Napoleon In His Time

In the history of the world there have been great empires that have risen only to fall. Human history is the history of the great empires that have ruled though the ages. It has always been that throughout the history of civilization, man has tried to win land and in their unending quest for land, they have either suffered humiliating defeats and annihilation or have built the greatest empires of their age. In ancient times the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great, the Nauryan Empire of Asoka and the Roman Empire all were made by the ruthlessness of man in their quest for power, control, and wealth. By the late 1700’s on to the world’s stage came Napoleon Bonaparte.

” Power is my mistress” the man whose ego collided with destiny. An ego that grew to the size of Mount Everest with each military victory much like that of Alexander the Great before ruled all of Europe for over a decade. In all of history there has always been those who were born destined to reshape the world and leave a lasting legacy. Alexander the Great, Caesar, Charlemagne, and Washington are at the top of the list of individuals who changed the course of history. Napoleon Bonaparte was such an individual. Like Alexander the Great, was one of history’s greatest military generals. He was a risk taking gambler, a workaholic genius but so often a short term planner that at times led to disastrous results. A temperamental tyrant some have called him, but none can doubt his military amplitude and his ability to seize the moment when opportunity came along.

A mathematical prodigy, whose intellect catapulted him into fame and glory for his remarkable military skills at the height of the French Revolution. A renowned reformer but also a ruthless military commander who used the best tactics not only from studying other campaigns from history but utilized his own innovations like the placement of artillery in key locations that proved to be decisive in winning battles. Even today his military tactics are studied at all military schools all over the world. Aside from all his military achievements, like Charlemagne, is remembered for his reforms. The establishment of the Napoleonic Code is the basis that French law is still used today was one of many reforms that Napoleon implemented.

Some historians considered him one of histories enlightened despots but others now consider his accomplishments in a much better light. But, none the less his vision of a unified Europe where France ruled would never become a reality in his own time. The constant rivalries between Europe’s competing powers, such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia that would erupt into two world wars a hundred years later always prevented Napoleon’s dream. Eventually after years of conflicts the pursuit of the European Union would emerge. There are some today attribute this to Napoleon’s vision, which included a common infrastructure and a common legal code. Unlike Hitler in the second World War Napoleon and Charlemagne both had a vision of a unified Europe where reforms in place would benefit all.

It was the French Revolution had alienated the government from the Catholic Church. One of Napoleon’s remarkable skills in diplomacy occurred when he negotiated the Concordat of 1801 with the Pope to bring religious and social peace to France. Napoleon appointed several members of the Bonaparte family and close friends of his as monarchs of countries he conquered and as important government figures (his brother Lucien became France’s Minister of Finance). He demanded total loyalty and expected nothing less from those around him. Although their reigns did not survive his downfall, a nephew, Napoleon III, ruled France later in the nineteenth century.

Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. He has also been portrayed as a power hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied those accusations. He argued that he was building a federation of free peoples in a Europe united under a liberal government. But if this was his goal, he intended to achieve it by taking power in his own hands. However, in the states he created, Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science, literature and the arts.

When Napoleon became Emperor he again proved to be an excellent civil administrator. One of his greatest achievements was his supervision of the revision and collection of French law into codes. The new law codes, seven in number incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France during the French revolution. These, including religious toleration and the abolition of serfdom. Napoleon also centralized France’s government by appointing prefects to administer regions called departments, into which France was divided.

While Napoleon believed in government “for” the people, he rejected government “by” the people. His France was a police state with a vast network of secret police and spies. The police shut down plays containing any hint of disagreement or criticism of the government. The press was controlled by the state. It was impossible to express an opinion without Napoleon’s approval.

Napoleon’s own opinion of his career is best stated in the following quotation:
“I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution.”

Between 1799 and 1815 the fate of France and Europe was in the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte, the man described by Chateaubriand as the “mightiest breath of life which ever animated human clay’. Napoleon’s ultimate downfall was due to the forces that the Revolution had unleashed and Napoleon accelerated.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsican who first became an officer of artillery, an unfashionable branch of the army at the time. He did however was able to make the right connections. During the Terror, his friendship with Robespierre’s brother, and his skilful use of artillery at Toulon in September 1793 helped him rise to the rank of brigadier. His cool head during the Vend miaire revolt and his friendship with Barras carried him even further. His marriage to Barras’ ex-mistress, Josephine de Beauharnais in October 1796 put him into the center of fashionable circles. This made it all the more accessible to literally network his way into the French nobility that got him the command of the 30,000 men of the Army of Italy.

Napoleon was very image conscious and had a great flair for publicity much like General Douglas McAuthur did during the Second World War. His published battle reports and his ordres de jour’ attracted popular attention. He once said that “moral force wins more victories than mere numbers.” He also was an excellent actor who could at strategic times appeal to the deepest loyalties’s of his soldiers: “The military are a free masonry and I am their grand master’. “

After the failed Russian invasion the fortunes of Napoleon turned sour. Mainly because of his reluctance to grasp the dimensions of the high casualty rates had on the moral of his army and the French populace growing tired of war which continued to drain the economy. This, while other nations were becoming more fearful of his military threats. Sure, Napoleon was extremely lucky but by 1812 his luck was running out. Due to the inadequacies of his planning in the Russian campaign where over 3/4 of his army perished and the collapse of the treaties that were signed earlier enabled his enemies to regain a counter offensive to once and for all stop Napoleon from achieving complete dominance in all of Europe.

By 1814 after reclaiming power the forces that would ultimately crush Napoleon were already gathering. On the battlefields of Waterloo the great destiny fell. All that Napoleon gained was lost in the heat of the battle of Waterloo. Nowhere in the annals of history has an empire built by one man came crashing down so swiftly and decisively. Who knows what the world would be like today if Napoleon had actually won one of history’s most influential battles.

Even if you think the French leader as more of a despot in the long line of kings in Paris who ruled France, then, who established his family on the seats of European thrones, he actually was different. Even if Bonaparte did not champion all of the ideals of the French revolution. He was still a man of honor. Napoleon was a warrior, but also a man of ideals and law. He believed in the ideals of the French revolution, at least to some degree.

When Napoleon landed on the shores of France after his first exile, the soldiers sent to arrest him openly weep. When Napoleon ripped open his shirt and said either shoot me now or accept me as your general exemplifies the mystic that Napoleon had not only with the military but with most of the French population. This is why many people silently route for him. If Napoleon had defeated Wellington there would have been no world wars in the 20th century. Many historians conclude that fact today. History is what it is though. Napoleon will be forever linked to one of histories greatest military commanders and empire builders.

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Impact Of Technology In Banking

In the world of banking and finance nothing stands still. The biggest change of all is in the, scope of the business of banking. Banking in its traditional from is concerned with the acceptance of deposits from the customers, the lending of surplus of deposited money to suitable customers who wish to borrow and transmission of funds. Apart from traditional business, banks now a days provide a wide range of services to satisfy the financial and non financial needs of all types of customers from the smallest account holder to the largest company and in some cases of non customers. The range of services offered differs from bank to bank depending mainly on the type and size of the bank.

RESERVE BANK’S EARLY INITIATIVES
As a central bank in a developing country, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has adopted development of the banking and financial market as one of its prime objectives. “Institutional development” was the hallmark of this approach from 1950s to 1970s. In the 1980s, the Reserve Bank focused on “improvements in the productivity” of the banking sector. Being convinced that technology is the key for improving in productivity, the Reserve Bank took several initiatives to popularize usage of technology by banks in India.

Periodically, almost once in five years since the early 1980s, the Reserve Bank appointed committees and working Groups to deliberate on and recommend the appropriate use of technology by banks give the circumstances and the need. These committees are as follows:
-Rangarajan committee -1 in early 1980s.
-Rangarajan committee -11 in late 1980s.
-Saraf working group in early 1990s.
-Vasudevan working group in late 1990s.
-Barman working group in early 2000s.

Based on the recommendations of these committees and working groups, the Reserve Bank issued suitable guidelines for the banks. In the 1980s, usage of technology for the back office operations of the banks predominated the scene. It was in the form of accounting of transactions and collection of MIS. In the inter-bank payment systems, it was in the form of clearing and settlement using the MICR technology.

Two momentous decisions of the Reserve Bank in the 1990s changed the scenario for ever there are:
a) The prescription of compulsory usage of technology in full measure by the new private sector banks as a precondition of the license and
b) The establishment of an exclusive research institute for banking technology institute for development and Research in Banking Technology.

As the new private sector banks came on the scene as technology-savvy banks and offered several innovative products at the front office for the customers based on technology, the demonstration effect caught on the reset of the banks. Multi channel offerings like machine based (ATMs and pc-Banking), card based (credit/Debit/Smart cards), Communication based (Tele-Banking and Internet Banking) ushered in Anytime and Anywhere Banking by the banks in India. The IDRBT has been instrumental in establishing a safe and secure, state of the art communication backbone in the from of the Indian Financial NETwork (INFINET) as a closed user group exclusively for the banking and financial sector in India.

CHANGING FACE OF BANKING SERVICES
Liberalization brought several changes to Indian service industry. Probably Indian banking industry learnt a tremendous lesson. Pre-liberalization, all we did at a bank was deposit and withdraw money. Service standards were pathetic, but all we could do was grin and bear it. Post-liberalization, the tables have turned. It’s a consumer oriented market there.

Technology is revolutionizing every field of human endeavor and activity. One of them is introduction of information technology into capital market. The internet banking is changing the banking industry and is having the major effects on banking relationship. Web is more important for retail financial services than for many other industries.

Retail banking in India is maturing with time, several products, which further could be customized. Most happening sector is housing loan, which is witnessing a cut-throat competition. The home loans are very popular as they help you to realize your most cherished dream. Interest rates are coming down and market has seen some innovative products as well. Other retail banking products are personal loan, education loan and vehicles loan. Almost every bank and financial institution is offering these products, but it is essential to understand the different aspects of these loan products, which are not mentioned in their colored advertisements.

PLASTIC MONEY
Plastic money was a delicious gift to Indian market. Giving respite from carrying too much cash. Now several new features added to plastic money to make it more attractive. It works on formula purchase now repay later. There are different facts of plastic money credit card is synonyms of all.

Credit card is a financial instrument, which can be used more than once to borrow money or buy products and services on credit. Banks, retail stores and other businesses generally issue these. On the basis of their credit limit, they are of different kinds like classic, gold or silver.

Charged cards-these too carry almost same features as credit cards. The fundamental difference is you can not defer payments charged generally have higher credit limits or some times no credit limits.
Debit cards-this card is may be characterized as accountholder’s mobile ATM, for this you have to have account with any bank offering credit card.

Over the years, the banking sector in India has seen a no. of changes. Most of the banks have begun to take an innovative approach towards banking with the objective of creating more value for customers and consequently, the banks. Some of the significant changes in the banking sector are discussed below.

MOBILE BANKING
Taking advantages of the booming market for mobile phones and cellular services, several banks have introduced mobile banking which allows customers to perform banking transactions using their mobile phones. For instances HDFC has introduced SMS services. Mobile banking has been especially targeted at people who travel frequently and to keep track of their banking transaction.

RURAL BANKING
One of the innovative scheme to be launched in rural banking was the KISAN CREDIT CARD (KCC) SCHMME started in fiscal 1998-1999 by NABARD. KCC mode it easier for framers to purchase important agricultural inputs. In addition to regular agricultural loans, banks to offer several other products geared to the needs of the rural people.

Private sector Banks also realized the potential in rural market. In the early 2000’s ICICI bank began setting up internet kiosks in rural Tamilnadu along with ATM machines.

NRI SERVICES
With a substantial number of Indians having relatives abroad, banks have begun to offer service that allows expatriate Indians to send money more conveniently to relatives India which is one of the major improvements in money transfer.

E-BANKING
E-Banking is becoming increasingly popular among retail banking customers. E-Banking helps in cutting costs by providing cheaper and faster ways of delivering products to customers. It also helps the customer to choose the time, place and method by which he wants to use the services and gives effect to multichannel delivery of service by the bank. This E-Banking is driven by twin engine of “customer-pull and Bank-push”.

CONCLUSION
Technology has been one of the most important factors for the development of mankind. Information and communication technology is the major advent in the field of technology which is used for access, process, storage and dissemination of information electronically. Banking industry is fast growing with the use of technology in the from of ATMs, on-line banking, Telephone banking, Mobile banking etc., plastic card is one of the banking products that cater to the needs of retail segment has seen its number grow in geometric progression in recent years. This growth has been strongly supported by the development of in the field of technology, without which this could not have been possible of course it will change our lifestyle in coming years.

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