2019 marks the 150th year of one of the greatest novels ever written – Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. This classic work from Russia was first published in the book form in 1869.

          Tolstoy took almost seven years to finish this epic work, and a Russian magazine named ‘Messenger serialized some portions of it during 1865-67. But the full novel came out as a book only in 1869. The story, woven around Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, covers a period of over fifteen years. The unique literary style and the historical context make ‘War and Peace’ a monumental work.

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           Is there anyone who isn’t familiar with the famous character ‘Mowgli’? Hopefully none. The main character of the evergreen ‘The Jungle Book’, a collection of stories written by Rudyard Kipling, is a huge part of our childhood. ‘The Jungle Book’ was first published in1894.

           Mowgli is a human child raised by wolves in the jungle. In these tales, the animals proved to be both Mowgli’s allies and adversaries. Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther along with many others, are Mowgli’s friends. But Shere Khan the tiger is his enemy. The stories are set in a forest in India.

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               Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’ has fascinated readers around the world, for the last 300 years. Daniel Defoe was an English writer, famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe that was published in 1719.

                The story is about a shipwrecked man called Robinson Crusoe, and his adventures on a deserted island where he is washed ashore. One reason for its popularity is that it is packed with excitement and adventure, with sailing ships, stormy seas, and guns. Without doubt, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe established a realistic style of fiction, and set the tone for modern novels.

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              The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was a turning point in our freedom movement. The British troops under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer, opened fire on unarmed Indians on 13th April 1919. This event took place in the heart of Amritsar. Hundreds were killed, and thousands were injured. This was followed by widespread protests across a grieving country.

                 Many Indians became convinced that the British had to be paid back in their own coin – that violence had to be met with violence. The 100th anniversary of that cruel incident falls this year.

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          The periodic table gives us information about element symbols, atomic numbers, and atomic weights. It brings order to information about the chemical elements and helps chemists to understand why elements react as they do.

           The milestone in the development of the periodic table was set by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, who is acknowledged as the ‘father’ of the periodic table though the title is also claimed by the German scientist Lothar Meyer. Today, the periodic table organizes the elements by order of increasing atomic number.

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          Leornardo da Vinci was perhaps the most widely talented person ever to have lived. He was a consummate painter and sculptor, a great inventor, military engineer, scientist, botanist, and mathematician!

            He lived during the Renaissance in Italy and while working in Milan as an artist, he began writing texts for his students and apprentices. His notebooks covered more than 1000 pages of observations and illustrations. They remained unpublished for more than a century, and were printed only after his death.

            He was born on April 15th 1452 and died on May 2nd 1519.

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                     The year 2019 marks the 100th Birth anniversary of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Programme. He was born on 12th August 1919.

                     Dr. Sarabhai has put India on the international map in the field of space research. In 1962, he became Chairman of the Indian National Committee for Space Research. The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization, also known as ISRO, was one of his greatest achievements. Dr. Sarabhai died on 30th December 1971.

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         Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the out nation, is an inspiring person, who shaped world history. Gandhiji stands out among the great men of the world as a symbol of non-violent resistance to political and social repression.                      

        Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2nd, 1869 in Gujarat. He became the leader of a movement that attracted millions in the struggle for freedom. He was a strong advocate of nonviolence. India got freedom on August 15th, 1947. Gandhiji was assassinated on January 30th, 1948.

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Why is National Farmers Day an important day of observance for us?

              Do you know that the food that we consume every day reaches us through a chain of many people? A morsel of bread before it landed on our palm was a seed that was sown in a field, cared for and harvested by a farmer, bought and sold by businessmen, before being purchased and brought home by our parents from the market. While all links of the chain are important, the indispensable link is the farmer. While farming remains the foundation stone of any society, it hardly receives the respect and dignity it deserves. In India, the National Farmers Day, popularly known as Kisan Diwas, is celebrated on December 23.

                The day is celebrated in the honour of Chaudhary Charan Singh who was the fifth Prime Minister of India. Charan Singh belonged to a peasant family; and therefore, it was easy for him to relate to the problems of the farmers. He introduced many policies in favour of farmers and he was able to bring together all the farmers against the landlords and moneylenders who exploited them.

                In India, more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for income in one form or the other. The observance of Kisan Diwas sheds light on the plight of the farmers in India and the vital services they render to the nation.

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Why does our nation remember the Armed Forces?

            The Army, the Navy and the Air Force, three wings together known as the armed forces, defend a nation from extraneous threats. Indian Armed Forces Flag Day, celebrated on December 7, is observed to respect and cherish the services of the armed forces and to collect funds for the well-being of soldiers.

            The observance started in 1947 and ever since, the sacrifice of the men in uniform who valiantly fought on the borders to safeguard the country’s honour is remembered and appreciated. On this day, small flags are distributed to the general public across the country and the funds collected, are utilised for the welfare of defence personnel and their families.

             The Armed Forces are rendering invaluable services to our nation. The day is an opportunity to thank them and remember them in a special way.

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