“Its not how many breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”

The above popular quote, also used in the 2007 Will Smith starrer movie, Hitch, is widely credited to Genghis Khan, the great 12th century Mongol warlord, whose empire (his sons helped in rapid expansion of his empire) according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan stretched from modern day China to Central Asia encompassing most of China, Tibet, Afghanistan and most of the Central Asian republics.

He is naturally revered in Mongolia with the Mongol’s considering him as the founding father of the Great Mongol empire and modern day Mongolia. Incidentally, Mongolia’s international airport in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar has been renamed ‘Chinggis Khan International Airport’.

In the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan and countries like Ukraine, people view him negatively.

In China he evokes mixed reactions, whereby people in some provinces viewing him positively and in others he is seen as a barbarian invader.  

Incidentally, North China suffered a drastic population decline with the census in 1195 showing a population of 5 Cr people in north China and the first Mongol census in 1235 – 36 showing just about 85 lakh people, thus registering a 75 % decline in population. Although some of the decline in the population can be attributed to natural death, migration to Southern China but the rest is attributed to the large scale death and destruction caused by him.

This and other death toll’s cumulatively, according to a research conducted by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, caused by the Mongol warrior ‘s conquests helped remove nearly 700 MT of carbon from the atmosphere, which is roughly about the same produced in a year from the global use of petrol. Such depopulation meant that large tracts of cultivated land became afforested once again leading to absorption of carbon – dioxide from the atmosphere.

The study basically measured and compared the carbon impact of this event to a number of other historical events like the Black Death in Europe (10 – 15 Cr deaths due to plague around 14 th Century which reduced Europe’s population by ~ 50%), the fall of China’s Ming Dynasty and the conquest of the Americas that involved a large number of deaths. These events too caused massive depopulation resulting in a large scale return of forests. But what separates the Mongol conquests was its longevity, as it lasted for more than a century and the sheer size, almost 4x the size of the land conquered by Alexander the Great.

This makes him the greenest one amongst the legendary invaders of the world..

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London Dreams for some and nightmare for others

It has been a roller coaster of a fortnight for sports fans and sports persons in London. One week saw the dreams of a young Indian cricket team come true whereby they remained unbeaten throughout the Champions Trophy 2013 and comprehensively win the cup against all odds right after the IPL  match – fixing mess.

The other week witnessed the fall of giants like Federer, Nadal and Sharapova and giant killers like Tsonga right at the start of Wimbledon ending their dream. Federer’s and Nadal’s exit, however,  reignites hopes of the British tennis fans of a fellow Briton laying hands on the coveted cup. After last year’s heartbreaking loss to Federer, Murray would certainly be hoping for the best.

It is this glorious uncertainty in sports that makes it exciting for us sports fans and shows how Goliaths can indeed be felled by Davids’ and how sports persons who give their best and showed character when the going has become tough are rewarded.

The performance of the Indian cricket team has restored the faith of the billions of fans globally on the sport after the spot fixing scandal of IPL 2013. To begin with the selectors took a brave decision to blood a young side for such a major tournament. The youngsters didn’t disappoint and proved that they only wanted one opportunity. And what about MSD? He was at the center of a storm himself after he flatly refused to answer questions relating to the IPL spot fixing before the tournament began. He let his captaincy do the talking and once again proved that he can work wonders with a team of his choice.

Let us shift our focus to the other side now.

After the first week at Wimbledon, Nadal’s injuries seem to have got the better of him yet again and the talk of him being king of clay only would continue, Federer being on the wrong side of 30 would continue to fuel talks of him being past his best. Before the tournament began, there was talk of how Andy Murray might just have to weather the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic storm to win Wimbledon. With 2 of the 3 having been felled now, the prospect of a clash between an English Batman and the Serb Djoker for Wimbledon seems imminent. So who would it be? Which player would make his dream a REALITY!!!