Exploring the history of 22nd June this article highlights two significant stories. The first recounts Galileo Galilei’s forced recantation of his heliocentric views in 1633 and the Chapekar brothers, who assassinated British District Magistrate Walter Charles Rand in 1897.
Before I delve into the history of 22nd June, let me update you on a piece of recent news. A 76 years old woman named Bella Montoya was declared dead by the doctors at a hospital in Babahoya. But as she was taken for her funeral in a coffin the mourners heard her knocking on the coffin. She was rushed back to the same hospital where she was treated earlier. However, after seven days in intensive care, she was declared dead for the second time by the doctors.
With this news, I come to my first story from the history of 22nd June.
Galileo Galilei’s Recantation
My first story is a perfect example of how ‘religion’ time and again is the cause of blindness. Religion is based on faith whereas science is based on facts.
It was on this unfortunate day in the year 1633 Galileo Galilei, the renowned Italian scientist and astronomer was forced to recant his “heretical” position that the Earth orbits the Sun. This was a stance that contradicted the prevailing belief supported by the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Galileo’s support for the heliocentric model, proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, had brought him into direct conflict with the Catholic Church. In 1616, the Church issued a warning against the heliocentric theory, and in 1632, Galileo published his famous work, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” which defended and popularized the Copernican model.
This publication ignited further controversy and led to Galileo’s summons before the Roman Inquisition in 1633. In his trial, Galileo faced charges of heresy and was subjected to intense scrutiny and pressure from Church authorities to recant his views. Faced with the threat of severe punishment, including potential imprisonment or even execution, Galileo ultimately agreed to recant his heliocentric views.
On June 22, 1633, in a formal hearing held at the Hall of the Inquisition in Rome, Galileo declared that he “abjured, cursed, and detested” his belief in the Earth’s motion and pledged never to defend it again. He accepted the geocentric view that the Earth was stationary and placed at the center of the universe, in accordance with the Church’s teachings.
Here it is important to mention that Aryabhata described a geocentric model of the Solar System, in which the Sun and Moon are each carried by epicycles. They in turn revolve around the Earth way back in the 4-5th century
Galileo’s recantation was a personal tragedy for him and a setback for the progress of science. It represented a clash between the emerging scientific method, which relied on empirical evidence and observation, and the entrenched theological beliefs of the time. The Church’s condemnation of Galileo’s heliocentric views stifled scientific inquiry and hindered the acceptance of the heliocentric model for centuries.
However, it is worth noting that Galileo’s recantation did not completely halt the advancement of the heliocentric theory. Over time, the weight of scientific evidence and further observations by subsequent astronomers eventually led to the widespread acceptance of the Copernican model.
It was not until October 31, 1992, more than three centuries after Galileo’s trial, that the Vatican formally acknowledged its error in condemning Galileo. In a speech by Pope John Paul II, the Church expressed regret for the way Galileo’s case was handled, admitting that errors were made in its treatment of the scientist and recognizing the compatibility between faith and science. What a joke.
With this, I come to my second story from the history of 22nd June.
The Chapekar brothers
History of 22nd June 1897, Pune, India.
On this day the two brothers Damodar Chapekar and Balkrishna Chapekar orchestrated the assassination of the then-District Magistrate, Walter Charles Rand. This incident had far-reaching consequences and started being known as the Chapekar Brother incident.
It was the time of British colonial rule, and widespread discontentment with British oppression and exploitation prevailed among the Indian population. The Chapekar brothers, along with their compatriots, formed part of a secret revolutionary society known as the “Hindu Swarajya Association.” Their objective was to resist British rule and bring about the emancipation of their motherland.
Walter Charles Rand, an Englishman serving as the District Magistrate, had earned a notorious reputation for his oppressive policies and ruthless suppression of dissent. He had become a symbol of British tyranny, which made him a prime target for the Chapekar brothers’ act of retribution.
On the 22nd of June, 1897 Walter Charles Rand was returning home from work, and the Chapekar brothers laid in wait near the Phadke Haud area of Pune. As his carriage passed by, they emerged from the shadows and opened fire, assassinating him on the spot.
The repercussions of this assassination were severe. The British authorities launched an intense manhunt to capture the perpetrators and suppress any signs of rebellion. After a relentless pursuit, the Chapekar brothers were apprehended. They were subsequently tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Their execution took place on April 18, 1898, and they achieved martyrdom, etching their names into the annals of India’s freedom struggle.
The assassination of Walter Charles Rand served as a catalyst for the growth of revolutionary activities against British rule in India. It energized a generation of freedom fighters and inspired many to follow in the footsteps of the Chapekar brothers. Their act of defiance fueled the flames of resistance against colonial oppression, laying the groundwork for future leaders who would lead India to independence.
That’s all for the day.
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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.