All posts by sirshivam

A freelancer.

Pakistan Monument: A Symbol of Unity

-By Shivam Pathak

The Pakistan Monument is one of the best example Pakistan’s sophistications in terms of beauty and architecture. The monument is situated in Islamabad,
Pakistan. It is a heritage museum come national monument. The construction of this monument was commenced in the
year of 2004. After three years the construction of this monument was completed in the year of 2007.

At present
the monument stands as one of the prime destinations for tourists in the country. The elevation of the monument makes it conspicuous from the far distance. The monument stands in the heart of Pakistan as an epitome of the unity of Pakistani people. The architecture of the monument outlines rich Mughal architecture elements of the Subcontinent in its appearance.

The shape of the monument is like a petal, which is an integral part of the traditional muqarnas (a form of ornamented vaulting in Islamic architecture) of Mughal architecture. Its seven petals symbolizes a particular proportion of the country of Pakistan, like- its four large petals delineate the nations’ major four cultures -Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi and Pakhtun, and the other petals which are a bit smaller than the former represents the nations’ minorities- Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Thus together form the state of Pakistan.

As stated before, the monument also entails a museum, which narrates the history of the creation of Pakistan. Therefore it won’t be wrong to remark that the beauty of this monument is rather competent in enrapturing anyone,
who sees it.

Prambanan Temple: Second Largest Hindu Temple In Southeast Asia

-By Shivam Pathak

One of the prime destinations for tourists in Indonesia is Prambanan temple. The Prambanan temple is also known as Rara Jonggrang. The temple complex is situated in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is a beauty of Indonesia which is profound throughout the world. Its majestic appearance and distinctive looks makes it quiet impressive.

It is basically a 9th century Hindu temple complex in
Indonesia. It is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and the second-largest in Southeast Asia. The temple is consecrated to Trimūrti-Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The temple has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year of 1991. The structure of the temple complex outlines typical elements of Hindu architecture like shikhara. There are lots of legends about the origins of this temple. It is believed that the temple complex was named after the popular legend of Rara Jonggrang.

According to this legend a prince named Bandung Bondowoso wanted to marry Princess Rara Jonggrang, who was the daughter of King Boko, whom he had killed in order to rule over his kingdom. After many attempts the princess agreed to marry him, but before marriage she set a condition before him according to which Bandung had to build one thousand temples in just one night. Later on Bandung however built 999 temples with the help of the spirits, but before he could build the 1000th temple he was tricked by the princess and was not able to complete the 1000th temple.

After this when Bandung came to know that it was princess who tricked him, he gave her a curse due to which the princess became a statue. Therefore, I hope after listening to this interesting legend you all will definitely visit this exotic temple complex in order to unveil the truth behind this legend.

Genpei War: A Major Turning Point in Japan’s History

-By Shivam Pathak

After a baffling war of Genpei between Minamoto clan led by Minamoto no Yoritoma and Taira clan led by Taira no Kiyomori, Japan’s history took a radical turn that further paved way for the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate. Genpei war marked the genesis of Minamoto no Yoritoma as dominant figure in the land of Japan. Minamoto neither wanted to enthrone himself as the king nor did he try to pull down the imperial court. His desire was to install himself as brawny figurehead by seeking the title, Shogun (military leader), which he accomplished later
in 1192 by a legal machination.

His principal cause behind this was to grab the actual power of Japan, which formal authority couldn’t wield him. After succeeding the title he established his government known as Bakufu (military arm of the imperial central government). In order to keep himself at a safe distance from the court (which was in Kyoto) he established his base in Kanto region. His jito (steward) – shugo (protector or constable) system further cemented the roots of feudalism in Japan. With the passage of time Yoritomo realized that reliance on personal loyalty for the purpose of control wouldn’t last long.

So he began to suspect his close friends and family. His conspiracy against his younger half-brother, Yoshitsune, is served as a good example of what he had become due to his over-suspicious behaviour. Yoritomo’s death in 1199 raised pandemonium for a suitable Minamoto successor. His two sons Yoriie and Sanetomo each nominally became Shogun, but neither of them was competent enough to hold real
control amidst murder and intrigue that followed soon after Yoritomo’s death.

As a consequence both Yoriie and Sanetomo were directed and ultimately murdered by their own mother Hojo Masako. Following their death the government was controlled by Hojo Masako as a shogunal regent. This resulted in the decline of shogun position. As shogun position declined in the court, the manipulable court nobles being appointed as shogun and real power was exercised by the Hojo.

Hojo’s reign witnessed two Mongol invasions by Genghis Khan’s grandson Kublai Khan in 1274 and 1281, but neither of them was successful. The external menaces helped Japan to put an acute full stop to internal wars, but it also come up with a mounting discontent towards the Hojo shogunate because the financial cost of the defense severely depleted the shogunate’s finances. Go- Daigo tried twice to challenge the Shogunate, in 1324 and 1331, but failed on both occasions. Like Go Toba before him.

But somehow Go Daigo shortly broke free from the captivity of Kamakura shogunate, and managed to muster support in the western part of Honshu. Later in 1333, Ashika Takauji was sent by the Kamakura shogunate to deal with the mounting dangerous situation. When Takauij realized that he and Go Daigo had sizeable military strength between them, he turned his back on Kamakura Shogunate and declared his support for Go Daigo.

Within weeks another young general, Nitta Yoshisada, rebelled against the Kamakura shogunate and destroyed its power base at Kamakura. Therefore, the Kamakura shogunate was overthrown in the Kenmu Restoration under the Emperor Go Daigo, and marked the end of the Kamakura shogunate.

A Thrilling Account of World war one (1914-1918)

-By Shivam Pathak

On a Sunday morning of 28 June 1914, a young Bosnian Serb Yugoslav Nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. The assassination of the future king struck the whole Austro- Hungarian Empire very severely. After a befitting funeral of Archduke the Austro-Hungarian
Empire issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23rd July for which Serbia was given 48 hours to abide. The ultimatum demanded a quick suppression of all publications which incite hatred and contempt against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. But Serbia’s reply failed to satisfy Austria’s appetency of a suitable reply.

Thereupon, two moved a war footing. But soon after the war enlarged from a bilateral issue to one involving most of Europe, and gave birth to the First World War in history. In world war First all powerful European countries were divided into two camps one was the Triple Entente (later known as Allied powers as other countries joined the alliance gradually) that includes France, UK, and Russia and the other was Triple Alliance (later known as central powers after Italy left the alliance and other countries joined ) that includes Germany, Austro- Hungarian Empire, and Italy, which remained neutral in 1914. But later Italy left Germany and Austro -Hungarian Empire alone and joined the Triple Entente due to a strained relationship with the former. In war the Germany was making successful advances towards west in France by invading Belgium in between, but on its eastern part the former was facing a grim battle against Russia.

As the time went by the situation was becoming more sophisticated as Germans had doubled down their efforts to invade France and Russia. But in April 1917 the USA military forces entered the war as an associate power rather than an official ally of Allied powers. The arrival of USA on the war canvas marked a significant halt of Germany’s efforts to become a super power in the world. Gradually, Germany and its allies had come to an end of their spirit and resources. And finally on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an Armistice was signed between the allies and Germany in 1918. In simple terms an armistice is generally an agreement to stop an ongoing fighting in order to create a breathing space in which a peace treaty can be negotiated, but the armistice of 1918 went a lot further.

The 1918 Armistice terms include not only evacuating all Germany’s conquests in France and Belgium, but also permitting the allied armies to occupy Germany west of the Rhine. The armistice also states that Germany had to give away its 30,000
machineguns, 5,000 cannons, 17,000 planes and all their u-boats. For an ambitious country like Germany, whose only objective was to become a supreme power, the armistice was a shame. But, at the end Germany signed the armistice and loses all its capacity to wage war in future (at least for two decades). Ultimately First World War was over, but Germany’s desire to avenge its enemies was started to build up even more fiercely. So it won’t be wrong to say that the ending of First World War sowed the seeds of an even more appalling conflict just two decades later. At last I want to state a line from a thought provoking book- “A Short History of the world” in which the writer, H.G. Wells, wrote in chapter 65 (page no. 425) that-‘The more interesting question is not why the Great War of 1914 was begun, but why the Great War was not anticipated and prevented”. Hope through this statement of the writer you could surmise the incompetency of that time so-called world leaders.

Modernization: An age of Prosperity or Destruction?

-By Shivam Pathak

Mankind of today’s diaspora is quiet fascinated with the advancement in science and technology, which marks the dawn of modernization throughout the world. But their understanding on the very same is rather complicated. If we consider the literal definition of modernization, then the term meant-“a progressive transition from pre-modern or traditional
to a modern society”. In reality the term means a lot more than this literal definition could callf for. My concern here is to break the fallacious reasoning of this term modernization. However the term has many
dimensions or aspects, but in this article I prefer to shed light on one of its dimensions and that is- “The false association of arms and ammunition development to modernization”. Before moving forward I want to quote a widely accepted cliché-‘Arms are responsible for both, war and peace’.

But always remember, to start a war a nation needs competent arms and ammunition to resist their counterparts, as Germany had against USA in world war two (1939-1945), which is one way or the other is a consequence of modernization. The eve of arms development marked a drastic change in human existence forever. For the first time in human history we now are capable of our own destruction as a species. But we always attempt to conceal the devastation caused by disastrous weapon testing by the veil of modernization, as USA had done in its nuclear testing on various sites on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between 1946-1962. Arms or weapons which were once considered as branch on the trunk (modernization) are now trying to replace the trunk all by itself. The modern age is now heavily interpreted as a nuclear age, so we need to understand that if it continues then it would be catastrophic not simply for one nation or another, but for the whole mankind. The
misconception regarding the definition of modernization is a big environmental issue, political issue, economic issue and most importantly moral issue. The 1986 accidental nuclear explosion at Chernobyl in Ukraine, then part of Soviet Union, served as the best example that the thing which we for so long believe in, is in actuality entails the source for the end of civilization or mankind.

The present situation of COVID-19 proves us that the modernization in terms of technology and arms
development is not the real development which we all are striving for. At last, I think the only way through which we could save ourselves from the upcoming jeopardy is the way of disassociation, disassociation of the idea of arms to the idea of modernization. The full-stop on arms and ammunition development could also result in eradication of the ideas of imperialism, dominance and the rest of the ill will issues. I left the rest on my reader’s consciousness on what is right and what is wrong.

Victoria Memorial: The Taj of BRITISH raj

By Shivam Pathak

Victoria Memorial, an iconic substantial marble building in the middle of modern day Calcutta still epitomizes British Raj in India and resurrects the tumultuous decades of India’s struggle against British forces to retrieve freedom for their motherland. It was constructed in glory of Queen Victoria’s twenty-five years of reign in India. Her reign was ended with her death in 1901, preconizing Edward seventh as the new emperor of India. Queen Victoria took the grand title of the Empress of India in 1876 after the control of India came under British Paramountcy following the fierce revolt of 1857. It was under her rule that the British Empire advanced in India and touched its zenith. After the demise of Queen Victoria in 1901, the then viceroy of India, Lord Curzon ordered to erect a mausoleum befitting the magnificence and splendor of her majesty Queen Victoria. On the 4th of January 1906 the then Prince of Wales, George fifth, laid the cornerstone of the memorial. It was after fifteen long years that the gates of the mausoleum were opened to the general public in 1921. It is believed that the memorial was intended to match up to the glory of Taj Mahal of Agra; sometimes as a matter of fact the Victoria Memorial is characterized as a Taj of British Raj in India. Very few are aquatinted with the fact that before the Memorial was build up the same place was served to house the presidency jail. The jail was built here in 1778. In due course of time the prsidency jail was moved to Alipore in West Bengal in 1906, and the bygone structure was demolished to pave the way for Memorial. Up till this day the Memorial stands tall with all its grandeur in the heart of Calcutta city. Victoria Memorial museum is one of the most renowned museums in the country. Every year thousands of locals and tourists come to cast a glance on the baffling history of India’s fight for freedom. The museum has a collection of 28,000 antiquity exhibited across 25 galleries that capsulate the history of the subcontinent during British Raj. The focal point of the museum is a wide-range of paintings, painted by the most celebrated duo artists- Thomas and William Daniel. Though there are some other memorials of Queen Victoria existed in India, in cities like Lucknow, Chennai, and even Allahabad, but it was one in Calcutta that truly stands out. It is a Prodigy of great Indo-Saracenic revivalist architecture in the city. Therefore, Queen Victoria never set foot on the land of India, but she left behind to the people of India, who were kept down by unjust use of authority, her mausoleum in the subcontinent which will serve as the memory of pain of the freedom fighters who were once crushed by the cruelties of Britishers by the mandate of Queen herself.

Machu Pichhu: An emblem of Ancient Inca Civilization

-By Sivam Pathak
More than 7000 feet above sea level in Andes Mountains stands an emblem of ancient Inca Civilization that still reminds us the days of Inca’s prosperity and rich culture. This bygone emblem is
known as Machu Picchu. In Quechua language Machu Picchu is often interpreted as Old Mountain. Located north-west of Cusco, Peru, Machu Picchu is a testament to the potential and brilliance of the Inca engineering. At the time when Inca Civilization was at its zenith, the empire stretched about 2500 miles alongside South-America’s Pacific coastline from modern day Ecuador down to Chile. Machu Picchu stands at the centre of this once wide-ranging empire. It is one of the few monuments and structures that are surviving and well-preserved up to this day.
Over a long time the existence of Machu Picchu was unknown to the world. Even Spanish Conquistadors who invaded the Inca Empire in 16th century never stumble upon the site. But on 24th July, 1911 a professor from Yale University, Hiram Bingham,
came across the site with the help of a local farmer Melchor Art Yaga, and brought it to the international attention. Bingham and other successive explorers devoted much of their academic careers to unravel the mysteries of this archaeological wonder. Machu Picchu (That was build around 1450 A.D.) was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a world heritage site in 1983. On 7th July, 2007, when it was winter season in Peru, Machu Picchu was included in the renowned list of New Seven Wonders of the world.

Today Machu Picchu has 200 buildings that are regarded as architectural wonders. These 200 buildings entail urban sectors, agricultural sectors, an upper town and a lower town. The temples are basically located in the upper town, and warehouses in the lower town. Despite Machu Picchu’s enigmatic nature, visitors from all around the world come to pay homage to this marvelous piece of history. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to remark the stone city of Machu Picchu as one of the most fascinating archaeological sites on the planet.

Insignis Novel and Novelist

By Shivam Pathak
“You that in far-off countries of the sky can dwell secure, look back upon me here; for I am weary of this frail world’s decay”. These are the very words of the first novel (Originally inscribed in Japanese) ever known to the world. To Japanese it is Genji Monogatari and throughout the world it is known as The Tale of Gengi. The genesis of this eminent piece of writing can be traced back some one thousand years ago during Heian period in Japan when a noble girl was born into the Northern Fujiwara clan. The girl was named Murasaki Shikibu. The period in which she was born was very invidious for women. Women of that period were thought to be incompetent of real intelligence, and therefore were not educated.
Even if they were educated they were only permitted to learn Japanese language and not Chinese language because the education of Chinese
language was not regarded as a women’s attribute. Education of Chinese language was only limited to men of the imperial court. But Murasaki, raised in her erudite father’s household, showed a precocious predilection for the Chinese classics and soon managed to acquire fluency in Chinese.
At around 20 Shikibu married Fujiwara No Nobutaka, and gave birth to a girl (named Kataiko) in 999. Two years later Nobutaka died, and left behind his wife as a widow. In 1005, Murasaki was invited to serve as a lady-in-waiting to empress Shoshi at the imperial court. Murasaki also served the empress as a tutor of Chinese language in private due to empress Shoshi’s penchant for the Chinese language, and after all Chinese education for women was not considered as legal. In the imperial court
Murasaki met many other wise women, and to some of them she gave a fierce competition in wise discussions. One such rival of Murasaki in the
imperial court was Sei Shonagon, who was in service of empress Teishi as a lady-in-waiting. Murasaki’s personal diary shows that she and Shonago were not on good terms. Heian period was also witnessing a time of Japan’s cultural insurgence. In Murasaki’s lifetime, men continued to write formally in Chinese, but Kana became the language of intimacy and of noble women. Kana set the foundation for unique forms of Japanese literature.

To take Japanese literature to its zenith, Murasaki Shikibo wrote the first novel of the world- “The Tale of Genji”, and ultimately became world’s first ever known novelist. However, some people consider it as a controversial statement, but to many Murasaki is the world’s first novelist. Therefore “The Tale of Genji”, a novel of 54 chapters written in Hiragana script, took Japanese literature to its pinnacle. Today it is translated in many languages, and read throughout the world.

Last Romanovs: A Conundrum in Russian History

By Sivam Pathak
In the autumn of 1894 Tsar Alexander third died at the age of 49 leaving his 26 year old son Nicholas the second as the new emperor of Russia. Tsar Nicholas the second of Russia belonged to an age old imperial royal family of Russia, known as Romanov Dynasty. Romanov dynasty ruled Russia over 300 years with an iron fist, during which time Russia had become one of the largest economic and military powers in the world. In yore times Russians regarded their Tsars and the whole monarchy as divine and godlike, and Tsar Nicholas was no exception to this tradition.
Russians, especially peasants (which constitute a majority of Russian population) always kept Nicholas and his family in high regards. With the
passage of time the life of the ordinary peasant become miserable, but they hold back their voices in hope of good times. Steadily survival in Russia grew increasingly harder for the common people that somehow paved the way for a greater divide between them and the Tsar. But the real turning point came from what became known as Bloody Sunday. On Sunday, 22nd of January 1905, a crowd of over thousands of people from all genders and age marched on the Winter Palace (Tsar’s residence) in
St. Petersburg. The protest from the very beginning was predetermined as a peaceful protest to highlight the poor working conditions of Russia’s workforce. At palace, in order to disperse the crowd the Cossacks firstly fired warning shots over the heads of the crowd, but as the situation was deteriorated the Cossacks then fired into the crowds. In the event of Bloody Sunday hundreds of people died and wounded. But here is one thing that needs to be taken into consideration before making any decision on a larger scale. At the time when Russians marched on the Tsar’s residence, Tsar was not in St. Petersburg, and nor he ordered to open fire on the crowd.

But Russians, unknown to this fact, began to hate the Tsar. The event of Bloody Sunday gave rise to huge resentment against the monarchy of Russia. Under the rule of Tsar Nicholas Russia was undergoing a period of severe political, social and economic hardships, and to made matters worse Tsar took an action during world war one (1914-1918) as a result of which Kaiser Wilhelm second of Germany declared war on Russia. The cost of World war one on the Russian people was catastrophic. The losses of war brought Russia on the brink of economic and military collapse. In 1917 due to mounting pressure from the provincial govt. led by Alexander Kerensky, Tsar Nicholas was forced to abdicate. In the meantime when Nicholas was returning to home, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and his five children- Grand Duchess Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia (some people believed that Grand Duchess Anastasia survived the execution by Bolsheviks), and Alexei had already been placed under house arrest in the Alexandra Palace. When Nicholas arrived at home, he too was put under house arrest along with his family. In order to protect the Tsar and his family, Kerensky sends them almost 2000 miles away from St. Petersburg to the town of Tobosk, Siberia. There the family was accommodated in the governor’s house for several
days. By November 1917 Bolshevik party had come into power by overthrowing Kerensky’s government. Soon after Bolshevik party came into power a fierce fighting broke out across Russia between the Bolshevik govt. and the anti-communist white army that wanted the Tsar reinstated. As fighting grew more intense Vladimir Lenin moved the Tsar’s family to Yekaterinburg in a former merchant’s house, known as the house of special purpose by Bolsheviks.

On 16th July 1918, it was in the house of special purpose in Yekaterinburg the whole Romanov family was shot dead at night in the basement of the house by Yurovsky and his subordinates. After executing the Tsar and his family, Yurovsky ordered his subordinates to take the bodies of the Romanov family away and buried in unmarked graves at his secret location. His subordinates done all as ordered by Yurovsky. Soon people of Russia began to question about the royal family of Russia. Under increasing pressure the Russian authorities admitted the killing of Tsar Nicholas, but would neither affirm nor deny what had happened to his family. To this day the death of the Romanovs remains one of the most controversial subjects in Russian history.

Jane Austen: A Glimpse of Her Past

-By Shivam Pathak
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like regarding! – When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library”.
These are the words of an eminent novelist, Jane Austen from her novel Pride and Prejudice, which is one of the best known works of her life so far in
literature. On 16th of December Jane Austen was born in Steventon,Hampshire in the house of George Austen and Cassandra Austen. Jane had in total seven siblings with whom she was on good terms.

Due to some problems Jane was educated at home. Austen had unfettered access to her father’s library along with that of a family friend’s (Warren Hastings) library. She loved reading novels, but most oftenly she read her own compositions aloud to her family in the evenings. The environment of Austen’s home contributed a lot in order to shape her life as a writer. Gradually when Jane changed from a child into an adult, she became mostly home-centered. She wrote her novels only in the intervals permitted from the important domestic duties of a devoted daughter, sister, and aunt.

Austen achieved success as a published writer after the publications of her novels like-Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. A significant change in her career occurred in the year 1833, when her novels were republished in Richard Bentley’s Standard Novels series. Jane’s novels were known for critiques and comments upon the British social classes. Austen’s plots were often associated to the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social and economic status in the society.

On 18th July, 1817 Jane Austen breathed her last. Her mysterious death is still a topic of discussion. Some scholars believe that she died due to cancer or tuberculosis. In 1869 Austen’s nephew, James Edward Austen Leigh, published “A Memoir of Jane Austen” in order to give an introduction of Jane Austen’s compelling account of life. Following this he published a second edition in 1871, which included Jane’s unpublished writings.

Therefore, Jane Austen’s writings gave English literature new heights. Austen’s life and novels are both inspirational for every writer as well as
every reader throughout the world.