‘You neither travelled to the past nor the future. You were in the present experiencing a different world.’ Explain briefly.
These sentences were spoken by Rajendra Deshpande to Professor Gaitonde. Professor Gaitonde had been hit by a truck. He became unconscious, but his mind kept working. He was a historian. Before the accident, he had been thinking about the Battle of Panipat. He was wondering what course history would have taken if the result of the battle had gone the other way. Though he became unconscious after the accident, his mind remained active. He remained very much in the present, but his mind experienced a different world. It was like making a transition from one world to another and back again.
‘You have passed through a fantastic experience, or more correctly, a catastrophic experience.’ Explain briefly.
This statement was made by Rajendra Deshpande as he was listening to Prof. Gaitonde’s experiences. Professor Gaitonde was a historian. He was to deliver a lecture on the topic: ‘What course history would have taken if the result of the Battle of Panipat had gone the other way?’. When he was hit by the truck, he was thinking about this very topic. He was thinking what would have happened if the Marathas had not lost the war. While lying unconscious, his mind took it as a real historical fact and started retracing India’s history. He felt proud of an India that he had experienced—an India that had always been self-reliant and self-respecting, that had never been under the British rule. It was indeed a fantastic and catastrophic experience.
‘Gangadharpant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.’ Explain briefly.
The country that Gangadharpant knew was real India we all know. It was an India that fell steadily after the fall of the Marathas in the Battle of Panipat. It remained under the British rule for more than 150 years. It become weak and helpless. But the country that Gangadharpant was witnessing around him was totally different. In his stream of consciousness, he had imagined that the Marathas had defeated Ahmed Shah Abdali and become very powerful after the Battle of Panipat. They remained in power till the end of the twentieth century. They were gradually replaced by democratically elected bodies.
Briefly explain: ‘The lack of determinism in quantum theory.’
According to this theory, a man while living in the present, can experience a number of different worlds, but only one at a time. Rajendra explains this by giving the example of an electron. If an electron is fired from a source, it can be in many different states. We can’t determine its exact state by any scientific law. But at one given time, it can be only in one state where it has been observed. Similarly, the human mind can be in any number of different worlds, but only one at a time.
Explain briefly: ‘You need some interaction to cause a transition.’
According to the Catastrophe Theory, small changes in circumstances lead to sudden shifts in behaviour. At the time of the accident, Prof. Gaitonde was thinking about the Battle of Panipat. He was wondering what course history would have taken if the result of the battle had gone the other way. The neurons in his brain acted as a trigger and the transition took place. He really began to believe that the Marathas had won the war. He retraced the whole history on the basis of this transition. And the transition took place as a result of the interaction of the neurons in his brain. They acted as a trigger and the mind started working on a different track.
Why do you think Professor Gaitonde decided never to preside over meetings again ?
Professor Gaitonde was preparing for his thousandth presidential lecture. While he was going for his evening stroll, he was hit by a truck. He fell down unconscious and was found there in the morning. But in the meantime, his mind had to a number of different worlds. He even made a presidential speech during which he had a harrowing experience. The audience didn’t want to listen to him, still he kept on talking. The audience swarmed to the stage and threw him out. He was then lost in the crowd. Professor Gaitonde could vividly recall all his experience which his mind had witnessed. Therefore, he decided never to preside over meetings again.