Friday, January 11, 2013

Indian Army : Ghost Solder on Duty Reporting Sir..

“Harbhajan Baba ki Jai” (Glory to Harbhajan Baba), cry out many voices in unison as tourist buses, packed with both Indian and foreign tourists, cabs full of people and private vehicles, all cross the bridge over the Teesta River to enter the border sate of Sikkim in India. Harbhajan Baba is revered across Sikkim as a sacred person. 

This is his story:
nathula pass.jpg
Nathula Pass

The late Harbhajan Singh enrolled in the Punjab Regiment in 1966, joining the army at an early age. He became a Sepoy (a rank in the Indian Army) and found himself posted on the misty heights of the China - Indian border, near Nathula Pass. 

Two years later, while escorting a mule caravan from his battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla, he fell into a fast- flowing stream and was washed away.

The army searched for his body, but it wasn’t found until he began appearing in the dreams of other Sepoys in his unit. In the dream, he informed his colleagues that he was no longer alive and told them where to find his body. He also told them that he would continue to be a soldier always and not tolerate in lax patrolling of this sensitive border. 

When a search party was dispatched to the spot that had been described in the dreams, Sepoy Harbhajan Singh’s body was found. He was cremated with full military honors, and a memorial shrine was made at Chhokya Cho dedicated to his memory. This shrine is a three-room complex where there is a bed laid out for him and his uniform and boots displayed for the visitors. The caretakers swear that each morning the bed sheets are crushed as if someone has slept in the bed the previous night and the carefully polished boots are soiled and covered with mud.

There are also many army reports of a lone man patrolling the area. Soldiers deployed in the area often talk of a lone uniformed man on horseback patrolling the region. Forces on the other side of the border have also confirmed these reports and claim that they too have seen the ghost rider.

Over the years, soldiers here have claimed seeing Harbhajan Singh in their dreams where he instructed them of unprotected areas from where the Chinese could attack. His instructions generally proved accurate and the legend of Baba Harbhajan Singh grew.
There are also stories of battle-weary soldiers who have nodded off during their patrols being woken up with stinging slaps. Obviously, this ghost does not tolerate laxity in duty.

Baba Harbhajan Singh
Baba Harbhajan Singh

The Indian army continued to promote this Sepoy as if he were still alive. A paycheck would be sent home to Punjab every month and he was given annual leave on September 14 every year, when soldiers would pack his trunk with basic essentials. Two soldiers would accompany the trunk of ‘Capt Harbhajan’ all the way to Punjab by train, and it would be brought back after a month the same way. This tradition continued for years until he was retired a few years back.

When I visited the shrine of Harbhajan Baba on my way to see the Nathula border, I witnessed this incredible scene of a dead man’s belongings being packed in a trunk, and being seen off by his fellow officers for a month’s leave.

At 14000ft, located amidst towering mountains, broken by gushing waterfalls and colorful heather and gorse bushes, this shrine attracts devout believers from all over India. Following the twisting narrow roads at a steep incline, vehicles snake their way to this shrine and all people passing through this area, civilians and soldiers alike, generally stop at the shrine to pay obeisance to the revered Baba. Not doing so is supposed to bring bad luck.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Shrine

Way to Nathula

Perhaps the Chinese are just as superstitious as we are because at the monthly flag meetings between the two nations at Nathula, even today the Chinese set a chair aside for the ghost of Harbhajan Baba.

As the Indian flag flutters in the icy winds, it grows misty. Cold fingers of fog creep up to wipe out the sun and it is not difficult to imagine a lonely figure guarding his country’s borders with a zeal that has lasted beyond death.

Believe me, this shrine with its resident ghost sent shivers down my spine when I heard the story of this patriotic ghost soldier while sipping hot tea the caretakers offer to all who come to visit this shrine in the remote border area.

Way to Nathula1

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 10 best Science books that you must read

A Briefer History of Time
Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
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Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most famous physicists. He is well-known by the general public for his extensive work in theoretical physics, cosmology and unfortunately his debilitating battle with motor neuron disease. A Briefer History of Time is an updated and easier to read version of his 1988 bestseller, A Brief History of Time. The book – like its predecessor – reads like a biography of the universe, and is a great introduction to the world of physics. The Sunday Times sum it up best: “This book marries a child’s wonder to a genius’s intellect. We journey into Hawking’s universe while marveling at his mind.”

An A-Z Guide to the Elements
John Emsley
Full Title: Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. A chemist and doctor of science turned full-time writer, Emsley is responsible for many popular science books. Nature’s Building Blocks looks at all the elements from Actinium to Zirconium discussing their role in nature, where the element originated, the common uses of the element, how the elements are used in health or illness and loads of other interesting and quirky facts around them. The book serves as a detailed and interesting essay on each element, much like and expanded and entertaining version of the periodic table.

Death by Black Hole
Neil Degrasse Tyson
Full Title: Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. Tyson is a very charismatic, enthusiastic and entertaining fellow and that is very prominent in his works and media appearances. His book Death by Black Hole is no exception. In it he explores everything from the destructive nature of black holes to the gaffes made in science fiction films. His humorous nature and enthusiasm make this book a very enjoyable read. After reading this it’s easy to see how he got voted one of the most influential people in the world and perhaps even the sexiest astrophysicist alive, a few awards among many that he has accumulated over the years.

The Greatest Show on Earth
Richard Dawkins
Full Title: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist Richard Dawkins goes to great lengths providing evidence for evolution in The Greatest Show on Earth. From artificial to natural selection, fossil records, the human genome project and there’s even some plate tectonics for good measure. If you’re familiar with any of Dawkins other works then you already know what to expect from this. If not, then be prepared for a passionate, thorough, witty and depending on your views, perhaps even controversial look at the origin of our species. Also be sure to read the subplots that are in the footnotes for interesting side notes on the main content of the book.

Michio Kaku
Full Title: Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the 10th Dimension. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, one of the founders of string theory and a well-known popularizer of science through books, radio, television and film. Much of Kaku’s work focuses on the hypothetical future of Earth and of science, making predictions about humanities future and the future of the universe. His bestseller, Hyperspace was voted one of the best science books of 1994 and it’s easy to see why. In Hyperspace, Kaku looks at string theories proposal of 10 dimensional space time and makes the complex subject approachable by using it to ponder the possibility of time travel and multiple universes. It is a must read for anyone interested in theoretical physics without being lost in the complexity of the equations involved.

Manjit Kumar
Quantum Lr
Full Title: Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality. Another physicist and philosopher (there seems to be a trend here), Kumar had written scientific papers for journals, newspapers and co-written popular science books before venturing into his own book, Quantum. Quantum is a biography of quantum physics, centered on the debate between those who did and didn’t agree with quantum theory. The draw of this book is how the great minds of physics went head to head in a battle of the brains around what theory they believed was right. The book gives a history of how physics got to where it is and looks at other notable physicist such as Plank, Schrödinger, Bohm and Rutherford and the concepts and developments they brought to it.

Matt Ridley
Full Title: Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Matt Ridley is a science journalist and author. He is best known for his books on genetics, evolution and looking at human behavior from an evolutionary viewpoint. Genome has one chapter for every pair of human chromosomes, thus using the book itself as a metaphor for the human body. Each chapter looks at a different pair of chromosomes and Ridley picks a gene from each to discuss throughout the chapter. From looking at these genes he covers the rise of homo-sapiens, an individual’s likelihood of inheriting a disease, and even their ability for language. Genome is a great book to gain knowledge on genetics in an accessible and entertaining way.

A Universe from Nothing
Lawrence M. Krauss
Full Title: A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing. Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist known for his work on dark matter and for publishing several popular science books. A Universe from Nothing is a New York Time best-seller and the book stays true to the title looking at why and how the universe began from “nothing.” The book aims to be physics’ answer to philosophy’s questions and maybe after reading it you might, like Stephen Hawking, conclude that philosophy is dead at the hand of physics. Either way A Universe from Nothing is a very insightful cosmology book and well worth a read to come to your own conclusion on philosophy’s fate.

Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan Cosmos 13 Episode Tv Series
Carl Sagan was a world-renowned astrophysicist well-known due to his work with NASA on extra-terrestrial life. Sagan played a significant role in choosing the contents of the voyager golden record which is currently on-board the voyager spacecraft, soon to be the first man-made object to enter inter-stellar space. Sagan was also well-known for the television series ‘Cosmos: A personal voyage’ the series that this book accompanies and one I can’t recommend highly enough. Though Cosmos was published over 30 years ago it is still a relevant and intriguing read filled with amazing imagery of the universe. In it Sagan looks at the evolution of our universe, the evolution of science, and how people are quite literally the universe conceptualizing itself. 

Wonders of the Universe
Brian Cox
Brian Cox is a particle physicist, a familiar presenter of many BBC documentaries on cosmology and he was even a keyboard player for a pop band! His book Wonders of the Universe compliments his television series of the same name. Using materials found on earth and glorious illustrations throughout Cox makes it easier for his audience to understand the concepts in his book. The book explores the marvels of deep space looking at distant stars, black holes, the death of our sun and so much more. Just like Sagan’s Cosmos this book is also based on a fantastic television series, is beautifully illustrated, and would make a great coffee table book.

Mega collection of best Wordpress plug-ins

Administration Plugins

Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu
Consolidate space in the back end of WordPress by displaying all of your administration links in a smaller and more organized horizontal navigation bar across the top of your screen. This takes up much less space the default vertical menu and makes managing your blog much easier. You can even customize the colors of this admin menu to match your theme.
Easily access your database from within WordPress with this all-in-one plugin. You can optimize, repair, backup, or restore your database as well as delete backups, drop/empty tables and run selected queries. You can also schedule automatic backups and optimization of your database.
Another solution for backing up your database in a much more simple (and less feature packed) version of the above WP-DBManager plugin. This plugin allows you to easily backup your core database tables with the click of your mouse.
WordPress Backup
In addition to regular database backups, you should also backup the important server files for WordPress. This plugin allows you to easily backup theme files, uploaded files/images, as well as your plugins directory all within the WordPress backend. You also have the ability to send the backed up zip file to your email.
Role Scoper
For multi user blogs that require advanced permissions for specific user groups and/or content sections, the Role Scoper plugin is a must. Most notably, this plugin allows you to easily customize access to specific pages, posts, or categories as well as giving the ability to set very specific permissions to your different user groups. In addition to these two basic functions, this plugin is loaded with a wide variety of additional capabilities.
Broken Link Checker
This is a great plugin that simply checks your posts for any broken links (both internal and outbound) and notifies you on your WordPress dashboard if you have a broken link. From there, you can easily edit or remove the link.

Security Plugins

Bad Behavior
An easy solution for blocking link spam and bad robots before they are even able to reach your site. Prevent unnecessary link spam, keep your site’s load down and your site log clean with the Bad Behavior plugin.
Login LockDown
This WordPress security plugin will record the IP address and timestamp for every failed login attempt and then temporary lock out an IP address if it has too many failed login attempts within a certain amount of time. This will prevent attackers from any brute force password discovery attempts.
WP Security Scan
Very simply, this plugin will scan your WordPress instillation for any potential security flaws or vulnerabilities and then suggest corrective actions. This includes passwords, file permissions, database security, version hiding, admin protection/security, and much more.

Spam Plugins

Probably the best comment spam plugin out there which blocks most spam comments and files them under "Spam" in your WordPress comment admin screen.
SpamShiv Spam Protection
We all know that putting email addresses on your website is usually a bad idea these days because automated bots can now detect them and spam your inbox relentlessly. With SpamShiv, you no longer have to worry about publicly displaying your email address on your WordPress site. This plugin will detect any email addresses listed on your site and then mask them from email harvesting bots.
Really Simple CAPTCHA
A simple CAPTCHA plugin that works in conjunction with the widely used Contact Form 7 plugin. While this isn’t the most secure CAPTCHA out there, it does prevent most unwanted/spam submissions and integrates quite easily into your WordPress site.

Social Plugins

DISQUS Comment System
Provide added functionality for your comment section with the DISQUS comment system. This plugin integrates seamlessly with WordPress  and actually syncs with the default comment system. For one, this plugin allows users to login with their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo (and more) accounts to post comments. Additionally, you can pull in reactions/comments from various social sites including Digg/Reddit comments, Retweets, and more.
Gigya Socialize
The Gigya Socialize plugin uses social APIs to authenticate users from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL. Allow users to register and login into your site with their own social account.
The sociable plugin displays various social sharing and bookmarking logos below your posts allowing readers to easily share posts on their favorite social sites. You can choose from 99 different social bookmarking logos to display.
Add To Any
As an alternative or addition to the above sociable plugin, the Add to Any plugin provides an easy and compact way for users to share your posts. Save space on your website and give readers a tool to easily share or bookmark your post on over 100 different social sites.
TweetMeme Button
Adds the popular Retweet button to every post. The plugin also provides easy customization and integrates seamlessly with WordPress.
Facebook Share Button
Similar to the above TweetMeMe plugin, the Facebook Share plugin adds the popular Facebook share button to your posts. 
Wibiya Plugin
The Wibiya plugin gives you the ability to easily add the Wibiya Toolbar to your WordPress site. This toolbar displays across the bottom of your site and gives users the ability to search, translate, share, and much more. Additionally, you can customize the look and color of the toolbar to match your site as well as track the toolbar usage through your Wibiya account.

Usability Plugins

Dunstan-style Error Page
Easily create an effective and useful 404 error page on your WordPress site with the click of a button.
Smart 404
The smart 404 plugin helps reduce 404 errors by automatically redirecting users to the correct post or page when they mistype a URL.
Lightbox Plus
The Lightbox plugin provides a much cleaner, more user friendly and stylish way to display images on your site.
Outbound Links
Keep users on your site by forcing all outbound links to open in a new window.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Increase your page views and time on site by displaying related posts on your site.
WordPress Popular Posts
Easily display your most popular posts on the sidebar of your site with the WordPress popular posts plugin.
Feedburner Feedsmith
An often overlooked plugin, Feedburner Feedsmith will detect all alternate feed ULRs for your WordPress site and redirect users to your Feedburner feed.
Search Everything
The Search Everything plugin gives you additional control over the default WordPress site search as well as gives users additional search capabilities to help them find the content they are looking for.

SEO Plugins

Please view our previous post on WordPress SEO plugins for a complete list of great search engine optimization plugins.

Advertising Plugins

Rotate ads on your site, display certain ads only during specific time periods, track impressions and more with the Ad-minister plugin.
Ozh’ Who Sees Ads
Control who sees certain advertisements and under what conditions with Ozh’ Who Sees Ads.
Easily display and manage 125×125 sidebars ads with the WP125 plugin.
Amazon Reloaded for WordPress
Looking to make some extra cash on your site? Use the Amazon Reloaded plugin to easily find and add Amazon affiliate links to your posts.
While not the primary use of GoCodes (intended to create custom and branded shortened URLs), this plugin allows you to easily mask affiliate link URLs by displaying a much cleaner and more friendly version to users.

Other Plugins

WPtouch iPhone Theme
In one of the most impressive plugins out there (in my opinion), the WPtouch iPhone Theme transforms your blog into a great looking mobile site. Keep mobile users on your site with this simple and stylish mobile plugin.
Contact Form 7
One of the most widely used and simple (yet customizable) contact form plugins available. In conjunction with the Really Simple CAPTCHA plugin listed above, this is a great solution for most WordPress sites.
PollDaddy Polls & Ratings
Easily create and manage PollDaddy polls from right within your WordPress dashboard.

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