The Adventure

About the author

Jayant Vishnu Narlikar is an Indian astrophysicist and emeritus professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. He developed with Sir Fred Hoyle the conformal gravity theory, known as Hoyle–Narlikar theory. It synthesises Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and Mach's principle.

Born: 19 July 1938 (age 82 years), Kolhapur

Spouse: Mangala Narlikar

Education: University of Cambridge

Awards: Padma Vibhushan, Adams Prize, Prix Jules Janssen, Padma Bhushan

Fields: Physics, Astronomy, Writer

Synopsis

The story ‘The Adventure’ is a science fiction and is based on the conflicting thoughts of a historian. Professor Gaitonde is on a journey like never before, his experiences make him feel that history is different from reality. He finds himself in an odd situation where the history he read is different from reality. Also, he tries to figure out the mystery behind this conflicting history. He goes to a library to look for answers; and eventually, he finds a new turn to history and how things can be seen from different perceptions.

Character List

  • Professor Gaitonde – Historian. He is a great orator and has delivered many speeches. He leaves no stone unturned to find the truth behind the battle of Panipat and the conflicting thoughts about it. He is patient enough to listen to others version of history and understands things from every possible angle.

  • Rajendra Deshpande- A good friend of Professor Gaitonde. He tries to solve the confusion of Professor Gaitonde by taking practical examples of Quantum Theory and Catastrophe Theory.

Theme

This chapter ‘The Adventure’ deals with the doubts of a historian regarding the facts and reality. Professor Gaitonde is a historian with great experience in public speaking. He is on his way from Bombay to Pune. The story dates back to Pre-Independence Era, he finds East India Company there, whereas, according to historical evidence the East India Company was wound up. His car collided with a truck and he slips into a coma. He experiences a parallel world in his unconscious state where he finds the history to be different from reality.

Gaitonde feels that history would have taken a different turn in the Battle of Panipat. The bullet just missed the target and the Maratha leader Vishwasrao was saved. But according to history, the bullet killed the Maratha leader causing the defeat.

His friend, Rajendra Deshpande, tries to rationalise the strange experience of Professor Gaitonde by bringing in Catastrophe Theory and Lack of determinism in Quantum Theory. According to him, the Catastrophe Theory states that a small change in the circumstance, can bring sudden shift in the behaviour. He relates this to the Battle of Panipat, where the bullet missed the leader, but the army thought their leader was dead and this lowered their morale and ultimately resulted in defeat. He feels that a small change in the situation could have changed the course of the war and the result could be favouring the Marathas.

Professor Gaitonde made a transition from the world we live in and the parallel world in which the history was different according to him. He neither travelled to the past nor the future; he was in the present but was experiencing a different world. Just before the accident, he was thinking about the Catastrophe Theory and its implications on the Battle of Panipat. Thus, his subconscious mind took him to a parallel world.

Summary

Professor Gaitonde: Professor Gaitonde, a historian is going to give a lecture on the implications of Catastrophe Theory in the Third Battle of Panipat. On the way his car collides with a truck and he goes into coma. In his unconscious state, he experiences another world where history is different from how we know in the real world. In the Third Battle of Panipat, Afghans defeated Marathas killing their leader Viswas Rao. But in the parallel world, Marathas win the war as Viswas Rao escapes narrowly from the bullet. The victory of Marathas brings about diverse changes and reforms in the country. He gains consciousness and his friend Rajendra Deshpande rationalizes his strange experience on the basis of two scientific theories, viz. Catastrophe Theory and the lack of determinism in Quantum Theory.

The Parallel world: Professor Gaitonde is on his way to Bombay from Pune. It is the pre-independent Bombay where he finds Anglo-Indians and Union Jack. He goes to a library and reads four volumes of history starting from the period of Asoka up to the Third Battle of Panipat. The fifth volume of the Book (Bhausahebanchi Bakhar) tells a different story where Marathas win the war against Afghans in the Third Battle of Panipat. After their victory India moved towards democracy. Absent mindedly, he tucks into his pocket a copy of the book. He reaches Azad Maidan where a lecture is going on. The absence of the chairman for the meeting makes it strange but the crowd doesn’t want one though the Professor protests. He gets on to the stage, snatches the mike and starts speaking. The crowd showers eggs and tomatoes on him and finally throws him out. He is lost in the crowd. This is where the Professor’s strange experience ends. Next, we find him talking to his friend Rajendra in the real world.

Rajendra’s explanation: Rajendra explains the bizarre experience of the Professor on the basis of two scientific theories, viz. Catastrophe Theory and the lack of determinism in Quantum theory. Catastrophe theory states that a small change in circumstance can bring sudden shift in behaviour. If we apply this theory to the battle of Panipat, we can find that there was a crucial moment when the Marathas lost both their leaders-Viswas Rao and Bhausaheb. So, the Marathas lost their morale and lost the battle. But in the parallel world Prof. Gaitonde saw the bullet missing Viswas Rao and Marathas winning the battle. A crucial event gone other way can change the course of history (the bullet missing/hitting the leader). The Professor produced a torn page of Bhausahebanchi Bakhar from his pocket. This is nothing but the notes he had prepared for his lecture where imagined the fate of the battle to be otherwise. The bullet hitting Viswas Rao was the catastrophic incident in the battle. The present state of affairs has been reached because of such catastrophic incidents in history. We can apply this theory to any other battle or historical incident and see how history takes a different course.

Lack of determinism in Quantum theory: The behaviour of electrons orbiting the nucleus in an atom cannot be predicted. There are different states of energy-higher and lower. It can make a jump from high to low energy level and send out a pulse of radiation or a pulse of radiation can knock it out of state no.2 to state no.1. These states can apply to the world too. The transitions are common in microscopic systems. If it happened on a macroscopic level, it could be an interesting food for thought.

Professor Gaitonde made a transition from the world we live into a parallel world. One world has the history we know, the other a different history. He neither travelled to the past nor to the future. He was in the present but experiencing a different world. At the time of the collision with the truck, he was thinking about the catastrophe theory and its implications in war. He was probably wondering about the battle of Panipat. Perhaps the neurons in his brain acted as a trigger. Like the electron jumping from one state to another, he made a jump from this world to the parallel world. Any catastrophic situation will provide various alternatives for us to proceed. But only one can be accepted by us at one time as we live in a unique world with a unique history. But why did he make such a transition? An interaction is must for any such transition. The collision and the thoughts at that moment brought it about.

The incident at Azad Maidan is just to show how meetings can be arranged without chairman unlike in the real world.

Analysis

The Reality Side of Professor Gaitonde

Professor Gaitonde was an eminent historian from Pune, India. He was a known author of tomes of books on History and had presided over 998 meetings, seminars, debates, jubilee, college days, birthdays, and other similar functions. And now, he was waiting for his 1000thfunction, a seminar devoted to the Third Battle of Panipat.

The incidents in the story happened between the 998thand the 1000th, that is, on the occasion of his 999th public function on which he was to preside over a seminar on Catastrophe Theory in the Mathematic Department, Pune University.

In fact, it was a chance that chanced! The other professors of the University, especially the Professor of Mathematics, had no idea what this catastrophe Theory was so they requested the historian, Professor Gaitonde, to preside over it. They knew, you know, that he would be ready

and they were right.

"Well," said Gaitonde,” What is this catastrophe Theory?" To get a good deal of information about Catastrophe Theory, Professor Gaitonde approached a research fellow, Dr. Rajendra Deshpande. The two discussed and debated and finally Professor Gaitonde understood this much: a little deviation in any course of act can cause unexpected effects.

"That is," said Rajendra.” Like, a cricket side collapses all of a sudden, a mob gets out of control and runs amuck, share prices crash down unexpectedly, something happens to turn the tide in a battle..."

Professor Gaitonde got enough, because the Catastrophe Theory was not just Mathematics, it is history, too! It had always been a hobby of his to speculate what would have happened if some crucial battles had ended differently. Professor Gaitonde's eyes lit up. He now wanted to know more about catastrophe theory. When he heard all, he liked it and agreed to preside over the seminar.

The 999th Seminar was another great event and now Professor Gaitonde was thinking about the 1000th That evening, walking home, Gaitonde’ s mind was full of the third Battle of Panipat and Catastrophe Theory. He had this question How could history have taken a different course if the Maratha troops defeated the troops of Abdali, the Afghan invader?

Thinking, lost in thoughts, Professor Gaitonde Lost sight of the sidewalk and invaded the busy Bombay Pune highway, and was hit by a passing truck. Though the driver and cleaner of the truck searched for the Professor, they could not find him. He vanished but 60 hours later, people in Bombay found him lying on the roadside and someone in the crowd recognized him.

Professor Gaitonde recalled his memory and contacted his son Vinay who worked at Fobes in Bombay. Though Vinay requested his father to stay in Bombay for a few more days, Professor Gaitonde boarded the Deccan Queen that passed Karjat, to Pune.

Still worried about how he had reached Bombay, Professor Gaitonde found his experience critically unbelievable. At Karjat Station, he found a very prominent material evidence to track the mystery. It was torn off page that he had stolen from Bombay! Slowly, the broken pieces of incidents, imagination and mystery came closer.

The Super Mystery Side, Science and Fantasy of Professor Gaitonde

When Professor Gaitonde was hit by the truck, he had been thinking of the possibilities of India' s fate if the Marathas had won the third Battle of Panipat With the collision, something In his brain got mislaid, some neurons got misplaced and he got into a different India where a different government existed, a different currency was in use, a different culture existed. Yes, the Marathas had won the third battle of Panipat, there was no Congress, no Gandhiji, no British (they could occupy only Bombay) and no independence.

What happened to Professor Gaitonde after the accident?

Professor Gaitonde, after the highway accident, was admitted at Vishwas Rao Peshwa Hospital on Vishwa Rao Peshwa Marg, Pune. The doctor informed him that he was found in the Ganeshkhind

Forest and wished to know how he got into the forest.

Having learnt from Dr. Modak that the Marathas had defeated the Afghans, Professor Gaitonde was confused. He travelled to Bombay (with special permits) and got into the library to check what had gone wrong in the History books that he himself had written.

In the library, he discovered a tiny book and in that he saw that Peshwa Vishwa Rao was not hit by a bullet. While getting out of the library, he made sure that he had stolen that tiny book, Bahusahebanchi Bakkar.

Out of the library, Professor Gaitonde passed the Azad Maidan where some people were conducting a seminar, explicitly protesting the old custom of a dignitary to preside over the

meeting. There was an unoccupied chair! I A man who had taken chairs as the presiding dignitary over 999 seminars, Professor Gaitonde went to the stage and sat in the chair against the protest of the people who finally threw him out of the stage. I And this was how Professor Gaitonde was found on the roadside.

How did the page of the Bakkar travel to the normal world?

Well, the answer is impossible. Only know this much, there is none like a specific 'normal world.’ Both worlds are normal!

The concept of lack of determinism helps us understand the world better. Always remember, truth is relative. There is no commonly accepted truth. Your truth and my truth are different. Like an electron’s movement is unpredictable, truth is, unpredictable.

Bit/Bits

  1. Prof. Gaitonde had a collision with a truck. At that time, he was thinking of the catastrophe theory and its implications for history.

  2. He found himself in another Bombay-which looked more like England (cleaner, big English shops). The East India Company was flourishing.

  3. In this different Bombay, he went to the Asiatic Society library in the town hall, to read some History books, including the ones he had written.

  4. Most of the history was as he knew it in his world–but the point where history had changed was the Battle of Panipat. In this different world, the Marathas had won.

  5. The Marathas had not allowed the East India Company to expand. In fact, its influence was limited to a few places like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. India had become a democracy but allowed the British to carry on for commercial reasons.

  6. Prof. G wanted to find out how the Marathas had won the battle. According to one history book, the Maratha army’s morale was boosted when Vishwasrao managed to escape death narrowly.

  7. Next morning, he went for a stroll to Azad Maidan. There was a lecture and Prof. G went and sat on the vacant presidential chair. It turned out that in this world people were fed up of long speeches and had abolished the ‘chairing’ custom. They got angry because Prof. G would not stop talking. They threw things at him and then got onto the stage to throw him out. And suddenly Prof G vanished.

  8. He was found in the Azad Maidan, in his own familiar world. Where had he been for two days?

  9. He showed RD the proof that he had been somewhere else and not just imagining things– the torn-off page of the history book from the other world, about Vishwasrao escaping death. In his book in his own world, the account was given as V being hit by the bullet and dying. So, in our world, the Marathas had not won, the East India Company had not flourished and so on.

  10. Through discussions, Prof G and RD came to the conclusion that there could be many ‘different worlds……at different points of time.’ They could all have a different history. Prof. G had been to another world. The time was the present, but their history was completely different!

Textual Question Answer

1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.

Blow-by-blow account: detailed account. In the text “The Adventure” this expression occurs in the context of Gangadharpant trying to understand the outcome of the Battle of Panipat by reading a book on the topic.

Morale booster: anything that serves to increase morale or confidence. The expression occurs in the text ‘Adventure’ where it is told that the Marathas emerged victorious in the Battle of Panipat which increased their morale or confidence in establishing their supremacy all over the country.

Relegated to assigned to a lower rank or position. In the text it is said how Dadasaheb, a maratha Chieftain was assigned to a lower rank after the Battle of Panipat.

Political acumen: political shrewdness with keen insight. In the text ‘The Adventure’ the expression is used to convey how Madhav Rao and Vishwasrao because of their
shrewdness could expand their influence all over India.

De facto: existing in fact whether with lawful authority or not. In the text ‘Adventure’ the Peshwas are regarded as de facto rulers as they kept the Mughal regime alive in Delhi.

Astute: marked by practical hard-headed intelligence. In the text “The Adventure” this word is used to convey that the Peshwas were very intelligent to recognise the importance of technological age dawning in Europe.

Doctored accounts: manipulation of accounts. This expression conveys that the Bakhars were not providing historical facts but manipulated account of history.

Give vent to: - to express one’s feelings and ideas. Professor Gaitonde expressed his ideas in the public lecture on the Battle of Panipat.

2. Tick the statements that are true.

1. The story is an account of real events. (False)
2. The story hinges on a particular historical event. (True)
3. Rajendra Deshpande was a historian. (False)
4. The places mentioned in the story are all imaginary. (False)
5. The story tries to relate history to science. (True)

3. Briefly explain the following statements from the text.

(a) “You neither travelled to the past nor the future. You were in the present experiencing a different world.”

Ans. This statement was said by Rajendra to Professor Gaitonde. He made a transition from one world to another and back again. By making a transition, he was able to experience two worlds although one at a time. He neither travelled to the pas nor to the future. He was in the present but experiencing a different world.

(b) “You have passed through a fantastic experience: or more correctly, a catastrophic experience.”

Ans. This statement was made by Rajendra to Prof. Gaitonde in the text The Adventure by Jayant Vishnu Narlikar. Gangadhar had passed through a strange experience. He had the experience of living in two world, one he lived in now and other where he had spent two days.

(c) Gangadharpant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.

Ans. Gangadharpant knew India which had seen the decline of Peshwas and experienced the slavery of the British. But the India he had seen in two days was completely different. It had not been subjected to slavery for the Whiteman. It was self-dependent and enjoyed self-respect. He compared the two countries the one that he knew already and other that he was witnessing around him. Both had different histories.

(d) “The lack of determinism in quantum theory!”

Ans. Professor Gaitonde had decided to go to a big library at Bombay and browse through history books. Then he would find out how the present state of affairs was reached. On his return to Pune, he would have a long talk with Rajendra Deshpande. He hoped that Rajendra would help him understand what had happened.

(e) “You need some interaction to cause a transition.”

Ans. This Bombay was under the British Raj. An Anglo-Indian in uniform checked permits. Each of the blue carriages of GBMR had the tiny Union Jack painted on it. The Victoria Terminus station looked very neat and clean. The staff was mostly of Anglo-Indians and Parsee along with a handful of British Officers.

Q4. Discuss the following statements in groups of two pairs, each pair in a group taking opposite points of view.

(a) A single event may change the course of the history of a nation.

Ans. (In the favour): A single event may change the course of the history of a nation. The battle of Panipat for example is said to be the turning point in the history of India. In the Battle of Panipat, the Marathas gave in to the forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali. After this event, the history of India took another turn. Gradually, the country was overtaken by the foreign forces. In the story The Adventure it is mentioned how in the beginning Prof. Gaitonde was preparing a speech on what course the history would have taken if the Marathas had won the Battle of Panipat. This shows the importance of a single event in the history of a nation.

(Against): The motion that a single event may change the course of the history of a nation is a matter of perspective only. It is a relative truth. If we apply the catastrophic theory in understanding history then we will find that there may be alternative outcomes of a single event so that we cannot proclaim that any one course of event is the reality. Since there may be alternative courses of history so debating on a single course is not fruitful. In the story the Adventure due to catastrophic phenomenon the Battle of Panipat is revealed in a different version to Prof Gaitonde. According to this version, the Marathas emerged victorious in the Battle of Panipat. After the event, the Marathas extended influence over the entire country. India never fell to the alien forces. So, to argue that a single course of event may change the course of history is not tenable. There may be alternative effects following an event.

(b) Reality is what is directly experienced through the senses.

Ans. (In the favour): Our senses, that is the senses of touch, sight, taste and hearing and smell provide us facts about the world we live in. Knowledge from experience come through these senses. The reality is what we directly experience through these senses. No other reality exists which is not revealed to the senses.

(Against): Reality is not what is directly revealed to the senses. We cannot experience

so many entities like atoms and molecules, but these are real. We cannot even predict the behaviour of these entities accurately. This point is mooted by Rajendra in the story Adventure when he points to the discoveries made by the physicists regarding the behaviour of the atoms. We can predict the position of a bullet fired in a particular direction from a gun, but we cannot predict the position of an electron fired from a source. This proves that reality is not what is directly revealed to the senses, there can be alternative realities existing side by side.

(c) The methods of inquiry of history, science and philosophy are similar.

Ans. (In the favour): The methods of inquiry of History, Science and Philosophy are similar. In the story The Adventure one can find the perspectives of History, Philosophy and Science converging towards a focal point. History employs the methods of observation, analysis, and rationalism in understanding the course of past events. Science is based on observation, experimentation, and analysis. Rationalism is the most fundamental principle that Science follows. Philosophy is thoroughly critical in methodology. Philosophy examines everything including the assumptions and methodology of Science and other disciplines like History. In the story The Adventure History, Science and Philosophy converge. Prof. Gaitonde experienced an altogether different version of the outcome of the Battle of Panipat. Contrary to the version as provided in History textbooks, the Marathas emerged as victorious in this battle. Prof. Gaitonde tried to understand this rationally, but he failed to get any clue. In this context, Rajendra intervened to explain this phenomenon in the light of the Catastrophic theory which is being employed by Physicists in understanding the behaviour of atoms. Here we find Science and History converging. The similar perspective is seen in Philosophy that truth is relative and not absolute. In fact, the philosophical movement of post Modernism is based on this. In other words, the methods of inquiry of History, Science and Philosophy are similar.

(Against): It is a misnomer that the methods of inquiry of History, Science and Philosophy are similar. The similarity is at superficial level and not at the core. In the story The Adventure Rajendra tried to rationalise the experience of Prof Gaitonde by applying the Catastrophic theory. But this explanation is not convincing though it convinced the professor. Catastrophic theory can best explain phenomenon of the physical world but History deals with behavioural world. It is concerned with the behaviour of society and individuals. The methods of inquiry will also vary accordingly.

The method of inquiry of Philosophy is speculative. Philosophy even questions rationalism. Philosophy is highly critical of the methods of Science and History. In other words, the methods of History, Science and Philosophy are not similar. The story The Adventure by Jayant Vishnu Narlikar is, in fact, a science fiction which is trying to show the convergence of Science History and Philosophy. In reality the three disciplines, namely, Science, History and Philosophy have to employ different methodology of inquiry vis-a-vis the subject matter.

Q5. Why do you think Professor Gaitonde decided never to preside over meetings again?

Ans. Professor Gaitonde was experiencing a different version of the Battle of Panipat. According to this version, the Marathas emerged victorious in the Battle and started extending influence over the entire country. His mind was actually witnessing a different version of the historical reality. Interestingly, he was also witnessing an event that was not conforming to the conventions. The event was a lecture session on the outcomes of the Battle of Panipat. In this lecture session Prof. Gaitonde observed that the chair of the
President was vacant. This again was contrary to the conventions. Prof. Gaitonde rushed to occupy the chair and started explaining the need of a President in a lecture session like this. The public got angry on this point and started throwing objects on him. He had a harrowing experience. This led him to decide not to preside over meetings again.

Important Questions

 

Q. Describe the conversation between Professor Gaitonde and Khan Sahib about the place they had to go.

Ans. It was at Sarhad that Khan Sahib told Gaitonde that the British Raj began from that place. He asked the professor where he was going. As for himself, he was going to Peshawar. For this purpose, Khan Sahib will go from Bombay to Delhi, then to Lahore and then Peshawar.

Q. What led Professor Gaitonde to believe that ‘history has taken a different turn’ perhaps before 1857?

Ans. Professor Gaitonde noticed an imposing building facing Bombay V.T., called East India House, Headquarters of the East India Company. He knew East India Company had been wound up shortly after the events of 1857. Yet, here it was not only alive but also flourishing. So, he concluded that history had taken a different turn.

Q. How did the shops and office buildings along Horny Road differ from those he knew well?

Ans. The Bombay he knew had a tower of OCS building. It peeped above the shorter Victorian buildings. There was Handloom House also. There were no such buildings along the Horny Road. Instead, there were Books and Woolworth department stores and offices of Lloyds, Barclays, and other British banks.

Q. How did the victory in the battle of Panipat affect the balance power?

Ans. It was a great morale booster to the Marathas. It established their supremacy in northern India. The influence of Bhau Saheb and Vishwas Rao increased. The East India Company postponed its expansion programme. Vishwas Rao and his brother Madhav Rao had political sharpness and bravery. The company’s influence was reduced to small areas near Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

Q. What do you think made Rajendra realize that facts can be stranger than fantasies?

Ans. Professor Gaitonde presented two totally different written accounts of the Battle of Panipat as contained in Bhau-Sahebanchi Bakhar. The one he had come across in the other world described how Vishwas Rao narrowly missed the bullet. The account which he had in the familiar world described that Vishwas Rao was hit by the bullet.

Q. What do you understand by, ‘The lack of determinism in quantum theory’?

Ans. Quantum theory is based on the idea that energy exists in units that can’t be divided. Determinism is the doctrine that all events and actions are determined by external forces acting on the will. The phrase thus means that the energy contained in electrons is not determined by the external forces that fire it.

Q. Describe the encounter between Gaitonde and Khan Sahib?

Ans. Prof. Gaitonde and Khan Sahib were travelling by Jijamata Express. The train was going from Pune to Bombay. After a long tunnel, the train stopped at small station called Sarhad. Here, Khan Sahib spoke to Gaitonde. He informed him that the area of British Raj began at that station. He asked if Gaitonde was going to Bombay for the first time. Gaitonde replied in positive because it seemed that he was in a new world where everything was different from what he had known. Gangadhar Pant, then, asked Khan Sahib how he would go to Peshawar. Khan Sahib said that he would go to Delhi from Bombay, then to Lahore and from there to Peshawar. Thereafter, Khan Sahib spoke a lot about his business which Gangadhar Pant listened with interest. He did so because this was giving him some idea of the life of this new India, he was in.

Q. Gangadhar Pant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him. Elucidate.

Ans. Gangadhar Pant was an eminent writer of Pune. He had written the ‘History of India’ in five volumes. During his train journey he was wondering what course history would have taken if the result of the Battle of Panipat had gone the other way, this helped him to make a transition to the other world. India was altogether different country in this world. Unlike the India he knew so well, the India he was witnessing around his was self-sufficient and self-respecting. It was independent. It had never been enslaved by the white men. It had allowed the British to retain Bombay as their sole outpost. This was done for purely commercial reasons. These buildings and offices in this British Bombay were same as in typical high street of a town in England. East India House, the headquarters of the East India Company was housed in an imposing building outside Bombay V.T. The station itself looked remarkably neat and clean. The staff was mostly made of Anglo Indians and Parsees along with a handful of British officers. The Bombay, he knew, was altogether different. The offices of OCS buildings peeped above the shorter Victorian buildings. There was handloom House as well.

Q. Describe what Gaitonde read about the battle of Panipat in the library of the Town Hall? What were the immediate consequences?

Ans. At the Town Hall library, he read that the Battle of Panipat was won by the Marathas. Abdali was routed and chased back to Kabul. The book, however, did not give a blow by blow account of the battle. It elaborated in detail its consequences for the power struggle. The victory established Maratha supremacy in northern India. The East India Company shelved its expansionist programme. The influence of the Peshwas increased and the troublemaker Dada Saheb was relegated to the background. The East India Company was reduced to pockets of influence near Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. For political reasons, the Peshwas kept the puppet Mughal regime alive in Delhi. The Marathas understood the importance of technological age dawning in Europe. They set up their own centres for science and technology.

Q. How does Rajendra Deshpande try to rationalize the experience of Professor Gaitonde about his transition to another world and back?

Ans. According to Rajendra, Professor Gaitonde had passed through a fantastic experience or more correcting, a catastrophic experience. He tried to rationalize it on the basis of two scientific theories that were current then. One was the catastrophe theory. The result of the battle would have been determined by the acts of the leaders and the morale of troops at the critical juncture. The blow of losing the leaders would have led to loss of morale and fighting spirit. An utter rout would have followed. If the crucial event had gone the other way, its effect on the troops would also have been the opposite. Their morale would have been boosted and they might have won. The course of history would have been different. The other explanation is through the lack of determinism in quantum theory. Catastrophe situations after radically different alternatives for the world to proceed. All alternatives are viable so far as reality is concerned. However, the observer can experience only one of them at a time. Professor Gaitonde made a transition from one world to the other as he had been thinking about the catastrophe theory and Battle of Panipat. The neurons in his brain acted as trigger.

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