This Month, That Year


2019: Snehodiya, the senior citizen’s home in New Town, is inaugurated by minister Firhad Hakim on June 25. It has 57 double rooms and 90 single ones with facilities like dining, housekeeping, laundry and round-the-clock medical assistance.

1564: Rani Durgavati of Gondwana leads her army against the Mughals. After the king died a few years earlier, she has been managing the central Indian kingdom herself. The queen gets injured but refuses to leave the battlefield. When defeat is imminent, she kills herself with a dagger. The date of her death, June 24, is observed as Balidan Diwas in later years.

1932: Elattuvalapil Sreedharan is born on June 12 in Kerala. He grows up to become an engineer credited with giving public transportation in India an overhaul. In the 60s, his workers repair the bridge connecting Rameswaram to mainland Tamil Nadu in 46 days when the target was six months. With similar success, he works on Cochin Shipyard, Konkan Railway, Calcutta Metro, Delhi Metro and is fondly called “Metro Man”.

2008: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw dies on June 27. Having served in the army for four decades and five wars, he was Chief of the Army Staff during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War and the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan too.

2000: An inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-il takes place in Pyongyang from June 13 to 15. The first of its kind since the Korean War of the 1950s, the summit is considered a milestone and goes on to win Kim Dae-jung a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in peace-keeping.

2015: Gustave, the massive man-eating Nile crocodile is spotted for the last time in June. Estimated to be more than 18ft in length, 900kg in weight and more than 60 years of age, the reptile is rumoured to have killed about 300 people. Experts feel his size makes it difficult to hunt agile prey such as fish, forcing him to go after hippos and humans. Multiple attempts at capturing Gustave have failed.

2016: Rodrigo Duterte assumes office as President of the Philippines on June 30. His reign is highly controversial, especially his vocal support for extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs. A human rights group estimates 7,000 deaths from the day he takes office till January 2017 alone. Many citizens, however, see him as a saviour.

1866: English mountaineer George Mallory is born on June 18. In the 1920s, he is part of the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest. On his third expedition in June 1924, he disappears. His body is found 75 years later but it remain unknown whether he reached the summit before dying. Mallory is remembered also for having uttered the most famous three words in mountaineering. When asked why he wished to climb Mount Everest, he had said: “Because it’s there”.

1920: Hemanta Mukherjee is born in Benares on June 16. He grows up to become one of the leading composers and singers of the Bengali and Hindi music industry. Besides singing memorable numbers like Ei raat tomar amar, Ei poth jodi na shesh hoy and Hai apna dil to awara, he wins the National Award twice.

1963: Hollywood film Cleopatra releases on June 12. Starring Elizabeth Taylor as the Egyptian queen, Richard Burton as Mark Antony and Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar, it is the most expensive film made to date and nearly bankrupts its studio, 20th Century Fox. But the film becomes the highest grosser of the year and wins four Academy Awards.

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