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Time & Title : Thoughts of Triumph

Questioned decades ago, “What is Time?” led to a Marine Navigator’s answer – “Time is the relative position of heavenly bodies expressed in measurable units”. The methodology emanates from tradition and comes alive on this unique date of January 14, 2022. With a recently accorded title of “Veteran” it is a hope that this reflective thought will convey a triumphant and grateful heart!

On January 14, 1953 Gen (later Field Marshall) KM Cariappa demitted office after being the first Indian Chief of Army Staff. Today Indian Armed Forces Veteran’s Day is celebrated on this unique day. India celebrates a host of climate centred festival with numerous regional titles and forms. In common terminology Makar Sankranti indicates the transition of season into a warmer climate. While this is an Indian festival celebrated on a fixed day of the solar calendar (others follow the lunar calendar).

In tribute to renowned Geographer and founder of the department of Geography at University of Mumbai, Dr Chandrashekhar Dhundiraj Deshpande, the State of Maharashtra celebrates the day as Rajya Bhugol Diwas (State Geography Day). This was shared by a good friend and another Geography scholar Dr Dipesh Karmarkar. Often there is an erroneous perception of Makar Sankranti being the geographical date of Uttarayan, even if it is celebrated on 14 January.

Lunar calendar used in India causes 11.25 days difference from the solar calendar. Every 2.5 years, therefore, an additional month (Adhik Maas) is added to the lunar calendar. Yet, in a few hundred years, this drift is significant. The northern apparent movement of the sun or Uttarayan was on

Around 1,500 years ago Uttarayan and Makar Sankranti coincided on December 21st. Now Makar Sankranti is on January 14, but Uttarayan occurs on Dhanu Sankranti i.e. 21st December.

It is a commemorative coincidence that an Indian traditional festival is also the day to honour Indian Armed Forces Veterans for selfless service with honour. There is a quiet prayer arising that the nation imbibes into its rich culture, the values of Duty, Honour and Service with visible and vibrant strands of harmony across the span of this fascinating geography – India.

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