 1965.


In 1970, Mrs. Bandaranaike again assumed the premiership. A year later, an insurrection by followers of the Maoist "Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna" (JVP, or "People's Liberation Front") broke out. The SLFP government suppressed the revolt and declared a state of emergency that lasted 6 years.

In 1972, Mrs. Bandaranaike's government introduced a new constitution, which changed the country's name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka, declared it a republic, made protection of Buddhism a constitutional principle, and created a weak president appointed by the prime minister. Its economic policies during this period were highly socialist and included the nationalization of large tea and rubber plantations and other private industries.

The UNP, under J.R. Jayewardene, returned to power in 1977. The Jayewardene government opened the economy and, in 1978, introduced a new constitution based on the French model, a key element of which was the creation of a strong executive presidency. J.R. Jayewardene was elected President by Parliament in 1978 and by nationwide election in 1982. In 1982, a national referendum extended the life of Parliament another 6 years.

The UNP's Ranasinghe Premadasa, Prime Minister in the Jayewardene government, narrowly defeated Mrs. Bandaranaike (SLFP) in the 1988 presidential elections. The UNP also won an absolute majority in the 1989 parliamentary elections. Mr. Premadasa was assassinated on May 1, 1993 by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ("LTTE" or "Tigers"), and was replaced by then-Prime Minister Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, who appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister.

The SLFP, the main party in the People's Alliance (PA) coalition, returned to power in 1994 for the first time in 17 years. The PA won a plurality in the August 1994 parliamentary elections and formed a coalition government with Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as Prime Minister. Prime Minister Kumaratunga later won the November 1994 presidential elections and appointed her mother (former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike) to replace her as Prime Minister. President Kumaratunga won re-election to another 6-year term in December 1999. In August 2000, Mrs. Bandaranaike resigned as Prime Minister for health reasons, and Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka was appointed to take her place. In December 2001, the UNP assumed power, led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. Chandrika Kumaratunga remains as President. In November of 2003, President Kumaratunga suddenly took control of three key ministries, triggering a serious cohabitation crisis. In January 2004, the SLFP and the JVP formed a political grouping known as the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). In February, President Kumaratunga dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections. In these elections, which took place in April 2004, the UPFA received 45% of the vote, with the UNP receiving 37% of the vote. While it did not win enough seats to command a majority in Parliament, the UPFA was able to form a government and appoint a cabinet headed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse.

Communal Crisis

Historical divisions continue to have an impact on Sri Lankan society and politics. From independence, the Tamil minority has been uneasy with the country's unitary form of government and apprehensive that the Sinhalese majority would abuse Tamil rights. Those fears were reinforced when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike triumphed in the 1956 elections after appealing to Sinhalese nationalism. His declaration that Sinhala was the country's official language--an act felt by Tamils to be a denigration of their own tongue--was the first in a series of steps over the following decades that appeared discriminatory to Tamils. Tamils also protested government educational policies and agriculture programs that encouraged Sinhalese farmers from the south to move to newly irrigated lands in the east. The decades following 1956 saw intermittent outbreaks of communal violence and growing radicalization among Tamil groups. By the mid-1970s Tamil politicians were moving from support for federalism to a demand for a separate Tamil state--"Tamil Eelam"--in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, areas of traditional Tamil settlement. In the 1977 elections, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) won all the seats in Tamil areas on a platform of separatism. Other groups--particularly the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers)--sought an independent state by force.

In 1983, the death of 13 Sinhalese soldiers at the hands of the LTTE unleashed the largest outburst of communal violence in the country's history. Hundreds of Tamils were killed in Colombo and elsewhere, tens of thousands were left homeless, and more than 100,000 fled to south India. The north and east became the scene of bloodshed as security forces attempted to suppress the LTTE and other militant groups. Terrorist incidents occurred in Colombo and other cities. Each side in the conflict accused the other of violating human rights. The conflict assumed an international dimension when the Sri Lankan Government accused India of supporting the Tamil insurgents.

Indian Peacekeeping

By mid-1987, India intervened in the conflict by air-dropping supplies to prevent what it felt was harsh treatment and starvation of the Tamil population in the Jaffna Peninsula caused by an economic blockade by Colombo. Under a July 29, 1987, accord (the Indo-Lanka Accord) signed by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President Jayewardene, the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to Tamil demands, which included devolution of power to the provinces, merger--subject to later referendum--of the northern and eastern provinces, and official status for the Tamil language. India agreed to establish order in the north and east with an Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) and to cease assisting Tamil insurgents. Militant groups, although initially reluctant, agreed to surrender their arms to the IPKF.

Within weeks, however, the LTTE declared its intent to continue its armed struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam and refused to disarm. The IPKF found itself engaged in a bloody police action against the LTTE. Further complicating the return to peace was a burgeoning Sinhalese insurgency in the south. The JVP, relatively quiescent since the 1971 insurrection, began to reassert itself in 1987. Capitalizing on opposition to the Indo-Lankan Accord in the Sinhalese community, the JVP launched an intimidation campaign against supporters of the accord. Numerous UNP and other government supporters were assassinated. The government, relieved of its security burden by the IPKF in the north and east, intensified its efforts in the south. The JVP was crushed but at a high cost in human lives.

From April 1989 through June 1990, the government engaged in direct communications with the LTTE leadership. In the meantime, fighting between the LTTE and the IPKF escalated in the north. India withdrew the last of its forces from Sri Lanka in early 1990, and fighting between the LTTE and the government resumed. Both the LTTE and government forces committed serious human rights violations. In January 1995, the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE agreed to a cessation of hostilities as a preliminary step in a government-initiated plan for peace negotiations. After 3 months, however, the LTTE unilaterally resumed hostilities. The government then adopted a policy of military engagement with the Tigers, with government forces liberating Jaffna from LTTE control by mid-1996 and moving against LTTE positions in the northern part of the country called the Vanni. An LTTE counteroffensive begun in October 1999 reversed most government gains and by May 2000 threatened government forces in Jaffna. Heavy fighting continued into 2001.

Peace Process

In December 2001, with the election of a new UNP government, the LTTE and government declared unilateral cease-fires. In February 2002, with Norwegian Government facilitation, the two sides agreed to a joint cease-fire accord. The peace process has continued apace, affecting Sri Lankans politically, economically, and socially in numerous and overwhelmingly positive ways. After holding six rounds of talks, the LTTE withdrew from the negotiation process in April 2003. At this time, the informal peace process continues on the ground and both sides continue to observe the February 2002 ceasefire. In May 2004, the new UPFA government and the LTTE committed themselves in public and in discussions with the Norwegian facilitators to resuming the negotiation track.

LTTE violence, including the assassination of approximately 40 Tamil alleged opponents from 2002 through 2003, is largely confined to the north and eastern provinces, which are 6 to 8 hours by road from the capital. Before the advent of the peace process, LTTE-perpetrated terrorist bombings directed against politicians and civilian targets were common in Colombo, Kandy, and elsewhere in the country. In July 2001, an LTTE suicide squad attacked the Bandaranaike International Airport outside of Colombo and destroyed a large number of military and civilian aircraft. In early March 2004, a faction of the LTTE from the east of the country broke off from the main organization and declared itself an independent body. In April, the main LTTE largely subdued this factional uprising in fighting that left up to 30 people dead.

In October 1997, the U.S. Government designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization under provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and has maintained this designation since then, most recently redesignating the group in October of 2003. 

History of India


The people of India have had a continuous civilization since 2500 B.C., when the inhabitants of the Indus River valley developed an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. This civilization declined around 1500 B.C., probably due to ecological changes.

During the second millennium B.C., pastoral, Aryan-speaking tribes migrated from the northwest into the subcontinent. As they settled in the middle Ganges River valley, they adapted to antecedent cultures.

The political map of ancient and medieval India was made up of myriad kingdoms with fluctuating boundaries. In the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., northern India was unified under the Gupta Dynasty. During this period, known as India's Golden Age, Hindu culture and political administration reached new heights.

Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 500 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established sultanates in Delhi. In the early 16th century, descendants of Genghis Khan swept across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal (Mogul) Dynasty, which lasted for 200 years. From the 11th to the 15th centuries, southern India was dominated by Hindu Chola and Vijayanagar Dynasties. During this time, the two systems--the prevailing Hindu and Muslim--mingled, leaving lasting cultural influences on each other.

The first British outpost in South Asia was established in 1619 at Surat on the northwestern coast. Later in the century, the East India Company opened permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, each under the protection of native rulers.

The British expanded their influence from these footholds until, by the 1850s, they controlled most of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In 1857, a rebellion in north India led by mutinous Indian soldiers caused the British Parliament to transfer all political power from the East India Company to the Crown. Great Britain began administering most of India directly while controlling the rest through treaties with local rulers.
In the late 1800s, the first steps were taken toward self-government in British India with the appointment of Indian councilors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members; the British subsequently widened participation in legislative councils. Beginning in 1920, Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement to campaign against British colonial rule. The party used both parliamentary and nonviolent resistance and noncooperation to achieve independence.

On August 15, 1947, India became a dominion within the Commonwealth, with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. Enmity between Hindus and Muslims led the British to partition British India, creating East and West Pakistan, where there were Muslim majorities. India became a republic within the Commonwealth after promulgating its Constitution on January 26, 1950.

After independence, the Congress Party, the party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, ruled India under the influence first of Nehru and then his daughter and grandson, with the exception of two brief periods in the 1970s and 1980s.

Prime Minister Nehru governed the nation until his death in 1964. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri, who also died in office. In 1966, power passed to Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977. In 1975, beset with deepening political and economic problems, Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency and suspended many civil liberties. Seeking a mandate at the polls for her policies, she called for elections in 1977, only to be defeated by Moraji Desai, who headed the Janata Party, an amalgam of five opposition parties.

In 1979, Desai's Government crumbled. Charan Singh formed an interim government, which was followed by Mrs. Gandhi's return to power in January 1980. On October 31, 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated, and her son, Rajiv, was chosen by the Congress (I)--for "Indira"--Party to take her place. His Congress government was plagued with allegations of corruption resulting in an early call for national elections in 1989.

In the 1989 elections Rajiv Gandhi and Congress won more seats than any other single party, but he was unable to form a government with a clear majority. The Janata Dal, a union of opposition parties, then joined with the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the right and the communists on the left to form the government. This loose coalition collapsed in November 1990, and Janata Dal, supported by the Congress (I), came to power for a short period, with Chandra Shekhar as Prime Minister. That alliance also collapsed, resulting in national elections in June 1991.

On May 27, 1991, while campaigning in Tamil Nadu on behalf of Congress (I), Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, apparently by Tamil extremists from Sri Lanka. In the elections, Congress (I) won 213 parliamentary seats and returned to power at the head of a coalition, under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. This Congress-led government, which served a full 5-year term, initiated a gradual process of economic liberalization and reform, which opened the Indian economy to global trade and investment. India's domestic politics also took new shape, as the nationalist appeal of the Congress Party gave way to traditional alignments by caste, creed, and ethnicity leading to the founding of a plethora of small, regionally based political parties.

The final months of the Rao-led government in the spring of 1996 were marred by several major political corruption scandals, which contributed to the worst electoral performance by the Congress Party in its history. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from the May 1996 national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without a parliamentary majority. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the subsequent BJP coalition lasted only 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal formed a government known as the United Front, under the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D. Deve Gowda. His government collapsed after less than a year, when the Congress Party withdrew his support in March 1997. Inder Kumar Gujral replaced Deve Gowda as the consensus choice for Prime Minister at the head of a 16-party United Front coalition.

In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support from the United Front. In new elections in February 1998, the BJP won the largest number of seats in Parliament--182--but fell far short of a majority. On March 20, 1998, the President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government with Vajpayee again serving as Prime Minister. On May 11 and 13, 1998, this government conducted a series of underground nuclear tests, forcing U.S. President Clinton to impose economic sanctions on India pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act.

In April 1999, the BJP-led coalition government fell apart, leading to fresh elections in September. The National Democratic Alliance--a new coalition led by the BJP--gained a majority to form the government with Vajpayee as Prime Minister in October 1999.

The Kargil conflict in 1999 and an attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 led to increased tensions with Pakistan. Hindu nationalists have long agitated to build a temple on a disputed site in Ayodhya. In February 2002, a mob of Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu volunteers returning from Ayodhya to the state of Gujarat, and 57 were burnt alive. Over 900 people were killed and 100,000 left homeless in the resulting anti-Muslim riots throughout the state. This led to accusations that the state government had not done enough to contain the riots, or arrest and prosecute the rioters.

The ruling BJP coalition was defeated in a five-stage election held in April and May of 2004, and a Congress-led coalition took power on May 22.

India and Pakistan have been locked in a tense rivalry since the partition of the subcontinent upon achieving independence from Great Britain in 1947. The principal source of contention has been Kashmir, whose Hindu Maharaja at that time chose to join India, although a majority of his subjects were Muslim. India maintains that his decision and the subsequent elections in Kashmir have made it an integral part of India. This dispute triggered wars between the two countries in 1947 and 1965. 
In December 1971, following a political crisis in what was then East Pakistan and the flight of millions of Bengali refugees to India, Pakistan and India again went to war. The brief conflict left the situation largely unchanged in the west, where the two armies reached an impasse, but a decisive Indian victory in the east resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

Since the 1971 war, Pakistan and India have made only slow progress toward normalization of relations. In July 1972, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto met in the Indian hill station of Simla. They signed an agreement by which India would return all personnel and captured territory in the west and the two countries would "settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations." Diplomatic and trade relations were re-established in 1976.

After the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, new strains appeared in India-Pakistan relations; Pakistan supported the Afghan resistance, while India implicitly supported Soviet occupation. In the following 8 years, India voiced increasing concern over Pakistani arms purchases, U.S. military aid to Pakistan, and Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. In an effort to curtail tensions, the two countries formed a joint commission. In December 1988, Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto concluded a pact not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. Agreements on cultural exchanges and civil aviation also were initiated.

In 1997, high-level Indo-Pakistani talks resumed after a 3-year pause. The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan met twice, and the foreign secretaries conducted three rounds of talks. In June 1997 at Lahore, the foreign secretaries identified eight "outstanding issues" around which continuing talks would be focused. The dispute over the status of Jammu and Kashmir, an issue since partition, remains the major stumbling block in their dialogue. India maintains that the entire former princely state is an integral part of the Indian union, while Pakistan insists that UN resolutions calling for self-determination of the people of the state must be taken into account.

In September 1997, the talks broke down over the structure of how to deal with the issues of Kashmir and peace and security. Pakistan advocated that separate working groups treat each issue. India responded that the two issues be taken up along with six others on a simultaneous basis. In May 1998 India, and then Pakistan, conducted nuclear tests. Attempts to restart dialogue between the two nations were given a major boost by the February 1999 meeting of both Prime Ministers in Lahore and their signing of three agreements. These efforts were stalled by the intrusion of Pakistani-backed forces into Indian-held territory near Kargil in May 1999 (that nearly turned into full scale war), and by the military coup in Pakistan that overturned the Nawaz Sharif government in October the same year. In July 2001, Mr. Vajpayee and General Pervez Musharraf, leader of Pakistan after the coup, met in Agra, but talks ended after 2 days without result.

After an attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, India-Pakistan relations cooled further as India accused Pakistanis of being involved in the attacks. Tensions increased, fueled by killings in Jammu and Kashmir, peaking in a troop buildup by both sides in early 2002.

Prime Minister Vajpayee’s April 18, 2003 speech in Srinagar (Kashmir) revived bilateral efforts to normalize relations. After a series of confidence building measures, Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf met on the sidelines of the January 2004 SAARC summit in Islamabad and agreed to commence a Composite Dialogue addressing outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, including Kashmir. In November 2003, Prime Minister Vajapyee and President Musharraf agreed to a ceasefire along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is still holding. The UPA government has pledged to continue the Composite Dialogue with Pakistan. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

History of science and technology in China

History of science and technology in ChinaJump to: navigation, search
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A method of making astronomical observation instruments at the time of Qing Dynasty.The history of science and technology in China is both long and rich with science and technological contribution. In antiquity, independent of Greek philosophers and other civilizations, ancient Chinese philosophers made significant advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy. The first recorded observations of comets, solar eclipses, and supernovae were made in China Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine were also practiced.
Among the earliest inventions were the abacus, the "shadow clock," and the first flying machines such as kites and Kongming lanterns. The four Great Inventions of ancient China: the compass, gunpowder, paper making, and printing, were among the most important technological advances, only known in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. The Tang dynasty (618 - 906 C.E.) in particular was a time of great innovation. A good deal of exchange occurred between Western and Chinese discoveries up to the Qing Dynasty.
The Jesuit China missions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China, and knowledge of Chinese technology was brought to Europe. Much of the early Western work in the history of science in China was done by Joseph Needham.
Early scientific and technological achievements
One of the oldest longstanding contributions of the ancient Chinese are in Traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, derived from Daoist philosophy. According to archaeological findings the first writings on medicine appeared between the eleventh and the third centuries B.C.E., like the Wu Shi Er Bing Fang, Prescriptions for Fifty-Two Diseases found in a tomb excavated in 1973 near Mawangdui. The Canon of Medicine was compiled in the third century B.C.E. and summarized diagnostic knowledge like the knowledge of Bian Que, a great physician who pioneered medical examination and pulse studies.
The practice of acupuncture can be traced as far back as the first millennium B.C.E. and some scientists believe that there is evidence that practices similar to acupuncture were used in Eurasia during the early Bronze Age.[6][7] According to the History of Later Han Dynasty (25-220 C.E.), this seismograph was an urn-like instrument, which would drop one of eight balls to indicate when and in which direction an earthquake had occurred. On June 13, 2005, Chinese seismologists announced that they had created a replica of the instrument.
The mechanical engineer Ma Jun (c. 200-265 C.E.) was another impressive figure from ancient China. Ma Jun improved the design of the silk loom, designed mechanical chain pumps to irrigate palatial gardens,and created a large and intricate mechanical puppet theatre for Emperor Ming of Wei, which was operated by a large hidden waterwheel.However, Ma Jun's most impressive invention was the South Pointing Chariot, a complex mechanical device that acted as a mechanical compass vehicle. It incorporated the use of a differential gear in order to apply equal amount of torque to wheels rotating at different speeds, a device that is found in all modern automobiles.
The ancient Chinese also invented counting and time-keeping devices, which facilitated mathematical and astronomical observations. Shadow clocks, the forerunners of the sundial, first appeared in China about 4,000 years ago, while the abacus was invented in China sometime between 1000 B.C.E. and 500 B.C.E.
The most ancient of all astronomical instruments, at least in China, was the simple vertical pole. With this one could measure the length of the sun’s shadow by day to determine the solstices and the transits of stars by night to observe the revolution of the sidereal year.
Already under the Shang dynasty (1765-1122 B.C.E.) the Chinese were casting shadows with the help of a gnomon in relation to divination.
The sundial that was much used during the Han Dynasty is clearly mentioned in the first century B.C.E. The Sundial Book which includes 34 chapters would have been compiled by Yin Hsien at that time. The use of water clock or clepsydra which was important in astronomy would go back to the Warring States period around the sixth century B.C.E. About 200 B.C.E. the outflow clepsydra was replaced by an inflow type. Water clocks were used by Zhang Heng in 125 C.E. to drive mechanisms illustrating astronomical phenomena. Later on astronomical towers were built like the tower of Su Song in 1088 that comprehended an armillary sphere, a rotating celestial globe and front panels with tablets indicating the time.
The Chinese were able to record observations, documenting the first solar eclipse in 2137 B.C.E., and making the first recording of any planetary grouping in 500 B.C.E. The Book of Silk was the first definitive atlas of comets, written c. 400 B.C.E. It listed 29 comets (referred to as broom stars) that appeared over a period of about 300 years, with renderings of comets describing an event its appearance corresponded to.[1]

Replica of Zhang Heng's seismometer Houfeng Didong YiDuring the Spring and Autumn (77-476 B.C.E.) and the Warring States (475-221 B.C.E.) periods, the development of technology in agriculture and handicraft enhanced the economic activities and made crucial the means of calculation. It is then that the counting-rods and rod arithmetic were invented. The counting-rods will be used even after the invention of the abacus. The abacus or suanpan 算盤 was fits mentioned in the Supplementary Notes on the Art of Figures by Xu Yue, under the Han dynasty in 190 C.E., but it rose to prominence under the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) and became a household instrument only during the Ming dynasty starting in 1368.
In architecture, the pinnacle of Chinese technology manifested itself in the Great Wall of China, under the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang between 220 B.C.E. and 200 B.C.E. Typical Chinese architecture changed little from the succeeding Han Dynasty until the nineteenth century. The Great Wall as seen today is the result of grand-scale reconstruction over a period of 100 years during the Ming dynasty.
The first bridge recorded in Chinese history is the boat bridge over the river Weishui ordered by King Wen of the Zhou dynasty 3000 years ago. The first record of a stone bridge goes back to the Han dynasty. Stone-arch bridges made their appearance around 250 B.C.E. Famous bridges are the admired Anji bridge built with one arch under the Sui dynasty (581-618), the Lugou Marco Polo bridge built during the Kin dynasty (1038-1227), the jewel belt bridge, with 53 spans, built a Suzhou during the Tang dynasty. “The beam bridge has the longest history in bridge engineering whether in China or elsewhere.“ It can be mentioned for example the Luoyang bridge built during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) with a total length of 834 meter and a seven-meter-wide deck for traffic.
The crossbow n,  was developed under the Warring States period. The followers of the philosopher Mozi (544-496) mentioned it in the fourth-third centuries B.C.E. It is also described by Sunzi in his Art of War. Several remains were found among the soldiers of the Terracotta in the tomb of emperor Shu Juangdi who unified China in 221 B.C.E.
The Eastern Han Dynasty scholar and astronomer Zhang Heng (78-139 C.E.) invented the first water-powered rotating armillary sphere (the first armillary sphere however was invented by the Greek Eratosthenes), and catalogued 2500 stars and over 100 constellations. In 132, he invented the first seismological detector, called the "Houfeng Didong Yi" ("Instrument for inquiring into the wind and the shaking of the earth"). According to the History of Later Han Dynasty (25-220 C.E.), this seismograph was an urn-like instrument, which would drop one of eight balls to indicate when and in which direction an earthquake had occurred. On June 13, 2005, Chinese seismologists announced that they had created a replica of the instrument.
The mechanical engineer Ma Jun (c. 200-265 C.E.) was another impressive figure from ancient China. Ma Jun improved the design of the silk loom,[8] designed mechanical chain pumps to irrigate palatial gardens, and created a large and intricate mechanical puppet theatre for Emperor Ming of Wei, which was operated by a large hidden waterwheel. However, Ma Jun's most impressive invention was the South Pointing Chariot, a complex mechanical device that acted as a mechanical compass vehicle. It incorporated the use of a differential gear in order to apply equal amount of torque to wheels rotating at different speeds, a device that is found in all modern automobiles.
Sliding calipers were invented in China almost 2000 years ago. The Chinese civilization was the first civilization to succeed in exploring with aviation, with the kite and Kongming lantern (proto Hot air balloon) being the first flying machines.

United States Government Flag



United States Flag

History of the American FlagAccording to popular legend, the first American flag was made by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and other influential Philadelphians. In May 1776, so the story goes, General Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag. Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star, which could be cut with just one quick snip of the scissors, and the gentlemen were won over.
Unfortunately, historians have never been able to verify this charming version of events, although it is known that Ross made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania. The story of Washington's visit to the flagmaker became popular about the time of the country's first centennial, after William Canby, a grandson of Ross, told about her role in shaping U.S. history in a speech given at the Philadelphia Historical Society in March 1870.
What is known is that the first unofficial national flag, called the Grand Union Flag or the Continental Colours, was raised at the behest of General Washington near his headquarters outside Boston, Mass., on Jan. 1, 1776. The flag had 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes and the British Union Flag (a predecessor of the Union Jack) in the canton. Another early flag had a rattlesnake and the motto “Don't Tread on Me.”
The first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The blue canton contained 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, but the layout varied. Although nobody knows for sure who designed the flag, it may have been Continental Congress member Francis Hopkinson.

After Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the Union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, two more stars and two more stripes were added in 1795. This 15-star, 15-stripe flag was the “star-spangled banner” that inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the poem that later became the U.S. national anthem.
In 1818, after five more states had gained admittance, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states. The last new star, bringing the total to 50, was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state.

The National Flag of Pakistan

The National Flag of Pakistan
The Pakistani Flag was designed by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

The National Flag of Pakistan is dark green in colour with a white bar, a white crescent in the centre and a five-pointed star. The significance of the colour and symbols used in the Pakistan Flag is as follows:
  • The white and dark green field represents Minorities & Muslim majority, respectively.
  • The crescent on the Flag represents progress.
  • The five-rayed star represents light and knowledge.

History of Indian National Flag

History of Indian National Flag
Every free nation of the world has its own flag. It is a symbol of a free country. The National Flag of India was designed by Pingali Venkayyaand and adopted in its present form during the meeting of Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India's independence from the British on 15 August, 1947. It served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter. In India, the term "tricolour" refers to the Indian national flag.
The National flag of India is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
Evolution of the Tricolour
It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered or recognised during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today. In one way it reflects the political developments in the nation. Some of the historical milestones in the evolution of our National Flag involve the following:
  
  
The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta now Kolkata. The flag was composed of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. flag of India in 1906  
Unofficial flag of India   The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 (according to some inl9OS). This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin.
in 1906 

The Berlin committee
flag, first raised by
Bhikaiji Cama in 1907

The third flag went up in 1917 when our political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it during the Home rule movement. This flag had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
During the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada) an Andhra youth prepared a flag and took it to Gandhiji. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.
The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel at the center. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.
The flag used during the in 1917 On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.:
Home Rule movement


Colours of the Flag:
In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.
The flag unofficially
adopted in 1921
Colours of the Flag:


The Chakra: This Dharma Chakra depicted the "wheel of the law" in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation.

The flag adopted in 1931.
This flag was also the
battle ensign of the
Indian National Army

Flag Code
On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where and any time, as long as the provisions of the Flag Code are strictly followed to avoid any disrespect to the tricolour. For the sake of convenience, Flag Code of India, 2002, has been divided into three parts. Part I of the Code contains general description of the National Flag. Part II of the Code is devoted to the display of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc. Part III of the Code relates to display of the National Flag by Central and State governments and their organisations and agencies.
The present Tricolour
flag of India

There are some rules and regulations upon how to fly the flag, based on the 26 January 2002 legislation. These include the following:
The Do's:
  • The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
  • A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
  • Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.
The Don'ts
  • The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
  • The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
  • No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolour cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.
  • The Indian National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is the symbol of our national pride. Over the last five decades, several people including members of armed forces have ungrudgingly laid down their lives to keep the tricolour flying in its full glory.
The Indian National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is the symbol of our national pride. Over the last five decades, several people including members of armed forces have ungrudgingly laid down their lives to keep the tricolour flying in its full glory.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Commonwealth Game History

Commonwealth Game History
History: Reverend Ashley Cooper was the first person to propose the idea of having a Pan-Britannic sporting contest to foster a spirit of goodwill and understanding within the British Empire. In 1928, a key Canadian athlete, Bobby Robinson, was given the task of organizing the first ever Commonwealth Games. These Games were held in 1930, in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and saw the participation of 400 athletes from eleven countries.
Since then, the Commonwealth Games have been held every four years, except for the period during the Second World War. The Games have been known by various names such as the British Empire Games, Friendly Games and British Commonwealth Games. Since 1978, they have been known as the Commonwealth Games. Originally having only single competition sports, the 1998 Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur saw a major change when team sports such as cricket, hockey and netball made their first appearance.
In 2001, the Games Movement adopted the three values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny as the core values of the Commonwealth Games. These values inspire and connect thousands of people and signify the broad mandate for holding the Games within the Commonwealth.
After Olympics, Commonwealth Games is the second largest sports festival in the world. The Games are held once in four years but only in between the Olympic years. The Games were originally known as the British Empire Games. The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 at Hamilton, Canada. The 10th Commonwealth Games were held at Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974, the 11th in Edmonton (Canada) in 1978, the 12th in Brisbane (Australia) in 1982, the 13th in Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1986, the 14th in Auckland (New Zealand) in 1990 and the 15th in Victoria (Canada) in 1994, where about 3,350 athletes from a record 64 nations (including South Africa, which joined the family of Commonwealth athletes after 36 years) participated. Namibia also, which gained its independence in 1990, made its debut while Hong Kong made its final appearance in the Games before being ceded to China in 1997.

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