It was established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1903 in response to the growing need in South Africa to effectively voice the feelings of Indians immigrants against racial discrimination of the white regime. Back in 1893 the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) was formed to safeguard interest of Indians from the rampant bigotry faced by them. It took a decade and many unsuccessful attempts to finally establish the newspaper.
The weekly print was published in four languages, namely English, Gujarati, Tamil and Hindi in the interests of the British Indians residing in South Africa. Though it finally helped the indentured labourers from India highlight their grievances, it did have placating tone towards the British on account of not offending them. It wrote about the high rate of suicides amongst the labourers and the inhumane working conditions. But after its fledgling beginning, in 1906, with significant support from people back in India and the need for justice, the newspaper began to challenge the state machinery and its laws.
This was also the time when the Indian independence movement in India was picking up momentum. Gandhi gave credit to the experience he gained from Indian Opinion for his successful launch of the Satyagraha movement. With his departure to India, the newspaper was placed in the hands of his son Manilal Gandhi. The publication still runs, though intermittently and in a different avatar.
II. 7th June 1979 Bhaskara I - India's first low orbit Earth Observation Satellite
Named after the 7th Century Indian mathematician/astronomer, Bhaskara-1 - who was the first to write numbers in the Hindu decimal system with a circle for the zero, the satellite was launched on 7th June 1979 from Kapustin Yar aboard the 'Intercosmos' launch vehicle. The main objectives were to conduct earth observation experiments for applications in telemetry, oceanography and hydrology. Using a two-band TV camera system, it conducted ocean-surface studies using a two-frequency satellite microwave radiometer system.
It was India's first experimental remote sensing satellite for Earth resources/meteorology and the second satellite launched by India. This satellite carried TV and microwave cameras re-entered the earth's atmosphere in the year 1989. It's successor, Bhaskara II, named after the 12th century mathematician who introduced differential calculus half a millennium before Newton, was launched in 1981.
III. Nataraja Ramakrishna - Indian classical dancer and composer. (b. 1923 - 7th june 2011)
One of modern India's greatest and accomplished dance gurus', Nataraja Ramakrishna is credited for reviving Andhra Natyam, one of India's most ancient classical dance forms which was nearly extinct for 400 years. Born in Indonesia to immigrant parents, he had a natural attraction towards the performing arts, leaving his assets there to return to India. He spent his formative years at the Ramakrishna Mission in Chennai, guiding him to tread the spiritual way of life.
A former chairman of Andhra Pradesh Sangeeta Nataka Academy, he also resurrected the Perini Sivatandavam, the male dance of the Tandava tradition of the 10th century AD which was performed to inspire and invigorate warriors (Prerana) before going to the battle field. He won the Padma Sri in the year 1992 and worked in the then USSR and France to propagate Indian dance art, making a comparative study of Indian and western Classical and folk dances.
Even at the age of 87 he continued to teach, in the Guru-Shishya Parampara. He authored more than 40 books on dance traditions of Kuchipudi and other ancient dance forms leaving behind disciples such as Uma Rama Rao, Kala Krishna, Alekhya Punjala, Perini Venkat.
IV. 8th june 1948 - first international flight of Air India took off from Bombay to London.
Air India International was the country's first national airlines, formed from Tata airlines, the brainchild of modern India's foremost business tycoons, JRD Tata. On the historic day, Air India’s first scheduled flight captained by K.R. Guzdar departed Bombay for Cairo, Geneva and London with 35 passengers on board. The Lockheed L-749 Constellation airliner was christened the Malabar Princess. This was a weekly air service that was started between India and the United Kingdom.
Only a few airlines even existed at that time, let alone have their own international operations. India had achieved a notable milestone, ahead of many others with the then bearable Times of India stating: “The inauguration of India’s external air service…marks the attainment by this country of its majority in their realm of aerial development….this is the first stage in India’s march to international status…”
Western apparel was to remain the uniform for Air India air hostesses till the year 1960 after which sarees were introduced giving the uniform an ethnic touch.
Unfortunately on 3rd November 1950, the airline crashed into Mont Blanc (highest mountain in the Alps) at an approximate elevation of 15,344 feet (4,677 meters). All 48 persons on board were killed.
V. Banda Singh Bahadur (d.)9 June 1716 - Sikh military commander.
Born Lachman Dev, he became a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, who gave him his new name, Banda Singh Bahadur. From a young age he showed remarkable proficiency in horse riding, hunting and swordsmanship. He got disillusioned that such skill led him to harm innocent beings in his path which is why he left home to live the life of an ascetic. Travelling throughout northern India, he eventually settled and formed a monastery in Nanded(Maharashtra).
There are conflicting accounts of his birthplace and origins but upon meeting Guru Gobind Singh, just 4 years his elder, he joined the Sikh fold. The guru made him his military lieutenant to punish the Governor of Sarhind who had killed his two youngest sons, his mother and thousands of Sikhs and Hindus. After which, with the help of the Sikh army, he launched victorious incursions against the marauding Mughals in the Battle of Sonipat and then in the Battle of Samana where allegedly 10,000 of them were killed.
There were early accounts of him turning egotistical and forming his Code of conduct (Tatt Khalsa) as the Eleventh Nanak. Whatever may be the case, he was a great leader who eventually laid down his life for the cause of fellow countryman withstanding the onslaught from the Mughals for an appreciable time.
VI. Ram Prasad Bismil (b.)11 June 1897 - Indian revolutionary
Ram Prasad Bismil was born in the year 1897 at Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Poverty stricken, he was educated only till the eighth standard but his masterful knowledge of Hindi helped him in his creative endeavour of writing poems. He wrote using various pen names such as 'Ram', 'Agyat' but it was 'Bismil' that he eventually got recognized with.
He was heavily influenced by the teachings of Dayanand Saraswati and his seminal work, Satyarth Prakash. Ram Prasad Bismil became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association at a fledgling age. It was only through this organisation that he came to know other freedom fighters like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev. Bismil participated in the Mainpuri Conspiracy of 1918, and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925, both against British imperialist rule, contributing significantly to the Indian Independence movement.
The train heist of Kakori lead to his capture, during which money bags belonging to the British were taken while none of the Indian passengers on board were robbed. On the run, he was finally apprehended and was condemned to be hanged on the 19th December 1927 in Gorakhpur Jail at the young age of 30. His poem 'Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna' inspired millions and rouses feelings amongst people even today.