SIR ISSAC NEWTON – THE INVENTOR OF GRAVITY

Isaac Newton was born on 4 January 1643 in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire. His father was a prosperous farmer, who died three months before Newton was born. His mother remarried and Newton was left in the care of his grandparents. In 1661, he went to Cambridge University where he became interested in mathematics, optics, physics and astronomy. In October 1665, a plague epidemic forced the university to close and Newton returned to Woolsthorpe. The two years he spent there were an extremely fruitful time during which he began to think about gravity. He also devoted time to optics and mathematics, working out his ideas about ‘fluxions’ (calculus).In 1667, Newton returned to Cambridge, where he became a fellow of Trinity College. Two years later he was appointed second Lucasian professor of mathematics. It was Newton’s reflecting telescope, made in 1668, that finally brought him to the attention of the scientific community and in 1672 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society. From the mid-1660s, Newton conducted a series of experiments on the composition of light, discovering that white light is composed of the same system of colours that can be seen in a rainbow and establishing the modern study of optics (or the behaviour of light). In 1704, Newton published ‘The Opticks’ which dealt with light and colour. He also studied and published works on history, theology and alchemy.In 1687, with the support of his friend the astronomer Edmond Halley, Newton published his single greatest work, the ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ (‘Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy’). This showed how a universal force, gravity, applied to all objects in all parts of the universe.In 1689, Newton was elected member of parliament for Cambridge University (1689 – 1690 and 1701 – 1702). In 1696,Newton was appointed warden of the Royal Mint, settling in London. He took his duties at the Mint very seriously and campaigned against corruption and inefficiency within the organisation. In 1703, he was elected president of the Royal Society, an office he held until his death. He was knighted in 1705.

Newton was a difficult man, prone to depression and often involved in bitter arguments with other scientists, but by the early 1700s he was the dominant figure in British and European science. He died on 31 March 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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HOWARD HUGHES – THE AVIATOR

Howard Hughes’ father, Howard Hughes Sr., made his fortune by designing a drill bit that could drill through hard rock. Before this new bit, oil drillers weren’t able to reach the large pockets of oil lying beneath the hard rock. Howard Hughes Sr. and a colleague established the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company which held the patent for the new drill bit, manufactured the bit, and leased the bit to oil. Though he grew up in a wealthy household, Howard Hughes Jr. had difficulty focusing on school and changed schools often. Rather than sitting in a classroom, Hughes preferred to learn by tinkering with mechanical things. For instance, when his mother forbade him from having a motorcycle, he built one by building a motor and adding it to his bicycle. Hughes was a loner in his youth; with one notable exception, Hughes never really had any friends.

When Hughes was just 16-years old, his doting mother passed away. And then not even two years later, his father also suddenly passed away. Howard Hughes received 75% of his father’s million-dollar estate; the other 25% went to relatives.

Hughes immediately disagreed with his relatives over the running of Hughes Tool Company but being only 18-years old, Hughes could not do anything about it because he would not legally be considered an adult until age 21. Frustrated but determined, Hughes went to court and got a judge to grant him legal adulthood. He then bought out his relatives’ shares of the company. At age 19, Hughes became full owner of the company and also got married (to Ella Rice).
In 1925, Hughes and his wife decided to move to Hollywood and spend some time with Hughes’ uncle, Rupert, who was a screenwriter. Hughes quickly became enchanted with movie making. Hughes jumped right in and filmed Swell Hogan but quickly realized it wasn’t good so he never released it. Learning from his mistakes, Hughes continued making movies. His third, Two Arabian Knights won an Oscar.

With one success under his belt, Hughes wanted to make an epic about aviation and set to work on Hell’s Angels. It became his obsession. His wife, tired of being neglected, divorced him. Hughes continued making films, producing over 25 of them.

In 1932, Hughes had a new obsession — aviation. He formed the Hughes Aircraft Company and bought several airplanes and hired numerous engineers and designers. He wanted a quicker, faster plane. He spent the rest of the 1930s setting new speed records. In 1938, he flew around the world, breaking Wiley Post’s record. Though Hughes was given a ticker-tape parade on his arrival in New York, he was already showing signs of wanting to shun the public spotlight.
In 1944, Hughes won a government contract to design a large, flying boat that could carry both people and supplies to the war in Europe. The “Spruce Goose,” the largest plane ever constructed, was flown successfully in 1947 and then never flown again. Hughes’ company also developed a chain feeder for the machine guns on bombers and later built helicopters.

By the mid-1950s, Hughes’ dislike of being a public figure began to severely affect his life. Though he married actress Jean Peters in 1957, he began to avoid public appearances. He traveled for a bit, then in 1966 he moved to Las Vegas, where he holed himself up in the Desert Inn Hotel. When the hotel threatened to evict him, he purchased the hotel. He also bought several other hotels and property in Las Vegas. For the next several years, hardly a single person saw Hughes. He had become so reclusive that he nearly never left his hotel suite.

In 1970, Hughes’ marriage ended and he left Las Vegas. He moved from one country to another and died in 1976, aboard an airplane, while traveling from Acapulco, Mexico to Houston, Texas. Hughes had become such a hermit in his last years that no one was sure it was really Hughes that had died, so the Treasury Department had to use fingerprints to confirm the death of billionaire Howard Hughes.

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PIERCE BROSNAN – THE MOST ROMANTIC JAMES BOND

Pierce Brosnan, known much better as 007 or James Bond, was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland on May 16, 1953. His father, Thomas Brosnan, left him and his mother so lived with his grandparents until he was 11 years old, when he was reunited with his mother in England. Here Brosnan experienced something that would change his life he saw his first movie, a James Bond film, Goldfinger. Brosnan’s reunion with his mother was short lived. He dropped out of school at 15 to start his life. He tried his luck as a fire-eater, then trained as a commercial illustrator, and finally an actor. He studied for three years at the Drama Center of London. Once trained he went on to work behind the scenes in various productions and then to triumph on the London stage, most notably in Filumena and Tennessee William’s The Red Devil Battery Sign.

In 1981, Brosnan got his big break: starring in the miniseries The Manions of America. Even though the movie didn’t earn big reviews, it was a hit in America. In 1981, Brosnan packed up and headed to the US, where he had heard about auditions for detective-drama TV series. He quickly won the role, and was cast as the title character in NBC’s Remington Steele. The series became a hit and Brosnan a star. During its fourth season, ratings for the show dropped. NBC canceled the show, only to renew it when he was offered the much-coveted role of James Bond, killing Brosnan’s chances at playing one of the most famous secret agents. Six episodes later the series was cancelled yet again, but the actor’s chances to play Bond had already been shot.

As Brosnan pursued a career in movies, first with Nomad’s in 1986 and then 1987’s the Fourth Protocol, his first Bond film, GoldenEye, grossed over $350 million worldwide, more than any other Bond film to that point. His 2nd Bond film, 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, grossed more money in the US than GoldenEye. Together, his first 4 Bond films have grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide. Aside from the Bond and Steele roles, Pierce has had a varied and extensive film and TV career, playing roles ranging from archeologists to assassins, from Chris Columbus’ comedies to Merchant Ivory’s costume dramas. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1984 for his portrayal of Robert Gould Shaw in the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre production of Nancy Astor. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 1997 (star #2099), which can be found at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

In his spare time, he is an painter. He has 3 children with Cassandra (his 1st wife, a “Bond girl” herself), Sean (b. 1983) and stepchildren Charlotte (b. 1971) and Christopher (b. 1972); and 2 sons, Dylan Thomas (b. 1997) and Paris Beckett (b. 2001), with his 2nd wife, former TV correspondent/soap actress Keely Shaye Smith, whom he married in August 2001. He has also been active in cancer fund-raising and supporting environmental causes. He was awarded an honorary OBE by the British government for his film and charitable work in July 2003.

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JYOTI BASU – THE GREAT MARXIST LEADER

Jyoti Basu (8 July 1914 – 17 January 2010) or ‘Jyotirindra Basu’ was an Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from West Bengal, India. He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, making him the longest-serving Chief Minister of any Indian state. He was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from the time of the party’s founding in 1964 until 2008. From 2008 until his death in 2010 he remained a permanent invitee to the central committee of the party. On his death, he was the last founding Politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Jyoti Basu was born on 8 July 1914 as Jyotirindra Basu at 43/1 Harrison Road (now Mahatma Gandhi Road) Calcutta into an upper middle-class Bengali family in West Bengal, India. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor from the village of Barudi in Narayanganj District, East Bengal (now in Bangladesh), while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife. Basu’s schooling started at Loreto School at Dharmatala, Calcutta (now Kolkata), in 1920. It was there where his father shortened his name and he became Jyoti Basu. However, he was moved to St. Xavier’s School in 1925. Basu completed his undergraduate education and received the honours in English from the Presidency College of the University of Calcutta.

Basu’s first track in politics was his effort to organize the Indian students studying in United Kingdom, mostly for the cause of Indian independence. Basu subsequently joined India League and London Majlis, both the organizations being communities of overseas Indian students. Basu was later elected the General Secretary of London Majlish. Basu was given the responsibility for arranging a meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru during Nehru’s visit to London in 1938. The same was done after Subhas Chandra Bose went to England. As a member of London Majlis, Basu introduced the visiting Indian political figures to the leaders of the Labour Party.
After the country gained independence, he was elected to the assembly from Baranagar in 1952. He was elected to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1991 and 1996. Though an elected member, Basu was arrested several times during the 1950s and 60s and for certain periods he went underground to evade arrest by the police.
In 1962, Jyoti Basu was one amongst the 32 members of the National Council who walked out of the meeting. When the CPI(M) was formed in 1964 as a result of the ideological struggle within the Communist movement, Basu became a member of the Politburo. He was, in fact, the last surviving member of the “Navaratnas”, the nine members of the first Politburo. The leftist section, to which the 32 National Council members belonged, organized a convention in Tenali, Andhra Pradesh July 7 to 11. It was here where the radical sections of party further showed their pro-Chinese stand. The Tenali convention was marked by the display of a large portrait of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong.

On 1 January 2010, Basu was admitted to AMRI hospital,Saltlake Bidhannagar, Kolkata after he was diagnosed with pneumonia. On 16 January 2010, his health condition became extremely critical and he was suffering from multiple organ failure. Seventeen days after being taken ill, he died on 17 January 2010 at 11:47 am IST. Basu had pledged to donate his body and eyes for medical research on 4 April 2003 at a function organised by Ganadarpan and Susrut Eye Foundation in Kolkata and not to be burned at a crematorium. His eyes are donated to Susrut Eye Foundation. He is survived by his son Chandan, daughter-in-law Rakhi, grand daughters Payel, Doyel and Koyel, offsprings of his first daughter-in-law Dolly (separated with son Chandan in 1998), and grand son Subhojyoti, offspring of daughter-in-law Rakhi. His second wife Kamala Basu had earlier passed away on 1 October 2003. Basu’s body was kept at ‘Peace Haven’ for those who wanted to pay their respects. His body was handed over to SSKM Hospital, Kolkata for research on 19 January 2010 around 16:50 pm IST after a guard of honour at the nearby Moharkunja park (formerly, citizens’ park). The hospital authority is currently considering preserving his brain.

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KAMAL HASSAN – A DEDICATED ACTOR OF TAMIL CINEMA

Kamal Hassan’s affinity towards and excellence in the performing arts was evident even as a child, when he won his first National Film Award. He has since then stepped into the shoes of a Bharthnatyam dancer, actor, screenplay writer, director, lyricist, playback singer and known to play multiple roles in a single film – all of which command an applause.

Kamal Hassan was born into an Iyengar family on the 7th November 1954 in Paramakudi in Tamil Nadu. His father Srinivasan practiced law and his mother is Rajalakshmi. His brothers Charu and Chandra also carry the surname Hassan owing to their father’s friendship with a man named Hassan.

Hassan was married to classical dancer Vani Ganapathi in 1978. They parted ways in 1988. He then married the actress Sarika with whom he had two daughters Akshara and Shruthi, the latter is all set to make her mark as an actress. The marriage with Sarika broke up in 2002. He is rumoured to be living with Gouthami, a well-known actress.He is a recipient of the Padma Shri award in 1990.

1960 Kamal Hassan, made his debut in 1960, when he was six years old, in the Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma. He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist, the first of his four National Awards. He acted in atleast five other films as a child. 1970-1979 When he came back to films again in 1972, he played second fiddle to leading stars like in Arangetram and Sollathan Ninaikkiren. In 1974, his acting prowess was recognized with a Filmfare Best Actor Award for his role in Kanyakumari, a Malayalam film. The awards became almost routine with the Tamil films that followed like K. Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal which explored relationships with age-gaps, which was controversial in that era; 16 Vayathinile in which he played the role of a man who is mentally undeveloped and also Manmadha Leelai, and Oru Oodhappu Kan Simittugiradhu. He was part of several films directed by K.Balachandran and worked with co-stars like Sridevi and Rajinikanth.

1980-1989 The eighties saw him in Tamil films like Moondram Pirai and Apoorva Sagodharargal. He won the National Film Award for Moondram Pirai in which he played a teacher with Sridevi. His Telugu film in 1983, Saagara Sangamam won him the Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Award for his portrayal of a dancer. He also starred in the Hindi films Ek Duje Ke Liye and Sagar, the latter won him the Filmfare Best Actor Award, in 1985. The 1989 film, Pushpak, a silent film and a black comedy, won him the Filmfare Best Kannada Actor Award. Nayagan, inspired by The Godfather, fetched him his third National Film Award. It was India’s entry to the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category in 1987 and went on to be listed in Times Top 100 Movies.
1990-1999 The nineties saw a lot of laughs with films like Michael Madhana Kamarajan, Sathi Leelavathi based on She-Devil and Avvai Shanmughi based on Mrs.Doubtfire. In 1992, he produced and acted in Thevar Magan, for which he got the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award for his role of Shakti, the son of a village head. The film was nominated in 1992 for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category. Indian, a Tamil film released in 1996, saw Hassan walking away with his fourth National Film Award and The Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. He made his directorial debut with Chachi 420, a remake of Avvai Shanmughi in Hindi.

2000-2009 The year 2000 began with his second directorial venture Hey Ram, which was made in Hindi and Tamil. Hassan scripted, produced and acted in it. He won the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award, though the film was more of a critical success rather than a commercial one. He acted in quite a few funnies like Thenali, Panchathantiram and Pammal K. Sambandam. He played Nalla Sivam in Anbe Sivam with Madhavan. He directed, scripted, acted and produced Virumaandi in 2004, about death penalty. In 2006 he had a big hit in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, in which played an honest cop. His most recent film in 2008 was the extravagant Dasavathaaram, in which he played ten different roles.

He is currently working on his project Thalaivan Irrukiran, a film to be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, for which he has penned the screenplay and is set to direct it, his love for multiple roles evident on and off screen.

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KIRUBANANDA VARIYAR – A GOOD SPIRITUAL PREACHER

Thiru Muruga Kirupanandha Variyar, popularly known and reverently called Variyar Swamigal was born at Kangeyanallur, a small village on the northern bank of ‘Palar’ river. This village lies at a distance of 5 km between Vellore and Katpadi in Vellore District. This province is referred to as Thondai Nadu in Sangam literature.

His father Siva Thiru Mallayadasa Bhagavathar was well known for his discourses on ancient Purana & Ethics. He was a great scholar, his knowledge and wisdom in Purana, Ethics and literature were unlimited. Hence, he was conferred with the title “Puranethikasa Paarangathar”. He established ‘Thirupugazh Sabhas’ in each and every place to propagate “Thirupugazh” , the songs which spell the glory of god Muruga.

Madhu Shri Kanagavalli Ammaiyar, his mother was a noble, highly discipline calm, affectionate holy woman. She was always align with the thoughts of her husband. Her kindness and helping tendency towards mankind particularly towards poor was endless. His parents belong to Sengunthar group following Veerashaiva traditions (Primarily followers of Lord Siva). They had 11 children and swamigal was the fourth child.

Variyar Swamigal never stepped into any school. But his father Mallayadasar taught him education, Literature, grammar, music and instrumental music, particularly Veena, Swamigal started reading and learning texts at Third year of his age. Swamigal was capable of authoring Venbas (a sort of Tamil lyric) at his eighth year of age. At his 12th year he memorized ten thousand poems and authored texts like ‘Ashta Naga Bandham’, ‘Mayil’,’Vel’, and ‘Sivalinga Bandams’ which were too hard and a challenge for even highly learned scholars.

Variyar Swamigal married Amirtha Lakshmi, daughter of his maternal uncle at his 19th age. It is said that saints like Thiruvalluvar had no children since no sacred life was available to call them as ‘father’. So was the case in Variyar Swamigal also.

The motto of being a human in this world is to serve others before self. The people love other live for other, even the bone of kind people belongs to all other. So is a statement in Thirukkural and according to that, Variyar Swamigal toiled for others, for the people, for the world throughout his life span. It is said that one who sees a thousand crescents in his life has lived for a full span with entire fulfilment in all aspects of life. Thus Variyar Swamigal lived as a pearl representing the Pancha Boodhas. That is why he was born in this earth and attained eternal life in the space on 07.11.1993.

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MOTHER TERESA – THE LOVER OF PEACE

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.

On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

Today the order comprises Active and Contemplative branches of Sisters and Brothers in many countries. In 1963 both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers was founded. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added, and in 1984 the Priest branch was established.

The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.

The Missionaries of Charity throughout the world are aided and assisted by Co-Workers who became an official International Association on March 29, 1969. By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries. Along with the Co-Workers, the lay Missionaries of Charity try to follow Mother Teresa’s spirit and charism in their families.

Mother Teresa’s work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards. She also got Nobel Prize for peace in this year (1979).

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