Magh 19, 2065 Vik Samvat, Yugabda 5110, 1 February 2009

1. FESTIVALS: Mahashivaraatri "Great Night of Shiva" celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Magh or Phalgun falls on 23rd February this year. The festival is celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night vigil. There are many stories associated with Shivaraatri and its origins. It is believed that the Goddess Parvati worshiped her husband Shiva to save the earth from ‘Pralaya’ by praying through the long period of deluge. Her prayer was granted and the night for the worship of Ishwara by mortals is named Maha-Sivaraatri. Also, story tells Shiva once replied Parvati that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Magh, is his most favourite day.
2. IIIrd LAKSHMANRAO BHIDE MEMORIAL LECTURE IN MUMBAI: Vishwa Adhyayyan Kendra (VAK), Mumbai and Keshav Srushti jointly organized the 3rd Lakshmanrao Bhide Memorial Lecture on 16th January at the Kalina Campus, University of Mumbai. Shri Sanjay Kelapure, President of VAK, welcomed the gathering while Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, Vishwa Vibhag Samyojak gave a brief life profile of Late Sh.Lakshmanrao Bhide.
The Keynote address was given by Shri Ram Madhav, member of the National Executive of RSS on the topic ‘From Chanakya to Chandrayaan – Our Global Vision’. He traced the ancient civilization of Bharat when Chanakya had put his thoughts on state craft in his book 'the Arthashashtra'. Shri Madhav mentioned that Bharat has come a long way from Chanakya to Chandrayaan and Bharatiya civilization is identified with great thinkers - Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Having just returned from China Sri Ram Madhav stressed the emergence of China as a Super Power. Communism, he said, is breaking down in China and slowly it is rising like capitalist America. The lecture was followed by question – answer session.
Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya, veteran Industrialist and educationist was the Chief Guest and Shri Mahendra Kumar Kabra, Chairman Management Committee of Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir- Keshav Srushti, presided over the function. A goodwill message sent by the former Chief Justice of Bharat Shri P.N Bhagwati was also read out.
3. NEW BMS OFFICE IN NEW DELHI – DATTOPANT THENGDI BHAVAN: RSS Sarsanghchalak Shri K S Sudarshan inaugurated the new office of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) at Deendayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi on Jan 21. Speaking at the function Sh.sudarshan said, “Making the labourers aware of their rights, Thengdiji exhorted them to follow their duties too. He presented a new concept before the labourers about the world. He founded a nationalist labour organization which became number one in the country.”
“The new office has been constructed with the cost of Rs. 1.5 crore and the entire money has been contributed by BMS workers” informed BMS President Sh. Girish Awasthi. Sh. Madan Das, Sah-Sarkaryavah, RSS, Sh. Lakshma Reddy, BMS general Secretary were present at the function.
4. PARADE VETERANS MARCHING ON: Somewhere among the 5000-odd participants marching down Rajpath on Jan 26 were two soldiers tied by their patriotic threads.
While Lieutenant Colonel Jasram Singh, the oldest surviving Ashok Chakra awardee, is a veteran who hasn’t missed a parade since 1968, Major General KJS Oberoi commanded the marchpast, something he dreamt of as an NCC cadet in the 1968 R-day carnival.
An impressive parade, with armed forces in battle regalia proudly marching before their supreme commander, scintillating show of air power, and colourful tableaux depicting the culture was watched by Republic Day chief guest Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, President Smt.Pratibha Patil and other dignitaries.
Maharashtra Police ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte and four others killed fighting Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai were among nine security personnel who received the Ashok Chakra, the country's highest peace-time gallantry medal. The Padma awards announced this year included Anil Kakodkar and G.Madhavan Nair from Scientific field and noted environmentalist Sundarlal Bahuguna for Padma Vibhushan.
5. COALITION FOR PEACE AT WHITE HOUSE: While more than one million people were jubilantly dancing and celebrating Barack Obama’s assuming office; Hindu groups from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, in cooperation with Jewish, Christians and Sikh organizations, under the banner of Coalition for Peace, staged a successful demonstration in front of White House from 1.00 to 4:00 p.m. in the freezing temperatures. The organizers and activists, over 100 in number, were interviewed by professional media and private bloggers. In addition to that thousands of onlookers evinced keen interest in the demonstration and wanted to know more about radical Islamic movement in America.
6. FOURTH BHARATVANSHI GAURAV SAMMAN PRESENTED TO HST, MAURITIUS: “Bharatvasi (Bharatiya citizens) and Bharatvanshi (people of Bharatiya origin) together constitute a formidable global Bharatiya community which has excelled in diverse fields,” said former Deputy Prime Minister Shri LK Advani while presenting the fourth Bharatvanshi Gaurav Samman to the Human Service Trust (HST) of Mauritius in New Delhi on January 11. The function was organised by the Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad (ARSP) to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The award, comprising a citation and rupees one lakh, is awarded every year to a PIO/NRI social activist or an institution for outstanding contribution in the filed of service to the society in Bharat or abroad. Apart from Shri Prem Boojhawon, popularly known as Munshiji, president of HST, Mauritius, who received the award, Shri Shashank, Shri J.C.Sharma, Shri Baleshwar Agrawal - ARSP spoke at the function.
7. MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH SANGH: My understanding of Shakha is, to improve ourselves first before rectifying others. Shakha is conducted to instill discipline in human beings, they play games to imbibe the sense of team building, and they conduct baithaks (meetings) to share views. By all these, they inculcate the quality of strong disposition in individuals as strong character individuals are the ingredients of the great society and that in turn constitutes the well-built nation.
My husband was the first person to introduce me with the RSS. He gave me a lot of insights regarding nation building, society formation etc. But I was not at all convinced with him that why in free Bharat we still have to join such an organisation. Then I started reading books on it still none satisfied me completely. On January 4, 2009, I got the opportunity to be a participant of IT and Management symposium in Mavalankar hall in which RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Mohanrao Bhagwat was the chief speaker. After listening to his views, all my wrong perceptions about the RSS got demystified.
According to me “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is bringing our country back to the same glory of Hindu psyche with unity, humanity, and patriotism… and “the building of character of individual which eventually leads to the building of nation is being done by the way of Shakha”..
There were over eleven hundred participants in the symposium and I guess more than half of them were naive like me who had heard about the existence of RSS and Shakha but were not well aware of their vision, mission and plans… I am writing this for all those who belong to my kind of category…
Many of us want to do something different that provides us the utmost satisfaction, apart from routine jobs. But failing to do so, we keep frustrating. We should feel proud that the RSS has provided us a platform to give vent to our smoldering frustration. I would not have quoted this had I not been a participant of the seminar. We could use RSS as a tool to share the correct information, to make analysis, and propose our opinions. It’s essential that the authenticated information reaches the mass and it could be done via the medium of IT Milan….
At the onset of our union let’s start with very small initiatives in the direction of making our nation proud of its citizens. As we do not have any formal project of symposium yet, we could commence with curbing wastage be it water, electricity, fuel, food, cloth, paper or for that matter time because they are our national resources and the responsibility lies on our shoulders to stop its dissipation to keep our motherland resourceful and also thinking of those who are deprived of these comforts.
It’s just the beginning but keep the flares burning, the path is not long enough when we would be relishing the pure grandeur of our motherland. -- (By Deepika, Organiser Weekly, 25 Jan 2009)
8. DR. SHIVA SUBRAMANYA PASSES AWAY: Dr. Shiva Subramanya, Nuclear Physicist, Space Scientist, Formerly one of US's top Strategic and Tactical C4I expert, recipient of numerous awards and citations passed away on Jan 8 at Cerritos CA, USA. He was National President of Indian Professional Forum, USA (an org. of scientists and engineers of Bharatiya origin). He was Vice-President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of America Inc., and a member of governing council of VHP.
9. YOGA CLASS AT BP RESEARCH CENTER: As part of the SNY 09 outreach, Naperville (Chicago) shakha's Yoga shikshika Anupamaji Buzruk conducted one hour YOGA lecture at British Petroleum's (BP) research center in Naperville, IL, USA attended by over 40 employees. Anupama covered basic information about yoga, pranayama, practice and philosophy and emphasized on the simple and easy to practice yoga practice in daily life with their benefits.
Chicago Vibhag also celebrated Makar Sankranti with Bhutanese Refugees. Around 100 Bhutanese and around 25 karyakarta attended the utsav.
Program started with Deep Prajawalan and three Bhajans, two by Bhutanese and one by Bharatiya. There was a short speech about SEWA International, information about SNY 09, etc.
10. CHRISTIAN PUBLISHED PAMPHLET ON HOW TO CONVERT HINDU COLLEGE STUDENTS: The International Student Ministry has published two documents on how to convert Hindu college students to Christianity The articles lament the difficulties in converting Hindus, and recommends a method known as “friendship evangelism” by which the Christian feigns friendship with the Hindu for the purpose of converting him or her. The same site has a document on how to approach Muslim students. We note the instructions for the Christians to “be a part of the Hindu student club on campus,” and encourage such organizations to examine their membership rolls for such missionaries.
11. AMERICAN STATE LEGISLATURES OPENING WITH HINDU MANTRAS: Four state legislatures of USA are opening their sessions with Hindu prayers containing ancient Sanskrit shlokas, including three reportedly for the first time.The State legislatures involved are: Oregon House of Representatives, Colorado General Assembly, Indiana State Senate, and Oregon State Senate.Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, is delivering these prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures. After first reciting in Sanskrit, he will then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages. Rajan will start and end the prayer with "OM", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
12. YOGA EDUCATION TO BE MADE MANDATORY - MP CM: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the yoga education would be made mandatory in the schools of the state. This will help keep the children physically and mentally healthy. The CM actually performed Surya Namaskar and Pranayam along with 750 boys and girls students in the mass Surya Namaskar programme at the Excellence School, Morar, on Jan 21.
13. DECLARE EYES AS NATIONAL PROPERTY - 'SAKSHAM': National convention of ‘Saksham’, formerly known as Akhil Bharatiya Drishtihin Kalyan Sangh, attended by over 600 delegates, was held in Lucknow recently.RSS Sahsarkaryavahs Shri Bhaiyaji Johsi and Shri Madan Das guided the workers at the convention. Addressing the convention Swami Harshanand said physically-challenged persons should not be treated as a burden but efforts should be made to integrate them into mainstream.
Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said Saksham now would work for all physically-challenged persons instead of working only for the visually challenged. Shri Madan Das said that the physically-challenged persons should get equal rights and respect in the society.
14. MEMORANDUM BY HINDU MUNNANI AGAINST ATROCITIES ON HINDUS IN MALAYSIA: Hindu Munnani, Tamil Nadu, urged the Malaysian Government to respect the rights of Hindus in the country and work towards dismantling the racial and religious apartheid that makes Malaysian Bharatiyas/Hindus the most neglected community in that country since the independence of the former British colony of Malaya in 1957.
In a memorandum presented to the Consulate at Malaysian Consulate’s Office in Chennai on January 8, Shri Ram Gopal, founder organiser of Hindu Munnani, said since Malaysia is home to approximately more than two million Hindus and having thousands of Hindu temples and shrines, many built on private or plantation land before the country gained independence in 1957, the destruction of temples by local councils and the deliberate provocative manner in which they carry out the demolitions, using hammers to smash shrines and burying Hindu deities, which has been going on for at least two decades must be brought to a permanent end and all these places of worship should be properly gazetted.
15. KHASI STUDENTS CLOSE DOWN BANGLADESHI MOSQUE IN JAINTIA HILLS: Continuing its drive against Bangladeshi infiltrators, the Khasi Students Union (KSU) on 12 January closed down a mosque in Jaintia Hlls district, believed to be a safe haven for illegal Bangladeshis. The mosque was constructed recently at Lumshnong (Umsahi), Jaintia Hills, bordering Assam's Silchar town and was providing shelter to illegal Bangladeshi nationals. KSU president Samuel Jyrwa confirming the closure said, "The mosque was being used as a safe haven for illegal Bangladeshis." The KSU, meanwhile, during its meeting with Home Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh recently requested for additional check gates at Byrnihat, Ri-Bhoi district and Umkiang, Jaintia Hills district.
16 NON-VIOLENCE CANNOT TACKLE TERRORISM: DALAI LAMA: The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence candidly stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed.
"It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence," the Tibetan spiritual leader said at New Delhi.
While delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture at New Delhi he termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried by a few mad people but by those who are very brilliant and educated. He said the only way to tackle terrorism is through prevention.
17. IITS WILL COME HOME, VIRTUALLY: If you cannot go to IIT, then IIT will come to you. In the new academic year, engineering students in Bharat and abroad will be able to sit in virtually on Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) lectures on their iPods. Already the IIT webcasts — broadcasts in real time over the internet — lectures for about 400 courses across five subjects.
Next month, the institute will allow students to post on a special website questions and doubts relating to these courses, which will be answered by their professors and students.
The seven older IITs and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore are involved in the programme, which will help them catch up with world-class institutions, which make lots of resources available online.
18. VHP ASKS CENTRE TO COME CLEAN ON TERROR: Describing the infiltration from Bangladesh as jehadi terrorism, the Governing Council and Board of Trustees of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) demanded the Government of Assam not to give citizenship rights to Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators and do not allow citizenship rights or issue them work permits under any circumstances. The VHP meeting that concluded in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, on January 6 demanded a White Paper on jehadi terrorism and put on hold all relations with Pakistan.
In another resolution regarding the killing of Swami Laxmananand Saraswati in Orissa, the VHP warned the missionaries to stop their illegal conversion activities.About the Malegaon case, the Board of Trustees warned the Government that it should eschew its mean vested interests and desist from its suicidal conspiracies of harming the glorious traditions of the Hindu saints, organisations, society and the Bharatiya defence forces.
19. SIDDIS DANCE TO OBAMA TUNE: As Barack Obama took oath as United States' first Black president Siddi Badshahs broke into "Dhamal" dance in their villages to mark the historic event taking place thousands of miles away from Gujarat.
Siddis, who belong to Sudan's Masai tribe, are mostly found in three villages on the outskirts of Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions. They are settled in these villages since their arrival from Africa many centuries ago. Jambur, Sirvan and Rasulpara villages were seized by euphoria and the youths danced to the beats even as elders in Siddi tribe were glued to the television sets.
20. BHARAT TO HELP SET UP BHUTAN'S FIRST MEDICAL COLLEGE: To be attached to the 350-bed Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital Complex, the college will have an intake capacity of 50 students for MBBS. The propsed college, at the cost of Rs.30 crores is expected to commence in 2011 and being modeled on the lines of AIIMS.At present, students from Bhutan travel to countries like Bharat, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to complete their medical education.
21. BHARAT BANS CHINESE TOYS FOR SIX MONTHS: Bharat on Friday slapped a ban on import of toys from China after cheap supplies from the neighbouring country upset the applecart of the domestic manufacturers.
The ban comes in the wake of concerns about rise in imports of toys as well as the safety of children playing with the Chinese toys, which were found to be toxic.
22. KNIT BHARAT TOUR BY SEIL: Sponsored by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Knit Bharat Tour, organised under the Student Experience in Inter state Living (SEIL) project, concluded on January 12. Since its inception in 1966, SEIL has come a long way. Today apart from conduction of culture exchange tours, it also engages itself in various developmental programmes, seminars, symposia, etc. The tour was started on December 24, 2008. Altogether 24 delegates representing four states (Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya) visited more than eight places of four states (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal) and stayed with around 200 host families.
During this tour, special emphasis was given on the rich cultural heritage of north-eastern states along side creating about wider awareness about different burning issues of strategically significant North-Eastern border states. The tour programme included industrial and educational visits, meet with Vice Chancellors and renowned educational experts, socio- political leaders, to visit rural tribal as well as slum areas, to visit historically important places and also addressing press meets and interviews etc.
23. BHARAT HANDS OVER ZARANJ-DELARAM HIGHWAY TO AFGHANISTAN: Bharat handed over to Afghan authorities a crucial highway built by it in the face of stiff resistance from Taliban, vowing that the collaboration between the two countries in the field of development will not stop.
The 215-km long Delaram-Zaranj highway, a symbol of Bharat’s developmental work in the war-ravaged country, was handed over to Afghan authorities by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta on Jan 22.
A total of six Bharatiyas, including a Border Roads Organisation driver and four ITBP soldiers, and 129 Afghans were killed in the attacks by Taliban during construction.
24. GOOD NEWS FROM TOP BANKS :Riding on the back of a robust growth in its savings bank and fixed deposit portfolio, State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s leading commercial bank, reported a 37 per cent rise in its third quarter net profit (quarter ended December 31, 2008) to Rs 2,478 crore. Total income rose 38.34 per cent to Rs 21,256 crore. These figures do not include those of its associate banks. SBI’s deposits increased 36 per cent in the third quarter, as depositors at banks considered ‘risky’ in the wake of the global credit squeeze switched their deposits to ‘safe’ banks. The bulk of SBI’s funds come from savings bank deposits that pay customers 3.5 per cent as interest, while the bank charges 12.5 per cent on its cheapest loans.
25. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Sh. Somnath Parashar, Sh. Arjun Lal Sharma, UK. Pravaas: Dr.Yashwant Pathak, Sah-samyojak Vishwa Vibhag is in Bharat for ICCS World Council of Elders being held at Nagpur on 1-4 February 2009.
26. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Generally, when we restrain our conduct and appear calm, we do so with a motive. We want to give the impression that our thoughts and feelings correspond with appearance of our actions. This is insincerity and pretence and is assumed by one who is ignorant. It is the pretended calmness of an attached mind. This attitude is the greatest enemy of spiritual unfoldment, and creates more and more bondages. The wise one, however, is completely free from attachment. His actions are absolutely free from egoism and therefore motiveless. They transcend all limitations. -- Swami Nityaswarupananda.

Prem Narayan Chauhan pats his oxen, pushing them to go a little faster. Ziighrataram, ziighrataram chalanti, he urges them. The animals respond to their master’s call, picking up pace on the muddy path that leads to his 10-acre cornfield. Chauhan, 35, dropped out of school early, after Class II. He does not consider it remarkable that he speaks what is considered a dying language (or that his oxen respond to it). For him, Sanskrit is not a devabhasha, the language of the gods, but one rooted in the commonplace, in the ebb and flow of everyday life in Jhiri, the remote hamlet in Madhya Pradesh, where he lives. Mutterings under banyan trees, chit-chat in verandahs, pleasantries on village paths, disputes in the panchayat — in Jhiri, it's all in Sanskrit. And then, a cellphone rings. The moment of contemporary reality is fleeting. Anachronism and Amar Chitra Katha take over as the conversation begins: “Namo, namah. Tvam kutra asi?” (Greetings. Where are you?) A lost world rediscoveredJhiri is Bharat’s own Jurassic Park. A lost world that has been recreated carefully and painstakingly, but lives a precarious existence, cut off from the compelling realities of the world outside. The 1,000-odd residents of this hamlet, 150 km north of Indore, hardly speak the local dialect, Malwi, any longer. Ten years have been enough for the Sanskritisation of life here. Minus the Brahminical pride historically associated with the language — Jhiri has just one Brahmin family. The much-admired 24-year-old Vimla Panna who teaches Sanskrit in the local school belongs to the Oraon tribe, which is spread over Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. And the village is an eclectic mix of Kshatriyas, Thakurs, Sondhias, Sutars and the tribal Bhils. Panna has been key in popularising Sanskrit with the women of Jhiri. With mothers speaking the language, the children naturally follow. Take 16-year-old unlettered Seema Chauhan. She speaks Sanskrit as fluently as Panna, who studied the language for seven years for her Master’s degree. Chauhan is a livewire, humouring and abusing the village girls in Sanskrit. “I just listened to Vimla didi,” she says. “In fact, I'm often at a loss for words in Malwi.” Just married to a man from a neighbouring village, she says confidently, “My children will speak in Sanskrit because I will talk to them in it.” As eight-year-old Pinky Chauhan joins us, she greets me politely: “Namo namaha. Bhavaan kim karoti?” (What brings you here?) Her father Chander Singh Chauhan laughs and says, “My wife started speaking to me in this language, so I learnt it to figure out what she was saying behind my back.” Let’s get official Mukesh Jain, CEO, Janpad Panchayat, Sarangpur tehsil (which includes Jhiri), recalls, “I could not believe it when I first came here. It can get difficult during official interactions, but we encourage them.” All kinds of logistical problems crop up in Jhiri. This year, 250 students did their school-leaving exams in Sanskrit. “A Sanskrit teacher had to work along with all the examiners of other subjects,” says Jain.
But there are some positive offshoots too. Thanks to Sanskrit, Jhiri has re-discovered some lost technologies of irrigation, conservation and agriculture from the old scriptures. A siphon system of water recharing, for instance, resulted in uninterrupted water supplyg through the year in the fields. Small check-dams, wells and irrigation facilities followed. “It is matter of pride for us to retrieve these old techniques from the scriptures. With no help from the government and without using any artificial systems, we’ve reaped great benefits,” says Uday Singh Chauhan, president of the Vidya Gram Vikash Samity, which runs development programmes in the village. But Jhiri's pride stops at Sanskrit. The first doctor, engineer, economist, scientist or linguist is yet to walk out from it. After finishing school, most village youth join a political party. Electricity is a matter of luxury, so is sanitation. Even the school does not have a toilet, which is the single biggest reason for girls dropping out at the senior secondary level. The average age of marriage for women is 14. Even Panna, who was thinking of doing her PhD, had to give in to the wishes of the wise men of Jhiri who got her married to the other schoolteacher, Balaprasad Tiwari. There is no public transport; an Internet connection is unimaginable. Jhiri desperately needs to connect to the rest of the world, to explore its infinite possibilities, to grow. But Jhiri is still a success story, especially when you consider that a similar experiment started a couple of decades ago in Muttur village of Karnataka’s Shimoga district, failed, because of the caste factor — it remained caged with Brahmin patrons. “About 80 per cent people of the village are Brahmins who know Sanskrit but won’t speak it. This is because the carpenters and blacksmiths would not respond to it,” says Dr Mathur Krishnaswami, head of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore, who was involved with the movement. “No language in the world can survive until the common man starts speaking it,” he points out. Muttur failed. Jurassic Park destroyed itself. Jhiri must not. -Aditya Ghosh - Hindustan Times, New Delhi.

Trickling reports from Kashmir go to suggest that the people are beginning to realise that between azaadi and economic development, the latter is wiser choice, and India is a better bet.
When some forty hectares of useless and inhabitable forest land was given for temporary use to people engaged in the centuries-old Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir, the reaction of the jihadi-inspired Kashmiris was vulgar, ungracious, unbelievable and downright sickening. There were huge demonstrations in Srinagar. Charges were made that Hindu pilgrims will stay put permanently in the temporary tents set up for them and thereby disturb the demographic character of the area. This and many such white lies were openly propagated.
The Kashmir Muslims chose to forget how thousands of Kashmir Pundit families had been deprived of their homes and driven out of Kashmir, their own homeland, to live in utter poverty in Jammu and far away places. It didn't matter to the Muslims if over 10,000 forest trees were ruthlessly chopped down to make way for the Mughal Road or vast acres of land were left fallow. But helping Hindu pilgrims was another matter. And the effete UPA Government could do nothing.. An anarchical agitation began in Srinagar with the Mufti, the Hurriyat and Omar Abdullah uniting to deprive Hindu pilgrims some basic necessities.
It is hard to imagine a more uncivilised and barbaric behaviour. That the concept of Kashmir as the land of Shiva was a fact of life, long before Islam was even formulated, did not matter to the Sunni & Wahabi Muslims in the Valley. Hating Hindus was all. The point was further stressed that Kashmir was being treated unfairly by the Union Government, another major lie that stands exposed as the truth becomes known. The plain fact is that Jammu & Kashmir is being treated like a spoilt child, getting from the Union Government much more what than it deserves. As Prof. R. Vaidhyanathan, a distinguished economist recently exposed (External India, Oct.08) socio-economic and financial indicators reveal that J & K is one of the leading states in India belonging to top ten percentiles among them.
Forget the fact that Hindus constitute 32 percent of the State's population but have never had a Chief Minister. In many fields the Union Government has been more than fair to J & K which the Muslim population of the state has never had the decency to acknowledge.
In any indicator, J & K stands either in the top rung states in India where social development is concerned, or is in the middle. Thus, per capita consumption of electricity at 759 Kw (2006-2007) is much higher than in U.P.., Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal.
Per capita central assistance at Rs 2860 (in 2000) is much higher than in all states whereas Kashmir's own contribution to central revenues is abysmally low. Statewise per capita availability of milk (2005-2006) at 353 gms per day is much higher in Kashmir than in most of the other states with an allIndia average of 241 gms per day.
The distribution of households in terms of ownership at 94 per cent is one of the highest in India. Some 75 percent of households have drinking water close by and what is more important 53 per cent of houses have water taps a luxury. How many homes elsewhere in India can boast of such amenities? Among the 1.6 million households in J & K 37 per cent avail of banking services,65 percent have radios and transistors and 41 per cent have television sets. The rest of Indians cannot own land in J & K, but everybody is silent as regards properties owned in the rest of India by Kashmiri politicians like Omar Abdullah, Mufti Saeed, Mehboob Begum, Mirwaiz, Geelani apart from professed terrorists. Nobody is supposed to raise such inconvenient questions. But is it possible at this moment in time that Kashmiris are beginning to see the light?
Terrorists had long warned Kashmiris not to participate in the elections that took place in November-December 2008. But this year the Kashmiris seem to have decided to vote anyway, despite terrorist threats. The voter turn out has been, to say the least, much higher than what it was in 2002.
To cite examples, of voting patterns in six districts: In Ganderbal district in 2002 the voting was 35.21%; this year it is 60.02. In Kangan the last time the percentage was 52.03 but this year it is 60.02. In 2002 hardly 27.01% turned out in Rajauri to vote. This year the voter turn-out has been an impressive 67%. Six years ago, 57.86% came out to vote in Nowshera. This year the percentage has risen to 70. Much the same kind of change is noticeable in Barhal and Kalakote, current voting figures rising to 70 plus whereas in 2002 the percentage figures varied between 48 and 57.
What has happened to Kashmiris since the Amarnath Yatra imbroglio? Why have voters decided to go against the dictates of the terrorists to boycott the elections? Have they realised that their behaviour in the past only brought them disgrace? Is Kashmiriyat coming back into its own? Have Kashmiris realised that compared to the socio-economic conditions prevailing in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), they are much better off? Even more importantly have they at last realised that no matter how much Pakistan tries to destroy India through a thousand cuts, India will remain unbeatable and will rise like the phoenix. Just as likely have Kashmiris come to realise that Pakistani patronage, overt and covert, may slowly decline considering what heavy pressure Islamabad and the ISI are now under following the jihadi terrorists' attack on Mumbai.
If that pressure is sustained as it is likely to, Pakistan will truly be in dire straits. The United States, for example, has told Pakistan that if it does not stop terrorist activities with a firmer hand, it will have to forego aid. And without aid Pakistan faces a total collapse and even a break-up. And then of what earthly use will Pakistan be to Kashmir? For that matter, Kashmiris may even find that azaadi is a chimera that would demand a heavy price from Kashmiris themselves from outside forces. Trickling reports from Kashmir go to suggest that the people are beginning to realise that between azaadi and economic development, the latter is wiser choice, and India is a better bet. It may be too early at this point to come to any definite conclusions about Kashmiri intentions, but the voting pattern in the just-concluded elections must be seen as carrying a message. All that one can do at this stage is to keep ones fingers crossed. Wisdom dictates that optimism must be carefully calibrated to changing patterns of political behaviour. -- Free Press Journal, January 22, 2009.