Bhagat Singh shot John Saunders, a 21-year-old police officer, several
times in Lahore. Then, he had to escape to Calcutta with his friends. Two days after the incident, Sukhdev
summoned Durgawati Devi for help. Police were then looking for a bearded Sikh. So, Singh shaved his beard,
trimmed his hair and put on an western attire with a ‘hat’. Even Devi could not recognise him at first.
Together, they boarded a train where Devi carried her own infant and pretended to be Singh’s wife. Rajguru
pretended to be their servant. Chandrashekhar Azad also sat in another compartment, dressed as a saint and
Which Indian soldier survived nearly 20 bullets in the
Three bunkers of Tiger Hill, captured by Pakistan, were located in a
1000 feet high snow-covered cliff. 18 Indian grenadiers led voluntarily by ‘Yogendra Singh Yadav PVC’ went.
As Yadav climbed, he installed ropes. In half-way, enemies fired at them. Despite taking three bullets in
the throat and shoulder, he climbed the remaining 60 feet and entered the first bunker. He killed four
enemies with grenades, enabling his team to climb. Yadav and two soldiers attacked the second bunker,
killing four Pakistani soldiers in hand-to-hand fights. He survived nearly 20 bullets and grenade cuts,
winning over the ‘Tiger Hill’.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, located in Pisa, Italy has seven bells
inside it – each representing one note of the musical major scale. It had started tilting when the third
story was being built in 1178 due to the soft soil which could not support the tower’s weight. Remedial work
between 1993 and 2001 reduced the tilt from 5.5 to 3.97 degrees. It has survived major earthquakes because
of the dynamic soil-structure interaction that prevents the tower from resonating with earthquake ground
motion. The same soft soil that brought the tower to the verge of collapse has helped it survive.
Do you know the first computer programmer was a woman?
Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, grew up loving numbers and became a
wonderful mathematician. In 1834, Charles Babbage invented a computer called the 'Analytical Engine' which
could not be built due to lack of finance. Lovelace was asked to translate Babbage's transcribed lecture on
his machine from French to English. Surprisingly, she understood the machine better than Babbage and her
translated notes were three times longer. She wrote a program to calculate Bernoulli numbers (using loops)
and understood that machines can produce music, graphics and much more. She died at the age of 36, never
knowing that the programmable Analytical Engine worked in 2002.
In Portuguese, 'Dodo' means 'stupid'. Dutch explorers discovered this
bird when they took possession of the 'Mauritius' island in the 16th Century. Dodos weighed up to 23 kgs,
and because of their heaviness, they could neither fly nor run fast. Dodos became easy prey not only for
animals but also for humans. Ship rats and other animals brought by the Dutch sailors ruthlessly ate Dodo
eggs and also outcompeted the birds for food. Within a century, Dodos became extinct. The metaphor 'As dead
as Dodo' is now used in the English language to mean something obsolete or something not relevant anymore.
Yes. Tomato ketchup in the 1830s was sold as a medicine. A man, Dr.
John Cook Bennett proposed that ketchup can be used as a drug for curing ailments like jaundice, diarrhea
and indigestion. People readily accepted his idea and it soon became a huge market. Even 'tomato pills' were
sold! The market was so competitive that it ultimately crashed in two decades. Thus, we got introduced to
tomato ketchup in a completely different way. Do you know an average American eats 71 pounds of ketchup per
The Mughals ruled for nearly 330 years, the Mauryas nearly 137 years
and the Guptas nearly 230 years. But, the Ahoms ruled for 598 years and defeated the mighty Mughals 17
times. When the Mughals captured Guwahati, it was later recovered by Lachit Borphukan. In 1671, in the
Battle of Saraighat, the Ahom army was grossly outnumbered against the Mughals. Lachit Borphukan, the Ahom
commander-in-chief, got a wall for fortification erected within a single night. This strategy forced the
Mughals into naval warfare on the Brahmaputra river where the Ahoms had a competitive advantage. The Ahoms
won this decisive battle.
Visha Kanyas (Poison Damsels) is first mentioned in Arthashastra
written by Chanakya, an adviser and prime minister to the first Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta (340–293 BC).
‘Viṣakanyā’ also appears in Sanskrit literature as a type of assassin used by kings to kill their enemies.
As per these stories, young girls were raised on a carefully crafted diet of poison and antidote from an
early age. This technique is known as mithridatism. Many of these girls would die during ‘training’ but
those who managed to survive become immune to various toxins. They would eventually become human weapons
with extremely poisonous bodily fluids.