Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Taj / Hinduism / Gandhi review notes

The Taj Mosque and Yamuna River
Originally uploaded by murky.
* Principal gods of Hinduism: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.
* Diego Garcia atoll (ring-shaped island) is in the Indian Ocean. It is a launching port for B-52s whose job it is to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq.
* Gandhi: Asia, Europe, Africa.
* Taj: 1654, Shah Jahan, as a white marble mausoleum for his spouse.
* Persians, Indians, Egyptians and Ceylonese were the craftsmen and designers of the Taj.
* Mosque, minarets, Arabic calligraphy and arabesques identify it as Muslim.
* Tombs of the Shah and Mumtaz are the only things in the Taj.
* Shah imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb.
* Shah Jahan and Gandhi, some 300 years apart, were alike in power and interest in planning and family. Gandhi had little interest in architecture; the Shah built many fine buildings besides the Taj.
* Samsara is the Hindu concept of man's endless cycle of rebirths, or reincarnations. Your reincarnation type is governed by the law of karma, wherein your holiness is governed your actions.
* Brahmin is generally considered the highest caste, or class, says Wikipedia, and Sudras (Shudras) the lowest. Sudras includes the untouchables.
* A guru, teacher, will give you a mantra, or holy word, for meditation. The classic mantra is Om, a word written in Sanskrit, the holy language of India.
* Hinduism is the oldest religion and has the most freedom of ritual. Most Hindus do their prayer at home shrines. Some 800 million people, 81% of India, profess the religion.
* Gandhi's independence struggle struck at British textiles - he suggested everyone wear homespun - and the British tax on salt.
* British Empire (selected nations):
- Central Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesah, Sri Lanka, Burma.
- Mid East: Kuwait, Iraq, yemen, Egypt.
- Far East: Australia, New Guinea, Hong Kong.
- Caribbean: Jamaica, Cayman Is, Bahamas.
- Sikhs (Punjab region, city of Amritsar) and Jains ate notable minority religions of India.

Independent work:
Research, document and compare the Taj mahal and St Peter's Basilica, vatican City / Rome.

Pajamas, khaki, juggernaut, bungalow and jodphurs are words derived from the Hindi.

Why was the Taj Mahal built on the edge of the Yamuna River? Does it remind you of grand structures in Louisiana built along the Mississippi? It certainly reminds us of great cities, such as New Orleans and Roma, and their rivers. What reasons were there for riverside construction besides the beauty of the water?

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