21 Gun Salute for the Mahatma Gauri Lankesh – In pictures.

To start with, I must confess that I knew nothing about Gauri Lankesh till I heard the news of her brutal murder and the outrage that followed. I knew nothing about her ideology, her politics or her connections. I know that she is killed and hope and pray that the investigation is swift and her killers are booked.

It is terrible what happened to her. Freedom is non-negotiable, whatever be your views – left, right or center. Hope Gauri gets justice and is not merely reduced to a point-scoring cold body by rationalizing the murder.

It was sickening to see the Vultures mourning over Gauri’s death for political gains of their masters. Most of them behaved as if they knew the murderers. If they had any relevant info, they would have consulted the police. Some who were very outraged, if they wanted justice for Gauri, they would ask questions to Siddaramaiah, the man responsible for the law and order.

But the Khap-elites drew an immediate correlation between Gauri Lankesh murder & murders of rationalists. Why? Whats the hurry? Even in that case, the finger points on to Siddharamaiah whose government could not solve who killed Kalburgi.  Despicable lot.

Every death is a gift to the social vampires. Nothing excites our bloodthirsty left-liberals more than a death they can use for their agenda. I witnessed a glee a glee among the left-liberals. The glee for an opportunity to push their bloodthirsty agenda, even before Gauri could be mourned. One thing that surprised me the most was the ready banners and placards within a couple of hours of her death and protest events. As if they knew about the murder and the murderers even before its occurrence.

Needless to say that Gauri Lankesh was killed so close to elections, is the driving force for media to immediately twist the narrative. What a repulsive lot. From activists, journalists and intellectuals of all ideology to senior IAS/IPS, all getting killed in Siddaramaiah’s lawless governance. Yet to see a single left-liberal seek Siddaramaiah’s resignation. They care a damn for justice, a damn for Gauri Lankesh. Only the agenda is supreme.

What bothered me the most was this info shared by Anand Ranganathan via his tweet:

“22 Indian Journalists murdered since 2013. Gauri Lankesh was the only one who also wrote in English or appeared in the English media.”

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That is a brutal fact and this one single tweet provoked the entire feeding-on-crumbs ecosystem. We understand that celebrating murder because the victim had opposite ideology is lunatic, but condemning murders only when the victim’s ideology matches yours is evil. 

A day before, a journalist Pankaj Mishra was shot at in Bihar. I did not see any outrage on the social media or on the prime time TV news. This is bothering.

Now either outrage is a selective commodity for our left-liberal khaap--elders that are to be used for scoring cheap political brownies or perhaps Pankaj kind of journalists cannot be considered a good journalist because he has never abused Hindus and Hinduism.

Presenting here some thoughts via screen shots from the FB and Twitter account of the ace journalist, the departed soul Gauri Lankesh. Try to understand what makes one part of the left-liberal ecosystem.

First, you have to be an ardent Modi hater.

If you have signs of  pathological hatred for Hindus, and if you can abuse in the choicest of words, that may qualify to be political “dissent.” This is one such mind blowing thought:

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One of the basic criteria of being referred as a profound unbiased journalist is to diss BJP openly with all kinds of name calling to its supporters and followers.

When Commies murdered RSS workers, she celebrated it as “Swachh Keralam.” That is the sign of a free thinker. Hindu brahmins deserve to be butchered in  Commie land.

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One has to be an absolute duffer, no sense of history and still jump into a discussion without any clue to protect one’s lumpen ideology.

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To have some more insights into the mind of Gauri, the woman who was given a full state funeral by Congress’s Karnataka government:

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Here Salman Nizami, a Congress leader from Karnataka tweets from his verified account() with a screenshot of his private conversation with Gauri:

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If the above is not enough, one has to be a crook. A journalist must be biased and indulge in defaming political opponents based on falsehood and fake news. So what one gets caught and convicted and sentenced by the Court? Once part of the ecosystem, the tag of a ‘dear friend’ and ‘profound’ journalist no one can detach.

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Let me remind you all that Lt. Col Niranjan Kumar (was awarded military gallantry medal for his role in eliminating terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air base) who was a native of Banglore, Karnataka did not get a 21 gun salute by the Karnataka state.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnanan (was martyred during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and consequently awarded the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peace time gallantry award) was also from Banglore, who did not get a 21 gun salute by the state government. 

But if you are part of the feeding-on-crumbs ecosystem, then despite being and an urban Naxal or being convicted by the court, you certainly deserve a 21 gun salute in a Congress ruled state, if, unfortunately, you meet a tragic death.  

Posted in Distortion, Politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

Remembering Rajiv Gandhi – Was he the worst PM of India?

Today is the seventy-third birth anniversary of former Prime Minister of India, Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi. The majority of those who would read this would have shed a tear for Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

If Central government releases one rupee for the poor, only 10 paisa reaches them.”This tells about his honesty, not his failure. Rajiv was honest about how his own party is corrupt, so what he did not punish any.

Had it been Congress at the center, one would find several pages of each newspaper filled with advertisements as well as handsome visuals of beaming Rajiv Gandhi broadcasted in channels across the country.

All these ads and visuals would speak of his diverse qualities, pointing out numerous achievements the Rajiv in his first and only reign (1985-1989), namely:

  1. National Policy on Education. Founded Navodaya Vidyalaya.
  2. The Telecom revolution.
  3. Improved bilateral relations with the United States.
  4. Operation Cactus which helped Maldives.
  5. Attempts to end the civil war in Sri Lanka.
  6. Peace initiatives with Pakistan.
  7. Gave way to Panchayat Raj.

There would be many more achievements but this list is sufficient to conclude that Rajiv Gandhi was a remarkable statesman, an able administrator, and a worthy leader and one of the best Prime Ministers India ever had.

But the prejudiced lot would claim exact opposite and sully the image of this great visionary, whose name finds its occurrence in almost every government schemes, state varsities, edifices, bridges, and manifestos. Instead of focusing on the above, they will talk only about the laundry list of Rajiv’s major ‘achievements’:

1984 SIKH POGROM: Rajiv and his party presided over the biggest pogrom in India’s history – Sikhs were murdered across India as a vengeance for the assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi.

When a Big tree falls, the earth shakes” – he remarked.

BOFORS:  One of the most publicized scandals in Indian political history, the Bofors scandal marred the image Rajiv, like nothing else. The allegation was that the Swedish company, Bofors, paid Rs. 64 Crore in kickbacks to prominent Indian politicians including Rajiv Gandhi so that they can win the bid for supplying 155 mm field howitzers to India. Whether he did the crime or not, handling such a matter of national security in such a non-transparent way once again showed his greenhorn attitude.

Rajiv-Farooq Accord: By 1987, the Kashmir valley was a fairly peaceful one – much more peaceful than Punjab or Assam. Even the separatists were actively engaged in the elections. But, they were horribly disappointed in one of the worst Indian elections. Internationally it is agreed that the Congress rigged that election to favor its ally – National Conference. The people were so disappointed that it brought the rise of Mujahideen in the valley and marked the start of its terror phase.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: In almost every aspect, Rajiv’s rule was one of the most disastrous periods of India. He was the Prime Minister when Bhopal Gas tragedy (world’s worst industrial disaster) struck. Rajive let his friend Anderson of the Union Carbide off the hook, that claimed thousands of lives.

Secular Legacy: A poor 60-year-old Muslim woman Shah Bano went to the court seeking Rs. 200/month from her husband, for supporting her 5 children after the lawyer husband deserted her, uttering Triple-Talaq. Both the High Court and Supreme Court ruled in the woman’s favor. However, Rajiv overruled the court with a new legislation and took away the basic rights of Muslim women in India to appease the conservative clergy.

In another bid not to appear excessively pro-Muslim, Rajiv Gandhi allowed the activists of VHP to perform “Shilanyas” ceremony near the then disputed Babri Masjid. This triggered multiple communal incidents culminating in the bringing down of the Mosque during Narasimha Rao’s regime.

Few remember that Rajiv also banned Salman Rushdie’s classic work – Satanic Verses [even before any Islamic nation did].

IPKF: Rajiv Gandhi’s Sri Lanka venture failed to impede the murderous campaign of the LTTE. The honorable Indian Army had barely lost in any operation it planned and it was never misused fighting random wars elsewhere. Rajiv, without consulting his cabinet, sent 100,000 armed men to Sri Lanka, without telling them about the geography of the Jaffna peninsula, nor about the LTTE hideouts.  that was widely hated as an occupying force and thrown out in ignominy. The Indian Peace Keeping Forces were called back after failing to rein in the LTTE and suffering heavy casualties. Overall 1200 armed men died and plenty more of both Tamils & Sinhalese lost lives. As a result, lost his life too.

Telecom Revolution: There are several holes in the Gospel truth that it was Rajiv Gandhi who revitalized the telecom sector of India.

The New Telecom Policy (NTP) announced by Govt. on 3 March 1999 recounted some facts. It noted that India had “over 1 million” mobile phone subscribers. Ten years after Rajiv Gandhi’s government left office in 1989, Tele-density moved from 0.6% in 1989 to 2.8% in 1999. A “revolution”?

Recent data says that India had over 700 million active mobile phone connections as of October 2012, catapulting the telecom penetration from less than 3% in 1999 to over 70% and fast closing in on developed world standards. How did this massive growth happen?

The answer is that key policy reforms were implemented by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999, with one of the most important measures being the separation between policy formulation and service provision, culminating with the birth of BSNL and freeing the telecom sector from political control. Vajpayee took the politically difficult step of corporatizing BSNL, personally intervened to push through this deep structural reform.

Rajiv Gandhi’s model did not succeed, whereas the Vajpayee government’s policies curtailed the state’s role and created space for private entrepreneurs to deliver cheap and reliable telecom service speedily on a massive scale. The former tried to grow by state-led indigenization, the latter threw open the sector to competition and entrepreneurship.

Panchayat Raj: When Rajiv introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1989, it got defeated in the Rajya Sabha. It was only after the ascension of PV Narasimha Rao as Prime Minister that the concept of Panchayat Raj saw success, which came into force on April 24, 1993.

The True Democrat: The true Democrat and the clean Rajiv Gandhi had no qualms using his political and Governmental power to overpower people he perceived were inconvenient.

In 1982, when he was not even the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi publicly called Andhra chief minister T.Anjaiah a ‘buffoon’. Anjaiah was later sacked that led to Congress’s doom in Andhra.

In 1990, Rajiv Gandhi unceremoniously sacked Karnataka’s popular Chief Minister, Veerendra Patil, when he was in the hospital undergoing treatment for a stroke and installed one of the most corrupt leaders as Karnataka’s Chief Minister, S. Bangarappa.

In 1988, Rajiv introduced the notorious Anti-Defamation Bill aimed to stifle the free press. However, strong demonstrations and protests from the journalist fraternity, (most notable among them being Arun Shourie) made him withdraw the bill.

The only saving grace in the form of his address to the Joint meeting of the US Congress in Washington on 13 June 1985:

“India is an old country, but a young nation; and like the young everywhere we are impatient. I am young, and I too have a dream. I dream of an India strong, independent and self-reliant and in the front rank of the nations of the world in the service of mankind.”

Sadly his works did not match his words and his reign is best remembered for numerous scandals and accidents. Shri Rajiv Gandhi is arguably the worst prime minister of India and inarguably the most overrated prime minister of India.

With fond memories of a prejudiced mind, wish your soul rests in peace Rajiv Ji.

Posted in Personalities, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ram Mandir at Ayodhya is inevitable! How? … time will tell.

An amicable, out-of-court settlement over the Ram Temple issue was a better course of action, said a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul claiming it is a sensitive and sentimental issue and it’s best that it is settled amicably.

This was in response to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy urging apex court to constitute a bench to hear a batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court order which said that there should be a partition of the Ayodhya land between the parties to the dispute. The Apex Court also emphasized that if negotiations break down then it will intervene & appoint a mediator for resolution.

The SC has asked Cricket to be handed over to it, it has no hesitation in passing judgment on Dahi-Handi & Jallikattu and has asked an issue like Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi to be taken elsewhere? This is extremely shameful and dishonest statement by the Apex court. It is because of such statements that people lose faith in judiciary.

The judiciary suggests “out of court settlement” after procrastinating for 25 long years. As though nobody had ever thought of it before. “Out of court” settlement had been sought by Hindu side for 15 years. It was given up only after disappointingly realizing the futility.

For those unaware, let me remind that Ram Janm Bhoomi site was a functioning Temple since 1949 and no No Namaz was allowed. What was removed in 1992 was a disputed structure and It was removed because both the Judiciary and the political parties negated every assurance they gave for 42yrs. For 42 years Hindu groups and Vishva Hindu Parishad were jerked around judiciary without even an iota of progress.

Read what the Allahabad HC said way back in 1955: “It is very desirable that a suit of this kind is decided as soon as possible”

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Supreme Court assured the Hindu groups that HC will dispose-off all the cases by December 1991 but hearings continued into 1992. In July 1992, SC asked VHP to stop the “Kar Seva” and assured all cases would be decided by SC. VHP stopped the Kar Seva, and shockingly The Apex Court went back from their word. The Kar Seva was then set for 6th December 1992, when the Allahabad HC concluded hearings on 4th November 1992. Kalyan Singh pleaded for judgment, but judge went on leave. Yes on Leave! That is how MyLords derelicted of its duty during 1990-92 phase. Imagine what happened between 1949-1990. Nothing.

Who has infinite patience on such a sensitive issue? Not only that, during the same time the “Shah Bano case” was progressing at a brisk pace through lower court, HC & SC and also a constitutional amendment followed at jet speed. For one group Justice (injustice to be precise)  was being served at double the normal speed while on the contrary, the majority community was being moved around the Court like jokers for four decades. This obviously alarmed VHP & Co.

It is because of such imbecility of Judiciary that people lose faith and take law into their hands, like those who demolished “Babri.” Judicial issue has been ongoing since 1949, the events of 1992 were a result of failure of the Judiciary and the political leadership. The basic fundamental of life is, that no one gives it to you, you have to take it.

When all the warring parties in the RJB case have maintained they will honor the Court Verdict, once again the SC has simply refused to give a verdict after hearing the case for decades. The Apex Court was supposed to give evidence based verdict on the question if there was a temple on the disputed site or NOT which it should have given verdict on the available evidence.

This is a simple and defining legal question that was crystallized and agreed by all.

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As a citizen, we all have the right to know the truth which the SC is denying. Without the truth being established, any reconciliation would be superficial.

If there was a possibility of a settlement by gesture and goodwill, then there would not have been any case to start with. Historians of both sides even had meetings & presented evidence. Historians like Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar walked away from the meetings after they realized the evidence presented by VHP was irrefutable. The archaeology has clearly established the existence of a temple.

Vishnu-hari inscription under the babri site

Vishnu-hari inscription under the babri site

But if that wisdom did not prevail then, why would that prevail now? What has changed? Only change is the Political change of guard. If that is what is sparking an out of court settlement, it could be seen compromised. More so, because in current existing political scenario, it is bound to be seen as a forced compromise.

The Hindu side had proposed that it would construct 100 Mosques elsewhere if the Muslim side gave up claims to “disputed site.” VHP had offered this solution which the Shias accepted because this used to be Shia mosque. But the Sunnis wanted a confrontation hence the Waqf Board (who were not the original party to the case) joined the suit just 6 days before they would have been time barred.

For a thousand years, Jihadis destroyed Hindu temples and constructed mosques over them. Several hundreds of Hindu temples have been brought down and desecrated in Kashmir, Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Bengal since then. In Kashmir alone, 499 Hindu temples were destroyed in 1989-90, BEFORE the demolition of Babri. If Hindus begin commemorating their temple destruction, everyday will be black day including December 6. It was on November 20, 1665 that Aurangzeb ordered Somanth and the surrounding temples to be destroyed. The order was carried out on December 6. But it did not bring down Secularism.

It is only now the turn of secularists to lecture us to build hospitals instead. Amazing bigotry is again propagated. The only place where a world class hospital/university can be built is RJB site. A world-class institute will be less world class if it is made on another piece of land. More worrying is that the fact that these Islamists will give up Babri Masjid for a hospital but not for Ram Mandir. That’s the catch.

Here is a proposal – build a Hindu temple, an Islamic mosque, a church in Ayodhya, Makkah and Vatican. Let’s see who is more tolerant! It is amazingly ridiculous that the majority has to beg to restore a temple at one of Hinduism’s greatest sites.

Hindus must make whatever it takes offer to Muslims on Ram Mandir that ensures respect of their faith. If Muslims allow a Bhavya temple to be built at that spot, it will go a long way in building a cohesive relations. Make offers like a certain percentage of the annual temple revenue can go to fund old poor Muslims to visit Haj. Anything that make them happily and peacefully agree.

But a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is inevitable. The Vishnu avatar Ram is our religious identity, the greatest civilizational inheritance and hence the conscience of our very being. Only fools would secularize him. A country that is not proud of its past and identity is bound to wither. A society that is rooted with its past and culture is stable and strong, easy to Govern.

If you don’t respect your culture….then world will not respect you. You will eventually become a pirated version of something else. Pakistan is a classic example of a country with no roots and no culture. It wanted to become Arab nation and see what they have become. You can never abandon your identity.

If Ram Temple in Ayodhya is a communal thing, then to hell with your secularism.

Posted in Culture &Tradition | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh is a detestable Man.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday in Rajya Sabha referring to Ex-PM Manmohan Singh said: “No one knows the art of bathing with a raincoat on, better than Doctor Saheb.”

How Apt! How modest!

The telling fact is that Dr. Manmohan Singh is an astonishingly dishonest person. He presided over a collection of the most heinously corrupt bunch of politicians ever to have walked on the earth and yet he enjoys a reputation for being clean.

Give a man a reputation as an early riser, and he can sleep until noon” – Mark Twain. It is illustrated most fittingly in the case of Dr. Manmohan Singh and his integrity. In his case, give the man a reputation as an honest person, and he can rob the country blind with impunity.

The Bofors gun kickback story is well known, and it was the first case where kickbacks in a defense deal were confirmed establishing a trail between middlemen, high flying ‘foreign’ connections and the Nehru- Gandhi Family. It was also the first case that the Indian media pursued in depth, and with tremendous enthusiasm.

The CBI could not pin Quattrocchi for lack of evidence, although it was available in plenty. His accounts in London were frozen, but the Indian government under Dr. Singh sat on it and deliberately let the reminders lapse. And as a result, the money was then withdrawn by him immediately. When Argentina arrested him under an Interpol notice issued under the Bofors case, the govt ensured that the case was botched up and Quattrocchi was able to walk out free.

It has been a shameful deed and a gross violation of the law. PM Manmohan Singh was amongst those responsible. He does make a penchant for honesty, but never explained those murky developments.

Arun Shourie wrote then:

Once again, the country is being held up to ridicule – once again, the world is being shown how the Government of India will bend our laws and institutions to help the worst sorts of criminals and their associates, exactly as banana republics do.

One German business daily in its editorial on India published: “India is becoming the Banana Republic instead of being an economic superpower. Ms. Mayawati who is Chief Minister of the most densely inhabited state is calmed when an intelligence agency probe is scrapped. The multi-million dollars fodder scam by another former chief minister wielding enormous power is put in cold storage. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs over this kind of unparalleled loot.

Not one but scores of mega scams went unnoticed by him. Corruption was so rampant in India under his “leadership,” Prime Minister-ship that made people immune to scams. No next multi-billion dollar scam did not even evoke any shock or the mildest surprise.

manmohan-2From 2G to Commonwealth to Augusta Westland… the list goes on and on. On these topics and issues like Robert Vadra, Manmohan Singh never spoke. No, he once did and called it “compulsions of coalition politics.”

Remember when Mr. A Raja’s wrongdoings had been exposed, Mr. Singh had decided to use the opportunity of restructuring his team. But the Cabinet formation was delayed, apparently because Mr. Singh insisted on giving the telecom portfolio back to Kalaignar family and Mr. Dayanidhi Maran made a comeback after the pre-election patch-up.

Manmohan Singh was a despicably dishonest Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister who on CAG reports that prove how Government was favoring the crooks-politicians nexus (like Naveen Jindal) in coal block allocation says this: “हज़ारों जवाबों से अच्छी है मेरी खामोशी, ना जाने कितने सवालों की आबरू रखे” is unquestionably detestable. I wish I had the better word.

If Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Indian Prime Minister of India knew nothing about these loots and scandals, he was shockingly inefficient and did not deserve to be the Prime Minister. If he did, wasn’t he a collaborator in crime?

nonsenseAfter the humiliation heaped on him by Rahul Gandhi with his “total nonsense” remark, Dr. Manmohan Singh endorsed that he is ready to work under his leadership. How despicable!

Would a person with even the least bit of morality and self-respect continue to hang on to his position? But he was placed by his masters.

Before he was labeled “Underachiever” or “Poodle,” Manmohan Singh also had the mortification of being loosely referred to as “Joker.” And by none less than the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Now this compels to understand why Manmohan Singh and no other Congress leader was handed over the chair of the prime minister. Perhaps he was appointed precisely because of his flexible morality and his ability to blindly follow orders. Manmohan Singh lacks a spine and is pliable. He followed commands without questioning like a robot with no sense of decency.

Reading such scathing reports about our ex-PM, how he willingly was controlled through a remote control by his Italian puppeteer, does not shock me. It pains. 

He kept on meekly doing whatever he was ordered to do. If our country had any PM who can be called a rubber stamp, it was Dr. Singh. Anyone else with even an iota of self-respect and integrity would long have quit that dishonorable position. But Dr. Singh did not. Perhaps he is blissfully unaware of the level status he holds.

I am convinced that Manmohan Singh had great faith in Indian judiciary and he knew that India’s elephantine legal system would ensure culpability, is never served or delayed enough.

The Congress Party is very angry and outraged on PM Narendra Modi’s subtle jibe. Watch this how the first family of Congress treated our Prime Minister, as a family servant. Today they talk of dignity?

PM Manmohan Singh is a dishonest man and is a shame to the noble economics profession, is a disgrace to the proud and noble Sikhs and was also a disgrace to Prime Minister’s chair of India. He lacks pride. He is a sycophant, a trained Babu who only followed orders. He was never his own man even after being appointed the country’s top executive chair.

But even today, some Indians believe and persist in their insistence that Dr. Singh is not a dishonest man contrary of mountains of evidence. It reveals one of two things: they are morally blind or remarkably stupid.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

माँ सरस्वती – विद्या, संगीत, कला की अधिष्ठात्री देवी !!

Maa Saraswati (सरस्वती) is the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively.

The earliest known mention of Saraswati is in the Rigveda as a reference to a river and as a significant feminine deity with healing, purifying powers of abundant, flowing waters.

अपो अस्मान मातरः शुन्धयन्तु घर्तेन नो घर्तप्वः पुनन्तु |

विश्वं हि रिप्रं परवहन्ति देविरुदिदाभ्यः शुचिरापूत एमि ||       ….  Rigveda 10.17

[May the waters, may the mother cleanse us, may they who purify, purify us with butter, I come up out of them, pure and cleansed.]

In initial passages, the word refers to Saraswati River and mentioned with other northwestern Indian rivers such as Drishadvati. Saraswati then connotes a river deity.

Sarasvati, is a Sanskrit fusion word of Sāra (सार) which means essence, and Sva (स्व), the fused word meaning “one who leads to essence of self knowledge”. It is also a Sanskrit composite word of surasa-vati (सुरस-वति) which means “one with plenty of water”.

In Book 2, Rigveda calls Saraswati as the best of mothers, of rivers, of goddesses.

अम्बितमे नदीतमे देवितमे सरस्वति …… Rigveda 2.41.16

Basant Panchami, traditionally refers to the fifth day of the month of Magh (माघ) and it falls in Magha Shukla Panchami, the bright phase of the moon. It is also meant to welcome the arrival of Spring, after the long and dreary winter.

In ancient times, Vasant Panchami was celebrated in honor of the God of love, Kamadev (Who was a close friend of Vasant or Spring) and his wife Rati. It was a celebration of Shringara (शृंगार), where dancing girls, dressed specially in a colorful sari would come to the palace and would sing various songs on love, primarily on Radha Krishna. At the end of the festivities, the flowers and mango leaves would be sprinkled with red gulal, which these girls would apply to cheeks.

Even at present day in the smaller towns and villages of North and East of Indian states one could witness cutely dressed small little Saari-clad girls visiting temples and pandals to worship Goddess Saraswati.

Some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami by helping young children learn how to write alphabets on this day.

Saraswati is known by many names in ancient Hindu literature. Some examples of synonyms for Saraswati include Brahmani (power of Brahma), Brahmi (goddess of sciences), Bharadi (goddess of history), Vani and Vachi (both referring to the flow of music/song, melodious speech, eloquence etc), Varnesvari (goddess of letters), Kavijihvagravasini (one who dwells on the tongue of poets).

A very common name is Sharada, one who loves the Autumn season. In India she is locally spelled little differently, like as in Bengali: সরস্বতী, Saraswati, in Malayalam as: സരസ്വതി, Saraswati, and in Tamil as: சரஸ்வதி, Sarasvatī.

Saraswati images are depicted with symbolism.

saraswati-jiThe goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful woman dressed in pure white, often seated on a white lotus,  which symbolizes light, knowledge and truth. She not only embodies knowledge but also the experience of the highest reality. The Veena, represents all the creative arts and sciences, and her holding represents the harmony created by knowledge. Her iconography is typically in white themes from dress to flowers to swan – the color symbolizing Sattwa Guna or purity, discrimination for true knowledge, insight and wisdom to think and reason.

She is usually depicted near a flowing river or other body of water, which depiction may constitute a reference to her early history as a river goddess.

There are many temples dedicated to Saraswati around the world. As per the Brahma Purana, Saraswati was granted a boon by Shri Krishna, that she shall be worshiped on Vasant Panchami day. Hindus celebrate this festival in temples, homes and educational institutes alike. Saraswati Puja also done with Saraswati Avahan on Maha Saptami during Navaratri and ends on Vijayadashami with Saraswati Udasan or Visarjan.

In Kerela and Tamil Nadu,  the last three days of the Navaratri festival, i.e., Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami, are celebrated as Sarasvati Puja. The celebrations start with the Puja Vypu (Placing for Worship). It consists of placing the books for puja on the Ashtami day. It may be in one’s own house, in the local nursery school run by traditional teachers, or in the local temple. The books will be taken out for reading, after worship, only on the morning of the third day (Vijaya Dashami). It is called Puja Eduppu (Taking [from] Puja). Children are happy, since they are not expected to study on these days. On the Vijaya Dashami day, Kerala celebrates the Ezhuthiniruthu or Initiation of Writing for the little children before they are admitted to nursery schools. This is also called Vidyarambham. The child is made to write for the first time on the rice spread in a plate with the index finger, guided by an elder of the family or by a teacher.

The Goddess is also revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India. Saraswati also became a prominent deity in Buddhist iconography also. Saraswati who is revered as a goddess of knowledge, music and arts is also found outside Nepal and India, such as in Japan, Vietnam, Bali (Indonesia) and Myanmar, mostly in Asia.

Outside India, she is known in Burmese as Thurathadi, in Chinese as Biàncáitiān (辯才天), in Japanese as Benzaiten (弁才天/弁財天) and in Thai as Suratsawadi (สุรัสวดี) or Saratsawadi (สรัสวดี).

Statue of Thurathadi at Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple (Yangon)

Statue of Thurathadi at Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple (Yangon)

Myanmar: In Myanmar she is referred to as Thurathadi, and is considered the Goddess of learning much like in India.

In Burma, the Shwezigon Mon Inscription dated to be of 1084 AD, near Bagan, recites the name Saraswati as follows,

“The wisdom of eloquence called Saraswati shall dwell in mouth of King Sri Tribhuwanadityadhammaraja at all times”. 

 

Cambodia: In Cambodia she is referred to as Vagisvari or Bharti. Saraswati was honoured with invocations among Hindus of Angkorian Cambodia, suggests a tenth-century and another eleventh-century inscription.

Japan: The Japanese counterpart of Saraswati is Benzaiten, and she holds the biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, much like she holds the Veena. Benzaiten is depicted (below) with a musical instrument in Japan, and is a deity of knowledge, music, and everything that flows. 

emblem_of_faculty_of_arts_chulalongkorn_university

Thailand: In Thailand she is called as Suratswadi. In ancient Thai literature, Saraswati (Suratsawadi) is the goddess of speech and learning, and consort of Brahma. Over time, Hindu and Buddhist concepts on deities merged in Thailand. Icons of Saraswati with other deities of India are found in old Thai Vats. Amulets with Saraswati and a peacock are also found in Thailand.

On Left: Saraswati, Devi of Arts, Emblem of Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

A Saraswati temple in Bali

A Saraswati temple in Bali

Indonesia: Saraswati is an important goddess in Balinese Hinduism. She shares the same attributes and iconography as Saraswati in Hindu literature of India – in both places, she is the goddess of knowledge, creative arts, wisdom, language, learning and purity.

Reference of Maa Saraswati is found in almost every major ancient and medieval Indian literature between 1000 BC to 1500 AD. In Hindu tradition, she has retained her significance as a goddess from the Vedic age through modern times of Hindu traditions.

May the blessings of Maa Sharada be upon you always!

 

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Bharat Ratna – Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya

When I returned to my Country, I first went to Lokamanya Tilak. He appeared tall like the Himalayas. I thought it was not possible for me to scale the heights and returned. Then I went to Deshbandhu Gokhale. He appeared deep like the ocean. I saw that it was not possible for me to gauge the depth and returned. Finally, I went to Mahamana Malaviya and he appeared like the pure flow of Ganga. I saw it was possible to take bath in the sacred flow.” 
                                                                                                                                     – Mahatma Gandhi

Madan Mohan was born on December 25, 1861 in Prayag to Brajnath and Moona Devi, an orthodox brahmin couple.

Brajnath was scholar of Sanskrit and a deeply religious man. Learned in the ancient scriptures, he started reciting Shri Bhagvad Geeta in early childhood. Recitations soon came to be accompanied by discourses. The common people were fond of his style of reciting the Gita. His name spread far and wide in the region. A proud man Brajnath never accepted donations from anyone. He was content with whatever little was given at the end of the Bhagvata Katha. As a result his family found it difficult to make both ends meet.

Madan Mohan had five brothers and two sisters. He was the fifth child. He spent his childhood in affectionate care of grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters. Moona Devi was an innocent, religious woman. She inculcated in her children simplicity and a sense of tradition and culture.

madan Mohan’s early education was under his father and grandfather. He was then admitted to Shrimadakshara Pathshala. When he completed his primary education, madan Mohan was put in another school run by Vidya Vardhini Sabha. Madan Mohan was keen to attend an English school though it was beyond his father’s means. Even so, he was admitted to Allahabad Zila School. He completed his studies with great difficulties because of the circumstances at home.

mal1Madan Mohan was richly talented in music. He learnt to play the Sitar at a very young age. Gifted with a melodious voice he sang the devotional songs of Meera and Soordas. Madan Mohan was turning into a budding poet; his sensibilities and fine intellect showed themselves quite early. As time went on, he wrote poetry in the pseudonym of Makarand; his poems were published in journals and magazines. He also wrote articles and essays on many inspiring subjects.

After passing out of the Zila School, Madan Mohan joined the Muir Central College, Allahabad.

By this time the financial condition of the family deteriorated further and his father could not handle the burden of his children’s education any more. But his mother was determined. She mortgaged her jewelry to educated Madan Mohan. Harison, the Principal of Muir College started giving monthly scholarship to Madan Mohan.

While in college Madan Mohan also took keen interest in dramatics and would also play female roles with rare accomplishments. In the play ‘Merchant of Venice’ he played Portia, and Shakuntala in ‘Shakuntalam’ and enthralled his audience.

At the age of sixteen he was married to Kundan Devi. Her father was a middle class brahmin from Mirzapur. Kundan Devi had not known any hardship and, in fact, had been quite pampered in the family. After her marriage she had to make do things in a family with meager means but she faced all the problems with patience and courage. Madan Mohan and Kundan Devi had five sons and five daughters out of which four sons and two daughters only survived.

Teaching and Law:

In 1884, Madan Mohan passed the B.A. examination. He wanted to do M.A. in Sanskrit and like his father, take up the recitation of Bhagvatam as profession. Since the family was in such dire straits, he thought it was wise to suppress the wish and he joined as a teacher in the local government school in which he had studied on a monthly salary of Rs. 40.

Madan Mohan’s family name changed from ‘Mallai’ to ‘Malaviya’, hence Madan Mohan Malaviya. As a teacher Malviya ji was admired for his determination, good behaviour and discipline. The fearless man would not take any injustice and neither would tolerate any indiscipline and impertinence in students.

Malaviyaji, A.O.Hume, Weddenburn and Raja Rampal Singh at Congress Session, 1886.

Malaviyaji, A.O.Hume, Weddenburn and Raja Rampal Singh at Congress Session, 1886.

Malviya ji attended the second session of Congress held in Calcutta in 1886 presided by Dadabhai Naoroji. There he got the opportunity to to speak on the subject of “establishing representative institutions”. He said: “For the development of a civilized society, it is essential to have a representative government. Thus it is the duty of the British to found representative institutions. The right of representation is the basic right which we should get.” The chairman, Dadabhai Naoroji said: “this young man has given a voice to the Bharatmata“.

Here he came to the notice of Raja Rampal Singh of Kalakankar. The Raja had started a Hindi weekly Hindusthan to spread the message of freedom. He wanted to convert it to a daily and was in the lookout for the right person to edit it and the job was offered to Malviya ji.

Malviyaji resigned his job of a teacher in 1887 and began editing the Hindusthan, a post that he held for two and a half years. Raja Rampal Singh agreed to let him go on the condition that he would studay law and also agreed to bear all costs.

On his return to Prayag from Kalakankar, was offered the co-editorship of the English daily, The Indian Opinion. He also continued studying law and passed the examination in 1891 and two years later, joined the Allahabad High Court.

Malviya ji was a fine intellect and a good orator. His practice flourished and became a renowned lawyer. The financial condition of the family improved. Tej Bahadur Sapru, whom Malviya Ji brought ot Allahabad for starting off a legal career wrote, “Malviya became a leading civil lawyer, he prepared his cases meticulously, presented them powerfully and argued dispassionately.

Along with success in his law practice, Malviya’s most important achievement during this period was the acceptance of Devnadgri script by the Government. Before this the Persian script was used in Courts. Madan Mohan Malviya, Maharaja Pratap Narayan Singh of Ayodhya, Raja Ram Prasad Singh of Manda, Pandit Sunder Lal and some others met Antonny Macdonnell, the Governor of the province in March, 1898 and the petition was handed. An order was passed and from April, 14 Devnagri was accepted to be used in used.

If Malviya Ji had continued to practice Law, he could have amassed much wealth, but services to the nation was of far greater importance and he contemplated giving up his practice. At that very time his son Radhakant volunteered to take care of the family and urged Malviyaji to go ahead and pursue his nationalistic activities.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale once said: “Malaviya really made strange sacrifices. He was born in a poor family and most of the times had to face difficulties. Then on his abilities and hard work became a renowned lawyer and earned thousands of rupees. But when the call for the motherland came, he gave up everything and became a poor man again.

Public Work:

Malviyaji’s articles on religion and social subjects were published in many magazines. In 1887, in Hardwar Pandit Deen dayalu Sharma organized a meeting of people who followed ‘Sanatan Dharma“. Scholars from all over the country were present. The Bharat Dharma Mahamandal was established to propagate the basic values of Hinduism. Malviya Ji was part of this group for 15 years.

In November 1989, owing to the efforts of Pandit Balkrishna Bhatt and some enthusiastic young men a library in the name of Bharti Bhavan was started near malviya Ji’s residence with huge collection of Hindi and Sanskrit books. Malviya ji was made the chairman of Board of Trustees, a position that he held all life.

When Allahabad University was formed, accommodation became a problem. Malviyaji decided to build a hostel for the Hindu students of the university. He collected funds and the hostel was completed by 1903 and named after Governor Antony Macdonnell.

In 1906 in Haridwar, Rishikul Brahmacharya Ashram was founded with Malviya Ji as its trustee.

Malviya Ji called an assembly of followers of ‘Sanathan Dharma’ in 1906 on the occasion of Kumbh Mela at Prayag. The conference adopted a resolution to establish a Hindu university at Benaras. It was also decided that the Rishikul Brahmacharya Ashram would educate the children on the lines of ancient gurukuls.

The formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 was a catalyst for Hindu leaders coming together to create an organisation to protect the rights of the Hindu communityIn 1909, Arya Samaj leaders Lala Lajpat Rai, Lal Chand and Shadi Lal established the Punjab Hindu Sabha. Malviyaji presided over the Sabha’s first session at Lahore. in October 1909.

Under Malaviya, the Hindu Mahasabha campaigned for Hindu political unity, for the education and economic development of Hindus as well as for the re-conversion of Muslims to Hinduism. In the late 1920s, the Mahasabha came under the influence of leaders like Balakrishna Shivram Moonje and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

A group photo taken in Shimoga in 1944 when Vinayak Damodar Savarkar came to address the State-level Hindu Mahasabha conference.

A group photo taken in Shimoga in 1944 when Vinayak Damodar Savarkar came to address the State-level Hindu Mahasabha conference.

In 1910, a thought came to Malviya Ji’s mind that a pillar ought to be erected at Prayag on the banks of river Yamuna, where the Governor General read the Charter of Queen Victoria. It would be historic if the park were made there too. Many leaders were upset. Gopal Krishna Gokhale said: “for such a big show we need a lot of money and we hardly have time to collect it. We will get a bad name“.

Malviyaji assured him not to worry. He then wrote letters and collected more than one lakh thirty two thousands rupee in no time. That was the power of his personality and writing skill. On November 9, 2010 the pillar was inaugurated by Lord Minto and park was named, Minto Park.

Then he formed a Seva Dal. It’s organized form came into existence as Swayam Sevak Dal in 1912. It looked after the comfort of pilgrims. A seva samiti was organized in 1913 for assisting people in fairs and festivals under the guidance of Shriram Vajpayee, known for his work for the Scout Movement in India. All Seva Samiti volunteers were invited to work for the Kumbh Mela. But Malviya Ji was impressed by Shriram Vajpayee’s Scouts. Then All India Seva Samiti Boy Scout Association was founded in Prayag in the year 1918.

For the development of the country and employment of thr Indians, Malviya ji wanted and worked for traditional cottage industries to be encouraged and people be trained in different skill sets and advocated for practical knowledge that would enable youth to get jobs.

Journalism:

Malaviyaji during Journalistic Career, 1887.

Malaviyaji during Journalistic Career, 1887.

Malaviya Ji’s heart and soul was into journalism and he was a dedicated journalist. His ability to analyze situation and events – social, economic and political with objectivity and clarity made the Hindusthan held in high regards both by people and the govt. Hindusthan flowered under Malviya’s editorship.

To propagate the idea of a Hindu University, Malviya Ji founded a Hindi Weekly Abhyudaya in 1907. On his appointment as member of State Council, Purushottam Das Tandan took the editorship. In 1915, that became a daily.

As the spirit of nationalism reached the peak, after partition of Bengal, the need arose for an English Daily to give voice to the Indian Patriots. Thus came ‘The Leader’ in October, 1909 that covered political, social and literary events.

Malviya Ji was a firm believer that religious education from early age must be imparted so that all that is good in the Hindu religion can be passed on to the next generation. With this in view, Malviya Ji started a weekly, Sanatan Dharma, in 1933.

Banaras Hindu University:

Madan Mohan Malviya’s contribution in the field of education is invaluable, immortalizing him in the annals of our country’s history.

Malviya ji considered primary education to be the duty of the state and wanted govt. to pay special attention to this cause and make primary education free. Malviyaji lent powerful support to girl’s education. He wished for a university in the United Provinces where scholars of high calibre could inspire students with their teachings and research.

Both Annie Besant and Malviya had been deliberating over higher education in the country and had come to the conclusion that quality education with due regard of their own culture along with learning science and technology.

A plan for establishing a Hindu University was put forward in 1904 at a meeting in Benaras under the Presidentship of Maharaja of Benaras. The plan was accepted. Malviyaji had given up his law practice to devote all his time to this mega project. On 1st January 1906, during the annual session of Congress held in Banaras the establishment of Hindu University was announced.

Malaviyaji giving speech during the laying of the foundation stone of BHU, 1916.

Malaviyaji giving speech during the laying of the foundation stone of BHU, 1916.

In 1911, Annie Besant’s Central Hindu College, the Sanatan Dharma University was launched by Bharat Dharma Mahamandal and the Hindu University were merged into it. Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy agreed to establish a residential University at Banaras and the Banaras Hindu University act was passed on 1st October, 1915 and the foundation stone was laid by the Viceroy on 4th February 1916.

A leading advocate from Allahabad, Pandit Sundar Lal was appointed it’s first Vice Chancellor. Malviyaji took up the post on November 29, 1919 and remained its’ Vice Chancellor till 1938 and was succeeded by S. Radhakrishnan, who later became the President of India.

Malviya had to grapple with many a crisis during his tenure as VC. Nevertheless, with the courage of his convictions and optimism he was able to uphold the principles on which the University was established.

“It (The university) will not promote narrow sectarianism but a proud liberation of mind and a religious spirit which will promote brotherly feeling between man and man…. I believe that instruction in truth of religion, whether be it Hindu or Mussalman, whether it be imparted to the students of Banaras Hindu University or Aligarh Muslim University, will.. produce men, who, if they are true to religion, will be true to their God, their kind their country…I look forward to the time when the students, who pass out of such universities, will meet each other in closer embrace as the sons of the same motherland than they do at present.”

Banaras Hindu University Entrance

Banaras Hindu University Entrance

Nationalism:

Malviya ji was an active member of the Congress and all life did political work. He protested against the Government’s policy of suppression. He demanded that Indians be given higher responsibilities in defense and administration and continuously advocated for people’s representation in governance.

He also demanded that the examination for the Indian Civil Services be held in India and Indians who qualify should be appointed in administrative posts. His advocacy was the other way round. He said that those Britishers who want to serve in India should appear in an exam in India and prove their ability. He also wrote inspiring articles for the cause of farmers. He protested against the drain of India’s money to England in the form of salaries and pensions to Britishers.

In 1896 during famine he said: “if the govt. had encouraged art, craft and industry, and had used capable Indians in the administration, then our country today would not have been in such a miserable condition, and it would not have been difficult to tackle the problems of famine.”

Malviya and other leaders wanted the tyrannical British rule to be replaced by a people’s representative Govt. to which all the Governor Generals, Lord Lansdowne to Lord Curzon opposed.

On Bengal’s division in 1905, a wave of indignation spread all over the country. Congress pleaded but were unsuccessful to convince the British. The younger congress members concluded that expecting justice from British would be futile and the force would have to be countered effectively and only radical means could bring freedom. The congress was then divided into two, the moderates and the extremists. But with the efforts of madan Mohan malviya and Lala lajpat Rai, there was no formal split in Congress.

Malviya ji advocated the ‘Swadeshi’ movement with great zeal. Malviya defined the Swadeshi Movement as: “Its motto is to improve the financial condition of the masses. This can only be done when goods made in the country find a market here and the required goods are manufactured here. Industry and business are in the infant stage in the country and we will have to tend them very carefully and give up our selfishness in doing so.

Malviya said that the boycott should be ended only in the event of reversal of Bengal’s partition. In 1906, the situation became serious. The British Govt resorted to all kinds of repressive measures. Lord Minto gave it a communal color and made the situation even worse. Malviya strongly opposed the introduction of communal electorates policy. He also held that the main reason for communalism is not religion but dogmatism, and orthodoxy. He advocated that “with unity comes nationalism and with nationalism the country progresses.”

Malviya ji was of the opinion that to improve the economic condition of the country it was essential that the British armed forces be withdrawn. India should have its own military which should include men of every caste and religion. It was as a result of his effort that the Govt. set up a military academy at Dehradun.

Congress President:

Malviya ji was elected President of annual Congress session of 1909, held in Lahore. The Manchester Guardian described the new President as “politician of high standing and notable ability, .. a self made man, a moderate .. there is no other orator in congress who is admired as much as Mr. Malviya

Malaviyaji Punjab Visit after Jaliawalan Bagh Massacre.

Malaviyaji Punjab Visit after Jaliawalan Bagh Massacre.

After 1909, the cry for independence grew much strongly. Malviya strongly opposed the notorious Rowlatt Bill. The Act was passed in 1919. The entire nation protested against this injustice and Gandhiji called for a nationwide Hartaal. After the Jaliyanwala Bagh massacre, when the Indemnity bill was brought to save the British Officers, Malviya ji thrashed the British Govt with his four and a half hour oratory of highest standard.

A member of the treasury benches said: “Hon’ble Pandit Malviya has chastised the British Government so severely but in such a placid manner as even Edmund Burke had not done while impeaching Warren Hastings.

The slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone will triumph) is also a legacy given to the nation by Pandit Malaviya as the President of the Indian National Congress in its session of 1918 at Delhi, by saying that this slogan from the Mundakopanishad should be the slogan for the nation.

Malviya’s vivid description, at the Congress working committee at bardoli in 1922, of the Chauri Chaura incident where a mob set fire at police station, convinced Gandhiji that the people were yet to understand the true spirit of non-cooperation.

Having said that, after the Chauri Chaura in 1922, British decided to hang 170 Indians. Madan Mohan Malviya fought for them. 155 got released & 15 life sentences! Malviya’s advocacy was so perfect that he didn’t let even one get the death sentence for Chauri Chaura. Even Judge Mairs stood thrice & clapped! Gandhiji was also a famous and successful lawyer by the way.

Lokmanya Tilak died a year ago. The nation was in ferment. Gandhiji was marching to Dandi breaking the Salt Act on April 6, 1930. Martial Law was clamped throughout the country. Malviya and several other leaders including Vallabh Bhai Patel were arrested in Bombay while offering Satyagraha. Impact of his arrest was such that the students of Banaras Hindu University left for Bombay to support their leader.

After release, Malviya attended a meeting of Congress working committee, which had been declared illegal, in Delhi. All those present were imprisoned for six months. Malviya ji fell severely ill there and was later transferred to Govt hospital.

In 1931, at the age of 70, along with Gandhiji, he attended the Round Table Conference in London where he delivered a highly significant speech on army and its maintenance. He also gave several other speeches there on Hinduism.

Malaviyaji, Gandhiji and Sarojini Naidu attending Round Table Conference in London, 1931.

Malaviyaji, Gandhiji and Sarojini Naidu attending Round Table Conference in London, 1931.

On his return in January 1932, he found that many Indian leaders are in prison. Despite being banned by the Govt., paying no heed, the Congress session under presidentship of Malviya ji in Delhi was announced. But Malviyaji was once again arrested before the session for three days and could not attend the session.

Freedom in Sight:

The ‘Quit India’ resolution of 1942 saw all the top Congress leaders behind bars. BHU was a hub of nationalist activities. A special British force entered the campus. The ageing malviya challenged this but to no avail.

Events both national and international moved rapidly. The resurgence in India, the end of war in Europe and Asia, the national euphoria raised following the stories of the INA’s war of liberation and the Red Fort trial of its offenders, and the revolt in the Naval ranks in Bombay, led to the eventual handing over of power by British to India.

But the unfortunate events at Noakhalli and the atrocities perpetrated in many parts on the Hindus dealt a severe blow on Malviya.

On November 12, 1946 ended the life of an eminent personality devoted to noble cause knowing that the freedom for Indians for which he struggled all life, was at hand.

References:

Madan Mohan Malaviya

Mahamana Malviya Mission

Remembering our Leaders – Vol 9

 

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India fails its heroes, every time.

When you sit and think about what all is wrong with India and our mindset, the question has a potential to leave you mad, without offering any solution.One of them is the one in which I am indulging right now, i.e., posing too many questions. But this time, it’s more confessional in nature than a blame, pointing fingers at self than crying foul.

I will try restricting my focus on one of the behavioral aspects only, with reference to our expectations and indulgence in sporting achievements. There are a host of problems and most of them can be summarized in one short word as lack of sporting culture.

The Indian nation first took part in the modern Olympic Games in 1920. The nation has a dismal record in the Olympics and any other sporting event for that matter, except, the extravaganza called cricket.

The current Indian performance with all the media hype did not produce any gold medal. For the Indian nation considering its size, manpower density and emerging global power, the performance has been ‘pathetic’. But it does not bother me.

What really pains me is our collective behaviour. When an athlete or a sportsperson achieves a place on the podium against all odds, we every time fail to celebrate or recognise our heroes.

Now think of this. We sent a delegation of 117 sportsmen to the Rio Olympics. For the first time, we saw a sent off by the Indian Prime Minister. Great gesture! They returned with two medals. There was widespread media coverage ‘after’ a couple of medals. Virat Kohli, the batting sensation sent a video message on twitter wishing P V Sindhu. They found sponsors too. The God of Indian sports, Sachin Tendulkar later was seen distributing BMW cars to the achievers.

Now, compare that with the Rio Paralympics. We sent a delegation of 19, that’s right… only nineteen!! Strangely, no stars or celebrities, no politicians, showed interest to go with or cheer for them. And our heroes have already bagged 4 medals!! No hype, no media coverage, no sponsors, nothing!

It has been India’s best ever performance in the history of the summer Paralympic games. Devendra Jhajharia broke the World Record to win a gold medal in Javelin throw. Mariyappan Thangavelu won the Gold medal in men’s high jump T-42 category. Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic games, won a Silver medal in Shot put throw. Varun Singh Bhati is a Para high jumper who won the won the bronze medal. Who will remember them?

I did not see any video messages from Kohli or anybody and God alone knows where Sachin is? If one tells me that it is something to do with the ‘able’ v/s ‘disabled’, it would be far more painful. Though, I don’t think so. What comes to mind is that even Gods follow glamour and glitz. It’s still not too late. I am willing to see Chief ministers of respective states holding mega-shows to celebrate the heroes, Sachin or Dhoni to distribute them at least a Maruti sponsored by Maruti Suzuki. Will our Govt that arranged a sent off, think of Khel Ratna Awards and cash prizes for these go-getters. I doubt!!

We are a country full of sulkers. We sulk. We question. When it comes to showing even a little bit of courtesy, we are always absconding.

It is also a fact that Indian sporting culture never matured because of our Schooling system, lack of facilities for skill development in sports, nonexistent economic support to sportsmen and most importantly a lack of will.

The modern sports today needs a wide base for selection, high amount of training to master the necessary skill levels, physical fitness, and full-time dedication. For a struggling middle class more involved in upward mobility, education seems the best option as it guarantees success, with least fall out rate. Today’s education is all about percentages, and India favors rote learning which is repeated memorization and sports have no value in the same.

This comes with the lack of realization of the value of sports in character building. The another fact that is so prevalent in India today is, that the word character has gone out of vogue in psychological literature.  In a playing field, winning and losing are a part of the game. This gives a sense of character, and the ability to understand the other person’s point of view and accept a verdict for or against.

The nation should win more medals and should be in the respected list of countries is a distant dream. For that, the first change that is required is our sporting culture, our thought process that encourages sportsmen, and celebrates our heroes. Stop failing them and eventually self, every time.

Wake up India! Add your voice, so that those who ought to hear this, will finally wake up from their selfish slumber.

.

 

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Humanitarian Aid International (HAI)

We are living in a time, when the moment we hear the term ‘NGO’ (Non Government Organization), it alerts us. Recently, the Delhi high court has advocated for toughening of licensing norms for NGOs truly observing:

“most private run so called philanthropic organizations do not understand their social responsibilities. 99% of the existing NGOs are “fraud” and simply “moneymaking devices.” Only one out of every hundred NGOs serve the purpose they are set up for,” a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.

True that. You name any top NGO working in India for long, on objective examination, you find that they are running some hidden agenda. There are thousands of such top frauds working around us. Given the surprising number of NGO-related scams which are unearthed on an everyday basis, it is quite justifiable for the public to be cynical.

But it would be really unfortunate if we fail to acknowledge the hard work put in by some of the agencies at the grass-root level to fill the gaps which the Government couldn’t. There are many NGOs in India who have been accorded a status much lower than they actually deserve. Some are doing a great service to this nation, a few of them stand out. To name a phew:

  1. Helpage India: It has been working nationwide for the cause and care of the elderly for quite some time and has played a pioneering role in influencing policy change favoring the grey population. With India’s poor track record of treating old people, HI has done a commendable job in providing the emotional and material support to the elderly when they need it the most.
  2. Udaan: It’s a new organization working to empower the lives of destitute children, women and senior citizens. What started off as an informal educational setup is now a full-fledged school running in accordance with SSC curriculum.
  3. Pratham: Founded in 1994 with the aim of providing education to the children of the slums of Mumbai, Pratham has grown considerably in geographic coverage and size to become the largest NGO to be providing education to the underprivileged.
  4. Goonj: Founded with the vision of making clothing a matter of concern. They have made optimum use of waste materials and turned them into resource. It has also been listed by Forbes as India’s most powerful rural entrepreneur organization.
  5. Smile foundation: It was formed in 2002 to promote the cause of education amongst underprivileged children and has popularized the Social return on Investment (SROI) model by enabling civic driven change.

There are many more like Give India, Nanhi Kali, MAD (Make a difference), Akshay Patra, Barefoot College, etc. These NGOs have been scrutinized for their transparency and credibility. They were successful because they were ‘focused and result oriented’, ‘accountable and transparent’, had vision for ‘scale-ability & sustainability’ and the idea to collaborate.

But above all, they all started at some point with a ‘good intent’. That will remain the most important factor. The right intent helps get the focus and inculcate all the right traits into the organization.

One such organization that came to my notice recently, which is in the start-up stage is “Humanitarian Aid International” (HAI), an India based organisation that intends to work in least developed and middle-income countries, in addition to India. HAI‘s prime focus right now is to be a response mechanism to medium and mega disasters in India.

Presently they are focusing their attention to disaster risk reduction, climate change and adaptation and building resilience with a vision to collaborate with other global organisations to ensure that the Indian civil society is looked upon in making a significant contribution to measures that reduce poverty, hunger and violence in least developed and middle-income countries.

As of now, most of the donor organisations come from Europe and North America. However, as the funding has started shrinking in that part of the world, they have started registering themselves in developing countries to start raising funds locally, yet the parent organization and the source countries get all the credentials.

This seems to be a huge step in creation of a global Indian brand. To achieve this, HAI presently working on roster recruitment that will consist of highly experienced professionals and humanitarian, ready for deployment at any time to support NGOs, and governments during the times of their disaster response programs.

During such times, HAI‘s focus area in managing/supporting the Govt. and other NGOs would cover addressing the immediate unmet relief needs, early recovery and ensuring rehabilitation which ensures mitigation of vulnerability from future disasters. Given increasing trafficking and distress migration, protection will remain a crosscutting issue across all HAI programs.

HAI recently has launched its appeal to respond to floods in Assam and Bihar. The implementation will be carried out through their partener organisations, namely AGUP and NEADS in Assam and RAHAT in Bihar. The appeal focuses on providing immediate relief through food and non-food items support and supporting early recovery through cash-for-work, revival of agriculture and other livelihood activities, WASH, shelter repairing and protection of vulnerable women and children.

For a quick look at their website, click here: HAIlogo And their twitter handle is @humanaidint

The founders’ background is not of a typical international non-governmental organizations’ senior staff. They hail from Indian middle-class families who found themselves moved by problems they saw at home and around.

For an organization to gain international repute, having a motivated professional workforce is both a matter of fairness and equity and key commitments for agencies fighting poverty, disaster, disease, and injustice. However, hiring talent with deep knowledge of local problems and challenges is also crucial to build effectiveness, impact, and sustainability into the effective job delivery.

Again the obstacles to finding the donors for an organization that has yet to prove any achievement will remain the most critical one. It will be played down at each stage. But then depends on how swiftly the founders are able to shake the entrenched assumptions, how determined they are for the cause, how ready they are to take the rejections in their stride. The fact remains that the organizations are stepping up, from startups bringing entrepreneurial fervor to development work, to larger, more traditional international agencies.

I hope, and wish that HAI too surpasses all the hurdles and achieves it’s goal of becoming one of the top Indian International name in serving people smartly, effectively and on a large scale across borders.

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak : The Father of Indian Unrest !!

Tilak photo “Swaraj humaara janmsiddh adhikar hai” (Self-rule is our birth right) roared Tilak, the Lion of India, which inspired millions of Indians. His book Geeta-Rahasya, a classic treatise on Geeta in Marathi was written by him in prison at Mandalay in Burma. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, on 23rd of July 1856 was an Indian nationalist, journalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and an independence activist.

Childhood & Youth: Intelligent and Mischievous yet Focused

“If five sheep eat up all the grass in a meadow in 28 days, how many sheep will eat up all the grass in 20 days?”  “Seven sheep, sir,” flashed the answer even before the teacher finished his question. The teacher went near Bal and looked into his notebook and asked “Where have you worked the sum?” Bal, with his mischievous smile, pointed the index finger to his head.

While Bal’s classmates found it difficult to understand certain problems, to Bal mathematics was like drinking water, and Sanskrit, of course, was like a peeled banana. Bal’s father Gangadhar Ramachandra Tilak was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Bal learned all the lessons at home, and there was nothing left to learn at school. Though Bat was very intelligent, he was not his teachers’ favorite because of his mischievousness and his independent views. Those were the days of his schooling in the primary school at Ratnagiri.

 Like any other kid, Tilak was also fascinated with stories. As soon as he was done with studies, he would run to his grandfather, to hear new stories.  During the first war of independence (1857), his grandfather had lived in Kashi. Tilak would listen to the stories about the revolutionaries like Nana Saheb, Tatia Tope, and Jhansi Rani, Bal and be thrilled. “Oh! What great men were they who sacrificed their lives for the country!” he thought in his mind. Slowly the desire to free Mother India from slavery cropped in his mind and he promised to himself, “when he grew up he, too, should serve his country like the great revolutionaries.”

Bal was ten years old when Gangadhar Pant got transferred to Pune. Coming from Ratnagiri to Pune was a milestone in the life of Bal Tilak. A new place and new people. Bal’s mother passed away only a few months after coming to Pune. Bal lost his father also six years after his mother’s death. Then he was 16 years old. He was studying in the Matriculation Class. He had been married to a ten-year-old girl called Sathyabhama.

Naturally one’s responsibility increases after marriage. Now Bal Tilak became ‘Bal Gangadhar Tilak’. After passing the Matriculation Examination, he joined the Deccan College. His health was delicate as his mothers. How could he sacrifice his life for the country if his body were weak? So, Tilak decided to improve his physique even at the cost of his studies during the first year of college. He used to do physical exercises every day. And his food was regulated but nutritious. In the course of one year, Tilak was first in all games and sports. He became an expert swimmer and wrestler. He developed his body so well that all wondered at such radiant health. In 1877, Tilak got his B.A. degree. It was no wonder that he got first class marks in mathematics. He continued his studies and got the LL.B. degree also.

Tilak, being a double graduate, could easily have got a well-paid job like others, under the British. But, as he had decided when he was young, he dedicated himself to the service of his country. The concept of Swaraj had yet to blossom in the minds of the people. They had to be made to feel that thirst for independence. Patriotism had to be nurtured, to lay the strong foundation for a new way of life, an educational institution reflecting Indian culture had to be established. Every Indian had to be taught about Indian culture and national ideals. Good citizens can be molded only through good education. Such were the views of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. His classmate Agarkar gave him full support. As Tilak and Agarkar were working out the plans for a system of education which would make students truly useful to the country, another great person, Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar joined them.

The New School and the world of Journalism:

Chiplunkar, himself a teacher, wished that at least the younger generations should receive the fighting type of education. The people’s blind faith that British rule was God’s gift to India had to be wiped out. Tilak, Agarkar, and Chiplunkar were three people impelled by the same ideal. They joined hands to create an educational institution to develop moral strength in the pupils.

The educational institution planned and founded by Tilak is like a banyan tree. The little seedling planted by him has grown into a gigantic tree with many branches, and every branch has meant renewed. Life and a new educational institution. The New English School has now developed into the ‘Deccan Education Society’. This society now runs the Fergusson College and the Greater Maharashtra Commerce and Economics College in Pune, the Willingdon College in Sangli and the Bombay College in Bombay as well as some high schools.

As the New English School started in 1880, progressed, attracted large numbers of pupils. It was a school that reflected our culture and the ideals of our life and was thus our very own. It was also securing the best results in the examinations. Teachers Were so preparing their pupils for the examinations as to secure all the scholarships for their school. Tilak and his colleagues toiled not a little for the school. During the first year, neither Tilak nor Chiplunkar drew even a rupee as salary.

Now, Tilak thought of expanding the field of national education. The school imparted knowledge only to the students. It was necessary to bring home to the mind of every Indian the nature of the slavery of Indians. People had to be organized, and the people had to be roused to their condition and duty. Tilak thought that the newspapers were the most effective media. The very next year after the school was started, Tilak started two weeklies. ‘Kesari’ was the Marathi Weekly and ‘Mahratta’ was the English Weekly.

The newspapers attracted the people. In just two years ‘Kesari’ had more readers than any Indian language paper. The editorials gave a vivid picture of the people’s sufferings and of actual happenings. They called upon every Indian to fight for his right. The language was so sharp as to create in the most cowardly reader the thirst for freedom. Tilak used to say to his colleagues: “You are not writing for the university students. Imagine you are talking to a villager….. Be sure of your facts. Let your words be clear as day light.”

After the death of Rajaram, Maharaja of Kolhapur State, his adopted son Shivaji Rao became the Maharaja. ‘Kesari’ published articles condemning the cruel way in which the British treated him. When the people came to know of the tyranny of the British, unrest gripped Pune and Kolhapur. The Government filed a case against ‘Kesari’ (for publishing the facts). The young editors Agarkar and Tilak were sentenced to 4 months’ rigorous imprisonment.

As the New English School was progressing well, Fergusson College and Deccan Education Society were established. Tilak made a rule that no one should expect more than seventy five rupees a month as his salary. But other members of the management opposed this. When differences of opinion on this issue became endless, Tilak made over to others the institution he himself had founded.

Tilak was filled with immense grief, when he had to resign from the institution which he had started and for which he had toiled day and night for ten years. The weeklies ‘Kesari’ and `Mahratta’ also brought no profit. Tilak had to find part time work to maintain his family. Never would he work under the British. He started classes to coach students for the Pleaders, Examination.

The Significant Years

The period seven years between 1890 and 1897 was very significant in the life of Tilak. During this period, Tilak the Teacher/director of an institution became a national leader. The exceptional energy, so far hidden in him, now raced forth in many directions. In addition to the two weeklies, he was running classes for students of Law. He actually waged a war against the Government for the sake of social reforms. He issued a call for the banning of child marriage and welcomed widow marriage. Through the celebrations of Ganapathi Festival and the birthday of the Shivaji he organized people. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, a member of the Bombay Legislature, and an elected ‘Fellow’ of the Bombay University, He was also taking a leading part in the Congress sessions. Added to these, he wrote and published his maiden work ‘Orion’.

That Tilak managed to transform the local festivities of Ganesha and Shivaji into national festivals, is proof of his organizing ability and shrewdness. If people are to feel in their very blood and bones that they are all one, they should meet often; they should have common ideals and there should be occasions, when they can forget all other differences and mingle together joyously. Tilak’s plan made these festivities spread to every nook and corner of Maharashtra in a few years.

In 1896, famine broke out in India. Tilak pressed the government to relieve the distress of the people at once. He helped the farmers affected by the famine. He collected information about the conditions in every district and published it in the ‘Mahratta’ and the ‘Kesari’. Plague broke out while the people were still in the grip of famine. Tilak opened some hospitals and, with the help of volunteers, looked after the patients. Though the people were in the grip of famine and plague, the government was indifferent. The Viceroy himself said that there was no cause for anxiety and no need to start a ‘Famine Relief Fund’! Revenue collection went on as usual. The government’s indifference was severely criticized in the articles published in Tilak’s papers. They published fearlessly reports about the havoc caused by famine and plague and government’s utter irresponsibility and indifference. In the editorials, Tilak made appeals to the people and gave them advice. He explained to them the ‘Famine Relief Act’. He exhorted them to demand relief from the government as their right. “Are you cowards even while you are dying? Can’t you gather courage?” So he questioned the people. He gave constructive suggestions to the government to arrest the plague.

The government made preparations to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. On one side, people were busy cremating the victims of the plague; on the other side, the governments was busy making arrangements for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations! At last, the government appointed a Special Plague Officer to arrest the havoc of the plague. His name was Rand and he was more terrible than the plague itself. He sent armed soldiers to make the people vacate the houses which plague had entered.

The soldiers forcibly entered the houses and terrified the people with their guns. They admitted to the hospitals someone they could catch no matter whether he was suffering from plague or not. They took the remaining members of the family to distant camps; they burnt all their belongings on the assumption that they carded the infection. Rand Sahib became a worse plague than the plague itself. But, in his own hospitals, Tilak was toiling day and night to save the lives of plague affected people.

A youth, enraged by the senselessness of the government’s anti-plague measures, shot the Special Plague Officer Rand dead. The police reacted violently and acts of injustice and cruelty multiplied. Tilak’s blood boiled. Under the title “Has the Government gone mad?” Tilak condemned in the ‘Kesari’ the immoral acts of the government. Tilak’s pungent writings made the government tremble. The government came to the conclusion that if Tilak was free it could not survive. By some means or the other Tilak must be locked up behind the bars. The government suspected that Tilak might have had a hand in Rand’s murder! It took objection to a poem and an article on Shivaji published in the ‘Kesari’, and imprisoned Tilak in 1897. Tilak was charged with writing articles instigating die people to rise against the government and to break the laws and disturb the peace. He was sentenced to a year and a half’s rigorous imprisonment.

A Lion Even In The Cage

The cells in the jails in those days were actual, hell. The dark cell measured just 13 square feet, and the prisoner could not even turn from one side to another. The blanket was full of worms. Mosquitoes were innumerable. The bread was mixed with sand. The clothes were coarse. Officers whipped the prisoners and mercilessly set them to work. Tilak had to make rope and mats from coir and his fingers got blisters. The fingers that wrote ‘Orion’, which won praise from great scholars like Max Muller, were made to do dreadful tasks which made them bleed. Tilak lost 30 pounds in weight in just four months.

In the little leisure he had, he read and wrote. His book ‘The Arctic Home in the Vedas’ written in the jail, is a priceless work. Scholars and statesmen from all over the world appealed to the government to release Tilak. The government insisted on two conditions to release him: he should not attend any reception arranged in his honour and he should not criticize the government. Tilak was ready to accept the first condition as he did not desire anything for himself. But he would rather live as an outlaw in the Andamans than live as a coward in Maharashtra, admitting that he had done something wrong when he had not done so. So he rejected the second condition. Finally the government reduced his sentence from one and a half years to a year.

It was Deepawali in 1898; Tilak was released from jail. The joy of the people was beyond words. There were illuminations and fireworks everywhere. There was a heavy rush of people to have ‘darshan’ of Tilak. He was taken in a procession through the main streets of Pune. People shed tears of joy. Every Indian’s heart was filled with reverence for Tilak.  Tilak, who was a regional leader, now became the National Leader..

The Sacred Word: ‘Swadeshi’

At this time, the ‘Swadeshi’ movement grew intense. Gokhale, Ranade, Paranjape and others had shown the importance of the swadeshi principle. Through newspapers and lectures, Tilak spread the message to each and every village in Maharashtra. A big ‘Swadeshi Market’ was opened in front of Tilak’s house. Swadeshi goods were sold in the fifty odd stalls of the market. The slogan of swadeshi was heard everywhere. Foreign clothes were reduced to ashes. Foreign sugar was thrown away and local jaggery was used. Swadeshi cotton mills, paper mills and factories to manufacture matches were started.

The students of Rajaram College, Kolhapur, were to take an examination. They tore the blank books given to them, saying they would not use foreign-made paper. These students were given six lashes each as punishment. And they pleaded that they should be beaten only with a local made cane !

‘Swadeshi, Swaraj (self-rule), Boycott and National Education’- these were the sacred words preached by Tilak. And the people made weapons of these words. The tendency grew in Indians to defy slavery. Galvanizing people’s love of their country was itself a revolution brought about by Tilak.

Fourteen years later Gandhiji started the non-cooperation movement against the British. The methods he placed before the people, Tilak had formulated as early as in 1906!

A Shameless Government

During this time, the Government of India and some British newspapers harassed Tilak in many ways. A rich man, Baba Maharaj by name, had died. He had expressed the wish that Tilak should look after his property. So Tilak took charge of it. Baba Maharaj’s wife was misled by some selfish persons. She complained against Tilak to the government. The government was waiting for an opportunity to crush a leader who had been fighting against it. It appointed special officers and held a mock trial; ‘it decided that Tilak had tendered false evidence and was also guilty of forgery. He. was handcuffed like thieves and murderers and sent to prison. Tilak, after coming out of the jail on bail, fought for fourteen years in different courts and finally got justice from the privy Council in England. The Privy Council rebuked severely the courts in India for the way they had tried this case.

The ‘Globe’ of London and ‘The Times of India’ had written that Tilak incited people to commit murders. Tilak did not rest till he made those papers apologize to him.

The Division of Bengal, Faction in Congress and Imprisonment:

After the All India Muslim League was founded by the All India Mohammaden Educational Conference at Dhaka, in 1906 in the context of the circumstances that were generated over the partition of Bengal, Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress. The anti-Hindu ways of the Indian National Congress first showed up in August 1906 over the issue of who should be nominated for President-ship of the Calcutta Congress in December. In 1906, the Congress was split into two factions: The radicals, led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, advocated civil agitation and direct revolution to overthrow the British Empire and the abandonment of all things British. The moderates, led by leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale who on the other hand wanted reform within the framework of British rule. Tilak was backed by rising public leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, who held the same point of view. Under them, India’s three great states – Maharashtra, Bengal and Punjab shaped the demand of the people and India’s nationalism.

When Gokhale’s empire loyalists’ camp realized that Tilak was the Nationalists’ choice for President. Gokhale criticized Tilak for encouraging acts of violence and disorder and had made himself widely unpopular among the people for apologizing to the British government for the Swaraj, Swadeshi and Boycott movement. It had to be someone else and a person with enough stature to challenge Tilak’s nomination, they decided to bring Dadabhai Naoroji from London to contest the post. But the Congress of 1906 did not have public membership, and thus Tilak and his supporters were forced to leave the party. Aurobindo cried foul and mercilessly lampooned The Indian Mirror, the Congress organ in Bengal and an ally of the government.

[The Indian Mirror has chosen naturally enough to fall foul of Mr. Tilak. Mr. Tilak we learn, has seriously offended our contemporary by giving honour to Mr. Bhopatkar on his release from jail: his speeches on the Shivaji festival were displeasing to the thoughtful and enlightened men who congregate in the office of the Indian Mirror; and to sum up the whole matter, “he is a man of extreme views and without tact”.  Ergo he is no fit man for the presidential chair of the Congress.

It is interesting to learn on this unimpeachable authority, what are the qualifications which the moderate and loyalist mind demands in a President of the ‘national’ Congress. It is not the great protagonist and champion of Swadeshi in Western India. It is not the one man whom the whole Indian community in Western India delights to honour, from Peshawar to Kolhapur and from Bombay to our own borders; but It is one who will not talk about Shivaji and Bhavani – but only about Mahatmas. His social and religious views may not agree with those of the “enlightened”, but we have yet to learn that the Congress platform is sacred to advanced social reformers, that the profession of the Hindu religion is a bar to leadership in its ranks.

It follows therefore that the Presidentship was unconstitutionally offered to Mr. Naroji by one or two individuals behind the back of the Reception Committee. It is now explained that Mr. Naoroji simply wired his willingness to accept the Presidentship offered to him. The plea that it had long been known Mr. Naroji was coming to India and it was therefore thought fit to ask him to preside at the Congress, is one which will command no credit. Not until Mr. Tilak’s name was before the country and they saw that none of their mediocrities they had suggested could weigh in the scale with the great Maratha leader.]

(A Disingenuous Defense, September 14, 1906, Bande Mataram)

The British divided Bengal. A powerful movement flared up to protest against the division of Bengal. There was a District Magistrate Kingsford, who was the embodiment of injustice. A revolutionary by name Khudiram Bose threw a bomb on him. The government used very harsh methods to break the will of the people. Aurobindo was arrested and taken to the police office in iron handcuffs, with a rope tied to his waist. Anyone suspected of trying to use explosives could be sent to prison for 14 years!

Tilak’s blood boiled. He wrote an article in the ‘Kesari’ under the title ‘The Country’s Misfortune’ and took the government to task: ‘It is unfortunate that bombs are being made in the country. But the responsibility for creating a situation in which it has become necessary to throw bombs, rests solely on the government. This is due to the government’s unjust rule.’ The British were like a pricked balloon. They concluded that their government would be in danger if Tilak remained free.

The government made this article ‘The Country’s Misfortune’, a pretext to charge Tilak with treason against the government. Tilak was arrested on 24th June 1908 in Bombay. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment outside India. The country was plunged in grief. Even foreign thinkers condemned this severe punishment to Tilak, who was a scholar, highly respected and honored throughout the world.

The prison in Mandalay, Burma; a small room made of wooden planks; inside, a cot, a table, a chair and a bookshelf this was Tilak’s room. There was no protection from wind and cold. And he was cut off from other men. By the time Tilak completed one year in this jail, he got a note through one of his friends. The note said that if he accepted certain conditions, then he would be released. Tilak wrote back saying, ‘I am now 53 years old. If I live for another ten Years, that means I shall live for five years after I come out of the prison. I can at least spend those five years in the service of the people. if I accept government’s conditions, I am as good dead’.

The rigorous imprisonment was reduced to simple imprisonment. So he was allowed to read and write. It was here that he wrote the book ‘Gita-Rahasya’. It is a mighty work. Tilak wished to forget his loneliness and so was always immersed in reading and writing. By the time his term of six years in the jail was over, he had collected about 400 books. He returned to his old daily routine, which he had given up for want of time. In the mean time, Tilak’s, wife passed away in India when he was still rotting in the jail in Mandalay.

Tilak was released on 8th June 1914. He was brought to pune on the 16th and was let off. Many organizations in Pune arranged public meetings in honor of Tilak. Tilak said : “Six years of separation from you has not lessened my affection for you. I have not forgotten the concept of Swaraj. There will be no change in the programs I had already accepted. They will all continue as before.”

Tilak Vs Gandhi:

If I have to conclude it in one sentence, the fact of the matter is, Tilak and Aurbindo were becoming serious threat for the colonial rulers and the Gandhi was groomed to be ‘Mahatma’ and brought to India to replace Tilak as mass leader and Aurbindo as the philosophical leader.

Tilak believed in democratic realism while Gandhi believed in ethical realism. Tilak derived his inspiration from Mahabharata, Geeta and Upanishads for politics and actions. Gandhi was influenced by Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau, Narsi Mehta, etc.

Tilak thought of Ahinsa for political expediency while Gandhi had absolute faith in Ahinsa (this also has been challenged, with evidence to the contrary). Tilak would not use force and diplomacy for dealing with opponent till the opponent is not mischievous. Tilak never believed in the ethical aspect of non-violence. To protect good and destroy the evil is a divine quality. A policy of forgiveness and meekness cannot be practiced in this world full of sins. Tilak was a realist and not an idealist. He once wrote to Gandhi that politics is not for Sadhus and Sanyasis. It was a game of worldly people. He would like Gandhi to follow Krishna than Buddha. Krishna gave priority to the practicality of the situation and would destroy evil and restore Dharma. Buddha would return evil with goodness. Gandhi believed the later and regarded any violence for good or evil as unethical.

Tilak believed in representative democracy while Gandhi believed in moral sovereignty. Gandhi gave moral supremacy of a single man superiority over a big parliament.

The realism of Tilak and ethical idealism of Gandhi were clear as to their Reforms Act of 1919. Gandhi was against contesting election while Tilak condemned the reforms but advocated contesting the elections of Assemblies and participate. He wanted more and more of rights for which he aimed to work both inside and outside. About entering the Legislative Council, Tilak said to Gandhiji “I personally believe that it will be better to go to the councils and obstruct when it was necessary and to co-operate also if needed.”

By the time Tilak returned from Mandalay, there was a serious rift between the two Congress groups. His efforts to unite them were in vain. Gandhijee was wary of him. The freedom fighters were divided into two sections. “Garam Dal” or Aggressive Group of Tilak followers and “Naram Dal” or Diffident Group of Gandhi followers. Then Tilak decided to build a separate powerful organization called the ‘Home Rule League.’ Its goal was Swaraj.

‘Swaraj’ means that we should manage our homes, ourselves. Should our neighbor become the master of our house? An Indian should have as much freedom in India as an Englishman has in England. This is the meaning of ‘Home Rule’ – so Tilak explained. He regularly traveled, to organize the people. He spoke of hundreds of platforms about ‘Swaraj’. And wherever he went he received a hero’s welcome.

“Swaraj — Our Birth-Right” !!

“Swaraj — Our Birth-Right. “We want equality. We cannot remain slaves under foreign rule. We will not carry for an instant longer, the yoke of slavery that we have carded all these years. Swaraj is our birthright. We must have it at any cost. When the Japanese, who are Asians like us, are free, why should we be slaves? Why should our Mother’s hands be handcuffed?” Swaraj’s altered blazed. The government was again alarmed and troubled. As days passed, Tilak began to stamp the slogan ‘Swaraj is our birthright’ on the minds of every Indian. Lokamanya Tilak’s popularity grew rapidly.

In 1916, Tilak completed sixty years of a fruitful life. Scholars, leaders, and friends thronged his house on the occasion of the sixtieth birthday celebrations. Tilak was honored with the presentation of an Address of Felicitations and a purse of one lakh rupees. The celebrations were on a grand scale. The Lokamanya gave away the money to be used in the service of the country. The government also gave him a present on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday! On the day before his birthday, the government served him with a notice; it ordered him to give a surety of Rs. 20000, for his good behavior for one year!

When a journalist of England by name Chirol, visited India, he studied the movement directed by Tilak and made false allegations against Tilak. He charged that ‘Tilak was the leader of a violent revolution in India!’ Tilak claimed that this was an insult to him and went to court for damages. He had to go to England for the ‘Chirol episode’ and had to remain there for 13 months. On account of this, he had to spend his precious time and money.

It was not solely for this case that Tilak visited England. His purpose also was to explain to the British government conditions in enslaved India. He addressed hundreds of meetings and intensified the ‘Home Rule’ (Swaraj) movement. He won the friendship of leaders of the Labour Party.

The Lion Of India Is No More

In the World War, the British sought the help of Indians. Victory in the war intoxicated the British and tyranny was let loose in India. When the Rowlatt Act was opposed, the ‘Jailianwala Bagh Massacre’ took place. The heartless government murdered in cold blood hundreds of unarmed civilians in a brutal way.

On hearing this, Tilak rushed back to India at once. He issued a call to the Indians not to stop their movement no matter what happened, till their demands were met. The Lokamanya had become feeble by this time. The body was tired and yet; he undertook tours to awaken the people. In July 1920, his condition worsened. In the early hours of 1st August, the light went out.

Even as this sad news was spreading, a veritable ocean of people surged towards his house, to have the last glimpse of their beloved leader. Two lakhs of people witnessed his last journey.

Tilak’s was a magnificent life, and he was every way worthy of the people’s homage. He led a simple life and offered himself, body and soul, to the service of his country.

 

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Sachinnn… Sachin! What a Player!!

Like any other kid, Cricket was my favorite game in my childhood. It was around the 1987 Reliance World Cup, I started following Cricket Seriously. The victory over Pakistan in the Benson & Hedges Cup, 1985 and the whole team celebrating driving an Audi on the ground, was the only other moment I remember that made me love Cricket more.

My association with Sachin started from the very beginning when he made his Debut in 1989. I was preparing for my 11th, He was playing for India.

When Sachin traveled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race an F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.

When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters.

It seems time excused one man and stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.

“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.” – BBC Sports

Have you ever sat and wondered what the Sachin Tendulkar experience was? The quintessential, wholesome Tendulkar experience! Was it visual? Was it vicarious? The Tendulkar experience may not be of a singular nature, but it did exist as a collective summation, having completely distinct of its own in the Indian cricket lover’s consciousness. We breathed together when he batted, we shook our head together in despair when he was dismissed.

December 16, 1989,  was probably the first time that Sachin became the man who brought the nation to a standstill as he walked out to bat. After he had struck the young Qadir protege Mushtaq Ahmed for a couple of sixes, the older leggie had told him, “Bachche ko kya maar rahe ho? Dum hai to mujhe maarke dikhao.” (No big deal hitting a kid, if you have it in you try hitting me.) A young 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar, announced himself to the world, took on the seasoned Abdul Qadir, hitting him for 28 runs in an over. 6,0,4,6,6,6. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHtoVnHogME

Picking favorite innings of Sachin is like asking favorite Kishore Kumar number or best Amitabh Bachchan performance; almost close to blasphemy. Where were you when Desert Storm happened? I will still try. Here are my favorite top five test innings of Sachin, the order is chronological only.

1. 57 – Pakistan v India, 1989

ST1

Oct 1989: Sachin Tendulkar of India in action during a match against Pakistan played in Lahore, Pakistan. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport

There was no greater test of a young Sachin’s credentials than against Pakistan and their much-vaunted seam attack of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan. On his debut tour, the 16-year-old Tendulkar showed his promise with two half-centuries at Faisalabad and Sialkot – the second of which was particularly impressive.

 2. 119 not out, England v India, Old Trafford, 1990

Playing his ninth Test at the age of just 17, Tendulkar displayed not only his natural talent but also his mental strength as he scored a sublime maiden Test century in the fourth innings at Old Trafford. Set 408 runs to win, India looked certain to lose the match having collapsed to 183 for six, but Tendulkar guided his side to safety with an imperious 119 not out from 189 balls.

“In the last session, Tendulkar hit a reverse sweep, an orthodox sweep and a lofted cover drive. They were all exquisite cricket shots. To play those shots deliberately in such quick succession, off almost similar deliveries, was genius. That was a little jewel, just those 3-4 minutes. “It reminds you how very few people are special. It was a case of great thinking and good technique.” – David Gower

“Technically, you can’t fault Sachin. Seam or spin, fast or slow nothing is a problem.” – Geoffrey Boycott

ST2 3. 114, Australia v India, Perth, 1992

Arguably Tendulkar’s finest ever test innings, the Little Master gained the respect of everyone in Australia with this dogged innings. On one of the quickest wickets in the world Tendulkar refused to bow down to Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes as wickets tumbled around him. The ninth wicket to fall, Tendulkar had faced 161 balls for his 114, in a team total that saw only three other batsmen score above 11.

 “Whenever I see Sachin play I am reminded of the Graeme Pollock quote of Cricket being a ‘see the ball, hit the ball game.’ He hits the ball as if it’s there to be hit.” – Ian Chappell

 4. 169, South Africa v India, Cape Town, 1997

Photographs: Reuters

Photographs: Reuters

Going in to bat after South Africa had racked up a huge first innings total of 529 for seven, India quickly found themselves in deep trouble at 58 for five. Again it fell to Tendulkar to rescue the situation, which he did by combining with Mohammad Azharuddin in a stand of 202 to haul India past the follow-on mark. It was always going to need something special to get rid of him, and Adam Bacher duly obliged with a quite unbelievable catch in the deep.

“In my several years of international cricket, Tendulkar remains the best batsman I have ever bowled to. It’s been a pleasure to bowl at the master batsman. During our team meetings, we often speak about the importance of the first 12 balls to Tendulkar. If you get him then you can thank your stars, otherwise it could mean that tough times lie ahead.” – Allan Donald

 5. 241 not out, Australia v India, Sydney, 2004

Photo: Brendan Esposito

Photo: Brendan Esposito

Tendulkar’s highest Test score was 248 not out against Bangladesh but the finest of his six double centuries came against Australia in 2004. Batting first, Tendulkar’s innings straddled the opening three days before the tourists finally declared on 705 for seven. Despite his innings, and a quickfire second innings 60 not out to set the Aussies a victory target, India had to settle for the draw.

“He is a perfectly balanced batsman and knows perfectly well when to attack and when to play defensive cricket. He has developed the ability to treat bowlers all over the world with contempt and can destroy any attack with utmost ease.” – Greg Chappell

“I have seen GOD , he bats at No. 4 for India in Tests.” – Mathew Hayden

My favorite top five One Day innings of Sachin, again the order is only chronological.

 1. 84 in the year 1994, India vs. New Zealand:

Pic:  V.V. KRISHNAN

Pic: V.V. KRISHNAN

In this match, Sachin was the opening batsman for the first time in his 26 years long ODI cricket career. Navjot Singh Sidhu wasn’t fit and therefore, Sachin was asked to open. In retrospect, Sidhu would almost certainly feel happy and content for this fortunate accident. Eden Park Auckland became witness to Little Master’s memorable 82 off just 43 balls! It included 15 fours and 2 splendid sixes. When asked to comment on his inning at Eden Park later, Sachin termed it a ‘dream’ and an inning that can perhaps happen just once in a person’s lifetime!

“There are two kinds of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others.” – Andy Flower

2. 143 and 134 vs Australia, Sharjah, 22 and 24th April 1998.

Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Allsport/Getty Images

Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Allsport/Getty Images

It was that time, when Indian team was teased for- “Sharjah me haarja” (Go Sharjah and come back loosing). Sachin changed that forever. Though India lost the match after Sachin got out, he had done enough for the team to go into the finals of that cup. Just 2 days after his ‘Sand-storm’ innings, he produced another divine innings. This time, he made sure that India wins the match and the Sharjah cup. The two back-to-back centuries against Australia in Sharjah will remain the peak of his batting prowess.

Frustrated Kasprowicz went to Dennis Lillee and asked, “Mate, do you see any weaknesses?” Lillee replied, “No Michael, you have to decide for yourself whether you’re bowling well or not. He’s going to hit you for fours and sixes anyway. As long as you walk off with your pride that’s all you can do.”

Pic Source - Google

Pic Source – Google

“I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two…hi compactness, technique, stroke production… it all seemed to gel!” – Sir Don Bradman

“I’ll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six. He was unstoppable. I don’t think anyone, apart from Don Bradman, is in the same class as Tendulkar. He is just an amazing player.” – Shane Warne

“There is no shame losing to such a great player (Sachin).” – Steve Waugh

“He has everything a top batsman needs. Tendulkar is a classic example of a player being so good that his age is an irrelevance”- Alistair Campbell after losing to India in the Coca-Cola Cup final.

 3. 140* vs Kenya, Bristol, 23 May 1999

Pic: Google Search

Pic: Google Search

World cup, Sachin’s father passed away, the team needed Sachin the most. He played, made a century looked in the sky with a tear in the eye.

“He is 99.5% Perfect. I’ll pay to watch him play. I think he is marvelous. I think he will fit in whatever category of Cricket that has been played or will be played, from the first ball that has ever been bowled to the last ball that’s going to be. He can play in any era and at any level.” – Viv Richards

4. 98 vs Pakistan, Centurion, 1 Mar 2003

Pic: Google Search

Pic: Google Search

Termed as the best innings of his life, by Sachin himself, this is the another divine innings. India- Pakistan a world cup match. Sachin fires and fires so fiercely that made very Indian proud! The 2003 World Cup Was one of my Most Favorite cricket Tournaments ever. Watched Every India Match. India Lost, with a consolation. Sachin Won the Man of the Tournament award.

“Today, he showed the world why he is considered the best batsman around. Some of the shots he played were simply amazing. I don’t know what to bowl at him. Once I bowled an in-swinger and he drove me through covers of the front foot. Then I bowled an out-swinger and he again punched through covers of the back-foot. He should live long and score lots of runs, but not against Pakistan(smiling) “- Wasim Akram

5. 200 not out, India v South Africa, Gwalior, 2010

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

Sachin made 200*. It was fitting that Tendulkar became the first man on the planet to score a double-century in an ODI innings. Opening the batting in a day-night match, Tendulkar took 90 balls for his first century before smashing his second off just 57. A single with four deliveries remaining saw Tendulkar pass the double-hundred milestone was a feast to watch. This, coming against a formidable side of South Africa having legendary bowlers like Dale Steyn made it value in gold!

“Sachin is a genius , I am a mere mortal!” – Brian Lara

Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images AsiaPac

Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images AsiaPac

2011 World Cup: Words are not enough to speak about that tournament! I was happy India won. We won. More so to see Sachin won the World Cup. Dhoni Finishing with a six, Sachin comes running to the field hugging Yuvi, Happy tears all over the world. The Moment When Sachin was carried on his Shoulders was really a Goosebumps moment.

The 100th Century was just another moment of a deep breath, that we used to take after each century of his.

As his centuries gave everyone joy, his dismissal gave many heartbreaks. I also had my moments of joy and despair with Sachin. While rushing back to home not to miss his batting, the first thing one would ask entering home; “Abhi Khel Raha hai na? (Hope he is still batting)”.

His dismissal in two matches left me numb, one was in the semi-final of 1996 World Cup against Sri Lanka and second in the Test match against Pakistan in Chennai. In both these matches, India dramatically collapsed after Sachin’s departure.

In life, we all are left sad and shattered and cry when our own kin scoffs at us. We feel down. It takes a lot from us to come out of these everyday situations and move on.

This is especially for those people who would have made fun of Sachin, every time India lost. I have not seen Sachin cry. He does not cry. Just keeps his head down and leaves the field. We are too immature to even imagine what goes on in that mind and heart of his.

“He has single-handedly lifted to moods of this entire nation umpteen number of times. We struggle in keeping our monotonous lives straight, lives which affect a limited number of people. Imagine what would be the magnitude of the inner struggle for him, pain both mental and physical,  that see expectations from a billion people. And he just converts those expectations into reality. We watch in awe, feel privileged. Words fail here…..” – Harsha Bhogle

Me, at Wankhede cheering for Sachin's MI.

Me, at Wankhede cheering for Sachin’s MI.

I am not a keen IPL follower. But when it started, my loyalty for Sachin automatically made me a Mumbai Indian sympathizer. Mumbai Indians was scheduled to play in Wankhede the very next day I reached India. I managed 2 tickets for me and my cousin online. I had seen him bat few times in the Cricket stadium. This was my last I was going to see him bat in a cricket stadium. My bad, he did not play the game, but was present in the ground and roaming around.

After watching him play for so many years, the ‘Sachin mania’ had subsided in me, but not for those who had come to watch him. Whenever Sachin turned back in our direction, where I was seated, people jumped from their seats shouting, ‘Sachinnnn…Sachinn’. This exercise of the crowd kept me smiling even after I left the stadium. However, on my way back I kept thinking, how a mere look from a man could induce such excitement? Such was the aura of Sachin.

A year before his retirement, I was critical of him and wanted him to retire, but on October 10, 2013, Sachin Tendulkar took the decision of quitting cricket after playing his 200th Test.

Finally, the man, on November 16, bowed out of the game by leaving the cricket world teary-eyed. I see his retirement, as the complete emergence of the elder statesman. I could be wrong here, and I hope to God that I am, but I think it’s time to finally grow up.

I’m sure every other Indian growing up at that time would have a Sachin story to tell. My Sachin Tendulkar experience was the experience of my growing up. It is therefore naturally different from the others and immensely special. For Me Cricket will never be the Same without Sachin Tendulkar. I will watch India matches but not with the same excitement, I will not get up early in the morning, won’t rush home to watch a cricket match.

 

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