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Time Capsules

  • 04 Aug 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has denied reports about placing of a time capsule under the ground at Ram Temple construction site in Ayodhya.

  • The Time Capsule, also known as Kaal Patra, was supposed to contain the history of Ayodhya and Rama Janma Bhoomi Movement.

Key Points

  • Time Capsule is a container of any size or shape, which accommodates documents, photos and artefacts typical of the current era and is buried underground, for future generations to unearth.
  • To ensure that the capsules do not decay they are built using special engineering techniques like steel or aluminium encasing, vacuuming, use of acid-free paper, etc.
  • The time capsules mostly have a scheduled time for reopening, and are supposed to be buried again after opening, with people of the future adding their own contributions to the time capsule.
  • The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS), based in the USA and formed in 1990, is now defunct but continues estimating the number of time capsules in the world.
    • As per its database, there are 10,000-15,000 times capsules worldwide.

Famous Time Capsules in the World

  • Samuel Adams and Paul Revere Time Capsule: It is the oldest known time capsule from 1795 (USA).
  • The “Century Safe": The world’s first planned time capsule was established at Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (USA) in 1876. It was opened and resealed in 1976.
  • The Crypt of Civilization in Georgia: It was built around 1940 at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia and is scheduled for opening in the year 8113 AD. It is a project to preserve all human knowledge and was the brainchild of Thornwell Jacobs, also known as father of time capsules.
  • The Voyager and Voyager II Spacecraft: They are currently circling on the edge of our solar system. These capsules were created by NASA to be seen by future generations.

Time Capsules In India

  • Outside the Red Fort: This was placed underground in 1972 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was dug out by the subsequent government in 1977. It raised a controversy as it was said to glorify Gandhi Nehru family in indian History.
  • At IIT Kanpur Campus: This time capsule was buried on 6th March, 2010 containing details on IIT Kanpur in the form of documents, photographs, and films.
  • At The Alexandra Girls’ English Institution, Mumbai: It was set up in the 19th century and is scheduled to be opened in 2062. It contains information on the school.
  • At Jalandhar’s Lovely Public University: It was buried in January 2019 and contains 100 items that represent modern-day technology in India.

Significance

  • Time Capsules are intended as a method of communication with future people.
  • They are also supposed to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians in knowing about the past human civilisation.

Criticism

  • Most intentional time capsules are filled with a lopsided view of history. They are often politically motivated and glorify the people who planted them.
  • They can not be regarded as facts and are not very reliable. The information in time capsules has to be verified with other sources of information.
  • Many time capsules which have been unearthed were filled with junk telling little about the people of the time.

Source: IE

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