The Discontented Ass
The World's Largest Library
The Child who Dreamt of the Skies
The Riddle of the Will
Do You Know
Md. Imran Khan
A man had an ass and a poodle, a very great beauty. The ass was lodged in a stable and had plenty of oats and hay to eat, just as any other ass would. The poodle knew many tricks, and was a great favourite with his master. He was often fondled, and given plenty of tit-bits to eat. The master carried him everywhere and when he returned home, the poodle frisked and jumped about him playfully.
The ass on the contrary, had much work to do. He helped in grinding in the corn-mill. He had to often carry wood from the forest or loads from the farm. The ass often lamented his own hard fate that made him lead a life of such hard work and contrasted it with the comfortable life of the poodle. “I work so hard from morning to night, yet at the end of the day, I am rewarded with blows and abuses. But the poodle, all that he does is just play about the whole day long yet they pet and pamper him. For my hard work I’m given old hay, but that poodle does nothing, and is fed with the choicest morsels”.
One day the ass decided that enough was enough and that he would no longer control his envy. When he saw the master coming home from work, he decided to act just as the poodle did. The master entered the house and called out to his poodle. The poodle ran to his master and jumped around him playfully. The ass broke his cords and halter, and galloped into the house. He went to his master, kicking up his heels without measure, and frisking and fawning as well as he could. He next tried to jump about his master as he had seen the poodle do, but broke the table, and turning the fine crockery on the table into a heap of smithereens. The ass then attempted to lick his master and jumped upon his back. The farmer was dazed. The servants hearing the strange noises, came running to their master and were astonished to see the ass trying to climb onto the master’s lap. Perceiving the harm it might do to their master, they quickly relieved him, and rained blows on the ass to drive him away. The ass was chased back to his stable, with kicks, clubs and cuffs.
The ass returned to his stall, nearly beaten to death. He lamented “I have brought all this on myself, why could I not have been contented to labour with my companions? My wish to be idle all the day like the useless little poodle has led to this! I should have been happy with what I was, the beast of burden”.
Moral: One should learn to be happy with what he is. Blind imitation will result in one losing whatever little he has.
The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is the largest storehouse of knowledge on earth
THE Library of Congress is completing 200 years since it was founded. Guess which foreign library collects over three lakh books from India every year. None but the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Now 200 years old, the Library of Congress is the largest store house of knowledge in the world. It adds about 1,50,000 books, audio-video cassettes, CDs, films, pictures and maps every year. It was set up on April 24, 1800 as a wing of the US Congress which is the Parliament of America. But soon the collection of books became so large that a separate building was constructed at a distance in Italian Renaissance style. Now the Library of Congress (LOC) is open for all.
According to the latest information from the LOC, it has 11 crore 90 lakh pieces. But why call them pieces. Why not books. Because now the information does not come only in the form of books but also through cassettes, films, CDs, maps, pictures etc.
The collection of LOC is really very large. So large that if all the shelves are placed in a straight line, it will run upto 375 miles. Yet the Library’s hunger for books and information is only growing. The LOC collects books from throughout the world from six centres at New Delhi, Karachi, Jakarta (Indonesia), Cairo (Egypt), Nairobi (Kenya) and Rio de Janerio (Brazil). Less than a third of LOC’s books are in English. It has books in 450 languages of the world. It collects daily newspapers from 500 cities of the world. But now these papers are microfilmed. By doing this they reduce the space required for their storage as well as make their life longer because the paper decays fast.
The first book for the LOC was brought from London in 1801. Later the third US president Thomas Jefferson sold his personal collection of 6487 books to the Library for 23,950 dollars. Among his books was the English translation of Shakuntalam by Indian poet Kalidas.
In the LOC Museum is kept the copy of the Bill of Rights and rough draft declaration of Independence.
The Library of Congress has 1000 employees to supply information to the members of the two houses of the Congress. This wing is called Congressional Research Service. Besides this, the Library has 5,000 other employees to collect, classify, preserve and supply books to the users.
The British army burnt the Library of Congress during the 1812-14 War of Liberation. It was the personal collection of Thomas Jafferson which became the basis for the new library.
Library of Congress Ocean of Knowledge
|Manuscripts (handwritten books)
|| 1.50 crore
|| 3.90 crore
|| 1.30 crore
|| 40 lakhs
|| 30 lakhs
|| 5 lakhs
Among the books in the Library, 5600 books were those printed earlier than 1500 AD. Among them one can see a Gutenberg Bible, the first book to be printed on movable metal type.
If you happen to be in the American capital, do not forget to visit this great storehouse of knowledge.
By Kayamkulam Yoonus
DR. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (A.P.J) Abdul Kalam is now the synonym of India’s achievements in the field of technology. Hailing from the island town Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 to Jainulabdeen and Ashiyamma. He was a child with an always inquiring mind and flare for hard work all the time. These qualities were kindled in him by Jalauddin, his brother-in-law and Shamsuddin, the elder brother. From the school days itself, flying was his greatest ambition.
Kalam studied in the local primary school and then went for high school to Ramnad town. He completed his B.Sc in Physics from the St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappally and later joined Madras Institute of Technology for a degree in engineering. He vividly remembers the financial difficulties to raise the required money to join the course. However his sister, Suhra gave him the same after pledging her ornaments. The brilliant Kalam later received a scholarship. Kalam opted for course in Aeronautical Engineering, his childhood dream. He came out of the course with flying colours. His training has been completed at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Bangalore.
Dr. Kalam started his career in the Domestic Air Traffic wing of DTDP in New Delhi. He was later shifted to Kanpur and Bangalore with greater targets. Then Defence Minister V. K. Krishna Menon was the first politician who saw in him immense potential in developing indigenous defence planes and equipment. He has then joined as a Rocket Engineer in INCOSPAR, Bombay. During 1962, he was shifted to Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station(TERLS) which was India’s first venture in rocketry. Kalam at that time underwent training at National Aerospace Space Agency in the US.
Kalam also made important contribution towards rocket launching. He was the Director of India’s first Satellite Launching Mission (SLV-3) held on July 18, 1980. Kalam then joined as the Director, Defence Research and Development Laboratory at Hyderabad to formulate their guided missile programme. His entirely changed the DRDL into a different organisation and they could therefore launch India’s first missile Prithvi on February 25, 1988. Then came a more advanced missile, Agni on May 22 next year. Suddenly India’s position in the world became more important and that of Dr. Kalam’s too. Other missions followed it.
The Pokhran-II atomic test was also conducted under his guidance. All these strengthened India’s defence capability to combat attack from enemies. He was Advisor to the Defence Minister and later became the Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India.
Dr. Kalam thus fulfilled his childhood dream of exploring the skies in a great way by submitting his abilities for the defence of his motherland. He was conferred with Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian Award in 1997. Kalam has written a book titled Wings of Fire and has prepared a paper 2020 for scientific development of India.
The story does not end here as Kalam continues his work burning mid-night oil.
Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
HATHIA was a princely state in Central India. It was so named because of its reputation as a trading centre for elephants. There lived a merchant, Hameed, in Hathia. He too dealt in elephants and several other animals. Once he took ill while returning from a business trip of Iran. His three sons and a large flock of animals were also travelling with him. Finding himself too sick and without a hope of recovery, Hameed called his sons and dictated his will.
All animals were to be equally distributed among the three. But not the elephants which were 19 in number. Hameed wanted them to be divided in a bizarre fashion: half of these pachyderms were to be given to the first son. The second will get a fourth of the total while the third son will take a fifth of them. “But for this no elephant must be cut”, Hameed laid down clearly and breathed his last.
But how could this be possible. All three sons thought and thought endlessly. If the elephants were to be distributed according to Hameed’s wish, the first one will get nine and a half elephant; the second will get four and three-fourths of an elephant and the third son will take four and four-fifths of an elephant. But this was unworkable as Hameed did not want any elephant to be slaughtered. The mystery of the riddle was simply beyond their ken. The three agreed to take the case to the court of their Raja in Hathia. Hameed’s primary goal was achieved. He perhaps wanted them to remain together till the journey was over. Getting to the heart of the riddle proved quite a task for everyone. The time on journey back home was well spent.
Once back in the capital of Hathia, the trio presented the case before the Raja known for his justice. Raja was amused, but he too could not put the will to use. He announced an elephant in reward from his own stable for anyone who came up with a solution that can work without cutting any elephant.
Next day a young girl appeared in the Raja’s court. She requested the Raja to first provide her the promised elephant meant for the reward. Hameed’s 19 elephant too were brought. As the 20 elephants stood in a row, the girl asked the eldest of the three brothers to take 10, half an elephant more than the will promised him. “Five would go to the second brother, a quarter more than his due”, She declared. “And the youngest will take four which makes up a fifth of the 20”, she concluded.
10+5+4, the total came to 19. The wise girl claimed the remaining one for herself and rode away as it was her reward. The courtiers rubbed their eyes in disbelief. They agreed that the dispute could not have been settled more equitably. Everyone praised the young girl and Hameed’s wisdom too.
Coconuts are the largest seeds in the world.
Uttar Pradesh with population of nearly 139 million is India’s most populous state.
C.Rajagopalachari was the only Indian Governor General of India. Governor General’s post was only for the period between the Independence and the adoption of Constitution.
Alexander built a city in memory of his beloved horse- Bucphalus.
Aircraft bodies are made out of duralumin, an alloy of aluminium and copper.
Edvin Land invented the Polaroid instant camera in 1947.
The giant Panda is the logo for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Arch, loop, whorl and composite are four kinds of fingerprints. Incidentally no two finger prints are alike.
Human foot consists of 26 bones, 33 muscles and more than 100 ligaments.
The first car, powered by a steam engine was built in 1770.
Oceans and seas cover about 70 per cent of the earth’s surface. Sea water accounts for 97 per cent of its total water.
Although tooth enamel (outer covering of teeth) is the hardest substance in the body, it gets eroded and destroyed by acid produced in the mouth during the breakdown of food.
Saturn has 18 moons.
Gujarat has almost one-third of the India’s over 7000 kms of coastline. Though the state is small, the sea breaks into the lands through several inlets, estuaries, bays and marsh lands. This results in acoastline of 1600 kms, longest among the states.
Compiled by Shazia Andaleeb
ma kullu ma yatamanna al mar'u yudrikuhu tajri ar riayhu bima la tashtahi as sufunu.
Man does not attain everything he desires, Winds do not always
blow as the vessels wish
Man proposes, God disposes
Courtesy : Primrose Arnander & Ashkhain Skipwith, Stacey International, London.