तक्षशिला से मगध तक यात्रा एक संकल्प की . . .

Bharatiya Way to Celebrate the New Year

“Dosto countdown begins on 31st…Kesi he tayyari..!!”  This was the heading of this photo on the Face book wall of a teenager. I was stunned by this. One may feel that it is old-fashioned to be surprised by such a normal modern practices. Does not matter, if being modern is what this photo represents, we should happy to be old-fashioned. This is what happens when one imitates without any thought. In Hindi we call it “Akal ke bina Nakal”. Past few years’ westernization has been marketed as modernization. This has led to a very comical situation. It does not pose any serious challenge to the Bharatiya Samskriti as these are only the external things. But when it comes to such vices as drinks, drugs and sex that is a real threat not just because it is some foreign fad. In fact it is a great cause of concern in the western societies also.

This is the result of market being the vehicle for Civilisational assault. The interaction between the two confronting civilization is not on the same footing. The aggressive marketing of superficial goods tries to change the purchasing pattern and civilization is just used as a means. Some cards and gift company  wanted to increase its sales and introduced many new days for celebrations. ‘New Year’ is one such marketed celebration. This has gained currency in last 2 decades. But it did not remain at just the marketing of greeting cards and gifts. As it always happens the worst of the aggressive civilization gets the most attention. We are not adopting the discipline, punctuality, hygiene, work culture or the civic sense of the west. There we are preserving our own old colonial ways of functioning. But in the name of westernization we are adopting just the junk of that civilization. This is the danger. This needs to be taken head-on.

The concept of New Year is not new to Bharat. We have been celebrating New Year for ages. All the states have their best festivals at the time of their own new calendar year. Be it Bishu for Kerala or Bihu for Assom or Baisakhi for Punjab these are New Year celebrations. For Gujrathis and Bengalis it is the Diwali time that is New Year. Most parts celebrate New Year on the first day of Hindu Lunar calendar the Pratipada of Chaitra masa. It is called as Varsha Pratipada. But we have diverse names for this day Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra, Ugadi in Andhra. The Sindhis celebrate Chetichand on the same day. One can not tell when it all started. It has survived the thousands of years of attacks by alien armies, religions and cultures. This has survived the brutal conversion and Jizia regime in the Mugal period and also the mental slavery brought about by the colonial education of the British raj.

One of the main reasons of survival of these New Year festivals is that they are related to the happy times of that region. These are the economically most prosperous days of the year for those regions. Mostly due to Agriculture. It is the time of the year when the produce is in the market and hence it is the time to celebrate. But it is not just that. The season is also very happy season with flowers blooming and the entire atmospheric ambience to inspire the mind for higher achievements. There are more subtle reasons also. These days are the Shubh Muhurtas, auspicious celestial arrangements. This is related to the Pranic flow in the atmosphere. Due to the peculiar gravitational arrangement of the planets the flow of Prana in particular moment is suitable for noble acts. These are called as Muhurtas. There is a science behind it. Everyday there are some virtuous periods like these. All the three Sandhya, period if confluence, the pratah sandhya in the early morning when sun has not yet risen physically but the light has come, the Madhyanha or midday sandhya with sun on the head and the Sayam, evening sandhya when the sun is set but the last light lingers on, are all the best times to do the spiritual practices. According to the astrological calculations some days are totally auspicious. They are considered as full Muhurta. Varsh Pratipada, Vijaya Dashami and the Pratipada after Diwali night are three full auspicious days when 24 hours are good for noble acts. The Pranic flow in these times helps the actions to be more productive.

Sadly the New Year time by the Gregorian calendar, which has a very interesting history, ( http://www.infoplease.com/spot/gregorian1.html ) comes in one of the two most inauspicious or vicious periods of the year. The fortnight before Navratri is the Shraddha Paksha, period to pay tributes to our ancestors. In this period no other auspicious acts are performed except Shraddha. The month before Makar Sankranti is considered as Mala-Masa or the dirty month. Nothing auspicious is planned. It is the last period of the southern cycle of the sun, Dakshinayana. Even the economic activity like purchasing gold or new property is deferred to the Uttarayana. This suit the Bharatiya region as it is in the northern hemisphere. Those in the southern hemisphere may have their own auspicious times.

The most important principle that emerges out of above discussion is that there can not be Globalization of “New Year” celebrations. Bharat being such a vast country we have different New Year’s celebrations within the same Dharmic society. This is because Hindus celebrate diversity. We do not want every one to be regimented in one form of worship or festivals. The festivals should be localized rather than globalized.

But all said and done, we will see all the dirty reflections of western ways tonight. In the name of celebrations all the vices will be set free. One may lament but one can not dam the flow of time. But we can think and bring about modifications to the methods of celebration. This is the way to assimilate alien culture. Take the good things and adapt it according to your own way. As all of us are using the international calendar for our day-to-day purpose, change of the year is an event for all of us. Indians being the lovers of festivity they would definitely like to celebrate any change. We will have to change the diary, calendar in our office for practical reasons tomorrow. So it is futile to ask people not to celebrate the New Year just because it is not our own. We must not forget our own New Year and should adopt some new ways like greeting cards, sms, mails etc on those days also. At the same time we must adapt our own ways to celebrate the New Year on 1st January.

End of any period in our life is a time for introspection. Our own Birth Day is one such occasion, same is true of 31st December. This is an occasion for introspection. What was our progress in the whole year. Progress has to be in relation to our goal of life. So personally as well as collectively we should introspect on our achievements, shortcomings, mistakes and faults. This should be done positively with a view to improve upon the same in the coming year. One collective activity on the eve of New Year can be paying homage to all the Martyrs of Military and Para- Military forces who laid their life for the security of the Nation. This can be our way of paying our respect. 31st December can be dedicated to these brave-hearts. This can be done in the colonies, at public parks. We need not worry about the names of the martyrs etc. We can keep the picture of Bharatmata and do collective Pooja, worship to pay our homage to her brave sons. ‘Bharat Mata Pujan’ can be our Bharatiya way to Celebrate the 31st December.

Another improvement in New Year celebration can be celebrating it at the Sunrise on the 1st January rather than at the mid night. We can blow conches and other auspicious instruments to welcome our functional New Year. We can perform some small Pooja of the instruments that we use the whole year, especially those  used to measure time such as watches, clocks, calendars etc. This can follow by taking a resolution (Sankalpa) for the whole year. This Sankalpa can be based on our introspection. This can be our target of the coming year in our journey towards our Goal of life.

In the Ramkrishna-Vivekaananda circle 1st January is celebrated as “Kalpataru Divas” to commemorate the shower of Divine Grace, blessed by Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa on his devotees on 1st January 1886. It is documented by those present on the historic occasion that all their spiritual wishes were fulfilled by mere glance or touch of the great Guru. (More about this Tomorrow)

Let us use this occasion to restore the scientific ways of Hindu Culture in a manner suitable to the present times. Let this be one more addition to our long list of Festivals. The Global celebration with a local touch.

दिसम्बर 31, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , | 7 टिप्पणियाँ

विवेकानन्द और ख्रिसमस

स्वामी विवेकानन्द के जीवन में 25 दिसम्बर का बड़ा ही ऐतिहासिक महत्व है। किन्तु जैसा कि कुछ लोगों द्वारा अतिउत्साह में प्रचारित किया जाता है उसका ख्रिसमस के साथ कोई सीधा सम्बन्ध नहीं है। सहिष्णुता व सर्वपंथसमभाव की स्वामीजी की संकल्पना को ठीक से ना समझने का यह परिणाम है। वर्तमान समय में प्रचलित ‘सेक्युलर’ शब्दावली के अर्थ के सन्दर्भ में स्वामीजी की सद्भावना को रखकर विकृत किया जाता है। स्वामीजी ने कभी भी इस प्रकार की संकल्पना नहीं रखी कि भारतीय संस्कृति के मूल तत्वों के साथ समझौता करने को पंथनिरपेक्षता माना जाय। स्वामीजी तो इसाइयों के बीच में जाकर उनको उनकी सैद्धांतिक व व्यावहारिक तृटियों को स्पष्टतः बताते थे। शिकागो की सर्वधर्मसभा में उन्होंने 20 सितम्बर को स्पष्टतः इसाइयों को चेतावनी दी थी कि भारत में उनके धर्मप्रसार व मतांतरण की कोई आवश्यकता नहीं है। लंदन में बालते हुए उन्होंने यहा तक कहा था कि जितना कीचड़ इसाई मिशनरियों ने हिन्दूओं के विरुद्ध उछाला है उसकी तुलना में तो बंगाल की खाडी के तल से सारा गर्त उठाकर उन पर ड़ाला जाय तो भी कम होगा। इसाई पाद्रियों को दिये गये इस व्याख्यान का विषय था ‘‘ईसा मसीह की ओर लौटों।’’ स्वामीजी के मन में ईसा मसीह की करुणा के प्रति बड़ी श्रद्धा थी।  किन्तु वे स्पष्टतः जानते थे की चर्च ने ईसा के मार्ग को कब का छोड़ दिया है।
प्रत्येक हिन्दू के समान ही उनका विश्वास था कि ईश्वर तक कई मार्गों से जाया जा सकता है। अतः किसी का यह सोचना कि केवल उसका ही सम्प्रदाय मुक्ति का एकमात्र मार्ग है यह अपने आप में स्वीकार्य नहीं था। स्वामीजी ने शिकागो की सभा में दिये समापन भाषण में 27 सितम्बर को स्पष्ट कहा था कि कोई यदि ऐसा विचार करता है तो मै उस पर दया करता हूँ। यह बात सीधे सीधे ग्रंथाधारित, एकांगी, अब्राहमिक पंथों के लिये कही गई थी। इसाई तथा इस्लाम ने इसी गैरविश्वास के कारण अपने संगठित अस्तीत्व के प्रारम्भ से ही सदा धर्मयुद्ध किये है। जिहाद व क्रुसेड़ के कारण ही पुरी पृथ्वी को कई बार लहूलूहान किया गया था। स्वामीजी ने इस बात पर सीधे आलोचना शिकागों में की थी। यह भी स्पष्ट किया था कि पूर्व के पंथ, अर्थात भारतीय मूल के सम्प्रदाय, जिनकी जननी हिन्दूत्व है उनका इतिहास ऐसे किसी रक्तरंजित प्रसार का साक्षी नहीं है। लंदन में ये पूछे जाने पर कि आप भारत को महान कैसे कह सकते हैं जब विश्व इतिहास में आपने कभी किसी पर आक्रमण कर विजय ही नहीं प्राप्त की? क्योंकि पश्चिमी दृष्टि में आक्रमण व विश्वविजय ही महानता का लक्षण है। स्वामीजी ने तपाक से उत्तर दिया यही हमारी महानता है कि हमने कभी किसी पर आक्रमण नहीं किया। भारत से निकला हर संदेश प्रेम व शांति से ही प्रसारित हुआ है। अतः वर्तमान में जब स्वामीजी के बाहर देशों में दिये गये उद्धरणों को संदर्भ से हटाकर हिन्दूओं के लिये कहा जाता है तो वह अर्थहीन हो जाता है।
स्वामीजी के जीवन में 25 दिसम्बर से जुड़ी दो महत्वपूर्ण घटनायें हैं। एक तो 1886 की है जब ठाकूर की समाधि के बाद महत्प्रयास से स्वामीजी ने उनके युवा वैरागी शिष्यों को वराहनगर के एक भूतहा बंगले में एकत्रित किया था। 1886 का वर्ष स्वामीजी के लिये बड़ा ही विपदाओं भरा था। ठाकूर के जाने के बाद उनके युवा शिष्यों को जोड़े रखना एक चुनौति थी। स्वयं की घर की समस्या भी विकराल थी। रामकृष्ण भावधारा के गृहस्थ शिष्य किसी मठ या सन्यासी परम्परा के पक्ष में नहीं थे। अतः उनमें से कुछ का ही सहयोग मिल पाता था। कुछ युवा साथी भी परिवार के दबाव में घर लौट गये थे। उनसे सम्पर्क बनाये रखना कठीन किन्तु आवश्यक था। ठाकुर इन शिष्यों का भार स्वामीजी पर सौंप गये थे। इस काल में नरेन्द्रनाथ ने किस प्रकार संगठन को आकार दिया यह अध्ययन हम सभी कार्यकर्ताओं के लिये अत्यन्त प्रेरक है। कम ही लोग जानते है कि किस प्रकार स्वामीजी एक एक युवा साथी के घर जाकर उसे ठाकुर की याद दिलाया करते थे। कई बार उन मित्रों के घर के लोगों ने और कई बार तो स्वयं उन साथियों ने भी स्वामीजी का अपमान किया था। पर स्वामीजी ड़टें रहे। कहते है किसी साथी के द्वार को वे 3 घण्टे तक खटखटाते रहे बिना किसी संकोच के और इतने अपमानजनक व्यवहार के बाद भी जब द्वार खुला तो ऐसे प्रेम से मिले जैसे विरह के बाद अपने भाई से मिल रहे हो। फिर घण्टों सत्संग चला। ठाकुर की छोटी छोटी बाते, स्नेह और भक्ति के प्रसंगों पर चर्चा हुई। इस सम्पर्क ने उस साथी को गृहस्थी के फेर में जाने से बचा लिया।
ऐसे एक एक हीरे को जोड़कर वराहनगर मठ की स्थापना हुई। ठाकुर के पुष्प वहाँ पूजे गये। और मठ इन युवाओं की साधना स्थली बन गई। 24 दिसंबर 1886 की रात सब युवा आग के चारों ओर बैठर ध्यान कर रहे थे। उस दिन ध्यान कुछ ज्यादा ही गहरा लगा। ध्यान से जागृत होते ही अचानक नरेन्द्र आविष्ट सा वक्तृत्व देने लगा। सब ध्यान पूर्वक सुन रहे थे। ठाकुर के सेवा संन्देश के बारे में बालते बोलते अचानक ईसा का विषया चल पड़ा दीन दुखियों के प्रति करुणा के उनके संदेश का भावपूर्ण वर्णन नरेन्द्र के मुख से निसृत हो रहा था। उन्होंने अपने साथियों का आहवान किया कि जिस तरहा इसा के संदेशवाहको (Aposltles)  ने उनके संदेश को पूनर्जीवित कर विश्व में प्रसारित किया हम भी ठाकूर के जीवन संदेश के वैरागी प्रसारक बन जाये। स्वामीजी के भावपूर्ण वक्तव्य के प्रभाव में सभी साथी उठ खड़े हुए और अग्नि को साक्षी मानकर सन्यास व रामकृष्ण भावधारा के प्रसार की शपथ ग्रहण की बाद में किसी को ध्यान आया कि मध्यरात्री उलट चुकी थी व ख्रिसमस का शुभारम्भ हो चुका था। स्वामीजी व उनके गुरूभाइयों ने सन्यास की विधिवत् दीक्षा बाद मे सम्भवतः जनवरी 1887 के तीसरे सप्ताह में विरजा होम के द्वारा स्वयं का तर्पण कर ली थी। पूरी घटना को अनुसंधानपूर्ण वर्णन विवेकानन्द केन्द्र द्वारा प्रकाशित Comprehensive Biography of Swami Vivekananda में लेखक शैलेन्द्रनाथ धर ने किया है। जो इस आलेख के अन्त में ज्यों का त्यों दिया है।
इस प्रसंग को लेकर कई बार यह कहा जाता है कि स्वामीजी ने ख्रिसमस के दिन सन्यास ग्रहण किया। इस बात को लेकर कई भक्त आज भी इस उत्सव को मनाते है। इस सन्दर्भ में स्वामीजी की भूमिका को स्पष्टतः समझने की आवश्यकता है। अन्यथा हम उनकी ईच्छा के विपरित कार्य करने के दोषी होंगे। आज पूरे देश के विशेषकर जनजातीय पीछड़े क्षेत्र में इसाई मिशनरी ख्रिसमस का उपयोग बड़े प्रमाण में मतांतरण के लिये कर रहे है। यह मतांतरण राष्ट्रविरोधी शक्तियों का पोषण करता है। पूर्वोत्तर के कई अलगाववादी आतंकी संगठनों के साथ ही माओवादी आतंकी भी चर्च का प्रश्रय व सहयोग प्राप्त करते है यह स्पष्ट हो चुका है। ऐसे में स्वामीजी के नाम पर हम भी इस त्योहार को विकृत रुप में सम्बल ना प्रदान करें। 24 दिसंबर 1886 की घटना में स्पष्ट है कि स्वामीजी ख्रिस्त के संदेशवाहकों के उदाहरण से ठाकुर के संदेशवाहक बनने का अपने गुरुभाइयों से आहवान कर रहे थे। संयोग की बात है कि संख्या 12 ही थी। पर संदेश तो ठाकूर का ही देना था। मतांतरण के राष्ट्रविरोधी होने के मामले में स्वामीजी के मन में कोई शंका नहीं थी। शिकागों से लौटने के बाद रामकृष्ण मठ की विधिवत् स्थापना के समय उन्होंने अपने हाथ से जो विनियम लिखे उसमें यह स्पष्टतः अंकित है कि एक हिन्दू का मतांतरित होना केवल एक संख्या का कम होना नहीं है अपितु एक शत्रु का बढ़ना है। हिन्दूओं द्वारा अपने वंचित लोगों की सेवा के लिये मिशन के रुप में काम करने की आवश्यकता को देखते हुए ही उन्होंने मठ के साथ ही रामकृष्ण मिशन नाम से सेवाकार्यों का भी सुत्रपात किया। इसका स्पष्ट उद्देश्य सेवा के नाम पर मतांतरण करनेवाले इसाइयों को व्यावहारिक उत्तर देना ही था।
अतः आज के दिन स्वामी जी के सर्वपंथसमभाव को ठीक ढ़ंग से समझने की आवश्यकता है अन्यथा सेक्यूल्यारिज्म के नाम पर हम सच्चाई से मुख मोड़ने का राष्ट्रद्रोह करते रहेंगे और उसमें स्वामीजी व ठाकूर जैसे महापूरुषों का गलत उदाहरण भी देते रहेंगे।
25 दिसम्बर के साथ जुड़ा दूसरा प्रसंग स्वामीजी के जीवन को दिशा देनेवाला है। कन्याकुमारी की शिलापर उनका राष्ट्रचिंतन इसी दिन प्रारम्भ हुआ था। पूरे देश का परिव्राजक के रुप में भ्रमण करने के बाद तीन दिन व तीन रात्री कन्याकुमारी की श्रीपाद शिलापर उन्होंने ध्यान किया था। उन्होंने बाद में स्वयं अपने गुरुभाईको लिखे पत्र में लिखा है है कि मा भारती के अंतिम छोर पर मुझे मेरे जीवन की कार्ययोजना प्राप्त हुई। उसी स्थान पर आज भव्य विवेकानन्द शिला स्मारक की स्थापना हुई है। स्मारक के प्रणेता माननीय एकनाथजी रानडे कहा करते थे कि स्वामीजी के जीवन में इस शिला का वही महत्व है जो गौतम बुद्ध के जीवन में गया के बोधिवृक्ष का।
इस राष्ट्र चिंतन में स्वामीजी ने भारत के गौरवशाली अतीत, चिंताजनक वर्तमान व स्वर्णीम भविष्य का साक्षत्कार किया था। हम भी इस पर्व के स्मरण में इसी क्रम में भारत को समझने का प्रयत्न करें उस पर चिन्तन करें।

Comprehensive Biography of Swami Vivekananda By S N Dhar

Volume I- Page 285-288

In suitable atmosphere and association, the light of the youngmen’s combined spiritual fire “blazed into a tremendous conflagration”. During their stay here, Narendranath constantly told them, “Godrealization is the one and only aim of life. That is what the Master had told us”. Sri Ramakrishna’s name was always on their lips. The whole place thus became surcharged with the spirit of renunciation. All this found expression one night, 24th December, 1886, as they sat under the canopy of a starlit wintry sky in the compound of the house before the fire of huge logs. The meditation lasted long. Then Narendranath suddenly broke the silence with a narration of the wonderful story of the life of Jesus. Through his eloquence his listeners were next admitted into that apostolic world in which Paul had preached the gospel of the Arisen Christ and spread Christianity far and wide. In an inspired voice he exhorted them to be apostles themselves to carry abroad the new message for the uplift and salvation of mankind, till they all rose up in a body, with the blazing fire in front and shining stars above as their witnesses, to pledge themselves to a life of renunciation. At the end of it all, they recollected that it was Christmas Eve. The very air seemed to vibrate with their ecstatic fervour. Antpur proved to be the spark that detonated the spirit of renunciation. There was no longer to be want of young men who would follow their example.

After they had thus solemnly resolved to live a life of renunciation, it was only natural that they should think of initiating themselves as monks by the performance of sastric rites. Narendranath consulted his gurubhais on the subject and was overjoyed when he learned from Kali that he knew all about Viraja Homa, which was the particular rite that had to be performed for initiation. Kali explained that once during their stay at Cossipore he had set out for Barabar Hill near Gaya with a view to meeting a Hathayogi about whom he had learned from Vijayakrishna Goswami. While staying at a dharmasala in a village situated at the foot of the hill, said he, he had chanced to meet a Dasanama sannyasi who was a Puri and who had with him a book containing the mantras, etc., of Viraja Homa, He had carefully copied them out in a notebook which was still with him. All of them gladly agreeing to the idea, a day was fixed for the ceremony, which was performed duly. Kali, acting as tantradharaka at the bidding of Narendranath, read out the mantras, which the others recited while they offered the oblations to the sacred fire. (At the Viraja Homa, the wouldbe sannyasis offer pindas or oblations to themselves as persons performing the sraddha rite do to the manes of dead relations. They discard caste insignia, such as the sacrificial thread for the Brahmins, and for all practical purposes thereafter are dead to the world). The first to perform the Homa was Narendranath and he was followed in order by Rakhal, Niranjan, Sarat, Sasi, Sarada, Latu and others. Tarak refused to perform the Homa, though pressed very much to do so. He did it later. After all had finished performing the Homa Kali recited the mantras and offered oblations to the sacred fire and was thus initiated. The ceremony was performed, according to Swami Abhedananda, in the early days of the month of Magha, 1293 B.S., which correspond with the third week of January, 1887.

The sannyasis assumed new names, Narendranath taking the name Vividishananda and giving his gurubhais the names which were suggested by their respective natures, such as Brahmananda, Premananda, Ramakrishananda, Saradananda, etc., He gave Kali the name Abhedananda, because he was a staunch Vedantin, Sasi the name Ramakrishnananda, because he spent nearly all his time in the worship of the Master, and Latu the name Adbhutananda because his spirit of renunciation and tapasyas were really adbhuta (unique). The monks henceforth used their new names, except Narendranath, who perhaps did not use a monastic name because the lawsuit was going on, and a change of name, or even his acceptance of sannyasa might create legal difficulties, that might help his adversaries. Even after the lawsuit had ended in 1889, however, he rarely used a monastic name, or stuck to one, (sometimes calling himself  Sachchidananda), and it was not till the very eve of his departure for the West in 1893 that he publicly called himself by his worldfamous name, Vivekananda. We shall discuss the subject later on. A list of the new names is found in a letter from Swami Sivananda (signed Sivananda) to Gangadhar on 4 January 1890.

The names are as follows:

Niranjan — Swami Niranjanananda

Jogin — Swami Yogananda

Baburam — Swami Premananda

Latu — Swami Adbhutananda

Sasi — Swami Ramakrishnananda

Hari — Swami Turiyananda

Tulasi — Swami Nirmalananda

Daksha — Swami Jnanananda

Kali — Swami Abhedananda

Gopal Senior — Swami Advaitananda

The names of the sannyasis not mentioned in Swami Sivananda’s list are as follows:

Rakhal — Swami Brahmananda

Sarat — Swami Saradananda

Sarada — Swami Trigunatitananda

(later shortened, at Swami Vivekananda’s request, to Swami Trigunatita)

Subodh — Swami Subodhananda

Gangadhar, who was on his trip to Tibet and was not present at the Viraja Homa spoken of above, was initiated into sannyasa by Narendranath and given the name of Swami Akhandananda after his return to the monastery in the first week of July 1890. The list of Sri Ramakrishna’s direct disciples taking the monastic vow is completed with Hariprasanna, who joined much later, after Swami Vivekananda’s return from America, assuming the name Swami Vijnanananda. It may be noted that Swami Sivananda’s list contains a new name, Daksha, who joined the Baranagore Math in 1887, and being very devoted to Narendranath, came to be recognized as one of the circle of devotees. Curiously enough, it does not mention Narendranath.

You can buy the book here http://eshop.vivekanandakendra.org/books/Comparehensive-Biography-of-Swami-Vivekananda

दिसम्बर 25, 2011 Posted by | चरित्र, सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , | 3 टिप्पणियाँ

System Works

Today I am sharing one rare experience with all of you. It is a very pleasing experience for a change. With a simple combination of technology and human efficiency we can have a functioning system even in a government enterprise. It was very urgent to book Tickets for Ma Parameswaranji using Tatkal facility. The irctc somehow gets jammed up at 8 am. Hence decided to go personally to the railway station for reservations. It was after many years that this opportunity had presented itself. Ready to push the way in when the door open at 8 AM I reached the reservation complex in Thiruvananthpuram Central Railway Station at about 7:45 AM. A pleasant surprise was in waiting. The main gates were open and after climbing the stair I found that around 100 persons were already waiting in the waiting hall. But there was no mayhem usually scene. No need to scout for the smallest queue. All were very calmly seating in chairs and waiting for the counters to start the business of the day. After few enquiries I was directed to the waiting Token machine. Pressing a red button I received a token numbered 103. It had the date and time. The token issuing had started at 7:30.  Looking at the token number I felt the cause was lost and I may not get the desired lower birth when my turn came.

The system was simple. 10 counters had small monitors for display of token no. But you need not be worried where your no will come. There was a big screen in the centre of the hall displaying a chart showing the table of counter numbers with the token number being attended to. The next three numbers were also alerted. The system was efficient and working. When the counters started working the clerks were also as efficient as the machines. The main factor being there was no queue in front of them, no quarrels, and no bickering only one customer to attend to. They were smiling and attending very efficiently and the whole service was fast.

I was totally awestruck and mesmerized by the whole working and more so when within 10 minutes my number was on the screen and the mission was accomplished within few seconds. It was a day full of pleasant surprises I got the lower birth ticket for Parameswaranji even being 103 in the waiting list.

On the whole the experience was an eye-opener. Yes with just a little systematic management of technology and human efficiency can do wonder. Yes this can happen in Bharat. Even the government systems can work. They are working at least here in the reservation centre at Thiruvananthapuram Central.

नवम्बर 8, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , , | 3 टिप्पणियाँ


It was beginning of Monsoon in 1989 when we went to Ratnagiri in western coast of Maharashtra. My younger brother Makarand had completed his Diploma in Metallurgy and was to join an industry their on his first job. I had gone with him to settle him down. He was just 17 then, he is 3 years younger. After making arrangement for his monthly lodging in food etc and visiting the factory we went to visit the Birth place of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and also the house in which Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was kept in house arrest. From there we went to the seashore. It was almost the sunset time. The atmosphere was very heavy. Everything was gray. Sand also black with lot of iron in it. The sea was rough with waves roaring high. There was a cloud cover and it was very bleak and intimidating experience. Sun was as if fighting to shine through the gray clouds.


It was as if the nature was challenging one’s core of being.  Unexpectedly some words exploded. I still remember shouting at the waves to overcome the roar and challenging. I think at that time the words were in Marathi. I feel I had written them down somewhere but… even though the poem was not always available to be read but the sense remained always alive and whenever there were tough times it surfaced. The nature challenging and the inner core responding. Its the rebel expressing itself. This time when the feelings manifested the words were in Hindi. . . . .

हे सागर तू क्या अपनी
उद्दाम लहरों से
मुझे  ललकारे?

याद नहीं मैंने अगस्ति बन
तेरे जुड़वाँ गंगासागर को
पी लिया  था . . . .
अबके रत्नाकर तुझे
तेरे अनुपम भंडार
पूरा ही पचा जाऊंगा
छेड़ना मत!

ओ मदमस्त सह्याद्री
भूल गया शिवा के घोड़े की तापों को
मत ललकार अपनी गर्वोन्नत ऊंचाई से
बौना कर दूंगा
सदा के लिए
जैसे किया था कभी विन्ध्याद्री को
है आज भी वही तपोबल

और हे तेजोमणि दिनकर
काली बदली फाड़ झांक रहा
मत ललकार अपनी आग से
अबकी बार छलांग लगा
फल के सामान खाने नहीं आऊंगा
कर लूँगा तेरे तेज को प्राशन
और लगा दूंगा
आग अपने ही हृदय में
वासुदेव, बाल और विनायक
के सामान . . . . .

नवम्बर 6, 2011 Posted by | कविता, English Posts | , , , | टिप्पणी करे

Reservation Debate in Perspective of National Unity

Last week there was a very interesting news in the print media.1 The electronic media in it’s frenzy of Sadbhavana bashing did not take much note of it. The newspapers also found the news a 5th -6th page material and hardly any English newspaper published this very important news on the front page. Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Behan Ku Mayavati wrote a letter on 18th September 2011 to the Prime-Minister to make the constitutional provision for enabling reservations to the economically backwards in the Upper castes, Sawarna. This needs a constitutional amendment in the 9th schedule of the constitution. Though political parties and even analyst will call it a purely political move with eye on the upcoming assembly election. In fact the CM has sent three letters on consecutive dates demanding reservations for minorities, Jats and economically backwards of the Sawarna communities. So no doubt this is a political demand.

But this demand is very important from another angle. Reservations policy has been a bone of contention in all the phases of post independence politics in Bharat. The constitutional provision for reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was initially made for a limited period of 15 years. The framers of the constitution thought that it was enough to bring all the communities at equal level. The reservations were aimed at providing a level playing field to those sections of the society which historically were denied opportunities in social, economical and political fields. But as cautioned by many of the honourable constituent assembly members it became a compulsion to regularly extend the period of reservations. It is ceremoniously extended every 10 years. 15 of the total 95 constitutional amendments till 2006 have been related to reservations.2 The 109th amendment passed in 2010 was also related to extending the reservations in Parliament and state assemblies by another 10 years.

Reservation became a political tool in the late 1980s when Prime-Minister V P Singh decided to implement the recommendations of Mandal commission. This provided for 27% reservations to the “Other Backward classes” in addition to the already 21% quota reserved for SC and ST. This provoked unprecedented Anti- Reservation Agitation across the country. All the university campuses became a political battlefield. Since then the divide between the castes has taken a new dimension– Reserved and general category. Apart from agitations by different caste groups for inclusion in the quota, some educated, professional youth took the path of anti-reservation agitation. The first 4-5 years of last decade saw Doctors and engineers of the many most prestigious institutes joining Youth for Equality agitation. Along with prolonged street protests, mostly democratic and peaceful, these youth took a legal course and challenged the reservations in a writ petition. The honourable Supreme Court denied the plea of the petitioners and thus rendering reservations as constitutional.

But still we see that the emotions continue to simmer below the surface and slightest provocation results in some sort of anti-reservation agitation. The provocation usually come every year in the season of college admissions. Many deserving candidates feel victimized by the reservation policy and that they are denied their right. Hence there are always some protests in the month of August and September. This year the release of a Hindi film titled “Arakshan” with a mere commercial cunning, saw protest from both pro & anti Reservation groups. The politicians ritually banned the screening of the films in couple of states. The courts rightly found nothing objectionable in the content and treatment of the topic of the film and the ban was lifted by judicial interference. The film had enough free publicity and a mediocre film did exceptionally good business. But this gave fresh rise to the relevance of reservation debate. There have been several protest marches of different Anti-reservation groups in the last month.

Two seemingly valid arguments are presented by those who perceive themselves as victims of the reservations.

What about Quality? –

The first is about qualification. The inequality of the academic qualifications of the reserved and general  candidates is exaggerated by the anti-reservation protesters. Questions are asked why an undeserving student with a very low percentage is given admission in the professional courses such as engineering and medical? The anti-reservation protesters question, “what the student getting admission in medical college with 40% marks in qualifying exams will do to the patients?” They conveniently forget the fact that the reservations apply only to the admissions and not to results of the actual Medical exams. To become a medical practitioner even the candidate getting admission in reserved category has to qualify the exams. Many a times this takes years and even decades for some students. Some leave the course half way. This happens to many students of general category. In the present school education system the percentage of marks is no guarantee to academic excellence. The sad part of this discussion is that the overall quality of education has degraded to such a low-level in the independent Bharat that the selective arguments about reservations affecting quality becomes pointless.

Economic Backwards should only get Reservations.

The second argument is about economic backwardness. The anti-reservation advocates claim that the policy of reservation in educational institutes, Government jobs and even promotions is highly discriminating. The benefit is being taken by the economically undeserving candidates of certain castes whereas economically backward sections of the so-called upper castes are deprived of opportunities. On the face of it this argument looks sound. But reservations are not only aimed at economic equality but social emancipation is more important. This no doubt has been achieved by the existing policy for many sections of the society. The SC and ST communities have gained a lot of confidence. They now fell that they also have a chance.

We have to look at the historical background of this situation. The discrimination and in many cases exploitation was done in a large part of the society on the basis of caste distinctions. Even today the caste identity is of prime importance to most of the Hindus. It is also practiced in most sections of the converts to Islam and Christianity. Caste is a very interesting social institution, unique to Bharat. There is a philosophical basis on which many try to claim it to be  a scientific social system. But references in the Vedic literature or arguments based on spiritual philosophies can not substitute the hard realities. The scientific interpretation of the scriptures indicate that the Chatur-Varna (Four colour code) system was initially based on Guna (Innate Nature) and Karma (Action or Vocation). Even if we accept this for the sake of argument, we do not have any substantial evidence as to when, why and how this turned into a genetic system based on birth. Varna degenerated into Jati which is derived from Jata, to be born. It is also claimed and a sufficiently deep study of texts may support this that the Varna System was not vertical but a horizontal division of society based on qualification and division of labour. Thus claiming that there is no hierarchy of society like upper or lower castes in the Hindu scriptures. But again there is no viable explanation as to how it degenerated into a rigid hierarchy of castes, sub-castes etc that exists even today.

Swami Vivekananda was so disturbed by this perversion in the Hindu society that he called it inhuman to differentiate fellow humans on the basis of their birth. When he visited Kerala in 1892 he found the practice of untouchability at its most inhuman worst. He exclaimed if this was a lunatic asylum and lashed at the religious leaders.  But the dynamic Hindu society revived itself through spiritual leaders like Shri Narayan Guru and others. The Padmanabhaswami Temple was amongst the first Hindu religious places to open entry to all the Hindus irrespective of caste in 1936. Gandhi who visited Kerala on the occasion called it a holy pilgrim center. So the Hindu society if left to its own spiritual, religious and social dynamics without any political intervention and distortion is capable of turning a Bhrantlaya (Lunatic Asylum) into a Trithalaya (Pilgrim place).

The claim that the Shudras were denied all the access to education in the Hindu Bharat and education was open only to the so called upper castes is a well nurtured Myth. Most of the time the blame is put on the Hindus of the so called upper castes for denying its own people the right to education and thus required opportunity of economic growth. But this accusation is totally unfounded. Gandhian Dr Dharampal Jain unearthed an Educational Survey taken-up by the British collectors all over “British India” in 1823 and presented to the British parliament in 1824. The entire survey published by him in a book titled “The Beautiful Tree”3 is an eye-opener. It not only presents the extent and spread of education in Bharat but also shows the penetration. The survey proves with statistical evidence that the education was open to all irrespective of caste. According to the survey done by the British collectors and compiled by a Christian Missionary, 76% of the population was educated, not just literate. It is specifically mentioned that in all the districts  17 to 70 % of the students belonged to Shudra class and teachers from these castes which now are part of the 9th schedule of the Constitution hence called Scheduled castes, ranged from 7 to 17%. So we find that as recent as the beginning of 19th century there was no bar on education on the caste basis. It was the British educational policy advocated by East India Company’s Legal adviser Lord Macaulay based on the principle of “Downward Filtration Policy” that started exclusion of all castes accept Thakur and Brahmins in educational institutes run by the government and the Christian missionaries. Within 50 years the divide in the so called upper and lower caste in the educational field so widened that Swami Vivekananda, Dr Ambedkar, Jyotiba Fule had to call and work hard for drastic reforms.

Whatever the reasons, no one can deny that social prejudice prevails even today towards these sections of the society who were left behind in humanity’s march forward. So it is our duty as a living society to give them ample opportunity to come up not only economically but more important socially. The question of Reservation is to be looked into by both the side from a wider national perspective. For a Hindu caste is extended family and so is the society at large and also the nation, we call it Bharat Mata. As mother looks at her children equally but her sense of equality is not merely material but is based on the requirement of each of her child. She will not divide the food or other things equally, but her distribution will be equitable. she will give more to the child who needs more. Reservation is meant to be one such equalizer. It offers amongst other things a chance to raise the social status of the community. It is a privilege extended to the deprived children of mother Bharat with an intent to bridge the gap created by the neglect of more than almost one and half century.

Sense of victimization is the most dangerous psychic condition. It can lead the perceived victim  either to commit suicide or take revenge. When this kind of feeling is nurtured in a collective psyche of any community, then it can result in volcanic irruptions in the society. Every agitation or protest does not trigger intellectual or objective debate, it fire the dormant explosives of victim-hood on both sides.  This is a greatest danger to social Harmony of Hindu Society and thus to the National Unity of Bharat. Hence any demand for reform, modification in the reservation policy should come from the leaders of the communities included in the reserved category and not from the other sections. The demands by different sections of the society have widen the social divide. Though the protests are directed towards the government the communities take it as an attack on their privilege.  This leads to ugly clashes, as was witnessed in Rajsathan during the Gurjar agitation. The demand by Gurjars to be included in reserved list was seen by Mina community as an encroachment on their rights. Political parties have fueled  this social disintegration for electoral gains by exploiting the group interests. The provision for exclusion of creamy layer as applied to the OBC can also be applied to SC and ST. But in the interest of National integration this should also be mooted by the reserved and not by the unreserved class.  This will also happen only by political compulsions. Thus the letter by the BSP Supremo and UP Chief minister should be appreciated by all as move forward.

In conclusion it can be said that reservation debate should not be limited to the individual or collective benifit but should rather be viewed in the wider perspective of social harmony.  All the patriots would agree that as of now  reservations must continue in the national interest. Even the economic issues should be seen in wider national perspective. The craving, craze and glamour of government job is on the decline. If free enterprise is encouraged as a policy the private alternatives will become more attractive. The spread of education will solve the problem of reservations in educational institutes. As such this year in many states thousands of seats in engineering colleges remained vacant.  The overall progress of Bharat should reach to all the sections of the society then only the provisions of reservations will become unnecessary.

  1. http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article2467749.ece
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_of_the_Constitution_of_India
  3. http://www.samanvaya.com/dharampal/

P. S.  There is another dimension to the provisions of reservations. The christian missionaries are demanding reservation for the Dalit Christians. This is the most blasphemous demand as in the first place the conversions were forced and justified claiming that by converting the socially deprived sections of Hindu Society,  they will enjoy equality. So if as per the claims of the missionaries Christianity treats all its members equally then where is the question existence of  “Dalit Christians”. The  real issue behind  the demand is that reservations have been a great hurdle in the devious evangelical plans of the missionaries. The Scheduled Caste will not get the advantage of reservations if they convert to Christianity or Islam. Hence mass conversion of these sections by allurement or other deceptive methods in becoming exceedingly difficult. Gandhi used to say  ‘conversion is violence’. Dr Ambedkar declared that he will give up Hinduism along with all his followers in 1936. But he did so in 1956. It took him 20 years to decide on the destination of his conversion. The question was selecting  a religion that will not alienate his followers from the traditions and cultural moorings of the nation. He has written that he selected Buddhism because it amounted only to change of religion and not of national loyalty. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar after the conversion had remarked, “Buddhism is a part and parcel of Bhartiya Culture.  I have taken care that my conversion will not harm the tradition of the culture and history of this land.”  Referring to offers from two other religions he said if he had been converted to that faith, “I am sure crores of rupees would have been showered at our feet, and I would have ruined this country within five years. But I do not desire that I may be recorded in History as an iconoclast.”

सितम्बर 22, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | | 2 टिप्पणियाँ

‘Use temple wealth to set up centre of learning’

Namskar! from the land of Pdmanabha and the Padmanabhadasa. There is a lot of discussion on the treasure  uncovered and inventoried at behest of the Supreme court  in the vaults of the legendary Padmanabha temple in Thiruananthpuram. Everyday there are numerous articles in the national newspapers. Everyone is giving expert recommendations . A broad  consensus in the popular opinion seems to have been arrived at , that the treasure uncovered is not a trove found unclaimed but a legitimate belonging of the deity represented by the trust. Another concurrence in the intellectuals seems to be that the wealth belongs to the Hindus and should be put to use as per their considered decision. But Hinduism is not a monolithic edifice like some other modern religions. There is no central papal command or caliphate to hand out any fatwas type unchallenged orders. So everyone is entitled to an opinion. The OPEDs appearing in national dailies and editorial comments have suggest a range of possibilities. The spectrum of the suggestions offered is very wide. On one end the funds going into the state coffers to the other end of re-shutting the vaults and keeping the treasure as intact and buried as it has been for more than couple of centuries. Everyone has something to suggest. One wrote distribute it amongst the poor.  Some suggested to build a museum.

It is no doubt a healthy debate possible only because it is a Hindu temple. The Hindu have been always open to debate. The faith does not bar a practical application of the Devotion. But proper understanding of Historical background, local sociocultural realities and sensitivities of the devotees is needed before arriving at any conclusions. As the matter is sub-judiced the legal angle also becomes very pertinent.

All are concerned. A Hindu awakening of sorts has taken place by the uncovering of the unimaginable wealth to the public domain. The extent of wealth was very well-known to the trustees of the Temple. The erstwhile rulers of Travancore had taken pride in calling themselves as Padmanabhadasa and have remained faithful till date. They have been visiting the vaults on the specific festival occasions. But it was a well guarded secrete. It has come out to the public knowledge ostensibly by the Supreme court intervention but faithful devotees strongly believe that this is the divine will of the Lord Padmanabha himself. There are private discussions all around expressing concern and interest. But Bharatiya Vichar kendram in Thiruananthpuram took a lead to organize public debate on the issue. Seminar titled “Unnecessary debate on the Pdmanabhaswamy Wealth : way forward” was organized on the 21st July 2011 at the Samkriti Bhavan. The speakers included well-known veteran historian M G S Narayanan, Legal expert Adv Shashibhushan and Vichar kendram director and eminent scholar P Parameswaran. There was discussion on all the different angles of the issue. It was well attended by more than 400 intellectuals of the city. The seminar has given a very constructive direction to the debate.

Here is the report published in The Hindu next day.

In keeping with the tradition of the ruling family of erstwhile Travancore and of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in preserving and perpetuating the ‘Sanatana Dharmam’, a portion of the assets found in the temple could be used to institute a university of international standards to propagate that ‘dharmam.’

This institution could be named ‘Sanathana Dharma Viswa Vidyapeedom’, director of Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram P. Parameswaran said here on Thursday. He was speaking at a discussion on the ‘Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Unnecessary Controversies and Undeniable Truths’ at the Kendram.

The temple has a history of supporting centres of learning. The ‘Kanthalloor Sala’, also known as the Nalanda of the south, was supported in its activities by the temple.

The temple and its recently discovered assets belong to Padmanabhaswamy. The rulers of Travancore had guarded these assets as trustees. As such, the ruling family should be an integral part of any future arrangement pertaining to the management of the temple.

The assets of the temple could also be used for the uplift of those sections of Hindu society that remain downtrodden, he added.

In his address, noted historian M.G.S. Narayanan said the riches found in the temple is the cumulative offerings of devotees down the ages. These riches should be kept in the temple itself. In fact, these riches may even catalyse a sense of unity in Hindu society. Former Union Minister O. Ragagopal pointed out that a consensus has emerged in Kerala society regarding the riches found in the temple.

Across political divides, the idea that these riches belong to the Temple itself and not to the government or even to society at large has found acceptance, he added.

जुलाई 26, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , , , | 1 टिप्पणी

Dhanyosmi – The art of expressing Gratitude

Right from the childhood we learn to thank. Parents teach us to be grateful. ‘Say thank you’ is told to every child time and again. So we start using the phrase. So common it becomes that we take it for granted. When the waiter in the hotel serves the dishes you ordered and are going to pay with a handsome tip for him to top it, you murmur thanks. When mother toils to prepare dishes you love, at the dining table you thank her also. Many of our Indian families do not teach children to thank mother, as it is thought that formal thanks are for stranger and not for someone closely related. My mother will have shock of her life if any of us thank her. The shock will not be pleasant but very heart breaking. She would feel a stranger in her own house. This may the cultural difference. But the training to express a sense of gratitude is there in all the civilizations. Coming back to the case at hand; we thank the waiter, air hostess, steward for serving and so we do to our mother. The words are same but are the feelings same?

What is the feeling that we want to express when we murmur Thanks, Thaku etc.? What do we want to convey ‘I am grateful!’ ‘I appreciate your efforts!’ ‘I am obliged by your service!’ In a way it is an acknowledgement of the act which has benefitted us. It should not become a reflex without any meaning and just a mechanical act. The act of expressing gratitude has a deeper impact on the way of life.

In Hindi and many other Indic languages we use – Dhanyawad, meaning I am grateful or Abhar meaning I am obliged. What is the meaning of Dhanya? In Sanskrit it means GREAT or enriched. So by saying Dhanyawad we are expressing that the transaction has resulted in gratifying me. By receiving your service I have become great or I am enriched. But is it the real case? Who is great one who serves or one who receives the service? So is it better to say “You are Great!” “Dhanya ho!” By this we would be thanking that is acknowledging the greatness in the one who serves, thus giving credence and respect to the act of service. But again there is a dichotomy. A differentiation – you & me. We are different so you are great to have served me and I am obliged!

Is it real?

When one starts realizing that the whole universe is One. It is inter-dependant, Inter-connected and inter-related. I & You, He and It are not different, are not many but only the expression of the ONE.  This oneness pervades. Whom do we thank then? Who is gratified and who is obliged? Does the mouth thanks the hand for feeding it? Or do they thank the stomach for digesting food and giving them energy? The organic oneness of the body is the same in the VIRATA- the large body of the universe. In fact when every act of service is done we realize this Virata. The act helps us realize that we are the parts of the same whole. When this realization dawns we become GREAT.  Every one becomes great, enriched with this experience of the oneness. So the REAL expression of gratitude, acknowledging the act of help, assistance or service would be, “We have all become Great, enriched, Sublime”. All this is perfectly expressed by a single Sanskrit term — DHANYOSMI

To be continued….

जुलाई 13, 2011 Posted by | English Posts, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 टिप्पणियाँ

The Treasure Belongs to the HINDUS

A fierce debate brewed Tuesday, 4th July 2011, about what to do with billions of dollars worth of treasures in a popular 16th-century Hindu temple in southern India, even as the trove of newly revealed riches was growing. Inside the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, investigators were counting the staggering hoard of gold coins and statues of gods and goddesses studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Outside, small groups of armed policemen patrolled the temple grounds in the heart of the Kerala state capital, Trivandrum.

The 24 hours channels are debating what should be done with the treasure?  There are as many suggestions as the varied participants. Some suggest the money to be used to build schools. Some say it can repay all the debts of the Kerala government. Some others are counting how many kilometer long roads can be built out this booty of one lakh crore and counting. Few dare ask the essential question — whom does the treasure belong?

Eminent Professor of finance IIM Bangalore Dr R Vaidyanathan writes in DNA, “Let’s be clear: these treasures were donated by the temple’s devotees over centuries, and rightfully belong to Lord Vishnu, who cannot even be fully seen from any angle by devotees. He is the true owner of this wealth and this truth should be internalized. It is unfortunate that this discovery should take place in Kerala, where the percentage of idol-worshippers is a minority – if one excluded Muslims, Christians and Marxists from the fold. The mere act of opening up the vaults and tunnels is thus fraught with significant dangers for Hindu society and our ancient civilization.”

This brings us to another very important question had there been any debate if this wealth was found in a place of worship belongong to the Muslims or Christians? All religions should be treated equally before the rule of law. This is basic secular principal enshrined in our constitution. But more often this is neglected for petty political considerations. last year a bill was passed in the parliament to handover the enemy property to their previous owners. The enemy property was the properties belonging to the Pakistani Nationals which they left behind in India while migrating at the time of Partition. These propeties were properly managed by a custodian authority formed by the Enemy Property Act 1965 as per the agreement reached after the Indo-Pak war of 1965. But for the benifit of one individual Raja of Mehmoodabad and the illperceived Vote bank politicals gains the law was amended. The amendment enabled the goernment to hand over the properties to the Nabab. Of 2,100 enemy properties across the country, 1,400 are in Uttar Pradesh alone. And the Raja of Mehmoodabad owns 1,100 of the 1,400 properties falling in UP. So, in effect, the passage of the bill primarily benefited the Raja.

Swamy Padmanabha temple in Kerala being a Hindu temple all these discussions are possible. The logic is extended as to who kept the treasure there in the ancient temple? If it was kept by the Royal Kings of Travancore as has been guessed by some scholars(?) should it become the government property?

There are many ocasions where ownership of many of the Hindu temples  is vested in the state goernment and the revenue of the same is collected by the religious endowment departments of the sate. Many ancient Hindu temples need  renovation. These are infact the precious cultural heritage not only of our pious land but also of the whole humanity. But the income form Hindu temples is not used for this noble cause. The priests in the state owned temples are paid a paltry amount (a few Hundreds in many states) by the government. There are many cases in state like Tamilnadu where depending on the political inclination of the ruling combine these religious incomes are being used for developments of places of worship of other religions. There are examples that Haj subsidies were distributed from these funds accrued from Devaasaam board Hindu temples. A petition is pending in the supreme court on this issue of misuse of Hindu religious endowments by the government.

As far as the propriety of the treasure discovered in the Padmanabha Temple is considered, the legal position seems to be very clear on this issue. The wealth even if kept in trust with the temple is an offering to the presiding deity of the temple, Padmnabhaswamy in this case. So the propriety must be vested in the Deity. In Bihar State Board of Religious Trust vs. Ramsubaran Das [1996 SCALE (2) 702], the Supreme Court had pointed to ancient revenue records attaching the temple land in the name of the deity. It had said, “That mahants dealt with the properties in their own names does not detract from the fact that the temples were public temples as they would well be said to be dealing with on behalf of the deities to whom the properties are dedicated.”

Legal experts are unanimous that a Hindu idol, as per the long established authority and founded upon religious customs of the Hindus, is a ‘juristic entity,’ and it has ‘juridical status’ with power of suing and be sued. In 1983, Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath of Varanasi fought a legal battle in the Supreme Court when the Uttar Pradesh government enacted the Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983, for better management of the ancient temple. The Supreme Court had ruled that a deity could move the court and said: “Properties of endowment vest in the deity Lord Sri Vishwanath.”

Besides the Supreme Court, various High Courts had also recognised the fact that a temple deity would be a legal entity and even a devotee or a regular worshipper could move the court on behalf of the presiding deity, which will be considered a perpetual minor. In the famous Judgement by allahabad High Court in the Ramjanmabhumi Ayodhya case the same was pointed out by the honourable court.

So the rule of law must prevail. The wealth belonging to the Lord Vishnu the deity of the great Swamy Pdmanabha Temple should be leagaly made into an endowment trust and should be used for renovation of neglected Hindu temples all over the country. Many more causes of the Hindu religious places of worship can be benifitted by this trust. Let us remember this is the Dharmabhumi Bharat and Vishnu, the lord of sustanance would sustane the whole nation. Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah.

जुलाई 6, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , | 9 टिप्पणियाँ

Bharat Ka Samvidhan : Useless or Used Less

Dr Ambedkar, who was the Chairman of the Constitution Assembly and is credited as the author of the Constitution of India, has on record said that there was no need for any constitution. The Government of India Act 1935 passed by the British parliament was enough. Then again he repeatedly denied being the framer of the draft. He even said when pressed too much if allowed he will like to burn the constitution of India. 

Recently after the anti corruption agitations there have been discussion on a total change of system is needed for eradication of corruption. There is discussion on changing the parliamentary system to presidential and also following the American system rather than the British etc. Some are demanding the constitution to be rewritten.

Though repeatedly amended the Constitution of India in itself is not very bad and no one can say American system has served America well. So there is no guarantee that copying some of its provisions would have served India better. 

The present constitution has served us well for last 61 years. We are in much better condition than many of our contemporaries. Most of the problems we face today are because of the neglect of Constitution rather than because of it. As Swami Chinmayanand ji used to say about Youth we can say the same thing about the constitution “It is not useless it is in fact used less”. To take an example – the constitutional provisions about Common Civil Code were never implemented.  The makers of our constitution wanted Common Civil Code to be implemented soon. There have been several strong advisory from time to time by the Supreme Court. Still it is a distant dream. Let alone enactment the discussion about the demand itself is not tolerated. BJP had to compromise on this issue while arriving at the common minimum programme of the NDA. Now the super cabinet NAC is proposing a special criminal code for minorities in the garb of Communal Violence (prevention) Bill. 

The makers of the constitution wanted the reservations for the SC and ST for 15 years only to give them a level playing ground. Constitution said it to be discontinued after 15 years. But no one dares to talk about this eve after a prolonged protest by the promising youths of professional institutions. Contrary to the spirit of the constitution that reservations are only temporary arrangements and should not be treated as right, now there is demand for reservation by every community. The vote bank politics has stooped to such a level that this UPA government has promised to give reservation to religious minorities.

Article 370 was also a temporary arrangement and hence the revocation of the same was provided for in the same article without the need of any constitutional amendment. But again contrary to the constitutional spirit the interlocutors on Kashmir issue appointed by the Union Government in their recommendations talk about more autonomy to J & K. There are many other constitutional provisions that are grossly neglected. We have not implemented our constitution in totality. Only the provisions which were politically convenient were used indiscriminately.

Even so we need to review the whole constitution not because it is useless but because many things have changed since. The hangover of the British raj is over and now we are a confident nation on a march to lead the whole humanity. The exuberance and enthusiasm can be seen in all walks of life. The economy, entrepreneurship, social activism and also the electoral activity all have shown a remarkable confidence.  The percentage of voting has increased to 80% in last assembly elections. The just concluded Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir saw 90% voting in spite of threats by the extremists. This shows the growing awareness of the masses. The nationwide support received by the recent anti corruption agitation is also the indication of rising aspirations of the nation.  We need a constitution that reflects this NATIONAL SPIRIT. 

It can not be a copy paste product. We can study and learn from all the existing models of governance but to cater to the rising Bharat what we need is an original charter of this ancient nation. We need a total Bharatiya Approach. We have to study our own constitutional history. Each nation has its own evolution. This gives it a unique identity. The rise of Bharat will definitely ignite this search of its Identity. The constitution needs to project this National Identity to the whole world.

The quest is for a Constitution rooted in the oldest Civilisational experience of leading the world toward peace and prosperity.

जून 22, 2011 Posted by | सामायिक टिपण्णी, English Posts | , , , | 28 टिप्पणियाँ

Chankya : Pradigm of the new world order

The whole world is talking about the demographic dividend that the countries like Bharat and China have. It is expected that the largest population of the employable youth in the whole world will be concentrated in Bharat. Though china has almost one and half times more populated than Bharat, the population in the youth age group is reducing due to the stringent population control measures china adopted in the second half of last century. The other aspect of the demographic dividend is that the employability of the young population. Here comes the role of education. As we know for last one year the US president Barak Hussain Obama has been warning the Americans about the Bharatiya youth taking their jobs. He talked about the the education of Bharat being more superior to the US. And has repeatedly asked the US universities to gear up to compete with Bhartiya institutes of higher learning. These were more warnings to their education rather than praise for our educational system. They have changed their visa policy to safeguard the jobs from Bharatiya immigrants. He topped it all in his visit to the school in Mumbai where he declared that the day was not far when Americans will start coming to Bharat for learning.

This is nothing new. We all know that there were times when the whole world used to come here for learning. Till the first part of the 19th century we had well spread educational system. All were given free primary education. Irrespective of caste or socio-economic status everyone was given education according to their needs. Prof Dharmpal has brought out the report of a survey done by the British collectors and submitted to the Privy Council in 1823. http://www.samanvaya.com/dharampal/ When we read that report we are surprised to know that the so called backward class was also fully educated and their were teachers abound from these sections/castes. So this was the state of our nation not in the distant history but just a 200 hundred years. Prof Dharampal says that the educational system in Bharat inspired the spread of primary education first in Briton and then in whole of Europe.

So these are the two facts about Bharat’s educational supremacy in the whole world. But do we feel proud of our education today. Even if Obama may shout on the top of his voice there would hardly be anyone in Bharat who is satisfied with the condition of either our schooling or the higher education. There are articles in the media, surveys and also the day to day experience of most of us that all is not well in our educational system. Why this difference of perception. Obama sees Bharatiya Educational System as threat and we consider the same system rotten. We have passed a bill in the parliament to invite foreign universities to start their campus here. The worst part of the bill is that the language is that of an inferior country. The same act could have been phrased realistically if the drafting law officer of the HRD ministry had little pride in the nation. Again it the failure of the educational system that the well educated civil servant of such seniority lacks national pride.

We are not satisfied with our existing educational system because somewhere deep within unknowingly we feel that it is not rooted in our own past. It is not our educational system. It is not Bharatiya. We may not on the face of it understand what constitutes this Bhartiyata. But we feel it. We have a sense of it. This Bhartiyata has to reflect itself in all the walks of life. In all the socio-economic-political systems of our modern nation. This is the real nation building that needs to be attended to. How to go about it. We have to first understand our own system. Here we are talking about the education so let us try to understand what are principles on which such a system was created which could provide education to all even in the 19th century, after so many invasions and foreign rule for more than a millennium. Swami Vivekananda says that if you do not have pride in your own history you will not be able to create a bright future. He says standing on the firm foundation of the past only you will be able to look into the future.

So one of the easiest way to understand the Bharatiya National educational system is to understand our great teachers. The one name that stands out bright in the history of great teachers is Chanakya. The teacher of the great university of Takshashila (now in Afghanistan) who created a great Maurya empire. A teacher could create such student and such system which would integrate the whole nation. The backdrop is the brutal attack of the Great(?) Alexander. He brutally attacks the civilized Bharatiya principalities and republics. But has to return accepting defeat at the hands of the unorganized but inspired force of common mass of the great Bharat. But the teacher is not happy. Chanakya sees this as a challenge to this great civilization. Which with all it economic prosperity and ideal social order, great knowledge of the spiritual and the physical; this nation has failed in creating a strong political system which could protect its bounty and the righteous masses. Chanakya understood the need of the hour to create an example of  strong state mechanism based on the universal principles of existence called as laws of being( Dharma) traditionally. So he creates a leader in the form of Chandragupta and dedicated team of his associates and then conquers the greatest empire of the time Magadha and establishes the common umbrella of a chakravarty to protect the individuality of the diversity of expression of the inherent unity. We all know the story, so let us try to understand the concept, what makes Chanakya the great teacher. So that we can create such nation building teachers even today.

  1. Pride of being Teacher : Chanakya is a proud teacher. HE understands the creative power of the teacher hence is not afraid of the king. He challenges the King of Takshashila when Ambhi decides to side with the invader. He is apt in replying the Magadha Emperor Dhananand – A teacher does not beg, he creates. He has the capacity to create the emperors. This confidence is the backbone of Chanakya. When he did not have any one with him, any material support even then he is confident of success of his plan.
  2. The National character : This pride and confidence was not the product of individual achievement but was deep-rooted in the national pride. Chanakya had firm faith in the timeless (Sanatan) principle of Bharatiya jivan. He had practiced it in his own life and realized the truth of it. This adherence to the Dharma had created the selfless goal of national reconstruction. He knew that this is the purpose of his being a teacher to apply these universal principles to the present time. His goal was not personal as misinterpreted in some history books. It was not revenge of the individual insult but a correction of the whole political system of self-centric supremacy of the ruler. His aim was to re create a political system sensitive to the need of the time  and the plight of the masses. As he explains afterwards in his great treatise “Arthashastra”, a system that delivers best to the Praja (better born). He does not have any personal agenda. This selflessness is the greatest strength of the teacher. He lives and teaches for the sake of the nation. Chanakya has no personal animosity. Hence for the good of the nation he invites, even forces the Nanda Prime minister Katyayana (sometimes referred to as Rakshasa for his strict discipline) to take the prime ministership of Chandragupta. He state in Kautilya’s Arthashastra – to a king (read State) there are no permanent friends or enemies. The National interest dictates the royal relations. He is one of the rare Bharatiya philosopher who understands and also explains the concept of enemy.
  3. The Team Builder : Chanakya is able to create a great mauryan empire on his strength of team building. He not only trained Chandragupta but also built able and dedicated associates who formed a formidable team. The goal of the team was clear and always remembered by all the team members. Chanakya makes it sure that they do not forget their collective goal in the din & dust of day to day politics. All the team members are clear about their own roles in the grand scheme of things. This was the expertise of the great teacher to understand, encourage and facilitate the realization of the inherent potential of each of his disciples in the best chosen role. Here the individual also expresses his best and at the same time is able to contribute to the collective achievement. This became the basis of the principle of collective decision making and collecting sharing of responsibilities & credit by the council of minister in the ideal political system created by the great Kautilya. Till date collective responsibility of the cabinet is the basis of a successful parliamentary democracy.
  4. The Theorizer : the greatness of Chanakya is after creating the empire successfully does not become one of the beneficiary but instead goes to his proverbial hut and chronicles his conclusions into a well bound theory for the posterity to follow. As Swami Vivekananda says, “Life is laboratory for one to explore and experiment.” For Chanakya the nanda conquest and formation of the Maurya empire is but an experiment. He writes the conclusions in the form of the great treatise of Political science, economics and governance : Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Even today it is considered to be great guide in formulating the doctrines and strategies for building a strong State power.

Bharat needs to understand Chanakya and follow the principles led down by him if she has to fulfill her destiny. The world is saying that Bharat is not only an emerging power but already  super power just she has to proclaim it to the whole world with her OWN voice. Today when all the philosophies are crumbling and the humanity is devoid of any paradigm of a holistic life, Bharat has the onus to provide the sustainable alternative paradigm of world order. Who else but the great teacher Chanakya can be our guide in this hour of reckoning!

जून 14, 2011 Posted by | चरित्र, English Posts | 1 टिप्पणी

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