Posts Tagged ‘history’


The chaos caused by supernovae does not remain static since it leaves its consequences. Interstellar medium or ISM is one such consequence.

If one star dies it is possible other stars shall die too whenever they run out of fuel.

A supernovae creates shockwaves through the interstellar medium, compressing the material there, heating it up to millions of degrees. Astronomers believe that these shock waves are vital to the process of star formation, causing large clouds of gas to collapse and form new stars. No supernovae, no new stars.

Think of space as one vast cemetery as well as a cradle.

Such accidents are in-built and conducive to overall development so much so we let the term accident in our usage on account of our limits to understanding.

What is interstellar medium but debris of stars floating about? How one war creates more wars in the history of nations is similar. War in Syria triggers war in Yemen and it shall in the end undo the very fabric of sectarian divide in the Middle East. Survival mechanism of ordinary person is not for satisfying some fools prattling things they have not seen or can live up to. Just as Europe learned to put the Holy See where it belongs and get on with their lives Moslems shall certainly get on past the tribal mindset and some foolish traditions associated with their nomadic way of living. It cannot be otherwise: Moslems or Christians are of the selfsame star materials calling themselves names just as the astronomers thought up names for the stars they discovered. The stars themselves have no need for such labels.


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I n t r o d u c t i o n


What is an anecdote? It was the redoubtable Dr. Johnson who in his Dictionary (1755) defined the word as ‘something yet unpublished; a secret history.’ On the anvil of usage a word gets beaten till it comes to mean quite something else. The doctor as concession to vagaries of time, in a later edition amended the definition as follows: ‘A biographical incident; a minute passage of private life.’

 This second book of the Representational Man contains more anecdotes and the intent is same as the first.

Man as a key and symbol. Since we come with a physical and inner life should we not be represented both visible and in inner life as well? The representational men ought to serve as a key to our inner life or our lives in the spirit.

No action of man can be understood without asking what his motives were. Why did VI Lenin resort to a violent overthrow of the Tsars while MK Gandhi adopted non-violence as his weapon? This can only be understood by the role ethos shaped their thinking. Ethos is defined as the disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement. (AH dictionary)

Alexander of Macedon is a representative man for the ilks of Julius Caesar and Napoleon whose fame and fortune are all hitched to the physical world. Their actions also prove where their emphasis lay. For the Great Soul as MK Gandhi is called, ahimsa was an article of faith and for this he owed to the teachings of Gautama Buddha and to the epics. Prince Siddhartha Gautama forsook his kingdom and the worldly advantages and yet became a representational man. He turned his loss to advantage. He became the Buddha after he put his finger on the pulse of our existence to show us a way forward. For all those who value a life in the spirit he is a representational man.

Conquerors of world empires or of our hearts and minds, prophets or saints, fools or sages have all made their mark using the same arena, the earth. Only they placed their emphases differently.

Spirit of the times is the oxygen we breathe even as they and yet we see our world through their eyes.

Diogenes of Cinope could tell Alexander to keep out of his sun because he saw his circumstances under the sun applicable to the great man as well. How come they are representational men and we are not? We are connected to representational men because we breathe the same air and create the spirit of our times in the manner we contribute however small, for the common fund. And yet we often forget what spirit we are made of; neither we cash in on the wisdom which the representational man has well made use of. Representational man in a manner of speaking is our admission we fell back in the race of life.

If we are not true to our own thoughts we are reduced to deal in second hand goods passed on by others. If we have failed to think noble thoughts or act upon them we may be forced to settle for the second best which another has thought for us. It is in this context we look up to the representational man who has succeeded where we never even tried.

I shall end this by quoting two authors who more or less approached study of history from focusing on men who made history. Scholars of present day history may not fully endorse their approach but the following quotes suit my purpose well.

My intent is not to write histories but only lives. For the noblest deeds do not always show mean virtues and vices but sometimes a light occasion, a word or some sport makes man’s natural dispositions and manners appear than the famous battles won…”

(Plutarch-The Life of Alexander)

“No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of the great men”.


(This is selected from my book: Representational Man in two volumes-self published through http://www.lulu.com)



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As discussed in the previous post each of us is a cause or effect. Law of reciprocity places each as one or other at any particular place and time. If we were to take recent events in Syria the sectarian  divide between Shi’ia and Sunni faction created a dilemma. Assad is a Shi’ite and he has been trying to put down the rebels. Assad is a cause while the ensuing bombardment has its effect in creating some 11 million refugees. Is there a simple relationship between cause and effect? Russia has joined in the fray while the Saudi Arabia and other Sunni factions are whipping up equally an opposition. In each cause and effect relationship consequences as a result of so many other events are in flux which run into an area of ‘no man’s land.’ . (The cold war which the US and USSR waged in post WWII was at first about Germany; how did it spread around Vietnam Afghanistan and Cuba? it shall connect with the Middle East and now in Syria as well. There is no more Soviet empire but Putin’s gambit is to put his own stamp over the International politics.) Thus this no-man’s land is a swamp where all the unfinished business of old and new colonial rivalries shall run into. This is one area where man’s individual certainties tend to blur.

Even if Assad’s regime can survive the conflict for how long?  This long drawn out conflict has drained the population as well as weakened the administrative machinery. Cause and Effect in short is not as simple as Indian arm-wrestling. I started with the crash of MH-17 and that of the Sinai air-crash. Is falling of the Russian aircraft as  a result of the other no one can say. Natural law of nature has a tendency to bring what is up down since gravity is part of the equation. On a moral plane we need see such disasters as the means to contain man’s freedom to get away without being responsible to others. Man breaks moral laws in his individual choices but always such actions come at a price.

Let us consider a possible scenario: Suppose a multinational company in collusion with South American power-brokers set up a company to log timber. The company can destroy the rainforest and beggar the future of so many indigenous tribes with impunity. The company generate so much profit for the company and line the deep pockets of a few corrupt politicians. Where does moral imperative step in? If a flash flood should overrun later on what would that mean? Does it not mean a kind of retribution?


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1. “See in what peace a Christian can die.”
~~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719

2.“Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well–let ’em wait.”
In response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, “General, I fear the angels are waiting for you.”
~~ Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary general, d. 1789

3.“Am I dying or is this my birthday?”
When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.
~~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964

4.“Nothing, but death”.
When asked by her sister, Cassandra, if there was anything she wanted.
~~ Jane Austen, writer, d. July 18, 1817

5.“Codeine . . . bourbon.”
~~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968

6.“How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?”
~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

7.“Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I’m happy.
”~~ Ethel Barrymore, actress, d. June 18, 1959

8.“Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”
~~ John Barrymore, actor, d. May 29, 1942

9.“I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.”
~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170

10. “Now comes the mystery.”
~~ Henry Ward Beecher, evangelist, d. March 8, 1887

In her new book The Most Famous Man in America, author Debby Applegate writes on page 466 that Beecher’s last words in fact were, “You were saying that I could not recover.” Ms. Applegate has not been able to confirm the traditional version of Beecher’s last words.

11.“Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.”
~~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827

12. “Josephine…”
~~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, May 5, 1821

13.“Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.”
~~ Johannes Brahms, composer, d. April 3, 1897

14. “Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.”
Spoken to her husband of 9 months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls.
~~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855

In reply to her husband who had asked how she felt.
~~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, writer, d. June 28, 1861

16.“Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.
”~~ Lord George Byron, writer, d. 1824

17. “Et tu, Brute?”
~~ Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor, d. 44 BC

18. “Don’t let poor Nelly (his mistress, Nell Gwynne) starve.”
~~ Charles II, King of England and Scotland, d. 1685

19.“Ay Jesus.”
~~ Charles V, King of France, d. 1380

20. “I am dying. I haven’t drunk champagne for a long time.”
~~ Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, writer, d. July 1, 1904

21.“The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.”
Dying of tuberculosis.
~~ Frederic Chopin, composer, d. October 16, 1849

22.“I’m bored with it all.”
Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later.
~~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965

23. “This time it will be a long one.”
~~ Georges Clemenceau, French premier, d. 1929

24. “I have tried so hard to do the right.
”~~ Grover Cleveland, US President, d. 1908

25.“That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.”
~~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959


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A Roman emperor* as he was being murdered by his own soldiers said: “I live” Famous deathless words. We need not know his name but we know his quote shall pass on from generations to generation. Perhaps it may be attributed so many others. It is as famous as ‘Give me death or liberty’ Both have to be experienced in order to understand their quality. Alas we know liberty for all the praises heaped on it by patriots and scoundrels alike is a tough idea to live up to. But last words are like silver spikes driven into the heart of a vampire. The curse is laid to rest and a life has closed its doors.

Here are some famous last words.

1. Jack Daniel: “One last drink, please”

Jack Daniel (1850-1911)was an American distiller and founder of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery. 

Daniel died of blood poisoning in Lynchburg in 1911. Rumor has it that he contracted an infection from kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open. However, multiple biographers have refuted this claim.

2.Karl Marx: “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”

Karl Marx (1818-1883)was a significant German political theorist, philosopher and economist. He is perhaps best known for his works “The Communist Manifesto” (1848) and Das Kapital (1867).

Marx died of complications from a catarrh that he developed in 1881. He died a stateless person.

3. Richard Harris: “It was the food.”

Richard Harris was an Irish singer, actor and film star. He is known for his roles in films like Camelot (1967) and as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harris died from pneumonia resulting from Hodgkin’s disease, and died in 2002 at the age of 72.

4. Walt Disney : “Kurt Russell”

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an American business magnate, artist, cartoonist, screenwriter, philanthropist and voice actor. He won numerous accolades for his work, including 22 Academy Awards, four honorary Academy Awards and seven Emmy Awards. His name was also given to numerous theme parks around the world (Disneyland!).

Disney was also a chain smoker throughout his entire adult life. He was diagnosed with a malignant lung tumor in 1966. He died on December 15, 1966 of acute circulatory collapse.

His last words were scribbled on a piece of paper – “Kurt Russell.” The significance of this remains a mystery, even to Russell himself.

5. John Adams: “ Thomas Jefferson survives.”

John Adams (1735-1826) was the second president of the United States. He issued this statement about the destiny of the United States less than a month before he died:

My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.”

Adams passed away on July 4, 1826- the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After being told it was the Fourth of July, Adams responded, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” It is reported that his last words were “Jefferson survives,” although he did not know that Jefferson died earlier that day. 

6. This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

7. Dimebag Darrell:”Van Halen!”

Dimebag Darrell (1966-2004) was an American musician and virtuoso guitarist, known for being a member of the bands Pantera and Damageplan.He was shot and killed by a gunman named Nathan Gale while on stage during a Damageplan performance.

8. Kit Carson:“I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”  

Kit Carson(1809-1868) is known as a famous American frontiersman. In this video, you’ll get an in-depth look at his life and his involvement in settling America’s frontier. He may have said this instead: “Goodbye doctor, adios compadre.”

9. Louisa May Alcott: “Is it not meningitis?”

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was an American novelist, best known for penning Little Women. She was a prolific writer and wrote until her death in 1888. Initially she and other biographers thought her death was caused by mercury poisoning, because during her Civil War service she contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound that contained mercury. However, more recent studies have found that she probably suffered from an autoimmune disease, leading to her death after a stroke. She passed away at the age of 55 in Boston.

10. Simon Bolivar: “Damn it! How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”   

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was a famous South American political and military leader. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 47 in 1830.

11. Queen Marie Antoinette :

After she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine the Queen said this:“Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.”

12. J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan: “I can’t sleep”

13. Humphrey Bogart: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

14. Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian: “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”

15. Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud, “Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me”.

16. Aleister Crowley – famous occultist: “I am perplexed. Satan Get Out.”

17. Carl Panzram, serial killer, shortly before he was executed by hanging : “Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!”

18. Saki: “Put out the bloody cigarette!”

Saki said this to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

Mary Surratt,: Please don’t let me fall.

Mary Surratt for her role in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln was hanged. She was the first woman executed by the United States federal government.

19. Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan, “ Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.

20. Salvador Dali:“where is my clock?”  

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter, famous for works like “The Persistence of Memory” (1931) and “Swans Reflecting Elephants” (1937).

In 1980, Dali’s health took a turn for the worse when he started to develop Parkinson-like symptoms that caused his right hand to shake uncontrollably. In addition, his wife allegedly had been dosing him with dangerous cocktails of unprescribed medication that damaged his nervous system.After his wife died he lost much of his will to live, deliberately dehydrating himself to put himself in a state of “suspended animation.” He died on January 23, 1989 of heart failure.

21.Nostradamus: “You will not find me alive at sunrise.”

Nostradamus(1503-1566) was a French apothecary and seer, whose published prophecies became famous worldwide. Born Michel de Nostradame, he worked as an apothecary despite being expelled from university in 1529.

He lived while the plague was prominent in Europe. His wife and two children were killed by the plague, and afterwards he traveled Italy with a doctor to try and treat people of the disease. By 1550 he had moved away from medicine and more towards the occult, publishing several almanacs and becoming interested in prophecy.

Nostradamus had gout, which by 1566 turned to edema. He reportedly told his secretary Jean de Chavigny the famous last words: The next morning he was found dead next to his bed and a bench.

22. General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813. “Now why did I do that?”

Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!” James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

23. “Bugger Bognor.”

Said by: King George V whose physician had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.

24. “It’s stopped.”

Said by: Joseph Henry Green, upon checking his own pulse.

25. LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.

Said by: Aldous Huxley (Author) to his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.


“I am still alive!
” Stabbed to death by his own guards – (as reported by Roman historian Tacitus)
~~ Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, d.41 AD

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Don’t be fooled to believe news media as true account of history. History is something else. Democracy after fall of Moammar was big news. Arab Spring gave way to something else and the situation in Libya is neither here nor there. Similarly in Egypt  those who wanted a decent life free from want and repression threw Mubarak regime. What did it bring but worse situation than before that the army had to step in. This cannot be history?

History is what people make despite what big money or grandiose Ideas throw about. Arab Spring and Friends of Syria trying to get their control over the Middle East have only created more mess. History is what people make from their needs and dream.

During the Crusades were ‘Jihadists’ or assassins organized by Old Man of the Mountains ( a classmate of Omar Khayyam). But Mongol invasion was a flood that cleared all. Where are they? We people are still here.

History can be compared to a mighty river of perennial supply into which the Crusades, Moslem empires, Mongol invasion,Black death are so many names or stones dropped. No sign of them. What of those great movers or shakers king of kings who carved their name in blood? They are all names written in water.

Water drops circulate between land and the air and keep the river running. History is movement of people and has nothing to do with ideas.

We need not be unduly concerned nor be impatient to change order of things either by violence or by thoughts of glory. Do not be concerned of violence that grips parts of the world. It isn’t history in itself but motion of peoples exerting to find their level.

It is foolhardy to think one can either by good intentions or force make history stop for him. Violence will be met with violence and peace shall keep peace neither realizing what other was all about.

We people shall make our homes as best and those who are cast out of their homes shall yet find their home. History clears way for us.


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Nazi Germany in the autumn of 1938 was not strong enough to fight a European war let alone win it on military strength. But Hitler maneuvered France and Great Britain into giving in at a cost neither France nor England would have anticipated. On October 5, on the House of Commons Churchill struck an ominous warning, “We have sustained a total unmitigated defeat.” The House rocked by thunderous applause given to the Prime Minister Chamberlain for having brought the country from the brink of war could well dismiss him. His was a voice in the wilderness excluded from the Conservative government. Little did they know that ‘the agreement was the beginning of a war that would consume the whole world one way or other and strip the island to bare bones when it was over. It proved to be the case and all the colonies, crown jewels of Great Britain too dear to be held, one by one was let go.

The principal Allies in their own way suffered from bad blood. France under the Third Republic was a divided house with the Press adding to the internecine war of ideologies. Great Britain on the other hand was ruled by a conservative government without any real sympathies for Europe or understanding. They were for Appeasement.


Great Britain and France were bound by a treaty to come to the help of each other in case of a conflict against Germany. Behind France’s back Great Britain and Germany entered into a Naval Treaty in 1935.

France and Russia were in turn bound to come to the aid of Czechoslovakia. There was no access to France except through Poland and Roumania. Both small nations refused entry on the fear that Stalin would not go back once given permission. It had in a way limited France from rendering any help to the Czechs though a treat existed between them. Edouard Daladier, the French Premier was virulently attacked in the Press and by the elements on the Right for siding with Russia than with Germany. Such was the aversion against Russia that Germany could well exploit it. France left Russia in the lurch while signing the Munich pact. As Field-Marshal Keitel later told the Nuremburg tribunal,”The object of Munich was to get Russia out of Europe.” It was achieved at the cost of France. According to their longstanding pact Russia had proved a dependable ally during the WWI. On October 4 the Journal de Moscou echoed the nation’s feelings,”Who will believe again the word of France? Who will remain her ally? Why would the French government, which has just annulled of her own accord her pact with Czechoslovakia , respect the Franco-Soviet Pact?”

Yes the Czechs were not given a hearing while France and Great Britain sat down with Hitler and Mussolini to determine her fate.It would prove a costly blunder and morally repugnant.

In order to avert a wider conflict a short term gain could be too costly when there is a moral opprobrium attached to it. The French Premier knew what a disgrace it was and it rankled him. When he landed back in Paris he saw a tumultuous welcome along his route back to the capital he turned to an aide and said, ”The imbeciles-if they only knew what they were acclaiming!”

In Berlin the German generals could breathe a sigh of relief. They were not sure if they could have penetrated the Czech fortifications. In the west their Siegfried Line was mere skeleton,12 divisions most of them half-trained reserves. As General Jodl expressed doubts if they could have stood up to 100 well-trained divisions of the French Army. Even Hitler was astounded after inspection of the Czech fortifications to comment,”The plan prepared by the Czech was formidable. I now understand why my generals urged restraint.” ( In fact there was an assassination plan hatched by some top ranking generals on the life of Hitler but was shelved since Chamberlain capitulated to the demands of the führer that prevented a war.)

For France her slide into inescapable disaster was now irreversible. In deferring from a punitive action in 1936 when Germany reoccupied the Rhineland she let the German guns come within reach of Strasbourg. In sacrificing the Czechs at Munich in order to buy time gave Germany far greater military advantage than her short-term gains. No more she could encircle Germany or pin down the enemy from the rear. The loss of 35 divisions of the Czechs was grievous. It also gave the Skoda works to the Germans who doubled the output of armaments and planes and when the war came Germany was ready. .

In diplomatic circles France was distrusted by her remaining allies. Warsaw, Belgrade, Bucharest would work out their own alliances and worse still Russia realized how futile was to depend upon Great Britain and France. It would pave the way for Stalin to seek an alliance with Germany in her own fashion.

The Pact proved what it is to have the honor of France tied to an ally that was for Appeasement. Chamberlain was treating France as a client state and deceit of Great Britain would prove the epithet of ‘perfidious Albion’ as apt. Earlier Great Britain and the US had stood as guarantor (Treaty of Guarantee of July 1919) and forced Clemenceau to relent on his hardline on Ruhr. Great Britain’s parliament later approved the treaty on condition that the US also ratify it. In effect it was merely an eyewash for the US Senate never ratified it. (Their deceit would have fateful consequences. Germany, even if under Hitler , would never have risked invading France again if her Allies had proved steadfast and honourable.) The US senate’s rejection of the Treaty would change the German perception. Later when the WWII broke out it would prove to be infinitely more costly in American lives and materials than it would have been, had a President’s word been honoured in the first place by the Senate. Complacency of policy of Isolation had blinded the nation who had no choice but to be part of the wider arena of international politics.France felt shafted by both allies which truly was the case, as Britain and the US found restoration of the German market in post WWI would boost their own sluggish economies.
The most important lesson France needed to learn was “no great nation could , and with impunity, allow its destiny to be decided largely by another with different interests and outlook,…” In the 1960s we may see how far this lesson had impacted in de Gaulle’s foreign policy. Also policy of Israel hinge on this principle (ack. William L. Shirer-The Collapse of the The Third Republic/pub. Pan books)



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