Ahead of the laying of the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, claims and denials have emerged about plans by the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust to put in a time capsule, or ‘kaal patra’.
While Trust member Kameshwar Chaupal said the “capsule would carry a message about Ayodhya, Lord Ram and his birthplace and it will be preserved so as to last thousands of years”, the Trust’s general secretary Champat Rai has dismissed reports of a time capsule being installed on August 5.
What is a ‘time capsule’?
- It is a container of any size or shape, which accommodates documents, photos and artefacts typical of the current era and is buried underground, for future generations to unearth.
- The time capsule requires special engineering so that the contents don’t decay, even if pulled out after a century. Material such as aluminium and stainless steel are used for the encasing, and documents are often reproduced on acid-free paper.
- While the term “time capsule” was coined in the 20th century, among the earliest examples of one dates back to 1777, found by historians inside the statue of Jesus Christ in a church in Spain during restoration work in December 2017.
- The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS), based in the US and formed in 1990, is now defunct but continues estimating the number of time capsules in the world. As per its database, there are “10,000-15,000 times capsules worldwide”.
Are there any time capsules in India?
- There have been a number of prominent examples. One time capsule, outside the Red Fort and placed underground in 1972 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was dug out by the subsequent government.
- Other time capsules are at a school in Mumbai, IIT-Kanpur, Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, and Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
- The Red Fort time capsule was supposed to be dug out after 1,000 years. These were huge, cylindrical shaped cases made of metal which could endure the test of time. Inside, there were written records, data and artefacts. In 1977, when the Janata Party came in to power, they dug out the time capsule. Controversy – The apprehension was that only those aspects of India’s history which are related to her or her family were being preserved in the time capsule. There was a lot of opposition to this inside Parliament and outside it too. She was accused of only preserving the contribution of her family in the Freedom Movement, in post-Independence India, and in nation building.
PM condoles the passing away of theatre legend Ebrahim Alkazi. Theatre director Ebrahim Alkazi, who revolutionised Indian theatre and was the longest-serving director of the National School of Drama, passed away on Tuesday here at the age of 94.
- Ebrahim Alkazi (1925 – 2020) was an Indian theatre director and drama teacher. He is remembered as the father of Indian theatre.
- He served as the Director of National School of Drama, New Delhi (1962–1977). He was the first person to bring regional language plays to NSD.
- He has directed over 50 plays, including Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug.
- He was the first recipient of Roopwedh Pratishtan's the Tanvir Award (2004) for lifetime contribution to the theatre.
- He received the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan (1991), and Padma Vibhushan in 2010.
- He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction in 1962, and later the Akademi's highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.