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The Adventure by Jayant Narlikar

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Decoding The Adventure Lesson

The Adventure by Jayant Narlikar


BRIEF INTRODUCTION


'The Adventure' is a blend of reality and fiction interpreting the Catastrophic Theory on the Battle of Panipat. Reality can be explained to have varied manifestations and where all alternatives are viable. But, a person who is present in a particular situation can see only one' view at a time.


Professor Gaitonde, a historian, was on his way to deliver a lecture on the implications of Catastrophe Theory in the Third Battle of Panipat when he somehow got transported to another world where history was different from what it was known to us in the real world. From the original text we learn that his car had a head-on collision with a truck and he went into a coma and in this period he had the experience as narrated. In the Third Battle of Panipat, in reality, Afghans defeated Marathas killing their leader Vishwasrao. But in the parallel universe, the universe experienced by the Professor, the Marathas won the war as Vishwasrao escaped death when a bullet narrowly missed him. The victory of Marathas brought about several changes and reforms in the country. When Professor Gaitondere regained consciousness, his friend Rajendra Deshpande attempted to explain his strange experience on the basis of two scientific theories, viz. Catastrophe Theory and the lack of determinism in Quantum Theory.


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Translation of the text

Para 1 | Page 60

THE Jijamata Express sped along the Pune-Bombay* route considerably faster than the Deccan Queen. There were no industrial townships outside Pune. The first stop, Lonavala, came in 40 minutes. The ghat section that followed was no different from what he knew. The train stopped at Karjat only briefly and went on at even greater speed. It roared through Kalyan.


Translation

The Jijamata Express train was moving really fast on the Pune-Bombay route, much faster than the Deccan Queen. There were no big industrial areas near Pune. The train made its first stop at Lonavala after 40 minutes. The section with hills and slopes that came next was just like what he was familiar with. The train only paused briefly at Karjat and then continued to pick up even more speed. It thundered through Kalyan.


Para 2 | Page 60

Meanwhile, the racing mind of Professor Gaitonde had arrived at a plan of action in Bombay. Indeed, as a historian he felt he should have thought of it sooner. He would go to a big library and browse through history books. That was the surest way of finding out how the present state of affairs was reached. He also planned eventually to return to Pune and have a long talk with Rajendra Deshpande, who would surely help him understand what had happened.


Translation

At the same time, Professor Gaitonde, who was thinking quickly, had come up with a plan in Bombay. Being a historian, he felt he should have thought of it earlier. He decided to visit a large library and read history books. This was the best way to learn how the current situation had come to be. He also intended to go back to Pune eventually and have a lengthy conversation with Rajendra Deshpande, who he was sure would help him understand what had happened.


Para 3-4 | Page 60


That is, assuming that in this world there existed someone called Rajendra Deshpande!


The train stopped beyond the long tunnel. It was a small station called Sarhad. An Anglo-Indian in uniform went through the train checking permits.


Translation

That is, assuming that in this world there was actually a person named Rajendra Deshpande!


The train came to a stop after passing through a long tunnel. It was a small station called Sarhad. A person of Anglo-Indian descent, dressed in a uniform, walked through the train to check permits.


Bonus Info

Anglo-Indian

  • Anglo-Indian" refers to a person of mixed British and Indian descent or heritage.

  • Historically, the term was used to describe individuals who had British or European ancestry and were born in India or other parts of the British Empire. They often had a unique cultural and social identity, blending elements of both British and Indian cultures.

  • Anglo-Indians played a significant role in the colonial history of India and were recognized as a distinct community.

  • Over time, the community has evolved, and many Anglo-Indians have integrated into broader Indian society.

  • For example, Rudyard Kipling, the famous author of "The Jungle Book" and other literary works was of Anglo-Indian descent. He was born in Bombay, India, in 1865.

  • Derek O'Brien- An Indian politician, quizmaster, and television personality. He is known for hosting the popular Indian quiz show "Bournvita Quiz Contest."

Para 1-5 | Page 61


“This is where the British Raj begins. You are going for the first time, I presume?” Khan Sahib asked.

“Yes.” The reply was factually correct. Gangadharpant had not been to this Bombay before. He ventured a question: “And, Khan Sahib, how will you go to Peshawar?”


“This train goes to the Victoria Terminus*. I will take the Frontier Mail tonight out of Central.” “How far does it go? By what route?” “Bombay to Delhi, then to Lahore and then Peshawar. A long journey. I will reach Peshawar the day after tomorrow.”


Translation

"This is where the British Raj begins. Is this your first time going there?" Khan Sahib asked.


"Yes," Gangadharpant replied truthfully. He had never been to Bombay before. He asked, "And, Khan Sahib, how will you travel to Peshawar?"


"This train goes to the Victoria Terminus*. I will take the Frontier Mail tonight from Central," Khan Sahib explained. "It goes a long way. It goes from Bombay to Delhi, then to Lahore, and finally to Peshawar. It's quite a long journey. I will arrive in Peshawar the day after tomorrow."


Bonus Information :

British Raj

The term "British Raj" refers to the period of British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent. It began in the mid-19th century and lasted until India gained independence in 1947. During the British Raj, the British East India Company initially ruled India, and later, direct control was assumed by the British Crown.


Victoria Terminus

  • Victoria Terminus, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), is a historic railway station located in Mumbai, India. It is one of the busiest and most prominent railway terminals in Mumbai and serves as a major transportation hub for both suburban and long-distance trains.


  • Victoria Terminus was designed by the British architect Frederick William Stevens and was completed in 1888. It is a remarkable example of Victorian Gothic architecture, featuring intricate stone carvings, domed turrets, and stained glass windows. The station building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an iconic landmark in Mumbai.


  • In 1996, the station was renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in honor of the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, but it is still commonly referred to as CST or Victoria Terminus by locals. The station is not only a transportation hub but also a significant historical and architectural attraction in Mumbai.

Frontier Mail:

  • The Frontier Mail was a prestigious and historic train service in India that operated during the period of British colonial rule, known as the British Raj. It was one of the most famous long-distance train services connecting different parts of the Indian subcontinent.


  • The Frontier Mail, also referred to as the "Bombay Frontier Mail," was known for its scenic route through northern India and its speed. It was a luxury train service that connected Mumbai (formerly Bombay) with Peshawar, which is now in Pakistan. The train journey covered a vast distance, passing through several major cities, including Delhi and Lahore.


  • The train was named "Frontier Mail" because it passed through areas that were considered part of the Indian frontier during the colonial period. The train was popular for its comfort and service, and it played a significant role in connecting different regions of India.


Para 6-7 | Page 61


Thereafter, Khan Sahib spoke a lot about his business and Gangadharpant was a willing listener. For, in that way, he was able to get some flavour of life in this India that was so different.


The train now passed through the suburban rail traffic. The blue carriages carried the letters, GBMR, on the side.


Translation


Afterward, Khan Sahib talked a lot about his work, and Gangadharpant listened eagerly. He did this to learn more about life in this unique India.


The train then moved through the local train traffic in the suburbs. The train cars were blue, and they had the letters GBMR on the side. (GBMR means Greater Bombay Metropolitan Railway)


Para 8-10 | Page 61


Greater Bombay Metropolitan Railway,” explained Khan Sahib. “See the tiny Union Jack painted on each carriage? A gentle reminder that we are in British territory.”


The train began to slow down beyond Dadar and stopped only at its destination, Victoria Terminus. The station looked remarkably neat and clean. The staff was mostly made up of Anglo-Indians and Parsees along with a handful of British officers.


As he emerged from the station, Gangadharpant found himself facing an imposing building. The letters on it proclaimed its identity to those who did not know this Bombay landmark:

EAST INDIA HOUSE HEADQUARTERS OF

THE EAST INDIA COMPANY


Prepared as he was for many shocks, Professor Gaitonde had not expected this. The East India Company had been wound up shortly after the events of 1857 — at least, that is what history books said. Yet, here it was, not only alive but flourishing. So, history had taken a different turn, perhaps before 1857. How and when had it happened? He had to find out.


Translation


"Greater Bombay Metropolitan Railway," Khan Sahib explained, "See the tiny Union Jack painted on each carriage? A gentle reminder that we are in British territory."


The train started slowing down after Dadar and stopped at its final destination, Victoria Terminus. The station was impressively clean and tidy. The station staff mainly consisted of Anglo-Indians, Parsees, and a few British officers.


As Gangadharpant exited the station, he found himself facing a grand building with letters proclaiming its identity to anyone who didn't know this famous landmark in Bombay:

EAST INDIA HOUSE HEADQUARTERS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY


Professor Gaitonde, despite being prepared for surprises, hadn't expected this. According to history books, the East India Company had ceased to exist shortly after the events of 1857. However, here it was, not only still in existence but thriving. So, history had taken a different path, possibly before 1857. He needed to find out how and when this had occurred.


Bonus Info:

EAST INDIA HOUSE :

  • East India House was the former London headquarters of the British East India Company, a powerful trading company during the period of British colonial rule in India.

  • The East India Company played a significant role in the colonization and administration of India.

  • East India House served as the central hub for the company's operations and decision-making.

Prepared as he was for many shocks, Professor Gaitonde had not expected this.


  • In this sentence, "Prepared as he was for many shocks," means that Professor Gaitonde was mentally ready or had anticipated encountering surprising or unexpected things. It suggests that he had braced himself for various surprising or astonishing situations.

  • The second part of the sentence, "Professor Gaitonde had not expected this," reveals that despite his mental readiness for shocks or surprises, he had not foreseen or anticipated the particular situation he was now facing.

  • In other words, the specific revelation about the continued existence and flourishing of the East India Company had taken him by surprise, even though he had been psychologically prepared for other unexpected events.

Para 11 | Page 61


As he walked along Hornby Road, as it was called, he found a different set of shops and office buildings. There was no Handloom House building. Instead, there were Boots and Woolworth departmental stores, imposing offices of Lloyds, Barclays and other British banks, as in a typical high street of a town in England.


Translation

While he strolled down Hornby Road, which was its name, he saw a new collection of stores and office buildings. He couldn't find the Handloom House building. In its place, there were Boots and Woolworth department stores, and big offices of banks like Lloyds and Barclays, just like you'd see on a typical street in a town in England.


Bonus Info

Hornby Road

Hornby Road is a well-known road in Mumbai, India. It's named after William Hornby, who served as the Governor of Bombay (now Mumbai) during the late 18th century. The road is significant because it's lined with various shops, office buildings, and other establishments.


Lloyds, Barclays


  • Lloyds Bank : Lloyds Bank, officially known as Lloyds Banking Group, is one of the largest and oldest banking institutions in the United Kingdom.

  • Barclays: Barclays is another prominent British multinational bank and financial services company.

  • In the story they were mentioned as examples of British banks with offices on Hornby Road in Mumbai, highlighting the influence of British financial institutions in that area during the colonial era.


Text | Para 12-14 | Page 61


He turned right along Home Street and entered Forbes building.

“I wish to meet Mr Vinay Gaitonde, please,” he said to the English receptionist.

She searched through the telephone list, the staff list and then through the directory of employees of all the branches of the firm. She shook her head and said, “I am afraid I can’t find anyone of that name either here or in any of our branches. Are you sure he works here?”


Translation

He made a right turn onto Home Street and walked into the Forbes building.


"I'd like to meet Mr. Vinay Gaitonde, please," he told the English receptionist.


She looked through the telephone list, the staff list, and even checked the directory of employees from all the branches of the company. She shook her head and said, "I'm sorry, but I couldn't find anyone with that name either here or at any of our branches. Are you sure he works here?"


Text | Para 15-16 | Page 62


This was a blow, not totally unexpected. If he himself were dead in this world, what guarantee had he that his son would be alive? Indeed, he may not even have been born!


He thanked the girl politely and came out. It was characteristic of him not to worry about where he would stay. His main concern was to make his way to the library of the Asiatic Society to solve the riddle of history. Grabbing a quick lunch at a restaurant, he made his way to the Town Hall


Translation

This was disappointing, but he had half-expected it. If he didn't exist in this world, there was no assurance that his son would be alive. In fact, his son might not have even been born!


He thanked the girl with politeness and left. It was typical of him not to fret about finding a place to stay. His primary focus was reaching the library of the Asiatic Society to unravel the mysteries of history. After a fast lunch at a restaurant, he headed to the Town Hall.


Bonus Info
  • He's considering the idea that if he, the father, doesn't exist, there's no certainty that his son, who is dependent on his existence, would also be alive.

  • This line of thought raises questions about the nature of this alternate reality and whether the people and events in it are consistent with what he knows from his own world.

  • Essentially, he's wondering about the fate of his son in this unfamiliar and potentially different world where he might not exist or have a different history.

Asiatic Society

  • The Asiatic Society, or the "Asiatic Society of India," is a prominent scholarly and research institution based in India. It was founded in 1784 by Sir William Jones, a British scholar and jurist.

  • The society's primary purpose is to promote and advance the study and understanding of various aspects of Asian culture, history, languages, and sciences.

  • The Asiatic Society conducts research, publishes scholarly works, and maintains a valuable library and museum.

  • Its activities cover a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology, linguistics, history, literature, and other fields related to the cultures and societies of Asia.

 

Text | Para 17-18 | Page 62


Yes, to his relief, the Town Hall was there, and it did house the library. He entered the reading room and asked for a list of history books including his own.


His five volumes duly arrived on his table. He started from the beginning. Volume one took the history up to the period of Ashoka, volume two up to Samudragupta, volume three up to Mohammad Ghori and volume four up to the death of Aurangzeb. Up to this period history was as he knew it. The change evidently had occurred in the last volume.


Translation

Yes, to his happiness, the Town Hall was there, and it indeed had the library. He went into the reading room and requested a list of history books, including his own.


His five books were brought to his table as expected. He began reading from the first volume. The first book covered history up to the time of Ashoka, the second up to Samudragupta, the third up to Mohammad Ghori, and the fourth up to the death of Aurangzeb. Everything in the history books matched what he knew. The change, it seemed, had taken place in the last volume.


Text | Para 19-20 | Page 62


Reading volume five from both ends inwards, Gangadharpant finally converged on the precise moment where history had taken a different turn.


That page in the book described the Battle of Panipat, and it mentioned that the Marathas won it handsomely. Abdali was routed and he was chased back to Kabul by the triumphant Maratha army led by Sadashivrao Bhau and his nephew, the young Vishwasrao.


Translation

By reading volume five from both the beginning and the end and working his way inward, Gangadharpant eventually reached the exact point where history had diverged from what he knew.


On that page of the book, it described the Battle of Panipat, and it said that the Marathas had won convincingly. Abdali was defeated, and the victorious Maratha army, under the leadership of Sadashivrao Bhau and his nephew, the young Vishwasrao, had chased him back to Kabul.

Bonus Info

Abdali

  • Abdali likely refers to Ahmad Shah Durrani, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali. He was the founder of the Durrani Empire and a prominent Afghan military leader. Ahmad Shah Durrani is historically known for his invasions of the Indian subcontinent in the 18th century.

  • He led several military campaigns in India, including the famous Battle of Panipat in 1761.

  • The name "Abdali" is often used in reference to him because it is derived from his title, "Abdali," which signifies his tribal affiliation.

Sadashivrao Bhau

  • Sadashivrao Bhau, often referred to simply as Sadashivrao, was a prominent Maratha military leader and statesman in the 18th century.

  • He played a crucial role in the Maratha Empire's affairs during a significant period of its history.

  • He is perhaps best known for his leadership in the Third Battle of Panipat, which took place in 1761. This battle was a significant conflict between the Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali's forces.

  • Sadashivrao Bhau led the Maratha army into this battle but faced a defeat, which had far-reaching consequences for the Maratha Empire.

Vishwasrao


  • Vishwasrao, whose full name was Vishwasrao Peshwa, was a notable figure in Maratha history during the 18th century. He was a member of the prominent Peshwa family, which held a significant position in the Maratha Empire's administration and leadership.


  • Vishwasrao, along with Sadashivrao Bhau, led the Maratha forces during the Third Battle of Panipat against Ahmad Shah Abdali's army. Unfortunately, the Marathas faced a decisive defeat in this battle.

IMPORTANT REMINDER

REMEMNBER THAT Gangadharpant appears to be experiencing a situation where the historical events and facts in the alternate world he finds himself in differ from what he knows to be true in his original reality. This can be explained by the concept of an alternate or parallel universe, a common theme in science fiction and speculative fiction.


There are a few possible reasons for this apparent "opposite" reality:


1. Alternate Universe : The character might have inadvertently crossed into an alternate universe or timeline where historical events took a different course. This is a common trope in science fiction, where characters explore parallel realities where key events unfolded differently.


2. Time Travel : Another possibility is time travel, where the character has been transported to a different point in history or to a parallel time stream. In such cases, the character's knowledge of historical events from their original timeline wouldn't align with the events in this new timeline.


Text | Para 21 | Page 62


The book did not go into a blow-by-blow account of the battle itself. Rather, it elaborated in detail its consequences for the power struggle in India. Gangadharpant read through the account avidly. The style of writing was unmistakably his, yet he was reading the account for the first time!


Translation

The book didn't describe every single detail of the battle. Instead, it focused on explaining what happened after the battle and how it affected the competition for power in India. Gangadharpant read this with great interest. The writing style was clearly his own, but he was reading about these events for the first time.


Text | Para 1 | Page 63


Their victory in the battle was not only a great morale booster to the Marathas but it also established their supremacy in northern India. The East India Company, which had been watching these developments from the sidelines, got the message and temporarily shelved its expansionist programme.


Translation :


The Marathas' win in the battle had two significant effects. It not only boosted the morale of the Marathas but also confirmed their dominance in northern India. The East India Company, which had been observing these events from a distance, understood the situation and decided to temporarily set aside its plans for expansion.


Bonus Info

Their victory in the battle was not only a great morale booster to the Marathas but it also established their supremacy in northern India.


The statement describes an alternate reality or a fictional scenario in the story, where the outcome of the battle and its historical consequences are different from what actually happened in real history.


In real historical events, the Third Battle of Panipat, which took place in 1761, resulted in a significant defeat for the Marathas at the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali's forces. The battle had a detrimental impact on the Maratha Empire and didn't lead to their supremacy in northern India. Instead, it marked a turning point in the decline of Maratha power.


The discrepancy between the text and real historical events can be attributed to the fictional or speculative nature of the story. The author likely used this deviation from historical facts as a plot device to create an intriguing and unexpected scenario in the narrative. This technique is common in alternate history or science fiction to explore "what if" scenarios and engage the reader's imagination.


Text | Para 2 | Page 63


For the Peshwas the immediate result was an increase in the influence of Bhausaheb and Vishwasrao who eventfully succeeded his father in 1780 A.D. The trouble-maker, Dadasaheb, was relegated to the background and he eventually retired from state politics.


Translation :

For the Peshwas (leaders of the Maratha Empire), the battle's immediate consequence was that the influence of Bhausaheb and Vishwasrao increased. Eventually, Vishwasrao succeeded his father as Peshwa in 1780 A.D. As for Dadasaheb, who had been causing trouble, he was pushed to a less prominent role and eventually retired from state politics.


Bonus Info:


Bhausaheb

Bhausaheb was a significant figure in the Maratha Empire during the 18th century. He played a key role in the post-Panipat era and influenced the administration and leadership of the Maratha state.


Vishwasrao

Vishwasrao, the eldest son of Nanasaheb Peshwa, was an important military leader during the Third Battle of Panipat. He was a prominent figure in the Maratha Empire and played a significant role in the empire's history.


Text | Para 3 | Page 63


To its dismay, the East India Company met its match in the new Maratha ruler, Vishwasrao. He and his brother, Madhavrao, combined political acumen with valour and systematically expanded their influence all over India. The Company was reduced to pockets of influence near Bombay, Calcutta* and Madras@, just like its European rivals, the Portuguese and the French


Translation :

The East India Company faced a formidable challenge in the new Maratha ruler, Vishwasrao. He, along with his brother Madhavrao, skillfully combined politics and bravery to expand their influence across India. This led to the Company losing control and being limited to small areas of influence near Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, similar to the territorial reach of the Portuguese and the French.


Text | Para 4 | Page 63


For political reasons, the Peshwas kept the puppet Mughal regime alive in Delhi. In the nineteenth century these de facto rulers from Pune were astute enough to recognise the importance of the technological age dawning in Europe. They set up their own centres for science and technology. Here, the East India Company saw another opportunity to extend its influence. It offered aid and experts. They were accepted only to make the local centres self-sufficient.


de facto:

  • "de facto" is a Latin term that means "in fact" or "in reality."

  • It is used to describe a situation or condition that exists in practice or in reality, even if it might not be officially recognized or legally established.

  • For example, a "de facto leader" is someone who may not hold an official title of leadership but effectively leads or controls a group or organization.

Translation :

For political motives, the Peshwas preserved the Mughal regime in Delhi as a figurehead. By the 19th century, these de facto rulers from Pune understood the significance of the emerging technological era in Europe. They established their own centers for science and technology. Recognizing an opportunity, the East India Company provided assistance and experts. However, this assistance was accepted only to help the local centers become self-reliant.


Text | Para 5 | Page 63


The twentieth century brought about further changes inspired by the West. India moved towards a democracy. By then, the Peshwas had lost their enterprise and they were gradually replaced by democratically elected bodies. The Sultanate at Delhi survived even this transition, largely because it wielded no real influence. The Shahenshah of Delhi was no more than a figurehead to rubber-stamp the ‘recommendations’ made by the central parliament.


Shahenshah of Delhi

  • "Shahenshah of Delhi" is a Persian and Urdu term that translates to "Emperor of Delhi" in English.

  • It refers to the historical title used by various rulers and emperors who held power in the city of Delhi, which has been a significant political and cultural center in India for many centuries.

  • Historically, the title "Shahenshah of Delhi" was used by several rulers, including those of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.

Translation :

In the 20th century, India underwent additional changes influenced by Western ideas. The country shifted toward a democratic system of governance. During this time, the Peshwas lost their power and were gradually replaced by democratically elected bodies. The Delhi Sultanate, on the other hand, continued to exist through this transition, primarily because it held little real authority. The Emperor of Delhi had become a mere symbolic figure who approved the "recommendations" put forward by the central parliament.


Text | Para 6 | Page 63-64


As he read on, Gangadharpant began to appreciate the India he had seen. It was a country that had not been subjected to slavery for the white man; it had learnt to stand on its feet and knew what self-respect was. From a position of strength and for purely commercial reasons, it had allowed the British to retain Bombay as the sole outpost on the subcontinent. That lease was to expire in the year 2001, according to a treaty of 1908.


Glossary:

As the sole outpost on the subcontinent:


Bombay was the only place where the British retained a presence on the Indian subcontinent. An "outpost" is an isolated or distant location, often used in the context of military or colonial establishments.


Translation :

As Gangadharpant continued reading, he gained a deeper understanding of the India he had encountered. It was a nation that had not experienced colonial subjugation by the British; it had learned to assert its independence and valued its self-respect. Out of a position of strength and for purely economic motives, India had permitted the British to keep Bombay as their only presence on the subcontinent. This arrangement was set to end in the year 2001, as stipulated in a treaty from 1908.


Text | Para 1 | Page 64


Gangadharpant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.

Text | Para 2 | Page 64

But, at the same time, he felt that his investigations were incomplete. How did the Marathas win the battle? To find the answer he must look for accounts of the battle itself.


Text | Para 3 | Page 64


He went through the books and journals before him. At last, among the books he found one that gave him the clue. It was Bhausahebanchi Bakhar.


Glossary:


Bhausahebanchi Bakhar

  • a historical Marathi text that provides an account of the life and reign of Bhausaheb, who was a significant figure in Maratha history.

  • The term "Bakhar" in Marathi refers to a historical chronicle or narrative.

Text | Para 4 | Page 64


Although he seldom relied on the Bakhars for historical evidence, he found them entertaining to read. Sometimes, buried in the graphic but doctored accounts, he could spot the germ of truth. He found one now in a three-line account of how close Vishwasrao had come to being killed.


Glossary


doctored accounts :

  • "Doctored accounts" refer to historical records or narratives that have been deliberately altered, modified, or edited in a way that distorts the accuracy of the information they contain.

  • In the context of the lesson "doctored accounts" suggests that the Bakhars (historical chronicles) have been modified or embellished to some degree, making them less reliable as straightforward historical sources.

  • However, the character is still interested in reading them because, on occasion, he can identify elements of truth hidden within these modified accounts.

Translation :

Even though he didn't often use the Bakhars (historical chronicles) as a primary source of historical evidence, he enjoyed reading them for entertainment. Occasionally, amid the vivid but altered descriptions, he could identify a small kernel of truth. He discovered one such instance in a three-line account that described how close Vishwasrao had come to being killed.


Text | Para 5 | Page 64


... And then Vishwasrao guided his horse to the melee where the elite troops were fighting and he attacked them. And God was merciful. A shot brushed past his ear. Even the difference of a til (sesame) would have led to his death.


Translation :

In this passage, it describes how Vishwasrao rode his horse into the midst of the battle where the elite troops were engaged in combat, and he personally joined the fight. During this intense moment, a shot narrowly missed him, passing so close to his ear that only the smallest difference in direction (as tiny as a sesame seed, which is very small) would have caused his death. It emphasizes the close call and the element of luck or divine protection that spared his life in the midst of the battle.


Text | Para 5 | Page 64


At eight o’clock the librarian politely reminded the professor that the library was closing for the day. Gangadharpant emerged from his thoughts. Looking around he noticed that he was the only reader left in that magnificent hall.


Text | Para 6 | Page 64


“I beg your pardon, sir! May I request you to keep these books here for my use tomorrow morning? By the way, when do you open?”


Text | Para 7-8 | Page 64


“At eight o’clock, sir.” The librarian smiled. Here was a user and researcher right after his heart.


As the professor left the table he shoved some notes into his right pocket. Absent-mindedly, he also shoved the Bakhar into his left pocket.


Text | Para | Page 64



To be continued. Keep visiting the site.


LACK OF DETERMINISM IN QUANTUM THEORY


The Quantum Theory states that energy is not absorbed or radiated continuously, but discontinuously, in quanta.


Determinism is the doctrine that everything, especially one's choice of action, is determined by a sequence of causes independent of one's will. In Quantum Theory, there is no determinism. For example, the behaviour of electrons orbiting the nucleus in an atom cannot be predicted. There are different states of energy-higher and lower. An electron can make a jump from high to low energy level and send out a pulse of radiation or a pulse of radiation can knock it out of low energy to high energy. These states can apply to the real world too, Professor Gaitonde made a transition from the world we live in to a parallel world.


One world has the history we know, the other has a different history. He neither travelled to the past nor to the future. He was experiencing a different world. At the time of the collision with the truck, he was thinking about the Catastrophe Theory and its implications on the Battle of Panipat. Like the electron jumping from one state to another, he made a jump from this world to the parallel world. Any catastrophic situation will provide various alternatives for us to proceed. But only one can be accepted by us at one time as we live in a world that is one and only, and which has an inimitable history of its own. The Professor jumped from one level to another which was the result of an interaction between the electrons. The accident and the thoughts at that moment brought about his transition from the real to the parallel world.


Para-wise Summary


PARA 1 to 13: (Page 60,61)


"The Jijamata Express sped along.... East India Company".


...The


Speeding on the route from Pune to Bombay, the Jijamata Express stopped at Lonavala and then passed through Kalyan like a thunder. Professor Gaitonde's racing mind arrived at a plan of action in Bombay. He planned to visit a big library and find out how the present state of affairs was reached. He would then talk to Rajendra Deshpande in order to understand what had happened.

The train stopped at a small station called Sarhad where an Anglo-Indian in uniform entered to check the train permits. Khan Sahib, a co-passenger, told Gangadharpant that that was where British Raj began. The train passed through the suburban rail traffic. Khan Sahib saw the blue carriages with the letters GBMR(Greater Bombay Metropolitan Railway) on the sides and a tiny Union Jack painted on each carriage. This indicated they were in British territory. The train finally came to a halt at the Victoria Terminus, a neat and clean station manned by Anglo-Indians, Parsees and a few British officers. Just outside the station, Gangadharpant found himself facing the imposing building of the East India Company.


PARA 14 to 20: (Page 61,62)


"Prepared as he was for many shocks...............way to the Town Hall."


Professor Gaitonde was not prepared to see this sight. To his knowledge, the East India Company had wound up after the Rising of 1857. But, here it was alive and flourishing. He walked down the Hornby Road, but found different sets of shops and office buildings. He entered Forbes Building and requested the receptionist to locate Mr Vinay Gaitonde. She looked up all the registers, but in vain. He thanked her for her efforts and made his way to the library of the Asiatic Society to solve the riddle of history. He grabbed a quick lunch and proceeded to the reading room at the Town Hall.


VOCABULARY



⚫ wound up: closed business


⚫ flourishing: prospering, growing


⚫ departmental store : a large shop stocking many types of goods in different departments


⚫ imposing :impressive and grand .


⚫ high street : the main street of a town


⚫ directory : a book listing people with names, address and telephone numbers


⚫ characteristic: typical quality of a person or thing


⚫ Riddle : a puzzling thing


⚫ Grabbing: obtaining something quickly


PARA 21 to 29: (PAGE 62,63)


"Yes, to his relief, the Town Hall................the local centres self-sufficient."


He ordered a list of books including five volumes of his own. He started reading them and found that till volume four upto the death of Aurangzeb, history was as he knew it. A strange change was noticed in the fifth volume where history took a different turn. It carried details of the Battle of Panipat which was won by the Marathas. Abdali was chased back to Kabul and Marathas established their supremacy over North India. The East India Company stalled its expansion programme. It met its match in the two Maratha rulers, Vishwasrao and Madhavrao whose political acumen and courage expanded the influence of the Peshwas all over India. They retained the Mughal regime as a puppet in Delhi Professor Gaitonde was reading this version of history for the first time. In the 19th century, the technological age had dawned in Europe and the shrewd Peshwa leaders recognised the importance of setting up science centres in this country. Seeing this as an opportunity, the East India Company offered their aid and experts which were accepted to make the local centres self-sufficient.


VOCABULARY


⚫ evidently : obviously


⚫ converged: came together from different directions to meet


⚫ precise : : accurate, exact


⚫ handsomely : impressively


⚫ routed : defeated decisively


⚫ triumphant: victorious


⚫ blow by blow account : every detail of the battle


⚫ Elaborated: described or presented an idea


⚫ consequences: outcomes, results


⚫ evidently : obviously


⚫ converged: came together from different directions to meet


⚫ precise : : accurate, exact


⚫ handsomely : impressively


⚫ routed : defeated decisively


⚫ triumphant: victorious


⚫ blow by blow account : every detail of the battle


⚫ Elaborated: described or presented an idea


⚫ consequences: outcomes, results


⚫ avidly : keenly, enthusiastically, ardently


⚫ sidelines : a position of watching a situation rather than being directly involved in it


⚫ shelved : decide not to continue with a plan for the time.


⚫ expansionist: strategy or plan of expanding.


⚫ relegated to : placed something in a lower position


⚫ dismay : disappointment, sadness.


⚫ acumen : insight, good judgment.


⚫ valour: Courage, bravery, heroism.

⚫ Pockets of influence : small parts of the place where they have.

⚫ de facto : existing in fact, whether legally accepted or not : shrewd, judicious


⚫ astute: shrewd, judicious


⚫ dawning: coming into existence.


PARA 30 TO 32 ( PAGE 63, 64)


"The twentieth century brought about... witnessing around him." In the 20th century, further changes were inspired by the West and India moved towards democracy. By that time, the Peshwas had gradually lost their enterprise and were replaced by elected bodies. The Shahenshah of Delhi remained just a figurehead to pass recommendations made by a central Parliament.


Gangadharpant realised that India had not been subjected to slavery for the white man. It had learnt to be independent and command self-respect. For purely commercial reasons, the British were allowed to retain Bombay as the only outpost in the entire subcontinent. As per the Treaty of 1908, the lease was to expire in 2001. Gangadharpant compared the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.


VOCABULARY

⚫ democracy: a state governed by elected representatives


⚫ enterprise : venture, project


⚫ replaced: : taken the place of


⚫ transition : change from one condition to another


⚫ wielded : had or used influence or power


⚫ figurehead : a leader without real power


⚫ rubber-stamp : : approve something automatically


⚫ recommendations: suggestions or proposals


⚫ subjected: : made someone undergo unpleasant experience


⚫ slavery : the state of being owned by somebody and forcibly made to obey them.


⚫ stand on its feet: be independent and self-sufficient


⚫ commercial : making or intended to make profit


⚫ retain: hold on to, preserve.


⚫ sole outpost : Only station or settlement


⚫ expire : end, terminate


⚫ treaty: agreement, pact, truce


⚫ witnessing: seeing, observing


PARA 33 to 39: (Page 64)


"But, at the same time................the Bakhar into his left pocket."


Finding his investigations incomplete, Gangadharpant tried to look for accounts of the battle to know how the Marathas won the battle. Finally, he found a clue in a book named Bhausahebanchi Bakhar. Although the Professor did not rely on these books for historical evidence, he found some semblance of truth in their manipulated accounts. He found a mention of how close Vishwasrao came to death when a bullet just missed his ear by a hairline. At eight in the evening, Gangadharpant left the library requesting the librarian not to remove the books


VOCABULARY

from the table as he would be there the next morning. While leaving, he put some notes into his pocket and alongwith also absent mindedly put in the Bakhar


WORD NOTES


investigation : inquiry, research, analysis


⚫ accounts : description of an event.


⚫ journals : newspapers or magazines dealing with a particular subject.


⚫ buried: hidden, obscured


⚫ doctored : change information to deceive others.


⚫ germ of truth: an initial stage from which a truth may develop


⚫ melee : fight, encounter, skirmish, scuffle


⚫ elite : best, influential


⚫brushed past : almost touching and narrowly missing


⚫ sesame: : oil rich seeds


⚫ magnificent : splendid, grand


⚫ shoved : pushed roughly and carelessly


PARA 40 to 48 (Page 64, 65)


"He...........was nowhere to be seen.


He checked into a guest house and had a light meal. Then he went for a stroll towards Azad Maidan. A crowd had assembled there and a lecture was in progress. Gaitonde proceeded towards it. He saw the presidential chair vacant. He moved towards it, but the audience vehemently protested, saying the chair was symbolic and no one should occupy it. Gangadharpant went to the mike and said that a lecture without a chairperson was like Shakespeare's Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. However, the audience was in no mood to listen and showered him with eggs, tomatoes and other such things. But it being his thousandth address, he braved the hostile crowd and kept talking. Soon the audience swarmed the stage and pulled him down physically. He was, then, nowhere to be seen. Next morning, he was found in the Azad Maidan.


VOCABULARY:


⚫ frugal: economical, plain and cheap


⚫ stroll : a leisurely walk.


⚫ throng : crowd, horde.

⚫ force of habit: something that one always does


⚫ mesmerised: awestruck, captivated


⚫ stirred : moved, troubled


⚫ symbolic : figurative, representational


⚫ gave vent to: expressed


⚫ abolished : officially put an end


⚫ valiantly: courageously, heroically


⚫ Sacrilege: disrespect, profanity.


⚫ swarmed: move in a large group.


⚫ eject: force or throw out suddenly or violently.


PARA 49 to 57 (Page 65, 66)


"But I was back in the world. turned the tide in their favour."


Professor Gaitonde revived from the transition phase after two days and narrated the entire episode to Rajendra who was dumbfounded to hear the narrative. He asked the Professor what he was doing at the time of the collision. Gaitonde replied he was thinking about the Catastrophe Theory and its implications on history. He took out the torn page of the Bakhar from his pocket and placed it as a vital piece of evidence. He explained how he kept the book by mistake and was supposed to return it the next morning, but only a page remained after the incident at Azad Maidan. Rajendra read the account of how Vishwasrao narrowly missed the bullet and the battle turned in favour of the Marathas.


Vocabulary:


⚫ dumbfounded: astonished


⚫ collision: : crash, accident


⚫ catastrophe: disaster, calamity


⚫ implications: likely consequences


⚫ smugly : pleased with oneself in an irritating way


⚫ amok : in an uncontrolled and disorderly manner


⚫ inadvertently: unintentionally


⚫ omen : an event seen as a sign of future good or bad


⚫ turned the tide : changed the course


PARA 58 to 66 (Page 66, 67)


"Now look at this.".. please hear me out," Rajendra said.


Gangadharpant took out his own copy of Bhausahebanchi Bakhar and opened the relevant page which read that Vishwasrao was hit by a bullet. Rajendra told Gaitonde that he now got food for thought. The torn page was evidence for Gaitonde's experience which proved that facts were stranger than fiction. The Professor was now very eager to know the real facts. Rajendra offered to explain the experience on the basis of two scientific theories. Rajendra applied the Catastrophe Theory to the Battle of Panipat. Both the armies were of equal caliber and similarly armed. So, the deciding factor was leadership and morale of the troops. As history reported, the death of Vishwasrao was the turning point. Nothing was known of his uncle Bhausaheb who was in the midst of action. The troops were demoralised and lost the war. But, the torr: page had a different story. The bullet missed Vishwasrao and Marathas had a thumping victory. Gangadharpant pointed out similar statements made of the battle of Waterloo which Napolean could have won. But, we all live in a unique world with an exclusive history of its own. The idea of 'it might have been' only works for speculation and not for reality. But, Rajendra did not agree with the Professor at this point. He then went on to the second theory.


VOCABULARY:


⚫ Relevant: appropriate, related


Food for Thought: Something that makes you think carefully about an issue.


⚫ rationalise: an imagined situation or event


⚫ convincing: persuading or making someone believe


⚫ disparity: difference, inequality


⚫ armour: :the metal covering worn by soldiers in battles to cover the body


⚫ juncture: point of time, stage


⚫ impetus: drive, force, momentum.


⚫ speculation: assumption


⚫ take issue with: challenge someone or something.


PARA 67 to 81 (Page 67, 68,69)


Rajendra continued that 'reality' is limited to what we see. The lack of determinism in Quantum Theory proves this point. To substantiate the theory, he explained it with the electrons from a source. We have many world pictures at the same time and the electron is found everywhere. Reality is never one-sided, all alternatives are viable, but the observer can experience only one at a time. However, by making a transition, they become capable of travelling two worlds at the same time. Gangadharpant also saw two aspects of the same reality. One is in the real world where he lives now and the other is the parallel world where he spent two days. He travelled neither to the past nor to the future. He was in the present, but experiencing a different world. For this kind of shift from one world to the other, some interaction is necessary. This interaction was brought about by the battle of Panipat. His thousandth address was made in the Azad Maidan where he was very rudely interrupted. And, during that collision, he was wondering about the fate of the Battle of Panipat if it had gone the other way.


VOCABULARY


⚫ constituent: Part of a whole


⚫ startling : Very surprising, astonishing.


⚫ predicted: forecasted, stated something before it happened.


⚫ electron: a negatively charged subatomic particle.


⚫ assertion: statement, claim.


⚫ determinism: the belief that people are not free to do as they wish because their lives are determined by factors outside their control.


⚫ trajectory: the path followed by a moving object.


⚫ transition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.


⚫ macroscopic: large enough to be seen without a microscope


⚫ radically : departing from tradition, new


⚫bifurcation: divergence, division


⚫ token : symbol, gesture


⚫neurons: specialised cells that transmit nerve impulses : activator, something that set off an action.


⚫ trigger : something that set off an action.


⚫ recounting: relating, telling



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