Meghnad Saha: Work, life, and times

Posted in Blogs (Articles) on September 1st, 2018 by Rajesh Kochhar – Be the first to comment

Calcutta-based Meghnad Saha (1893-1955) set out his theory to explain stellar spectra in a number of papers published in British journals  during 1920-1921. The work was immediately recognized as laying the foundation of quantitative astrophysics.

History chooses the hour; and the hour produces the hero. The only surprise was that the hour was seized not by any established research centre in the West but by a far-off Calcutta which was nowhere on the world research map.

Though Saha and SN Bose (of Bose-Einstein statistics) were part of the British Empire, professionally they were children of Germany.

Indian astrology: Vedic and post-Vedic

Posted in Blogs (Articles) on August 15th, 2018 by Rajesh Kochhar – Be the first to comment

Rajesh Kochhar

The oldest astronomical text in India is Vedanga Jyotisha, which is a part of the Vedic corpus. Its oldest parts could be as old as 1400 BCE. Asoka’s Edicts (3rd cent BCE) are consistent with Vedanga Jyotisha. A feature of this period is the identification of planetary positions with the help of nakshatras. In the centuries following Alexander, Greco-Baylonian inputs were received into India from the northwest which revitalized Indian mathematical astronomy, seen in fully blown form in Aryabhatiyam (499 CE). These inputs include (i) accurate luni-aolar calenndar (the Vikrami or the old Shaka, calendar), (ii) 12 rashis, and (iii) week days. Aryabhata { note the single t} introduced for the first time, in the Indian context, mathematical theory of eclipse which tells you that eclipses take place when the Moon is at one of the two nodes.  Aryabhata’s contemporay, Varahamihira, designated these nodes as shadow planets and named them Rahu and Ketu. This is the beginning of the nava graha concept. I do not think it would have been possible to cast a horoscope according to Vedanha Jyotisha. Present-day astrology and ritual of which the accurate calendar, week days and rashis are integral part is post-Vedic and not Vedic.

Hindu Dharma Shastra and gay sex

Posted in Blogs (Articles) on July 11th, 2018 by Rajesh Kochhar – Be the first to comment

Dr Subramanian Swamy belongs to that rare class of men who do not need any supporting evidence for the assertions they make. He has declared that homosexuality is against Hinduism.. How would he know? Has he carefully studied each and every dharma-shastra from beginning to end ?I would like to draw his attention to the monumental many-volume History of Dharmasastra by [Bharat Ratna] PV Kane. On page 275 of Volume I, the author quotes a verse from Kashyapa Dharma Shastra prescribing a joint prayashchita for homosexuality (pumsi-maithuna) and masturbation. It is noteworthy that a common atonement is prescribed. thereby lowering the sin of pumsi-maithuna to that of relatively more common masturbation. Similarly Sanskrit- English Dictionary by VS Apte lists a word raksha-apekshaka, literally meaning one who expects protection. One of the listed meanings of the word is catamite.
. This is to set the record straight. More fundamentally, debate on any reform should be based on contemprary considerations.