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What is a Time Capsule, what it may contain and why “Kaalpatra” was controversial

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Mukesh Choudhary
Mukesh Choudhary
Student, interested in contemporary affairs around the globe. -between the Left and the Right wing -nation first but humanity does matter most -philanthropist -factotum

What is time capsule?

Time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, deliberately buried to communicate with future generation and help archaeologist or historians to gain knowledge about our recent events or history of any particular important building, temple etc. It is a container of any size or shape, it requires special engineering so that the contents don’t decay, even if pulled out after a century. Mainly made of aluminium and stainless steel for encasing, and documents are often reproduced on acid free paper that is being protected by a vacuum tube.

Term ‘time capsule’ was coined in the 20th century, among the earliest examples of one dates back to 1777, found by historians inside the statue of Jesus Christ in a church in Spain during restoration work in December 2017.

According to the International Time Capsule Society (ITCS), USA estimated number of time capsules worldwide is around 10,000-15,000.

Time capsule in Ram Temple

Lately many reports were circulating in the media about a time capsule being placed beneath the site of the Ram temple, Ayodhya were baseless. Since construction of Ram Temple has been started and our PM Narendra Modi ji laid first brick. Nothing like any time capsule placed at Temple site. So now things are obvious news were just rumours.

Kaalpatra the Time capsule in India and controversy

During the initial year of 1970’s, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was at the peak of her career and Sanjay Gandhi was her strength. To glorify 25 splendid years of country’s independence, she decided to bury a time capsule in the Red Fort complex.

1973 Indira Gandhi at Red fort burying Kaalpatra

The government wanted to document the first 25 years of the country — its developments, struggles — in the capsule. It also wanted to manuscript important events in history, along with contemporary achievements.

The Indira Gandhi government named this time capsule Kalpaatra. The task was given to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) of drawing out significant events from the past. A professor of History from Madras Christian College, S Krishnawamy, was to get ready manuscript. But before any of this could materialise, the project gained controversies.

Krishnaswamy had sent a copy of the document to Archives Commissioner and historian T Badrinath for his opinion. But after a brief assessment, Badrinath said openly that the manuscript mispresented historical facts.

The political circle, meanwhile, opposed Indra’s initiative, accusing her of glorify herself and her family in the time capsule. Despite all these allegations, on August 15, 1973, Kalpaatra was buried inside the Red Fort.

In 1977, the Congress government was overthrown and the Janata Party came to power under the leadership of Morarji Desai. Before elections BJP promised to people that they will spring out time capsule and evaluate it’s content.

A few days after the government was formed, the time capsule was disentombed. A few veteran journalists claim the capsule’s content was gravid with details about the accomplishments of Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

It was unearthed was known to all, but what happened to the capsule after that is not known. And nobody, till this day, is fully aware of its contents.

The Janata Party too, never revealed what was written inside the capsule. This capsule again came to news in 2012, when the editor of Manushi Patrika, Madhu Kishwar, sought information on it from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In its reply, the PMO said it did not have any details. Kishwar approached the National Information Commission too.

The Indira Gandhi government had set a time frame of 1,000 years for extracting the copper capsule. It wanted the forthcoming generations to have a rendezvous with India’s magnificent past. But nobody know was it a political gimmick to glorify Gandhi family or not and why Janta Government didn’t disclosed in information about what was inside this capsule.

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Mukesh Choudhary
Mukesh Choudhary
Student, interested in contemporary affairs around the globe. -between the Left and the Right wing -nation first but humanity does matter most -philanthropist -factotum
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