Elderly women draw pictures of five-headed cobras on wooden planks, recite mantras and pray. Pots of milk and flowers are placed next to holes that are believed to contain snakes as an offering of devotion. If a snake actually drinks the milk it is thought to be the ultimate sign of good luck.
It is also celebrated in Nepal while in Punjab it is known by the name of "Guga-Navami".
2. RSS SERVICE PROJECTS EXPAND MANIFOLD: The service projects being run by RSS swayamsevaks across the country under different banners have registered a phenomenal growth , the total number of projects touching 1,57,776 as on March 31. It include 59,498 projects of education, 38,582 projects of health, 42,304 projects of social and 17,392 projects of self-reliance.
According to the latest edition of Seva Disha 2009, the report of RSS service activities published from Pune after every five years, a total of 59,076 service projects are run by Rashtriya Sewa Bharati, 13,969 projects by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, 72,370 by Vishwa Hindu Parishad, 461 by Rashtra Sevika Samiti, 9,682 by Vidya Bharati, 1,000 by Deendayal Research Institute and 168 projects are run by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Seva Disha 2009, published on the occasion of annual meeting of Prant Pracharaks in Merath, also highlighted some remarkable features of the growth of social service projects. The service activities have grown by more than one lakh as compared to 2004. The Arogya Rakshak scheme being run in remote villages of various states specially in North-Eastern states, the ‘Bal Gokulam’ of Kerala, the ‘Char Sutri Dhan’ scheme of Maharashtra, the self-help groups of Tamil Nadu, projects for ‘street children’ in Delhi and other metros, the ‘education for child labour project’ in Andhra Pradesh, are but sample examples of the all encompassing initiatives of swayamsevaks in social service field. The complete issue of Seva Disha 2009 will be available on RSS website (www.rssonnet.org) shortly.
3. BHARAT'S FIRST NUCLEAR SUBMARINE LAUNCHED: Bharat on June 26 joined a select group of five nations, the other countries being US, Russia, China, France and Britain, with the launching of country's first indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Arihant. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described it as a 'historic milestone' in the country's defence preparedness.
He congratulated the Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) Programme and the people associated with it for designing and building the nuclear submarine, which he said was a reflection of the 'immense technical expertise' and the strength of the research and development organizations in the country.
The submarine will be commissioned in the Bharatiya Navy after extensive outfitting and sea trials. It is the first of three such vessels to be built in the country and marks a quantum leap in Bharat’s shipbuilding capabilities. Bharatiya Navy will also get a Russian-built Akula class nuclear submarine INS Chakra, expected to be commissioned by this year-end.
4. HSS YOUTH CAMP AT SYDNEY: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) Australia conducted a 5-day “Leadership and Personality development” camp from July 14-19. 44 youth aged between 15 and 34 years attended the camp. The native backgrounds/origins of the youth varied from Bharatiya, Fijian, Srilankan, Singaporean and Malaysian. The camp schedule was interesting with a mixture of activities like niyuddha, danda, khel in shareerik and group discussions and other informative sessions in bauddhik to cater the needs of the body, mind and intellect.
Uncle Evan, the local Aboriginal elder, blessed and welcomed all camp attendees and volunteers. Sri.Ravi Kumar, Intl Joint Coordinator of HSS was present during the camp and also delivered samarop bauddhik. He also addressed a VHP children camp, felicitation function for Bheeshmachari ji – HSS pracharak and Liverpool Bhajan group. He held lectures on Vedic Mathematics and influence of Bhagwad Geeta besides meeting several workers and prominent personalities, during his stay in Sydney.
5. SCHOOL WHERE MUSLIM KIDS ARE HAPPY TO SING HINDU HYMNS: Sanskrit verses are part of the daily prayer for Mantasha Khan (class IX), Inayat Ali (class VIII), Jofisha Khan (class IV) and 30 other Muslim students who study at the Shaishvika Vidyalaya, a high school with 269 students run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Indore.
It’s not just the Medha Suktam (a Vedic hymn recited to strengthen the intellect) that they recite with perfect diction but they also chant the Gayatri mantra, Surya mantra and shlokas (hymns) from the Bhagvad Gita with equal ease, besides the Ramcharitmanas and the Hanumanchalisa.
And their parents never objected. One of the parents —Shakil Khan —has been encouraging his community members to send their children to this school, founded in 1975. And the results are encouraging. In 1996, it had four Muslim students. This year, out of 50 students who got admission, 25 were from minority community.
Another ex-student and award-winning painter Riyazuddin Patel says, “My ideology has matured after studying there. What I learned is discipline, which is akin to the RSS.” --Padma Shastri, Hindustan Times ,Indore, July 20, 2009
6. 'TURMERIC IS RECEIVING ATTENTION FOR MEDICAL APPLICATIONS': Modern science has substantiated what grandma always knew: the extraordinary healing power of turmeric. A team of scientists led by Ayyalusamy
Ramamoorthy , an IIT Kanpur alumnus and a Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics at the University of Michigan, has deciphered the exact functioning of curcumin, a major ingredient of turmeric powder, in curing wounds, infections and other health problems. ”Curcumin could be used as a supplement to boost health. However, more studies are essential to completely understand how it can be used to treat ageing-related diseases like type-2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and bacterial and viral infections. Some research along these lines is already in progress in our laboratory.” He said.
7. CHANDRAYAAN-1 CAPTURES MOON'S SHADOW: Bharat's lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 has captured the shadow of the moon on the earth's surface during the recent total solar eclipse. The images were captured by the special terrain mapping camera on board the Chandrayaan. ISRO says the capturing of the celestial event confirms that the spacecraft is satisfactorily orbiting the moon at 200 kilometers with all its payloads intact.
ISRO says, the latest pictures are good news, after a setback in late April when its star sensor malfunctioned. The Space agency also said that the clarity of the photographs shows that the mission is back on track.
8. BRITISH COUNCIL TO OUTSOURCE JOBS TO BHARAT: As the Gordon Brown government mulls outsourcing over 100 jobs at the British Council to Bharat as part of its cost-cutting drive, government employees' unions have denounced the move as an "absolute disgrace" and feared that it could be a blueprint for shifting more such services abroad.
The Council, which promotes British culture and language abroad, said that 500 of its 1,300 British workers would have to go in the next 18 months to save 45 million pounds.
More than a fifth of these posts are to be filled in Bharat and the body plans to bring some of the Bharatiya recruits over to "shadow” finance staff in Manchester.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents civil servants, opposed the Council’s decision saying it was against Brown's stated principle of "British jobs for British people" and could not be justified during a recession.
9. POST 26/11, INFOSYS GETS ELITE SECURITY: IT bellwether Infosys Technologies became the first private firm in Bharat, post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, to get security cover from the elite Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for its sprawling campus here.
The CISF personnel will provide a 24X7 protection shield to the Bharatiya software giant which, intelligence agencies believe, could be a target for terrorists.
Infosys will be shelling out around Rs.100,000 daily for the CISF cover. Infosys board member T.V. Mohandas Pai said CISF cover would soon be given to the entire Electronic City that houses several IT companies.
10. VHP NATIONAL VICE-PRESIDENT BHAVE PASSED AWAY: VHP national vice president Omkar Bhave passed away on July 23 following a brief illness. He was 85. Born on July 26, 1924 at Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, Bhave joined RSS in 1938. He later completed his graduation in 1945 and became a lifetime pracharak of Sangh and served the organisation in various capacities.
Bhave actively participated in Ram Janma Bhumi movement and in the movement launched during emergency in 1975. He was made national vice president of VHP this year.
11. EMOTIONS RULE AS KARGIL BRAVES ARE REMEMBERED: Tears rolled down the faces of family members of the fallen soldiers of Kargil war at the sight of memorials for their loved ones who helped trounce the Pakistani Army 10 years ago while colleagues and superiors paid emotional tributes to the heroes.
“Looking at the faces of the brave soldiers, kin of martyrs and awardees, I wonder what these heroes are made of? “Former Army chief VP Malik, who commanded the force during the Kargil conflict, said while dedicating a war memorial gallery in Drass named after Paramvir Chakra awardee Capt Manoj Panday on July 25.
"After the demise of my son it is the only happy day of my life. I am thankful that my son is finally recognised and remembered," said S P Kalia, father of Lt Saurabh Kalia who was among the first casualties of the Kargil conflict and was captured and brutally tortured by the Pakistani forces
12. INTEL CENTRES TO KEEP TABS ON CHINA'S MISSILES, NAVY: Stung by China's aggressive posturing, including its deployment of missiles in Delingha near Tibet, and other increasingly hostile activities in Bharat's neighbourhood, the Cabinet Committee on Security is considering a proposal to set up separate centres for nuclear or missile intelligence and maritime security.
The way these missiles have been deployed, they can only hit four countries -- Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bharat. And because the other three countries are not potential adversaries of China, there is obviously deep concern here about China's intentions and you can say that this is one way of addressing this concern,'' said a source.
13. AKAL TAKHT TELLS SIKHS TO GO GREEN: Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal body, has embraced the save-the-environment mantra telling Sikhs across the world it was their ‘‘moral and religious duty’’ to care for the nature.
‘‘Whereever in the world you (Sikhs) may be, your focus should now be on cleaning up of natural water resources rather than building gurdwaras,’’ Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said at a function on the ninth anniversary of cleaning of Kali Bein, a river in Kapurthala district.
The Kali Bein, a much polluted river flowing through Sultanpur Lodhi, was cleaned in an initiative by the Akhat Takht Jathedar through community participation.
14. IAF PLANES WITH SCIENTISTS TRACK TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE: The IAF on Jul 22 successfully undertook aerial sorties to help scientists undertake study of the total solar eclipse. Two separate missions from Agra and Gwalior were flown tracking and filming the entire sequence of the solar eclipse that was deemed hugely successful by scientists associated with the experiment. The AN-32 mission was flown at 25,000 feet. The aircraft flew a south-westerly course from Khajuraho, descending and aligning along the central axis of the eclipse. The Mirage-2000 fighter flew at an altitude of 42,000 feet bisecting the central axis in a north-south direction to film the eclipse.
“Ensuring the sun at 6 am position at the correct angle for cameras to be able to catch the phenomenon demanded a high degree of accuracy in flying,” explained Wing Commander D Singh.
15. BHARATIYA ECONOMY SHOWS SIGNS OF RECOVERY: Bharatiya economy showed definite sign of recovery in June as core industries grew 6.5 per cent in June compared to 2.8 per cent in the previous month.
Recording the fastest pace of growth in the past 18 months, excepting petroleum products, all other five industries namely coal, cement, crude oil, electricity, finished steel ended in the positive terrain. Apart from this, the core industries also displayed a growth scenario for the third month in a row for this fiscal totaling to a growth estimate of around 4.8 per cent as compared to 3.5 per cent during the corresponding period last year.
The Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Minister said that stimulus packages and steps announced in the Budget are having a positive impact on industry. However, he also added that growth in the core sector does not mean that Bharat has fully recovered from the impact of the global economic crisis.
16. RAMESHBAI OZA INSPIRES FIJI: More than 4000 people gathered to listen to spiritual words delivered by the Sant Sri Rameshbhai Oza, on Jul 23 at Labasa, Fiji..
Sant Oza said he was attracted by the purity of the people and the environment; he said that he could feel that Labasa was closer to God in nature. “People’s emotions are very much pure and they are more dedicated to God,” he said. “I would like to tell everybody in this island to remain with nature and to see God all the time. The best thing is to get away from all the bad habits; stay pure”.
Local priest Kamlesh Maharaj expressed how important the sant’s visit was to the people and said “We learn many basics of philosophy of Hinduism and moral values that we need to practice in our society today. He also helps us to develop our spiritual growth, which is a very important part of life.”
17. ABJECT SURRENDER AT SHARM: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has once again cravenly capitulated to American pressure and Pakistani skulduggery, this time in a shockingly shameful manner. The joint statement issued after Mr Singh’s meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt on Thursday not only marks a sharp departure from stated policy but is also a measure of the pusillanimity of the man who now claims that nothing has been surrendered and the huge concessions that have been made actually reflect his Government’s commitment and determination! This is, of course, far from the truth. Pakistan has long been demanding, especially ever since it launched the ghastly 26/11 fidayeen attack on Mumbai, that notwithstanding its sponsorship of cross-border jihadi violence, India should continue with the composite dialogue process by delinking it from terrorism. Till Thursday, the Government had been firm, or seemingly so, in rebuffing Islamabad’s demand and insisting that talks can be resumed only after Pakistan demonstrates its commitment to curbing terrorism emanating from its soil and acts against those who plotted the terror strike on Mumbai. Between November 26, 2008 and July 16, 2009, Pakistan has neither shown any interest in dismantling the jihad factories that are sustained by the ISI with the blessings of both Islamabad and Rawalpindi, nor has it convincingly pursued the prosecution of those who plotted the massacre of 189 innocent people in Mumbai. On the contrary, the sophistry with which the Pakistani establishment has facilitated the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s chief terrorist, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, from ‘house arrest’ that followed the UN Security Council imposing sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa’h, and its scoffing at the evidence provided by India only underscores its determination to persist with cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Protected and mollycoddled by the US — the Obama Administration has been exceptionally generous in funding the criminal enterprise that controls Pakistan — the PPP Government has been cocking a snook at India and daring it to take punitive action. Instead of standing up to Mr Gilani and his benefactors in Washington, DC, Mr Singh has compromised national interest by agreeing to the outrageous, Pakistan-dictated, US-enforced condition that “action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed”. This means Mr Singh’s Government will discuss all outstanding issues, including Jammu & Kashmir, while Pakistan will continue to spill the blood of innocent Indians. Yet, the Prime Minister, having so timidly surrendered India’s advantage, now wants the country to believe that delinking of dialogue from terrorism is not a dilution of his Government’s stand but strengthens it. Mr Singh’s brazen attempt to mislead Parliament, and thus the nation, is reminiscent of the manner in which he foisted the US-dictated nuclear deal on India to our detriment.
As if this were not enough, Mr Singh has allowed, and stunningly so, Mr Gilani to include a cunning reference to Baluchistan in the joint statement, thus legitimising Pakistan’s bogus claim that India has been fomenting Baluchi unrest.
Does the Prime Minister realise the enormity of the blunder he has committed? Is he able to comprehend the consequences of this shifting of goalposts to Pakistan’s advantage? Recall Mr Singh’s abject surrender in Havana where he hugged Gen Pervez Musharraf and declared that both Pakistan and India are victims of terrorism, thus equating the perpetrator of terror with the victim. In the same vein, he has once again equated the terrorism India faces with the terrorism that has begun to recoil on its sponsors in Pakistan. If this is not a concession, if this does not reflect the warped thinking of a gutless Government unable to distinguish national interest from Pakistani perfidy, then Pakistan would not have been laughing at India today. - The Pioneer Editorial 18 July 2009
18. BHARAT TO HAVE 3RD LARGEST NUMBER OF INTERNET USERS BY 2013: The number of internet users worldwide is expected to touch 2.2 billion by 2013 and Bharat is projected to have the third largest online population during the same time, says a report.
"... Bharat will be the third largest internet user base by 2013 - with China and the US taking the first two spots, respectively," technology and market research firm Forrester Research said in a report.
Titled 'Global Online Population Forecast, 2008 to 2013', the report noted that emerging markets like Bharat would see a growth of 10 to 20 per cent by 2013. Bharat’s number of Internet users was estimated to be 52 million in 2008.
19. WITH DOWNTURN NRI PROFS LOOK HOMEWARDS: A good number of the applications for faculty positions lately received by the Indian Institutes of Technology have come from Bharatiyas working or studying abroad. Half the candidates recently selected by IIT Ropar had been based abroad when they applied. So too were a third of those taken in at IIT Hyderabad, and a fourth of those who joined IIT, Bhubaneshwar. Nor were all applicants youngsters.
"Some of the CVs we got were from senior faculty members abroad, who had lost their jobs because of the downturn,” said MK Surappa, Director of IIT Ropar, Haryana.
Niloy Mitra, currently teaching at IIT Delhi’s department of computer science and engineering, post graduated from Stanford University in the United States, and got his Ph.D. from Vienna’s Technical University. But he has no regrets about having returned to Bharat. "The salary difference is huge between Bharatiya teachers and those in the West," he admitted. "But now it is possible to get research grants and the teaching load too is lighter than in the West."
20. TAMIL NADU VILLAGE’S BANANA BONANZA: Sarees made from banana fibre?:
Yes, they existed during the Ramayana era; and the art has been revived after several millennia at a village near Chennai. What’s more, these sarees are eco-friendly. And no, they aren’t slippery.
Several months of trial and error later, Sekar, president of the Anakaputhur Jute Weaver’s Association, and 30 fellow weavers perfected the art of extracting fibres from plantain stems and weaving them.
Now, the association sells 150 such sarees, spun from a mix of banana and cotton or silk fibres, every month at Rs 700-2,500 each.“We will also shortly apply for a patent,” said Sekar.
It was sheer survival instinct that led him to this innovation. A booming handloom centre even 10 years ago, 95 per cent of Anaka-puthur’s 7,000 looms have shut down since then. “There was no market for jute-based handlooms, and the future looked bleak. Fortunately, the banana sarees have been received well,” Sekar, who displayed them for the first time at the Banana Festival in Chennai, told HT.
21. BHARAT HANDLING SWINE FLU BETTER: Bharat’s handling of swine flu got a thumbs-up from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
“Developing countries such as Bharat have so far been able to handle the situation better. It's commendable, there’ve been no death,” said Dan Rutz, who chairs the Global Health Communication Team in the National Centre for Health Marketing at CDC.
The US has reported 43,771 cases and 302 deaths till Friday, July 24, the last date for which data is available. "Deaths were high because the outbreak caught America by surprise one fine morning and people here (in developing countries) had few weeks time to prepare," he said.
22. GAYATRI DEVI: A FAIRY TALE LIFE: Gayatri Devi, the former maharani of Jaipur who passed away Jul 29 , was "one of the last remaining symbols of Bharat's feudal past" and led "a life of novelistic dimensions, part E.M. Forster, part Jackie Collins", says the New York Times.
And "yet the maharani was idolized by the lower-caste Bharatiyas who elected her to parliament by an overwhelming margin, and she was a special inspiration to Bharatiya women of all castes", the Times wrote in an obituary.
The Times recalled that in 1975, after then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency, Gayatri Devi was among the many political opponents of the Congress who were arrested and jailed.
"She led a life of novelistic dimensions, part E.M. Forster, and part Jackie Collins. Born into royalty and married to royalty, she had almost unimaginable wealth, and she spent her early life, as a girl and a young woman, in palaces in Bharat and estates in England.
The obituary quotes from a New York Times Magazine report of 1966. Referring to a government briefing Gayatri Devi attended, the report noted: "She was dressed in a turquoise-blue chiffon sari with silver sequins sparkling like stars on a moonless night. She looked around with her large almond eyes. Everyone stood up. As Hillaire Belloc once described someone, 'her face was like the king's command when all the swords are drawn'."
23. NIRUPAMA RAO BHARAT'S FOREIGN SECRETARY: Nirupama Rao took charge as Bharat's foreign secretary on Aug 1 and stressed that she will focus on upgrading the Foreign Service to enable New Delhi to play 'an even more prominent role in world affairs'.
Chokila Iyer was the first woman to serve as Bharat's foreign secretary in 2001. A topper of the 1973 Indian Foreign Service batch, Rao became the first woman spokesperson of the external affairs ministry in 2001. She then went on become the Bharatiya envoy to Sri Lanka and then China before returning to New Delhi.
'Today, in a rapidly evolving world situation, the task is to further augment our diplomatic and professional capabilities as we are called upon to play an even more prominent role in world affairs...This will be an important area of focus in my new responsibilities,' Rao said.
24. IVHP ADOPTS STREET CHILDREN: Indraprastha Vishwa Hindu Parishad (IVHP) adopted 25 street children from various slums of Delhi for providing free education, health and for all-round development. Most of the children belong to the families where parents are suffering from leprosy for a long time. About half a dozen children are from the families of Dadiya Luhar who are said to be the ancestors of the great emperor Maharana Pratap.
Blessing the children at Saraswati Bal Mandir, Nehru Nagar, social worker and director of an orphanage home Sadhvi Samta Shri said we feel proud when a child picked up from streets performs with flying colours. I am confident that the children would become educationally, culturally and physically sound, she added.
25. ANDHRA HIGH COURT STAYS STATE FUNDING OF CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on July 22 stayed a state government order providing financial assistance to Christians for pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other places connected with the life of Jesus Christ. A division bench headed by Chief Justice A.R. Dave ruled that the government should not spend public money for any pilgrimage.
The court order came on a public interest litigation challenging the constitutional validity of the order issued by the minorities welfare department by which the state government had announced a financial assistance of Rs.20,000 to each Christian pilgrim undertaking seven-day tour to Jordan and Israel.
26. KANNADA IN BAVARIA UNIVERSITY: The Bavarian government has sought Karnataka's support for teaching Kannada in the University of Wurzburg.
Besides, the Bavarian government under an agreement signed between the two states on July 28, has agreed to extend scholarships to students of Gulbarga and Karnatak Universities under the student-exchange programme, exchange scholars and hold various other seminars and programs.
27. FIRST AUSTRALIANS WERE BHARATIYA: RESEARCH: Clues about how the first Aborigines arrived in Australia have been unveiled by Bharatiya scientists. Based on a series of genetic tests, they believe Aborigines travelled from Africa to Australia via Bharat. Dr Raghavendra Rao and researchers from the Bharatiya-government backed Anthropological Survey of Bharat project found unique genetic mutations were shared between modern-day Bharatiyas and Aborigines, suggesting Australia's indigenous people had spent time on the subcontinent.
The scientists did genetic tests on 966 individuals from 26 of Bharat's "relic populations" and identified seven people from central Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes who shared genetic traits only found in Aborigines. "We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Bharatiyas tribes … that are specific to Aborigines," Dr Rao said.
28. HINDUSTANI MUSIC EXPONENT GANGUBAI HANGAL PASSES AWAY: Doyen of Hindustani vocal music Gangubai Hangal, who mesmerized audiences with her melodious voice for over six decades, passed away at a hospital in Hubli on Jul 21 after a brief illness.
Recipient of many international accolades and national awards including Padma Vibhushan and Tansen award, Gangubai, affectionately known as "Baiji" among the music fraternity, gave her first concert to a select audience on December 15, 2005 after recovering from cancer. Undeterred by her failing health, the renowned musician was still teaching music to her disciples who came from as far as Mumbai and Sangli in Maharashtra.
29. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Prof. Prem Sankhyan from Norway; Shri D. B. Sinchauri from Bhutan; Shri Chaman Lal Gohil from UK. Pravas: Dr. .Shankar Tatwawadi, Samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will visit UK, Norway and Denmark, Shri Ramchandra Pandey will visit Kenya and South Africa while Vandaneeya Pramilatai – Pramukh Sanchalika Rashtra Sevika Samiti is in Kenya along with Bhagyashree Sathe. Shri Ravi Kumar, sah-samyojak vishwa vibhag is back in Bharat from Australia.
30. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: When totally free from outer contacts a man finds happiness in himself, He is fully trained in God’s discipline and reaches unending bliss. The experiences we owe to our sense of touch are only sources of unpleasantness. They have a beginning and an end. A wise man takes no pleasure in them. That man is disciplined and happy who can prevail over the turmoil that springs from desire and anger, here on earth, before he leaves his body. -- SriBhagvad Geeta
JAI SHREE RAM
LEFT SEES RED OVER SANSKRITThe arguments against the setting up of a Sanskrit university in Karnataka are rooted in Marxist opposition to any effort to preserve and revive India’s cultural heritage
Ever since the Government announced the idea of forming a Sanskrit university in Karnataka, the forces of hell have been unleashed there. Normally, the two main Opposition parties who are always opposed to each other on every issue in the State are now united in their opposition to this proposal.
Sanskrit-bashing has been in vogue ever since it was institutionalised under the aegis of the Nehruvian secularist state. India’s first brown sahib wrote about Sanskrit in flowery English, but failed to grasp its fragrance. The result was the perpetuation of the missionary system of education that severed hundreds of thousands of Indians from their own roots. That kind of education apart from generating employment breeds a curious sense of audacious entitlement bred by ignorance. And so, these worthies call Sanskrit a “dead” language without learning it.
Ask them why, and you get a list of ‘evidences’ stained with colonial and Marxist hues of Indian history. The ‘dead’ tag has become political fodder for all opponents of Sanskrit. But fundamentally, it stems from a vituperative hatred of Brahmins.
According to this theory, Sanskrit is supposedly associated to Brahmins because it was the language of priests during the Vedic times. This language was kept ‘secret’ and deliberately not taught to the ‘oppressed classes’. The latest variation of this theory is that we need languages that generate employment and Sanskrit doesn’t qualify for this. By this logic, most if not all Indian regional languages qualify as ‘dead’ languages.
Realistically, how many regional languages are used in everyday business? Also, establishing a Sanskrit university is supposed to somehow endanger Kannada’s survival, another baseless argument as we shall see.
The whole hoopla over renaming cities, roads, and insistence on governmental transactions in a particular regional language shows the desperation to retain the ‘purity’ of these languages in face of the onslaught of English.
What these purity proponents don’t realise is that you cannot preserve Indian languages by severing their inextricable link with Sanskrit. The vocabulary and grammar of most Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit. From Telugu (which exhibits the maximum influence of Sanskrit), Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, and Oriya, the root of every Indian language is Sanskrit. Cut off this root and every language will need to find new words for common terms like marg, jan, mantri, parishad, sabha, baarish, sri, guru, and so on. Also, is it a mere coincidence that the script of most major Indian languages (barring all South Indian languages) is a variant of Devanagari, the script of Sanskrit?
There’s plentiful research that shows that Sanskrit was not the language of just the Vedic priests. The most readily available evidence is the Sanskrit idioms that have an echo in their regional counterparts like galli ka kutta, road romeo, eve-teaser, and so on. The obvious conclusion is that Sanskrit was a language of the lay man.
Sanskrit is what gives identity to the Indian civilisation as we know it. From Valmiki to Kalidas, every major Sanskrit literary work spoke of this identity in its own way. From the fourth canto of Raghuvamsham, which describes the length and breadth of India to Meghadootam, where the cloud-messenger describes in intense detail the beauty of the varying diversity of India. Both these exalted works contain the subtext of the cultural unity of the nation. And it is what our secularists want us to forget in their hollow trumpeting of ‘composite culture’ (sic), which actually means denying India its heritage to which Sanskrit contributes the lion’s share.
The real reason for opposing the founding of a Sanskrit university in Karnataka is starkly political than anything noble. It reeks of the tired old rhetoric of Brahmins-are-the-root-of-all-evil-in-India. Those opposing the move have exactly zero accomplishment in promoting the cause of Kannada. Besides, the other overarching factor is that there’s a BJP Government in Karnataka.
We only need to look at all the other Sanskrit universities in India to expose this woeful reasoning. How many of these Sanskrit universities have threatened the language of the State in which they are situated? Or is Kannada (or Telugu or Bengali) that fragile that it can’t withstand Sanskrit’s influence? History shows that Indian regional languages were actually enriched by close contact with Sanskrit and vice versa.
There’s a reason why regional languages are struggling for survival. The Nehruvian state’s removal of Sanskrit from the education system robbed these languages of their original richness. As a result, the Hindi or Tamil we get to hear in the cities contain more English than Hindi or Tamil.
The Karnataka Government’s move is more than welcome. If the Sanskrit university revives the defining language of India, it will create a generation of self-aware and proud Indians who will (hopefully) rediscover the genius of India and Sanskrit. - The Pioneer, 16 July 2009.