My Son Met with an Accident | A Fateful Day

June 6, 2021 was a normal day. My son Judhajit went to the hospital in the morning for his duties. He is Medical Officer at the Bhagwan Mahavir Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Ranchi. Around 5 PM, he called his mother that he was coming home and he would have his lunch as he was hungry and he could not get the time for lunch during the day. Who knew it would later become a fateful day?

At 5:17 PM, there was a call from the mobile number of Judhajit. As I said, “Hello” there was an unknown voice asking me whether I knew the owner of that mobile. I replied, “Yes, he is my son and how come he has the phone?”. The unknown person said: “He is a policeman and the owner of this mobile had a road traffic accident.” I was zapped. I inquired about the condition of my son. The policeman replied that he was wearing a helmet and so he is saved and his bike is damaged. I asked him to wait for me there and I would be reaching there in 10 minutes as that accident spot was around 10 minutes away from our house.

I told my wife to accompany me as Judhajit had met with an accident and I was going there. I asked our driver, Rajnath also to accompany us. We drove down to the spot, but my son was not there. Without seeing Judhajit, Jagrata got very tense and said that there was nothing. There were two policemen and a couple of other citizens were there waiting for us. I was informed by the policemen that they sent Judhajit to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) hospital. I think they sent to RIMS hospital as it is a government hospital although the nearest hospital was the Medica hospital.

The damaged bike was standing there. Another policeman had gone to get an auto-rickshaw to carry it to the police station. We received a phone call from an unknown number. It was a policeman from the hospital. I told him to wait as we would be reaching soon. When the police officer came with a van, I informed him that Judhajit is a doctor at Medica Hospital and there is no dispute. They also informed us that Judhajit’s bike skidded and hit the road divider. I asked them to hand over the bike to us. He checked up with the Station House Officer of the area and released the bike with his consent. Rajnath started the bike and managed to drive it slowly. I asked him to take the bike home while I drove to RIMS hospital. The policemen were very nice and behaved quite professionally, which I appreciate very much.

Since Judhajit is a doctor at the Medica Hospital, we decided to get him admitted there. While driving up to RIMS hospital, I asked Jagrata to call Dr. Rohit, the Head of Emergency at the Medica. He is a very good friend of Judhajit. Dr. Rohit was not at the hospital then but he assured us that he would get everything ready and he would also be reaching the hospital. That was his off-day and he was at his home in Ramgarh, 40 km from Ranchi.

On reaching RIMS hospital, we found two police constables were waiting for us at the gate. By the time I parked the car, they guided Jagrata to Judhajit. He was lying on a stretcher and was bleeding from his face and chest. His right feet had silencer burns and he was not able to move his legs and left hand. We talked to the doctors there and informed them that we were taking Judhajit to Medica as he is a doctor there. I signed the undertaking to get him discharged against medical advice. We arranged a private ambulance, managed to put Judhajit inside with great efforts. There were much staff of RIMS hospital watching but nobody came to lend their hands to help me putting Judhajit transferred inside the ambulance from the stretcher.

I was just hurrying to get Judhajit in Medica as soon as it was possible. I knew he would get the best possible treatment there once I take him to Medica. By the time we reached the gate of Medica, the staff were ready with a stretcher and took him inside. When I reached the Emergency room after parking my car and paying for the ambulance, the doctors had already started cleaning his wounds and preparing for an X-ray, CT scan etc.

It did not take an hour when almost the entire hospital doctors were there. Dr. Sanjay Kumar, the Vice Chairman of Medica Hospital, Ranchi was also there along with his team of surgeons. Since Judhajit was in the Emergency Unit, the hospital management staff opened the room of Dr. Sanjay Kumar and made us sit there. We were told that we will be briefed by the doctors there. We understood as the Emergency was overcrowded then.

Dr. Ankur, the Orthopedic head informed us that there was nothing to worry about as the bone injuries would not need any surgery. The scans were not clear as Judhajit was shaking in pain. He said from his clinical investigation and the X-ray of his injured places. After some time, Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Dr. Patrick Minz and others came and informed us the same and they had decided to keep him in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for that night for more observation and care. Dr. Sanjay Kumar assured us that he would get the best treatment and they were there for him. He advised us to go home that night and asked one of his staff to take us to the NICU to see Judhajit before we go home.

On regaining his consciousness, Judhajit called us at 2 AM borrowing a phone from the nursing staff at NICU. Until then we could not sleep. The next day we reached the hospital in the morning. He was shifted to a private room and we stayed with Judhajit for four days at the hospital. He has three broken left wrist bones, silencer burns on the right foot and a few other abrasions and wounds to heal. Every doctor, consultant, nursing staff, management staff, coordinator, and security staff came to check him, see him and boost his morale during his stay in the hospital. The nursing staff took extra care while dressing his wounds. A colleague of Judhajit, Dr. Manish was almost there round the clock.

Thanks to Jharkhand Police, everyone at the Medica Hospital of Ranchi, the grace of God, and the prayers of all our well-wishers, Judhajit is now recovering at home.

Berlin Covid Care | My Experience

I am an MBBS doctor and was preparing for the NEET-PG examination to get into post-graduation course, scheduled in April 2021. It was deferred due to increased cases of COVID-19 and some political issues. I was incredibly angry with this deferment decision since I was preparing for the exams seriously for a few months. We were even given the admit cards a week before the scheduled date of examination. We had even visited the test center. Then two nights before the examination it was announced that it has been deferred indefinitely. I was frustrated and was feeling hopeless.  

I joined back Medica Hospital, Ranchi but I also had some hours left to spare. So, on the advice of my boss / mentor Dr. Sanjay Kumar (Neurosurgery HOD, Medica Hospital, Ranchi), I planned on joining a new Institution named Berlin Covid Care opened recently in Ranchi for taking care of Covid patients. Dr. Atri Gangopadhyay (Pulmonologist) had recently left our institution and was now associated with this new institution. In Medica, it was like a rumor that this new institution belonged to him, but rather he had just joined there as a consultant. I still think there are several people who still believe in this rumor.  

After the meeting with the Directors, Dr. Ambuj and Dr. Pranab, I came to know that this was not just a temporary setup as they also had long-standing plans for this hospital to develop it into multispecialty hospital in the future after the pandemic subsides. They promised a handsome salary and agreed to my conditions of working in my primary institution as well as here. So, the deal was struck.  

I joined there on 28 April 2021. My first day was like any other first day. New faces, awkward silences etc. So, my first day went pretty much introducing each other. Knowing names and faces (which I always have a problem with). I met Dr. Ranjit who was like the oldest and most influential Medical Officer since he was awfully close to the directors and was handpicked by them, although I was through a much higher channel and senior to anyone there (after the consultants Dr. Atri and Dr. Krishna), but it is fun to let others feel superior, just give it time and all come down crumbling (I feel so cynical right now, LOL). I also met Dr. Manish who had just completed internship after MBBS and had joined for pretty much same reason as mine. So, he is like a budding flower who would still need the light of experience to bloom. The first day just went by eventless. 

Well here comes Day 2, where things took a definite turn. As I reached the hospital, I was informed by Dr. Manish that one of the patients was deteriorating. I hurried up to him and saw that the patient was gasping but no one had an idea what to do next. I had just gone from my night duty in Medica Hospital and so I was pretty much drained and after seeing that everyone was standing still in a panic, my head just burst into flames (like what happens in the animations, KABOOM). I lost my temper and started yelling at the staff there while scolding for their incompetency. As for the fact the patient was in an overly critical condition and nothing done could revert him any time soon, but I felt it unacceptable to just let him pass away. Sometimes you just run towards a dead-end knowingly. That is what human emotions make you do. So started all emergency procedures and administering the life-saving drugs. But his lungs were in so poor condition that even after doing everything possible, we were unable to ventilate him properly and lost him to the disease. But since he died and I knew that a few more minutes would not have changed that outcome, but I was at the heat of the moment and his death was like the last nail in the coffin. I blasted.  

That day, I shouted on everyone who came in my vicinity. The lack of documentation and poor management in everything just added the fuel. Sadly, even when the director came that day and I expressed my disappointments to him too, a bit rudely. But since it was a serious matter that should not be ignored, he listened to my rambling patiently and decided that we should have a meeting on the following Sunday to discuss the present shortcomings.   

We decided on multiple things that need to be changed and modified during our Sunday meeting. That was the day I came to know about the other medical officers named: Dr. Sharukh, Dr. Ranvijay, Dr. Rahul, Dr. Ishant and they are all freshers from different colleges in India and abroad. So, we became determined for making this hospital worthy of working and be remembered.   

From the next duty, we started to scold them at their mistakes while appreciating them for their job done well to correct their attitude towards patients and boost their morale also. Since then, everyone started respecting our words and orders like gospel since they knew else, they would bleed from their ears. As days went by, there was a significant improvement in the quality of services provided by the nursing and management. There was a remarkable difference between them before and after. Although as it is a working place, there were multiple small instances of arguments, learning, scolding mismanagement. But we slowly but steadily week by week becoming better at enduring the shortcomings.  

Information system was getting stronger and hence working of all the cogs were getting better. Mr. Badal, our GM was also improving his managerial skills and started working as a lubricant rather than being friction in the system. Mr. Ajay our housekeeping head and Mr. Parwez our security head all did their jobs with conviction. We, medical officers, had absolute authority over all the decisions after the consultants, as with great power comes great responsibility. We started taking better-informed decisions with the goal of patient’s better management and care. We, with the help of the management, made sure that proper advice is provided to the attendants about their patient’s condition. That helped us to deliver better patient care and insight to the attendants. As my boss always said, “It’s not the patients that need your assuring words, since they are in pain and if you relieve them of their problems, they will be happy, perhaps it is the attendant, you should try to console because they will spread the name of your behavior.” Hence, there should be complete transparency.   

As the Nurses improved their skills, we planned to educate them, so that they do not panic at the time of emergency, rather will be ready to handle such situations with their knowledge and skill. As we all know knowledge can boost your confidence at times of need, we started delivering regular lectures and sessions for the nurses as well as the support staff and slowly they started catching up.   

Finally, all our efforts had been very fruitful as we successfully treated over 200 patients in a month with the unfortunate death of 4 patients, which means a mortality rate of less than 2 percent, which is a remarkable performance because the hospital was opened to take care of COVID-19 patients during a pandemic situation. Thanks God, the pandemic subsided a month later of the fateful opening. The directors have now planned to remodel the hospital with plans, to begin with a new Superspeciality hospital in a couple of months, which would be interesting to see unfold.   

Sadly, all of us had to bid farewell to this place where we learned a lot from our experience despite several shortcomings among us as well as in the new institution. It was a wonderful learning experience for me as I have always worked in a well-equipped renowned private institution. 

On 31 May 2021 Berlin Covid Care management and staff held a farewell party for us, the medical officers. The meal was unbelievably delicious and the mood was heart-warming. After that, we all exchanged goodbye and moved away from our memorable yesterday towards an even brighter tomorrow.  

Thanking Berlin Covid Care from the core of my heart and everyone associated with it to make it a memorable and enjoyable journey. It would never have been the same without you. 

Transitional Care | A Value-added Post-hospitalization Care

After a medical procedure or hospitalization, the words we look forward to hearing most are, “Here are your discharge papers – you are free to head home now!” What a sense of relief is there in coming through the front door, sinking into a favourite chair, and unwinding.

Once the patient is out of surgery; all the loved ones wish to take them back to their “comfort” zone but would it be the safe zone too? Sometimes it is very difficult for a family to fulfil the medical needs of at-home patients. Unknowingly, the care-giving loved ones may hamper their own health, which will in turn affect the patient’s health too.

Transition care is the care given to a patient after hospital treatment and before a patient goes back home. Transitional care encompasses a broad range of services and environments designed to promote the safe and timely passage of patients between levels of health care and across care settings.

Successful transition from hospital to home for persons having multiple chronic illnesses is vital for improved health and reduction of hospital readmissions. Transitional care encompasses a broad range of services and environments designed to promote the safe and timely passage of patients between levels of health care and across care settings. This transition in some cases are critical for complete recovery and needs proper care.

For older adults who live alone, and even for anyone with family support, it can be intimidating to sort through all the post-hospitalization instructions, pick up prescriptions, make follow-up appointments, adjust to any needed dietary or lifestyle changes, and so much more.

Services like Transitional care are the need of the hour as they reduce the load on hospitals and simultaneously provide a patient with a medically equipped home-like setting for long recovery periods. Long term care at a hospital or a home can also be financially draining. This is also one of the advantages of a transitional care centre due to its affordable nature. Stroke patients require hospital care for the first 2-7 days. Post the above intensive treatment and investigations are over, they can be cared for in a transitional care centre, until they have sufficiently recovered to be taken home from the facility. In stark contrast to transition care, home healthcare doesn’t offer sustained medical support and instead provides care for mono-disciplinary requirements with minimal continued supervision and support of rehabilitation equipment.

There would be a higher possibility for the patient to be affected either physically or emotionally after surgery. To prevent any recurrence of serious disease or infection the nurses monitor vital signs, airway patency, and neurological status from time to time. Advance care planning is an essential element of transitional care. It is necessary to ensure that patients understand their medications and empower the caregivers with the knowledge to achieve their healthcare goals and manage the diseases.

It’s believed that along with medical care a patient’s recovery process is enhanced by the surrounding environment. A transitional care centre is generally designed keeping the above in mind. These centres also encourage family meetings and family members staying with patients for reasonable time periods.

Most of the critical / surgical illnesses are sudden and unanticipated and therefore requires the intervention of a tertiary care facility to manage the condition and stabilize health. Transition care at affordable rates becomes the most viable solution for patients for long-term recovery. Choosing a transitional care facility after a hospital stay can have many benefits to a patient’s overall recovery. Also, families whose children are settled abroad could be benefactors of such inpatient transitional care and rehabilitation centers.

Transitional care in India is a need to address the growing demand of quality health care and changing social fabric. It’s an opportunity to fill the unmet need and create a new facet of holistic healthcare delivery model which completes the care continuum.

Indian healthcare industry is witnessing phenomenal change through the reinvention of care models, to move healthcare closer to the patient. Transitional care is a 34 billion dollar market in the US with around 7% of the overall health expenditure being spent on it. But in India, transitional care is at an incipient stage, gradually taking wings. With the growing population, rising urbanization and life expectancy, there is immense scope for enhancing healthcare services penetration in India, thus presenting ample opportunity for development of the transition care industry.

Proto Armageddon | Episode 18: Goddess of Cannibals

As they entered the warehouse, Inna and Attir found a poorly constructed veil in an attempt to keep unwanted guests away. Inna said “revasee” and the veil crumbled revealing a scene of carcasses of mortals hanging around in hooks, out of which some were skinned halfway and some were complete and some seemed fresh stalks. The stench of death, rot, blood and corpse-filled the air. As moving around investigating the bodies a sense of disgust generated inside the Devil. The place looked like a free for all buffet, which was against her teachings. She knew how to respect her ingredients, but the scene in front of her had no dignity. Although she never had a palate for butchery, if needed to use them she would regard them with full respect so much as to use every part because the best result of any process is the one that leaves no waste.

“Wow, they call the Devils embodiment of evil, when they would happily slaughter in the name of sacrifice. Height of irony.” thought Inna. Then her sights fell upon an altar carved out of black stone used generally used for sacrifice. Slowly she walked towards it. She summed the relic she acquired from the Nortim city.

“A nice place to summon a God. Tyrant you once asked me why I wanted to summon a God. Hahaha now witness me making history that will be talked for aeons to come.” She said and started drawing a magic circle around the altar. The finesse in her work and art was out worldly. Tyrant was in awe at her work. “Excellent work, Master!” complemented Attir.

“I don’t need your approval, Tyrant. So shut your trap” replied Inna.
” My apologies, Master. Please forgive my ignorance. I was just awed looking at you.”
“Don’t worry, Tyrant, there is nothing you can do to make me lose my composure.”

She finished the circle and started the God summoning spell, using the Relic of the last war. As she cast the spell the magic circle started glowing which intensified with every tick. Soon a rift like structure appeared over the circle and a voice was heard. “Who calls me, the Goddess of Fertility, Amoris”.

Inna looked up into the rift and her lips curled up. She stood up and punched her hand through the rift. Then slowly pulled whatever she grabbed. A beautiful female figure appeared caught by the throat by Inna. “It’s bad manners to not show your face to the one who offered their sacrifice. Don’t you think? Goddess of Cannibals, Amoris.”

Has the Media Become a Vulture?

The role of the media is to present the facts of any case, issue, or an incident before the public so that the latter can form an informed opinion of the same after hearing all sides of the argument. It is not their job to influence the public to choose one side over the other which is what is happening today. Nowadays, we are seeing that the mainstream media are regularly dishing out their opinion as news trying to influence the people in their line of thinking.

There was time when journalism was considered as a prestigious profession and journalist was honored but these days it has completely lost its aura. Vulture journalism is depicted as a “Peepli Live” syndrome, because for them more than factual data, it is considerations of TRP (Target or Television Rating Points), and also where their loyalties lie that drives news coverage. “Peepli Live” is a 2010 Indian Hindi-language satirical comedy film that explores the topic of farmer suicides and the subsequent media and political response.

Vultures usually feed on carrion or roadkill. In contemporary India, journalists like a vulture, sometimes prey greedily and ruthlessly on others, especially the helpless. As an idiom, “vultures are circling” means that the scavenger firms or people are waiting to finish off the ailing person or organization.

The St. Petersburg (Florida) Times (now The Tampa Bay Times), an American newspaper published in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, used the phrase while questioning the ethics of a South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, who captured a photograph that is called ‘The vulture and the little girl’, also known as “The Struggling Girl”, depicting the 1993 famine in Sudan. The photograph was a 1994 Pulitzer winner.

Kevin Carter, while wandering into the open bush to take photographs, heard a soft, high-pitched whimpering and saw a tiny girl trying to make her way to the United Nations feeding center about a half-mile away in Ayod, Sudan (now South Sudan), in March 1993. For Carter, it represented a moment of opportunity and pain. Carter and other photojournalists had been advised not to touch victims of the famine due to disease, so he couldn’t help the child.

As Carter crouched to photograph the child, a vulture landed in view. Careful not to disturb the bird, he positioned himself for the best possible image. He spent 20 minutes photographing her in the hopes of capturing a photo that could shed light on the problems in Sudan. He waited for the vulture to open its wings – an even more ominous sight – but the bird never obliged. Eventually, Carter chased the bird away and watched as the child (who was actually a little boy named Kong Nyong) mustered the strength to continue crawling toward the feeding center.

The Vulture and the Little Girl, Pulitzer Prize winning photograph by Kevin Carter

The image was intended to draw attention to the plight of Sudanese people, who were struggling through civil war, drought, and famine. But unintended consequences — like a public outrage that Carter took a photo of this girl, rather than helping her — brought up serious ethical questions about if, when, and how photojournalists should intervene in the events they photograph.

It’s also true that all journalists are not indulging in vulture journalism. I have seen several instances in the recent past when a reporter or a photographer, moved by the plight of the subject, has taken out money from their pocket to help a migrant in distress. It could have been to buy some packets of biscuits, or for buying a seat in a bus to ferry the migrants to their distant homes.

Recently, we are seeing many Indian newspapers, channels, and news websites are full of images and news of group pyres in gory details; hospitals full of patients, disadvantaged families, helpless families roaming around, suffering from hunger, dying people, burning pyres, etc. We all know that there is an epidemic going on; we also know that it is enough to say that there is no control over the situation; and nobody knows what’s the right decision, but the result of showing just gross images is spread of panic among people, creating so much fear that even a healthy person can fall sick.

There are many journalists and reporters engaged in manipulating national tragedy to carry out their agenda. They go on to the extent of distorting certain facts of truth to make them look valid and convincing in their reporting as news. There is an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 positive cases in India. Medical facilities and infrastructure are overwhelmed. For a patient’s family, it is a battle to get the patient admitted to the hospital. And, the India’s health infrastructures are working day and night to save as many patients as they can.

The job of the media is to raise constructive criticism. But, the media is busy in creating a wave of panic. Media should report the size and spread of the epidemic, analyze the crisis situation, and point out the lapses, but also bring in, simultaneously, some feeling of positivity through their news channels, newspapers, and websites by also reporting the positive side of the epidemic:

  • show interviews to recovered patients;
  • give the real picture: how many are mild and how many are needing hospitalization? It is reported that 80% of the COVID-19 patients are getting cured at home with isolation and by following their doctor’s advice;
  • let us know where to find oxygen cylinder or hospital beds, which they could do when they could air live coverage of election results by constituencies;
  • encourage people to serve instead of running away from the COVID-19 patients by showing the people, trusts, organizations coming out to help out the patients and their attendants;
  • bring in subject matter experts to discuss and debate on the issues instead of political rivals to shout each other down; and
  • force people’s representatives to do social service instead of showing war games in studio.

I agree that events that impact a lot of people make them more newsworthy in the eyes of journalists. Giving prominence to the sufferings of people in media reporting has never served any purpose. Every death is painful and heart-wrenching, even if the country’s medical system is overburdened and doctors are toiling hard to save the COVID-19 patients amid an unprecedented surge of cases in the second wave. We need balanced reporting of all events. We need a sensitive media in our society.

What’s important while eating: the taste or the stone in the bite?

In a restaurant, one well-known chef cooked very tasty pulao using high-quality rice. As soon as the pulao was ready, its aroma spread all over. Everyone’s mouth started watering. They were all eager to taste the pulao. About a hundred people were served the pulao.

Just when everyone was about to take the first bite and put it in their mouth, the chef came and said that there is a small stone in the pulao. As it was of the same colour and size as the rice grain, he couldn’t find it. He said as it may come in anybody’s plate he would want them to be careful while eating and the stone might injure them if it comes in between the teeth.

The flavour of the pulao is good… the taste is also great but now the fun of eating has gone. Everyone was forcefully swallowing one bite after the other without paying attention to the taste while eating. The more they became aware, there was no talk, no gossip among them. All were quiet and silent. Before the start of the meal, it was fun to be together. Now even though they were together, one by one, they fell into a trance. Everyone ate until the end. Even the last bite was taken care of.

After completing the meal everyone sighed relief for not getting the stone. They washed their hands. Just then, someone noticed that no one got the stone. Then they called the chef and asked him: “you had said that one of us will get the stone while eating!”

The chef said, “I had removed most of the stones, but if there was one left by mistake, I just wanted to warn you.”

They started looking at each other. There was no discussion about the very delicious pulao. Everyone was exhausted after the meal because the ease of eating had gone. They had found it was so hard to eat!

Due to this pandemic at present, our condition has become like the stone in the pulao. It is not possible to say who will get this stone.

The ease of living is gone. Even the helping hand which comes forward, we think will get the Coronavirus? Milkman, vegetable vendor, grocer… while buying every necessity of life, we are worrying what will come with it and this is how we are living our lives!

Earlier when one sneezed, we said “God Bless” But now we think whether nature has pulled out our file or what…? No one knows how many days this will continue.

But it is a humble request not to let your happy life become useless like the delicious pulao. Don’t read negative news, posts. Read motivating posts, information, books. Cultivate hobbies and buy happiness in kilos and tons just from yourself! We just need to follow the COVID Appropriate Behaviours.

This post is based on a story received on WhatsApp.

Algebra in Arjuna’s Arrows!

Bhaskaracharya, an Indian mathematician and astronomer of the 12th century, is considered the progenitor of Differential Calculus – 500 years before Newton and Leibniz. He is referred as Bhaskara II to avoid confusion with Bhaskara I (of the 7th century CE). He was born near Vijjadavida (Bijapur in modern Karnataka) and lived between 1114-1185 CE. He represented the peaks of mathematical knowledge in the 12th century and was the head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain, the leading mathematical center of ancient India.

Bhaskaracharya is particularly known in the discovery of the principles of differential calculus and its application to astronomical problems and computations. While Newton and Leibniz have been credited with differential and integral calculus, there is strong evidence to suggest that Bhaskara was a pioneer in some of the principles of differential calculus. He was perhaps the first to conceive the differential coefficient and differential calculus.

His main work Siddhanta Shiromani, (Sanskrit for “Crown of treatises,“) is divided into four parts called Leelavati (beautiful woman, named after his daughter Leelavati), Bijaganita, Grahaganita (mathematics of planets) and Goladhyaya (study of sphere/earth). These four sections deal with arithmetic, algebra, mathematics of the planets, and spheres respectively. He also wrote another treatise named Karna Kautoohala. Leelavati, contains many algebra-related teasers, which have become the subject of significant research by scholars. These teasers are in the form of shlokas which pose the problems. The shlokas need to be interpreted correctly to decipher the meaning in order to find the solution.

पार्थ: कर्णवधाय मार्गणगणं क्रुद्धो रणे संदधे 
तस्यार्धेन निवार्य तच्छरगणं मूलैश्चतुभिर्हयान् |
शल्यं षड्भिरथेषुभिस्त्रिभिरपि च्छत्रं ध्वजं कार्मुकम् 
चिच्छेदास्य शिरः शरेण कति ते यानर्जुनः संदधे || ७६ ||

The meaning of this shloka is a question formulated as follows:

  • during the battle between Arjuna and Karna in the Mahabharata, Arjuna released some arrows. Of the released arrows:
  • half were consumed in stopping the arrows coming from Karna;
  • 4 times the square root of the arrows were consumed to control the horses of Karna’s chariot;
  • 6 were for gaining control over Shalya, the charioteer of Karna. (Shalya was the maternal uncle of Nakula and Sahadeva);
  • 3 were used to take on the umbrella and flag of the chariot and the bow of Karna; and
  • finally Karna was killed by a single arrow.

So how many arrows were released by Arjuna in the battle? Basic algebra easily yields the answer to this question, if the equation is formulated correctly. Let the total number of arrows be X. The statements above can be reduced to the algebraic form:

X = X/2 + 4√X + 6 + 3 + 1
Solving this, we get the value of X=100 for the total number of arrows shot by Arjuna.

However, the fun is not just in getting the algebra right. There is so much hidden information in this shloka. If we think a little deeper about the hidden meanings, it reveals that

  • even for an atirathi like Arjuna, it took as many as 50 arrows to stop the arrows of Karna – reflecting upon the skills of Karna. An atirathi is a warrior capable of contending with 12 Rathi class warriors or 60,000 warriors simultaneously, circumspect in his mastery of all forms of weapons and combat skills;
  • that the horses needed 40 arrows to immobilize the chariot tells us about the kind of training given to the horses in the battle field;
  • when even the horses needed 40 arrows, that Shalya the charioteer surrendered with just 6 tells us that he is favoring Arjuna;
  • 3 arrows to take the chariot and the bow shows the helplessness of Karna; and
  • once everything is in control the enemy should vanquished in just a single arrow.

So the rules and skills required to win such a battle operationally are: firstly, stop the enemy fire-power; second, immobilize the enemy by taking on his mobility- the horses and the driver; thirdly signal to him his helplessness by destroying the carriage, and finally eliminate the enemy himself.

If we analyze the same shloka on the spiritual side, we can see that

  • to attain ultimate liberation, firstly one needs to control over his/her personal desires, this being a very difficult task, thus takes 50 arrows;
  • then take control over 5 senses and sensual pleasures indicated by the horses. The 40 arrows needed to do this indicate the difficulty of the task;
  • gaining control over 5 senses will lead one to the control over the consciousness (manas, thought, ego) indicated by the driver; and
  • if all the foregoing are done, achieving the ultimate liberation (moksha) should be relatively easy.

The elegance of shlokas is good mathematics has been beautifully illustrated by the ancient Indian mathematicians.

Angrabadi Shiva Temple | Amreshwar Dham

Angrabari is the temple complex in a scenic village near Khunti, the headquarter of Khunti district in the state of Jharkhand, at a distance of around 40 km from Ranchi. The most striking feature of the temple is the shivling, which is believed to have originated on its own under a mango tree. The temple site also houses several other Hindu deities including Ganesh, Ram, Sita, and Hanuman. Shankaracharya Swami Swarupanand Saraswati, having been captivated by serene, placid and celestial beauty of Angrabadi rechristened it as Amreshwar Dham. We visited this temple a several times. This Shiva temple is said to be hundreds of years old. The temple has been renovated recently. I have last visited this temple in December 2019 with my wife and son.

Today is the day of Maha Shivaratri. I was recollecting my visits to this temple. This temple attracts a large crowd of Shiva devotees during the month of Shravana and on the day of Maha Shivaratri. I heard of this temple after I reached Ranchi on my transfer from New Delhi in 1997.

The Ranchi-Chaibasa is a nice highway through hills and forests. We used to for long drive on this highway up to Khunti on weekends and especially on cloudy and rainy days. Khunti is synonymous with rebellion and struggle since it was historically a center of activity during the famed Birsa movement in 1875. Khunti is also known as the lac producer of the Jharkhand region. A large share of India’s total lac is produced in this place. Lac is a natural polymer (resin) that is produced by a tiny insect called Kerria lacca (Kerr).

Legends

According to Munda legends, King of Chhotangapur Maharaja Madra Munda’s son Setea had eight sons. Of these eight great-grandsons of Madra Munda, the eldest went southwards of Ranchi. He established a Khuntkatti village which he named Khunti. When Mundas first went to Khunti and its neighborhood, they found that part of the country in the occupation of the Asuras and the Tirkis. When the Mundas with their stalwart physique appeared in the country, the Asuras and Tirkis got terribly frightened. It is asserted that Munda women of those times used to wear glittering jewelry weighing as much as ten seers (a traditional unit to measure mass equivalent to around 933 gm) each and the men could carry weights as much as many maunds (an Indian unit of weight equivalent to about 37 kg). The Mundas to this day recite a couplet which describes how the Tirkis fled in troops when they saw the Mundas approach with their many ornaments sparkling in the sun. The Asuras went westwards to Basia, Pargana and Nagra.

In another story, it is said that the place derived its name from the mythological character Kunti in the Mahabharata. Kunti and her sons, the Pandavas, had spent some time in this place, during their fourteen years of anonymity. This ancient theory has brought fame and glory to Khunti. (Source)

History of Jharkhand is closely linked with 6th and 7th Century BCE at the era of Mahabharata the Kikata Pradesh mentioned in the Rig Veda, was located in the Parasnath Hills in Giridih district, Jharkhand. Like the Magadhas in the Atharvaveda, the Rigveda speaks of the Kikatas as a hostile tribe, living on the borders of Brahmanical India, who did not perform Vedic rituals.

It is believed that the Shivling enshrined here protects the devotees as armor. It is said about this ancient Shiva temple that no funeral or wedding doli has passed from the front of the temple till date. The villagers believe that a doli or a bier passing through the front of the temple will cause great calamity to the people concerned. The locals say that no elephant has passed through this Shiva temple till date and they attribute the death of many elephants behind this.

There is another story around this village of only Adivasi houses. It was told that many people of other castes, except tribal, tried to build a house here, but for some reason their house could not be completed. Here the entire system of Shiva temple is handled by the Adivasis; the priests for worship of Lord Shiva are among the Adivasis. There are many temples in Jharkhand were the priests are from the Adivasis and in some temples, they worship along with the Hindu Brahmin priests.

May the glory of the divine Shiva, remind us of our capabilities and help us attain success. Jai Shiva Shankar!

Om Namah Shivay! Har Har Mahadev!

Proto Armageddon | Episode 17: The City of Amora

Inna after taking care of the guards called out “Tyrant!! Did you scan the castle for me?”
“Yes, Master!” after appearing out of the thin air replied Attir and chanted Incas-casium. As his holographic image changed into a 3-D holographic map of the castle. The map’s precision was so accurate that it would even show all the guards and their patrolling path along with the premonition of the next 5 mechas.

For the next few ticks, Inna sat on the floor analyzing the map conjured by Attir. As she thought hard a furrow started to surface over her forehead. “If I may, I was curious about our purpose of visit to this Wolfian city, Master,” asked Attir.

“Tyrant, what did I tell you in the Nortim City?” replied Inna.
“You found the Relic of the Last War.”
“And after that?”
“The Relic will be useful in conjuring a God.”

“Precisely. But to conjure one, you must have a few pre-requisites.  Firstly, a powerful item good enough to anchor a God, hence the Relic. Secondly, an Altar, preferably one designated to the One you are trying to conjure else it will be a lot of hustle; thus we are in this city. Thirdly, and most importantly an offering for sacrifice. They just cherish offerings, hence the deal I made in the Nortim city and all the tasty souls I collected as payment would come in handy. But I guess we might get some more to offer since we have been announced. So, have you cleared your doubts Tyrant??”

“Almost. Just one. Why are you summoning one?”

“Curious one! Aren’t you?” she replied with a smirk. “All will be revealed in due time, my loyal servant. After all, I am Night. You must know what they say about Night—Dark and Mysterious. Hahahaha!” she laughed as her eyes sparkled in mystery.

Tyrant kept his silence wondering what the Devil had in her mind. “Oh! I must say your conjuring has improved, but you still have a long way to go,” said Inna as she started to focus on the Map again. “Tyrant, when you were scouting; was there any section of the castle which looked very unimportant to you or more accurately was there any place where very few people went but periodically?”

After thinking for a while, he replied “There is one, I think might suit your query.” The map zoomed in to the place where Tyrant wanted to highlight. The map showed a huge room, which more or less looked like a warehouse. But for something so important it only had two guards stationed! Interestingly suspicious thought Inna and declared “That is where we are going.”

After passing through quite a few corridors with the least possible resistance as in the slaughtering of Wolfians, because of the support from Tyrant’s map they reached the warehouse gate. “Etarium Nish” chanted Inna and eternal night befell on the unfortunate guards as they are not going to see the day again. She went near the body of the guards to harvest their souls. As she was sucking out their spiricules into her body an axe flew towards her with killing intent. She rolled back to avoid the hit.

“Oye! Oye! Oye! Who do we have here in our home? You are unwelcomed here Devil. You and your kind should have never set foot upon our sacred grounds.” shouted Hungir as he leapt from the roof from where he threw the axe. He pulled out two large crude heavy swords and started swinging as they were twigs. He pointed one of the swords towards the Devil and said “You are my prey. Ready yourself.”

Inna looked towards the door of the warehouse and then switched her vision on Hungir. “This is extra work! That’s why I wanted to be so discreet.” sighed Inna. “Oookkkaay!!! Listen you useless mongrel. I don’t have time to waste on you. How about I give you 10 tries for your attempt at killing me. After that, I am gone. Deal?” replied back with a Devils grin.

On listening to the reply Hungir felt humiliated and shot towards her with his swords pointed forward. But just passed through her and crashed on the wall due to his own momentum. “There goes the first. Are you not trying hard, love?” Inna gave a teasing remark which in turn fueled his rage. He turned to look at her and smashed his swords on the ground which gave rise to multiple shockwaves towards her. “I count it as two. Even though I don’t age, I ain’t got eternity for you.”

Hungir not able to contain his anger started chanting “Vedo mara recario inferio” and he burst into flames. The Wolfians were known for having the highest affinity for fire but encasing themselves in the fire was a whole different form of affinity. Hungir recently had just received the spell from his God after his latest ascension which made him one of the strongest Wolfian and also the most arrogant. Although it was a wonderful sight to see someone encased in flames from head to toe. “That’s bright,” thought Inna. As Hungir started to hack and slash towards her everything around was turning to ash and soot.

Three…
Four…
Five…
Six…
Seven…
Eight…
Nine…

“You really tried hard, kid” complemented Inna. “If I were not a Devil, I would have been burned long ago. I mean really burned. But unlucky you, it seems. You got one more try then I’ll be off, love.”

Hungir had started to lose breadth and was perspiring from every pore available. He looked like a mess who might die from exertion. Giving up was not what Wolfians are taught. He thought to himself that he had a single trick up his sleeve, an ace which could turn the tides. Although seeing Inna unharmed even after his barrage of slashes did shake his morale, but Wolfians don’t go down easy.

Hungir raised his both swords up towards the sky and prayed “O merciful Lady Amora, bless me so that I can slay this Devil.” To his surprise, nothing happened. Miracles by Gods can be very tricky at times. Gods may be busy or just ignoring. But Hungir was not able to apprehend how or why did his God decide to ditch him in this crucial moment.

“I guess that was a no show then,” Inna commented to the theatrics with a smile. “I have never seen someone getting ditched by a Minor God before. Huh! This world is indeed interesting, Father. Well, so what’s next?”

Hungir mustered the last of his strength encased himself in fire ran towards Inna swinging his swords and chanted “extorius nine”. In the next moment he faded into the atmosphere and 6 well-coordinated strikes around Inna as a cloud of dust formed around her with every strike and on the sixth a huge uppercut with all the energy of the fire encasing him into the last blow and to Inna’s surprise, she was pushed back from her original position who until now did not even budge.

As the cloud of dust faded Hungir fell unconscious on the ground wearing a smile on his face which showed a sense of accomplishment. “Impressive, too bad you are not mine. I would love to have you fully. Tasty!!” said Inna with a raised eyebrow while smacking her lips.

Last Episode: Finding the Relic

Celebrate International Mother Language Day

All of us speak at least one mother tongue — a language spoken since early childhood, while growing up. The mother language of a child is part of that child’s personal, social and cultural identity.

In 1948, Pakistan government declared Urdu to be the sole national language of Pakistan, even though Bengali or Bangla was spoken by the majority of the people in Pakistan, combining East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (currently known as Pakistan). The people of East Pakistan protested as their mother language was Bangla. To demolish the protest, the Pakistani government outlawed any public meeting and rally. The students of Dhaka University arranged massive rallies and meetings. On Feb 21, 1952, police opened fire on rallies, Abdus Salam, Abul Barkat, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed Abdul Jabbar, and Shaifur Rahman died, with hundreds of others injured. This was a rare incident in history, where people sacrificed their lives for their mother language. Salute to those martyrs who laid down their life for their mother language—Bangla on Feb 21, 1952.

Central Shahid Minar at Dhaka University, Bangladesh in the memory of language martyrs (Image via internet)

The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day as International Mother Language Day in resolution of 2002. International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind.

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

Every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Languages are disappearing: a worldwide shared interest and commitment is needed to help them survive. Languages disappear when their speakers do! This can happen due to internal factors, such as when a community has a negative attitude towards its own language and does not maintain or protect it from extinction, or due to external factors, such as when a government pursues a policy for a ‘lingua franca’.

Many other factors, such as migration, urbanization, globalization and the increasing worldwide spread of new technology, can have an adverse effect on language diversity, especially when traditional ways of life are threatened. At the same time, they can also help to protect, spread and preserve languages.

The death of Boa and Boro in November 2009 and January 2010, the last surviving speakers of two Great Andamanese languages, Khora and Bo, has resulted in the extermination of their unique tribes on the islands. Dr. Anvita Abbi, professor of linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi has compiled a ‘Dictionary of Great Andamanese Language’. The lexicon follows Abbi’s five-year research in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It documents the present form of the language, drawing its resources from four Andamanese languages, two of which — Khora and Bo — recently become extinct. In her effort to preserve the language, Abbi has reconstructed the entire grammar of the language and also come out with a pictorial version for children.

If outsiders helped wipe out the Great Andamanese, they are also helping to record their voices. Dr. Abbi’s dictionary project includes an audio CD. “If you click on a word or phrase, you can hear Boa’s voice saying it…You can hear her songs.”

Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way. Let us all celebrate today the International Mother Language Day and promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism every day.