Abhimanyu Engineer

This is not a Zoroastrian name.

Abhimanyu is an important character of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata and engineering is one of the two most important professions, which every Indian parent wants their children to pursue, the other one is medicine.

This is a story about a guy, who had deep curiosity about any machine, size did not matter and he always tried to understand how a machine, which he had come across either in his own house or in any house which he was visiting with his parents, worked from inside.

The Patroklos character of Homer’s Iliad has some similarity with Abhimanyu of Mahabharata, at least both changed the courses of the wars. Death of Patroklos made Achilles to fight the Trojans with vengeance in spite of his personal differences with Agamemnon over a Trojan girl who was captured as a “spoil of war”.

War of Mahabharata lasted for eighteen days.

During the first ten days, the great warrior Bhishma, the commander in chief of the Kaurava army, caused devastating loss to Pandavas. On the tenth day he was incapacitated, he died many months later, till the beginning of summer solstice.

On the eleventh day Dronachary was appointed as the commander in chief of the Kaurava army. He lasted for five days. During the time he was on command, one day, Arjuna, the greatest Pandava warrior and the greatest hero of Mahabharata, was engaged in fighting Kaurava army at one front. At the same time Dronacharya and other Kauravas were causing heavy loss to Pandava army in another front. They created a ‘chakrabuhya’ (phalanx) and the Pandava army was not able to break it.

Abhimanyu, when he was in his mother Subhadra’s womb, heard one day that his father Arjuna was explaining to his mother how to enter into a phalanx. Arjuna had finished explaining the tactics of entering into the phalanx but before he could start explaining how to come out of it, Subhadra fell asleep, so Arjuna could not explain the last and the most important part of it. Therefore Abhimanyu knew how to enter inside a phalanx but did not know how to come out of it. But he was encouraged by his uncles to break open and to go inside and he was assured that other great warriors would follow him instantly. But as soon as he entered, the Kaurava army closed the phalanx like a water tight container and no other Pandava could enter inside. While inside the phalanx Abhimanyu started destroying his enemy soldiers in such a way that Kauravas killed him by breaching all the codes of conducts which were agreed upon before the war began.

It was only after the death of his most beloved son Abhimanyu, Arjuna fought like a real Arjuna and the war ended quickly and the Pandavas saw the victory.

Now, about the guy, who had a great curiosity to know how a machine worked from inside, used to open any machine, whatever came within his reach, to know the internals.

They had a ceiling fan, when he was taught the function of an electric motor in junior college, the first thing he did was to bring it down from the ceiling, he opened it, examined each and every part very minutely, but could not assemble it back. Hence the fan could never touch the roof again. His brothers, all younger than him, and every small boy in their neighborhood came to their house and got an opportunity to see what was actually inside the mysterious machine called electric motor. He even explained further by drawing on a piece of paper. But when he reassembled the fan again, it remained motionless. After few days, what remained was the big iron case; nobody in the house knew how the individual parts had disappeared.

They had a harmonium, a very popular musical instrument which can be found in many Indian houses, he opened it to understand how tuning forks can create musical sound. He opened the lid and showed his brothers and other boys in the village and explained to them how every small tuning fork created a sound of unique frequency and when they worked together how a musical sound was produced. His brothers and the boys in their neighborhood who were watching the show encircling him were deeply mesmerized to see so many tuning forks in a line and started making sounds like “wow!”, “oh!” &C. Curiosity, like entropy only grows and hence the instrument was dismantled more and more and a point reached when it met the same fate as the electric motor.

In order to explain to his brothers and other boys in the village the function of an electromagnet, the door bell was dismantled but the bell could not produce any sound again.

All kinds of electrical experiments were conducted in the house and everybody in the house used to experience at least one electric shock a week. Nobody cared to keep track of the number of times the fuse was blown.

To explain the law of simple pendulum, the wall clock was dismantled. From that day onward, to know the time during the day, the nearest neighbor’s door was knocked.

When the internals of every machine in the house was understood, completely, relatives’ machines were targeted when he and his brothers visited them.

But life science was not taught as a compulsory subject in high schools as well as in junior colleges those days. Else if he were taught the function of human heart or human brain, he would have used someone, most probably his youngest brother, to demonstrate to the rest of his brothers and other boys in the village how those vital organs worked and you would not be reading this story today.


Author: Mintu Ghoshal

Follow him on facebook: mintu.ghoshal.9


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