Today is Sunday; 10th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 16th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and February 28, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2223 solar years ago, on this day in 202 BC, the coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han took place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty’s rule over China.
1465 lunar years ago, on this day, 23 years before hijra, three days after the birth of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) inside the holy Ka’ba, the miracle of the parting and closing of a section of the wall of the symbolic House of God again occurred to the bewilderment of the pagan Arabs of Mecca, as the monotheist lady of the Hashemite Clan, Fatema bint Asad, emerged with the radiant infant in her arms, while her husband Abu Taleb and his nephew Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) eagerly waited outside in anticipation. As the 30-year old Prophet smilingly stepped forward to take his first cousin in his arms, the newborn opened his eyes for the first time since birth and with a smile on his tender lips saw the radiant visage of the Seal of Messengers. This occasion is celebrated all over the Muslim world with festivities.
1393 solar years ago, on this day in 628 AD, the 22nd and last great Sassanid Emperor, Khosrow II, was executed by Mihr Hormozd on the orders of his own son Qobad II (Kavadh), three days after being deposed in the rebellion of the nobles, in the wake of a string of defeats suffered in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Armenia, and Iraq towards the end of the 26-year long war against Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire. Khosrow II titled Pervez, during his 38-year long rule had executed the father of Mihr Hormozd, also made the fatal mistake of tearing the letter of invitation to Islam sent to him from Medina by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
903 lunar years ago, on this day in 539 AH, the hadith scholar of Spanish Muslim origin, Mohammad ibn Abdul-Malik ibn Khayroun, passed away. Among his extant works is the book "al-Miftah”.
775 solar years ago, on this day in 1246 AD, the Siege of the Spanish Muslim emirate of Ja’en ended in the surrender of the city of the same name to Ferdinand III of Castile after decades of resistance against the encroachment by Christian mercenary forces. It ended over five centuries of glorious Muslim rule that produced scholars and scientists, and brought the Christians closer to the Emirate of Granada, the last bastion of Spanish Muslims which was occupied in 1492.
496 solar years ago, on this day in 1525 AD, the Aztec king, Cuauhtemoc, was treacherously executed by the Spanish occupier of Mexico, Hernan Cortes, the mass murderer of the Amerindian people. Cuauhtemoc took power in 1520 at the age of 25 as successor to Cuitlahuac, and was a cousin and son-in-law of the former emperor Moctezuma II. He ascended the throne while the capital Tenochtitlan was besieged by the Spanish and devastated by an epidemic of smallpox brought to the New World by the European invaders.He called for reinforcements from the countryside to defend the capital, which after eighty days of warfare fell to the Spanish. Cuauhtemoc was captured on August 13, 1521, while fleeing Tenochtitlan by crossing Lake Texcoco in disguise with his wife, family, and friends. In 1525, Cortes took Cuauhtemoc and several other indigenous nobles on his expedition to Honduras, and while in the Chontal Maya capital of Itzamkanac, he had Cuauhtemoc cowardly murdered for allegedly conspiring to kill him. Today many places in Mexico are named in honour of Cuauhtemoc and his statues adorn public places. Cuauhtemoc is also one of the few popular non-Spanish names for Mexican boys.
488 solar years ago, on this day in 1533 AD, French statesman and moralist Michel de Montaigne, was born near Bordeaux, France. He created the personal essay. Montaigne was brought up by his father under peasant guidance and a German tutor for Latin. He spent a lifetime of political service under Henry IV, and then composed his "Essays”. This was the first book to reveal with honesty and frankness the author’s mind and heart. Montaigne sought to reach beyond his own illusions, to see himself as he really was, and not just the way others saw him. His famous expression is: "nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.”
338 solar years ago, on this day in 1683 AD, French entomologist and academic, René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, was born in La Rochelle. He contributed to many different fields, especially the study of insects. He introduced the Réaumur Temperature Scale and died in 1757 at the age of 74.
336 solar years ago, on this day in 1685 AD, French composer, George Frideric Handel, was born. In 1713, he took up residence in England, where he created most of his works. His songs carry religious themes and include such works as "Messiah”, and "Samson”. He died in 1759.
302 solar years ago, on this day in 1719, Farrukhsiyar, the 9th Moghal Emperor of the Subcontinent, was deposed, blinded and strangled to death at the age of 33, after a 6-year reign, because of plotting against the Seyyed Brothers – Mir Hassan Ali Khan and Mir Husain Ali Khan – whose support had been instrumental in his defeat of his uncle Jahandar Shah and his crowning as king. An exceptionally handsome person, he was devoid of administrative skills, lacked character, and was easily swayed by evil advisors. Although, he checked the Maratha insurgency, because of Mir Husain Ali Khan’s prowess, and crushed the rebellion of the Sikhs in the Punjab, it was during his reign that the outlying provinces started the drift towards autonomy – Bengal under Murshid Quli Khan, the Deccan under Asef Jah Nizam ul-Mulk, and Sindh under Noor Mohammad Kalhoro.
124 solar years ago, on this day in 1897 AD, Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force two years after France forcibly declared this large island of the coast of southeast Africa to be a protectorate. France invaded this island off the southeastern coast of Africa in 1883 in what became known as the first Franco-Hova War, at the end of which Madagascar was forced to cede the northern port town of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) to the European invaders from France and pay 560,000 francs. In 1890, the British accepted the full formal imposition of a French protectorate on the island, but French authority was not acknowledged by the government of Madagascar. To force capitulation, the French bombarded and occupied the harbour of Toamasina on the east coast, and Mahajanga on the west coast, in December 1894 and January 1895 respectively. A French military flying column then marched toward Antananarivo, losing many men to malaria and other diseases. Reinforcements came from Sub-Saharan Africa and upon reaching the city in September 1895, the column bombarded the royal palace with heavy artillery, causing heavy casualties and leading Queen Ranavalona III to surrender. In 1897 on this day, France forcibly dissolved the Merina monarchy and sent the royal family into exile on Réunion Island and to Algeria. The resistance movement organized in response to the French capture of the royal palace was effectively put down at the end of 1897. There were several uprisings, one of which in 1947 led to the killing of almost 90,000 people by the French, who savagely attacked the independence-seekers and engaged in a variety of terror tactics designed to demoralize the population. The French carried out mass execution, torture, rape, torching of entire villages, collective punishment and other atrocities such as throwing live Malagasy prisoners out of airplane – called death flights. By August 1948, the majority of the nationalist leaders were killed or captured, and the Uprising was effectively put down by December 1948. The violent repression of the nationalist uprising left deep scars in Malagasy society. A generation of the managerial class was wiped out, creating challenges for the country upon achieving independence in 1960. The majority of people are Malagasy, tracing their origin to Borneo in Southeast Asia. Muslims constitute over 10 percent of the population. The first Muslims to arrive were Arabs and Somalis in the 9th century. The written history of Madagascar began with the Arabs, who established trading posts along the northwest coast by the 10th century and introduced Islam and the Arabic script that was formally used to transcribe the Malagasy language in a form of writing known as Sorabe. Today the language is written in the Latin script imposed by the French and the majority of people are Christians – a legacy of European colonial rule. It is worth noting that over 90% of wildlife of Madagascar is found nowhere else on Earth.
99 solar years ago, on this day in 1922 AD, the British were forced to recognize the independence of Egypt, because of the resistance of the Egyptian people against colonial domination. In 1882, the British had occupied the port city of Alexandria and declared weakened Egypt as their protectorate.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1947 AD, some 30,000 civilians were massacred in Taiwan by the Republican government in one of the worst massacres.
68 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, James Watson and Francis Crick announced to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA. The formal announcement took place on April 25 following publication in the April issue of "Nature” (pub. April 2). Watson and Crick managed to describe the structure of DNA as a double helix consisting of two long strings coiled around one another. About 100,000 genes, short sections of DNA, tell the cells how to build proteins, the building blocks of life. Rosalind Franklin made the 1st x-ray image that revealed the double helix structure of DNA. In 2003 Watson co-authored "DNA: The Secret of Life.”
58 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, India’s first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, died in office in Delhi at the age of 79 after serving the country as head of state for 13 years. Born in Siwan district of Bihar State, his father was a scholar of both the Persian and Sanskrit languages, who despite being a Hindu, placed his five-year-old son under the tutelage of an accomplished Muslim scholar to learn the Urdu and Persian languages, as well as arithmetic. After obtaining MA in economics, he joined the Indian National Congress in 1911 for struggle against British colonial rule, and was soon elected chairman of the party. Following India’s independence in 1947 and establishment of republican system in 1950, he was elected as the country’s first president, a post which he retained for 12 years until his death in office.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (God bless him), returned to his seat of learning, holy Qom, after over 14 years in exile abroad, and 28 days after landing in Tehran to lead the people’s grassroots movement to victory. In 1964, after his critical speech in Qom against the injustices and anti-Islamic policies of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime, especially the disgraceful capitulation bill granting immunity to American criminals, he was arrested, brought to Tehran, and forced into exile – first to Turkey and then to holy Najaf in Iraq. On his return this day to Qom, where he had first moved in 1921 and stayed for the next 44 years to learn and then emerge as a leading Marja’ or Source of Emulation, he took up residence in a modest house. Several months later, responsibilities of supervising the smooth functioning of the Islamic Republic system in the face of internal and external plots, made him take up residence in Tehran for the remaining ten years of his fruitful life.
35 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, Olof Palme, 26th Prime Minister of Sweden, was assassinated in Stockholm. He was shot to death in central Stockholm. In 1996 South African former police officer Eugene de Kock said that Craig Williamson, a South African spy, was involved in the murder. In 1997 lawyer Pelle Svensson said that his client, Lars Tingstrom, wrote a statement on his deathbed in prison in 1993 that he had committed the killing. The family was convinced that Christer Pettersson, a drug addict and alcoholic, was the killer.
33 solar years ago, on this day, in 1988 AD, following repeated defeats of the Ba’thist invaders at the Iranian borders, Saddam unleashed cowardly missile attacks on residential areas of Tehran and other cities. These US-supported dastardly missile attacks continued for almost 45 days, but failed to break the resistance of the Iranian people. As many as 16 missiles hit Tehran this day. It was the 4th time during the 8-year imposed war that Saddam had attacked Iranian cities.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, ceasefire was declared by the US against Iraq, thereby ending the 40-day war against the Ba’thist forces of Saddam for their occupation of Kuwait. In August 1990, following the US green signal, Saddam invaded and occupied Kuwait in a single day, claiming the tiny Persian Gulf emirate to be an integral part of Iraq, despite the billions of dollars of support provided by the Emir of Kuwait for his 8-year war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
18 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, Hindu mobs in Gujarat state of India massacred at least 96 Muslims as they burned shops and attacked residences in Ahmadabad. A mob descended on the Gulberg Society, a cluster of homes in Ahmadabad, brutally killing 68 people including former member of the Indian parliament, Ahsan Jaferi. In 2007 videotaped confessions showed Hindu activists acknowledging their roles in the killings and detailing blatant state collusion. In 2011 a court sentenced 31 Hindus to life imprisonment for killing dozens of Muslims by setting a building on fire in a village in Mehsana district. Some 33 Muslims, including 20 women who had taken shelter there, were burned alive.