Overview for Glimpses of Europe from Zagreb
As a nuclear physicist author went for post doctoral work to the Rudjer Boskovic Institute at Zagreb, Croatia in the erstwhile Yugoslavia. He stayed in Zagreb for 15 months during 1968-1969 and had occasion to be very intimate with Croatians as colleagues and friends. During this period, he had the occasion to visit 9 European countries viz. Yugoslavia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, England, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Thus he could see a bit of the East, Central and West Europe and could have a feel about their natural beauty, culture, heritage, language, sports, lifestyle and socio economic conditions. So his writing is predominantly in the form of his personal Memoirs and Travelogues. He has tried to record his personal feelings about the country, its surroundings and the people, in addition to the important historical relics of art and culture. The natural beauty of all the places has been described. Zagreb and its surrounding Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia have been portrayed in more details. As he had to shuttle between two conflicting political systems like the socialist structures existing in other parts and in India, comparison of the two became rather obvious. The lack of civil liberty and individual freedom under one party rule in the Eastern Europe appeared oppressive to the common citizens. In comparison Tito’s Yugoslavia was much less oppressive; still the system was not unblemished. He has also tried to highlight the constructive roles played by Russia during and after the Second World War in East Europe. In the socialist block of countries there were efforts to address the peoples’ basic needs like food, shelter, education and health. But they seriously lagged in catering to other consumer goods and luxury items for which the people had great craving. The closed door functioning of the communist parties in East-Europe as per the dictates of Soviet Russia had alienated the parties from the people. During spring and summer he travelled to the extreme Western Europe (London and Paris) and the central/east Europe comprising Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Hungary. He had rich experience of traveling by train, car as well as by hitchhiking. During his entire stay, he met many colorful, jovial and compassionate personalities in different fields and had entered into very lively discussions about man-woman relationships including love, sex, marriage and divorce, women’s position in the east and west, definition of character and virtuousness, religion and other socio-political developments. The cultural and social differences between Europe and India also featured. An attempt has also been made to look into the causes of the recent disintegration of Yugoslavia in the early nineties of the last century.
Mohan Lal Chatterjee (Editor)
The author, Prof. Mohan Lal Chatterjee is a nuclear physicist by profession. Born on August 9, 1939, he had early education in Berhampore, West Bengal. After passing School Final from the Khagra Boys’s High School (presently known as G.T. Institution) he did his I.Sc. from K.N. College, Berhampore, B.Sc. (Hons.) from Scottish Church College, Calcutta and M.Sc. from Calcutta University (Science College). For a brief period he had served as a teacher in the Physics department of K.N. College, Berhampore before joining research at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta. He did his Ph.D. (C.U.) in the year 1967. He had served the same Saha Institute till his retirement in 1999 as Professor and Head of Nuclear Reaction and Spectroscopy Division. He is a well travelled man who served as post doctoral fellow, research associate and visiting scientist in various institutions viz. RBI, Zagreb, CEN Saclay (France), Universite Laval (Quebec, Canada), McGill University (Montreal, Canada), TRIUMF, (Vancouver, Canada) and FZR at Rossendorf (Dresden, Germany). He visited many places both along the east and west coast of USA. He has taken part in teaching in several universities in India and also at Rossendorf (Germany). He has a good many research publications in national and international journals. He has appered in discussions on popular science over radio and TV and also written articles in popular science journals.