Chaitra 19, 2066 Vik Samvat, Yugabda 5111 - 1 April 2009

1. FESTIVALS: Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on Chaitra Poornima which falls on April 9 this year to commemorate the birth of Hanuman, son of Marut (wind God) and Mata Anjani. On this day spiritual discourses are arranged in Hanuman temples. People fast on this day, read the Hanuman Chalisa and spend the whole day in the Japa of Ram-Nam.
2. MOHANJI IS THE NEW SARSANGHACHALAK: Param Poojaniya Mohanji Bhagwat is the new Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He became the sixth Sarsanghachalak after being nominated to this post by the outgoing Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the supreme body of RSS that concluded in Nagpur on March 22. The handing over of the responsibility of Sarsanghachalak was a touching and emotional moment for the 1300 delegates present at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur. It left an indelible impact on their minds.Citing the health reasons for his inability to continue as the Sarsanghachalak Shri Sudarshan, announcing the name of Shri Mohan Bhagwat as his successor, said, "It is my fortune that I was able to become a cause in this pious work. Shri Mohanrao is a very proficient and capable activist and we have seen his rare qualities when he discharged various responsibilities in the organisation."After the announcement, a pin-drop silence engulfed the hall for a moment. In the meanwhile, Shri Mohan Bhagwat stood from his seat and sought the blessings of his seniors by touching their feet. Shri Sudarshan then formally entrusted him with the responsibility of the organisation chief. Senior Sangh Pracharak Shri Ranga Hari felicitated Shri Bhagwat by presenting him a bouquet and a shawl. Speaking at this occasion Shri.Mohanji said that he feels a kind of fear when he looks at the divine life and great personalities of the previous Sarsanghachalaks. But at the same time he feels confident because of the blessings of all and a rare team of dedicated workers in Sangh. In the evening of March 21, a public function was held at Reshim Bagh grounds in which more than 2000 uniformed swayamsevaks along with a large number of local people participated. The “Sarsanghachalak Pranam” was offered to the new Sarsanghachalak at the function. Besides Shri Sudarshanji and Shri Mohanji , Uttar Kshetra Sanghachalak Dr Bajranglal Gupt, vetran Shri M.G.Vaidya and Shri Ranga Hari spoke on the occasion.
3. FIFTH CHAMANLAL MEMORIAL LECTURE: WORK UNITEDLY AGAINST CONVERSION - VENERABLE BHIKKHUNI DHAMMANANDA: "We need not fear of conversion ‘if’ both the Hindus and the Buddhists follow their traditions properly. But this ‘if’ is very important. If the Hindus and the Buddhists are united no outside force can harm them. We need to work together against conversion,” said venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda while delivering the fifth Chamanlal Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on March 25.
Bhikkhuni Dhammananda is one of the most prominent scholars on Buddhism and a renowned woman in Thailand. Before becoming a practicing Bhikkhuni, she was known across the globe as Prof. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh and had been a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Thammasat University, Bangkok for over 30 years. She graduated in Religion at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) and got her Ph.D. in the same field from the Magadh University, Bodh Gaya. She has authored more than 70 books in English and Thai language. She was honoured with the UN Outstanding Buddhist Woman Award in 2004 and later on was nominated for Nobel Prize in 2005. Lambasting the forces of conversion, which have adversely affected Hinduism and Buddhism in the recent past, she warned of such dangers by citing examples of the decreasing population of Buddhists in the Southeast Asia in general and in Thailand in particular. Explaining the eternal cultural linkage between Bharat and Thailand, she urged both the Hindus and the Buddhists to work together to fight the menace of conversion. Talking about conversions by missionaries in the guise of service during the natural calamities or in remote areas, she said conversion has become a tool of new form of colonisation in recent times. On the pretext of propagating one’s faith, a systematic damage is being inflicted upon several streams of religious beliefs. She also highlighted the Islamic conversion, which took place in Cambodia during the last several decades and evangelicals’ attempts to convert people in the tsunami-affected areas a few years back. Mentioning about the Joshua Project of the missionaries, she said the missionaries have prepared the literature for the activists explaining even the minor cautions while effectively converting the people of other faiths. She said Hinduism and Buddhism are softer religions than the Abrahamic religions and we should understand the quality of being the softer religions. She dwelt upon length on the common features of Buddhism and Hinduism both widely affected by this new form of colonisation. She called upon both the Hindus and the Buddhists to become serious in defending their ways of worship. She considered the nurturing of this attitude very vital and a necessary tool to fend the Hindus and Buddhists off conversion.
The lecture, organised by International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS), was chaired by former Chairman of National Commission for Minorities Sardar Tarlochan Singh.The topic of the lecture was “Conversion: Colonisation Through Faith”.
Earlier, Ravi Kumar, co-convener Vishwa Vibhag, said humility, humanity and humour are the three words in which the life of the late Chamanlalji can be explained. Prof Amarjeev conducted the program and Prof. Kapil Kumar, president ICCS Delhi, proposed a vote of thanks. Scores of distinguished personalities including former Governor Goa KedarNath Sahni, Delhi Prant Sanghachalak Ramesh Prakash, were present on the occasion.
4. MOHANJI PRESENTS ANNUAL REPORT: On 20th March Sarkaryavah Mohan Bhagwat ji presented the annual report containing review of Sangh activities in various provinces. Rich tributes were paid to the memories of all those who left this world; Sangh workers, activists in social service and all others succumbed to terrorist acts or natural calamities.
The report said that 43,905 shakhas were running in 30,015 places besides saptahik Milans in 4964 places and monthly sangh mandalees in 4507 places. Concern was expressed on progress of activities at a slow pace and satisfaction was expressed on excellent plans made in all Prants for daily and occasional activities and on their being conducted in a successful manner.
Following is a brief summary of various programs and functions held over the year.
Sankalp Sammelan - Sullya, Mangalore
In Sullya tehsil in Mangalore Vibhag there were shakhas in all the 44 villages for the last several years. Ahead of Sankalp Samavesh on January 26, a total of 136 Shakhas were started in 111 out of a total of 117 Upa-Bastis with Ekatrikaran, Dharma Jagaran, Seva, Matrishakti Jagaran, Literature distribution progammes in all of them. On the morning of 26th January flag-hoisting took place followed by Matrishakti Sammelan – Women’s convention. 2800 women attended the convention. Route marches of swayamsevaks were held at 3 places in the evening in which 4018 Swayamsevaks took part in full uniform. The highest participation in Ganavesh from one Upa-Basti was 148.
P.P.Sarsanghchalakji’s visit to Uttar Banga took place on 24, 25, 26th December. 4500 Swayamsevaks participated in the route march in full uniform with another 3500 Swayamsevaks and 17500 citizens were present in the programme. In the programme for college students held on 26th December 640 students participated.
In P.P. Sarsanghchalakji’s visit to Bagalkot in Uttar Karnataka on 28, 29, 30th December, 1035 Swayamsevaks from 109 Shakhas participated in the Sanchalan. 8000 citizens including 1000 women participated in the public programme of Belgaum.
During P.P. Sarsanghchalakji’s visit to Madhya Bharat Ganas from 69 places participated in the final Gana Samata Competition. Out of these 69, 12 Ganas participated in demonstrations including Sarsanghchalak Pranam, Pratyut Prachalanam and Pradakshina Sanchalanam.
On January 12, the birth day of Swami Vivekanand, Swarnim Bharat Sankalp programme was organised at Indore where around 25,000 students participated. They offered Pranam to Sarsanghachalakji and took the oath of Swarnim Bharat. Swayamsevaks of 10 Nagars demonstrated Gana Samata in this event. Sarsanghachalak Pranam, Pratyut Prachalanam, Pradakshina Sanchalanam etc. were also conducted.
During expansion efforts of the college students’ activities in Kerala, 741 students from 142 places and 147 colleges – a total of 289 units took part in a two-day Prant level workshop. Workshop programme included training in running the weekly gatherings, programmes in them, training in physical demonstrations, and discussions on the follow up activity.
In a College students camp in Jaipur Prant held on 27-28th September 2546 students, 70% of them new, from 371 places participated. Historical and inspiring layout of the camp venue and the mass game ‘Haldi Ghati battle’ left a great impact on the students.
In the district-wise camps of 'Sanghatan Sashaktikaran' in Mahakoshal held between 10 December and 18 January 568 out of 597 Khands, 1652 out of 2510 Mandals and 5017 out of 24,189 villages were represented. Total attendance was 21,543. As a follow up, Bharat Mata Pujan programme and Makar Sankranti function were held in these places and as a result of all this 181 Shakhas, 12 Milans and 8 Mandalis have been added newly.
During the visit of Sarkaryavah Ma. Mohanji Bhagwat on 24th December; the first-ever public programme of Sangh was held in Shillong where people from 140 villages belonging to 4 districts participated. Secretary and other leaders of the Seng Khasi movement adorned the Sangh platform for the first time and addressed the audience. A youth camp was also organized on 22-24th December in which 272 youths participated. On the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, 23rd January, Surya Namaskar Maha Yagna was held in 1644 Shakha places and another 385 schools, colleges and coaching centers of Goraksha Prant in which 1,25,766 students performed a total of 17,59,152 Surya Namaskars.
During Gramotsav in Mandu Khand of Ramgarh district in Jharkhand Prant; worship of village deities (Gram Devta), Ram Katha, Jalaabhishek, Bharatmata Pujan etc. were held in all the 11 villages of the Khand in which 4433 villagers – men and women – participated.
During Sarsanghachalakji’s visit to Pune 682 Bal Swayamsevaks presented qualitative physical demonstrations on 15th February in front of 8000 citizens. Entire event including song, Ghosh etc, was organized by the Bal Swayamsevaks only.
In the first ever all-Bharat Shrunga Vadya training programme, 306 Swayamseavks from 34 Prants took part. On the final day route marches were held in Gwalior in 5 groups, followed by a concluding programme in which a non-stop playing of the instruments was held for 18 minutes which left a great impact on the citizens of Gwalior.
Lauding our achievements like the launching of Chandrayan into the outer space the report mentioned that we have managed to escape a little from the wrath of the economic recession due to our age-old economic practices. It highlighted the vicious role of coalition of three evil forces i.e. domestic and global forces which view the geographical integrity of this country and its unique Hindu identity as impediments in the path of their self interest, the corrupt and inefficient policies of the governments and administration, and vote bank politics by citing incidents like Amarnath agitation, assassination of Swami Lakshmanandaji and Malegaon blast case where reprehensible and baseless allegations were made against Hindu Saints, society and Hindu organizations. The report quoted Smt. Salaskar's statement (widow of Mumbai police officer who was killed in the attack), “How many more will have to become the ‘Veer Patnis’ (wives of martyrs) in this country?” as a pointer of nations agony and anger.
Before concluding Sarkaryavahaji appealed, "Shri Amarnath agitation showed us the path to respond successfully to all such challenges. Economic downfall of America is indicating the end of the era of half baked foreign theories. When the society stands-up with immense pride in its own identity, and a firm resolve to live and die for the country, Dharma, culture and society, then only it would be able to create a democratic polity that will throw up enlightened rulers and efficient administration. All types of scheming, conspiracies, terrorism and atrocities will be powerless in the face of the enlightened and united society. Learning lessons from the past experiences and remaining alert to the interest of our nation we must ensure hundred percent voting in the coming elections. Staying out of day to day politicking and party politics and remaining within our limits we all have to undertake this responsibility.
This period of challenge is also an invitation to our gallantry and an opportunity to achieve victory through our valour. Need of the hour is to awaken this bravery and valour in the Hindu society spread out in countless villages across the country from Himalayas to the Bharatiya Ocean. Let all of us strive to expand and consolidate still further our already existing nationwide network to enable our society to effectively respond to all the challenges it is facing, by adopting appropriate strategies and techniques.
'It is an unflinching challenge to the whole world,
May they feel good or bad about it,
That we are determined to pursue our national mission,
Ever-ready to take the threats head-on.'
Such a society alone is the answer to all the evils; response to all the threats; exclamation of victory and the only foundation for the all-round glory of our nation. The Sangh is engaged in creating such a society.
The ABPS passed 3 resolutions on issues of national importance, excerpts of which are given below.
RESOLUTION 1 - CRUSH TERROR NETWORKS: Condoning the death of a large number of people, including senior army and police officials, in the dastardly terrorist attack on Mumbai on 26 November 2008 the ABPS called upon the Government to prepare Bharat's internal and external security mechanism to effectively tackle the impending danger from across the western border. Expressing concern over the recent developments in Pakistan like the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and SWAT Valley political turmoil; the ABPS highlighted the need for better preparedness of our agencies to face any eventuality.
Decrying the ever-growing tendency of the governing class to rush to the US and other countries beseeching their help; the ABPS stated that while diplomatic initiatives are important, our problems are not going to be solved by others and we ourselves should proactively work towards protecting our national interests.
The ABPS drew the attention to the most important message that the Mumbai terror attack has given that there are several Jehadi elements within our country that actively connive with the terror agencies across the borders. It came down heavily on the Government’s deceptive silence on this crucial factor and the audacious statements of some cabinet ministers almost exonerating Pakistan giving rise to a strong suspicion that it is trying to shield culprits with an eye on vote banks.
The demands made in the resolution included,
1. Enhance counter-terrorism capabilities of our security agencies and equip them fully with necessary retaliatory competence in such a way that no future terror attacks are possible.
2. Bring stringent laws on the lines of the POTA, the MCOCA etc. Give assent to the anti-terror laws enacted by various states including Gujarat and Rajasthan.
3. Destroy the local support network in the form of sleeper cells and terror modules.
ABPS also congratulated people and the media for showing courage and resolution in steadfastly opposing the activities of the terrorists and their sponsors and urged that they continue to exert pressure on the Government to take tough measures in tackling this menace.
RESOLUTION 2 - POLICY OF RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION DANGEROUS FOR NATIONAL INTEGRITY: ABPS demanded that all reservations, concessions and privileges based exclusively on religion must be abolished. It urged the countrymen to make the society aware of the impending dangers of such policies and exert pressure on policy makers to abandon them.
Citing numerous examples of partisan treatment given to minorities especially Muslims viz. loans on better interest terms, land and fund largesse showered on Aligarh Muslim University, institutionalization of reservation for Muslims and Christians in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, out of turn concessions to Muslims in Bihar and West Bengal etc; the ABPS observed that the same policy of Muslim appeasement pursued by the British, which resulted in the vivisection of our motherland, is continuing even after 62 years of our independence. It warned that the discriminatory policies being adopted by the Central Government by showering favours liberally upon Muslims and Christians in the name of minorities, instead of serving the purported claim of empowering them, are fraught with the danger of dividing the society on communal lines.
The ABPS reiterated that preferential treatment to a section of our society on the basis of religion is against our Constitution and appealed the fair-minded Muslims and Christians to openly come forward to oppose these policies.
RESOLUTION 3 - 500TH ANNIVERSORY OF SRI KRISHNADEVARAYA’S CORONATION: ABPS considers the coronation of Sri Krishnadevaraya who ascended the throne in 1510 CE as a defining moment in the history of Bharat.
The Vijayanagar Empire, described by the historians as a golden chapter in the history of Bharat, was founded in 1336 CE with the avowed objective of protecting Hindu Dharma and culture at a time when the very survial of these seemed to be threatened by the barbaric attack of the Muslim invaders. Sri Krishnadevaraya, a brave warrior and a visionary statesman, exemplifies himself as an ideal Hindu king and Vijayanagar empire stands out as an example of an ideal Hindu State. It served as a permanent source of inspiration for all future efforts of Hindu consolidation.
The ABPS believes that celebrating the 500th anniversary of the coronation of emperor Krishnadevaraya will revive the memories of a golden phase in the history of our country and infuse pride and confidence in the minds of the people, the younger generation in particular. Hence, it appeals to the countrymen to organise a variety of programmes with a view to throwing light upon the glory of the Vijayanagar Empire.
5. SARKARYAVAHA BHAYYAJI ANNOUNCES NEW KARYAKARINI: Shri Bhayyaji Joshi was elected as the new Sarkaryavah for the next 3 years at the ABPS meeting as per the constitution of RSS. Two more important changes that took place were that of the appointment of Shri Dattatreya Hosbale as the new Sahsarkaryavah and Shri Madan Das as the new Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh.
Sh. Joshi announced the new Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini as under:
PP Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat
Sarkaryavah Shri Sureshrao Joshi aka Bhayyaji Joshi
Sah Sarkaryavah Shri Suresh Soni
Sah Sarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosbale
Pracharak Pramukh Shri Madan Das
Sah Pracharak Pramukh Shrikrishna Motlag
Sharirik Pramukh Shri KC Kannan
Sah Sharirik Pramukh Shri Jagdishji
Sah Sharirik Pramukh Shri Anil Oak
Bauddhik Pramukh Shri Bhagaiyaji
Sewa Pramukh Shri Sitaram Kedilaya
Sah Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath
Sampark Pramukh Shri Hastimalji
Prachar Pramukh Shri Manmohan Vaidya
Vyavastha Pramukh Shri Sakalchand Bagrecha
Sah Vyavastha Pramukh Shri Balkrishna Tripathi
6. APING THE TALIBAN: Secular Bharat can do without it: The Supreme Court deserves to be commended for rejecting the absurd demand of a Muslim school student that he should be allowed to sport a beard because it is his ‘right’ to do so. The petitioner, Mohammed Salim, a student of Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School in Madhya Pradesh, had earlier gone to the High Court, seeking a judicial order quashing the school regulation which requires all students to be clean-shaven. The High Court had dismissed his plea. In his petition to the Supreme Court, Mr Salim reiterated his contention that every citizen is entitled to follow his ‘religious principles’ and that no one should restrain him from doing so in a ‘secular’ country like India. Arguing his case before a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Raveendran and Justice Markandya Katju, Mr Salim’s counsel, Mr BA Khan, insisted that sporting a beard is an ‘indispensable part of Islam’. While it is not the intention of this newspaper to interpret Islamic theology and shari’ah-based injunctions, it would be perfectly in order to make two points. In a secular country, secular laws, rules and regulations must prevail over religious practices. Much as Mr Salim may believe to the contrary, his cunning reference to a ‘secular country like India’ notwithstanding, minority appeasement by politicians who indulge in vote-bank politics has not yet succeeded in subverting secularism in our public life. It is precisely because India is secular that he cannot be allowed to flout the rules of his school in order to crudely flaunt his faith. Second, it is a travesty to claim that sporting a beard is an ‘indispensable part of Islam’ — it may be so for those who subscribe to the narrowest interpretation of this religion, but not for the vast majority of Muslims who are as, if not more, faithful to Islam as Mr Salim. As Justice Katju pointed out to Mr Khan, “But you don’t sport a beard!” That surely does not make Mr Khan any less a Muslim than Mr Salim. The issue, really, is not one of religious freedom — the reason cited by Mr Salim in his defence is both spurious and misleading. There is an ongoing sinister effort to promote a certain perception of Islam, at the instigation of mullahs who dread their future if Muslims were to break free of orthodoxy that sets apart the community from the rest of our society and embrace modernism without giving up their faith. It is this emphasis on separatism that has fetched this nation much grief in the past; its furtherance can only strengthen the communal fault line that runs through our country. This perception of Islam that Mr Salim and his ilk wish to foist on India is borrowed from Saudi Arabia. It has no place in India, not least because the promotion of this perception is the first step towards Talibanisation of India’s Muslim youth. Seen against this backdrop, Justice Katju comment is most apt: “We don’t want to have Taliban in the country. Tomorrow a girl student may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa. Can we allow it?” No, it cannot be allowed. Does this mean denying Muslim students the right to sport a beard, wear a kafiyeh or shroud their body in a burqa? Not really. They can do so — and thus perpetuate the stereotype against which, ironically, Muslims complain the most — if they wish to, but then they must keep away from schools and colleges that offer secular education, and attend madarsas where they would be far more comfortable and at ease. So would secular India be. – Editorial, The Pioneer, dated April 2, 2009.
7. GERMANY HAS A NEW HINDU TAMIL TEMPLE : The Sri Muthumariamman Temple–the largest Hindu temple in northern Germany–opened on March 22 with a purifying fire ceremony that started before sunrise. Built by the 300-member Tamil Hindu Cultural Association, the new temple will hold about 100 people. Around 1,000 Hindus from around Germany attended for blessings. About 5,000 Hindus live in the Lower Saxony area, where Hanover is located. “This Hindu temple will enrich Hanover’s religious diversity,” said Hanover’s mayor, Ingrid Lange, on March 22.
8. ARMY TO SOON INDUCT BLOCK-II VERSION OF BRAHMOS: The Army will soon induct the Block-II version of supersonic cruise BrahMos missile, which was successfully test fired in Pokhran, Rajasthan on March 29 and met all operational parameters and hit the bull's eye. Incidentally, it was the third test of the BrahMos missile as the earlier two tests on January 20 and March 4 could not satisfy the Army. It wanted the missile, fitted with unique software to identify a target, to hit the specified target amongst a cluster of targets. Declaring the test as successful, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Noble Thamburaj said the trials of the cruise missile were aimed at testing the effectiveness of a special sensor for accurately hitting targets in an urban environment.The process of inducting the new Block-II land attack version of the 290-km range missile would begin soon, the Vice Chief said adding the missile system provided "tremendous scope and opportunity" for the force. Thamburaj said each of the three tests beginning January 20 were aimed at 'collectively' fulfilling the Army's requirements and more specifically the effectiveness of the new sensor integrated on to the missile. He said the targets were different in each test and informed that it was more difficult to hit a target at a lesser range as the missile was able to correct its course on a longer range as the system got more time..
9. PHALCONS WILL GIVE IAF EARLY BIRD ADVANTAGE: After several technical and other hiccups, IAF will finally get its most potent force-multiplier, the desperately awaited Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), from Israel in May.
The Phalcon AWACS will bolster IAF’s capabilities to detect troop build-up or aircraft movements deep inside Pakistan, much further than ground-based radars, while flying well within Bharatiya airspace. An AWACS flying over Amritsar, for instance, will be able to detect and track a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet as soon as it takes off from its Sargodha airbase. AWACS are primarily used for detection of incoming hostile cruise missiles and aircraft from hundreds of km away in allweather conditions as well as directing air defence fighters during combat operations against enemy jets.
10. OBAMA ASKS US TO BRACE FOR INDIAN, CHINESE CHALLENGE: US President Barack Obama wants to reduce health care and energy costs to lessen the massive national debt lest Bharat and China overtake a recession hit US economy. In a statement betraying concern he said,"…..Now, the alternative is to stand pat and to simply say: We are just going to not invest in health care. We're not going to take on energy. We'll wait until the next time that gas gets to $4 a gallon. We will not improve our schools.And we'll allow China or India or other countries to lap our young people in terms of their performance. We will settle on lower growth rates, and we will continue to contract, both as an economy and our ability to provide a better life for our kids".
11. CLEAN IT UP: Tata Communications chairman Subodh Bhargava's revelation that corporate houses are being hounded by political parties demanding funds is, in fact, no revelation at all. Neither is Rahul Bajaj's claim of illegal financing and slush funds being rife a surprise. Come election time, the campaign expenditure limit of Rs 25 lakh imposed on candidates is revealed to be a convenient fiction. The unrealistic cap and numerous other issues to do with campaign financing have combined to create a pernicious political culture. When it becomes incumbent upon parties and politicians to utilise public office for raising funds in order to remain politically competitive, the electoral process the foundation of a democratic structure is subverted. It is not an easy tangle to resolve, but alternate options must be considered. The most fundamental of these is the raising of the expenditure cap. As it stands, the limit is wholly insufficient when it comes to campaigning in an electoral process as drawn out as India's. Neither is it effective when there is no clear way to distinguish between expenditure by the individual and that by his supporters or party, with no limit on the latter. Its main effect is merely to incentivise opacity in both acquiring and spending funds. Raising the cap to a realistic level has the potential to cut through this knot, removing the constraints compelling corporate houses to display limited contributions. And once this is achieved, it may become possible to mandate that companies route their donations through trusts as some have already begun to do injecting transparency into the process. The inevitable fallout, unfortunately, will be an uneven playing field with prominent parties gaining a clear advantage over small rivals. But this, in turn, can be mitigated to some extent by public funding; it has been under discussion for over two decades now but lack of political consensus has prevented its implementation. While direct funding is an understandably tricky issue, indirect funding is a viable alternative. Providing free airtime on government-run television and radio channels has the advantage of being easy to monitor while creating some amount of balance when it comes to small parties. There are, of course, other issues to consider. Reforming campaign financing guidelines will have little effect if the political culture remains unchanged. Quid pro quo links between politicians and corporate entities, for instance, can provide a strong incentive for hidden funding. These are difficult questions with no silver bullet solution. But with the elections upon us in an era of multiple crises, now is the correct time to begin searching for answers. – Editorial, Times of India March 28, 2009.
12. BHARATIYA CEOS HIGH ON CONFIDENCE: PricewaterhouseCoopers' 12th Annual Global CEO Survey found only 50% of the respondents in Bharat saying they were likely to be affected by the credit crisis, as compared to 70% globally.
Bharat has recorded the highest CEO confidence levels amongst the emerging economies, with 70% expressing confidence about both short term and long term revenue growth, compared to just 21% and 34% globally.
"This confidence is extremely significant since it signals the inherent strength of the Bharatiya market, and its continuing potential for growth even in the face of crisis," said Ramesh Rajan, chairman of PwC, Bharat.
13. ISI AIDING TALIBAN IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN: Operatives in Pakistan's military intelligence are directly aiding Taliban's campaign in southern Afghanistan, despite official claims that ISI has severed all relations with the extremists, said a media report.The support, it said consists of money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance to Taliban commanders who are gearing up to confront the international force in Afghanistan that will soon include some 17,000 American reinforcements. Support for Taliban and other militant groups is coordinated by operatives in the shadowy S Wing of ISI. It said there is even evidence that ISI operatives meet regularly with Taliban commanders to discuss whether to intensify or scale back violence before Afghan elections.The report contradicted oft repeated claims by Pakistan's top officials that ISI has cut-off all relations with Taliban and other militant groups. But the inability or unwillingness, of the embattled civilian government to break ties that bind the ISI to the militants illustrates the complexities of a region of shifting alliances, it said.
14. AN ARTIFICIAL HEART FOR RS 1 LAKH: It'll be to coronary care what Nano is to cars, say scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, who have devised an artificial heart that could save lives for just Rs 1 lakh.
The research team says trials of the prototype lab—constructed heart have been successful on small animals and the gadget is being perfected on goats. The institute has applied for permission to conduct human trials. After four years of painstaking research, the scientists say their creation is better and far more affordable than the first artificial heart developed in the US, which showed a ``high rate failure'' and at Rs 30 lakh, beyond the reach of the common man.
15. NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN BY ABVP TO EDUCATE YOUNG VOTERS: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is going to launch a countrywide campaign to educate the young voters who form a major chunk of voters said Vishnu Dutt Sharma, national general secretary of ABVP.
Shri Sharma pointed out that during the campaign the youth would be requested to elect only those leaders who would not compromise on nation’s security at any cost, enact laws against those who give shelter to terrorism, expatriate the Bangladeshi infiltrators, hang Afzal to death, and such similar demands.
16. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, Samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will visit Kenya and South Africa.Visitors:Shri Bharatbhai Vadukul, Shri Damjibhai Patel and Smt. Buddhiben Dhariwal from UK.
17. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Perfect knowledge is attained on the destruction of deluding karmas, of karmas which obscure knowledge and perception, and of karmas which obstruct faith. With the absence of the cause of bondage, the annihilation of all karmas is liberation. - Tattvarthasutra 10.1-2