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Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who made a great contribution in the fields of child development and cognitive psychology. He was born in Western Russia (present day Belarus) in 1896, same year as another famous psychologist, Jean Piaget. He is often known as the “Mozart of Psychology” because, just like the famous composer, Vygotsky came up with several different theories in a short span of time, demonstrating his ingenuity. However, his life was cut short by tuberculosis and he died at the age of 38 leaving many of his theories incomplete. Vygotsky graduated with a degree in law in 1917 from Moscow State University. There he studied a range of subjects including psychology, sociology and philosophy. Vygotsky formally started his career in psychology when he became a research fellow at the Psychological Institute in Moscow.
To understand Lev Vygotsky’s theories, we need to understand the political situation in Russia at the time. When he began working on his theories, Marxism had just replaced dictatorship. Individuals were expected to sacrifice their personal gains for the greater good of the nation; success of an individual was considered a success for the culture. It was in this environment that Vygotsky came up with the Sociocultural Theory. This theory stressed the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition. He believed that since the development was greatly influenced by the culture, it varied from society to society, contradicting the beliefs of Jean Piaget, who maintained that the elementary steps in cognition development were universal. Two of the main principles of Vygotsky’s theories were the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) and the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). MKO refers to someone who has a greater understanding or a higher skill level than the learner. This may be an adult or a teacher or it might be the child’s peer. In recent times, MKO can be taken to be a machine or even a software. The concept of More Knowledgeable Other is integrated with the Zone of Proximal Development. There is a difference between what a child can achieve independently, called actual development, and what he can achieve with the guidance of an adult, called the level of potential development. The distance between the two development levels is called ZPD. He realized that what a person could be taught mattered more than what the person actually knew. Furthermore, Lev Vygotsky was the first psychologist to document the importance of self-talk for cognitive development. Although psychologists at the time agreed of its existence, they assigned no cognitive value to private talk, or inner speech as it was known. Vygotsky, however, believed that, through inner speech, a child regulated its activity and these children were more competent socially than those who did not indulge in it.
Lev Vygotsky is considered an influential thinker in psychology, and much of his work is being discovered and translated even today. Though he was a contemporary of Piaget and Freud, he failed to gain prominence partly because of his early death, and because the Communist Party tried to suppress his work, which became accessible to the West only in the 1960s. Still, his work is considered an important contribution in the fields of education and development psychology.
Aaron Temkin Beck, the psychologist whose claim to fame is cognitive therapy, was born on July 18th, 1921 in Rhode Island, USA. He studied and graduated from Brown University. His profound theories in cognitive therapy which were developed after years of numerous studies conducted on psychological ailments of addiction, depression and suicide. Accredited as the pioneer of cognitive therapy with its wide application in curing clinical depression, he also developed anxiety scales to measure depression phenomenon he identified and named to segregate one from the other.
A born psychologist that he is, he managed to cure his mother’s depression at a very young age who suffered from it due to two child losses. The man did not decided to become psychologist at a very young age, in fact he was more into studying medicine and organic chemistry so he started studying for the it at Yale medical school. It all began when he started studying as a psychiatry student by chance due to few psychiatry students enrolled at Rhode Island Hospital, at that point in time his journey to becoming a psychologist began.
His inclination in psychology is gauged from the fact that one of his contemporaries brought to light, according to Marjorie Weishaar; Aaron Beck suggested that psychoanalysis can work wonders for treating psychological ailments.
His fascination and belief in psychoanalysis led him to an idea that it can cure illnesses of schizophrenia, neurosis, psychosis and other mental conditions. Being a kind-hearted person, he found this field very engaging because it stimulated him towards gaining his true potential as a psychologist.
After years of spending his time and energy on studying and practicing psychoanalysis it became too monotonous for him as he found a lack of structural framework and scientific evidences to support theories in psychoanalysis and so he switched to cognitive psychology. This shift in his interest led him to some amazing discoveries as it helped him in realizing his true potential as a cognitive psychologist. As a goal oriented and self-made person he is destined to be a ground-breaker that will revolutionize modern psychology through his influential works in cognitive psychology he wants to empower people of their own thoughts and actions and make them see that they can control their lives and become in charge of the situations that disrupts their lives negatively and positively.
Aaron Beck introduced Beck Depression Inventory in 1961 when he began working with more valor and enthusiasm towards his theories in cognitive psychology. The BDI scale is widely used as a critical tool for gauging depression, the BDI scale, much designed like a likert scale, consists of 21 items to identify the seriousness of depression symptoms prevailing in the human mind.
Besides his notable and ground breaking works in cognitive psychology the accomplishments to his name also includes Lasker award in 2006, he is also serving as an honorary president for the academy of cognitive therapy as well as Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy. He also wrote books mirroring his profound interest in issues and theories relating to cognitive psychology, depression treatment, anxiety disorder and causes and nature of thoughts and actions leading to suicide.
His list of accomplishments does not end here, he has the honor of giving profound lectures in some of the prestigious universities across Pennsylvania and New York. He is the only psychologist who has been awarded by American Psychological Association as well as American Psychiatric Association.
Currently Aaron Beck is serving as the president of a reputable non-profit, The Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research located at University of Pennsylvania. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Assumption College and Brown University. He has also been bestowed with the “Heinz award” and “Sarnat award” from the Institute of Medicine.
Abraham Maslow was an American psychology professor who was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 1, 1908. Maslow remains famous for his contributions to psychology in terms of the theory he proposed otherwise known as The Hierarchy of Needs. He is also known the empathetic, compassionate founder of Humanistic Psychology which entails the focus on every individual’s potential and stresses upon significance of growth and self actualization. Humanistic Psychology, according to Maslow and his kind, states that people are innately good natured. According to his theory, mental and social disorders result as a deviation from a human’s natural ‘goodness.’
Abraham Maslow migrated from Russia; he was the first child among seventh others in his Jewish family. In his notes, he mentioned his childhood as lonesome and rather abysmal and that he enjoyed spending his time perusing fiction and nonfiction in the library. Initially Maslow intended on studying law at City College in New York but he decided to change to University of Wisconsin where he developed interest in psychology. It was in Wisconsin where Maslow found a great mentor and guide in his doctoral advisor Harry Harlow. Maslow commenced teaching at Brooklyn College in 1937 where he continued working as a member to the faculty of the institute. His influences include the famous Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer as well as well known anthropologist Ruth Benedict. Due to his admiration for these people, Maslow studied and analyzed them for his theories that later on proved to become the foundation of his contributions.
Later on Maslow became the driving force behind humanistic psychology. His hypothesis became well acknowledged theories that included the famous hierarchy of needs in addiction to self actualization. His analysis and experiences formed fundamental subjects in the humanist movement pertaining to psychological studies. In an era where psychologists focused on the clinical aspects of mental and social disorders, Maslow made a significant attempt at understanding and asserting the belief that humans are capable of wonderful, altruistic deeds. His emphasis was on the good nature of his animate surroundings. He extrapolated on human nature, tendencies and how one’s potential and peaks can be materialized into reality. Abraham Maslow paid much attention on the notion to increase one’s personal growth and goodness by dispelling the overtly cold, somewhat insensitive studies other psychologists put forth as their studies.
Interestingly enough, Maslow’s contribution did not sync in well with those of his peers; his theories were deemed too “positive” and “optimistic” for the academics studying them. This criticism did not, however, inhibit Maslow from injecting a strong sense of hope and resurgence in positive psychology. He was highly opposed to the idea of treating humans as “bags of symptoms”; his contributions insisted upon connecting with humans to understand them so they could receive the catharsis and solution they required. In his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow compassionately explains the needs of human beings in the form of a pyramid. They belong to categories of psychological ones, ones related to love, esteem, self actualization and safety. This pyramid has long described and translated the basic nature of human beings around us. It is because of his genius theory today people can relate to their wants and needs in the form of a simple, colorful pyramid.
Abraham Maslow passed away due to a heart attack on June 8, 1970.
“People who believe they have the power to exercise, some measures of control over their lives are more healthier, more effective, more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives.” – Albert Bandura
It is not wrong to say that Albert bandura is a living legend in the world of psychology, He is truly a living legend who has proposed theories that proved his mettle against and claimed him fame to the levels of B.F Skinner, Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget. His name is mentioned against some famous psychologists, including the likes of Sigmund Freud, for his works encompasses around the major contributions in the major spectrums of psychology ranging from social cognitive theory, therapy to personality psychology. Born in Mundare, Canada in 1925 and brought up in a small farming community in Canada after doing his elementary school he had no higher learning opportunities in that city to quench his thirst for knowledge so that lead him into becoming a self motivated learner. He did his BA from University of British Columbia. Then he did his MA from University of Iowa in theoretical psychology.
His first book is based upon the theories and observations behind adolescent aggression. He conducted ‘Bobo doll experiment’ in 1961 which gained fame among the internationally acclaimed psychologists, he conducted this experiment on a young woman spanking a doll, this a kind of doll which sways back and forth when hit by any object as in hammer ,more commonly known as bob clown. The woman objected the clown to physical abuses and shouting out “sockeroo!”, Bandura filmed this video and showed it to a bunch of kids in kindergarten who liked it a lot as per their natural instincts, so they were give a set of bobo dolls and little hammers in front of a bunch of observers to watch on their behaviors. Naturally the little started hammering the bobo dolls with all enthusiasm, so by his experiments he concluded that there is a phenomenon known as observational leaning or modeling, He coined the term social learning theory as an inference for this experiment. The bobo doll experiment provided the basis for child psychology which says that a child learns by observing and repeating what he sees and perceives in the environment.
According to the social learning theory there are some necessary traits that are to be adopted while learning in a social situation, these traits are attention, retention, reproduction, motivation and self-regulation. His ground breaking book based on social learning theory published in 1977 set a new direction for modern psychology in 1980’s. His acclaimed publication in 1986 Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, in which he proposed that human beings are in control of themselves and have a proactive approach in dealing with life situations and with the choices they make for themselves. He also wrote a book on self-efficacy which is the art of practicing self-control which got published in 1977.
Albert Bandura is a major psychologist of this era who has contributed a great deal in the history of modern psychology. His honorable accolades includes the most youngest president of the American Psychological Association (APA) where he served as the 82nd president of the prestigious association, member of editorial board of the nine psychological journals and Grawmeyer award winner in psychology. His ground breaking theory in self regulated learning earned him the award for distinguished scientific contributions from APA. He also received 16 honorary degrees from universities of repute. As a higher recognition of his works American Psychological Association awarded him with a gold medal recognizing and appreciating his lifetime contributions towards psychology.
Albert Ellis was an American psychologist acknowledged for the proposition of Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), recognized as one of the greatest psychologists who has influenced the society through his works. He is honored for theories that go acclaimed as the ground-breakers in the history of modern psychology. His profound works in the field of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy and philosophy enjoys a repute of worldly fame and acknowledgement.
Born at Pittsburg and raised at New York his childhood was not a bed of roses but he survived through his childhood smartly. When he was a child he identified his mother having a bipolar disorder but instead of getting all upset over this issue he tried helping his mother by acting as an adult sibling towards his younger brother and sisters. His mother and father had an irresponsible attitude towards him and his siblings which made him stand on his own feet at a very young age having learnt to turn the hurdles and setbacks to opportunities and successes at a pretty tender age. He wanted to be a novelist but he became a good counselor to his friends with the knowledge he gained and the problems he solved for friends with the passage of time.
He acquired his university education from City University of New York in 1934 and a Ph.D degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia university. There, he received his training as a psychoanalyst. His interest grew more in clinical psychology with the passage of time. He also realized the effectiveness of psychotherapy at during course of his degree at Columbia University.
His REBT theory works on the principles of ABC: A stands for activating, B stands to belief and C refers to consequences. This theory works by triggering painful experiences or troubles in the past or present that are reasons behind dissatisfaction and unhappiness and beliefs that have or do not have any ground in reality but have become a part of mind that always creates unhappiness, consequences define depression and extreme anger resulting from beliefs and triggering of events from past. According to his theory of REBT he suggested that long term unhappiness caused due to any unpleasant events in the past can be cured by making the unhappy or depressed person realize that he had his share of successes and accomplishments and he is not a complete failure.
Albert Ellis was inspired by the works well renowned scholars of that time including the likes of Adler, Horney, Fromm and Harry Sullivan and they played an influential role in Ellis’s career as a psychologist. His works withAmerica Psychiatric Association are notable and revolutionary in the field of sexology and turned over a new page and gave way to american sexual revolution .
He initiated cognitive behavioral therapies which were proved by scientific evidences. The CBT shaped up modern psychotherapy in many countries and thus helped him gained fame and recognition.
Ellis has enjoyed international repute throughout his professional life. He has large collection of published works and books to his name. He was entitled with “Humanist of the year” by the American Humanist Society in recognition of his profound works in nurturing human minds and freeing them from all kinds of distresses that affects their emotional well-being.
Alfred Adler, the pioneer of individual psychology was born on February 7, 1870 in Rudolfsheim located close to Vienna. He was a medical doctor from Austria as well as a psychotherapist. He laid the foundation of individual psychology which says that human beings are complex individuals, separate from each other. He was very frail as a child often attacked by asthma and other severe medical conditions but it got cured with the passage of time. As a child he was full of curiosity and often took expeditions of children along with him to study different species of animal kingdom.
One of the major works of Alfred Adler is related to the study of individuals from a complete perspective, social as well as individual. His theories regarding personality are much different from that of Sigmund Freud. Adler discussed that humans should not be separated from society and must be studied together to see the effect of one on the other. His thought underlies the perspective that individuals and societies are co-integrated with each other.
Alfred Adler interest lied in studying organic inferiorities and compensation, his interest in this subject grew more when he was working with a circus, he observed that their work includes strength and weaknesses that are not a common phenomena and thus it compelled him towards studying organic inferiorities and compensation.
The much talked about inferiority complex was actually a concept given by Adler. The concept of inferiority complex proposed by him considers organ inferiority as the focal point of this theory. According to him every person suffers from inferiority complex at one point or the other in his life but they usually compensate it in other ways like grooming or attaining a better personality or learning a new skill.
He was invited at a discussion by Sigmund Freud about his theories but Sigmund Freud rejected his ideas. Adler formed free psychoanalytic society in 1911 as a result of disagreement with Sigmund Freud and criticisms of his ideas and concepts regarding individual psychology. While serving the Austrian army during World War I he noticed the damages caused by war so he became more inclined on working towards social interest. Adler certainly had a completely different idea in his mind which conflicted with the most popular concepts of psychology prevailing in that era.
His profound work on child psychology has identified major traits and behavior in children. According to him, lifestyle and personality is developed in early life and he has proposed solid theories regarding childhood psychology.
It is not wrong to say that Alfred Adler was a social idealist concerned with application of psychology towards the betterment of individuals and societal well-being. He wanted to create a holistic view of an individual that is why his theories significantly differed from Sigmund Freud. An individual’s co-integration with the society can create a better and more enduring environment for the survival of the whole society.
Alfred Binet, is the psychologist behind the revolutionary concept of Intelligence quotient or IQ . Born on July 8, 1958 in Nice, France, this man spent his early years in the same city and graduated from law college. He identified his passion for psychology when he wanted to go for medical college but deep in his heart he know that psychology is more important to him so that decision became a turning point in his life for good. At first he started learning about psychology on his own by gaining knowledge from the works of Darwin, Mill, Bain and other notable authors of psychology. He as a worker of French commission developed a scale for gauging the mental age of children. Also the famous invention Intelligence Quotient is very helpful for children who face hurdles in understanding their school’s curriculum effectively. He then started practicing at Salpetriere hospital in Paris with John Martin Charcot as his mentor. He got the position of associate director and researcher after serving at Salpetriere Hospital where he worked as an experimental psychologist. He served at this position till his death.
One of the most notable and fascinating aspect of Binet is that he never studied for a formal degree in psychology instead he gained more insights into the subject by self-learning. This says a lot about the his passion which led him to achieve greater heights in the subject.
Alfred Binet joined French government to conduct his studies on child intelligence by gauging their mental capabilities according to their ages. He, along with his counterpart, Theodore Simon, designed an IQ testing system which identified the mental strengths and capabilities of a child also the test to compare their mental age with their chronological or real age. This scale was named Binet-Simon intelligence scale, after the two psychologists Binet and Simon.
Like everyone else Binet also had his share of failures, when he got his first work published in 1880, it suffered the fate of plagiarism much to his disappointment. After that misfortune he started his job at Salpetriere hospital in Paris with Charcot who was trusted a lot by Binet. Together they proposed a theory about perceptual polarization through testing their findings and ideas about the concept but to their misfortune the theory did not get approval and recognition and all their hard work went down the drain, this was the major setback faced by him, perhaps he faced this failure due the lack of formal degree and training in psychology. He did not loss hope though, he learned to use his failure as a stepping stone to success.
He got married to Edouard-Gérard Balbiani, from whom he had two daughters and they proved to be a success for his career. He conducted studies regarding cognitive processes on them through which the foundations of devising intelligence tests were laid as he made the concept of intelligence tests around attention span and cognitive development. His profound works on intelligence tests earned him accolades. He got the much prestigious laureate award by French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, as a well Worth Prize Money Award. He was selected as a member of French biological society in recognition for his notable works in the field of psychobiology. After his death in 1917 the free society for the psychological study of the child changed their name after Alfred Binet in recognition for his priceless efforts and contributions to psychology. The free society named itself as La Societe Alfred Binet. Even after 50 years of his death his works on intelligence tests is appreciated and recognized and is considered as one of the most momentous developments by Science Mag.
Alfred Charles Kinsey was a person of multiple talents and interests, he was a biologist, entymology and zoology professor and a sexologist. He founded The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University. His works on human sexuality has greatly influenced the American culture, norms and thinking.
Born on June 23rd,1894 in New Jersey, Kinsey was the eldest of the three children. He faced a distressed and troublesome childhood mainly because his parents had troubles making both ends meet and he faced severe health problems but did not have medical facilities because of poverty. As a young child he was inclined towards nature and camping. His interest in psychology was revealed when he prepared his undergraduate thesis on psychology with title of Group Dynamics in Young Boys. This thesis spoke volumes about his aptitude in psychology. He received his early education from Columbia school where he showed that he was a diligent and hard-working student. He was keen and interested in studying biology and for fulfilling this purpose he joined Bowdoin college, Maine against his father’s wish who wanted him to study engineering. He obtained his bachelor of science degrees in biology and psychology from the college in 1916. After that, he went to Harvard University to study for PhD in biology and successfully obtained the degree. He taught as zoology at Indiana University at Bloomfield.
His renowned acclamation includes being the first psychologist to have developed a large scale inquiry systems for assisting him in conducting researches on human sexuality. Though his researches provoked controversies and raised question about american morals and culture but his works, researches and books acquired international fame and repute, eventually. Pioneer of American sexology, he studied and proposed different theories and practices concerning this subject. He, also designed and developed a scale which measured sexual orientation , widely known as Kinsey Scale, ranged from zero to six where zero is completely heterosexual and 6 is completely homosexual. His first lecture concerning sexual structure and the physiological make-up was his first public discussion conducted at Indiana University which presented the idea that late marriages are essentially counter-productive to health. He got scholarship from Rockefeller Foundation to gain more knowledge and conduct more studies on the subject of human sexology.
He got fame as celebrity when his two books on sexual behavior in human species got published 1948. These publications got world-wide recognition asKinsey’s Reports. His works earned him such fame and popularity that reputable magazines like Times, Life, Look carried out articles on him. He attained media recognition by these publications. His very first television program with Jack Benny as the host was much like a hidden humour program. Although his theories on this subject raised controversies but it gave way to American revolution in 1960’s. He is regarded as a significant yet controversial personality in the American history. He died of pneumonia and heart attack on 25th August 1956.
“The duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.”- Al-Hazen
Alhazen was an accomplished Muslim scientist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and polymath from the “Golden Age” of Muslim civilization. Born in 965 in Basra, he became well-known as a physicist in medieval Europe. He is famously known as the “Father of experimental physics, modern optics and scientific methodology”. He is also well regarded as the first theoretical physicist. He was the first to realize that a hypothesis needs to be tested through verifiable experiments or mathematical proof, thus developing the scientific method 200 years before it was adopted by European scientists.
His ground breaking works in the field of optics has been penned-down in his 7-volume book entitled Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics), considered one of the greatest contributions to the field after Ptolemy’s Almagest. It was translated to Latin in 1270 and many renowned scientists based their work on this book. Alhazen was the first to describe accurately the structure of the eye and how it works. He contradicted Ptolemy’s and Euclid’s theory of vision which stated that eyes send out radiation to the object and maintained that the rays originated at the object. His focal point of research in the field of catoptrics was spherical mirrors, parabolic mirrors and spherical aberration. He observed that the ratio between the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction does not remain the same. He also studied the magnifying power of a lens. During his research on catoptrics, he came up with a problem now known as “Alhazen’s Problem” which led to the solution of the problem: “Given a light source, find the point on the mirror which would reflect the light to the eye of the observer”. The method he employed used equation of the fourth degree and he is often credited with developing the formula for expansion of the sum of any integral power.
In the field of mathematics, Alhazen reconciled algebra with geometry to form a new branch called analytic geometry. In number theory, his contributions involve solving problem of congruences using what is now known as the Wilson’s Theorem. He also made significant contribution to the field of astrophysics. In his book, Meezan Al-Hikmah (Balance of Wisdom), he discussed the density of atmosphere and its relationship to height. Using this theory, he also attempted to measure the height of homogenous atmosphere. He presented a detailed description of the structure of the earth and also made a model of the motion of the planets without the inherent contradictions that were present in Ptolemy’s model.
Alhazen wrote more than two hundred books, very few of which have survived. For his contribution to astronomy, a crater on the moon has been named Alhazen after him. His face is featured on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknote. Aga Khan University, Pakistan named its Ophthalmology endowed chair after him to celebrate his work in optics.
Alice Miller was an eminent polish psychologist as well as an author. Born on January 12th 1923 in Poland she studied for her doctorate degree in psychology, sociology and philosophy at University of Basel in Switzerland. She found her first interest in psychoanalysis on which she wrote three books based on her studies and observations but she found out that psychoanalysis was not feasible enough to serve everybody and deal with the influential aspects of psychology, so after 20 years of being a psychoanalysis practitioner she stopped her practice in the field and started an in-depth study of factors causing and effecting child abuse. She wrote a book, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child, for which she was bestowed with the Janusz Korczak literary award in 1986. She analyzed the commonly acceptable childhood abuses such as spanking in the trauma model which she called as poisonous pedagogy, a phrase adopted from Katharina Rutschky’s work originally known as Schwarze Pädagogik and translated as black or dark pedagogy/imprinting. She formulated a trauma model based on the theory of poisonous pedagogy. Poisonous pedagogy describes the methods of bringing up a child that are harmful to their growth and nourishment as in abuses and extreme controlling behavior of parents.
According to the studies conducted by her on child mistreatment and abuse it consisted of all sorts of humiliations starting from the most common spanking to a parent emotionally detaching a child from oneself. Child abuse is one of the most common social dilemmas, according to her that is not only damaging to a child’s social growth but also has a deep seated negative impact on his future well being. According to her propositions on child abuse, it is not about physical or sexual abuse but it is actually the mental torture and abuses that are hurled at a child by his parents which damages a child’s personality. The effects of abuse are often left unidentified until and unless a serious problem in the form of mental illness shows up in the person. All types of mental illnesses which results mostly in a rebellious attitude like involvement in crimes and other damaging activities are an outcome of childhood sufferings in the form of mental abuses that are left unidentified and eventually uncured. The reason behind this is that parents are considered to be a superior authority in every culture and even psychologists are not at all comfortable and confident enough to blame parents for their child’s psychological issues.
Alice Miller was also a gifted and well known writer, her first book, The Drama of a Gifted Child, published in 1979 was about childhood deprivation of love and it’s after effects in adult life, she also wrote a book titled as Abbruch der Schweigemauer (The Demolition of Silence) in which negated the psychotherapists critically who suggested that the victims of emotional abuse should forgive their parents, Miller pointed out this suggestion as completely irrational as this could further increase the suffering. Her other works and publications include Banished knowledge, The Untouched Key which comprised an in depth analysis and theories on childhood abuse.
Anna Freud is considered the co-founder of psychoanalytic child psychology along with Melanie Klein. She was born on 3rd December 1895 in Vienna, Austria. Her formal education did not play a significant role in her learning instead, she gained a lot of knowledge and learned from her father Sigmund Freud and the guests he hosted at home. She learnt and became fluent in many languages including German, Hebrew and French by serving them as a host. Born as the sixth and last child to Sigmund Freud and Martha Barneys she worked extensively on psychoanalysis with his father. She spent an unhappy childhood which instigated a yearning in her to study child psychology.
Anna was more focused on studying about children and adolescents, unlike, her father who was more into adult psychoanalysis. She made a profound impact on development of ego psychology; she always followed her father’s theories and proposition regarding the subject. She described the mechanism of defense system of the human psyche as well as that of adolescents. The Freudian concept of psychology well known as ego psychology represents today the social and developmental issues that are surrounded by Freudian concept. Anna Freud was not particularly a theoretician. Her interests and inclinations were more devoted towards development of children and adolescents whereas his father was more into adult psychology. Dealing with children as a therapist is a different matter altogether as their defense mechanisms are not built and they cannot express their emotions more clearly so Anna Freud designed and developed a different methodology to deal with adolescents.
She contributed a lot to the study of personality and her contributions mainly came through the studies conducted when she was working at Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London. She found out, that the major problem lied among the communication between therapists as well as there was a different method of dealing with children than with adults. She studied that a child’s problem should be dealt and solved on an immediate basis after studying his behavior in different aspects of his life, if there was major difference in his eating pattern, his relationships, attitudes and his lifestyle from other children of his age then it was to be assumed by a clinician that there is a shortcoming that should be addressed promptly. A child is in his developmental stages of life and so his problems should be resolved on immediate basis to strengthen healthy mind and body.
Many of her works were published as books, The Writings of Anna Freud and The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense both are masterpieces of modern psychology. Anna Freud’s significant contribution to psychoanalysis started off by her first article on beating fantasies which reflected her own inner life about how she actually felt and the emotional experiences that surrounded her. She worked on child development and wrote a book titled, Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis. Though she did a lot of work on child development and other aspects of psychoanalysis, she never deviated from the theoretical backgrounds laid by his father in the field of psychoanalysis.
B. F. Skinner
“We should not teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.” – B. F. Skinner
Burrhus Frederick Skinner(B. F. Skinner), the man well known as a behaviorist, psychologist, author, inventor and social philosopher was born on March 20th 1904, the man proved himself to be an accomplished psychologist by writing a whole new chapter in behavioral psychology. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania where he received his early education, after which he graduated from Hamilton college in New York where he decided to become a writer. His theories on behaviorism have made a profound impact on developing a revolutionary school of thought known as Radical Behaviorism.
One of his ground-breaking inventions was the operant conditioning chamber, which is also called Skinner box. The skinner box consisted of a lever, a food tray and a rat which can feed itself by pressing the lever. Each time a rat was put into that box it would run and sniff around for the food eventually identifying the correct spot, pressing the lever and getting the food pellet. After the first successful attempt, the rat got used to the box and hit many successful attempts resulting in getting food as a reward until it satiated its hunger. BF Skinner formulated the principle of reinforcement through this experiment. The studies indicated and confirmed his belief that human free will is not a phenomenal reality but an indicator of results produced by the actions performed. Reinforcement processes indicated that a positive action beget a positive consequence and a negative action beget a negative consequence, so positive and negative consequences of actions reinforces a person to perform what brings about a positive outcome or reward and avoid the negative actions to stay clear of punishments. He redefined the meaning of free will by proposing the revolutionary concept of behaviorism. The therapy technique of behavior modification resulted from his theories on reinforcement and behaviorism. The significant concept identified by proposition of this theory is reinforcement which can be controlled by shaping. Shaping and controlling are the fundamental concepts underlying theory of reinforcement. B. F. Skinner also conducted his experiments on a device called verbal summator to analyze the theories of verbal behavior and he also conducted an analysis about superstitious phenomena on pigeons.
He had earned numerous awards and positions in rewards for his phenomenal works to the field of psychology. American Psychological Association bestowed him with and Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in 1958, other accreditations to his name include “Scholar Hall of Fame Award” given by the Academy of Human Resource Development. He was awarded honorary degrees by universities of great repute including Alfred College, Harvard University and John Hopkins University, University of Chicago and McGill University. B. F. Skinner also penned down some notable books which proved his mettle as a great writer, the books he wrote include Walden Two and Beyond Freedom and Dignity.
Carl Gustav Jung
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was an accomplished Swiss psychotherapist as well as the psychiatrist who laid the foundation of analytic psychology. He formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personality traits and differentiated them. His works have played an influential role in psychiatry, religion and literature studies. Individuation is the underlying concept in analytical psychology which is related to the connection between the conscious and unconscious. According to Jung individuation plays a major role in human development. He was known to have founded some of the well known psychological concept which included collective unconscious, complex and synchronicity. One of the most popular and widely applicable personality test Myers-Briggs type indicator is designed and developed based on the theories of Jung.
Born on 26th July 1875 Thurgau, Switzerland he spent a rather depressed childhood. He showed no interest in studying psychology until he read about psychoses as personality diseases in psychiatry textbook. Jung also came to know that biological and spiritual factors are combined together in psychoses. That triggered his interest and inspired him to acquire a degree in medicine from University of Basel. After which he started working for a psychiatric hospital in Zurich known as Burghölzli. He published his thesis in 1903 which was titled “On the Psychology and Pathology of So -Called Occult Phenomena”. His next publication “Studies in word-association” in 1906 started his friendship with Sigmund Freud which lasted till six years. This break up occurred in 1912 when Carl Gustav Jung published a book “Psychology of the Unconscious” which showed major differences with the theories of Sigmund Freud.
According to the theories presented by him about the self, Carl Jung considered self realization to be one of the most significant goals of life. Self realization is a stage of life which makes a person selfless and brings him closer to nature and other people. Synchronicity is the linkage between two events that are meaningfully related to each other. The theory of synchronicity presented by Jung indicated that there is a connection between collective unconscious of human beings. He also coined the most famous terms of introversion and extroversion as personality types, introverts being the ones that are involved in themselves and enjoy solitude whereas extroverts to be more inclined to reach out people and activities in the outer world. It was also Jung who proposed the basic functions of dealing and interacting with the world whether a personality is introverted or extroverted; these functions are sensing, intuiting, thinking, feeling, judging and perceiving.
He exercised an immense influence on popular psychology, spirituality and new age. He was also a great writer whose works consists of 19 volumes, most of which were translated into English after his death. He died on 6th June 1961. His works are collected in a book titled “The Collected Works of C. G. Jung”. He penned downed another book “Analytical Psychology: Its Theory & Practice” which consists of his lectures and theories.
Carl Ransom Rogers was one of the most prominent figures in the history of psychology, well known as the founder of humanistic approach. His influential works have given way to new dimensions in psychology and created a profound impact on psychotherapy, counseling and education. He was born on January 8th 1902 in Chicago, Illinois.
Rogers received his early education in a religious environment followed by studying scientific methods and its application in a practical world. He chose agriculture as his first field of study at University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by history and religion. Then, he went on to attend International Christian Conference at age 20, after that he decided to change his career paths and attended Teachers College at Columbia University from where he obtained his MA in 1928 and PhD in 1931. After completing his work for PhD degree he engaged himself in child behavioral studies where he held office as the director of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in New York. Serving as a professor of psychology at University of Chicago he got elected as the president of American Psychological Association. During this period he also wrote “On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy” in 1961.
He worked with Abraham Maslow in laying grounds for humanistic psychology, the major applications of his theory included person-centered therapy, learner centered teaching, cross cultural relations and rogerian rhetorical approach. The theories that he presented on self consisted of 19 propositions, the first one said that every living organism had a sense of their well-being, they know what was threatening or nourishing for them. He termed this notion as organismic valuing. He proposed this idea based on evolution according to which man understands and differentiates between his needs and their fulfillment. Positive regard is the most valuable emotion among humans which includes all the positive emotions like love, appreciation, affection, respect and attention to lead a prosperous and successful life. Positive regard also gives way to nurture positive self-regard which is the self-esteem of a person, what he perceives himself to be in his own eyes, how he values and worth himself.
Carl Rogers used the term person-centered approach to devise applications related to personality theory, interpersonal relations, cross cultural relations and professions like nursing and teaching that need extensive human care and support. Person centered approach was initially named as client centered approach, this approach was devised when Carl Rogers was conducting therapeutic sessions with his clients. His helper, Elias Porter measured the employment of directiveness and non-directiveness by the counselor in maintaining the effectiveness standard of the therapy. Learner centered teaching was another concept that Roger devised and emphasized upon by concluding that learning occurs in a free environment. He wrote “Freedom to Learn” in 1969 to describe this theory. American Psychological Association recognized his works and bestowed him with an Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in accreditation for his exemplary works to the field of psychology. Also, he was awarded with Humanists of the Year in 1964 by American Humanist Association. He had the honor of being the sixth prominent psychologist of 20th century.
Carol Gilligan is the only child of a lawyer William Friedman and nursery school teacher Mabel Kaminez. Born on November 28th, 1936, brought up by Jewish family in New York City, she is a notable American feminist, ethicist and psychologist. She acquired her BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe college, her academic accomplishments does not end here as she obtained her Ph.D in sociology from the prestigious Harvard university.
She started off her career as a teacher in 1967 at Harvard university where she got an opportunity to teach at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She resigned from Harvard in 2002 to start her tenure as a full-fledged professor in New York University at their school of law and school of education. She gained fame while working with Lawrence Kohlberg on ethical relationships and ethical community.
She studied conducted research on women’s psychology and wrote a book based on it and entitled it as “In a different voice” published by Harvard university press in 1982. She also wrote her first novel Kyra in 2008. Carol Gilligan’s work on the theory of moral development holds an important place in the explanation of real life dilemmas. The implication of this theory is based on the fact that there are many important factors than justice which contributes to the development of a human being. She was the first psychologist who considered gender differences in the moral development. She considered the difference in mental processes of men and women as a variable that effects the moral development based on the difference of genders. Carol Gilligan observed that young girls are more inclined towards love, care, affection and meaningful relationships with other humans whereas young boys are more focused on justice. She suggested that this difference in feelings and values is due to different gender makeup and the relationship enjoyed by the person with his or her mother. She also observed that a woman has three transition phases in which she recognizes and adapts to her roles and responsibilities. At the first stage when she is growing up as a child she works for her own survival which is termed as selfishness by Gilligan, at the second stage she starts to become responsible as a young adult caring more for others and becoming less self-centered, this is the stage where she learns to equate goodness with sacrificing and then the final stage is where she takes on the responsibilities of the consequences of her actions achieving the level of self-acceptance. Her works on moral development influenced a lot of other psychologists who opted to work on moral development, which served as a positive outcome of Carol Gilligan’s psychological works and observations on morality or moral development.
She is currently associated as a professor with New York University as well as serving at University of Cambridge as a visiting professor. She earned a name in Time Magazine’s Influential Americans with 25 other people in 1996. Recently, she has been awarded with Mr. L Award 4th period in 2013.
Charles Spearman was well known as the pioneer of factor analysis as a statistical technique to reduce and interpret data. He was the first psychologist who used the application of mathematical models for analyzing and interpreting the complexities present in human mind. He was an English psychologist who gave the concept of General intelligence or more commonlyg factor through which he defined intelligence as a cognitive ability which can be measured and expressed numerically. Using the technique of factor analysis, he conducted a study to prove this theory through which he observed and inferred that people with higher intelligence levels did well on series of mental aptitude tests whereas people with lower intelligence did not perform well enough on all these tests. His most famous statistical invention Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient is used to measure statistical dependence between two variables.
Born in London, United Kingdom on 10th September 1863 he showed an unusual talent and ability of becoming a psychologist from childhood. He started off his career by joining the British army. After serving the British army for 15 years he resigned to study for a PhD in experimental psychology. Since Spearman had no previous required qualifications for the degree of his choice he decided to study at University of Leipzig, Germany, which had liberal entrance policies, under the supervision of Wilhelm Wundt. Spearman’s numerous achievements also include his association as a professor of mind and logic in place of William McDougall at University College, London. Mcdougall got so impressed by the aptitude and capabilities of Spearman that he recommended him to teach at University College, London as a substitute for him. Spearman stayed and taught at University College, London until he retired in 1931. He obtained the entitlement of professor of psychology in 1928 when a separate department of psychology was created at the university.
His most influential g factor theory served as a stepping stone for intelligence theories. He identified g as a specific quantity which came out as an outcome of statistical operations. He also divided the intelligence score of a person into two categories, the one which remains constant over the period of time termed as general factor or g whereas the other which changes from time to time classified as specific factor. He also proposed that g factor is composed of two different capabilities that are related to each other very closely. He identified these two abilities as “eductive” and “reproductive” ability. There was another factor observed by Charles Spearman in assessing intelligence which he named as special factor. Individuals who scored higher on tests persistently possessed the special factor in intelligence.
Charles Spearman’s works were influenced by Hans Eysenck, Philip Vernon, Cyril Burt and Arthur Jensen but the strongest influences on his work were from Francis Galton who first developed correlation as a statistical tool in psychology. His notable accomplishments also included becoming the fellow member of the Royal society in London. Spearman breathed his last on 17thSeptember, 1945 in London, United Kingdom.
“When you analyze happiness it turns out that the way you spend your time is extremely important”- Daniel Khaneman.
Daniel Khaneman is an Israeli-American psychologist who is well known for his ground-breaking works on decision making, behavioral economics, hedonic psychology and judgment of psychology. He was born on March 5th1934 in TelAviv, Israel. He spent the early years of his life in Paris, France where he was brought up and raised by his immigrant parents. He acquired his PhD in psychology from University of California, Berkeley and previously did his B. Sc in Psychology from University of Hebrew, Israel.
He started his academic career as a lecturer in Psychology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His first publication was “Pupil Diameter and Load on Memory” in a renowned Journal “Science”. It focused upon attention and visual perceptions. He also served as a visiting scientist at the University of Michigan as well as at the Applied Psychology Research Unit in Cambridge. He developed a cognitive basis for common human errors which is based upon heuristics and biases. He also proposed prospect theory which concentrates on real-world judgments of people in taking decisions and suggests that people choose alternatives when the outcomes of the alternatives they choose are known and use heuristics when making their decisions. The prospect theory earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His theories presented on judgment and decision making is proposed in collaboration with Amos Tversky. Both of them published a series of articles representing their works in the general field of judgment and decision making. “Belief in the law of small numbers” was their first joint paper which got published in 1971. “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases”, their second paper was also published in “Science” magazine, This paper introduced the concept and idea of anchoring which is the inclination of humans to rely to a great extent on the first information they receive regarding their decision-making. He observed that the phenomenon of anchoring takes place when people use the first available information without any further investigation to make judgments for their decisions.
Daniel Khaneman was bestowed with the Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences. He was also honored with the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology by the University of Louisvelle in 2003. He also received the honor of being the 101th Israeli of all times by a public poll conducted in Israel by a news channel YNET. Currently, he is serving as a professor emeritus of public affairs and psychology at Princeton’s University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He serves as a member of National Academy of sciences and many other prestigious institutions including the likes of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Philosophical Society, The American Psychological Society, The Econometric Society and The Society of Experimental Psychologists. He also possesses entrepreneurial skills as he is also a co-founder of a philanthropy and business consulting company known as The Greatest Good. One of his greatest accolades includes Lifetime Contribution Award for the American Psychological Association.
David Buss is a professor of psychology at University of Texas, Austin. He is known for his evolutionary psychology research on mate selection with the basis on human sex differences. His profound works on human mating strategies defines and distinct his works in the field of psychology. Born on April 14th, 1953 he acquired his PhD in psychology from University of California, Berkeley.
He is most distinguished for his works and in depth researches in human mating strategies and their relationships, conflicts arising between the sexes, prestige, social reputation, status, emotional jealousy, homicide and most recently the issues related to stalking. David Buss along with K. H. Craik has also analyzed and investigated on how certain traits specifically make up a personality. He proposed the idea of Prototype theory into psychology of personality which says that traits are used as a categorization of a personality which means that how strongly a trait defines a certain personality. David buss differentiated between the short term and long term mating strategies. He used the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R) for determining that if the person is in favor of a long term serious relationship or a short term hookup. According to David Buss’s research along with his colleagues he concluded through the experiment that men who showed a woman’s face preferred a long term mating relationship whereas the other category of men who showed woman’s body have an inclination towards keeping a short term mating strategy. The same experiment was conducted with women but they revealed no specific feature to determine their mating strategy for David Buss and his team. According to their researches men and women face different challenges in terms of their role and gender which determines their behavior today. Women face the challenges of pregnancy, bringing up a child effectively enough to ensure his survival giving them the utmost care whereas men face the challenges of providing resources, gene transfers to the off springs and surviving through the uncertainty that becoming a parent brings with it.
David Buss has also devised Strategic Interference Theory (SIT) which states that men and women deal differently with intersexual deception. Women as emotional beings get more distressed over their partner’s involvement with others whereas men get emotionally worked up over their partner’s display of sexual infidelity and lies.
David Buss has the honor of being bestowed with the Distinguished Scientific Award for early career contribution to psychology as well as APA G. Stanley Hall Lectureship along with numerous other awards. He has also penned down numerous books related to his researches. One of his distinguished books, The Murderer Next Door presents an evolutionary perspective of modern theory of homicide. His many other books include The Dangerous Passion and The Evolution of Desire. He has also been involved with cross-cultural researches extensively as well as giving lectures throughout United States. One of his famous books Evolutionary Psychology: The new science of Mind has been published in its fourth edition in 2011.
David McClelland was a well-known American psychological theorist who was the founder of Need Theory. Born on May 20th, 1917 in Mt. Vernon, New York, USA. He acquired his PhD in psychology from Yale University in 1941. Before that, he had obtained his bachelor of arts from Wesleyan University in 1938 and following year he had done his MA from University of Missouri. He had also served as a teacher at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University before becoming a faculty member at the prestigious Harvard University in 1956. He served Harvard University for thirty years as a chairman of the department of social relations.
David McClelland most famous theory of needs earned him many prestigious accolades and awards. The theory of needs is found in different degrees in almost all the workers and managers. He categorized the need theory into three sub-categories which are known as the need for achievement (n-ach), the need for authority and power (n-pow) and the need for affiliation (n-affil).The need for achievement defines the type of personality who has an innate desire to achieve, which seeks achievement through the attainment of realistic and possible but challenging goals, the second type of person who has innate need for power and authority. He has the desire to be influential and effective through power and authority. He wants to gain a personal reputation and social status by fulfilling his need for exercising power. The third need is the need for affiliation which says that a person with this need is motivated by maintaining friendly relations and effective interactions with the people. People with this need also possess great team playing capabilities. They have a need to be liked and becoming popular. McClelland also suggested that most of the people have multiple characteristics, the motivational needs or mix determines a person’s behavior and affects to a great deal his working style and behavior. He proposed that a manager who has a strong need for affiliation will eventually fall out in achieving his objective as he will concentrate more on maintaining friendly and cordial relations with his employees whereas a manger who has greater need for power and authority maintains strong work ethics and commitment to his work. They are attracted to attaining leadership roles in the organization but they cannot maintain flexibility and friendliness in dealing with his employees and colleagues. David McClelland also suggested that people having great motivation for achievement can become the best leaders but their setback is that they expect their staff to be driven towards achievement like them which of course, is not possible. McClelland firmly believed that people who have need for achievement make things happen.
He has the honor of being awarded for distinguished scientific contributions by the American Psychological Association. He has penned down several books on his works, observations and researches. Most of his books are related to achievement motivation. The Achievement Motive, and, The Achieving Society are two of the many other books and publications by him. David McClelland died on March 27, 1998.
Edgar Henry Schein is recognized as one of the most prominent psychologists in the field of organizational development. It is not wrong to say that he is well known as an American business theorist due to his extensive works in the field of organizational development has played an important role in the determination of variables that form an important position in the study and procedures of a sophisticatedly developed organization. His educational background comprises of studying at three prestigious universities including University of Chicago, Stanford University and Harvard University, from where he earned his PhD in Social Psychology.
Born on March 5th, 1928 in Zurich, he is an American by nationality. According to the theories of organizational development prepared by Edgar Schein an organization’s culture which is made up of the values and beliefs does not develop instantly, it is a long and intricate process which requires time and adjustments on the part of employees especially to develop and take the organizations to the newer levels. Edgar Schein’s theories in the field of organizational developm
Last Update: 2014-07-25
1. LIFE AND DEATH
There is only one source of Life--an Infinite and Almighty Life, whose creative
power gave life to all living things. All creatures live in Him and in Him will they
remain forever. Again this Life created innumerable other lives, different in
kind, and in the stages of their progress man is one of these, created in God's
own image that he might ever remain happy in His holy presence.
This life may change but it can never be destroyed, and though the change
from one form of existence into another is called Death, this never means that
death finally ends life, or even that it adds to life, or takes away from it. It
merely transfers the life from one form of existence to another. A thing that
disappears from our sight has not thereby ceased to exist. It reappears, but in
another form and state.
MAN CAN NEVER BE DESTROYED
Nothing in this whole universe was ever destroyed, nor can it ever be,
because the Creator has never created anything for destruction. If He had
wished to destroy it, He would never have created it. And if nothing in creation
can be destroyed, then how can man be destroyed, who is the crown of
creation, and the image of his Creator? Can God Himself destroy His own
image, or can any other creature do it? Never! If a man is not destroyed at
death then at once the question arises, where will man exist after death, and
in what state?
I shall attempt to give a brief explanation from my own visional experiences
though it is not possible for me to describe all the things which I have seen in
visions of the spiritual world, because the language and illustrations of this
world are inadequate to express these spiritual realities; and the very attempt
to reduce to ordinary language the glory of the things seen is likely to result in
misunderstanding. I have, therefore, had to eliminate the account of all those
subtle spiritual occurrences, for which only a spiritual language is adequate,
and to take up only a few simple and instructive incidents that will prove
profitable to all. And since at some time or other every one will have to enter
into this unseen spiritual world it will not be without profit, if we, to some
extent, become familiar with it.
Last Update: 2014-07-23
Give Time A Break
Give time a break in the French Riveira of the East – Pondicherry which has been recently rechristened as Puducherry, meaning New Village in Tamil. Historically, Puducherry has been ruled by the Pallavas, Cholas, Vijaya Nagar Kingdom, Sultans, the Dutch, Portuguese, Danes, English and finally by the French. It became a part of the Indian Union in 1954. The French left a lasting impact on Puducherry and its influence is omniscient in Puducherry’s architecture and its cuisine. Recently it has acquired a halo as the happening place in the South of the country having been repeatedly voted as the best place to live in India. Nowhere in India can one find such an amalgamation of cultures, languages and cuisines within such a small geographical area. Just doing nothing, lazing around the various beaches (it has many private beach properties), enjoying a siesta or partying until the wee hours of morning – Pondy has it all! You may just wish that the day was longer than 24 hours to savour all that Pondy has to offer.
Sights and sounds of Pondy are like no other you’ll encounter in India. The French Quarter with its neat perpendicular boulevards, dotted with Continental restaurants, serving authentic French, Italian, Mexican cuisine; curio shops selling artworks, handmade paper products, multi-fragranced incense sticks and scented candles; galleries tucked in street corners, bands playing fusion music: the varieties are just mind boggling! In stark contrast, the Tamil quarter boasts unique architecture with houses having Thinnais and doorsteps displaying Kolams, which are believed to have auspicious values. If you’re lost amidst all these, the policeman in his red Kepi will be only too happy to assist you to find your bearings.
Pondicherry is best known for Auroville, meaning the city of Dawn and the Aurobindo Ashram. Auroville, an international township was inaugurated on 28th of February, 1962, with sand and soil brought from 175 countries around the world. Matrimandir, the centre of this town, and its most important structure, is a meditation hall. This golden globe, the world’s largest (30m high) man-made crystal ball, is a center of spirituality. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, established in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo, philosopher and Yogi, and his chief disciple, French, Mirra Alfassa (“The Mother”) is a spiritual center for the practice of Integral Yoga.
Other places of interest are the Ousteri or Osudu Lake cum bird sanctuary, a man made water body that has existed for centuries and the Chunnambar backwaters leading on to the pristine Paradise islands. Boating is a favourite time pass here. The Church of Our Lady of Angels – Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges – was built by French Missionaries in 1865. It is modeled after the Basilica at Lourdes (located in Southern France).
The Puducherry beach “Promenade” runs for 1.5 km along the Avenue (Beach Road) overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Monuments like the Gandhi statue, French War Memorial, heritage buildings (Mairie), and the old lighthouse are situated in this stretch.
For the shopaholics, Pondicherry has small boutiques, local markets, and Ashram shops. Many are located on Nehru Street and Mahatma Gandhi Road. Specialty products include homemade paper products (especially lanterns), leather products, arts and crafts/handicrafts, terracotta/fine pottery etc. Pondy Sunday market is a vibrant open air market where the locals flock every Sunday to get the best bargains. The adventurous among you may want to try out sports like horse-riding, paragliding, wind surfing, snorkelling and water sports. Puducherry boasts of a well maintained botanical garden, which is home to a plethora of plants and exotic animals.
So give time a break and soak in the sun and the surf in timeless and ageless Puducherry.
La Joie de vivre Pondi!
Last Update: 2014-07-21
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