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Imagine the Troika sitting in a room where you can see the oak tree beyond the window, speaking in a codified incomprehensible language while sipping the coffee from their mug. All they ever wanted was to create a language for the interactive television network, but, as the time was not ripe, it proved too advanced a code language for the digital television industry. Instead, it became a runaway success on the internet as it provided no-cost run-times on popular platforms, fairly secure and configurable security features. You may have guessed it right by now that I am talking about the JAVA language which made so many lives simpler. What made me curious was as to from where this computer language derived its name? Looking for an answer, it plunged me into the subject of Geography and more precisely into the phenomena of plate tectonics, as well the colonialism era and the study of one country located in South-East Asia.
Long before Homo genus evolved on this earth, there was one supercontinent called Pangea surrounded by a superocean called Panthalassa. Some 200 million years ago, it started breaking up and began drifting in several directions. The continent Pangea first broke into Laurasia in northern hemisphere and Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere, with Tethys Sea separating them. Around 150 million years ago, the two landmasses again started breaking up, and this led to the formation of several major and minor tectonic plates. There are 7 main tectonic plates, namely Pacific Plate, North American Plate, South American Plate, Eurasian Plate, Antarctica Plate and Indo-Australian Plate. The plates are further divided into continental plates and oceanic plates. Continental plates are mainly composed of Silicon and Aluminium, namely SiAl and oceanic plates are mainly composed of Silicon and Magnesium, namely SiMa. The oceanic plate is heavier than the continental plate, therefore whenever they collide with each other the heavier plate will always subduct beneath the lighter plate.
Keeping this in view, we have to now look at how Indonesia came into existence. The oceanic plate, i.e., Indo-Australian Plate began to break away from Gondwanaland and began its northward journey to collide with the continental plate, i.e., the Eurasian Plate. When these two plates collided the Indo-Australian plate being heavier subducted beneath the Eurasian plate. The collision of two plates resulted in massive Earthquake, the formation of oceanic trenches and increased volcanic activity. Moreover, Pacific plate is also pushed under the Eurasian plate, where they melt at about 100 km deep. The subducted landmass (crust) of oceanic plate came out in the molten state through 400 active volcanos (150 actives at present) and began depositing itself on the continental plate side. Thus, over the period of time, a landmass rose out of the sea, having multiple layers of Basalt deposited one over the other.
Basalt is a type of extrusive igneous rock, dark coloured composed mainly of Mafic minerals. Basalt is a fine-grained oceanic rock because it is cooled on the surface when lava solidifies. After the deposition the sun started acting on it, denuding it day in and day out. Thus, over a period of one million years, the basaltic layer got weathered down in black soil, which is ripe for the cultivation of cotton, grapes, banana, sugarcane, and coffee. Therefore, entire Indonesia came into existence as a result of volcanic activity which resulted in the deposition of Basalt rock and which upon weathering down turned into black soil.
Indonesia first witnessed the arrival of Homo erectus famously known as ‘Java Man’ around 1.5 million years ago. Following their trail, Homo sapiens arrived in the country around 45000 years ago. Favourable agricultural condition and mastering of wet field rice cultivation led to the emergence of villages, towns, and kingdoms around 1st century BC. Its strategic location – sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and Indian ocean, provided interconnectivity between two regions – helped it in developing trading ties with China and trading and cultural ties with India. The ruler of Indonesia slowly incorporated Buddhism and Hinduism into their culture. At around 13th century AD Arabs began trading with Indonesia, thus bringing Islam into the country and by the end 16th century AD, it became the dominant religion in the region. From the 16th century onwards Europeans began making in ways in the country. First, the Portuguese came in 1512, followed by the Dutch and British. In 1602 Dutch established Dutch East India Company and gained the foothold in Indonesia. In the race of colonising the island country, the Dutch had the final laugh and thus they ruled Indonesia for three and half-century. They finally gave Indonesian their independence after World War II.
As the tryst of India with coffee began in its colonial era, so does the tryst of Indonesia. British were successful in their experiment with the coffee plantation in hills of Assam and Baba Budan hills of Karnataka in India. It is in the colonial history of Indonesia, where the answer to our question lies in. When the Dutch settled in the country, they realized that Indonesia has an ideal geography for the cultivation of coffee. It lies near the equator and with numerous mountainous regions across the islands, creating well-suited micro-climates for the growth and production of coffee. Therefore, the Dutch governor of Malabar (India) sent the coffee seeds to the Dutch governor of Batavia (Jakarta). The seeding of plantation field of Indonesia yielded and in 1711 the Dutch East India Company exported the first shipment of coffee to Europe. Seeing the success, the industrial scale production of coffee started under the highly exploitative colonial system. The plantation of arabica coffee seed expanded into other regions of Indonesia, namely Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi and Timor where farmers were forced to grow and were suppressed heavily upon dissention. the In late 18th century, Dutch planters established a large coffee plantation in Ijen Plateau in eastern Java. Upon gaining independence Indonesian national government nationalised entire coffee plantation developed under the Dutch and converted them into smallholding farm of around 1 hectare. Today, more than 90% of coffee production comes from these smallholding farms.
All the arabica coffee are hand-picked, and after harvest are processed in a variety of ways, thus each process of harvesting imparts its own flavours and aromas to the final finished product. But among many, the most unusual form of coffee processing is ‘Kopi Luwak’. This coffee is processed by Indonesian Cat-like animal called the Asian Palm Civet. The civets eat the ripe coffee cherries and their digestive process removes the outer layers of the fruit. The remaining coffee beans are collected from their faeces and washed. The unique flavour comes, at least in part, from the extraction of naturally occurring potassium salts from the beans during the digestive process. This results in a smooth, mild cup, with a sweet after-taste. Kopi Luwak is very rare and can retail for more than $600 per pound (or, $35 to $100 per cup).
After reading all the history, we should now go back to the troika of James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton, the creators of JAVA, sitting in a room together and talking in their own weird language which they are creating. The initial name of JAVA language was kept as OAK, because of the oak tree visible through the office of James Gosling. But, in the process of creating the new computer language, they got addicted to this very rare Kopi Luwak coffee cultivated in Java island of Indonesia. When they finally launched their language in the market they gave the unique computer language name JAVA in tribute to the coffee they drank, probably which kept them sane and egged them on and on in their insanity to give the world something unique yet simple in execution, which made lives of so many souls simple and easy. Kudos to the creator, and kudos to the Java coffee.
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