Rain Quail (Coturnix coromandelica)

also known as the Black-breasted Quail, the rain quail is a species of Perdicine pheasant that is native to the Indus Valley of central Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. It is also known from the Gangetic plains and parts of continental India. Like other small galliform birds, rain quail typically inhabit grassland, cropped fields, and scrub habitat where they will feed on a range of grasses, other plants, and a myriad of inveterbates. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Galliformes-Phasianidae-Perdicinae-Coturnix-C. coromandelica

Image: © Vinayak Yardi



MAGADHA was an ancient kingdom located on the Indo-Gangetic plains in eastern India and spread over what is today the modern state of Bihar. At the height of its power, it claimed suzerainty over the entire eastern part of the country (roughly the area of England) and ruled from its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna, Bihar). 

In 326 BCE, when Alexander the Great was camped at the river Beas on the westernmost part of India, his army mutinied; they refused to march further east. They had heard about the great Magadha kingdom and were unnerved by stories of its might. Unwillingly, Alexander turned back (and was to die en route). 

But this was not the first time that the might of Magadha had forced kings westwards. One of the earliest references to Magadha is in the epic Mahabharata, where we see the entire Yadava clan abandoning their homeland on the Gangetic plains to  migrate south-westwards towards the desert-ocean land to avoid constant battles with their eastern neighbour, Magadha.

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Article by Anindita Basu on AHE


Urdu itself as a language might be called a bundle of anomalies, beginning with the fact that this language of many virtues has no true homeland. It originated from the early stages of Muslim conquest of India as the lingua franca of the camp. It was a mixture of the Arabicized Persian used by the invaders, themselves a miscellany of Turks and other, with some of the still unformed Hindi dialects of the upper Gangetic valley. In verb structure it was native Indian, a fact which entitles it to be classed as an Indian language, and in vocabulary largely foreign.

 It began as a pidgin dialect or hybrid and gradually evolved into a self-sufficient language with special qualities derived from its mixed antecedents, qualities of contrast and modulation of great significance for poetry. Urdu can thus combine the harmony of Persian with the energy of Arabic and the simplicity of rustic Hindi. Almost any Persian noun or adjective may be brought into an Urdu verse. Persian syntax too, notably the use of izafat to join a noun either with its adjective or with its possessive, is retained to a great extent in Urdu poetry. 

When the Mughal empire faded, and with it the old cultural links with Persia, it was chiefly the poetic part of the legacy of Persian that Urdu fell heir to. The Muslim community, socially an unbalanced one of feudal cast, with only an embryonic middle class, has few professional or commercial men with reason to write prose; and fallen from power, unable for long to adapt itself to new times, it had stronger feelings than thoughts, an impulsion towards emotional verse more than towards rational prose. A language like Urdu, with a small prose content, has so to speak a lower boiling point, and boils up into poetry - or vaporizes into verse- more readily.

Excerpt: By Victor Kiernan


Gangetic Dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica) of India

The Ganges River Dolphins are one of a kind of fresh water dolphin species facing the risk of extinction. These beautiful creatures were once abundant in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Karnaphuli and Sangu river systems of Nepal, Bangladesh and India. They usually travel alone or in very small groups. They are different from their salt water cousins, as unlike them they move in a slow, leisurely manner through deep water, and prefer to remain close to the river bed.

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National waterways project threatens Gangetic dolphins: Conservationists
Scientists and wildlife conservationists are seeing red over the threat posed to Gangetic river dolphins by the National Waterways project. The animal is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wild
By Indrani Dutta

I would hate to see this species go the way of the baiji. Hopefully conservation efforts will be more successful for the Ganges river dolphin.