Trends and records in the form of profiles | Daily News

Trends and records in the form of profiles

The term ‘encyclopaedia’ is used to denote a compilation of various areas that have been explored as knowledgeable, information to all types of searchers. As time passed, the term too came to be exemplified in various other fields as well. Then the term ‘Encyclopaedia’ had its various other forms of meaning added. A person who knows quite a lot of subjects and possessed the ability to retrieve them from memory came to be known as a ‘walking encyclopaedia’. The term used was not at all derogatory but instead happened to be complimentary and gratifying.

The two volumes of that run to more than ten to fifteen as known to almost all scholars in the world came to be known as Encyclopaedia Britannica and Encyclopaedia Americano. From there two great volumes sprang up quite a number of other lesser-known as perhaps well known to scholars as Book of Knowledge and Book of Wonders., Book of Religious teachings and doctrines. In this manner, the term, as well as the concept of encyclopaedia, changed from its original form giving vent to micropedia and Wikipedia.


The volume that I happened to obtain several years ago is titled Micropedia with the main title given as ‘People who Shaped History’. This as the title suggests is a mini encyclopaedia that revolves around one central subject known as mini-profiles or mini portraits of men and women who lived with a vision and mission of changing certain lifestyles that resulted in comparatively new material trends in history.

The profiles are alphabetically arranged from A to Z. The work as denoted becomes a micropedia as it expands from time to time from the micro level to the macro level of human history. As the team of editors cum compilers state with the dawn of time, human beings have made their mark on the world in many different ways. They include humans from all types of living entities, and perhaps from all corners of the globe. Some are from the literary field as well as from the creative fields of the value of other humans.

Though we are living beings, it has to be surmised whether we are aware of the different types of people who shaped the history of the world, who shaped or changed and who did he or she change the trend. This factor is embedded in the volume that covers more than one thousand key historical people with about two hundred illustrations. The predominant factor is that the coverage is not confined to a mini or minor territory. The reader may find the turning of pages as entering into a journey written in the form of profile studies, seen at a glance as material passing from one script to another.

For example, the great dramatist, Aeschylus is introduced as the pioneer of Greek tragedy with Euripides and Sophocles. Aeschylus is also introduced as the creator of about ninety plays that could be reckoned as a world record and a trend.

Asokan mission

In the field of history, the King Asoka of India is presented as an emperor who had been instrumental in the changes not only in India but also as a trendsetter of the whole world. He is portrayed as a king who had established laws based on Buddhist principles and these were carved on pillars throughout India. In this context, Sri Lanka too is presented as an inheritor of the Asokan mission.

Followed by the trends enter the short but stimulating profile of Bodhi Dharma, the Indian monk of the Sixth century who introduced the now known Zen philosophy and the Zen vision to China. From there onwards, the philosophy entered into various other countries like Japan. One unknown fact is that Bodhidharma had been influenced by the Diamond Sutra or the Vajra Sutta.

The precise and enlightening piece on the trendsetting process of Helena Blavatsky (1831 – 1891) is yet another mini profile that depicts the formation of the theosophical known in the Occident. The school founded in New York in 1875 introduces oriental ideas of spiritualism of the westerners. This resulted in the formation of the various trends in theosophy that had come to be rooted. In the field of literature and culture, quite a number of well-known personalities are portrayed. They cover such persons as William Blake (1757 – 1827), Albert Camus (1913 – 1960), Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) and several others.

Several key figures in the field of communication and media studies enter the gamut of portraits embedded. They include such persons as Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922), Henrich Hertz (1857 – 1894) and Joseph Niépce (1765 – 1833) and several others. Reading the pages, I felt that this is the most fitting type of mini encyclopaedia or micropedia that suits the younger generation of scholars in our country as well as several other countries.

For the discerning reader and researcher, this micropedic provides the basic facts and figures pertaining to most subjects in social sciences, humanities and information technology. They ought to kindle the interest of the student and the teacher.

Civilisational change

First published in the UK in 1999, as a Paragon book, this micropedia is edited by a team of scholars drawn from various seats of learning setting the example of an interest in the thousand different ways mankind and civilisational change. The shape and the direction as to how it had taken a new direction is indicated in order to improve the quality of life.

The young reader who turns the pages of the Micropedia which have the chance of gauging where he or she stands at the moment. The entries in this Micropedia are organised alphabetically by surname for ease of reference. Presumably, this is the type of Micropedia that is felt as needs to be compiled in local languages. I feel that this is a reminder of a forgotten factor.

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