April 12th History is marked by significant events that have changed the course of history. This date has marked numerous occasions worth remembering. Let’s take a glimpse into the past and explore some of the noteworthy events that have taken place on this day in history.
“Study the past and you define the future.” This quote by Confucius, speaks so little yet defines so much. Civilizations have evolved across time marking significant events along their path. Each day has its own stories and today, I share 12th April History with my readers.
I was reading the book ‘The Power of Languages’ by Viorica Marin where she describes the advantage of being a polyglot. True it is indeed it is a bliss to know many languages. So I share the history of 12th April with my first story of a polyglot.
Bangla at The Fort
William Cray was a polyglot who was appointed as Professor of Bengali Language at Fort William College in Calcutta on the 12th of April 1801, Fort William College was established by the British East India Company for the purpose of training civil servants in India, and it became an important center for the study of Indian languages and culture.
William Cray was an Englishman who arrived in India in 1777 as a military officer. He had a deep interest in Indian languages and had taught himself Bengali and Sanskrit. In 1793, he was appointed as a translator in the Bengal Presidency and had been working in various capacities until his appointment as the Professor of the Bengali Language at Fort William College.
As a Professor of the Bengali Language, William Cray played an important role in promoting the study of the language and its literature among British officials in India. He also wrote several books on Bengali grammar, literature, and culture, which were widely used by his students and other scholars. His appointment was a significant step towards the recognition of Indian languages and culture in the British administration in India.
Overall, William Cray’s appointment as the Professor of Bengali Language at Fort William College was an important milestone on the 12th of April 1801.
While Cray started his new career as a carrier of Bengali language to the British officers in the East, another significant event was unfolding up in the West in the province of Punjab on the same day….
The New Jewel in the Crown of Punjab
It was the 12th of April in the year 1801. A new chapter was written in the pages of history. Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire, declared himself the Maharaja of Punjab and marked the beginning of the Sikh Empire.
Ranjit Singh was a powerful Sikh leader who had been expanding his territory through military conquests for several years prior to declaring himself the Maharaja. He had already captured Lahore and Amritsar, among other regions, and had established a strong army that included both Sikhs and Muslims.
As the Maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh consolidated his power and continued to expand his territory, eventually bringing most of the Punjab region under his control. He was known for his military prowess as well as his administrative and diplomatic skills.
Under his rule, the Sikh Empire flourished culturally and economically, with Lahore becoming a center of arts and culture. However, after Ranjit Singh died in 1839, the empire began to decline, eventually falling to British colonial rule in the late 19th century. Nevertheless, Ranjit Singh’s legacy as a powerful Sikh leader and the founder of the Sikh Empire remains an important part of Punjabi and Sikh history.
From Earth to Space
160 years later, from the day Ranjit Singh formed the Sikh Empire, on April 12th, 1961, the Soviet Union made history by launching the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, into space aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1. The flight lasted just under two hours, during which Gagarin orbited the Earth once at an altitude of 200 miles.
The achievement of Yuri Gagarin’s flight marked a significant milestone in the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States. It proved that the Soviet Union had the capability to launch human beings into space and return them safely to Earth, giving them a clear advantage in the Cold War-era competition for space dominance.
Gagarin’s flight also had a profound impact on the world. It inspired a generation of people to dream of space exploration, and it demonstrated the possibilities of human spaceflight. The success of Gagarin’s mission paved the way for further achievements in space exploration, including the first moon landing in 1969.
To this day, Yuri Gagarin remains an icon in the history of space exploration. His bravery and pioneering spirit continue to inspire people around the world to reach for the stars and push the boundaries of what is possible.
These were a few events from the pages of history for 12th April. So before bidding goodbye join me in paying our tribute to Rakhaldas Banerji the man who discovered Mohenjo-Daro on his birth anniversary.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.