Ashadha 32 Vik Samvat 2067. Yugabda 5112: July 16, 2010

1. FESTIVALS: Shravana Mas, one of the holiest Hindu months, is filled with various festivals and auspicious days. It is also the first month in the Chatur Mas - four holy months.
The most auspicious is the Mondays in Shravan month which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and many people observe the famous Somvar Vrat. The Shravan Month in traditional Hindu calendar followed in North Bharat in 2010 begins on July 27 while in South it begins on August 10.
Legend has it that the Samudra Manthan took place in this month and Lord Shiva drank the poison HalaHala to save the world and as a result of it the throat of Shiva became blue in color and he came to be known by the name of Neelakanth.
2. HINDU ELDERS CELEBRATE MATARIKI (MAORI NEW YEAR): Hindu Elders Foundation, a division of Hindu Council of New Zealand, celebrated Matariki 2010 at the Hindu Heritage Centre, Auckland on 27th June 2010.
Almost 100 Hindu Elders, guests and a number of Maori Elders (Kamatua) from various Marae participated in this celebration including Mr. Dennis Henson (Hoani Waititi Marae), Mr. Harold Atkinson and Ms Bubbles Munroe (Ngati Kahungunu).
The ceremony started with the traditional Hindu way of lighting of the lamp by the invited guests and members of Hindu Elders, followed by a Hindu prayer to Lord Ganesha. Mr. Dennis Henson and Ms Bubbles Munroe did the karakia.
“During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect and admiration to our mother earth Papatuanuku. Throughout Matariki we learn about those who came before us. Matariki celebrates the diversity of life., Matariki is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year”. This was what Mr Pravin Patel, Patron of Hindu Elders Foundation, said while speaking about Matariki in Maori language.
He also elaborated on similarities of the beliefs of the Maori and the Hindu from the Social Anthropology and Sociology studies conducted by a migrant, and comparison on Maori and Hindu worship of God.
Mr. Harold Atkinson spoke on the significance of Matariki. For the Maori of New Zealand, Matariki is the celestial signal of an ending and a beginning. A prayer was recited in Maori language and in Sanskrit.
3. ISRO LAUNCHES PSLV C-15: Bouncing back from the setback of the unsuccessful launch of GSLV-D3 on April 15, Indian Space Research Organisation on July 13 sent PSLV-C15 soaring into space to place in orbit Cartosat-2B, a remote sensing satellite with applications in mapping and infrastructure planning.
The PSLV injected the 694-kg Cartosat-2B and four other satellites into orbit. Mission director Kunhi Krishnan said, "The mission to inject five satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit was precise. All the four stages performed well. Performance of the computers was good and all the events of ignition and separation happened at the predicted time. The satellite system is normal.''
PSLV-C15 also launched Algeria's 116-kg ALSAT-2A, Canada's 6.5 kg NLS-6.1 and AISSAT-1, Switzerland's NLS-6.2 TISAT, and picosatellite STUDSAT designed by 35 undergraduate engineering students from seven colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
4. BABA RAMDEV SPELLBINDS HUGE AUDIENCE AT FISI CONFERENCE: The Friends of India Society International (FISI) organized a national program in Washington DC in which the keynote speaker and the chief guest was Pujya Swami Ramdevji, on June 26, 2010 at the Tyson’s Corner Marriott Hotel.
The event was presided by Dr. Bhishma K. Agnihotri, former Global Ambassador of Bharat. As the International President of FISI, Dr. Agnihotri hailed Baba Ramdevji as “Swami Vivekanand-in-Action” who has dedicated his entire life in selflessly serving Mother Bharat for 18 hours a day, every day of the year.
Swami Ramdevji began his address by chanting “Om” three times, followed by the Gayatri Mantra. He mesmerized the audience for nearly two hours and a half talking about the essence of what his movement is all about. He described Bharat’s glorious past at the pinnacle of world economy and its height of spiritual development, millennia before there was any civilization in the West.
Swamiji extolled the NRIs (non-resident Indians) for bringing fame and fortune to the country of their origin. He wanted all NRIs to participate in whatever way they can to Bharat Swabhiman Movement and work towards moving Bharat forward. The vote of thanks was given by Dr. Adapa Prasad, the event co-coordinator.
5. MA. SUDARSHANJI’S US TOUR: Ma. Sudarshanji, former Sarsanghchalak of RSS was on a month long US tour from June 8 – July 6. For first few days, he stayed at his nephew’s house and attended some family functions. He also visited shakhas on weekends and also SSV’s at Seattle and Jagannath Dham. In his speeches, he emphasized the need of using Bharatiya languages, Hindi during the daily chores. He also attended a function organized by FISI.
At Los Angels, he had a bouddhik karyakram attended by about 80 swayamsevaks/sevikas.
The bouddhik detailed Doctorji's life along with the growth of sangh and how shakha has led to "sarvangeen vikas" in Hindu society. The Q&A session was unique in its own way. It revealed so many different details on different subjects.
In answering a question about gou gram yatra, he explained in detail some organic farming techniques and the history behind chemical fertilizers and why they cause harm.
6. 795 PEOPLE RETURN TO HINDU FOLD: A total of 795 people belonging to 160 Vanvasi families returned home at a function organised in Jhabua on June 16. VHP general secretary Dr Pravin Togadia welcomed all the persons by showering flower petals on them.
Addressing the gathering he said the Christian missionaries have been converting Hindus for the last 300 years but they could hardly convert a few crore people so far. Mahamandaleshwar Shri Radhe Baba, Swami Lakshmandas Maharaj, Swami Amritaram Maharaj also addressed the gathering. Vanvasi saint Swami Khub Singh Maharaj played an instrumental role in the success of the function.
7. VHP CONDEMNS KILLING OF HINDU YOUTH LEADER IN NEPAL: “Vishva Hindu Parishad unequivocally condemns the gruesome killing of Sri Kashinath Tiwari – youth leader of the Vishwa Hindu Maha Sangh (World Hindu Federation), Nepal by armed Muslim Jihadists who shot him dead inside a temple complex at Birgunj, Nepal on June 26, 2010. Sri Tiwari was targeted as he was one who actively campaigned for restoration of the “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu nation) status of Nepal and one Jalim Miyan has been apprehended in connection with this murder”, said Swami Vigyananand, Joint General Secretary, Vishva Hindu Parishad (International Coordination) in a press statement.
8. 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF EMERGENCY OBSERVED: THE 35th anniversary of the dark and draconian Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, was observed at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on June 25, 2010. Sangh and Jana Sangh activists who had participated in the Satyagraha and arrested during the Emergency were honoured. Prant Sanghachalak Shri PEB Menon honoured Shri P Parameswaran, then Jana Sangh Vice-President, A minute silence was observed for six MISA detainee swayamsevaks who died recently. Olivile thelinalangal, a compilation of underground literature published by Kurukshetra was released by veteran RSS Pracharak Shri Ranga Hari. Senior BJP leader Shri O Rajagopal presided over the meeting,
9. NRIS SHINE AS QUEEN ANNOUNCES HONOURS LIST: Kartar Singh Lalvani, founder of pharmaceutical major Vitabiotics in Britain, is among the several NRIS who have found a place on Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours List announced. Lalvani, whose family fled to Mumbai from Karachi during Partition, was chosen for his services to the pharmaceutical industry and charity in London.
Besides, 18 other NRIs also figure on the list. Anil Kumar Bhanot has been honoured for services to the Hindu Community, while Janti Champaneri figures for services to Local Government in Birmingham, and Kailash Chand Malhotra for services to healthcare.
10. JOLT TO ARYAN-DRAVIDIAN DIVIDE THEORY: The intelligensia and even the politicians were in for shock at the World Classical Tamil Conference here on Friday, when a Finland-based Indologist turned the spotlight on a Dravidian-Aryan continuum while demolishing the Aryan-Dravidian divide as a myth.
In a landmark presentation that was a complete turnaround from singing paeans to the 86-year-old Dravidian patriarch M Karunanidhi and Tamil culture’s glory, renowned Indologist, Prof Asko Parpola, presenting the conclusions of his three decades-long research on ‘A Dravidian Solution to the Indus Script Problem’, told a stunned gathering that “an opening to the secrets of the Indus Script (which is yet to be deciphered) has been achieved”.
Older forms of Tamil, Kannada and other ‘Dravidian languages’ in his firm opinion hold the key to take forward this finding that the underlying language of the Indus Valley Civilisation “was proto-Dravidian”.
The best way to “read” the signs in ‘thousands of short texts’ of the Indus script was through old Tamil, Prof Parpola, of the Helsinki University in Finland, drove home in his breathtaking 90-minute talk.
Proof of hypothesis
As proof of his hypothesis, Prof Parpola correlated several ‘pictograms’ found in Indus Valley inscribed with ‘Harappan’ stoneware bangles with words like ‘Muruku’ (meaning arm-ring/bangle) from old Tamil literature.
“This (old Tamil) is the only ancient Dravidian source not much contaminated by Indo-Aryan languages and traditions,” Prof. Parpola, the first recipient of the ‘Kalaignar Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award’, argued.
Pointing out that ‘radiocarbon dating’ has fixed the period of the ‘mature Harappan phase’, when the Indus Script was used to 2600-1900 BCE, he said the ‘Indus Civilisation’ collapsed many centuries before hymns were composed in ‘Vedic Sanskrit’ around 1000 BCE.
However, the rich religious/cultural heritage in South Asia till now has been preserved both by the speakers of Dravidian languages (predominantly in South India) and the people of North India, Prof. Parpola emphasised, to demolish the myth of a clear Aryan-Dravidian divide.
Dr Parpola’s work left the top DMK leadership seated in front, nonplussed, kindling them to rethink the Aryan-Dravidian divide issue.
Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, though, had to leave half-way, when the news came in that the Congress Legislature party leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, D Sudarshanam, who had come for the WCTC, had been rushed to a private hospital here after he suffered a heart attack.
(Source: jolt-aryan-dravidian-divide-theory.html)
11. SEDITION CHARGE AGAINST THREE HINDRAF ACTIVISTS RETAINED: A sedition charge against three Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) activists for allegedly inciting racial hatred was retained when the Court of Appeal struck out their appeal.
A three-man quorum comprising Justices Hasan Lah, Ahmad Maarop and Sulaiman Daud unanimously upheld the High Court's decision in ordering lawyers P Uthayakumar, younger brother P Waytha Moorthy and V Ganabatirau to stand trial on the charge at the Klang Sessions Court.
One of their counsel, M Manoharan, however, told reporters after the verdict, that they would bring the matter up for appeal to the Federal Court.
12. BHARAT RANKED SECOND IN GLOBAL MANUFACTURING COMPETENCE: Bharat has been ranked second, ahead of the US and South Korea, in terms of manufacturing competence globally, a report by Deloitte has said.
China, followed by Bharat and South Korea has been ranked first, second and third respectively in the 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index; a result of the collaboration between Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and the US Council on Competitiveness.
The report notes that China's ascent to the top of the list is not surprising. "Perhaps more surprising is that Bharat is now positioned at number two and gaining an even stronger foothold on that position over the next five years," the report said.
"The country is also rapidly expanding its capabilities in engineering design and development and embedded software development, which form an integral part of many modern-day manufactured products," it said.
Projecting the competitiveness ranking after five years, the report says while China with 10 points would still remain on the top, Bharat would inch closer to China with 9.01 points.
13. NO RSS FUNCTIONARY QUESTIONED - CBI: The CBI on July 13 said it has not questioned any RSS functionary during its ongoing probe into Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blast cases.
CBI Director Ashwani Kumar said that the reports about the agency questioning RSS leaders in connection with the terror attacks in Mecca Masjid and Ajmer were not correct.
Meanwhile, the RSS said its functionaries will "cooperate" with agencies probing alleged links of Hindu groups in certain bomb blast cases, but termed as "baseless" suggestions that some of its members were involved in the crimes.
"As long as investigations go on in a professional manner and they want cooperation, (RSS) functionaries are ready to extend cooperation," Sangh leader Ram Madhav told reporters.
But at the same time he said that if investigations into the blasts took a "political turn and if vendetta becomes the motive, the RSS will have to take stock of the situation."
Madhav termed as "baseless" reports that certain senior RSS functionaries were involved in the incidents and were being interrogated.
14. A ‘GREEN’ MEMORIAL TO MAHATMA AT DANDI: Gujarat has achieved tremendous success in mangrove restoration work in the last 10 years. The area under mangroves, essential for protection of fragile ecology of the coastal region, has gone up from about 200 sq km to nearly 1,000 sq km in the last 10 years.
This was disclosed on by Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh soon after launching what he called an environment-friendly memorial at this historic site where a pinch of salt picked by Mahatma Gandhi had shaken the British rule in 1930.
Jairam said that the project, christened Green Action for National Dandi Heritage Initiative (GANDHI) Memorial, is unique in itself as it would not be a brick and cement structure but a ‘bio-memorial’ that Mahatma Gandhi would have approved.
Instead of the usual brick and cement structure, the GANDHI Memorial to be built at Dandi would have four components —- conservation of the coast and coastal resources, adoption of nature-based development resources and promotion of integrated village and community development, explained State Principal Secretary (Forest & Environment) SK Nanda.
15. DR TATHAGAT TULSI, 22, BECOMES PROFESSOR TULSI AT IIT BOMBAY: He completed high school at the age of 9, had a B.Sc at 10, an M.Sc in Physics at 12, and a PhD in Quantum Computing from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, at 21. In 2003, Time named him among the world's seven most gifted youngsters. Now, at age 22, Patna-born prodigy Tathagat Avtar Tulsi has become possibly the youngest assistant professor at IIT.
Tulsi will teach Physics at IIT Bombay from July 19, having chosen the institute over Waterloo University, Canada, and the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), Bhopal, both of which had offered him jobs.
"I turned down Waterloo despite an impressive pay package because I do not want to go abroad now," Tulsi told The Indian Express over the phone from Patna. "My dream is to set up a lab focused on quantum computation in Bharat, and one day help develop a largescale quantum computation-based supercomputer. IIT Bombay offers me these possibilities
16. RAMSHANKAR AGNIHOTRI IS NO MORE: Noted Hindi journalist and former Sangh Pracharak Ramshankar Agnihotri passed away at Escort Hospital in Raipur on July 7 following a brief illness. He was 85.
Ramshankar Agnihotri was president of Pandit Deendayal Research Centre at Kushabhau Thakre University of Journalism and Mass Communication. Ramshankar ji was among the Sangh Pracharaks who motivated some very highly dedicated and committed youth to join the Sangh. One among them is former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan.
Born on April 14, 1926 at Seoni Malva in Madhya Pradesh’s Hosangabad district, he became Mandla district Pracharak of RSS in 1944 and held various responcibilities like Mahakoshal prant prachark and media including that of Hindusthan Samachar and Panchajanya. He was cremated at Raipur in presence of various political dignitaries and large number of karyakartas..
17. BHARAT FOILS DANISH FIRM'S BIO PIRACY BID: After stopping the Chinese from patenting pudina's health benefits, Bharat has now foiled a major bio piracy bid by a Danish company to patent ginger, jeera (cumin), onion and turmeric's fat burning properties.
Claras ApS, a Danish company, on September 19, 2007 filed a patent application at the European Patent Office, saying its invention of turmeric, cumin, ginger and onion as slimming agents was novel. But the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the help of Bharat's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), dug out formulations from ancient Ayurveda texts like Astanga Samgraha, Yogaratnakarah, Yogatarangini and Gadanigrahah dating back to the 5th century, which contained formulations involving their use for ages in Bharat, as fat burners.
Director of TKDL Dr V K Gupta submitted a letter to EPO on August 25, 2009 to inform the examiners that all the four have long been known in Bharatiya systems of traditional medicine for their use as slimming agents or fat destroyers.
"Following Bharat's intervention, the Danish company was not left with any option except to withdraw its patent and claims. Accordingly, the company decided to withdraw its three-year-old application," a health ministry official said.
18. BHARATIYA CENTRES TO LEAD IN CLOUD COMPUTING: GOOGLE’s engineering initiatives in cloud computing (enterprise solutions) will be led by its centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The company’s president for enterprise, Dave Girouard, who was in Bangalore, said Bharat would be a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the company in cloud computing.
“Bharat will become the largest enterprise development centre for us,” he said. Enterprise work also happens in Google’s centres in Mountain View in California, Kirkland in the state of Washington, and Stockholm.
19. “LUCRATIVE STONE-PELTING BUSINESS” - GET UP TO RS 300 DAILY FOR THROWING STONES AT JAWANS: Stone-pelting, which has become a menace for the security forces in the Kashmir valley, has become an organised crime and a thriving business.
Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said there are as many as four major stone-pelters’ organisations active in the Valley, proving to be a nightmare for the security forces. “Jammu and Kashmir Stone-pelters’ Association, Stone-pelters’ Association of Kashmir Valley, I Am A Stone-pelter and Stone Throwers are the four organisations active in the Valley for the past couple of years,” they said.
These organisations allegedly recruit the youth and pay them at the rate of about Rs 150 to Rs 300 per day for throwing stones at the security forces and disturbing the normal life in the Valley.
What is perplexing for the officials is that the administration and police in the Valley are in the know of this “lucrative stone-pelting business” but have not taken any action against them, they added.
Stone-pelting, which started from Nauhatta in Srinagar in the wake of Amarnath land dispute in June 2008, has not only created a law and order problem but also taken a toll on the security forces. On July 4, Sunil Pawar, a constable of
CRPF’s 162 Battalion, lost his left eye after being hit by a stone. He is recuperating at the Army’s Base Hospital in Srinagar.
So far, 1,875 CRPF personnel have been injured, with 211 of them becoming victims since the latest spate of stone-pelting started on June 11. Sources said the local police had even intercepted communications of the LeT on the ways in which to build up the agitation through stone-pelting.
Meanwhile, Intelligence agencies have found that the stone pelters were funded from across the border through money transfer agencies, like Western Union, via Dubai. “It is not easy to track them, as they dispatch money through small amounts. As the transactions are below Rs10 lakh, it is not easy to keep a watch always. The money is transferred to agents in small lots. It is an open secret that stone-pelters are hired for Rs 300 per day by these local agents. State police should bring these unscrupulous elements before the law,” sources said. -- Kumar Shakti Shekhar New Delhi - Daily Pioneer, July 8 2010.
20. BHARAT EMERGES AS A LEADING INVESTOR IN UK: Bharat has emerged as one of the biggest investors in UK in terms of projects in 2009-10. “Bharat is a hugely important source of investment for the UK,” said Andrew Cahn, the chief executive of UK Trade & Investment.
This would maintain a trend, since, in the previous financial year (2008-09), Bharat was ranked second as investor under the same measurement, ahead of Japan and just behind the US. There were 108 project investments from Bharat, which created 4,139 jobs. More than 700 Bharatiya companies have investments in the UK, two-thirds of these in the ICT/software category. FDI from Bharat amounted to £3.5 billion or nearly Rs 28,000 crore by 2008-end.
21. BHARAT TO GROW 9.5% IN 2010: The International Monetary Fund (IM ) raised Bharat's growth forecast for 2010 to 9.5%, stating that favourable financing conditions and robust corporate profits will accelerate economic expansion. The multilateral lender hiked its growth projection from the earlier estimate of 8.8% it made in April. Recently, PM Manmohan Singh had said the country's economy is expected to grow by 8.5% for the financial year ending March 31, 2011. In the last fiscal, the economy expanded 7.4%.
22. FRESH BATCH OF 2,209 PILGRIMS LEFT JAMMU FOR AMARNATH YATRA: A fresh batch of 2,209 pilgrims left the base station Yatri Bhawan here for Shri Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas, an official spokesman said in Jammu. The two-month-long Amarnath pilgrimage, which commenced on July 1, is going on smoothly, sources said, adding that administration has made all arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of yatra. As many as 50 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed to ensure security for yatris during 55-day-long pilgrimage. Amid tension and violence in the Kashmir Valley, the number of Hindu pilgrims who have reached the Amarnath shrine in the Himalayas has crossed the 100,000 mark.
23. BHARATIYA-AMERICAN WINS ONCOLOGY AWARD: A Bhartiyan-American oncologist has won a USD 450,000 award instituted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology for his unique patient-oriented approach to colorectal cancer research.
Sanjay Goel, a researcher at the Montefiore Medical Centre and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been presented with the award at a function in Chicago recently. Goel is one of three recipients of the award, which is presented annually to physicians who have five to 10 years of experience and are full-time faculty members in a clinical setting at an academic medical centre.
24. NHSF IN SEARCH OF ROOTS: A team of 6 members of National Hindu Students Forum UK successfully completed 3-week tour of Bharat from June 20 – July 11. The team comprised of Sunil Pala, Dijesh Patel, Dr.Rajeev Chandegra, Chitra Shah, Keerti Patel and Seeta Shah. ‘ROOTS’ was a program of Sewa International to visit various places which reveal Bharat’s culture and heritage to the students who are born and brought up outside Bharat.
The team participated Sindhu Darshan festival in Leh, had a glimpse of situation in Shrinagar, visited Vaishnodevi etc. During their week long stay in Chitrakoot, the team members could get first hand experience about village life, problems and efforts by institutions like DRI to uplift these weaker sections. Overall, it was a successful tour fulfilling the mission of NHSF to find ‘ROOTS’.
25. MALAYSIA'S HINDU-BUDDHIST CIVILISATION SPREAD OVER 1,000 SQ KM: Excavation at a Hindu-Buddhist civilisation site in Malaysia that dates back to the fifth century indicates that it was spread over 1,000 sq km and not 400 sq km as thought earlier.
A team of Malaysian archaeologists discovered ancient furnaces for iron smelting in Jiniang, Kedah, 30 km from the Bujang Valley site near Merbok, Kedah state.
'This means the Bujang Valley civilisation area encompassed about 1,000 sq km - three times the size of Penang island - and not 400 sq km as thought before,' said Mokhtar Saidin, who led a team of researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
Saidin said the team found complexes such as ritual sites and industries of early civilisation in Bujang Valley that was based on the iron industry.
After dating samples of iron smelting sites, he said an early civilisation which was probably based on animism existed there between the first and fifth century. But from the fifth century to the 14th century, the area was a thriving Hindu and Buddhist civilisation, he added.
26. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: NHSF – ROOTS members. Pravas: Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will be going to UK by July end. Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will tour Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong in July-August.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The light of knowledge is fully capable of destroying the darkness of ignorance. This also helps us in overcoming all the difficulties and in achieving success in all our endeavours. – Sama Veda
Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s recent mission to Sri Lanka celebrated the living legend of Ramayana and reinforced the amity of two Indic faiths
Our arrival in Sri Lanka on Friday, June 25, coincided with a particularly auspicious occasion. Nearly 2,300 years ago on this full moon night, Emperor Ashoka’s children Mahendra and Sanghamitra reached the shores of this island to spread the message of the Buddha and extend the civilisational boundary of their legendary father’s empire.
It is a public holiday here and the capital city of Colombo wore a festive look. Travelling as a member of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s team, our hosts, particularly the amiable Federal Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, repeatedly reminded us of the historical significance of the date during the reception at the airport.
The Chief Minister was quick to point out that his native district is Vidisha, where the Buddhist pilgrimage of Sanchi is located and it was precisely from there that Ashoka’s children had embarked upon their journey to Sri Lanka.
The following morning we travelled by helicopter first to Sita Eliya, on the outskirts of the fabled Ashok Vatika and then to Divrumpula, the spot where Lord Rama’s wife undertook her first agni-pariksha (trial by fire) after being rescued from Ravana’s captivity. It is interesting to observe how conflicting legends meet and merge in this assimilative sub-continent. Although Rama vanquished the king of Sri Lanka and destroyed Ravana’s golden capital before slaying him, Sita is universally worshipped here. A temple to her stands at Ashok Vatika, the garden where she was held Ravana’s prisoner. And now a magnificent temple will be built at the site of the agni-pariksha, under the aegis of the Mahabodhi Society in collaboration with the revered Hindu Swami, Dayanand Saraswati.
The Ramayana is a living legend in Sri Lanka as in most parts of South-East Asia. Even in Muslim-majority Indonesia Ramayana performances are routine and Ramlila shows are held with greater fanfare than in India. In Hindu-dominated Bali, they still observe Kartik Purnima as Bali Yatra — commemorating the annual journey by traders from Odisha to that faraway island.
The celebration of Mahendra-Sanghamitra’s arrival in Sri Lanka or Bali Yatra prove not only the deep civilisational connectivity between India and its cultural domain in the East, but also the commitment with which people outside our country perpetuate that connection as part of their history. Unfortun- ately, a perverse interpretation of secularism in India classifies observance of such occasions as obscurantist and communal!
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was invited to Sri Lanka for two reasons, first to participate in the bhoomi pujan of the new Sita temple and second, finalise plans to promote Sanchi as an upcoming international Buddhist destination.
A university for the study of Buddhist tenets will soon be built at Sanchi, which is being developed as a major centre of religious tourism. The Madhya Pradesh administration has identified 65 acres of land close to the Sanchi Stupa, a Unesco heritage site, for construction of the Buddhist University.
Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan is keen to get going quickly on the project and proposes to have its foundation stone laid during the annual Buddhist festival at Sanchi in October-November this year.
We got a real feel of assimilation when we reached Divrumpula where Sita is believed to have undertaken her first agni-pariksha. A Buddhist monastery with fine ancient paintings depicting scenes from the Ramayana has stood there for as long as people can remember.
Under a huge banyan tree just outside the building is a small structure commemorating Sita’s trial by fire. Amazingly, the legend has been scrupulously nourished by Sinhala Buddhist monks. The presiding Abbot gave us a guided tour of the complex, explaining its various facets before leading us to the spot just outside its precincts where land has been earmarked for building a magnificent Sita temple.
Under Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s supervision and in close coordination with Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy, the ground-breaking ceremony was performed with appropriate sobriety amid the chanting of Hindu and Buddhist hymns.
Local people congregated in thousands to witness the historic event and pay their respects to Sita, who despite the quibbles among scholars about her historicity, continues to live in people’s emotions here.
The temple, when completed, will symbolise the civilisational bond between the two countries and also become an example of the harmony with which different faiths can coexist in our extended sub-continent.
The Government of Sri Lanka is currently developing what it calls the Ramayana Trail linking various sites associated with the greatest epic of Asia. It hopes that the trail will soon become not just an added tourist attraction for thousands of Indians who visit the island, but will also draw many devout pilgrims from across the Ram Setu. Indeed the geological formation, which the British named Adam’s Bridge, spanning the narrow, shallow Palk Straits, is so distinctly visible while flying that it seems a travesty that the present regime in Tamil Nadu actually wanted to destroy it to create a passage for small ships!
We learnt that religious-minded people in Sri Lanka still consider their lives unfulfilled without a visit to Jambudweep (ancient name for India), particularly for offering prayers at sites connected with Buddhism such as Kapilvastu, Sarnath (Bodhgaya) and Sanchi. Mr Chouhan promised to develop a Buddhist Circuit within Madhya Pradesh so that pilgrims travelling to Sanchi were also able to easily touch upon other sites associated with the Buddha and Ashoka who made Buddhism the state religion and ensured its spread to the north and east of India.
The brief stay in Sri Lanka was an eye-opener in many ways. We tend to treat Sri Lanka only as a leisure destination, soaking in the sea and sunshine on its fabulous beaches. But there is so much more to that small country, one-fifth the size of Madhya Pradesh with a population of just over two crore. I was deeply impressed by the depth of knowledge and intellectual calibre of its Buddhist clergy, particularly their concern for the preservation of history and our shared culture.
A visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy was especially illuminating. The spectacular temple was thronged by multitudes and we had to wait for over one hour before being escorted into the sanctum sanctorum where a tooth of Lord Buddha is preserved inside a shimmering gold casket, taken out only on two occasions in a year. The temple, incidentally, was built by the Hindu king of Kandy centuries ago. The upsurge of devotion we witnessed here and earlier at the Kelaniya temple in Colombo underlined the depth of the island nation’s religiosity.
Our meetings at the Mahabodhi Society complex in Colombo and with the Mahanayake of Sri Lanka’s biggest Buddhist sect in Kandy reaffirmed that different faiths could prosper without hostility or confrontation.
The commonality between the Hindu and Buddhist religions that we discovered is truly a fitting rebuttal to the sectarian and confrontationist approach of some self-styled neo-Buddhist leaders in India who have turned professional Hindu-baiters and seek to drive wedges between two of the greatest Indic faiths. - The Pioneer July 4, 2010.

Ashadha 18 Vik Samvat 2067. Yugabda 5112: July 1, 2010

1. FESTIVALS: Guru Purnima: The full moon day in the month of Ashadha (25th July this year) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, a day sacred to the memory of the great sage Vyasa. This was the day when Krishna-dwaipayana Vyasa was born. All are indebted to this ancient saint who compiled the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. The period 'Chaturmas' ("four months") begins from this day. The spiritual Gurus are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings. On this day Swayamsevaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pay tribute to the param pavitra 'Bhagwa Dhwaj' - the saffron flag.
2. GOVT TO BLAME FOR VULNERABLE BORDERS – MOHAN BHAGWAT: P.P. Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Shri Mohan Bhagwat attributed the failure to protect and secure Bharat’s international borders to the absence of a “Vision Document”, and blamed squarely the government of independent Bharat to draft any such document. Shri Bhagwat was speaking to packed audience at Vasantrao Desphande Auditorium on June 23 after releasing a book, Mission Kashmir, written by senior journalist and Delhi-based representative of daily ‘Tarun Bharat’ Shri Ravindra Dani.
He said after Independence we failed to give priority to drafting policies which would make Bharat a strong, vibrant and prosperous country in the world. He caustically commented that we try to bring those anti-national elements into the mainstream but never bother to create conducive atmosphere for the safe return of those who were made refugees in their own land due to terrorist activities. This must stop, he said. He blamed the Central Government for failure to make the situation conducive for the return of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits who are living a refugee life in camps since last 20 year.
Former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and Assam Lt. Gen (retd) SK Sinha, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, president of Narkesari Prakashan Ltd. Dr. Vilas Dange, author Ravindra Dani and Ulhas Latkar of Ameya Publication, Pune shared the dais.
Pakistan failed to access Kashmir in war with Bharat; it had not succeeded in its mission by proxy war and now it is trying to achieve its goal by fomenting and creating anti-Bharat mass movement in Kashmir, warned Lt. Gen (retd) S.K. Sinha.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari said that we must rise above the vote bank politics and narrow political gains to resolve all such issues related to our national security and integrity, he said.
Publisher Ulhas Latkar of Ameya Prakashan made introductory remarks while author Ravindra Dani spoke on the book.
Dr. Awatar Krishna Ganju, who chaired the programme, stressed to save the Kashmiri Pandits from extinction. Renuka Deshkar compered the proceedings of the programme. Prominent amongst those present on the occasion were MG Vaidya, Manohar Shende, Prabhakar Mundley, Justice Ratnaparkhi and others.
3. SP MOOKERJEE MARTYRDOM DAY: Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who had attained martyrdom in a Srinagar jail on June 23, 1953 for demanding complete merger of Kashmir with the rest of Bharat, was remembered by selected intellectuals in Srinagar at a national seminar dedicated to his memory.
The seminar, Rising Bharat — Challenges of a troubled neighbourhood, was inaugurated by former Army chief General VP Malik. Editor MJ Akbar, Prof Riyaz Punjabi, Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University, Ambassador TCA Rangachari, Lt Gen Aditya Singh and Major General Vinod Saighal, were the participants. A galaxy of leaders from various walks of life in Srinagar, faculty and students from Kashmir University and Islamic University, intellectuals and officers attended the seminar.
Gen VP Malik said that challenges of China and Pakistan can be met with a strong Bharat — which is strong economically, politically, socially and militarily. MJ Akbar said that like Hindus have reforms from within, Muslims must also change for a better social dynamics, adding Bharat is secular not because of the 15 per cent Muslim minority but because of the Hindu majority. Prof Riyaz Punjabi said that only youth can take Bharat ahead with a secular, non-sectarian vision and modern outlook.
Lt Gen Aditya Singh and Maj Gen Vinod Saighal spoke about creating awareness regarding challenges from China and Pakistan and asked to create awareness about China amongst people. Ambassador Rangachari gave descriptive details of the present status of Bharat-China relations and underlined the need to learn Chinese and get acquainted with the latest Chinese affairs creating an atmosphere of mutual trust.
It was pointed out by the local participants that the National Anthem was sung perhaps for the first time after many years at a public function in Srinagar.
4. 3-DAY SINDHU DARSHAN FESTIVAL IN LEH: The three-day Sindhu Darshan festival, in which pilgrims from different parts of the country took part, has concluded in Leh town of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir. The function marking the end of the festival was held last evening at Polo ground in Leh town. The former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundara Raje was the chief guest at the cultural function in which artists from Ladakh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh enthralled the audience with their performance.
The Sindhu Darshan festival is organised by Sindhu Darshan Samiti every year drawing a large number of people from different parts of the country. During the festival, Raje laid the foundation of the Rs 3 crore Sindhu Bhawan at Chaglamsar near Leh. Speaking on the occasion Togdan Rinpoche religious leader from Ladakh complimented the then NDA Government in general and BJP in particular for starting the Sindhu Darshan festival in Ladakh to boost its economy.
5. RSS COW URINE DRUG GETS US PATENT: An anti-cancer drug extracted from cow urine and developed by an affiliate of the RSS has got a third US patent for its anti-genotoxicity properties. The same extract, developed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, had earlier got the US patent as a bio- enhancer with antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. Research for the drug, whose brand name is `Kamdhenu Ark', was carried out jointly by the Kendra and National Environmental Engineer Research Institute (NEERI).
The research found that Re-distilled Cow Urine Distillate (RCUD) was useful for protecting and repairing DNA from oxidative damage. Oxidative DNA damage is a leading cause of ageing, cancer and other diseases. RCUD works against genotoxicity, a harmful action on a cell's genetic material and research has strengthened the efficacy of kamdhenu ark as anti-cancer drug. The research was carried out on three patients, two of them having throat and uterus cancer.
6. WORLD TAMIL CONFERENCE BROUGHT SANGAM CLASSIC ALIVE: First world Classical Tamil Conference held in Coimbatore between 23rd and 27th of June 2010 in a grand manner. 3000 delegates from 50 countries presented their research papers about the uniqueness and antiquity of the Tamil language, culture, art and society. More than 2.4 lakhs people are estimated to have visited the venue on the concluding day. The aim was to highlight the greatness and special features of Tamil Language. The World Classicism in literature refers to those elements of universality, harmony, art of antiquity, Style or content such as reason, clarity, order, restrain, humanitarian outlook. The language Tamil has high antiquity of about 3000 years for its literature.
President, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil hailed Tamil which has the oldest literature among the living languages of the World. She said “Tirukkural” written by “Thiruvalluvar was a remarkable treatise on ethics. “Silapathikaram” and “manimekalai” were works of excellence as were the epics of Kamba Ramayanam and Jeevaka Chintamani. The soul – stirring hymns of Nayanmars and Alvars. The poems and songs of Subramanya Bharati evoked in the minds of the people “Deep feelings of patriotism during our freedom struggle”.
Mr. Iravatham Mahadevan an IAS Officer (Retd) an Epigraphist, Tamil scholar says that “The legend that Sanskrit and Tamil emerged from the two sides of the damaru (drum) of Shiva says it all – the immemorial antiquity and the equal divine status accord in our tradition to the two languages recognized as classical. Mr. M. Karunanidhy delivered the valedictory address of the five day conference.
7. Govt shortlists five designs for rupee symbol: Rupee will join the select club of currencies such as the US Dollar, British Pound Sterling, Euro and Japanese Yen that have a clear distinguishing identity. The Union Cabinet has short listed five designs for the new rupee symbol, following an all-Bharat contest. Earlier in February, Pranab Mukherjee, the Finance Minister, in his budget speech said that it is proposed to formalize a symbol for the Bharatiya Rupee in the ensuing years. The proposed symbol will appropriately reflect and capture the Bharatiya ethos and culture.
8. COW COLOSTRUM COULD HELP ARREST SPREAD OF H1N1: Calling Gau piyush' or cow colostrum a powerful nutritional immunity solution that could help arrest the spread of the H1N1 flu, noted computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar recently said that the solution should not be considered a cure but a supplement to other medication. Cow colostrum is a thick lemon yellow coloured secretion produced by cows for about 72 hours after the birth of a calf.
Bhatkar pointed out that this solution, that has its origins in Ayurveda, was now available in capsule form. Stressing the fact that the solution was only meant to be a supplement to the medication for H1N1 and not a replacement, Bhatkar said that it could be taken by both those suffering from H1N1 and those who want to take some kind of preventive measures.
9. VHP READY TO PROVIDE PRIESTS TO PAKISTAN: Amidst the reports that rituals in many Hindu temples in Pakistan, including famous Prahlad temple and Sun temple in Multan, have been suspened due to non-availability of priests, the international wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad said it can provide priests if the Pakistan Government gives visas and security to them. It is to be noted that the Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi during his recent visit to Bharat had said that since all the important Hindu temples were facing an acute shorage of priests, the Government of Paksitan had no option but to suspend religious functions in the temple.
The VHP is concerned about the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and want to do some thing for them. It is not the first time that the voice has been raised to protect Hindu identity in Pakistan. Ealier this year, Baluchistan’s Provincial Assembly, having two Hindu law makers, passed a resolution against construction of a dam that would have inundated Hingalas Bhavani temple. The VHP had also raised voice against the construction of the dam and had even given a memorandum to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
10. HINDU DEMANDS BASIC RIGHTS IN PAK: The minority Hindu community in northwest Pakistan has demanded that it should be provided the same basic rights as Christians living in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.Hindus in northwest Pakistan have no cremation grounds, scholarships for students or special schools in the entire tribal belt, community leader Pandit Jay Gopal said during a dialogue on the rights of minorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
11. PRITHVI-II SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRED: Bharat on June 17 successfully test-fired its indigenously developed, nuclear-capable, ballistic missile Prithvi-II from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from Balasore off the Orissa coast. The missile mounted on a mobile launcher was blasted off from launch complex-3 in the ITR at around 6:50 am. With a maximum striking range of 350 km, Prithvi-II is capable of carrying a pay-load of 500 kg.
The test firing of the surface-to-surface missile, which has already been inducted into Bharatiya armed forces, was a user’s trial by the Army's specialised group "strategic force command" (SFC). Prithvi, the first ballistic missile developed under the country's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), is propelled by liquid propulsion twin engine. With a length of nine metre and one metre diameter, Prithvi-II uses an advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.
12. OFBJP USA PRESS RELEASE: On June 20, Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) - USA urges Government of Bharat (GOB) to withdraw recently announced new rules seeking surrender of Bharatiya passports upon the acquisition of US citizenship by Bharatiya Diaspora. OFBJP also strongly objects to the notices posted on the Bharatiya Consulates’ Web sites asking Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) in the US to surrender their Bharatiya passports within 90 days of their naturalization as US citizens. The revised rules that were announced after the wide spread protest from PIOs read as the following:
The surrender certificate is free if the Bharatiya passport expired before January 1, 2005. However, if the Bharatiya Passports expired after January 1, 2005 and were not surrendered within three years of obtaining US citizenship, a service fee of $ 175 will be charged, provided the Bharatiya passport was not used for travel in which case a penalty would also apply. Although this fee has now been reduced, the entire point is missing. A US citizen of Bharatiya origin applying for an Bharatiya visa, OCI/PIO cards or in need of other consular services, may not be able to get any such services without first complying with the new rules. This is highly impractical and will cause unnecessary harassment. Several thousand Bharatiyas have obtained US citizenship over the last 60 years and have been travelling to Bharat on American passports with Bharatiya visas granted by the same consulates whose web sites now have posted new rules that apply retroactively.
However, GOI should have worked out a more practical solution to this problem. Shri Jayesh Patel (President Elect) says that these rules must be revoked forthwith and a fair and practical solution must be devised after consultations with the representatives of the Bharatiya community. -- (Excerpt from the Press Release)
13. BHARAT FOILED CHINESE BID TO PATENT 'PUDINA': Bharat has foiled a major Chinese bio-piracy bid to patent the use of medicinal plants 'pudina' (mint) and 'kalamegha' (andrographis) for the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the help of Bharat's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), dug out formulations from ancient Ayurveda and Unani texts, like 'Cakradattah', 'Bhaisajya Ratnavali', 'Kitaab-al-Haawi-fil-Tibb' and 'Qaraabaadeen Azam wa Akmal', dating back to the 9th century, to show that both 'pudina' and 'kalamegha' have been widely used in Bharat since ages for influenza and epidemic fevers.
After receiving exhaustive evidence from CSIR that confirmed Bharat's stand, the European Patent Office (EPO) on June 10 cancelled the decision to grant patent to Livzon, a major Chinese pharmaceutical company, on the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha for treating bird flu.
It all began when Livzon, on January 19, 2007 filed a patent application at EPO claiming usefulness of pudina and kalamegha for the treatment of bird flu to be novel. Impressed with the data, EPO decided to grant patent to Livzon on February 25, 2010.
However, on April 27, director of TKDL Dr V K Gupta shot off a letter to the EPO informing the examiners that the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha have been long known in Bharatiya traditional medicine.
Following the letter, the EPO set up a three-member panel to study the evidence. On June 10, the panel decided to cancel the Chinese patent claim.
14. ADVANI, MODI MOOT FACELIFT FOR SOMNATH: The Temple town of Somnath in Junagadh district would be developed in a comprehensive manner in order to accommodate the ever-increasing inflow of pilgrims there. This was decided on June 28 at a meeting of Somnath Trust, attended by senior BJP leader LK Advani and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, among others. Advani proposed the resolution to prepare a comprehensive temple tourist township development plan while Modi seconded it. The meeting also extended the term of former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel as president of the Trust.
15. A SUCCESSFUL "GURU VANDANA" IN CANADA: Guru Vandana, A Respectful Salute to Teachers: Keshav Shakha in Toronto, Canada, on 10th June 2010, organised “Guru Vandana”, literally meaning, Teachers’ Appreciation Day, at Woburn Jr. Public School at Toronto. Over 400 junior school students participated in this program. They offered their respect and appreciation to their 40 teachers at Woburn. The highlights of the program were: “Deep Prajwalan” by the school Principal Ms. Maxine Wray and Chief Guest Dr. Bikram Lamba; “Amrut Vachan”; Hindi song “Hum Honge Kamayaab” and a skit by students based on “Aruni of Panchala and Guru Dhoumya”.
In his speech, Dr. Bikram Lamba spoke briefly about the importance of “Guru Vandana”. In the end students presented a special greeting card created by themselves to all the teachers. The school principal concluded the program by thanking the participants and everyone present.
16. SUDARSHANJI IN USA: Former Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Shri K. S. Sudarshan was in bay area in the last weekend of June. In a program there he emphasised the use of Hindi as a common language for communication in all Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) activities so that non-Hindi speaking person could also quickly learn it. He also suggested that mothers can communicate in mother tougue, fathers can communicate in Hindi at home with children and they would learn English outside He has insisted that swayamsevaks should thrive for the perfection. Karyakartas should not limit only to facilitate programs but also explain, observe and correct these finer points to swayamsevaks.
17. SARASWATI VIDYA MANDIR STUDENTS HIGH PERFORMANCE IN HSC EXAMS: According to the Board of Secondary Education (BSE), Orissa, in the High School Certificate (HSC) examinations results, this year 18 students of Saraswati Sishu Mandir’s have secured ranks in the top 30 list. Anupam Jena of Cuttack Saraswati Sishu Mandir was this year’s topper. He has secured 576 marks. Apart from Jena, 65 boys are in the top 100 while 18 have been placed in the top 30 list.
18. KIDS TRAFFICKING BY MISSIONARIES IN N-E: With suspicions growing of missionaries involvement in trafficking innocent tribal children, a majority of them minor girls, from the North-East to southern states, Supreme Court has ordered a probe. Concerned by preliminary reports from Tamil Nadu Police, which rescued 76 children belonging to Assam and Manipur from “homes” run by missionaries, the court asked National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR) to get to the bottom of this alleged scam. Giving details of the manner in which these children were brought TN. The police office said Rev Paul brought them from Manipur and Assam to Chennai in 2008. Initially, they were accommodated in “Alice Rebecca Matriculation School, Redhills Chennai”, and then they were taken to Kerala and finally handed over to Pastor Shahji during the year 2009”. Police said, “At the time of taking the children, Rev Paul collected Rs. 5,000 from each of the parents for expenses”.
Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising said the TN police had not detailed the facts of the case. This is a federal issue as children are trafficked from far-flung tribal areas of NE states to down south. “How could these children be taken more than 1,000 km away without anyone noticing anything”, Jaising said and supported a probe by NCPCR to unearth the alleged racket.
19. CHINESE WILL COME AND GO, BHARATIYAS WILL STAY - RAJAPAKSA: Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa has sought to allay Bharatiya concerns about the growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka, saying Bharat’s role in the island was a permananet feature, unlike other players whose engagement was limited to commercial projects they execute. Sri Lanka was a non aligned country and Bharat its neighbour. “Bharatiyas are our relations, and our cultural ties are 2,500 years old”, he said. “The Chinese will come to Sri Lanka, build some projects and go, but the Bharatiyas will come here, they will build and they will stay. This is the difference in our relations with China and India”, said Sri Lankan president Mahindra Rajapaksa.
20. GRANDFATHER SIKH WINS BRITISH ATHLETICS AWARD: Jhalman Singh, 72, has won two medals at the annual event of the British Masters Athletic Federation in Leicester. He won a silver medal in the long-jump and a bronze medal in the shot put. This was on top of the pentathlon gold he won in the 70-75-year-old category at a Masters event in Oxford last month. Hailing from Punjab, Singh lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Last year, he was crowned the first Midlands Sikh Sports Personality of the Year.
21. YEAR-LONG TAGORE CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF IN ABU DHABI: A year-long celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore has been launched in Abu Dhabi, UAE amidst enactment of his famous works. India Social and Cultural Centre (ISCC) and the Abu Dhabi Bharatiya Bengali Community teamed up for the event which has seen the local Bengali community eagerly participating. Presentations of song, music, dance and drama items based on his work have marked the festivities. Born on May 7, 1861, Rabindranath Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. Tagore won the Nobel Prize in Literature for ‘Gitanjali’ in 1913 and became the first non-European to do so.
22. BUDDHIST MONKS TO LEARN TAMIL FOR HARMONY IN LANKA: Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka plan to learn Tamil language to create greater harmony and heal the decade’s old animosity between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Hindu community in the country. The All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) will launch the programme to build harmony between the ethnic groups and propagate Buddhist principles among the Tamil speaking Hindus. The first course commences in Colombo this month. Meanwhile, a delegation of religious leaders from Bharat, headed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, visited Sri Lanka on a two-day tour to promote and foster the “historic religious and cultural ties” between the two neighbours.
23. BHARATIYAS IN UAE JAILS TO GET HELP IN PAYING BLOOD MONEY: The Bharatiya expatriates in UAE have raised a fund of over Rs 62 lakhs to help fellow countrymen languishing in prisons because of their inability to pay blood money. Bharatiya Business and Professional Council, Sharjah and Bharatiya Golfers Society – UAE, raised the sum at a golf tournament dinner to create a fund on June 19. Under Shariah law, blood money is the compensation paid by an offender to the relatives of the victim. It is paid not only for murder but also in case the responsibility of an unnatural death like in an accident falls on a person. The initial beneficiaries of the fund would be chosen from a group of 13 workers who have been short listed for receiving such an aid.
24. SEOUL LAUDS BHARAT’S HELP IN 1950: As South Korea prepares to mark 60 years of the outbreak of the Korean war, its president, Lee Myung Bak, has warmly remembered Bharat’s support and contribution to the defence of the south after hostilities broke out on June 25, 1950. Sheddling light on Bharat’s role in the Korean war, the president said, “Korea was fortunate to have Bharat, the source of an ancient and noble civilization, as a friend during the war. The medical unit headed by Col Rangaraj valiantly rushed to the aid of wounded soldiers in the ace of a fierce crossfire. For its distinguished service, the unit received citations of merit from the Korean government on a number of occasions. Had it not been for the devoted services and sacrifices of the Bharatiya people, Korea would not have become what it is today”
25. ALL-WEATHER LINK TO LADAKH: Eight years after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone for the Rohtang tunnel, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi repeated the ceremony, with Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal clarifying that what Vajpayee had presided over was the making of the approach road to the tunnel on June 28. The tunnel, when it is completed in 2015, will be 8.8km long and connect landlocked Lahaul and Spiti valley with Manali and Leh. The horse-shoe underpass will offer all-year access between these towns and reduce the distance between Manali and Lahaul by 46km. The current road, known as Rohtang Pass, is closed for six months in a year due to adverse climatic conditions.
26. BJP SLAMS J&K GOVT: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on June 18 criticised the Jammu and Kashmir government for its decision to charge entry fee of Rs.2, 000 per vehicle to the Amarnath and Vaishnodevi temples.
Instead of providing better amenities to the pilgrims the state government is making attempts to disturb the ‘teerth yatra’ (pilgrimage). BJP demanded that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ask the Jammu and Kashmir government to desist from practicing “such shameful politics”.
27. FOUNDATION LAID FOR NEW SITA MANDIR IN SRI LANKA: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan performed bhoomipujan of a new Sita Mata Mandir at Capitola near Sri Lankan capital Colombo on June 26 afternoon. The function, in which Chouhan was the chief guest, was presided over by Uva province Chief Minister Shasheendra Rajpakse.
Those present at the function included Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra, Sri Lanka’s Water Resources Minister Dinesh Gunavar-dana, Dayanand Saraswati, Ministers of Uva province and Buddhist religious leader Mahanayaka Thoro. The temple is being built at the site where Sita undertook agni-pariksha.
28. MP GOVT, LANKA TO SET UP BUDDHIST VARSITY IN SANCHI: Bharat and Sri Lanka will jointly set up the first international Buddhist University near Sanchi to boost cultural and educational ties. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, on June 27 met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the setting up of the university.
“We have decided on setting up a Buddhist University in a 65-acre land in Sanchi near Bhopal. This will be a joint venture involving the Govts of Bharat, Sri Lanka and Madhya Pradesh and the Mahabodhi society,” Chouhan said.
The proposal was mooted during the visit of former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake on October 31, 2009 in Sanchi.
29. YOGA GOES SMALL: My favourite asana is the Chakra asana and I can do it for a long time too,” says Pia Kaul. It’s a 10-year-old student of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, New Delhi. Even as many attend hobby classes such as dance and painting, yoga is slowly becoming popular with children. According to yoga instructors across the spectrum, some asanas that benefit growing children are the “palm tree” posture (tadasana) that helps increase height, the “lotus” posture (padmasana) that improves concentration, and the triangle posture (trikonasana), that helps stretch the entire body.
“Yoga has many special benefits for children. It enhances flexibility, mobility, hand-eye coordination, creativity and memory in them,” says Ykateriana Katya, a Russian national who is a yoga instructor at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Dwarka. One asana that is a strict no-no for kids is the shirshasana or the headstand. “We started yoga classes for children seven years ago. It increases fitness and flexibility in the children and also provides mental and emotional stability,” said Madhulika Sen, principal, Tagore International School. The school also holds virtual yoga classes using a videocam for children in Shanghai.
30. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Ramnazar Varma and Shri Rajiv Varma from Myanmar. National Hindu Students Forum delegation of students are in Bharat on a 3 week tour visiting pilgrim centers, villages, understanding culture & society. Pravaas: Dr. Shankar Tatwawadi, samyojak vishwa vibhag is in Bharat till end of the July. This month Shri Ravi Kumar, sahsamyojak vishwa vibhag, will tour Australia. Shri Umesh Mishra, HSS pracharak based in Thailand is in Bharat after the pravas of Fiji, Hong Kong and Thailand.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come the light and thy thunder – Rabindranath Tagore.

It is not just one of Mumbai’s prominent landmarks, but it is also a world class monument. An architectural marvel, the Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai in north Mumbai has now a new addition: A 21.5 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha. Carved out of a single piece of marble, the giant statue has enhanced the splendour of the pagoda complex, at the centre of which stands the world’s biggest pillar-less dome.
Unveiled on the occasion of Buddha Purnima by the moving spirit behind the Global Vipassana Foundation Shri Satyanarayan Goenka, Lord Buddha’s sitting statue — depicting him in a meditating posture — is the creation of the renowned U Taw Taw Group of Myanmar. The 60 tonne marble statue was donated to the Global Vipassana Foundation (GVF) by the Myanmar Government. “Though the Burmese sculptors completed it in just six months, it took almost a year-and-a-half for us to bring it to our complex from Myanmar — first by sea Rangoon to Kandla port in Gujarat and later from there by road,” says complex’s chief engineer MM Khandhar who has been associated with GVF ever since the pagoda construction began in late 1997.
Located on a sprawling 14.3 acre plot on the Esselworld plateau, the pagoda is a monument built to promote peace and harmony among different countries, races, communities and sects in the world. Designed as a replica of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda of Yangon, Myanmar, it aims to preserve the non-sectarian Vipassana meditation, in its pristine purity, in the country of its birth, Bharat. As 85-year-old Shri Goenka, principal teacher at GVF, puts it, Vipassana, the core teaching of Lord Buddha does not involve any religion or dogma, rites, rituals or even conversion. “The only conversion involved in Vipassana is from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation,” says Shri Goenka.
No wonder that GVF houses a massive 6,212-sq metre pillar-less meditation hall which can accommodate over 8,000 visitors at a time. The hall is part of the golden-hued main pagoda that has been constructed in the middle of lush green complex. The dome structure which is 325 feet in height (almost as tall as a 30-storey building) and 280-feet in diameter is more than three times the size of the existing largest masonry structure the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur in Karnataka which is 90-feet in diameter.
The original bone relics of Lord Gautama Buddha, donated by the Sri Lankan Government and the Mahabodhi Society of India, have been enshrined in the central locking stone of the dome, above the Dhamma Chakra. The mere presence of these relics is believed to emit such powerful vibrations that anybody can go into a sublime trance and help meditate with complete concentration and peace of mind. Lord Buddha’s statue has been placed outside the exhibition gallery which houses a large collection of paintings depicting the evolution and the spread of Vipassana.
The GVF used nearly 2.5 million tonnes of stone in the construction of the main pagoda. In all, 700 labourers were involved in the construction of this pagoda. The construction lasted for over 11 years, it began in October 1997 and ended in November 2008. President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the main pagoda dedicated as the World Monument of Peace & Harmony in February last year. The construction plans of the GVF pagoda designed by Bharatiya architect Chandubhai Sompura on the lines of Yangon’s Shwe Dagon Pagoda were finalised on the basis of several studies, including the one conducted by IIT, Mumbai.
Combining ancient building principles with modern techniques of construction, Sompura employed the ‘interlocking principle of construction for the huge stones each weighing around 600-700 kg.
The entire construction was done using lime mortar to ensue longevity and strength of the structure. The stones used in the construction 15,500 cubic metres of Jodhpur stones and 46,000 cubic metres of rubble stones had been specially carted from quarries in Rajasthan. On north side of the main pagoda, a small 60-plus feet tall pagoda has been constructed. “The GVF plans to another similar smaller pagoda on the southern side of the main pagoda. Once we raise necessary funds for it through donations, we will start the constructions,” says Khandhar.
The main pagoda, which can be seen from the rooftops of tall buildings located in north-western suburbs of Mumbai, has been sizeable crowds through the year from not only Mumbai, but also from across Bharat and parts of the world. The visitors coming by road from Mumbai can access the GVF pagoda by driving along the Western Express highway up to Dahisar, from where they will have to take a left turn at the Shivaji statue to head to the pagoda complex.
· Main pagoda is a replica of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda of Yangon, Myanmar
· It is one of the largest stone monuments in Asia
· The technique of inter-locking stones is used to construct the monument
· It has the biggest pillar-less stone dome on earth. It is thrice the size of the previously largest stone dome structure — the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur in Karnataka (90 feet in diameter)
· At its centre is a huge meditation hall, 280 feet in diameter which can accommodate 8,000 visitors at a time
· At 325 feet height, the dome is almost as tall as a 30 storey building
· Nearly 2.5 million tonnes of stone was used in the construction, which lasted for 11 years
· The 21.5 feet tall marble statue, erected at the pagoda complex, is created by U Taw Taw Group and donated to GVF by the Myanmar Government -- The Pioneer June 27, 2010