Who was H.G. Wells?

Known as the father of science fiction, H.G. Wells was not juts a prolific writer, he was also a visionary who advocated world peace and social equality through his books. Here's a recap of Wells' life and works as another birth anniversary goes by.

The setting of the story is Surrey, Woking in England. It begins with the narrator observing that no one would have thought that our world would be watched keenly by intelligent beings. And that as we busied ourselves with our concerns we were being studied and ‘scrutinized’.

The narrator notes”… perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water…."

The unnamed narrator slowly takes us on a journey of a planetary invasion. What began as flashes of light on the surface of Mars soon turns into a full-blown planetary invasion with 'Martians' landing on Earth. A Martian Invasion!

The War of the Worlds (1898), a science fiction novel by English writer H.G. Wells talks about the extraterrestrial race and the conflict between humans and Martians.

The War of the Worlds is just one among the many works by the author who is considered the father of science fiction.

Early Life

Wells was born in 1866 in Kent, England to parents who were household helps. When Wells was just years old, he broke his leg. During the time he spent recuperating, he started reading. This unfortunate event, in fact, made him an ardent reader.

At the age of 14, Wells was apprenticed to a draper (a dealer in cloth). When he was 17, he started teaching at a grammar school.

When he was 18, he clinched a scholarship at the Normal School of Science in London and studied biology. But he left the college without a degree and started teaching in private schools. It would be years later that he would obtain his degree. He graduated in 1888 and started teaching science. But he turned to writing soon.

Wells as a writer

His penchant for science is seen in the bevy of science fiction he created.

In The Time Machine (1895), the story takes us on a journey of time travel when the narrator invents the time machine.

It would be interesting to note that The Time Machine is the first novel Wells published.

It was not just science fiction he delved into. Wells also wrote about the lower classes. Having had a very humble upbringing, Wells could draw upon his life experiences as well.

He wrote novels about the lives of the lower- and middle-class people and also reflected on the problems of Western society. He also advocated world peace and social equality through his books.

Vocal about social progress

Wells was a socialist. He was actively promoting social progress through his books. This can be seen in A Modern Utopia (1905), where he maintains that science can change the world. He also joined the Fabian Society, a British socialist organization.

Futuristic Wells

Wells has written over 100 books. A visionary, Well's novels are oddly prophetic Reading him would make you wonder how he could foresee so much into our future. But perhaps that's what science fiction is all about. The modern-day inventions of the phone, email, tanks, lasers, gas warfare and so on echo in Well's novels.

 But there are a few predictions that haven't come true, such as the invention of the time machine, a Martian invasion, and a man who turns invisible, to cite a few.

A World State

Wells envisioned a world government, which he detailed in A Modern Utopia (1905). He thought that this idea of a world state would ensure peace.

One can surmise that the outbreak of the war made him despondent and dejected. His last book Mind at the End of its Tether (1945) reflects this, with its gloomy future for humankind

He passed away in 1946, in London.

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What is Roald Dahl most famous for?

Roald Dahl was a British children's author who created world-famous stories such as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda. His works are globally renowned for inspiring children, and his books have sold more than 250 million copies across the world.

Reading Roald Dahl is like waltzing through an adventure land. You enter a world of magic. Because that's what he does, casting a spell on you by creating bizarre, macabre, yet lovable and entertaining characters.

The British author is a much-loved children's writer whose stories are akin to a carnival town. Anything was possible in his stories. Packed with adventures and peppered with an animated and humorous style of storytelling, Roald Dahl whisks you off to a land of fantasy, much like his character The Big Friendly Giant carries Sophie to a world of adventure. Reading his books and knowing his characters would give you a sense of how imaginative and ludicrous the writer's mind would have been.

Characters such as the clever Mr. Fox, the eccentric Willy Wonka or the villainous Miss Trunchbull who doesn't like pigtails have entertained children through the years.

Magic with words.                                                      

Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, and exaggerated the narratives and characters, making them even more appealing and entertaining to children.

Did you know that there was a Roald Dahl dictionary? The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary contains all the words coined by the author and was published by the the Oxford University Press.

Early Life

Born on September 13, 1916, in Llandaff, Wales, Dahl wrote books not only for children but also for adults. After finishing his school, he took off for an expedition to Newfoundland, instead of joining college.

When World War II broke out, he enlisted himself in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He sustained injuries whilst flying as a fighter pilot, following a crash landing in Libya.

Foray into the literary world

His experience in the military is reflected in his books. He published many such stories in popular magazines.

His first children's book The Gremlins (1943) narrated the tale of creatures who crash fighter aircraft. He penned a series of military tales in Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying (1946).

In the 1950s, he focussed on writing horror stories for adults. The book Someone like You that propelled him to the best-seller category. It was when he started making up bedtime stories for his children that the world of children's literature piqued his interest. The first of his successes was, of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964). And soon, many other books with eccentric characters and dark comical settings were published and celebrated. His nonsensical world continues to captivate children and adults alike.

The world of movies

Dahl turned his novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) into a screenplay for the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He wrote the screenplay for the 1967 Bond movie You Only Live Twice and also for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Several other works of Dahl were adapted to movies. He also published an autobiography - Boy: Tales of Childhood in 1984. Dahl passed away on November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Roald Dahl.

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Who was the J.R.R. Tolkien?

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Early career

The English writer, artist, poet, and academic was born in 1892 in South Africa. His family moved to England later. Tolkien taught English language and literature during most of his adult life. He was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford. For some time, he was also a staff of The Oxford English Dictionary, which was then called The New English Dictionary. Even as he pursued a highly academic career, in his private life, Tolkien would immerse himself in myths and legends, weaving many tales of fantasy.

Tolkien's fantasy world

Tolkien weaved many fantastical worlds, often also creating his own language for these worlds. The posthumously published "The Silmarillion Tales" is one of his earlier works. It is said that Tolkien wrote also to entertain his children. One such writing later became "The Hobbit". When "The Hobbit" was published in 1837 with illustrations by the author, it became a huge success. It was celebrated so widely that the publisher asked for its sequel. And there came Tolkien's masterpiece- "The Lord of the Rings".

The Lord of the Rings

The epic fantasy was published in three parts viz. "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers", and "The Return of the King". With wizards, elves, dark lords, trolls, dwarves, orcs, and so on. Tolkien created a magical world in "The Lord of the Rings". The book was celebrated and achieved cult status. By the turn of the 21st Century, the book sold more than 50 million copies in over 30 languages.

To date, its influences can be felt in the fantasy fiction that succeeded "The Lord of the Rings", like an aftertaste that lingers on. It can even be seen in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Tolkien also published many shorter works, and a few of his books were also published posthumously.

Tolkien the artist

Tolkien's prose and craft have captivated generations of children. But equally compelling was his visual art. He created a range of artworks. He not only came up with art for his book covers, but also brought life to the mythical world he created through his art. So we get to see how Middle Earth and its inhabitants looked through his eyes.

Did you know?

Remember Luthien Tinuviel of "The Lord of the Rings"? It was Tolkien's wife Edith Bratt who was the muse for this character. At a young age, Tolkien fell in love with Edith, who was an orphan. When he turned 21, Tolkien asked Edith to marry him.

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Wodehouse: The master of comedy

With a comical plot, ludicrous scenarios, and eccentric characters. Wodehouse scripted a world around the social atmosphere of the late Edwardian era, poking fun at the English upper class Let's take a look at the writer whose birth anniversary falls this month.

It is like an escape into a land of comedy. Nothing wrong could happen to you here. English writer P.G. Wodehouse's literary world is all about entertainment. Pick any of his books and you are assured of a good laugh riot.

It is easy to get lost in the whimsical world of the upper-class English, and delight in the often absurd and funny scenarios that take on a wacky, idiosyncratic turn as the plot progresses. His is a comic tradition that continues to remain unsurpassed, taking you on a humorous journey.

One of the greatest 20th-century writers of humour, Wodehouse created a new realm of comedy through his books. With a highly evolving, comical plot, ludicrous scenarios, and eccentric characters, Wodehouse scripted a world around the social atmosphere of the late Edwardian era, poking fun at the English upper class.

Early years

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born on October 15, 1881 in Guildford, Surrey, England. Educated in Dulwich College,

London, Wodehouse took up a bank job. His career started at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

But he soon quit it and turned his attention to writing. He became a freelance journalist and short story writer. He later became a humour columnist at the London Globe (1902). He also wrote for many other publications. In the same year, he published his first novel "The Pothunters."

When Wodehouse was made a prisoner

During the war, in 1940, he was captured in France by German forces. He was in a German internment camp for a year where he kept writing.

Whilst being a prisoner, he agreed to be part of a series of talks on German radio. Little did he know that he was playing right into the Nazi propaganda machine.

The broadcasts were a humorous take on his experiences as a prisoner in which he also made fun of his captors. But these broadcasts didn't go down well with the politicians and journalists in Britain.

There were accusations of treason. Later, he went back to America and continued his writing journey. He never returned to his homeland. He received a knighthood in 1975,

The comical riot

It all started with Something Fresh (1915), his comic debut. There he introduced the Emsworth family. It is the first instalment of the Blandings Castle series. The eccentric Lord Emsworth and his prize-winning pig the Empress of Blandings, along with a legion of relatives and impostors take you on a comical riot in the Blandings Castle series.

Among the other characters he created, the most loved are the duo Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. They first made their debut in the story Extricating Young Gussie (1915). Jeeves, the inimitable "gentleman's gentleman" of the young bachelor Bertie, is perhaps the valet everyone would love to have at home. He saves the day always and gets Bertie out of every bizarre situation he puts himself in.

Musical journey

It was not just fiction Wodehouse was a master at. He wrote scripts and song lyrics for composers. A novelist, short-story writer, lyricist, and playwright. Wodehouse donned many caps. He wrote more than 90 books, over 20 film scripts and also collaborated on plays and musical comedies. He is often regarded as one of the pioneers of the American musical.

‘Sunset at Blandings’ was his last and unfinished novel. Wodehouse died at the age of 93 on February 14, 1975, in Southampton, N.Y.

Wodehouse loved dogs

In Pekes, hounds and mutts I have known, an article he wrote as an introduction to 'Son of Bitch', a book of photographs by Elliott Erwitt, Wodehouse talks about the many dogs he has had the company of. The first dog he had, Sammy, a French bulldog, was given to him by his colleague. The article ends with his musings about dogs and humour. Here is a peek into how entertaining Wodehouse can be: 'My own opinion is that some have and some don't. Dachshunds have, but not St Bernards and Great Danes. Apparently a dog has to be small to be fond of a joke. You never find an Irish wolfhound trying to be a stand-up comic.'

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Who was the Bram Stoker?

Bram Stoker, byname of Abraham Stoker, (born November 8, 1847, Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland—died April 20, 1912, London, England), Irish writer. Bram Stoker who is best known for the Gothic horror novel "Dracula" was born in Dubin, Ireland, in November. His early years were rife with personal struggles for he was an invalid till the age of 7. He could not stand or walk. But even those difficult times had a profound creative effect on Stoker. "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later  years." Stoker would write later.

After making a full recovery. he became an athlete and football player in school. He also earned a degree in mathematics from Trinity College, Dubin.

A passion for theatre

 Even as he was in civil service at Dublin Castle in 1876, he doubled as a drama critic for the Dublin Evening Mail. Though an unpaid job, it quenched his passion for theatre. Around this time that he acquainted himself with English actor Henry Irving. Stoker was Irving's manager for about 27 years until the actor's death.

Foray into the literary world

It was in 1879 that Stoker published his first book. Titled "The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland," it was a handbook in legal administration.

He later turned to writing fiction and published his first novel, "The Snake's Pass," a romantic thriller. In 1897 came his masterstroke - "Dracula."

An epistolary novel - a novel written as a collection of diary entries, telegrams, and letters from the characters - "Dracula" was celebrated and led to a lot of subcultures. The book went through a multitude of incarnations, being adapted for movies, television series, theatre, books and so on.


The Gothic novel starts off with a young lawyer Jonathan Harker on his journey to Transylvania. His destination - Castle Dracula where he is set to meet Count Dracula, a client of his firm, to finalise a property transaction.

The story features a Transylvanian vampire who survives by feeding on the blood of innocent people. Eventually, after many exploits, Dracula is destroyed.

During the course of his literary career, Stoker wrote a number of short stories and 12 novels, including "The Mystery of the Sea" (1902), "The Jewel of Seven Stars" (1903), and 'The Lady of the Shroud" (1909).

Personal life

Stoker married actress Florence Balcombe and the couple had their only son Noel in 1879. The final years were difficult, for Stoker had to grapple with financial struggles and deteriorating health. He suffered a number of strokes and renal impairment. Stoker passed away in April 1912.

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The short life of a prolific storyteller

Guy de Maupassant is known for depicting human life, emotions and social forces and creating drama out of it. His birth anniversary was observed on August 5. Mathilde was born into a family of clerks. She largely despised her social setting, unable to enjoy all the luxuries of life. She dreamt of dainty dinners, shining silverware, gowns and jewels. Then one night, Mathilde gets an invitation to go to a party with her husband. She borrows a diamond necklace from her friend. But Mathilde loses it at the party. Instead of telling the truth, the duo replaces the necklace by buying a diamond necklace and end up working the rest of the years to pay for it, living a miserable life. You can always see a Mathilde if you look around, one who aspires to live above their station and later pays the price for it. Mathilde is a character in the short story "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant. But the story doesn't end there.

The greatest reveal comes towards the end when Maupassant unveils with a flourish that the necklace is a fake. The friend tells Mathilde that it was paste jewellery and not real diamonds that she lost.

The short story is known for its twist ending and the irony of life. "The Necklace" is just one among the 300 short stories written by Maupassant. A master storyteller, Maupassant is considered the father of short story writing.

Maupassant is known for weaving narratives around human life, emotions and social forces and creating drama out of it. The life of the lower and middle classes figure as one of the central themes of his stories.

Maupassant studied law in Paris. The Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 while he was studying law and he enlisted himself in the army. This military experience would later on become fodder for many of his literary works. Some of his stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War and the narratives delve into the futility of war.

Maupassant underwent an informal apprenticeship under French novelist Gustave Flaubert which left a great influence on his literary career.

His stories were crafted in the naturalist style, meaning they are more realistic. With prose that is devoid of any frills, his writings are simple. His stories always delve into the many emotions of the human mind such as greed, ambition and desire. Apart from short stories, he wrote novels and travel books.

It was his short story 'Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat) that first gained him attention.

Some of his famous short stories are the The Necklace', The Horla', The False Gems', and 'Useless Beauty'. He also worked in newspapers where his short stories were published. His works are said to have influenced writers such as O Henry, William Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekhov and so on.

Maupassant is regarded as one of the greatest storytellers the literary world has ever seen. Sadly, he died at the young age of 42.

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What was the journey of hockey player Dhyan Chand?

Born on August 29, 1905, in Allahabad to Sharadha Singh and Sameshwar Singh - a soldier in the British Indian Army, Dhyan Singh was drawn towards hockey at a very early age. Like his father, he too enrolled himself in the army at the age of 16 and continued to play his favourite sport there.

At the Mexico Olympics, when Bob Beaman jumped beyond 29 feet; the world record at that time being a few inches above 26 feet, the field judges went on to change the measuring tape to ensure that they were using the right measurement. Beamon's 'Leap to Infinity' was attributed later to the low gravitational pull at the altitude at which the jump was taken. Legend has it that something similar happened with Dhyan Chand after a match in the Netherlands where his hockey stick was changed as people thought that he had some sort of a magnet in his stick that made the ball stick to it. In fact, it was a great tribute to his dribbling talent.

To summarize Dhyan Chand's achievements, he played a major role in India winning gold medals in three successive Olympic Games; in 1928 (Amsterdam), 1932 (Los Angeles) and 1936 (Berlin) and scored 570 goals in his career which span from 1926 to 1949, during which he played 185 matches. The number of goals would exceed a thousand if his domestic matches were included in his total score. He indeed deserved titles like 'The Wizard' and 'The Magician'. It is a result of his exceptional career that India's highest sports award in any sportsperson's lifetime achievements is named after this great sportsman as 'Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award'.

Dhyan Singh was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad, which at that time was a part of the United Province of Agra and Oudh, and is named now as Prayagraj in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Dhyan's father, Sameshwar Singh, was a part of the British Indian Army and his frequent transfers affected the study of his three sons; Mool, Dhyan and Roop, till the family settled finally in Jhansi, another district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Dhyan Chand hardly played any hockey till he was recruited as a sepoy in the 1st Brahman Regiment of the British Indian Army, in 1922, as a seventeen-year-old teenager. The Regiment was reorganised later as the 1st Punjab Regiment. Once Dhyan Chand joined the army, he started participating in various Regimental and Army games and hockey was one of them. Young Dhyan Singh was seen practising hockey even under the moonlight, which earned him the nickname of 'Chand' (the Moon), a name that stuck with him till the very end.

When an Army team was sent to New Zealand, Dhyan Chand was a member of that team. The team performed exceptionally well and Dhyan Chand started getting recognition as an attacking forward. In 1925, the Indian Hockey Federation started selections for forming an Indian hockey team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics; five Province teams were formed for the players to demonstrate their hockey skills. The teams played again in 1927 before the Indian team for the Olympics was finalised. Incidentally, before leaving for the Olympics, the team played against a Bombay team and lost. Obviously, not much was expected from the team who lost to their home team.

However, what happened thereafter was totally unexpected. The Indian team played a few matches in England, winning all of them and also all its pre-Olympic matches. In its pool matches in the Olympics, the Indian team beat Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland convincingly and despite some of its players indisposed and even an unfit Dhyan Chand taking field, the Indian team won the final match against the home team with Dhyan Chand scoring two out of three goals. The Indian team not only won the gold medal, but what was even more remarkable was that none of the teams could score even a single goal against India. Dhyan Chand scored 14 out of 29 goals scored by the Indian team in five matches.

The Indian Army did not relieve Dhyan Chand for the 1932 Olympic trials but the IHF selected him without any trial. This time, his younger brother Roop Singh was also in the Indian team and once again the Indian team routed all teams to win the gold medal. In the finals, India defeated the host team with a record margin of 24-1. Of the 35 goals scored by the Indian team during the Games, the two brothers had a combined tally of 25 goals.

In 1936, the Army refused to relieve Dhyan Chand once again for the trials and once again the IHF included him in the final team and as the proposed captain refused to participate, this time Dhyan Chand was called upon to lead the Indian team. In a pre-Olympic match, India suffered a defeat against Germany but when it mattered, India defeated Germany 8-1. It is said that Adolf Hitler was so impressed with Dhyan Chand's play that he offered the player a citizenship of Germany and the rank of Colonel in the Army which Dhyan Chand refused politely.

Dhyan Chand's scoring blitz can be measured from the fact that the second-highest international goal scorer is Sohail Abbas of Pakistan with 348 goals; way behind Dhyan Chand's tally of 570. For his achievements, Dhyan Chand was given an Emergency Commission in 1943. In 1956, the Indian Government honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and after his death in 1979, in 1980, the Indian Post and Telegraph Department issued a 35 paisa commemorative postage stamp in honour of him. In 2002, the National Stadium in New Delhi was also renamed as the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

What Donald Bradman is to cricket or Muhammad Ali to boxing, Dhyan Chand is to hockey. Among all the sports' personalities of India, Dhyan Chand stands tall, head and shoulder above the rest just as his statue on Sipri Hill in Jhansi.

Credit : Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar

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Dr BR Ambedkar is one of the most luminous figures of modern Indian history and the principal architect of our constitution. He endeavoured to build a new social order based on the democratic ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Let us look back at one of his most iconic speeches at the Constituent Assembly.

On November 24, 1949, B. R. Ambedkar presented his concluding remarks on the adoption of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. His address recalled the detailed discussions and deliberations on fundamental rights, union powers, and upliftment of minorities that laid the foundation of our Constitution's legal framework. But what makes this speech significant in present-day's political environment is its orators prophetic predictions of the factors that threaten India's political identity as a socialist democracy.

The quest of the hour Even at the helm of liberty, what crippled Ambedkars mind with anxiety was the thought of the stronghold ideals of caste and creed had on the average citizen. Recalling past incidents like the invasion of Sind by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, he elaborated on how India had once before lost its independence to the treachery of its people and the rise of new political parties that possess diverse and opposing political standing can cause history to repeat itself.

He declared that the day politicians choose creed over the country, the purpose of democracy will be defeated.

Therefore, the quest of the hour was to ensure that proper measures are taken to enforce and safeguard equality, liberty and fraternity as a nascent nation moved forward

Abandon the grammar of anarchy

In his address to the constituent assembly, Ambedkar implored to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving social and economic objectives and abandon methods of rebellion like civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. According to him, in a society that is built on good well and justice and is governed by leaders elected by the people there is no valid justification to employ unsanctioned methods of rebellion.

Dangers of hero-worship Calling Bhakti culture or Hero-worship a sure road to degradation and eventual dictatorship, he said "There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered lifelong services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness... With independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame. Except ourselves...If we wish to preserve the Constitution...let us resolve not to be tardy in the recognition of the evils that lie across our path...nor to be weak in our initiative to remove them. That is the only way to serve the country. I know of no better." (excerpt from the speech)

Key takeaways from the speech

1. Equality, liberty and fraternity are the foundations of our constitution.

2. Blind faith in any entity or individual is an enemy of the truth.

3. A good citizen understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.


  1. Dr Ambedkar was the first law minister of Independent India
  2. Ambedkar's 20-page autobiography titled "Waiting for a Visa" is part of Columbia University's curriculum.
  3. Ambedkar was the first member of the backward classes to become a lawyer.
  4. Ambedkar was the first and only Satyagrahi to conduct "Satyagraha for drinking water”. Ambedkar had master's degrees in around 64 subjects and was the first Indian to obtain a doctorate in Economics from a foreign university.

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William Bateson was an English biologist who was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity, and the chief populariser of the ideas of Gregor Mendel following their rediscovery in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns. His 1894 book Materials for the Study of Variation was one of the earliest formulations of the new approach to genetics.

Bateson became the chief popularizer of the ideas of Mendel following their rediscovery. In 1909 he published a much-expanded version of his 1902 textbook entitled Mendel's Principles of Heredity. This book, which underwent several printings, was the primary means by which Mendel's work became widely known to readers of English.

"Bateson first suggested using the word "genetics" (from the Greek [Offsite Link]  genn?, ?????; "to give birth") to describe the study of inheritance and the science of variation in a personal letter to Alan Sedgwick... dated April 18, 1905. Bateson first used the term genetics publicly at the Third International Conference on Plant Hybridization in London in 1906. This was three years before Wilhelm Johannsen used the word "" to describe the units of hereditary information. De Vries had introduced the word "pangene" for the same concept already in 1889, and etymologically the word genetics has parallels with Darwin's concept of pangenesis.

Bateson co-discovered genetic linkage with Reginald Punnett, and he and Punnett founded the Journal of Genetics in 1910. Bateson also coined the term "epistasis" to describe the genetic interaction of two independent traits.

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It has been found on the reverse side of one of his painting, hidden behind glue and cardboard. Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch painter, generally considered to be the greatest after Rembrandt van Rijn, and one of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists. He sold only one artwork during his life, but in the century after his death he became perhaps the most recognized painter of all time.

The sensational discovery was made when an x-ray image was taken of Van Gogh's Head of a Peasant Woman" (1885) in advance of a forthcoming Impressionism exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, the U.K.

Currently, the self-portrait is covered by layers of glue and cardboard believed to have been applied to the reverse of "Head of a Peasant Woman" before being framed for an exhibition held in Amsterdam around 1905. Experts are researching to see if they can uncover the self-portrait, but warn that removing the glue and cardboard will require delicate conservation work to avoid harming the painting on the other side It's believed Van Gogh painted the self-portrait after he moved to Paris and was exposed to the work of French Impressionists.

"Head of a Peasant Woman", which shows a local woman from the town of Nuenen in the Netherlands, was donated to the National Gallery of Scotland collection in 1960 by a prominent Edinburgh lawyer. It will feature in the "A Taste for Impressionism" exhibition on The Mound in Edinburgh on till November 13, 2022, together with an illuminated copy of the x-ray image.

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Emmeline Pankhurst was an English political activist and a leading figure in the suffrage movement in Great Britain. Her tireless campaigning in the face of police brutality and failing personal health made her an icon of British politics. Let us look at one of her most influential public addresses titled, "Freedom or Death"

On November 13, 1913, British activist Emmeline Pankhurst gave one of the most influential speeches of the suffragette movement titled, Freedom or Death" at a meeting of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association in Hartford, Connecticut. U.S.

On this day, the founder of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) took the stage to argue that women's liberation could only be achieved by civil war.

Sign of the times

One of the greatest political changes of the 20th Century was obtaining the vote for women; but behind this accomplishment lay decades of refusals by successive governments.

The long-standing campaign for women's suffrage began in 1865 but when years of peaceful protest and innumerable petitions failed to translate into political change, women took to the streets to rally for their right to vote. It was during this time that Emmeline Pankhurst. along with her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, came up with a public campaign of engagement and spectacle to gain media attention change public opinion, and influence the Parliament through (their motto) deeds and not words.

Freedom or Death

In her 1913 speech, Pankhurst addressed herself as a soldier on leave from the battle, since she was temporarily relieved from her prison sentence on account of what was popularly called the "cat and mouse act"

But her failing health could not derail her from utilising this occasion to speak on the need to fight against the injustices perpetrated on women by society. At the time working women she explained, were earning a meagre amount of two dollars a week: wives had no right on their husband's property and no legal say in the upbringing of their children. Girls were seen as marriageable at the age of 12 and divorce was considered to be an act against God: violence and assault on women rarely received any significant penalty, and above all, there was no legal framework that represented their gender in the constitutional setup. In this political environment, the right to vote, she insisted, was the first step towards getting political equality and attaining full citizenship.

The path to militancy Justifying the rise of the self-proclaimed militant suffragettes, she proclaimed "you cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs" The double standard of the society that reveres men as the harbinger of change and women as creatures to be domesticated has forced us down this road. The history of politics is a testament to the fact that one has to be more noisy" and disruptive to gain the media's attention and see their grievances addressed.

Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913

 This 1913 law, also known as the cat and mouse act, was especially passed to suppress the women's movement and allowed for the early release of prisoners who were so weakened by partaking in hunger strikes that they were on the verge of dying. Addressing this legislative move by the Government, she said "There are women lying at death's door... who have not given in and won't give in... they are being carried from their sick beds on stretchers into meetings. They are too weak to speak, but they go amongst their fellow workers just to show that their spirits are unquenched and that their spirit is alive, and they mean to go on as long as life lasts...either women are to be killed or women are to have the vote." (excerpt from Freedom or Death)

World War-l

Less than a year after this speech World War I broke out. The government released all imprisoned suffragists to join the workforce and support the war effort. It was only after the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918 that property-owning British women over 30 were granted the right to vote.

Key takeaways from the speech

  1. One must never hesitate to fight for social good.
  2.  Women's rights are human rights.
  3.  Equality is the soul of liberty.
  4. It takes courage to challenge the familiar and resilience to succeed.
  5.  Actions hold more meaning than words.


  • The colour scheme for the Suffragette movement was purple, white and green which stood for dignity purity and fertility.
  • Pank-a-Squith was a pro women's suffrage board game created by WSPU in the early 1900s. The game's goal was to avoid all the pitfalls of suffragette life and get the right to vote.
  • The Museum of London holds the diary entries, letters and sketchbooks written on toilet paper, passed between imprisoned suffragettes and eventually smuggled out of the prison building.

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Malala Yousafzai, (born July 12, 1997, Mingora, Swat valley, Pakistan), Pakistani activist who, while a teenager, spoke out publicly against the prohibition on the education of girls that was imposed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP; sometimes called Pakistani Taliban).

October 9, 2012, was a day like any other, when a group of young girls were on their bus ride back home, in Pakistan's Swat Valley, after an exam at school. They were unwinding on the ride, like every other student after an exam. Chit-chat and laughter filled the bus until terror struck. A masked gunman onboarded, and even before the girls could gather themselves and overcome their initial shock, he shouted, "Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all."

Upon being identified, a 15-year-old was shot at While two others were wounded in the shooting, it was the former who was most affected. She was Malala Yousafzai, and had been shot for constantly speaking up for the education rights of girls in the Valley, and opposing the Taliban's draconian rules and their acts of destroying schools and obstructing eduction. It is in honour of this fierce. courageous teen that the United Nations declared July 12. her birthday, as International Malala Day, in 2013, on her 16th birthday, when she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education.

Early days

Daughter of education activist Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala had grown up knowing the importance of education. She was further inspired by the twice-elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and started speaking about education rights as early as September 2008, when she was just 11.

However, Malala's first step towards fame came in late 2008, when BBC Urdu website's Aamer Ahmed Khan and his colleagues, zeroed in on a novel way to cover Pakistani Taliban's growing sway in Swat. They decided to ask a schoolgirl to blog anonymously about her life there. Their Peshawar correspondent, who had been in touch with a local school teacher, Ziauddin Yousafzai, could not find any students willing to report, as their families deemed it dangerous. Finally, he suggested that his own daughter, 11-year-old Malal do it, and on January 3, 2009, her first entry was posted on the BBC Urdu blog. Later, that year, she and her father were approached by a New York Times reporter for a documentary, and interviews on several news channels. By the end of 2009. her BBC blogging identity was revealed.

Danger brews

As her fame rose, so did the imminent jeopardy to her life. Death threats against her were published in newspapers, slipped under her door, and posted on Facebook. It culminated in the attack in October 2012. She was airlifted to the military hospital in Peshawar, then moved to Rawalpindi's Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, and finally to the UK's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she underwent surgeries.

Whilst convalescing in hospital, on October 15 2012. UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, visited her and launched a petition in her name and "in support of what Malala fought for". Under the slogan I am Malala, its main demand was that there be no child left out of school by 2015.

Youngest Nobel laureate

She was discharged from the hospital on January 3, 2013, and continued with her activism soon after. In October 2014, along with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Vidyarthi, she was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education. At 17, she became the youngest Nobel laureate, and the second Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize after Physics laureate Abdus Salam, in 1979. Today, she continues to serve the cause of education and work towards what she truly believes.

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Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, delivering his Tryst with Destiny speech on the eve of independence. It is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century.

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru is remembered as an author, humanist, and a charismatic central figure of the Indian freedom struggle. His conscious efforts in promoting values such as secularism and universal brotherhood during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of independent India made him a true democrat. Let us go back to his iconic first official address titled, "Tryst with destiny."

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his speech titled Tryst with Destiny on the eve of india's independence on August 14, 1947, from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort in Delhi to the Indian Constituent Assembly in the Parliament. The address was simultaneously broadcast on the radio to the millions of citizens who had toiled and waited for the dawn of freedom.

Nehruvian thought

Nehnu was the embodiment of the vision our nationalist leaders had of independent India. Neither on the political stage nor on moral stature was his leadership ever challenged. He was one of the great leaders of the national movement who not only campaigned for the country's freedom but also ushered it into modernity. Historians recall that there were four focal foundational principles that attributed to this shared vision of post-colonial India according to the spectrum of people who participated in the freedom struggle. These principles were iterated by the first Prime Minister of the nascent nation in his August 14 address.

Sovereignty at the stroke of midnight

Giving a vocal expression to the longing and the self-determination of the Indian people, Nehru declared Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge… At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, india will awake to life and freedom Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India (excerpt from Tryst with Destiny)

A democratic nation

The Gandhian philosophy of Sarvodaya or universal upliftment was one of the non-negotiable tenets of the freedom movement. In his first address as the appointed leader of India. Nehru paid homage to Gandhiji by saying. On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation who held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility (excerpt from Tryst with Destiny)

Celebration of diversity

-All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action. "(excerpt from Tryst with Destiny)

Nehru believed that in a country like India which is home to people with different faiths and religions, no real nationalism can be built except on the basis of secularity.

A pro-poor orientation

From the early nationalist days, the poor were at the centre of imagination when one thought of a liberated India Dadabhai Naoroji in his book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India elaborates on how colonialism relied on corruption and wealth inequality to sustain itself. He exclaimed that a devastated economy inhibits political independence. Therefore, aligning with the common consensus, eradication of poverty was seen as a fundamental move to exercise literal autonomy as India stood on the cusp of freedom

These sentiments echoed in Nehru's statement. "The service of India means. the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and poverty and disease and inequality of opportunity. To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India: to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman. There is no resting for any one of us till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be" (excerpt from Tryst with Destiny)

Nehru came into power when the flames of violence were burning across the country following the tragedy of partition. But even in these unsettling circumstances, his insistence on retaining democracy and the idea that in a country no leader should be bigger than its people. Constitution and State is what makes him one of the most celebrated leaders of the 20th Century.


1. Before immersing himself in India's freedom struggle, Nehru was training to be an advocate.

2. In 1937 Nehru anonymously published an article in the Modem Review journal of Calcutta under the pen name Chanakya criticising himself as "some triumphant Caesar passing by, who might tum into a dictator with "a little twist. He did this to encourage the people of the nation to hold their leaders accountable.

3. Nehru's close associates say that in his last moments, a note with the following lines from Robert Forst's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening lay on his side.

"The woods are lovely dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to before I sleep."

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On April 23, 1910, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt delivered what would become one of the most quoted speeches of his career, titled ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ at The Sorbonne for the University of Paris.

Theodore Roosevelt is remembered as one of the most robust Presidents in US history. His journey to become a symbol of America's strength and vitality is an inspiration for many. Let's revisit his monumental 1910 address in Paris, titled Citizenship in a Republic.

According to historian Edmund Morris's biography Colonel Roosevelt, the audience for this address included ministers in court dress, army and navy officers in full uniform, nine hundred students, and an audience of two thousand ticket holders.

This speech, which is also popularly known as The Man in the Arena, went on to become so influential that it was printed for tens and thousands of French school children. It was translated across Europe and turned into a pocketbook that sold 5.000 copies in just five days.

Roosevelt's America

History records that growing up, the 26th President of the U.S. found himself standing at the hinge of history. He was the leader of a new generation, one that had not witnessed the civil war first-hand. His presidency marked a beginning of a progressive era in politics that re-evaluated the moral conundrums and choices of the past.

Roosevelt's America was wrestling with profound challenges. Industrialisation and immigration meant that the cities were overcrowded and the working conditions at the factories were deteriorating by the day, and in the South. African-Americans were losing many of their voting rights, whereas women were still fighting to get the right to vote in the first place, business was booming and consolidating into various Trusts and monopolies. But in spite of all this, people were optimistic that the tools, technology, voices, and ideas of this time could solve all these problems.

Leadership distilled into action

Few men have had as much action in their life as Theodore Roosevelt. For average American citizens, his name conjures up images of Big game hunting, the Panama canal, glasses, his iconic grin, and moments that make him seem larger than life.

He was called by many the first media-conscious President the nation has ever seen. His pictures were everywhere, his likeness appeared in countless cartoons, his quotes passed from citizen to citizen and a record of his public life filmed for posterity flickered on every screen. He used the Oval office to preach the virtues of action and social reform. His rebellion against corporate greed and crooked politicians gave him the name and reputation of being a loose cannon that seldom missed a shot. One of history's supreme examples of leadership distilled into action. Roosevelt preached that the most effective way to learn was to do so by observation and true to these words, he led by example.

The Man in the Arena In his 1910 speech at The Sorbonne, he declared "Today I shall speak to you on the subject of individual citizenship... The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed... the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behoves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high" (excerpt from Citizenship in a Republic)

He further points out that the biggest problem with the system of higher education was that it made one a cynic and even took pride in it. Such an education (which was a privilege in itself) strips us of emotions and beliefs and reduces us to mere commentators who only know how to criticise "the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt".

He explains, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly: who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..." (excerpt from Citizenship in a Republic) His entire understanding of leadership came down to the fact that actions speak louder than words. And his political career is a testament to his devotion to his country and his belief in this philosophy.

The combination of his manic energy, wide-ranging interests, and his extraordinary intellect at the turn of the 20th Century made him one of the most remarkable leaders the country has ever seen.


1. Roosevelt was the first President to win a Nobel Peace Prize. He received this honour for having negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05.

2. Roosevelt is to date the youngest man to have served as the President of the U.S.

3. Roosevelt sparked a scandal when he invited the African-American educator Booker T. Washington to dine with him and his family; he was the first President ever to entertain a black man in the White House.

4. During his presidency he created the United States Forest Service (USFS) to preserve wildlife and established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, and five national parks.

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A person of exemplary calibre and fierce patriotism, former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam embodied the best of what an Indian can aspire to be. Let us look at one of his most memorable addresses titled, 'My vision for India'.

On May 25, 2011, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam gave one of his greatest speeches at the IIT Hyderabad campus, titled 'My vision for India.’ His simple and self-explanatory inaugural address for the IIT TechFest outlined his aspirations for his motherland and highlighted the need to increase meaningful public participation in nation-building activities.

A man of action

One of India's most celebrated scientists Dr. Kalam was an aeronautical engineer by training. His 1998 project The Technology Vision 2020' was an action plan that sought to achieve economic growth through technological development, with special emphasis on facilitating agriculture and increasing the accessibility and quality of healthcare and education. During his tenure as the 11th President of the country(from 2002 to 2007), India's 'missile man, as he was popularly called in the media, promoted the advancement of the national nuclear weapons program, and under his leadership. India developed strategic missiles like 'Agni and Prithvi' and tactical missiles like 'Aakash' and Thrissur’.

Even after the end of his official term Dr Kalam's passion for education and societal transformation came to the forefront in his addresses across various cross-sections of society from school children to policymakers.

His visions for India

"In 3,000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands and conquered our minds... Yet, we have not conquered anyone. Because, we respect the freedom of others, and this is why my first vision is that of freedom. I believe that India got its first vision of this in 1857, when we started the war of Independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on." (an excerpt from My vision for India)

Dr Kalam sought the freedom that nurtured creativity and independent thinking. Freedom that instilled the courage to stand one's ground against all odds. He wanted India to be confident in its identity, and progress towards becoming a developed nation, self-reliant and self-assured.

"We have been a developing nation for fifty years... my second vision for India is development. (an excerpt from My vision for India) In his public addresses, he often asked his audiences to repeat the dictum "Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result into action". He really believed that the day we as citizens recognised our duties towards the development of our nation (dismissing all the personal biases) and joined forces to work towards identifying and meeting the needs of 'all' India will truly become developed.

"I have a third vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I believe... Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand." (an excerpt from My vision for India) He ends his speech by echoing J.F.Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians... Ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and other western countries are today." (an excerpt from My vision for India)


  • Born in a humble household of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Dr. Kalam distributed newspapers as a 10-year-old to supplement his family's income.
  • Dr. Kalam was the project director of the SLVIII, the first satellite launch vehicle that was both designed and produced in India.
  • Dr. Kalam was fondly called People's President because of his simplicity and love for his countrymen.
  • Dr. Kalam was the first Asian to be honoured with Hoover Medal. America's top engineering prize for outstanding contribution to public service on April 29, 2009
  • In 2012, Dr Kalam launched a campaign called What Can I Give Movement, to develop a "giving" attitude among the youth and to encourage them to contribute towards nation building by taking small but positive steps.

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