Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Solitary life in 10 Storied Building


Listening music, watching movies, scribbling tales, reading books and surfing internet were only means of ruling the time.

Semester exam ended on 5th of December, 2012. Ah! 1st Semester came to an end; everyone was relieved and freed from mental stresses. All friends were busy going back home to Bhutan; very beautiful and peaceful country. Group of friends left the University very evening of the day and I was left alone.

Many friends said, "what would you do during the break" I just let their interrogations run out of my ears and was talking within own my mind, why these guys so bothered about me instead of bothering what they would do up. I take little interest bothering at others' business but many friends seriously did in my case. That merely evoked me to think, when they themselves don’t know what they would do and pretended, they are lovely parents to kids, lovely husband to wife, and caring son to their parents. Those are just fake spoken words to lure others and salvage their own image. The truth behind is so thin. 

Nothing can change my mind, unless mind itself does to. No one’s interest and ideology suits mine. It is my own invincible plan and decision, nothing can deter. Education is merely a plain knowledge without transforming into wisdom and analyze the totality. Many educated elites suffer from tunnel vision and fail to overview the lateral vision. If one cannot view who is who, uttering words may not serve the purpose for others. To make good advice for others, one should practice his own. Unless one personify total humanitarian, words are just faint and flair. 

Days in the room begun by laundering, chatting, writing and watching movies. When I keep myself engaged in those activities, I could hardly have time to feel lonely and bore. Many things lingered in mind and given me the platform to jot down thoughts and feelings. It was also great prospect to revisit the things learnt before and get clarified by surfing net, reading books and referring various sources. 

Date 12-12-2012, was wonderful day because it coincided with Haap and Parop Lomba festival. According to the reported news by Rinzin Wangchuk, KUENSEL, “tonight Haa valley will not sleep. It will be noisy as groups of boys wander around the village homes with a long stick and a basket hanging on one end. As they near a home they will hold the stick out shouting ‘lo ley lo ley’ until the owners come out and place a hoentoe in the basket for each and everyone in the group.
The people of Haa and Paro valleys celebrate lomba, their traditional new year, today coinciding with the 29th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. For Haaps, the hoentoe, a popular buckwheat dumpling is an important part of the celebrations.
The steamed momo-like dumpling is a mixture of dried spinach, turnip, and chili prepared in fermented cheese and wrapped in dough made of buckwheat flour. Its preparation, characterized by a distinct aroma, begins the day before” 

CNN Headline News reads, “It’s a date that you can’t ignore. December 12, 2012 – or 12/12/12 – is the last triple-digit date of the century. Couples around the world will flock to tie the knot, while the hopeful will look for a magic moment on the special date.
We’re inviting you to celebrate 12/12/12 with us by taking a photo of a dozen items arranged neatly. It’s a little silly, yes, but it’s a fun and creative way to mark a date that might otherwise pass you by. Plus, we’ll showcase some of the best submissions from around the globe on CNN.
So take a moment to find 12 items to organize, grab your camera, and join the fun. Happy 12/12/12!”

Last year 11-11-2011 was the Birth anniversary of our beloved king, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. I have celebrated the day within the circle of my heart, how rejoicing and enthralling it was. Similar day would hardly repeat in this generation thus, have to imprint into the memorable diary of life. 

December 17th is the National Day in Bhutan. It is euphoric moment for all Bhutanese, despite places they stay at, whatever things they do, whatever circumstances and situations they are at, the day must be rejoiced at the fullest.  It is a day to show our kind gesture and tribute to the forefathers who have shed bloods and sweats to gain the sovereignty and safeguarded the nation for people of Bhutan. Perhaps, Bhutan is a miniature country in the heart of two larger countries, but immensely amused the world by its cultural diversities, unique customs, morality, values, beliefs and conventional mode of societal progress within shortest span of time. 

Bhutanese salute the hereditary kings for their unprecedented efforts and positive transformation; the HEAVEN on the Earth. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Paradoxical Age of Wisdom and Stupidity


It is fascinating to witness the life blend with various species of laughter, joy, embarrassment, stress, worries, entanglement, pain, suffering, love, affection, hypocrisy, autocratic, despotic, oppression and tyranny. Besides all, the emerging trend of the age of wisdom and stupidity encompass predominantly at the age of 21st century.

The Age of Wisdom
With the info-technological advancement and digital world of work ease the life of people and made everything at the finger trip control. No one at this age is termed to be ignorant, innocent, unaware and information poor. Everyone is flying over the superb zenith of the overload information, knowledge, astuteness and wisdom. 

Erstwhile, people suffered from information deficient; because there wasn’t a global connection network. People had to make personal contact or write epistle to get the information across. Now people are suffering from information expressiveness. Daily the new information piles on and on, and make people so confused. Each and every one is aware of world events and episodes. Learning is made easier, eating is made yummy, sleep is cozy, social interaction is global, journey has been shorten, dark night has been brightened and empowerment has been distributed for all.

The Age of Stupidity
World has turned from real to virtual, practical to theoretical, same to different and kind to unkind, patient to impatient, politeness to rudeness, togetherness to individualism, love to hatred, real friend to virtual friend, real love to fake love and heart service to lips service.

Developmental progress however failed to redress the balance between core and periphery, rich and poor, rural and urban, male and female, young and adult, and leader and servant. Technological advances are transforming the way of living especially the social interaction. Interaction is something fundamental to human beings and necessary part of human activities. But the social interaction landscape is totally different what actually is expected.  These created virtual communities were people love to spend hours together and not bothering about their actual communities. People love to spend a day long online chat room not bothering friends, families and children around. People love to engage relationship online neglecting their own husband and wife at home. Generation gap is widely seen, young generation contradict the ideologies of old generation, lifestyle, fashion, customs and beliefs become totally poles apart.

In this age of 21st century, people could incur thousands for their virtual friends, and relationships without realizing starving family at home. Due to the changing trend of love, domestic violence, divorce, child abuse, drug addict, suicide and social isolationism are enormous. The real meaning of love in this contemporary world has superseded with the infatuation love outstrip by sexual gratification and sensual pleasure.

Newfangled Life


Sun sets in the eve but rises in the dawn. Flowers bloom in spring and wither in autumn. Moon waxes and wanes every month. Winter comes and goes. Crops germinate and harvest. Rain dips and evaporates. These are ephemeral phenomenon no one can withhold and changed the process at any attempt. But why can’t human life be same? 


It was in July, 2004, I was working as an apprentice teacher at Uma Community Primary School, Wangdue Phodrang. July is summer vacation every year in Bhutanese Education Calendar, so was I on break and spending holiday with Uncle at NRTI, Lobesa. On one of the Sundays, Aunty was laboring and went to Punakha hospital because it was her delivery due. On that particular day, I was unwell and resting at home. I did not ope shop on that particular day. Aunty owned Grocery Shop at Messina and on breaks I used to run her shop.


 At around 5 PM she came back with a baby girl. As soon as she entered I went inside the bathroom to plug on heater to hot up water for showering baby and mother. Since was I in drowsy state and giddiness could not check out vividly and landed up grabbing iron rod which was on, that alive iron rode made me unconscious and half dead.


When open my eyes, I was in Punakha hospital distanced at 15 kilometers from NRTI. I could feel pain on hands and stomach. Affected parts were all dressed and bandaged. I sensed bodily weakness and lightness as if some portion of body parts were drained out. From that very fatal accident on wards, I could not properly rehabilitate physical health. According to doctor, severe electric shock can wash brain and become blank and paralyze whole nervous system. But I was not affected at that extreme. Till then, now I could sense some adverse affect in memory power and become forgetfulness. So often, I find myself being lost and absent minded. At many times, I landed up things missing which was not the case before. 
 

I concede present life as newfangled and sprung life akin of seasonal plants and flowers, waxed and waned moon. Life out of dead is blessing in disguise to do best things not merely for the purpose of living certainly for paving way for the second dead.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Education Tour


Learning need not necessarily happen within the four walls of the classroom. Learning by seeing, touching, hearing, and smelling all happen outside the class more wisely and meaningfully. Practicality and heartfelt experiences retain longer than the rote learning. Department of Education and Social Sciences planned three day education tour to provide students field experience learning.
We embarked our journey from University at 10:00 PM and arrived at 11:30 AM at Agra. On same day we made visit to two important places:

Day 1, Visit:
1.   Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian architecture and earlier Mughal architecture. Specific inspiration came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including; the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand), Humayun's Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan's own Jama Masjid in Delhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones, and buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement.
·         Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna river.

·         Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is an "elegy in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of Queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.

·         Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

·         The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.

·         Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.

·         The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.

2.   Agra Fort
Agra Fort, is a monument, located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. After the First Battle of Panipat, in 1526 Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure - which included a diamond later known as the Koh-i-Noor diamond - was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim and built a baoli (step well) in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned here in 1530. He was defeated in Bilgram in 1540. Sher Shah and his descendants held the fort for fifteen years. In 1555, Humanyun recaptured it for some time when the Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya defeated his army and captured the fort. Akbar defeated the Hindu King Hemu chanda finally at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556.
Agra Fort was originally a brick fort, held by the Hindu Sikarwar Rajputs. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in the fort at 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.
Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya who won Agra in 1553 and again 1556 defeating Akbar's army
After the First Battle of Panipat, Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure - which included a diamond later known as the Koh-i-Noor - was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim. He built a baoli (step well) in it. Humanyun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated in Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri and fort remained with Suris till 1555, when Humanyun recaptured it. Hindu king "Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called 'Hemu' defeated Humanyun's army lead by Iskandar Khan Uzbek and won Agra. Hemu got a huge booty from this fort and went on to win Delhi from Mughals. "Mughals under Akbar, defeated the Hindu King Hemu finally at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556.
Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. His historian, Abdul Fazal, recorded that this was a brick fort known as 'Badalgarh' . It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauli area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 1,444,000 builders worked on it for eight years, completing it in 1573.
It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. Legend has it that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own.

Day 2 Visit:
Next day, we visited mental hospital at Agra onset of journey towards Delhi.
1.   Institute of Mental Health and Hospital
Lunatic asylums were established by the British in India based on the fact that the care of the insane was the responsibility of the Crown. The first asylum was established in 1745 in Bombay, followed by Calcutta in 1784. There were a few asylums until 1857, which mostly existed in the major cities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. The growth of lunatic asylums was facilitated by the enactment of the Indian Lunatic Asylum Act, 1858. The Agra Asylum came into existence in 1859. The circumstances of its establishment were created by the lunacy of the Lt. Governor of Agra Mr. J. R. Colvin who became a lunatic in 1857. In the year of its establishment, the first admitted patient was Aniga, a female beggar who was loitering in the cantonment area. She was admitted on 9th September 1859. In that year, 39 patients were admitted, out of which 25 died, 6 were cured, 7 improved and were declared fit for discharge, and 1 escaped. The administration of the asylum was being managed by the Inspector General of Prisons. Mostly custodial care was provided to inmates in mud houses. The wards and living conditions of inmates were very poor and unhygienic. Lice were seen even on the walls. Many patients died because of diarrhea.
The Mental Hospital, Agra reached its peak during the period of 1957–1975 under the dynamic leadership of Dr. K.C. Dube. Within a year of his joining, he took a bold step and unlocked the psychiatric wards of the hospital. He developed the idea of an open door policy independently in this hospital on the basis of experiencing much difficulty in the management of the wards with locked doors. There was great apprehension and panic in the staff especially the attendants and head attendants who were in charge of the patients. The main point of worry was that there would be an increase in escape and violent attacks. Gradually, these doubts and apprehensions dwindled away giving place to tranquility and relief.
In 1966, the Mental Health Unit of the World Health Organization (WHO) selected the Mental Hospital, Agra as one of the nine field research centers for their prestigious research project “The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia”. The other eight centers were located at Aarhus (Denmark), Cali (Columbia), Ibadan (Nigeria), London (UK), Moscow (USSR), Prague (Czecoslovakia), Taipei (Taiwan), and Washington (USA). The report was published by WHO in two volumes (1973 and 1979). Dr. K.C. Dube had been a Member of the WHO's Expert Advisory panel on Mental Health (1966–1977).
The Government of UP declared Mental Hospital, Agra as an autonomous institution in 1995 and renamed it as Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, Agra in 2001 to promote the development of teaching, training, and research activities. 
Having attained autonomous status, the Institute has seen multidimensional growth in almost all areas under the directorship of Prof. Sudhir Kumar. The Institute is spread out over a land area of 172 acres. The intake capacity for indoor patients is 718. To promote awareness and rapid management of psychiatric patients, the concept of a Family Ward has been introduced. A beautiful park has been developed within the premise of the family ward. A patient stays with at least one of his family members in this ward. The average duration of stay is about 10 days. If there is sufficient improvement in the condition of the patient, he is discharged with follow-up advice.
By now, most of the long-stay patients have been discharged. Community Mental Health services are being provided through satellite clinics at Ram Krishna Mission, Vrindavan, and other clinics in adjoining districts of Agra. Regular short-term training programs are conducted for medical, psychology and social work and nursing students from various parts of the country.

2.   India Gate
The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
The monument is inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which in turn is inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. It was built in 1931. Originally known as the All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is composed of red and pale sandstone and granite.
The India Gate hexagon complex, with a diameter of about 625 metres, covers approximately 306,000m² in area.
The Republic Day Parade starts from Rashtrapati Bhavan and passes through India Gate to reach the Red Fort.
At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919. The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December   1971.

During nightfall, India Gate is dramatically floodlit while the fountains nearby make a lovely display with coloured lights. India Gate stands at one end of Rajpath, and the area surrounding it is generally referred to as 'India Gate'.

Surrounding the imposing structure is a large expanse of lush green lawns, which is a popular picnic spot. One can see hoards of people moving about the brightly lit area and on the lawns on summer evenings.
Day 3 Visit:
On third day we made visited many important sites.
1.   Qutub Minar,
Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct stories, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three stories are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth stories are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples'. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.
It was used as a watch tower. The earliest extant mosque was built by the Delhi Sultans. Many historians believe that the Qutub Minar was named after the first Turkic sultan (whose descendant- Wajid Ali Shah-repaired it), Qutub-ud-din Aibak, but others contend that it was named in honour of Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, a saint from Transoxiana who came to live in India and was greatly venerated by Iltutmish.
The nearby Iron Pillar is one of the world's foremost metallurgical curiosities, standing in the famous Qutub complex. According to the traditional belief, anyone who can encircle the entire column with their arms, with their back towards the pillar, can have their wish granted. Because of the corrosive qualities of sweat the government has built a fence around it for safety. The quality of Iron is an excellence of technology. The smoothness of the pillar surface makes it rust proof. The amalgamation of different metals with Iron produces such high quality of smoothness.
Before 1981, the general public could climb the top of Qutub Minar after passing through the seven-storey narrow staircase. However, on 4 December 1981 an accident occurred when the electricity was gone and the staircase of the tower went into darkness. Around 45 people were killed in a stampede that followed the electricity failure. At that unfortunate moment about 300-400 people were inside the tower. Most of the victims were children. In those days school children on Fridays were allowed freely in historical monuments and a lot of school groups were taking advantage of that. Archaeological Survey of India has closed the entry to stairway of the tower since then.

2.   Lotus Temple
 
The Lotus Temple, located in New Delhi, India, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasized in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasize that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practiced.
All Bahá'í Houses of Worship, including the Lotus Temple, share certain architectural elements, some of which are specified by Bahá'í scripture. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stipulated that an essential architectural character of a House of Worship is a nine-sided circular shape. While all current Bahá'í Houses of Worship have a dome, this is not regarded as an essential part of their architecture. Bahá'í scripture also states that no pictures, statues or images be displayed within the House of Worship and no pulpits or altars be incorporated as an architectural feature.
Inspired by the lotus flower, the design for the House of Worship in New Delhi is composed of 27 free-standing marble clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides. The nine doors of the Lotus Temple open onto a central hall slightly more than 40 meters tall that is capable of holding up to 2,500 people. The surface of the House of Worship is made of white marble from Penteli mountain in Greece, the very same from which many ancient monuments and other Bahá'í Houses of Worship are built. Along with its nine surrounding ponds and the gardens, the Lotus Temple property comprises 26 acres. 
3.   Parliament House
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament comprises the President of India and the two Houses—Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.
India's Parliament is bicameral; Rajya Sabha is the upper house and Lok Sabha is the lower house. The two Houses meet in separate chambers in Sansad Bhavan (located on the Sansad Marg), New Delhi. Those elected or nominated (by the President) to either house of Parliament are referred to as Members of Parliament or MPs. The MPs of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the Indian public and the MPs of Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies, in accordance with proportional representation. The Parliament is composed of 790 MPs, who serve the largest democratic electorate in the world; 714 million Indians registered to vote in the 2009 general elections.
Components:
The Indian Parliament consists of two houses called as Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively and the [President of India]

President of India

Similar to most Commonwealth countries, India also includes the Head of State (the President of India in India's case) as a component of Parliament. The President of India is elected, from a group of nominees, by the elected members of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) as well as of the state legislatures (Vidhan Sabhas), and serves for a term of five years. Historically, ruling party (majority in the Lok Sabha) nominees have been elected and run largely uncontested. Incumbents are permitted to stand for re-election, but unlike the president of the United States, who can be elected just twice, incumbents can be elected for any number of terms. A formula is used to allocate votes so there is a balance between the population of each state and the number of votes assembly members from a state can cast, and to give an equal balance between State Assembly members and National Parliament members. If no candidate receives a majority of votes there is a system by which losing candidates are eliminated from the contest and votes for them transferred to other candidates, until one gains a majority. Pranab Mukherjee is the current President of India.

Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is also known as the "House of the People" or the lower house. All of its members are directly elected by citizens of India on the basis of Universal Adult franchise, except two who are appointed by the President of India. Every citizen of India who is over 18 years of age, irrespective of gender, caste, religion or race, who is otherwise not disqualified, is eligible to vote for the lok sabha.
The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House be 552 members. It has a term of five years. To be eligible for membership in the Lok Sabha, a person must be a citizen of India and must be 25 years of age or older, mentally sound, should not be bankrupt and should not be criminally convicted. At present, the strength of the house is 545 members.
Up to 525 members represent of the territorial constituencies in States, up to 20 members represent the Union Territories and no more than two members from Anglo-Indian community can be nominated by the President of India if he or she feels that the community is not adequately represented. House seats are apportioned among the states by population.

Several seats are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per reservation India implemented. There is currently no quota in India's parliament for participation from women; however, the Women's Reservation Bill proposes to reserve 33% of the seats in Lok Sabha for women.

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is also known as "Council of States" or the upper house. Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retires every second year, and is replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years. Its members are indirectly elected by members of legislative bodies of the States.
The Rajya Sabha can have a maximum of 250 members in all. Elections to it are scheduled and the chamber cannot be dissolved. Each member has a term of 6 years and elections are held for one-third of the seats after every 2 years. 238 members are to be elected from States and Union Territories and 12 are to be nominated by President of India and shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely literature, science, art and social service.
The Council of States is designed to maintain the federal character of the country. The number of members from a state depends on the population of the state. The minimum age for a person to become a member of Rajya Sabha is 30 years.

Session of parliament

The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the President to summon each House at such intervals that there should not be more than 6 month's gap between the two sessions. Hence the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. In India, the parliament conducts three sessions each year:
  • Budget session: In the months of February to May.
  • Monsoon session: In the months of July to September.
  • Winter session: In the months of November to December

Central Hall

The Central Hall of the Parliament has been designed to be circular in shape. The dome is 98 ft. (29.87 meters) in diameter and is believed that it is one of the most magnificent domes in the world. The Central Hall is a place of historical importance in India for two reasons: The transfer of colonial power to the Provisional Government under Nehru in 1947 and the framing of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly took place in this very hall. Originally, the Central Hall was used as the Library of the erstwhile Central Legislative Assembly and the Council of States until 1946, when it was converted and refurnished into the Constituent Assembly Hall. The Constituent Assembly met there from December 9, 1946 to November 26, 1949 to draft the constitution. At present, the Central Hall is used for holding Joint Sittings of the two Houses. At the commencement of the first session after each General Election to Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President addresses both the Houses of Parliament assembled together in the Central Hall. When the Houses are in session, the Central Hall is used by Members for informal discussions among themselves. Central Hall is also used for special occasions when the Members of Parliament are addressed by distinguished Heads of States of other countries. The Hall is also equipped with Simultaneous Interpretation System.

2001 Parliament attack

On 13 December 2001, the building of the Parliament was attacked by five Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. Six military personnel and one civilian on top of were killed in addition to all the attackers.

4.   Red Fort

The Red Fort derives its name from the extensive use of red sandstone on the massive walls that surround the fort. Shah Jahan commissioned the construction of the Red Fort in 1638 when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Ustad Ahmad and Ustad Hamid were chosen as the architects for construction of the royal palace. Construction began in the auspicious month of Muharram on 13 May 1638.Construction of the fort was supervised by Shah Jahan himself and was completed in 1648. The Red Fort was originally referred to as "Qila-i-Mubarak" (the blessed fort), because it was the residence of the royal family. Unlike the other Mughal forts, layout of the boundary walls of the Red Fort is not symmetrical so as to retain and integrate the older Salimgarh Fort. The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad (present day Old Delhi). The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of emperor Shah Jahan. Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan's successor, added the Moti Masjid to the emperor's private quarters and constructed barbicans in front of the two main gates, which made the entrance route to the palace more circuitous.
After the Battle of Delhi, British took over the administration of Mughal territories and installed a Resident at the Mughal courts in Red Fort. The last Mughal emperor to occupy the fort, Bahadur Shah II "Zafar", emerged as a symbol of the 1857 rebellion against the British in which the residents of Shahjahanbad participated. Despite being the seat of Mughal power and its defensive capabilities, the Red Fort was not defended during the 1857 uprising against the British. After the failure of the rebellion, Zafar left the fort on 17 September. He returned to Red Fort as a prisoner of the British and was tried in 1858. He was exiled to Rangoon on 7 October of the same year.[16] With the end of the Mughal reign, the British gave official sanctions to remove and sell valuables from the palace at the Red Fort. In 1863, British destroyed many buildings inside and outside the fort, filled up the gardens, stripped the fort of any valuable items and reduced the fort to just a military structure. After Indian Independence, the site experienced few changes in terms of addition or alteration to the structures. The Red Fort continued to be used as a cantonment even after Independence. A significant part of the fort remained under the control of the Indian Army until 22 December 2003, when it was handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India for restoration.
The Red Fort covers a total area of about 254.67 acres enclosed within 2.4 kilometres of defence walls. The walls are punctuated by turrets and bastions. They vary in height from 18 m on the river side to 33 m on the city side. The fort is shaped like an octagon with the north-south axis longer than the east-west axis. The use of marble, floral decorations, double domes in the buildings inside the fort exemplifies the later phase of Mughal architecture.
It showcases a very high level of art form and ornamental work. It is believed that the Kohinoor diamond was a part of the furniture. The art work in the Fort is a synthesis of Persian, European and Indian art which resulted in the development of unique Shahjahani style which is very rich in form, expression and colour. Red Fort is one of the important building complexes of India which encapsulates a long period of Indian history and its arts. Even before its notification as a monument of national importance in the year 1913, efforts were made to preserve and conserve the Red Fort, for posterity.
The walls of Lahore and Delhi gates were for the general public and Khizrabad Gate was for emperor's personal use. The Lahore Gate is the main entrance; it leads to the domed arcade containing shops called the Chhatta Chowk (covered bazaar). Silk, jewellery and other items which catered to the royal household were sold in Chatta Chowk in the Mughal period. leads to a large open space where it crosses the large north-south street that was originally the division between the fort's military functions, to its west, and the palaces, to its east. The southern end of this street is the Delhi Gate.
Every year on 15 August, the day India achieved independence from the British, Prime Minister hoists the national flag at the Red Fort, followed by a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts. The Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Old Delhi, attracting thousands of visitors every year. It also happens to be the largest monument in Old Delhi.
Today, a sound and light show describing Mughal history is a tourist attraction in the evenings. The general condition of the major architectural features is mixed. None of the water features, which are extensive, contain water. Some of the buildings are in fairly good condition and have their decorative elements undisturbed. In others, the marble inlay flowers have been removed by looters and vandals. The tea house, though not in its historical state, is a functioning restaurant. The mosque and human are closed to the public, though one can catch peeks through the glass windows or marble lattice work. Walkways are left mostly in a crumbling state. Public toilets are available at the entrance and inside the park.
The entrance through the Lahore Gate leads to a retail mall with jewellery and crafts stores. There is a museum of "blood paintings" depicting young Indian martyrs of the 20th century along with the story of their martyrdom. There is also an archaeological museum and an Indian war memorial museum.

Security threats
To prevent terrorist attacks, security is especially tightened around the Red Fort on the eve of Indian Independence Day. Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel keep a vigil on the neighborhoods around the fort. Sharpshooters of the National Security Guard are deployed on high rises near the Red Fort. The aerial space around the fort is declared a no-fly zone during the celebration to prevent aerial attacks, Safe houses are picked in nearby areas where the Prime Minister and other Indian leaders can be rushed to in case of an attack.
The fort was the site of a terrorist attack on 22 December 2000 carried out by six terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Two soldiers and a civilian were killed, in what was described by the media as an attempt to derail the India-Pakistan peace talks and relations.
 
5.   Gurudwara Temple
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, and the pond inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar", whose water is considered holy by Sikhs and is known as "Amrit". It was first built as a small temple by Sikh General, Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Skh shrines in Delhi in the same year, during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II.
It is situated near Connaught Place, New Delhi and is instantly recognizable by its stunning golden dome and tall flagpole, Nishan Sahib.
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, an Indian ruler in the seventeenth century, and was known as Jaisinghpura Palace, in Jaisingh Pura, an historic neighbourhood demolished to make way for the Connaught Place, shopping district.
The eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan resided here during his stay in Delhi in 1664. During that time, there was a smallpox and cholera epidemic, and Guru Har Krishan helped the suffering by giving aid and fresh water from the well at this house. Soon he too contracted the illness and eventually died on March 30, 1664. A small tank was later constructed by Raja Jai Singh over the well, its water is now revered as having healing properties and is taken by Sikhs throughout the world back to their homes.
The Gurdwara and its Sarovar are now a place of great reverence for Sikhs, and a place for special congregation on birth anniversary of Guru Har Krishan.

Return journey
 
It was almost 9:00 PM when we return from Delhi. We had dinner on the way and arrived in the University at 5:00AM in the morning.
The trip was so tiring but educative as well.