Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa :A Love Affair That Saved Portuguese from Mughals


Love Affair Between Portuguese Woman & Mughal Prince


This is an unusual love affair between a Portuguese woman and a Indian Mughal prince which describes the intensity of her love that the Portuguese woman by the name Dona Juliana Dias Da Costa had over Shah Alam, the son of Aurangzeb. It is said that she not only assisted in safeguarding the Christian in then Mughal-ruled India but was also responsible in spreading the faith in Portuguese India.

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa was considered to be a woman of Portuguese origin from Kochi in the court of Aurangzeb the Mughal Empire in Hindustan. She became Harem-Queen to the Mughal Emperor of India Bahadur Shah I the son of Aurangzeb who became the monarch in 1707.

 Her family had fled the Dutch conquest of Portuguese Kochi while she herself ended in the court of the Mughal at Delhi serving the family of the prince Shah Alam. She continued to be there till the prince did not find favour with his father and escorted him into exile. She was then rewarded when Shah became the Emperor – Bahadur I after the death of his father and her influence became boundless in the court in spite of being a Catholic in a Muslim state.
 

Assisted Italian Jesuit Missionary


  It is said that she had galloped on a war elephant with Bahadur Shah during his fights in order to defend his authority and after his death she continued to be greatly considered but with less influence. While Bahadur Shah I had been alive, she was frequently sought out by European powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, the British and the representatives of the Pope during her period of strongest power.

She was of great help to the Society of Jesus inclusive of assisting the Italian Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri in his mission in evangelising Tibet. In appreciation of her various contributions together with services to the Jesuits, she had been recognized as a Patroness of the Society.

Tiwari and Chauhan had come across the diplomatic role of this Portuguese Catholic woman in the 80s, who had spent four years to write disputably the most inclusive documentation of Mughal, Portuguese, British, Dutch and French interaction in India. They have related the Portuguese method for survival with the Mughals with the help of the love affair story between Juliana and Shah.

Proficiency of Skills – Diplomat Par Excellence


From the moment they had a well-known settlement in Hugli through the favour of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the Portuguese were comfortable being there till they annoyed his son with their misbehaviours which resulted in sacking the settlement in 1632. As a consequence, 4,000 Christians had been taken captives in dreadful conditions to Agra.

As per the book, the parents of Juliana were among the prisoners and Juliana was born in Agra around 1645 wherein her mother by that time had been attached to one of the ladies in the harem of Shah Jahan. After the death of her parents Juliana had been brought up in Delhi by Father Antonio de Magalhanes. According to the authors, Tiwari and Chauhan due to the upbringing under the Jesuit Fathers, together with the years she had spent in Goa, provided her with the proficiency of skills which made her a diplomat par excellence.

She had skills in expertise in languages, international exposure to the happenings all over the world, inclusive of the knowledge of international trade and merchandise, knowledge of medicine as well as surgery since the Fathers had Portuguese doctors from Goa, in their company. Besides that she had all the royal manners and customs which assisted her in gaining great experience

At 17 - Youngest Tutor to Muazzam/Shah Alam


Though Juliana was married, she became a widow at a young age and in 1681-82 paved her way for access to the Mughal court with the help of Father Magalhanes. Tiwari had mentioned that the Aurangzeb had entrusted the education of Prince Muazzam – later Shah Alam, which was his second son, to Juliana.

She had been 17 and his youngest tutor. Muazzam was 18 and was filled with sorrow for the merciless imprisonment of his grandfather Shah Jahan and with this began their lifelong love affair. The book had also provided the Portuguese letters which had been written by the viceroy in Goa to the Portuguese King expressing him of the favour Juliana tends to hold in the Mughal courts.

 Juliana stated that the book moved wherever Shah Alam had been posted by Aurangzeb inclusive to Goa in order to end the threat posed by Sambhaji the Maratha leader. Later on when Shah Alam had been suspected of treason by Aurangzeb and imprisoned, it is said that Juliana had risked her life in making his seven years of imprisonment, comfortable by sneaking in items of luxury to him. Her faithfulness rewarded her when Shah Alam eventually ascended to the throne after the death of his father Aurangzeb.

Worthy Benefactress of the College/Mission of Agra


The book also explains the role of Juliana in assisting Shah Alam in winning the battle to the throne against his own brother. It is said that Juliana got Shah Alam to organize the Portuguese gunners in his artillery and that proved to be a fruitful move.

The book also mentions of her correspondence with the viceroy of Portuguese in Goa as her power rose in the Mughal court under Emperor Shah Alam - `What becomes more than clear from the exchange of these letters to and from Juliana is not only the higher position attained by her at the Mughal court after the release of prince Shah Alam but her continued devotion in making favours to the cause of Christianity from the Mughal territories also’.

In addition to her diplomatic services the book has also recorded the financial help provided by Juliana to the Portuguese. It states that it was around 1707 that she had said to have given the province of Goa a great fortune valued to 40 to 150 contos. When she died in 1734, the Goa Personnel report of 1735 addressed her as the `Worthy Benefactress of the College and Mission of Agra’ in a most strange statement.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Derinkuyu: The Tumultuous History of Turkey’s Underground City

Derinkuyu – Excavated Underground City


One of the deepest excavated underground city, in the Cappadocia in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey is Derinkuyu which is said to be an amazing natural wonder having remarkable fairy chimneys together with battered caverns. Cappadocia is considered to be a wonderful geological scene.

 It is scattered with extensive concealed dwelling as well as secret tunnel passages which several people had utilised it for shelter across the centuries. Derinkuyu is quite well-known and there are hundreds of these homes in the region. At a distance of over 250 feet having a capacity of up to 20,000 people this multi-levelled city included everything which a complete population would require to survive a history, damaged with invasions.

Volcanic eruptions had emitted layer after layer of ash, known as tuff or tufa, many million years ago. Over a period of time, the tuff got cemented into a soft, easily carvable though comparatively stable rock. The inhabitants of ancient Anatolia realized that they could carve out their home right in the hillsides and underground. Derinkuyu is said to be one of the several rock-cut dwellings in the region and is the deepest one till date. This underground dwelling had been discovered in 1963 during the renovation of a surface home.

Derinkuy_1

An Astonishing Discovery


An underground room leading to a concealed passageway had opened up when a wall had caved in. On exploring the passageway, the workers had realized that it seemed to lead further into a deep maze and it became an astonishing discovery.

The researchers observed kitchens, bedroom, food storage room, bathrooms, oil and wine presses, wells, weapons, storage, areas, schools, churches, tombs as well as domestic animal stables within the massive eighteen levels of the city. Moreover there were also rooms of different sizes for various needs. Small spaces were said to be rock-cut tombs while the large one provided the perfect rooms for community meetings and schools. It was obvious that the people had intended to be totally self-sufficient.

There was provision of over fifty ventilation shafts which brought in air from above while thousands of smaller ducts distributed the air throughout the full city. Some of the archaeologists are of the belief that an 8 kilometre long passageway connects Derinkuyu to another remarkable underground city in Kaymakli which indicated that there could have been some degree of cooperation between the different civilizations of the Cappadocia region.

Houses were Underground


It is uncertain as to the age and who had built Derinkuyu but it is known that the Hittites had dominated the Anatolia region from 1600 BCE to around 1200 BCE. After this period, the Hittite Empire had contracted into smaller groups probably owing to various invasions and wars.

Consequently, the Phrygians wandered to the area from the Balkans. Hence if the Hittites had built the dwelling as some of the scholars believe, it could have been well before 1200 BCE. Other experts speculate that the Phrygians had built the underground city that could have taken place between 1200 BCE and 800 BCE.

Thereafter, Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, Armenians, Syrians together with several other groups had been in Cappadocia. The earliest acknowledged mention in writing of underground cities in the kingdom of Cappadocia had been from Xenophon, a Greek historian-soldier in 370 BCE. Xenophon had spent time and had traveled throughout the region and in his work he had mentioned that `the houses here were underground with a mouth like that of a well though spacious below and while entrances were tunnelled down for the beasts of burden, the human inhabitants descended by a ladder. In the houses were goats, sheep, cattle, fowls and their young and all the animals were reared and took their fodder there in the houses’.

History Full of Wars & Instability


The history of Derinkuyu as well as Anatolia is said to be full of wars and instability. Some of the former known residents of the Cappadocian region, namely the Hattians, and later on the Hittites had recognized the area as a valuable trade zone thorough early relationship with their Assyrian fellow citizen. Several tribe and thereafter large governments had motivated to control Anatolia for ages owing to its location that has served as a main trade bub between Asia and Europe.

 It was for these reasons, which the areas in Anatolia had been historically extremely volatile and had been invaded and captured often by various groups. The Roman had captured the lands of Cappadocia in 17 CE and had made it a Roman province under Emperor Tiberius and during the early days of Christianity, the Christian colonies had occupied Cappadocia.

They utilised the underground cities as a means of safety from Roman persecutions. The city of Derinkuyu had been planned with safety perceptions which illustrated that the underground dwellings were intended as refuges. The doors comprised of roll-able disc-shaped stone having a small hole towards the centre which covered entrances and passaged during raids.

Safety an Important Factor


Some speculate that the hole enabled soldiers to shoot arrows out or probably a strong beam through the hole enabled users to open and close the door with ease. It could also have served as one of the first `peepholes’. Since the doors only seemed to open and close from the inside, the inhabitants in the complex had total control. It had been quite easy to defend the village through a small opening against a large opening wherein anyone could walk in easily.

Each level seemed to link to the next level through a hallway having same stone door. Besides this, narrow passages compelled people to go through a single file and this again made it much easier to defend against incoming soldiers. The underground city also had a water containment system which took safety as an important factor. It seemed that one of the main ventilation shafts also served as a huge well.

But the wells in the city did not connect together nor did they all go to the surface. This safeguarded the inhabitants from invaders who would think of poisoning the entire water system from the outside. Cappadocia and Derinkuyu are said to be unbelievable histories together with amazing ancient dwellings that tend to go deep underground.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Papin Sisters: The Shocking Housemaids’ Crime That Shook France – Part II

Papin Sisters

Injuries on Face & Head


The police on entering the house had gone up the stairs and witnessed the awful scene where most of the injuries had been on the face and head of the victims. But the legs and bottom of the daughter portrayed deep knife grazes and both the women were beyond recognition since their faces had been completely ruined. Their teeth laid scattered around the room and one of the eyes of Genevieve had been lying on top of the stair.

Later on it was observed by the investigators that the other eye was under her body while the eyes of Madame were hidden within the folds of her neck scarf. Mrs Lancelin had been lying on her back with her legs apart with only one shoe on while the body of Genevieve had been facing down. A kitchen knife soaked in blood with a dark handle laid near her right hip.

 The entire space was covered with blood which had also been splattered on the walls two meters above the bodies. After the bodies had been discovered by the police, they searched the entire house. They pondered in their mind if the killer had done the same thing to the sisters.

Sisters Confessed Crime


However when they climbed the upper level where the bedroom of the maids was located, the door seemed to be locked. A locksmith had been called to unlock the door and when the police had they had found the girls in bed together with the robes on.

 Near the bed on a chair was kept the bloody hammer with traces of hair stuck to it. When questioned by the police on what had happened, the sister had instantly confessed the crime. The police had arrested the sister and had taken them into custody. Christine had become distressed and had fits when the police tried separating the girls. Ultimately, the authorities permitted a meeting between the two sisters and reported Christine had behaved and spoke in a manner which implied a sexual relationship.

Three doctors had been appointed by the court to order mental evaluations to the sisters to define if they were sane. Christine had shown indifference to the world and indicated that she had no attachments except to Lea. It was reported by the doctors that Christine’s affection for her sister had been of family devotion and that they had not noticed any type of sexual situation in the relationship.

No Pathological Mental Disorders


Lea on the other hand had considered Christine as a big sister or a mother figure and the appraisal stated that the sisters had no pathological mental disorders and no family history. The doctors considered the sisters, completely sane, indicating that the unusually closeness had caused the girls to act out together, both equally responsible for the murder.

 The jurors, at the hearing had taken only 40 minutes to consider and found that Christine and Lea Papin guilty of the murder. Lea had received a 10-year prison sentence while Christine had to face the guillotine, though the sentence had been transformed to life in prison. The gruesome double murder had infuriated the city and shocked the whole of France since there had never been such cruelty in a murder such as this.

Several people wondered why these two girls who seemed to be decent and had been treated well in their domestic positions could be so full of deep hatred that had led them to commit this hideous crime The murder seemed to be very atrocious and the gouging out of eyes along with their fingers seemed to be an act of animal savagery.

No Logical Motive For Crime


Philosophers, psychotherapist, writers together with the others started to chime in with their theories and some intellectuals expressed sympathy with the two girls. They saw the crime as a reflection of oppressive class divisions, poor working conditions together with prejudice while others believed strongly that since the girls had worked in decent employment with kind family, ate the same meals which the rest of the family had and had generous monthly salary, there was no logical motive for this kind of crime.

Some sources presumed that the girls could have been starved of love and affection. They had spent their formative years away from their parents’ instability with the members of the family who should have shown love to them. However they eventually had to go to a Catholic orphanage and there is no indication that they had suffered or were not cared for.

At the trial, a fourth doctor had testified and the girls could definitely not be normal. He had proposed that the relationship between Christine and Lea was a total merger of personalities. Lea had lost her identity to the dominant personality of Christine. In principle, there was no Christine and no Lea. The killer could really be the joint personality of two, a third identity. Psychotherapists all over the world are scrambling for a diagnosis.

Sensational Theory


Another more sensational theory had emerged – did Mrs Lancelin discover that the girls were having an incestuous homosexual relationship and did she perceive something which was not intended for her eyes and that could have been the reason why the girls gouged out the eyes with their bare hands. Christine did not fare well without her sister, in prison.

 She had displayed bouts of madness and had become strictly depressed and dejected and ultimately refused to eat at all. The prison officials then transferred her to a mental institute but there she continued to starve herself till she died in May 1937. Lea on the other hand had shown exemplary behaviour and served only 8 years of her 10-year sentence. She became a free woman in 1941 and lived with her mother in Nantes, France.

 There she worked in hotel housekeeping under an assumed name. Some say she died in 1982 but in 2000 while making a film – In Search of the Papin Sisters, Claude Ventura claimed to have found Lea living in a hospice centre in France. She had suffered a stroke and had been partially paralyzed and not in a position to speak and has passed away in 2001.


Papin Sisters: The Shocking Housemaids’ Crime That Shook France – Part I

Papin Sisters
Credit:neil-paton.tripod

Christine & Lea Papin – Famous for Murdering


In a location in northwest of France is a city called Le Mans known for little famous car race which tends to take place once a year – the `24 Hours of Le Mans’. However with a brief fleeting look at the entry of `Le Mans’ in Wikipedia in the section of Notable People one would perceive down in the 7th position in the midst of twenty difference aristocrats, priest together with well-known musicians, names of Christine and Lea Papin. These two sisters had gifted the city with some amount of dishonour which would then never have been achieved.

The Papin sisters instead of being famous for a splendid and promising accomplishment were famous only for murdering in the most horrific manner, their domestic employer together with her daughter in 1933. The Papin sisters belonged to a troubled family in Le Mans. Their mother was Clemence Derre and their father Gustave Papin. Though there were rumours circulating that Clemence had been having an affair with her boss, Gustave seemed to love her.

When she got pregnant in October 1901, Gustave had married Clemence and baby Emilia Papin was born in February 1902. However it kept Gustave wondering if Clemence still continued with her affair. He then decided to get a job in another town to take Clemence away from Le Mans.

Birth of Emilia


Two years after the birth of Emilia, Gustave made an announcement that he would be taking a new job in a different town. At this Clemence had threatened to commit suicide instead of leaving Le Mans. This gave rise in strengthening his suspicions that had she been having an affair. After she had come round to her senses, the couple then moved and began life afresh.

As they progressed their relationship seemed to be more volatile and according to reports Clemence showed no affection for her husband and children, becoming an unstable individual. Gustave on the other hand turned to alcohol. Clemence had sent Emilia who was 9 or 10 years old to the Bon Pasteur Catholic orphanage. Thereafter there were rumours stating that her father had raped her. Later on she had joined the convent and had become a nun.

Clemence had also given birth to two other children and both of them had been sent away at an early age by Clemence and her husband. Christine was born in 1905 being the middle child of the family seemed to be the difficult child. Immediately after her birth, her parents had handed her over to her father’s sister who had been happy to have her. She remained there with her aunt for seven years after which she went to a Catholic orphanage.

Papin Sisters

Christine - Strong Personality/Lea - Shy


Though Christine preferred joining the convent, her mother did not permit her and sometime later engaged her into service. Having an average intelligence she seemed to have a stronger personality than Lea her sister. Her employers had stated that she would be rude at times though she was a hard worker and a good cook. Lea born in 1911 on the other hand was shy and the youngest child of three girls.

She seemed to be somewhat lower intelligence than her sister and was an introvert, quiet and obedient. Lea had grown up with her mother’s brother till he died and thereafter had joined a religious orphanage till the age of 15 years. In 1926, Christine and Lea Papin being of age were fortunate to have a domestic live-in job together in the home of the Lancelin family in Le Mans. It was a home of a retired lawyer, his wife Leonie together with their adult daughter, Genevieve.

 Christine worked as the family cook and Lea cleaned the house. The Papin sisters seemed on most account good and mode housemaids and every Sunday they would dress up and attend church service. They had built up a reputation of being diligent workers with good behaviour.

The Papin Sisters – Unsocial


Being known to be quite unsocial, Christine and Lea preferred to be by themselves and everyday during their two-hour break after lunch, instead of going out to enjoy themselves, they rather preferred staying in their bedroom. The Papin sisters, by 1933 had been with the Lancelins for 6 years. Christine was 27 years while Lea was 21 years old. That year on February 2, Mrs Lancelin together with her daughter have returned home at around 5.30 to an almost dark house and it had been the second time in a week when due to malfunctioning of iron while Christine had been ironing ,had resulted in the electrical fuse to blow up. Strangely the repair man who had returned the iron that day found nothing wrong with it.

When Christine had informed Mrs Lancelin that the iron had broken down again, she became angry and an argument took place. Mrs Lancelin had been a strict employer and would often put on white gloves to check for dust, would give feedback on Christine’s cooking and make Lea redo the cleaning when she found that she had missed a spot. However this time seemed to be a different affair. It was said that Christine had snapped and being at the top of the stairs on the landing of the first floor had leaped at Genevieve tearing out her eyes with her fingers.

Brutally Slaughtered the Two Women


Lea had quickly joined in the struggle and grabbed Mrs Lancelin. Christine had ordered her to gouge out the eyes of Mrs Lancelin after which Christine ran downstairs to the kitchen to get a knife and hammer and returning back upstairs had clubbed and sliced the mother and her daughter. The sick sisters also utilised a pewter pitcher lying on a table at the top of the stairs to bash the heads of the ladies.

According to experts the incident had lasted for about 30 minutes but eventually the maids had brutally slaughtered both the women. When Mr Lancelin together with his son-in-law had returned home between 6.30 and 7.00 pm the door had been bolted from inside and they were unable to enter though they knew that someone was at home. The house had been in total darkness except for a faint light coming from the upper level of the house. This gave rise to suspicion and hence they sought the help of the police.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Why They Fight Russia in the Air, But Not at Sea

Open Ocean Combat

We have been observing rising violence on the land, sea as well as in the air, after a break of some years, from some familiar sources. As in the past few months there have been recurrent conflicts on the sea, particularly from the Chinese as well as the Iranians.

But in the case of the Russians we only seem to knock up against their elements in the sky which is due to two core elements namely geography and terror. Though several may not be aware of it, it was not till recently that such things like an `open ocean’ combat had taken place in military history. Navies had for most of the time, found themselves restrained either by depth, winds or currents to certain routes.

Besides that there had been the tussle to essentially discover their opponent out on the open ocean and for this purpose, certain chokepoints have envisaged various naval clashes. Credits of our own independence is due to one such fight between a French battle fleet and the British Royal Navy which had stopped the British from being capable of evacuating Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 and eventually had terminated the war.

Chokepoints – Straits Leading to Ocean

The fight had begun right at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where the French had been waiting for the Brits and hence it had been that these chokepoints like straits leading to the ocean had turned out to be blockages for those following them also.

 It was this that had been driving the Russian crazy for at least four centuries. The Russia Empire since the time of Tsar Peter the Great had pursued expansion to increase not only their wealth but regularly endless search in obtaining unfettered access to the sea. Fettered termed has been utilised since the Russia had actually been restrained with regards to their access to the open oceans.

Their port towards the top of the Baltic Sea in the Gulf of Finland had been initiated by the same Tsar Peter and had been humbly named after him. St Petersburg has long given the Russians the facility to move in the adjoining bodies of water though a bit more.

Getting to the actual blue water and the whole of the globe would mean getting beyond the Danes as well as the Norwegians or even both and that alone was not a convincing proposal even before NATO.

Deep Water Sheltered Port – Access Black Sea

Destined towards the north by geography at the entrance of the Baltic and with ice above the Arctic Circle, the Russians moved south and ran into the same kind of situation as they stretched. Tsarina Catherine the Great had pressed downward and had incorporated the Ukraine together with it the Crimean peninsula into greater Russia.

 The Russian naval base of Sebastopol with her founding had a deep water sheltered port which enabled them to access the Black Sea. However they still has been hemmed in now for a number of centuries by the ironclad lock of the Bosporus more recently at least nominally by the Treaty of Montreaux.

Even if they managed to get out, they would still only have access to the Mediterranean and not the actual open ocean. They tend to have access to the Pacific though it is quite far away from their epicentre and there their operationary to be mostly expeditionary just on leaving the base.

Rodina – Motherland – Land Issue

All this goes a long way in comprehending half of the reasons why the Russians are seen nudging up against us from the sky. To comprehend the remaining half, one could recall that the Russians tend to be really, extremely, fearful. It seems to be all about defense of the Rodina, the `Motherland’ for them and that seems to be a land issue.

 All that they do and design is said to be directed upon that individual prevailing passion. For this purpose, the Russian and before that the Soviet, Navy was and is, designed with power projection in mind as well as with disruption of anyone who tends to influence events on land and hence would be a land threat to them.

It is for this reason that they tend to have an extensive, and to some extent technologically striking, track record in submarines building though not aircraft carriers. This is also the reason why they seem to make long-range anti-ship missiles though are not progressing anything even distantly impending an oceanic system of at-sea replacement or restoration.

A century ago, they had given up on true battleships and knew that they could never combat their way out from their two significant naval bases on the surface and stopped attempting. On the contrary they aimed on developing the weapons which could stop America as well as the other NATO and world allied from getting to Europe and through it, on land, to the Motherland.