Paush 1 Vik Samvat 2066. Yugabda 5111: 16 December 2009

1. FESTIVALS: Mauni Amavasya, also known as Mauna Amavasya, is observed on Magh amavasya January 15 this year. It is one of the most auspicious days to perform ritual bath at Triveni Sangam at Prayag -Allahabad.
Derived from the word muni, a Sanyasi or saint who practices mauna ideally symbolizes a state of oneness with the Self. It is believed that conjunction of the sun and the moon takes place on this day..
Mauni Amavasya is known as Chollangi Amavasya in Andhra Pradesh. January this year also sees Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world, at Haridwar besides Makar Sankranti on January 14.
2. COW GIVES ENDLESS LOVE -- MORARI BAPU: “God is our father and the cow is our mother. She gives endless love and affection. But only a cow herder can realise it,” said leading saint and renowned Ramkatha Vachak Shri Morai Bapu. He was addressing a gathering of goubhaktas during a program of Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra at Borivali in Mumbai on Dec 13. “It is not we who rear the cow but it is the cow that rears us. A cow can easily fulfill the needs of a family of five members,” he said.
The gathering was addressed by Gokarna Peethadhishwar Shri Raghaveshwar Bharati Swamiji, Swami Akhileshwaranand of Jabalpur, Shri Labh Singh Batra of Gurudwara Samiti and other dharmacharyas and national president of the Yatra Samiti Dr HR Nagendra.
3. ANCESTORS OF CHINESE CAME FROM BHARAT- STUDY: The ancestors of most Asian populations, including the Chinese and southeast Asians, came from Bharat, a new genetic study across 10 countries has revealed. The study found that humans first migrated to the Bharatiya subcontinent from Africa some 100,000 years ago and then spread to other parts of Asia.
The study — Mapping Human Genetic History in Asia — was conducted in 10 Asian countries including Bharat. Apart from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research DG Samir Brahmachari, the Bharatiya study team comprised eight members and some students from IGIB, New Delhi, anthropologist Partha Majumdar and researchers from the Centre for Genomic Applications.The study contradicts earlier findings that humans directly went to East Asia from Africa.
4. MINORITIES DESCENDANTS OF HINDUS - BHAGWAT: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said all people living in the country are progeny of Hindu ancestors and there was no such thing as ‘minorities’ in Bharat. This has even been proved by the science as DNA of all the people in this region matches. He was speaking at a national seminar organised in New Delhi by Baba Saheb Apte Smarak Samiti on December 4.
"Partition of the country is temporary. The people of both sides of the border too treat it temporary. Therefore, it has to go. It will happen only when we sincerely go through its reasons and remove the shortcomings. This is a fact that Hindutva is the feeling that binds all together. The day it becomes strong the Partition will automatically go. The new generation has to be educated accordingly.” He said.
Others who spoke included Former Governor of Goa and Sikkim Shri Kidar Nath Sahani and veteran Sangh Pracharak Thakur Ram Singh.
5. VIVEKANANDA INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION – VIF INAGURAED: Inauguration of VIF took place on 1st December 09 at its newly constructed premises at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi in presence of revered Mata Amritanandamayi while Justice M.N Venkatachaliah, the former Chief Justice of Bharat, delivered keynote address.
Mata Amritanandamayi in her mellifluous speech rendered in Malayalam, which was simultaneously translated in English and Hindi, touched upon a entire spectrum of topics, ranging from the lofty humanistic views of Swami Vivekananda to the problems being faced in the modern society.
Chief Justice Venkatachaliah in his scholarly style recapitulated the advent of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda as cosmic events. Others who spoke were P Parmeswaranji, the President of Vivekananda Kendra and Ajit Doval, the honorary Director of VIF. The ceremony attended by over 600 included various luminaries including retired defence and foreign service officials.
6. BHARATIYA CULTURAL EVENING IN TAMPERE, FINLAND: was co-organised by Bharatiya Students Union of Finland and TAMY. The colorful multi-cultural event provided an excellent platform for Bharatiya and Finnish cultures to interact. The program comprised of Bharatiya classical music and Vocal and Instrumental Music performance by classical music group Saptakam, Bollywood dance performance and authentic Bharatiya ethnic wear show.Om Prakash, the Ambassador of Bharat to Finland and Estonia was present on the occasion.
7. TALKING WISDOM : Speaking at a seminar on ‘Towards a New Paradigm of Business Management’ Prof. B Mahadeva, dean (Admin), IIMB said “Though we have some key aspects of ancient wisdom in our syllabus, this is for the first time that we will be introducing the Gita. To make it as a syllabus will take some time”.
Dr Satish Modh, management consultant, Mumbai, explained the three GUNAS — Tamasika, Rajasika, Satvika Guna. “The human resources wing of companies should use these GUNAS to judge the capabilities of workers and help them climb the ladder of corporate management” he observed.
Dr Shamsundar of Yugayatri which jointly organized the semiar with Bangalore Chamber of Industries and Commerce (BCIC) said, “Yugayatri is working to implement and educate organisations on Bharatiya culture and heritage.”
8. WELLINGTON REGIONAL HINDU CONFERENCE IN FEB 2010: The Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc. (HCNZ) is organising the Wellington Regional Hindu Conference on 27th February 2010, in Lower Hutt, Wellington. The theme of the conference is “Community Development – A Hindu Perspective”.
The conference will discuss initiatives that government agencies have shown in community development, role of volunteers in community development, development of community based health, wellbeing and social services, involvement of youth for community development and youth perspectives of community development. It will be of interest to members of the community, government agencies who work in the area of community wellbeing, academics, students, and NGO’s. For more information, please contact:
Dr Rajiv Chaturvedi, Coordinator, Wellington Regional Hindu Conference, Phone: 021 079 5036
9. SRI RAM TEMPLE IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO AYODHYA DISPUTE-KS SUDARSHAN: "The incredibility of the report that Liberhan Commission submitted to Central Government can be gauged from the fact that it has the name of Atal Behari Vajpayee in the list of accused who was not even present in Ayodhya that day. The number of karsevaks reached Ayodhya that day was beyond our calculation. The Sangh was not in favour of demolition of the disputed structure. We wanted a peaceful agitation. But sentiments of the karsevaks was so much hurt by the actions of the centre that the demolition of the structure could not be stopped. The role of the then Central Government in demolition of the structure too cannot be ruled out," said former RSS Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan while talking to media persons in Bhopal on November 24.
He said the excavations by both Bharatiya and foreign experts have proved beyond doubt that there existed a temple in Ayodhya for centuries.
10. HC CALLS FOR LAW TO CHECK 'LOVE JEHAD': Calling the state government to enact a legislation to prevent forceful conversions, the Kerala High Court on December 9 observed that such incidents under the pretext of love were rampant in certain parts of the state.
Rejecting bail pleas of two Muslim youths who had lured two MBA students — one Hindu and the other Christian — to get converted to Islam under the guise of love, Justice K T Shankaran said the forcible conversion amounted to an infringement of an individual's freedom.
Quoting the police report, the judge said 3 - 4,000 forced conversions under this banner of ‘love’ had been reported in Kerala within past 4 years.
11. IDEA HE PLANTED GROWS INTO MASSIVE GREEN MOVEMENT: For nearly 15 years, the mountain women of Uttarakhand have been leading a simple, self-sustaining and inexpensive movement that is set to become a major ecological revolution.
How? A nuptial couple plants a sapling in the maternal village of the bride to be nurtured by her family: The cost — negligible. This practice spreads and becomes a tradition at every wedding solemnised: The return — a quantum leap in the forest cover of the area. This is the Maiti movement, meaning mother’s home, the vision of Kalyan Singh Rawat, an unassuming common man with an uncommon urge to protect the environment.
Today, without much resources or hefty funds, the people’s movement replicates in over 6,000 villages in 18 States of Bharat and has caught international attention of the likes of former Foreign Minister of Canada, Flora Donald.
In the movement, young unmarried girls of a village form a Maiti association and cultivate a nursery.
As soon as a girl’s marriage is fixed, the Maiti didis, as they are locally called, spur into action. They prepare the plantation site within or near the bride’s home, manure it and select a sapling. The tree-plantation ceremony has become an integral ritual of these weddings and finds mention in the invitation cards, adding to its endorsement and cultural connotation.
The spirit behind the Maiti movement is the emotional motivation of the simple natives that has made it a thriving force. And it has important lessons to teach to the multitudes of us whose contribution to saving the environment is limited to mere rhetoric.
12. BHARAT'S PER CAPITA EMISSION 70% BELOW WORLD AVERAGE: Despite being the fourth largest economy, Bharat's per capita emission levels are 70% below world average and 93% lower than those in the US.
A report , jointly prepared by business chamber Assocham and consultancy firm Ernest and Young, has highlighted that carbon emissions in Bharat increased by 65% between 1990 and now and are projected to grow by close to 70% in the next decade or so. But it remained low as compared to other major economies, accounting for only two per cent of cumulative energy related emissions since many decades. On a per capita basis, Bharat's emissions are 70% world average and 93% below the level in the US.
13. KOTNIS IN CHINA'S TOP 10 FRIENDS LIST: Bharatiya doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, who treated Chinese soldiers during the Sino-Japanese war of 1938 and won the heart of Mao Zedong with his selfless service, has been chosen in a nationwide poll in China as one of 10 foreigners who have made exceptional contributions to the country in the past 100 years.
The internet poll organized by China Radio International (CRI) has the stamp of official approval as Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, took a direct interest in it. Kotnis died at 32 after spending four years in China. On his death, Mao Zedong said, "The army has lost a helping hand, the nation a friend. Let's always bear in mind his internationalist spirit."
14. DESPITE DOWNTURN, MORE BHARATIYAS ARE WEALTHIER NOW: Despite the worst recession since World War II, affluent Bharatiyas have not only managed to survive but in fact grew wealthier than before.
According to HSBC Affluent Asian Tracker survey, leading Asia's affluent are 70% of mainland Chinese respondents who reported a rise in net worth compared to only 46% six months ago. Similarly, across Asia, the number of affluent respondents reporting an increase in wealth in the past six months nearly doubled. In Bharat, 68 % have reported higher accumulation of wealth compared to 28% six months ago. In Taiwan 61% reported a similar trend against 33% six months ago. In Malaysia, 55% have seen their wealth multiplying in last six months.
15. HEMANT SHIVIR 2009: RSS IT Milans Hyderabad organized its first Hemant Shibir (Winter Camp) on December 5th-6th at Oasis Public School in Hyderabad attended by 65 Swayamsevaks working in the IT and related sectors.
Yogasanas, Martial Arts, charcha sessions , an informative talk by Camp Karyawah Krishnamurty on the Japanese Art of Zazen, an innovative session on developing a socially conscious business and a call by Ram Madhav to the young Swayamsevaks to take part in the Nation building process were the highlights of the Shivir.
16. 3G MOBILE VERSION OF VHTV LAUNCHED: As part of its efforts to reach out to the Hindu community, VHP on December 7 launched in Chennai the 3G mobile version of VHTV, its web TV, which was launched in September.
The new facility along with a high-tech web studio that will enable live telecast of various programmes, was jointly launched by Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, VHP International president Ashok Singhal and Janata Party president Subamanian Swamy.
17. SANSKRIT AND SANSKRITI ARE INTERLINKED - ASI DG: Director General of Archaeological Survey of India and Acharya Bhadant Gayan Jagat K N Shrivastava, who presided over the function to launch Indira Gandhi National Open University – IGNOU’s online certificate programme in Sanskrit noted that ''Without an understanding of Sanskrit, it is not possible to understand Bharatiya culture.” “IGNOU has plans to launch several advanced programmes in Indology and Vedanta as well as certificate programmes in other Bharatiya languages” asserted IGNOU Vice Chancellor V N Rajasekharan Pillai.
18. THE WORLD BANKS ON INDIA: ZOELLICK: The most startling change Robert Zoellick, World Bank President has seen is in the way the world views India.
‘‘The outside world’s image of India now is of cutting-edge competitive companies that are going to take jobs away from the developed world. I get more and more voices coming from Europe and North America saying, ‘Why should we give money to India when they’re going to be a threat to our businesses?’ I have to constantly explain the huge income diversity of India and the fact that a lot of development work still needs to be done,’’ he chuckles.
Dwelling on achievements and challenges before India he concluded “You have some of the world’s finest minds, impressive companies and dynamic entrepreneurs. There are still huge challenges, but India has made impressive progress in developing programs that reach poor people. I believe the world has a lot to learn from India.”( From Times of India Dec 5,2009 )
19. TATA NANO TO BE FEATURED AT NEW YORK DESIGN MUSEUM: The Tata Nano, designed to be the world's most affordable car, will be on view at prestigious Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York's from Feb 18 through April 25 next year.
'Cooper-Hewitt's mission is to present the very latest developments in design and technology and the Tata Nano introduces more families in India to the new world of affordable and safer mobility,' said Cara McCarty, curatorial director of the museum. 'We're eager to display the Tata Nano at the museum, where many visitors will see it for the first time.' She said.
20. SWAMI SATYANANDA SARASWATI ATTAINS MAHASAMADHI: Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the founder of the world famous Bihar School of Yoga (Munger), took Mahasamadhi on December 5 at Rikhia Dham in Deoghar. According to the tradition for Paramahansas, ashodashi puja (sixteen day ritual) will be observed at Rikhiapeeth for Paramahansaji which will culminate in the final puja on December 22.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, born in Almora in the Himalayan foothills experienced spontaneous spiritual experiences as a child. At 19, Swami Satyananda took sannyasa from Swami Sivananda at Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh. After wandering through Bharat, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma and Ceylon for the next 8 years, he eventually found his way to Munger, Bihar where he founded world famous International Yoga Fellowship and the Bihar School of Yoga.
21. SAVE GANGA MOVEMENT: The International President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad Ashok Singhal and the Janata Party President & former Union Cabinet Minister, Dr. Subramanian Swamy together met the Union Environment and Forests Minister Dr. Jairam Ramesh on December 10 to discuss the state of the holy river Ganga.
Dr. Jairam Ramesh told the two visiting leaders that following the receipt of letters from them last October, the Prime Minister as chairman of the National Ganga River Authority had in the last meeting on October 5th directed a stay of all the hydel projects under construction and for a review by a high powered committee.
22. THOUSANDS PARTICIPATE IN IMPRESSIVE GITA JAYANTI CELEBRATIONS: Like every year, the Gita Jayanti was observed in on November 28 at the Attukal Durga Temple, the Sabarimala of women on behalf of Bharatiya Vichar Kendram Thiruvananthapuram. Breaking all previous records almost 4000 children from 30 schools of Thiruvananthapuram, participated in the group chanting of 18 chapters of the Bhagvad Gita.
Inaugurating the massive meet, poet Vishnu Narayanaa Nampoothiri observed that leftists have created a wrong impression that anything Hindu including the Gita is moving backward. "Nothing offers so much solution to modern-day life and problems as does the Bhagavad Gita.”he said.
Shri Gopalaraman, secretary of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and P.Parmeswaran, President BVK also spoke at the occasion.
23. BAJAJ SCOOTER RIDES INTO THE SUNSET: In March 2010, the last of “Hamara Bajaj” scooters will roll out of the Bajaj factory at Waluj, Aurangabad. “We are not developing scooters anymore. We will focus on motorcycles,” said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto Ltd. “As we try to become a motorcycle specialist, this is a sacrifice we have to make.”
This brings to a close Bajaj’s story as a legendary scooter manufacturer when it was once one of the largest in its business worldwide. Products like the Chetak, Bajaj’s first in-house product, Super and Priya were ubiquitous on Bharatiya roads and a coveted possession in the average Bharatiya household of the 1980s.
24. LESSONS FROM THE BHAGAVAD GITA AT IIM-INDORE: Indian Institute of Management-Indore has incorporated the Bhagavad Gita as a part of the course module on “Ancient Oriental Philosophy and Spirituality”. The institute’s first batch of the recently launched one-year full-time Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) went through 10 sessions, from November 24-31, that took them through the discourses on Karma Yog and Raj Yog detailed in the Gita.
The sessions were conducted by Swami Samarpanananda of Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (Belur Math), who imparted lessons on “how to develop and channelise their spiritual and mental energies to achieve excellence in the field of business management”.
25. BHARAT EMERGES AS UAE'S TOP TRADING PARTNER: Bharat's two-way non-oil trade with the UAE jumped 53.45 per cent to USD 44.53 billion in fiscal year that ended March 2009, enabling the UAE to retain its status as Bharat's largest trading partner.
China was Bharat's second largest trading partner in 2008-09 with two-way trade valued at USD 40.61 billion; followed by the US with USD 38.98 billion, Singapore with USD 15.64 billion and Hong Kong with USD 13.07 billion, the data by the Bharatiya embassy showed.
Bharat's exports to the UAE comprise mainly petroleum products, finished precious and semi-precious jewellery, machinery, textiles, apparel and cereals. Bharat's imports from the UAE consist primarily of crude oil, petroleum products, raw pearls, precious metals etc.
26. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shri. Sunil Gupta – Hongkong; Shri Umesh Rohatgi, Smt Sarla and Shri Vinod Prakash USA.
Pravas: Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag is back in UK after visiting Spain. Shri Venkatesh Murthy is visiting South Africa while Shri Shyam Parande, secretary Sewa International is going to SA and Kenya.
27. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: It is thought which is the propelling force in us. Fill the mind with the highest thoughts, hear them day after day, and think them month after month. Never mind failures; the are quite natural, they are the beauty of life, these failures. What would life be without them? It would not be worth having it if it were not for strugglers. – Swami Vivekananda
Timothy J Roemer
Sitting with President Barack Obama at the historic State Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, i watched as our nations' leaders launched a new phase in the enduring global partnership between the United States and India that will shape and define the 21st century. Prime Minister Singh's visit was a watershed in the partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies. We are moving forward from phrases like "natural allies" to "indispensable partners" and "one of the defining relationships in the next century".
This was a time to reflect on the great achievements of our past and to look forward to our bold initiatives to solve global challenges through an expanded partnership that encompasses all the critical challenges in the decades ahead from counterterrorism to climate change, education to women's empowerment, and science to security.
We are committed to working together to protect our citizens from terrorism, to develop trade and economic opportunities for Americans and Indians, to educate our future generations so they can solve the global challenges facing the planet, and to invest in new technologies which will provide us all an environmentally-sustainable and economically bright future. Prime Minister Singh's visit reaffirmed our energetic and optimistic partnership whose ties are local in nature but global in their legacy and impact. I will enumerate five key cornerstone outcomes that frame the relationship moving forward.
First, our partnership is indispensable for global peace and security. Together, the United States and India will work together to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia. Our new Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative will strengthen our combined efforts already at unprecedented levels in critical areas such as forensic science, information sharing and transportation security. Our leaders are committed to strengthening efforts to build a free and stable Afghanistan. We have committed to expand defence cooperation between our two nations and together, our two great democracies will work for global non-proliferation and to realise our shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Second, energy security, food security and climate change are interlinked the solutions to these 21st century global threats cannot be sought in isolation and will be pursued collectively in a new US-India Green Partnership. This will ensure greater access to clean and affordable energy for all Indians, while producing economic opportunities for citizens of both countries. We both understand the importance of promoting a successful outcome in Copenhagen in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Third, i am proud to see the strong cooperation between the United States and India in the field of public health. Our nations stand committed to implementing a joint Global Disease Detection Programme to enhance detection of new health threats and better respond to pandemic disease.
Fourth, the dignity, strength, safety and prosperity of our nations depend on the education of our citizens. In visits to schools in New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, i have seen the determination and commitment of students and their families to use education as the key to unlocking a better future. The new Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative will further strengthen linkages between American and Indian universities. We are also substantially expanding the Fulbright-Nehru fellowship programme, a catalyst to the exchange of ideas and innovation that has helped our great countries become what they are today.
Finally, the United States boasts the largest economy in the world, while India has one of the fastest growing. Together, our countries have the potential for greater expansion that will spur the world's economic growth. We are working together to fuel the increase of trade between our countries and developing a Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment that will push technological innovation and collaboration while promoting inclusive growth and job creation.
Democracy, pluralism, tolerance, respect for fundamental freedoms these shared ideals are beacons of freedom, peace and stability to the world. They energise the vibrant linkages between our citizens that make our partnership truly unique in the world. Both our countries begin their constitutions with the words "We the people..." and the people of our nations form one of the closest bonds.
When i met with President Obama in the White House last July, he challenged me to meet as many of the one billion Indians as possible from all walks of life. I have since met with a broad range of national and community leaders, businessmen, farmers, Nobel laureates and schoolchildren. There are many miles to go in this magnificent journey. The bright intellects, smiling faces and courageous hearts have inspired me and will do the same for President Obama when he visits India. I am honoured to embrace the promise of our interlinked aspirations. My time in India assures me that the strategic partnership our great nations share is enduring. There will be difficult moments and occasional disagreements as in any relationship. Most of all, it is a partnership and warm friendship that will deepen, shaping and defining this new global era. -- The writer is the US ambassador to India. (Times of India , Dec 4 2009 )
In a significant shift from its earlier stand that probes conducted so far showed no trace of the mythical river, the Union Government has recently admitted that scientists have discovered water channels indicating “beyond doubt” the existence of the “Vedic Saraswati.”
The Government’s fresh submission came in response to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha on December 3 by Prakash Javadekar (BJP), who wanted to know whether satellite images had “established the underground track of Saraswati, and if so, why should the precious water resources not be exploited to meet growing demands.”
To this, the Union Water Resources Ministry quoted in writing the conclusion of a study jointly conducted by scientists of ISRO, Jodhpur and the Rajasthan Government’s Ground Water Department, published in the Journal of Indian Society of Remote Sensing. Besides other things, the authors had said that “clear signals of palaeo-channels on the satellite imagery in the form of a strong and powerful continuous drainage system in the North-West region and occurrence of archaeological sites of pre-Harappan, Harappan and post-Harappan ages beyond doubt indicate the existence of a mighty palaeo-drainage system of the Vedic Saraswati river in this region… The description and magnanimity of these channels also matches with the river Saraswati described in the Vedic literature.”
A leading educationist and currently chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yash Pal, who had published in 1980 in his own words “a small paper on the existence of Saraswati river which attracted attention,” concurred with the view. “Surveys so far have brought out clearly the path the river had taken when in flow,” the national research professor told The Pioneer. He did a stint with ISRO (which has played a pivotal role in the probes so far) from 1973-1980 where he set up the Space Application Centre.
On whether the Union Government should assume a proactive role on the issue of reviving the river to tackle the water shortages, he said, “With advancement of technology more research should be conducted. The river was not lost yesterday; perhaps due to tectonic shifts it disappeared ten thousand years ago. We have to keep these issues in mind.”
All through its tenure until now, the UPA Government had denied the existence of the mystery river. Then Culture Minister Jaipal Reddy had told Parliament that excavations conducted so far at nine sites had not revealed any trace of the lost river Saraswati. He stated that the UPA Government had not extended the sanction for the project given by the NDA Government. Giving a progress report of the Saraswati River Heritage Project launched by the NDA Government, he had said that though the project report was prepared in September 2003 envisaging a cost of Rs 36.02 crore, it was later slashed to Rs 4.98 crore.
The Leftists, who commanded great influence over the first five years of the UPA regime, too, were dismissive of the evidences. Senior leaders even castigated probe agencies for ‘wasting’ time and money over the study of the mystery river. Three years ago, senior CPI(M) leader and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury slammed the ASI for its efforts.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, which he headed in 2006, said, “The ASI has deviated in its working and has failed in spearheading a scientific discipline of archaeology. A scientific institution like the ASI did not proceed correctly in this matter.”
These assertions had come despite mounting evidence of the river collected by central agencies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Central Groundwater Authority (under the Water Resources Ministry). The Government had also failed to acknowledge expert opinion that the river’s revival could tackle the increasing water demands of more than 20 crore people in the North-West region of the country.
The first national impetus for research on Saraswati came during the NDA regime when the then Union Culture Minister Jagmohan in June 2002 announced excavations to trace the river’s course. He named a team of four experts - Baldeo Sahai of ISRO, Ahmedabad, archaeologist S Kalyan Raman, glaciologist Y K Puri and water consultant Madhav Chitle - for the task. But even earlier, States like Haryana had begun their study of the ‘underground river.’
Talking of the progress, SL Aggarwal, an official in Haryana Irrigation Department said, “Work on the 3.5 km stretch of river Saraswati between Jyotisar and Bibipur would be completed in one-and-a-half months and then we would be able to revive the ancient river and be able to use the water for irrigation purposes.” The Haryana Government recently sanctioned Rs 10.05 crore for the project of revival of the river, with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission carrying out geophysical and geoelectric surveys for drilling of wells in association with Kurukshetra University for exploratory purposes.
A non-government organisation (NGO), Saraswati Nadi Sodh Sansthan, has also been working for the revival of the ancient river through its entire track. Two seminars were held on this issue on October 22, 2008 and November 21, 2009 at Kurukshetra where representatives from ONGC, Geological Survey of India and Indian Space Research Organisation were invited.
Rajasthan too has been an active participant in the project. Some four decades ago the Archeological Survey of India (GSI) had conducted excavations at a village named Kalibanga in Srigananagar district of Rajasthan, unearthing a full- fledged township beneath a mound, locally called ‘Thed.’
The ASI researchers came to the conclusion that the sight belonged to the Harappan period. Subsequent studies revealed that this flourishing town was situated on the banks of the Saraswati which once flowed from this part of the Rajasthan desert.
About two decades ago, scientists at Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) at Jodhpur launched a project to track down the traces. They concluded that the ancient channels were a dead river that could well be Saraswati. Interestingly, here, the ancient texts and the geographical history of the region were constant bases of reference of the studies.
Analyses of images earlier taken by the American satellite Landsat in the 1970’s clearly showed the presence of underground water in a definitive pattern in the Jaisalmer region. As part of the project, then, underground water researchers were asked to dig bore wells at places from where this lost river used to flow. They selected Chandan Lathi near Jaisalmer for this purpose.
To the surprise of researchers, the water found after digging the bore wells at places on the course of the river was not only sweet but available in plenty. Encouraged by this discovery, they dug two dozen bore well in the area, from where the river used to flow, and in all of them they found sweet water.
A few years later Dr Vakankar, a noted historian, as part his Itihas Sanklan Yojna, visited this and other sites linked with the river. Together with another expert Moropant Pingle, he concluded that the Saraswati used to flow from this part of Rajasthan, Sirsa in Haryana, Bhatinda in Punjab and Srigangangar district in Rajasthan.
With the Government indicating a shift in its position, it remains to be seen whether the research work by central agencies that had come to a near halt, will now resume. --Rajesh Singh/Santanu Banerjee - .New Delhi with inputs from Lokpal Sethi - Jaipur and Nishu Mahajan- Chandigarh ( Pioneer Dec 13,2009 )