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March 3, 2001 - March 4, 2001

Ancient manuscript details earthquakes Sunday, March 4, 2001

VADODARA: Even as seismologists, geologists and scientists research about earthquakes their causes and their effects on human and animal life, an entire research on earthquakes is published in the 'Brahat Samhita' a manuscript written by an eminent astrologer Varahmihir dating back to 500 AD. The manuscript contains a special chapter on earthquakes and describes four types of earthquakes, ways to judge its advent and the reasons for their occurrence.

Lecturer in Vedic Astrology at the M S University Sanskrit Mahavidyaylaya, Rajendra Vyas, told 'The Times of India', "There is a separate chapter in the manuscript which in addition to describing four different types of earthquakes also speaks about Bhukamp Lakshan, meaning indicators of earthquakes before it happens and after it happens."

The four types of earthquakes that are described in Chapter 32 of the Brahat Samhita are: Vayumandal, Agnimandal, Indramandal (that occurred on January 26) and the Varunmandal. The chapter itself is divided into four sections accordingly.

The Indramandal type of earthquake is triggered due to certain planetary conditions and occurs when earth enters one of the Nakshatras that fall between Abhijeet and Anuradha. On January 26, it was Dhanishta Nakshatra between these two coupled with a peculiar planetary condition that caused the earthquake informs Vyas.

An interesting fact that Varamihir has written is a shloka describing the Indramandal bhukamp. It says this earthquake occurs in "Arabu Surashtra, Malav, Karmishti Vrushti karam Manav avanchit" (Abu, Saurashtra and Malav -ancient name of Kutch). It brings with its beneficial rains and leads to springing up of water benefiting the society. "This time therefore astrology predicts that now rains would bless Kutch and we can expect that this area would get enough water," informs Vyas.

Varamihir writes that certain physiological and psychological effects are seen around 14 days before the Indramandal earthquake. It speaks of animals behaving strangely and about the deterioration of health of human beings. Infections or irritation of the mouth, throat and loose motions are common.

According to Vyas, these symptoms were seen among people during Uttarayan, when many had complained to doctors about such symptoms. "I undertook a special study to find out if what Varahmihir wrote about earthquakes matches with scientific research and facts seen now," says Vyas.

"This research proves that our ancient astrologers were scientific in their analysis and that we as Indians have failed to take our ancient manuscripts seriously. We need to turn back to these rich sources of scientific information so that we can forecast earthquakes. It is amazing to see how precise Varahmihir was.

"Varamihir writes that earthquakes occur due to the peculiar tilt of the Prithvi (earth) towards the northern side. Today modern astronomers have proved that the earth is tilted on its axis.

"Varamihir further writes that due to this tilt the Northern Hemisphere of the earth is more likely to be earthquake prone. Historically, research has shown that 80 per cent of the total earthquakes take place in the northern half of the earth."

Varamihir has written that human beings are animals and just like animals, human beings too show signs of an impending earthquake. "But due to ahamkar (pride) about his intellect human beings fail to recognise signs that animals who are much more developed feel." Today, many scientist have found that in earthquake ravaged areas changes in animal and human health are due to certain positively and negative charged ions that are released into the air.

Describing other earthquakes Varamihir has said that the Vayumandal earthquake is preceded by peculiar smoke emissions in the sky, strong winds that uproot trees, and destroy jungles. It is also characterised by blunted rays of sun.

The Agnimandal earthquake can be predicted if indicators like "ulka varsha", ie falling stars, are visible in the sky. If the temperature soars and clouds are reduced, water tables deplete and intensity of the sun increases.

One week before the Varunmandal earthquake strange lights are seen similar to lightening during rains. There is a sudden flow of insects especially bees, writes Varamihir.

Modern scientists in many parts of the world have observed these varying precursors of the four types of earthquakes. But in India Varahmihir wrote it all as far back as 500 AD, just that modern Indians have forgotten their past and failed to recognise it as science, says Vyas.

*Manuscript dating back to 500 AD accurately describes the causes and effects of earthquakes

*Varahmihir wrote in his manuscript 'Brahat Samhita' that earthquakes are of four types

* His description is amazingly similar to what modern scientists have observed

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Veda-linked studies fetch jobs abroad Sunday, March 4, 2001

VADODARA: Information Technology may be the in-thing these days, but there is a not-so-glamorous field of Indian studies that has a large number of takers, not just in India, but even in the West.

Unlike IT, this field of study belongs to the realms of ancient Indian science and, ironically, even students who have graduated from the mainstream science and commerce are turning towards these subjects for employment reasons.

Indian subjects like Paurohitya (Karamkand) and Jyotirvigyan (Vedic astrology) and Vastushastra have been suddenly propelled into the forefront and now the University Grants Commission has shown a keen interest in reviving these sciences.

"We have received a letter from the UGC to start a special department of Paurohitya and Jyotirvigyan, we might also get recognition from UGC to give the Sanskrit Mahavidyalay the status of faculty," says the Vadodara institute's principal H M Pandey.

The letter from the UGC mentions "the potential of this science to generate employment opportunities to many, both at home and in foreign countries".

According to Pandey, there are 250 students in the Mahavidyalay at present, 80 per cent of them science and commerce graduates who, after failing to land a good job, preferred to take up study of ancient sciences.

"All of our students get lucrative offers even when they are in the first year of study," claims Vedic astrology lecturer Rajendra Vyas. An alumni of the Mahavidyalay, he has visited the US seven times, UK four times and Dubai and Bahrain three times each.

"We get offers from NRIs settled abroad. They have built temples in the US and UK and have their own society there. They arrange marriage functions and other religious ceremonies and for these 'purohits' and Vedic astrologers are needed. Unlike earlier days, when study of such subjects was considered useless, it is now catching up," says Vyas.

According to Pandey, the demand has propelled many students from Nepal, Bhutan, Vrundavan and other 'ashrams' across the country to apply to the Sanskrit Mahavidyalay.

Prakash Joshi, who has done the course, started off as the official astrologer at Hotel Welcomgroup where a special astrology corner was set up to provide the service to foreigners. Such set-ups are common in many hotels in metro cities.

Prakash Joshi is currently in Dubai. Before that he was in the US and the UK where he got an opportunity to conduct rituals and make predictions for clients.

"Like Prakash, there are many students who are either invited to the US, UK or West Asia. Even if they stay there for two months they get ample opportunities to conduct poojas, marriage functions, other 'vidhis' and Bhagwad 'kathas' which earn them good money," says Pandey.

Pandey gives an example of a student who was employed with Petrofils which closed down. "He was an engineer. A purohit's son, he decided to study Karmakand and Jotirvigyan and is leaving for the US very soon."

Some of the illustrious names that have passed out from the Mahavidyalay are Dongre Maharaj, Indira Beti, Dhrumil Bawa amongst others.

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Fire causes loss of Rs 1 billion at Tata Chemicals' Mithapur factory Saturday, March 3, 2001

At least 15 people were injured, some of them seriously, when a major fire broke out at the Tata Chemicals premises at Mithapur, near Jamnagar, at around 10.45 on Friday morning, causing an estimated loss of Rs 1 billion.

Seven fire-fighting tenders, drawn from the Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, Reliance Petrochemicals Limited and Tata Chemicals were pressed into service. The blaze was put out at 1400 hrs.

The injured had been admitted to Tata Hospital, Mithapur.

A major portion of the Rs 2 billion-plant had been reduced to ashes, according to a report from Jamnagar.

Meanwhile, speaking to, Romit Chatterji, vice-president (corporate affairs) of Tata Services, said: "The fire broke out in the power house where coal and oil are kept. Fire spread from that area. We are still ascertaining the damage to the factory. However, it is not gutted. The fire was not because of the bursting of boilers. Moreover, it was localised and has not spread beyond the power house area."

Chatterjee also stated that there have been no reports of any casualty.

P D Trivedi, a senior reporter with the Jamnagar daily Nobat said, "Fire-fighting equipment from Reliance and Essar have been rushed to Mithapur. Medical teams and other assistance have been organised from Rajkot, Jamnagar and Dwarka."

The local authorities, he added, claimed that the fire followed the bursting of a boiler.

Meanwhile, a medical team from Jamnagar Medical College, had been rushed to the site. Officials of the district administration and police teams had also reached Mithapur.

The Tata Chemicals plant, set up in 1939 is the largest producer of soda ash in the country.

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Notices issued for closure of schools Saturday, March 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Director Primary Education R K Chowdhary on Friday issued notices to all primary schools, nagarpalikas and the District Education Office (DEO) to close schools for students with immediate effect.

Here, even as the state education department officials are dashing notice after notice ordering closure of schools, a number of schools reportedly remained open in the city. "Management of my son's school has refused to close and has said it will conduct exams continuously for one month. Government is saying something, schools are saying something else, please tell us what we should do in such a situation", complained an agitated parent over phone from Maninagar.

Answers to questions like these are hard to get as there is no official instruction as what action to initiate against those schools violating the GR.

"We have instructed all schools to remain closed and can initiate disciplinary action against non-complying schools to the extent of cancelling their recognition", conceded an official in the rural district education office.

Meanwhile, those in the state education department confessed that no official decision had been taken so far on this issue. "We wanted the schools opened and that is why we directed schools to resume teaching immediately after the quake. But parents and local politicians put pressure on the department and hence the orders for the closure. Now what disciplinary action can we take against them if they remain open", said an official in the education department. On asked to comment whether recognition can be cancelled, the official said that cancelling the same was no good as it being a lengthy procedure, till the time it is enforced, the academic year will have been over, he said.

Meanwhile, principals of Diwan Ballubhai, CN and Shardamandir Higher Secondary School and representative of the Ahmedabad School Management Association met officials in Gandhinagar to request reconsidering decision on closing schools and allowing those schools where parents are ready to send their wards to continue with the teaching process.

"We could not meet CM as Anandiben Patel is not in town. She will be back tomorrow evening when we will meet her over the order", informed Justice BJ Diwan.

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Bahujan Samaj Party demands imposition of President's Rule Saturday, March 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Leaders of the state unit of Bahujan Samaj Party Abdulkarim Chhipa and Jayprakash Prem on Friday demanded the dismissal of the BJP government as it had failed to provide help to the quake victims, mainly weaker sections and minorities.

In a joint statement, the leaders said they were shocked to see inhuman attitude towards dalits, Muslims and tribals in distribution of the material received from NGOs, particularly when they were making all out efforts to assist the authorities in relief and rehabilitation programmes.

The BJP government had lost the faith and confidence of people and in such circumstances the Centre should sack the government and impose President's Rule at the earliest, they said.

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