Tag Archives: Biography

How BIG is TATA? (They Own Jaguar) | ColdFusion

Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata and gained international recognition after purchasing several global companies. It is one of India’s largest conglomerates. In 2014-15, the revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $108.78 billion.[2] These companies collectively employ over 600,000 people.[2]Each Tata company or enterprise operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors and shareholders.

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Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.”

– Gandhi

Early Life Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi was born in 1869 in Porbandar, India. Mohandas was from the social cast of tradesmen. His mother was illiterate, but her common sense and religious devotion had a lasting impact on Gandhi’s character. As a youngster, Mohandas was a good student, but, the shy young boy displayed no signs of leadership. On the death of his father, Mohandas travelled to England to gain a degree in law. He became involved with the Vegetarian society and was once asked to translate the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. This epic of Hindu literature awakened in Gandhi a sense of pride in the Indian scriptures, of which the Gita was the pearl.

Around this time, he also studied the Bible and was struck by the teachings of Jesus Christ – especially the emphasis on humility and forgiveness. He remained committed to the Bible and Bhagavad Gita throughout his life, though he was critical of aspects of both religions.

Gandhi in South Africa

On completing his degree in Law, Gandhi returned to India, where he was soon sent to South Africa to practise law. In South Africa, Gandhi was struck by the level of racial discrimination and injustice often experienced by Indians. It was in South Africa that Gandhi first experimented with campaigns of civil disobedience and protest. He called his non violent protests -satyagraha. Despite being imprisoned for short periods of time he also supported the British under certain conditions. He was decorated by the British for his efforts during the Boer war and Zulu rebellion.

Gandhi and Indian Independence

After 21 years in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India in 1915. He became the leader of the Indian nationalist movement campaigning for home rule or Swaraj.

Gandhi successfully instigated a series of non violent protest. This included national strikes for one or two days. The British sought to ban opposition, but, the nature of non-violent protest and strikes made it difficult to counter.

Gandhi also encouraged his followers to practise inner discipline to get ready for independence. Gandhi said, the Indians had to prove they were deserving of independence. This is in contrast to independence leaders such as Aurobindo Ghose, who argued that Indian independence was not about whether India would offer better or worse government, but, that it was the right for India to have self government.

Gandhi also clashed with others in the Indian independence movement such as Subhas Chandra Bose who advocated direct action to overthrow the British.

Gandhi frequently called off strikes and non-violent protest if he heard people were rioting or violence was involved.

In 1930, Gandhi led a famous march to the sea in protest at the new Salt Acts. In the sea they made there own salt in violation of British regulations. Many hundreds were arrested and jails were full of Indian independence followers.

However, whilst the campaign was at its peak some Indian protestors killed some British civilians, Gandhi called off the independence movement saying that India was not ready. This broke the heart of many Indians committed to independence. It led to radicals like Bhagat Singh carrying on the campaign for independence, which was particularly strong in Bengal.

Gandhi and the Partition of India

After the war, Britain indicated that they would give India independence. However, with the support of the Muslims led by Jinnah, the British planned to partition India into two – India and Pakistan. Ideologically Gandhi was opposed to partition. He worked vigorously hard to show that Muslims and Hindus could live together peacefully. At his prayer meetings, Muslim prayers were read out along side Hindu and Christian prayers. However, Gandhi reluctantly agreed to the partition and spent the day of Independence in prayer mourning the partition. Even Gandhi’s fasts and appeals were insufficient to prevent the wave of sectarian violence and killing that followed the partition.

Away from the politics of Indian independence Gandhi was harshly critical of the Hindu Caste system. In particular he inveighed against the ‘untouchable’ caste, who were treated abysmally by society. He launched many campaigns to change the status of the untouchables. Although his campaigns were met with much resistance, they did go along way to changing century old prejudices.

At the age of 78, Gandhi undertook another fast to try and prevent the sectarian killing. After 5 days, the leaders agreed to stop killing. But, 10 days later, Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu Brahmin opposed to Gandhi’s support for Muslims and the untouchables.

Gandhi and Religion

Gandhi was a seeker of the truth.

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”

– Gandhi

He said his great aim in life was to have a vision of God. He sought to see worship God and promote religious understanding. He sought inspiration from many different religions – Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and incorporate them into his own philosophy.

Albert Einstein.

Einstein1921
Einstein1921

Born in 1879, Ulm Germany, Albert Einstein was to become the most celebrated scientist of the twentieth Century. His theories were to lay the framework for new branches of physics. He also become well known as a humanitarian, speaking out against nuclear weapons – weapons he had indirectly contributed towards creating.

Einstein is one of the indisputed genius’ of the twentieth century, but, his early academic reports suggested anything but a glittering career in academia. His early teachers found him dim and slow to learn. Part of the problem was that Albert expressed no interest in learning languages and learning by rote that was popular at the time.

However, at the age of 12, he picked up a book on geometry and read it cover to cover. – He would later refer to it as his ‘holy booklet’. He became fascinated by maths and taught himself maths and became acquainted with the great scientific discoveries of the age.

Around this time, his father’s family business failed and so the family moved to Milan, Italy. Despite Albert’s fascination with maths, he still languished at school. Eventually he was asked to leave by the school because his indifference was setting a bad example to other students.

On leaving school he decided to become a maths teacher to help support him in his studies of maths and physics.

He applied for admission to the Federal institute of Technology in Zurich. His first attempt was a failure because he failed exams in botany, zoology and languages. However, he passed the next year and in 1900 became a Swizz citizen. He married Mileva Marec, they had two sons before divorcing several years later.

Albert Einstein’s Scientific Contributions

Quantum Theory.

Einstein suggested that light doesn’t just travel as waves but as electric currents. This photoelectric effect could force metals to release tiny stream of particles known as ‘quanta’. From this Quantum Theory, other inventors were able to develop devices such as television and movies. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921

Special Theory of Relativity

This theory was written in a simple style with no footnotes or academic references. The core of his theory of relativity is that

“Movement can only be detected and measured as relative movement; the change of position of one body in respect to another.”

Thus there is no fixed absolute standard of comparison for judging the motion of the earth or plants. It was revolutionary because previously people had thought time and distance are absolutes. But, Einstein proved this not to be true.

He also said that if electrons travelled at close to the speed of light, their weight would increase

This lead to Einstein’s famous equation

E= mc2

Where E = energy . m = mass and c = speed of light.

General Theory of Relativity 1916

Working from basis of special relativity. Einstein sought to express all physical laws using equations based on mathematical equations.

He devoted the last period of his life trying to formulate a final unified field theory which included a rational explanation for electromagnetism. However, he was to be frustrated in searching for this final break through theory.

As a German Jew, Einstein was threatend by the rise of the Nazi party. In 1933, when the Nazi’s seized power, they confiscated Einstein’s property and Einstein (then in England) took an offer to go to Princeton university in the US.

Once in the US, Einstein dedicated himself to a strict discipline of academic study. He would spend no time on maintaining his dress and image. He considered these things ‘inessential’ and meant less time for his study.

Einstein professed belief in a God “Who reveals himself in the harmony of all being”. But, he followed no established religion.

Politics of Einstein.

Einstein described himself as a Zionist Socialist. He did support the state of Israel, but, became concerned about the narrow nationalism of the new state. In 1952, he was offered the position as President of Israel, but, he declined saying he had:

“neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings.” … “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. ”

Albert Einstein was involved in many civil rights movements such as the American campaign to end lynching

On the outbreak of war in 1939, Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt about the prospect of atomic bomb. He warned Roosevelt the Germans were working on it. Roosevelt headed his advice and started the Manhatten project. But, after the war ended, Einstein reverted to his pacifist views.

He was scrutinised closely in the McCarthyite era for potential Communist links. He wrote article in favour of Socialism, criticised Capitalism and criticised the arms race. Einstein remarked:

“I do not know how the third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth—rocks!”

Einstein died in 1955, at his request his brain and vital organs were removed for scientific study.

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Issac Newton
Sir Issac Newton

Early Life of Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, in 1643, to a relatively poor farming family. His father died 3 months before he was born. His mother later remarried, but her second husband did not get on with Isaac; leading to friction between Isaac and his parents. The young Isaac attended school at King’s School, Grantham in Lincolnshire (where his signature is still inscribed in the walls.. Isaac was one of the top students, but before completing his studies his mother withdrew him from school, so Isaac could work as a farmer. It was only through the intervention of the headmaster that Isaac was able to return to finish his studies; he passed his final exams with very good results, and was able to go to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Newton at Cambridge

At Cambridge he was able to pursue his interests in mathematics, science and physics. At the time the prevailing education was based on Aristotle, but Isaac was more interested in modern mathematicians such as Descartes. Isaac Newton had a prodigious capacity to consider mathematical problems, and then focus on them until he had solved the mystery behind them. His one pointed nature led him to, at times, be detached from the world. For example, he had little time for women. An early teenage romance came to nothing, and he remained single throughout his life.

Sir Isaac Newton, has been referred to as one of the greatest genius’ of history. His mathematical and scientific achievements give credence to such a view. Amongst his many accomplishments in the field of science include:

Developing a theory of Calculus. Unfortunately, at the same time as Newton, calculus was being developed by Leibinz.  When Leibinz published his results, there was a bitter feud between the two men, with Newton claiming plagiarism. This bitter feud lasted until Leibinz death in 1713, it also extended between British mathematicians and the continent.

Mathematical Achievements of Newton

  • generalized binomial theorem
  • Newton’s identities,
  • Newton’s method,
  • classified cubic plane curves (polynomials of degree three in two variables),
  • Substantial contributions to the theory of finite differences,
  • Use of fractional indices
  • Used geometry to derive solutions to Diophantine equations.
  • Used power series with confidence and to revert power series.
  • Discovered a new formula for pi.

Scientific Achievments of Newton

  • Optics – Newton made great advancements into the study of optics. In particular he developed the spectrum by splitting white light through a prism.
  • Telescope – Made significant improvements to the development of the telescope. However, when his ideas were criticised by Hooke, Newton withdrew from the public debate. He developed an antagonistic and hostile attitude to Hooke, throughout his life.
  • Mechanics and Gravitation. In his famous book Principa Mathematic. Newton explained the three laws of motion that laid the framework for modern physics. This involved explaining planetary movements.

Newton Hit on the Head with an Apple.

The most popular ante dote about Sir Isaac Newton is the story of how the theory of gravitation came to him, after being hit on the head with a falling apple. In reality, Newton and his friends may have exaggerated this story. Nevertheless, it is quite likely that seeing apples fall from trees may have influenced his theories of gravity.

Newton’s Religious Belief’s

As well as being a scientist, Newton actually spent more time investigating religious issues. He read the Bible daily, believing it to be the word of God. Nevertheless, he was not satisfied with the Christian interpretations of the Bible. For example, he rejected the philosophy of the Holy Trinity, his beliefs were closer to the Christian belief’s in Arainism (basically there was a difference between Jesus Christ and God)

Newton – Bible Code

Newton was fascinated with the early Church and also the last chapter of the Bible Revelations. He spent many hours poring over the Bible, trying to find the secret Bible Code. He was rumoured to be a Rosicrucian. However, the religious belief’s that Newton held could have caused serious embarrassment at the time. Because of this he kept his views hidden, almost to the point of obsession. This desire for secrecy seemed to be part of his nature. It was only on his death that his papers were opened up. The bishop who first opened Newton’s box, actually found them too shocking for public release, therefore, they were kept closed for many more years.

Newton and Alchemy

Newton was also interested in alchemy. He experimented on many objects, using a lot of Mercury. Very high levels of mercury in his blood stream may have contributed to his early death and irregularities in later life.

Newton was made member of the Royal Society in 1703. He was also given the job of Master of Mint in 1717. He took this job seriously and unofficially was responsible for moving England from the silver standard to the gold standard.

Newton was an extraordinary polymath; the universe simply fascinated him. He sought to discover the hidden and outer mysteries of life. With his sharp intellect and powers of concentration, he was able to contribute to tremendous developments in many areas of science. He was a unique individual. John Maynard Keynes, a twentieth century genius, said of Newton:

“I do not think that any one who has pored over the contents of that box which he packed up when he finally left Cambridge in 1696 and which, though partly dispersed, have come down to us, can see him like that. Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind which looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10,000 years ago. Isaac Newton, a posthumous child born with no father on Christmas Day, 1642, was the last wonderchild to whom the Magi could do sincere and appropriate homage.”

Bill Gates.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

William Henry Gates was born on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington)

As founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is one of the most influential and richest people on the planet. Recent estimates of his wealth put it at $56 billion, this is the equivalent of the combined GDP of several African economies. In recent years he has retired from working full time at Microsoft, instead he has concentrated on working with his charitable foundation “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”

Bill Gates foundation of Microsoft

Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1976 when he formed a contract with MITTS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) to develop a basic operating system for their new microcomputers. In the early days Bill Gates would review every line of code. He was also involved in several aspects of Microsoft’s business such as packing and sending off orders.

The big break for Microsoft came in 1980 when IBM approached them for a new BASIC operating system for its new computers. In the early 1980s IBM was by far the leading PC manufacture. However increasingly there developed many IBM PC clones; (PCs developed by other companies compatible with IBMs). Microsoft worked hard to sell its operating system to these other companies. Thus Microsoft was able to gain the dominant position of software manufacture just as the personal computer market started to boom. Since its early dominance no other company has come close to displacing Microsoft as the dominant provider of computer operating software.

Bill Gates – Windows

In 1990 Microsoft released its first version of Windows. This was a break through in operating software as it replaced text interfaces with graphical interfaces. It soon became a best seller and was able to capture the majority of the operating system market share. In 1995 Windows 95 was released, setting new standards and features for operating systems. This version of windows has been the backbone of all future releases from Windows 2000 to the latest XP and Vista.

Throughout his time in office Bill Gates has been keen to diversify the business of Microsoft. For example Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has become the dominant web browser, although this is mainly because it comes pre installed on most new computers. In one area at least Microsoft has not gained Monopoly power, and that is in the area of search engines. MSN live search has struggled to gain more than 12% of market share. In this respect Microsoft has been dwarfed by Google. Nevertheless the success of Microsoft in cornering various aspects of the software market has led to several anti trust cases. In 1998 US v Microsoft, Microsoft came close to being broken up into 3 smaller firms. However on appeal Microsoft were able to survive as a single firm.

Philanthropic Activities – Bill Gates

Bill Gates is married to Melinda French (married in 1992). They have 3 children Jennifer (1996), Rory (1999) and Phoebe (2002). With his wife Bill Gates formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates says much of the inspiration came from the example of David Rockefeller. Like Rockefeller, Gates has sought to focus on global issues ignored by the government; he also expressed an interest in improving the standards of public school education in the US. He has appeared with Oprah Winfrey to promote this objective. In respect to charitable, philanthropic activities Gates has also received encouragement from investor Warren Buffet. Recently Gates announced that from 2008 he would work full time on his philanthropic interests. Forbes magazine 2004 estimated that Gates has given over $24 billion dollars in the 4 years from 2000 to 2004

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