Having at its centre ritualistic ablutions in the Ganges to cleanse one’s soul of sins and attain salvation, the massive festival of Kumbh at Haridwar is expected to draw more than 60 million from across the world in the ensuing three months. Spread over a sprawling 130 km, it extends to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Munikireti and Swarga-shram banks of the river.
First Snan of the Kumbh was on January 14 and the second on 15th Jan, the Mauni Amawasya. Rest of the snans will go up to April 28 including the three biggest Shahi Snan days of February 12, March 15 and April 14 marked by huge religious processions. Astrologically, the festival marks the entry of Jupiter into Aquarius and the Sun into Aries.
Having its roots in the Vedic period, the magnificent confluence of devotees transpires from the ancient legend of Samundra Manthan. The origin of the Kumbh Mela has also been traced to the river festivals in which pots of grains were soaked in the waters of the holy rivers and put to seed with the rest of the grain, during the sowing time. Kumbh’s grand spectacle has roused the curiosity of foreign travelers since the ancient times and Huan Tsiang or Xuanzang of China, who lived during the 7th century was the first to recount the fair in his diary.
Mark Twain’s eulogy of the Kumbh is also worth quoting, “It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people.”
2. AHMEDABAD BRTS BEST IN THE WORLD: For the first time, Ahmedabad’s Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has been adjudged the best sustainable transport system in the world. Ahmedabad BRTS happened to be the only mass transit system from Bharat and South Asia that was nominated for this award. Last year, this award was given to New York. On January 13, Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL) representatives were awarded by Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) president Enrique Penalosa in Washington, US.
Each year, this award is given to a city or major jurisdiction that has a profound impact on lessening the impact of climate change and which enhances the sustainability and liveability of its community or region through innovative transportation strategies.
A major reason for the AJL clinching the title is that the city residents embraced their new BRTS system with 35,000 daily passengers to commute to work, to school and elsewhere. Bus stations have passive solar design, an inexpensive way to keep stations naturally cool. The BRTS system has incorporated high-quality pedestrian facilities in some corridors, as well as bicycle lanes. Besides, this the city had initiated car-free days.
3. 2,000-YEAR-OLD SHIVALINGAM UNEARTHED IN VIETNAM: The Archaeology Institute and the Khanh Hoa Museum in Saigon, Vietnam have unearthed thousands of artifacts at the site of the ancient village of Vinh Yen in the south-central province. After preliminary studies, the archaeologists determined that the ancient inhabitants who left the artifacts lived 2,000-2,500 years ago during the end of the Neolithic period and early Bronze Age.
Among the more important findings were a Shiva lingam made of rock crystal, moulds for casting bronze and iron objects, and jewelry.
Dr. Tran Quy Thinh, the leader of the excavation group, said the discoveries contribute significantly to knowledge of prehistoric development in the southern part of the central region.
4. SANSKRIT IS SECOND OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IN UTTARAKHAND: It is a great irony that in Bharat, 18 states have made Urdu their second official language under the appeasement policy but for the first time the Uttarakhand government took the right decision by declaring Sanskrit the second official language. -KS Sudarshan, former RSS Sarsanghachalak
Thus, the Uttarakhand Assembly has set an example for other states in the country by declaring Sanskrit as second official language. The Rajbhasha Vidheyak was brought in the Assembly to make Sanskrit as second official language as people of the State have keen interest in the language.
They tend to use Sanskrit on special auspicious occasions with extreme regards. There are primary, intermediate, graduate and postgraduate Sanskrit medium schools and colleges also in the State which contribute to spread and learning of Sanskrit.
This decision of the government would certainly help in flourishing and promoting Sanskrit in the State. Former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan and many Sanskrit scholars felicitated Dr Nishank, Chief Minister of Uttaranchal in Haridwar for this courageous step. Shri Sudarshan described it a historical and commendable decision. He said the decision is according to the sentiments of the people since so many saints and rishis dwelt and learnt spiritual values through Sanskrit
5. THE CLIMATE SUMMIT 2009: At the backdrop of Climate Summit at Copenhagen Denmark, the official Bharatiya delegation could spend sometime with the Bharatiyas there. The swayemseveks & sevikas of Guru Gobind Singh Shakha, (Hindu Swayamsevek Sangh Denmark) organised a dinner at Mangat Ram Sharma’s place for the M.P.’s Dr. Murli Monohar Joshi (BJP), Hamdullah Sayeed (Congress),, Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) and Sita Ram Yachuri (CPI).
On the concluding day of the Climate Summit, the swayemseveks and sevikas with the help from Durga Bhajan Mandli, Denmark invited Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi to a meeting attended by 40 people at Katrinedal School, where the weekly Shakha is held every Sunday.
Dr. Murli Monohar Joshi delivered a lecture on the climate change and the contributions of Bharat to the cause. He gave some references from the Hindu scriptures and the Hindu ways of life how the Bharatiya people are already doing a lot to save the gobal environment through the daily routine.
6. COURT STAYS WORK ON PROPOSED ISLAMIC BANK IN KERALA: A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Jan 5 stayed all further move by the state-owned Kerala State Industrial Development Corp (KSIDC) to set up an Islamic bank.
The division bench gave its orders after a petition was filed by former central minister Subramanian Swamy, who maintained that the proposed bank was against India's secular credentials and its banking norms.
The proposed bank would have Sharia-compliant banking products and profits made out of the investments would be distributed to the shareholders.
7. SEVIKA SAMITI SAMMELAN IN KOLKATA: A three-day training camp of Rashtra Sevika Samiti as part of the birth centenary of Vandaniya Tai Apte for the workers of Purvottar Kshetra concluded in Kolkata on December 27 . Over 600 Sevikas participated in the camp.
Sanyasini Gynanandamayi Maa inaugurated the sammelan on December 25. Akhil Bharatiya Baudhik Pramukh Smt Sarad Renu, Sah-Baudhik Pramukh Smt Sulabha Despande, Prant Sanchalika of Uttar Assam Dr Malati Barua were present on the occasion.
Sanyasini Gynanandamaoyi Maa praised the activities of Rashtra Sevika Samiti and invited Smt to visit her Ashram at Hridaypur to impart training to the activists. She urged the women to join the Samiti work.
8. THE 4TH BHARATVANSHI GAURAV SAMMAN-2008 was conferred on Shivnath Rai Bajaj of Thailand by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha, at a colourful ceremony in New Delhi, on 10th January, 2010. The award has been constituted by Antar-Rasshtriya Sahayog Nyas (Trust for International Co-operation) and consists of a citation, a shawl, a memento and Rupees one lakh to appreciate achievement by publicly honouring a person every year for their excellence and working for Bharatiya Diaspora.
On this occasion Smt. Sushma Swaraj, recalled the love for Bharat in the hearts of PIOs by narrating another story, that earlier days, they put flowers in sea (ocean) thinking that atleast at later date, it will touch the shore of Bharat. In the absence of Shri Shivnath Bajaj his son, Subhash Bajaj, accepted the award.
9. MAKAR SANKRAANTI 2010. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Makar Sankranti Utsav was celebrated at a National level in Trinidad at the Manzanila beach, on 10th January 2010.
At Mrityunjay shakha with the whistle of Mukhya
Shikshak Balkaran ji all swyamsevaks and sevikas settled down for the SuryaNarayan puja with singing of bhajans. Surya namaskaar demonstration by the Aranguez mandal followed. On the occasion, the chief guest of the function, Prof. Vijay Narayn Singh, a well known surgeon remarked that, it has been proved beyond doubt that surya namasakar not only helps in toning your body but also helps in development of mental activity. Ramcharan ji, mandal karyawah of Barrackpore mandal delivered an inspiring baudhik and exerted everyone to be a Hindu by choice and a more active Hindu. After this the Sanghchalak of Trinidad & Tobago Shri Deoroop ji Teemal gave a vote of thanks. Dhwajaavataran was done after Praarthanaa. 59 swayamsevaks, out of which 41 were in ganavesh and 54 sevikaas, 25 in ganvesh took part in the utsav
10. NRIS TO GET VOTING RIGHTS BY NEXT LS POLLS: PM: NRIs will be able to vote in the next general elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the annual gathering of the Bharatiya diaspora - Pravasi Bharatiya Divas amid indications that the long-held promise may be comimg to fruition with government planning to change the definition of who is a "citizen".
Dr. Singh said, "I recognise the legitimate desire of Bharatiyas living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs Bharat... In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Bharatiyas should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia."
11. KNIGHTHOOD FOR UK'S FIRST SIKH JUDGE: London based Mota Singh, who is the UK's first Sikh and Asian judge, who is also a Queen's Counsel, has been knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours List for "services to the Administration of Justice, Community Relations and to the Voluntary Sector".
His decision to wear a white turban in court, instead of a wig, came to be seen as a sign of a multicultural Britain.
A Ramgarhia Sikh, Mota Singh was raised and educated in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1954, he shifted to England to complete the remaining part of his studies of Law. He joined the English bar in 1967.
Within months, he developed a successful practice in civil law.
12. DELHI GIRL BECOMES FIRST BHARATIYA WOMAN TO SKI TO SOUTH POLE: For 38 days, Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu, a mountaineer and outdoor instructor based in Delhi, along with seven other women skied for eight to ten hours a day, traversing a 915km path through one of the coldest and most desolate regions of the world.
Reena reached the trademark mirrorball in the middle of nowhere that marks the geographic South Pole, becoming the first Bharatiya woman to ski to the southern-most tip of the Earth.
The women, from seven countries, were part of the Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition mounted to mark the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth.
For 38-year-old Reena, who had edged out 116 compatriots to get the right to represent Bharat in the expedition, it marked a unique achievement.
It was an arduous journey through the incredibly cold, all-white expanse of the continent, where the team had to negotiate crevasses hundreds of metres deep.
13. DRDO DEVELOPS ‘WEARABLE COMPUTERS’ FOR SOLDIERS: The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on a ‘wearable computer’ project, which could be used for various applications by soldiers, including locating scattered team members while moving along in the most inhospitable terrain.
The prototype of the ‘wearable computers’ was displayed at the ongoing Indian Science Congress, by the personnel of Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR) under DRDO’s Bangalore unit.
14. BAL SWAYAMSEVAK SANGAM, AMRAVATI: "Who says RSS is witnessing a retarded growth these days? Who claims there is no inflow of new swayamsevaks in the daily RSS shakhas? They should come and see these resurgent and reverberating children gathered here from all over Vidarbha region, marching in tune towards a definite goal—the goal to take Bharat Mata to the highest pinnacle of glory; a goal to make her Vishwaguru—world leader once again”.
This was the instant reaction of a very senior and famous journalist of Amravati Pradeep Deshpande, editor of Janmadhyam, a largely circulated Marathi daily of Western Vidarbha region, who witnessed the splendid route march of the 2000-odd Bal swayamsevaks gathered there from 98 places in all the 11 districts of Vidarbha at the three-day winter camp of RSS.
The camp was organised at Amravati from December 18-20, 2009.
The spectacular route march of the swayamsevaks was supported by an impressive Band Unit of 280. The people of Amravati welcomed these ‘future of Bharat’ with open hearts showering flower petals, rangolis, and slogans—Kaun chale bhai kaun chale-Bharat maa ke lal chale’. Later commenting on the route march Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat said Dr Hedgewar, the founder of RSS saw great potential in these Bal swayamsevaks when he started the Sangh.
Addressing the grand public function of the camp organised at Prerana Sthal of Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Shri Mohan Bhagwat, who spent a day with the participants, said that Bharatiya Sanskriti inculcates love for mother and motherland. We follow a lot of gods and goddesses, worship according to different ways, but love for motherland is the one common bond that binds all of us together. The country can be made powerful, strong and vibrant with inculcation of this love for motherland alone. The Sangh has been doing this work since its foundation.
15. IIT-D ENGINEERS WAY TO HARVEST ORGANS: In collaboration with AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh, IIT Delhi has created scaffolds on which stem cells can be grown into tissues, which then develop into a full organ. The organ thus developed can be used for transplantation. At present, these scaffolds — made of biodegradable polymers — are being used for animal testing in Paris.
Explaining that this marvel of tissue engineering has an edge over the traditional donor system of organ transplantation, professor Bhuvanesh Gupta from the bioengineering group, textile department, IITD, said: "Since a new organ can be developed on the scaffolds using patient's own cells, there will be no need of finding a donor. There will be no chances of rejection either like in a normal organ transplant."
16. BHARAT READYING WEAPONS TO DESTROY ENEMY SATELLITES: SARASWAT: Bharatiya defence scientists are readying a weapons system to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit, a top defence scientist said on 2 January.
However, he added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.
Saraswat, who is also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said the scientists were planning to build the weapon which would have the capacity to hit and destroy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit.
17. SIKH WHO DIED FIGHTING MUGGERS IS UK'S HERO: A Sikh man of Bharatiya origin who was killed while confronting two muggers who were running away after snatching a woman’s handbag has been described as a hero by the British police.
Sukhwinder Singh, a builder and father of one, was attacked while pursuing the two muggers who had robbed a 28-year-old woman near Barking station. After chasing the two men along several streets, Singh caught up with them and a fight broke out, during which he was stabbed around 7pm on January 8, according to the Metropolitan Police. Singh, 31, was immediately taken to Royal London Hospital where he died of his injuries.
Describing Singh’s actions as ‘‘very brave’’, detective inspector of Metropolitan Police John Sandlin said, ‘‘This is a tragic death of a man who was killed for attempting to stop others committing crime. Our thoughts are with his family.”
18. CHANDRAYAAN-II TO TAKE OFF IN 2013: ISRO: The launch of Bhaat’s next moon mission, Chandrayaan-II, will be in the first quarter of 2013 as per schedule, its project head said on January 3 in Tiruchi.
The project is shaping up as per schedule, Mylswamy Annadurai, project director, Chandrayaan-I and II of the Indian Space Research Organization, said.
Chandrayaan II, the second lunar mission, a four-year project under Indo-Russian collaboration, is being executed by ISRO after the success of Chandrayaan I.
19. BHARATIYA ORIGIN HINDU-BUDDHISTS TOP FOREIGN STUDENT ENROLMENT IN US: Report of Open Doors 2009 on international students studying in the US, reveals that Bharatiya origin Hindu-Buddhists combine are the forerunners among the foreign student enrolment in US, beating the numbers of Christians and Muslims this time like previous year.
The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight per cent to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year, according to the Open Doors report, which is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This is the largest percentage increase in international student enrolments since 1980/81and for the eighth year in a row.
20. BHARAT TO HAVE FIVE NUCLEAR ENERGY PARKS BY 2032: Bharat would set up five energy parks by 2032 to raise the generation of nuclear energy.
"The selected sites for the energy parks are Haripur in West Bengal, Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh and Kudamkulam in Tamil Nadu," chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Srikumar Banerjee said on Jan 11.
The country plans to have 35,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020 and 60,000 MW by 2032, out of which 40 -45,000 MW would come from energy parks Banerjee said at the 60th foundation day of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata.
21. THIS IITian SEEKS TO MAKE FIRE WITHOUT SMOKE: IIT graduate Brijesh Rawat and his New York-based sibling are fast replacing coal fired ovens and LPG cylinders in towns and rural areas with health-safe, clean and more efficient gasified commercial chulhas that run on pine needle briquettes.
Pine needles scattered, apparently uselessly, on the forest floor of Uttarakhand help in watertable preservation. Villagers cut down pine trees as pine needles pose hazards to grazing animals.
Under this project, these needles are collected by poor villagers and transported to a Kotdwar-based factory where they are compacted into biomass pellets. The smokeless stoves fueled by these briquettes are safe, economical and environment-friendly.
22. BHARAT WARNS NGC OVER WRONG MAP: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Jan 5 issued a warning to the National Geographic Channel for showing the wrong map of Bharat in its programme on Rhinos in South Asia telecast on August 4, last year. The Channel in its reply maintained that it had inadvertently shown the map of South Asia, which included Bharatiya territorial boundary that was not in conformity with that published by SOI.
23. SUBSTANTIAL LOSS OF LAND TO CHINA, ADMITS REPORT: Repeated incursions by China and an unclear border map have resulted in Bharat losing a ‘‘substantial’’ amount of land in the past two decades. The area along Line of Actual Control with China has ‘‘shrunk’’ over the years, and Bharat is clearly ‘‘withdrawing’’.
At a recent meeting chaired by Commissioner (Leh) A K Sahu and attended, among others, by Brigadier General Staff of 14 Corps Brig Sarat Chand and Colonel Inderjit Singh. Besides mapping discrepancies held in Leh which was attended by officials from the Jammu and Kashmir government, ministry of home affairs and Army, it was agreed that maps drawn up by various agencies were all different and that there was lack of proper mapping of the area.
According to the minutes of the meeting , it was also identified that ‘‘there is a lack of institutional memory in various agencies as well as clear policy on this issue which in the long run has resulted in loss of territory by Bharat in favour of China’’.
24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas : Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, Samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will visit Portugal and Ireland. Visitors: Harish Dhruv – USA, Rajesh Shukla, USA. Adv.Udaykumar and others – Malaysia; Rajaram Sethi from Middle East; Nripen Acharya – USA; Dr.Balmukund Bhala – UK; Dr. Anita and Anith Maharaj - South Africa; Dwaraka Persaud – Canada ;Manoj Motwani - Hong Kong.
25. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Be perfectly resigned,perfectly unconcerned; then alone can you do any true work. No eyes can see the real forces ; we can only see the results. Put out self, forget it; jjust let God work, it is His business. Doing is very good, but that comes from thinking…..fill the brain, therefore, with high ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. – Swami Vivekananda.
JAI SHREE RAM
BIHAR, A GROWTH STORYRoads “as smooth as Hema Malini’s cheeks” was a promise that Lalu Yadav had once given to the people of Bihar. Ironically, it is his rival Nitish Kumar who seems to be delivering on that front. Despite three years of floods followed by a year of drought, ‘backward and benighted’ Bihar reports a miraculous figure: 11% GDP growth, second only to Gujarat. The state’s economy has never grown so fast so consistently as it has since 2004-2005. A few pointers on what’s going right in Bihar:
Raj Kumar, TNN, 10 January 2010
Raj Kumar, TNN, 10 January 2010
* Getting anywhere in Bihar has always been an exercise in endurance. But that’s changing. More than 6,800 km of roads have been relaid and 1,600 bridges and culverts constructed in the last four years. Journey time in India’s 12th largest state, sprawling over 94,163 sq km, has been cut by half today in many places. Now, most of the state’s 38 districts — from northernmost West Champaran to Kaimur on the western end — are a drive of six hours or less from Patna.
* Automobile sales in the state grew 45% in 2009, at a time when sales had dipped 20-25% in several other states during the economic slowdown. Is this buying spree an indication that a section of Biharis have more money to splurge than they did earlier? “A few people had money earlier too, but they didn’t flaunt it for fear of attracting extortionists and kidnappers,” says Ranjit Singh, director of a high-end Patna hotel. That fear may have evaporated now.
* Only 317 kidnappings for ransom were reported during the last four years as against 1,393 during the previous four. The kidnapping industry has clearly fallen on hard times. One indication of this is that doctors no longer refuse to go to patients’ homes on emergency calls. “Today you can see boards at clinics saying we go on calls,” says Dr Amulya Kumar Singh, who runs a nursing home in Patna.
* Most of Bihar’s infamous dons are behind bars. That includes Mohd Shahabuddin, the former RJD MP who had once gone live on TV, daring the state police chief to arrest him. Things are a little different now. A ruling JD(U) MLA, Sunil Pandey, attempted an encore of sorts in early 2006 when he brandished a revolver and talked murder on TV. But Pandey found himself behind bars within no time. Speedy trials have ensured a total of 38,824 convictions between 2006 and September 2009.The convicts included dons and their henchmen.
* Gun-toting strongmen are no longer a common sight on the streets of Bihar. Policemen patrol them now. And places like Siwan, where Shahabuddin once held sway, do not get deserted after dusk.
This improvement has shown results. Malls, shops and private educational institutions are coming up. So are mobile service providers and banking firms. It’s boom time for real estate with apartment buildings coming up all around. “That’s because even non-Biharis for a change want to have a foot in Bihar which has become a better place to live in,” says economist Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute. Adds Faizal Alam of Kalyanpur Cements, “Cement inflow to the state went up 18% to 51 lakh tonnes in 2008-09.” That’s an indicator of the construction boom.
Ironically, this economic growth has happened without any worthwhile contribution from the manufacturing sector. The state’s economy is growing because of a boom in agriculture and services sectors. “It’s government-induced growth,” admits Bihar Industries Association (BIA) president S P Sinha. According to former BIA president K P S Keshri, private investments in the manufacturing sector have been as little as Rs 1,500 crore during the last four years.
Many attribute the growth to the fact that the flow of Central funds to states has increased manifold in recent years. In the case of Bihar, it went up from Rs 37,341 crore during the five-year period 2000-2005 to Rs 55,459 crore during the next three years. But equally importantly, the funds are now getting better utilized than during the Lalu-Rabri regime when large chunks remained unspent. Also, adds Gupta, the state made concerted efforts to mobilise internal resources with its own revenue collection going up from Rs 2,919 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 5,256 crore in 2008-09.
The flip side is that much of this growth does not get reflected in social indicators which remain abysmal. But, as Gupta says, it would be unrealistic for anyone to “expect the moon” at this stage. “Right now the fundamentals are getting corrected and therefore you can find mostly infrastructural indicators of growth; one will have to wait for social indicators to become visible,” he says.
While contractors and realtors stand to gain, more than half the state’s 8.2 crore people — 1.25 crore families — still live below the poverty line. For these families to prosper, Bihar desperately needs huge investments and more growth. The State Investment Promotion Board, formed by the Nitish government, has received proposals worth Rs 96,000 crore. But most of them, especially the major ones, remain on paper as Central rules prove a stumbling block. For instance, thermal power plants cannot come up in Bihar because the Centre has so far refused to provide coal linkages to ensure regular supplies to any such new plant.
Also, Bihar has a lot of catching up to do with the rest of India. “There cannot be any comparison between Gujarat and Bihar, both of which reportedly grew by over 11%; since our base is low, even a small investment results in impressive growth in percentage,” Gupta points out. State officials admit that crucial sectors like health are still sick with meagre resources in comparison to other states.
From its bleak past, Bihar may be finally moving towards a brighter future, but the common Bihari is not patting himself just yet. Maybe he is still waiting for this high growth to translate into better food on his table and more money in his pocket.
BHARAT SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES OF PRAVASI BHARATIYASThe Union Government is very enthusiastic about holding the Pravasi Bharatiya International Conference with great fanfare as it is an occasion to canvass for increased NRI investments and win encomiums from the powerful non-resident Bharatiya community abroad, but unfortunately, it takes little or no interest in addressing the problems of the less privileged Bharatiya community which is looking for support and intervention in the face of near racial annihilation in countries like Malaysia.
For the last many years groups of Bharatiya origin people from Malaysia have been petitioning the government of Bharat of the serious racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing going on in that country. There are some two million people of Bharatiya origin living there, majority of them are Tamil speaking Hindus. They are a proud, hard working, law abiding and tradition bound community. They look to Bharat for cultural and spiritual inspiration. Now, they are seeking political initiatives also.
A delegation of the oppressed Bharatiya community in Malaysia under the leadership of Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy, chairman of HINDRAF, Malaysia, who was detained for two years for organising a protest meet of oppressed Bharatiya community in that country in 2007, is in Bharat attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Conference (January 7 to 9), and he submitted a memorandum to the participants narrating the heart-wrenching condition of his people. The inhuman suffering into which the religious persecution and ethnic discrimination have driven the Indian community deserves world wide condemnation and immediate intervention of the Government of Bharat and the United Nations. So far, the US is the only country that has taken note of the situation in Malaysia and made a reference to the violations of Human Rights with that government.
The HINDRAF, according to Ponnusamy, who is a barrister at law from Lincoln’s Inn, has already approached the UN Human Rights citing the grave danger facing this Bharat origin minority community in Malaysia.
This journal has on a number of earlier occasions reported about the state sponsored atrocities and discriminations, wanton destruction of thousands of temples, forced occupation of temple property, crematorium and religious intolerance in that country. But if what Ponnusamy has narrated in his 60-page long report is any indication then the eight per cent strong Bharat origin community in Malaysia is facing a near annihilation. They face not just religious persecution, but their basic human rights and rights as citizens of the land of their forefathers is being systematically denied under the Wahabi Islamist racist regime. The victims are third, fourth and fifth generation Malaysians of Bharatiya origin. They are descendants of the migrants from Bharat whom the British had taken as labourers for the plantations there over two hundred years ago. The government has robbed these people of their fundamental rights, and denied equal opportunities in every segment of human activity. By explicit state policies the vast majority of Malaysian Bharatiyas are excluded from the national mainstream. These people are not given a chance to get better education, health care, drinking water, ration, social congregation, equal opportunity to compete, bank loans, licence to set up even small eateries and grocery shops. They are denied admission to higher education institutions and are condemned to remain daily wage poor unskilled labourers. Majority of them live in huts and temporary shelters as land and housing rights are denied by the state. Even the low income unskilled jobs are taken away on religious grounds. The community is, as part of the pursuit of ethnic cleansing and Islamisation, are not given birth and marriage certificates. Conversion is made mandatory for getting admission to better educational institutions, government jobs, industry licence or bank loan. The Bharat origin community is barred, according to this report, from economic and social development programmes, cultural and recreational activities, social functions and festivals. For raising these issues and organising a massive protest a number of Malaysian lawyers including P Udaykumar and M Manoharan were arrested and detained without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act for 514 days. A large number of people were killed in police firing and many injured and maimed for life as a result of the police atrocities. These two lawyers who were released recently attended the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and pleaded their case before the large audience from all over the world. These people are appalled by the studied indifference and silence of the Government of Bharat. They also charge the Indian Missions abroad of callous indifference if not hostility to plea for help of the plight of Bharatiya origin peoples abroad.
The Government of Bharat can play a proactive role in redressing the situation. Bharat traditionally has cordial relations with Malaysian Government. Bharat has large areas of mutual cooperation and trade relations with that country. The Government of Bharat with its record of excessive pandering to Indian minorities can canvass and convince its counterpart in Malaysia to be more humane, at least be mindful of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which in itself will go a long way in helping the Bharatiya community lead a life of dignity. It can also open a special wing in the Ministry of External Affairs to register and follow-up on Human Rights violations and religious freedom of Bharat origin overseas communities. This is the least the Government of Bharat can do as it hosts such self-serving jamborees year after year in the name of Pravasi Bharatiyas. – Editorial, The Organiser, Jan 17, 2009