Magh 19 Vik Samvat 2066. Yugabda 5111: 1 February 2010

1. FESTIVALS: Bura na mano holi hai: Holi is one of the major festivals of Bharat. It is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on Phalgun Poornima falling on February 28 this year. Holi is also called the Spring Festival – as it marks the arrival of spring season. According to a legend demon king Hiranyakashyap wanted his son Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu to be killed. He asked his sister Holika, who had a boon of immunity to fire, to enter blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. But Prahlad was saved and Holika was burnt to ashes for her boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Since then people light a bonfire called Holika as a mark of victory of good over evil.
Next day people, specially children, sprinkle colour over each others and passers by. Women and elders form groups and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and delicious delicacies are the other highlights of the day.
2. OVER EIGHT CRORE SIGNATURES PRESENTED TO RASHTRAPATIJI: SAINTS DEMAND COMPLETE BAN ON COW SLAUGHTER: Leading Hindu saints, religious leaders of Islam and Christianity, cow scientists, experts, organic farmers and leaders belonging to various social organisations of the country met Rashtrapati Smt Pratibha Patil on January 31, 2010 and handed her over more than eight crore signatures collected during the 108 day Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra from all over the country. The Yatra had begun from Kurukshetra on September 30, 2009 and concluded in Nagpur on January 17, 2010.
The leaders urged the Rashtrapati to declare the cow as national cultural legacy and ensure complete ban on her slaughter. In a memorandum submitted to her, they requested the Rashtrapati to form a separate ministry at the centre for protection and promotion of Bharatiya breeds of cow. Demanding enactment of a central law for cow protection and its strict implementation, the saints said there must be strict ban on all the slaughter houses operating in the country.
Demanding formation of Kamdhenu University in all the states, the saints also appealed to the Rashtrapati to develop an atmosphere in the country where all farmers could live a dignified life and no farmer needs to commit suicide.
Rashtrapati Smt Pratibha Patil heard the delegation very patiently for more than an hour and assured to take appropriate action.
The 20 member delegation was led by Gokarna Peethadhishwar Shankaracharya Raghaveshwar Bharati Swamiji. Other members of the delegation included working president of the Yatra Samiti Dr HR Nagendra, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, former RSS Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan, Pejawar Swami Vishveshwara Teertha, Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara, noted cow scientist Dr Kesari Chand Mehta, guide of the Yatra Sitaram Kedilaya, vice president of the Yatra Samiti Hukum Chand Sanwala, former CBI director Sardar Joginder Singh, Swami Parmanand on behalf of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vijayamrita Chaitanya on behalf of Mata Amritanandamayi, Adesh Goel on behalf of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji, Arch Bishop of Lucknow Moisis Don, Chhote Miyan Moinuddin Sabari, Buddhist leader Rahul Bodhi, and others.
Prior to it, the saints addressed a mammoth rally at Ramlila Grounds and warned the government not to test the patience of the countrymen. After many years the Ramlila Grounds of Delhi was seen fully packed with thousands of people standing.
3. 500th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CORONA-TION OF KRISHNADEVARAYA AS EMPEROR OF VIJAYNAGAR HINDU KINGDOM, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in Bharat’s medieval history, was celebrated on January 27, 28 and 29 in Hampi. The three-day utsav was held at six venues spread over this 16th century capital of the Vijayanagar empire on banks of the Tungabhadra river, about 350 km from Bengaluru.
The fest began with rural and adventure sports including wrestling, kabaddi, weight-lifting and rock-climbing that were popular during the emperor’s reign. The inauguration of the celebrations began with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram urging for imbibing the ideals of social unity, economic development and peace of Vijayanagar Empire with its city in Vijayanagar in present Bellary District. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior most leader L.K. Advani on January 29, performed the 'shilanyas' (foundation laying ceremony) for a majestic theme park near this world heritage site. Art of Living founder seer Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa were present at the 'bhoomi pooja' (ground-breaking ceremony) at the Hampi University campus where the 200-acre park will be built by the state government at a cost of Rs.80 crore in two years. The state government set up the Vijayanagar Punaschetana Pratishthan (revival trust) under the aegis of the tourism department to protect and preserve the rich legacy, heritage and treasure-trove of the golden empire.
The chief minister said the objective of the theme park was to revive and restore the glory of the Vijayanagar kingdom and to foster the Hindu dharma and culture to perpetuate its rich legacy for posterity. 'The sprawling park will be built on the lines of the Akshardham temple in New Delhi with a majestic bronze statue of the scholar-warrior emperor in the centre,' Yeddyurappa noted.
The landscaped park will also have a museum to exhibit the artefacts of the empire, a multi-media theatre to depict the life and times of the kingdom and a publication house to print books and journals on the contributions made by the empire that ruled for over 300 years. The buildings will be built with the architectural style of Vijayanagar.
4. MAJESTIC REPUBLIC DAY PARADE ON RAJPATH: Multi-hued images of Bharat’s rich cultural heritage and great military prowess were showcased on the majestic Rajpath in Delhi in the Republic Day Parade. Rashtrapati Pratibha Devisingh Patil unfurled the Tricolour amid the tunes of National Anthem and the customary 21 gun salute followed by the salute given by the marching contingents of the three divisions of the Bharatiya Armed Forces to its Supreme Commander. Colourful tableaux, a camel-mounted contingent of Border Security Force, contingents of various paramilitary and auxiliary civil forces and glimpses of the mighty armoury of the Bharatiya Armed Forces were the major attraction of the parade and drew cheers and applause from thousands converged on the occasion.
Rashtrapati Patil honoured three security personnel (including two posthumously) with Ashok Chakra, the country's highest peace-time gallantry medal. Those honoured with Ashok Chakra were Major D Sreeram Kumar of 39 Assam Rifles, Major Mohit Sharma (posthumous) of the first Battalion of the Parachute Regiment and Havildar Rajesh Kumar (posthumous) of the 11th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles. Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, canisterised surface to surface strategic missile Shaurya and the Rohini radar were on display for the first time. Agni-III missiles, main battle tank Arjun and the armoury multiple launch rocket system were also displayed. Chief Guest South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, vice-president Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, defence minister A K Antony, several other leaders and invitees witnessed the parade.
The 19 child winners of the National Bravery Awards this year walked in to a huge applause. Hundreds of schoolchildren also performed during the parade. BSF motorcycle team 'Janbaz' performed a dare-devil display of their talents. The spectacular parade ended with a flypast involving an IL-78, two AN-32 and two Dorniers in big boy formation, one AWACS and two SU-30 MKI in sentry formation, five Jaguars in arrowhead formation and three SU-30 MKI in Trishul formation. The newly operationalised Israeli Phalcon Awacs (airborne warning and control systems) aircraft or the “eye in the sky” force-multiplier flew at the parade for the first time.
5. SWAMI VIVEKANAND JAYANTI AT SEYCHELLES: Vivekanand Jayanti was celebrated in Mahe on 16th January and the function on this occasion organized by Hindu Council of Seychelles was chaired by its Chairman V.J. Patel and key note address given by the High Commissioner of Bharat Mr. Nag. They asked the youth and people to follow Vivekananda and stand up to help and serve the mankind.
Aim of the celebration was to initiate the discussion and debate on Swami Vivekananda’s inspirational quotes and teachings to cultivate the spiritual progress. A documentery film on Swami Vivekananda was exhibited on the occasion.
6. TEACH PAK A LESSON: BHAGWATJI: “We got independence over 60 years back, but still our borders are not secured. Pakistan, an immature nation, has been openly acting against us all these years. Pakistan was behind the 26/11 attacks and its eyes are on Kashmir,” said Shri Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Sarsanghachalak at a public rally in Kolkata organised to celebrate Netaji Subhas Chanda Bose’s birthday on January 23. One of the rally’s surprise listeners was Beth A Payne, the US Consul General to Kolkata.
The need of the hour was “a strong foreign policy”
in which neighbouring countries will support us and Chinese interference will stop. We must remember that earlier China backstabbed us while propagating words of friendship. Why did we let the Chinese take away Tibet? We were so close and the Chinese so far. And now they are creating all this trouble,” Bhagwatji said.
“Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is taking a toll on the economy. It’s also responsible for our deteriorating law and order situation near the border,” added Shri Bhagwat.
7. SURYA NAMASKAR AND KITE FLYING ATTRACTIONS ON MAKAR SANKRATI IN US: Over 4,000 men, women and children joined in the Surya Namaskar, kite flying and music in the festival organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Gujarati Samaj of Greater Houston and Hindus of Greater Houston, with other organizations participating, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and Swami Vivekanand Jayanti at George Bush Park on January 16. Gujarati Samaj served khichari and buttermilk free, like every year and Ekal Vidyalaya volunteers provided 1000 cups of masala tea free. Swami Nikhilanand, pracharak for JKP Barsana Dham in Austin, TX, was the chief guest who inaugurated the Surya Namaskar Yajna at the park too."
From the morning hours till well past noon hundreds of people from six to sixty participated in Surya Namaskar. One enthusiastic participant was Guo Wen Jing, who was visiting from China, and said “I was very glad to engage in this activity that was really pleasant.” A new volunteer, Sheetal Parwal, summed up the feelings of many, saying “The enthusiasm of the team and the public at large for kite flying was amazing! It made me remember my childhood days when we used to fly kites on Makar Sankranti back at home in Bharat.”
8. SANCHI-LIKE STUPA FOUND IN MP: A Stupa similar to the Great Stupa at Sanchi is set to be unearthed at Vaisha Tekri near the religious city of Ujjain. The Stupa, currently under the debris, would be excavated by the year-end. On the similarity found between the Stupa at Sanchi and the Stupa to be unearthed in Ujjain, experts believe that both are Sharika form of Stupas, one of the three main types of Stupas erected during the 3rd century BC.
9. ISRO’s MANNED MISSION IN '16: After the success of Chandrayaan 1, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Bharat’s first manned mission to space in 2016. Talking to reporters in Bangaluru on January 27 ISRO Chairman, K Radhakrishnan, said that two astronauts will be sent to space for a week-long space odyssey in 2016.
Space scientists are working on preproject report to build facilities for the mission at a cost of Rs 95 crores, and the complete cost for the mission which adds up to Rs 12,400 crores.
According to ISRO chairman the spacecraft for the proposed manned mission will have extra facilities like entry into crew capsule and an escape chute.
10. BHARAT WORKING ON ANTI-SATELLITE CAPABILITIES: DRDO: “We are making the building blocks of technology for the space security measures and they are of two types, active and passive. So, we are developing both these elements in this programme,” DRDO chief V K Saraswat said in reply to queries on Bharat’s plans to develop capabilities to destroy satellites in space. He added “the (BMD) test is going to be conducted in February.” DRDO is working on the BMD programme, under which it is developing a system to destroy incoming enemy ballistic missiles both in space and in earth’s atmosphere.
11. SECOND DECADE OF KASHMIRI HINDUS EXILE MARKED IN NEW DELHI: Kashmiri Hindu organisations Ponnu Kashmir, Roots in Kashmir, Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch, Kashmir Samiti, Delhi and All Bharat Kashmiri Samaj for the first time on January 22, joined hands together to spouse the aspirations of Kashmiri Hindus at a solemn function organized by Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. On the issue of controversial Justice Sagir Ahmed committee report on granting greater autonomy to Kashmir, Bharatiya Janta Party President Nitin Gadkari termed the greater autonomy report as pernicious and said that the BJP will oppose it 'tooth and nail'. Mr. Jagmohan cautioned that, granting greater autonomy would set a bad precedent in reference to 'troubled state'. Madhu Kishwar, editor Manushi and Thupstan Chhewang, former MP and patron and president of Ladakh Union Territory Front demanded that any composite dialogue between New Delhi and Kashmir must involve both Kashmiri Hindus and Ladakhi population. BJP Vice-President Bal Apte, regretted that human Rights institutions were showing double standard towards 'Kashmiri Hindus'.
12. RSS HOPES TO WOO YOUTH WITH 1 LAKH TEACHING JOBS: The Rashtriya Swyamsevam Sangh (RSS) will open more than one lakh schools, called the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams, in the hinterlands of the country where only young people will be employed as teachers. The Sangh will also help them look for other career prospects. Ram Madhav, a senior RSS functionary who was in Ayodhya to attend a programme of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad - the youth wing of the BJP - confirmed they had been focusing on the youth.
13. HALDI KUMKUM SAKHI SAMMELAN IN INDIANAPOLIS: Haldi Kumkum Sakhi Sammelan; the very first Sevika activity in Indiana vibhag was conducted by Indianapolis Sevika Team at Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, Indianapolis on 23rd January, 2010. Sheetal ji Vaidya successfully coordinated the SNY information and video activity. This helped the Sakhies who were new to Surya Namaskaras. Srimala ji Murthy demonstrated the Surya Namaskaras in very authentic way with all well pronounced Shlokas. Alka ji Kheradiya conducted the games. In her unique motivational tactics, she made the games more interesting.
The topic of an interactive Boudhik by Seema ji was “Need and ways to strengthen our community relations”. At the end, Haldi Kumkum was performed in a traditional way. Til Gul and Sangha Dainandini was distributed as Vaan.
14. '1st SANSKRIT POP SINGER': Chinese media is promoting its 1st Pop Singer who sings in Sanskrit. She is one of the singers being considered to sign at the inauguration of the World Expo in Shanghai, which is expected to draw the glitterati from the world of business next May.
This could be the reason why Sa Dingding, who won the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music in the Asia Pacific category in 2008, is suddenly being promoted by the provincial government of Tibet. The provincial government has indicated it wants to reshape her image and get her to focus on Sanskrit singing.
Sa, who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts run by the People's Liberation Army, sings in the language of Inner Mongolia, Tibet and in Sanskrit. Sa is not a Tibetan although she sings in Sanskrit and Tibetan and dresses in grandiose Tibetan clothing.
Sa also won praise from Grammy Award judge Eric T. Johnson. She is the first Chinese citizen to be invited for a tour of the United States by the Grammy organizing committee.
15. IGNOU IS WORLD’s LARGEST UNIVERSITY: UNESCO: Adding yet another plume to its cap of accolades gathered worldwide, the prestigious Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has now become the 'Largest University in the World' according to UNESCO.
Writing on its website -- -- UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said, ''Enrolments of nearly three million students and networks across the country, making the best use of Information Communication Technology (ICT), IGNOUs accomplishments are recognised worldwide.
''Nearly three million students across 34 countries study at IGNOU which is also Bharat’s National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning and a world leader in distance education. Through its 21 schools of study, 59 regional centres, 2,300 learner support centres and some 52 overseas centres, the university offers certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, comprising around 1,500 courses.
''It also provides access to sustainable and learner-centred education and training to all through quality, innovative and needs-based programmes at affordable costs, thus reaching out to the disadvantaged. ''It promotes, coordinates and regulates the standards of education offered through open and distance learning in Bharat,'' said Ms Bokova on website.
16. INDUCTION OF BRAHMOS WITH 'SURGICAL STRIKE' OPTION: Army is going in for a major induction of BrahMos Block-II land-attack cruise missiles (LACM), which have been designed as "precision strike weapons" capable of hitting small targets in cluttered urban environments.
Defence ministry will soon approach the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for green signal to arm the Army with two regiments of the BrahMos Block-II land-attack cruise missiles (LACM).
Swift induction of BrahMos Block-II is necessary because Pakistan Army is inducting its nuclear-capable Babur LACM, developed with China's help to have a 500-km strike range, in large numbers. BrahMos-II can potentially be used for “surgical strikes” at terror training camps across the border without causing collateral damage.
One regiment of the 290-km range BrahMos-I variant, which consists of 67 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12x12 Tatra vehicles and two mobile command posts, among other equipment, is already operational in the Army.
17. CHINA’S EXPANSIONIST POLICIES: While addressing a mammoth congregation in Raipur, on January 19 Shri Mohan Bhagwat, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarasanghachalak cautioned against the designs of China and the United States pointing out the communist nation’s expansionist policies in view of the recent developments and the latter's efforts to gain foothold in Kashmir which posed threat to the nation.
Chief Minister Raman Singh, speaker Dharamlal Kaushik, Ministers, MLAs, members of parliaments of BJP besides swayam sewaks from across the State and members of women wing of the sangh attended the programme.
18. GUJARAT, HIMACHAL FOR JOINT PROMOTION OF BUDDHISM: “Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat will start joint programmes to promote Buddhism as both the states have several Buddhist heritage sites” said Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on January 17 at the valedictory function of the three-day International Seminar on Buddhist Heritage, at M S University, Vadodara.
Through this partnership, the state might soon find a place in the Buddhist circuits of the country. In his inaugural speech Chief Minister Narendra Modi on January 15 had said that Gujarat was not included in the Buddhist circuits in Bharat.
19. LT-GEN V K SINGH IS NEXT ARMY CHIEF: Lt-Gen Vijay Kumar Singh, currently Eastern Army Command chief at Kolkata, will take over as the new Army chief from General Deepak Kapoor on March 31. Lt-Gen Singh’s appointment as the next chief has been a foregone conclusion for long since he will be the senior most Lt-Gen in the 1.13-million strong Army when Gen Kapoor retires.
20. BHARAT TO BE 3rd LARGEST ECO BY 2012: According to a report by global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Bharat could become the world’s third largest economy by purchasing power parity (PPP), overtaking Japan in 2012. This would be almost 20 years ahead of Goldman Sachs projection of 2032 in its BRIC (Brazil, Russia , India, China) report.
Bharat is also expected to grow faster than China after 2020. China, which was projected to become the worlds largest economy by 2041, now looks set to achieve the distinction sometime around 2020, the PwC report said.
21. COMMONWEALTH GAMES FEDERA-TION APOLOGISES FOR POSTING WRONG BHARAT MAP ON ITS WEBSITE: The initial map of Bharat on showed some areas of Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat as parts of Pakistan. The map on its countries page showed northern areas of J&K — Chilas, Gilgit and Skardu — as part of Pakistan. The Gilgit-Baltistan region is part of a disputed territory between Bharat and Pakistan. Similarly, it showed some parts of western Gujarat’s Kutch region as belonging to Pakistan.
The corrected version shows these areas in Bharatiya territory. The Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper said, “It was a mistake and we apologise for it.”
22. IMF RAISES BHARAT’S GROWTH PROJECTION TO 7.7% FOR 2010: The International Monetary Fund has raised Bharat’s growth projections to 7.7 per cent for 2010 against the backdrop of a stronger start to global recovery than anticipated earlier and relatively vigorous activity in the emerging economies. In an updated World Economic Outlook forecast, released on January 27, the IMF has revised the Bharatiya growth projection by 1.3 per cent from the made last October. It now estimates the country’s growth achievement during 2009 at 5.6 per cent.
23. JENNIFER ANISTON FEELS YOGA CHANGED HER LIFE COMPLETELY: Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston has revealed that yoga has ‘completely’ changed her life. Appearing in the introduction to her yoga instructor Mandy Ingber’s workout DVD ‘Yogalosophy’, Aniston, 40, said: “It is one of the most fun workouts I have ever had. So have fun and work hard because it will totally pay off”.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, extended invitation to Aniston to look into Hinduism also, which was the mother of yoga.
24. BHARATIYA REASTAURANT IN UK DECLARED HEALTHIEST: "Indali Lounge, London, is the healthiest curry house in the UK. They don''t use butter, cream or ghee and the naans are made with flour, oats and barley to maximise fibre and minimise starch. Meals are slow-cooked to retain nutrients," the food channel of BBC said about the eatery set up by a Bharatiya entrepreneur. “The upmarket cocktail bar atmosphere, with lilac flourishes and slick surfaces add a contemporary touch to this evolved British Bharatiya cooking," it added.
The restaurant is frequented by many celebrities like Bharat’s batting genius Sachin Tendulkar, veteran Hindi actor-director Dev Anand and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair.
25. VAZ APPOINTED TO UK’S TOP SECURITY PANEL: NRI parliamentarian Keith Vaz has been appointed to Britain’s National Security Committee, which is responsible for scrutinising counter terrorism policy and strategy in the country.
The Labour MP for Leicester East will be joined on the Committee by fellow Chairs of Select Committees, senior politicians and Lords. Vaz, who was appointed on January 15 said he was “delighted to have been appointed to the Committee”.
“Counter Terrorism is a crucial policy area for the UK. The Government and other agencies work constantly to prevent terrorist attacks from happening.
26. HOUSTON HAS A MAHATMA GANDHI DISTRICT: An ethnic conclave, Hillcroft in southwest Houston, US was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi district this month, fulfilling the seven-year long demand of over 100,000 strong Bharatiya-American population living in the Greater Houston area. City Mayor Annise Parker announced the change of name along with Consul General of Bharat in Houston, Sanjiv Arora.
It was a moment of joy for the Bharatiya-Americans in Houston as the change in name brings a feeling of recognition and they hope renaming the area would attract more tourists.
27. FOR GUEST APPEARANCES, MODI PILES UP RS 23 CRORE IN 5 YRS: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has been cashing in on his celebrity status, literally. Modi's office has collected Rs 23 crore in the past five years just from his public functions. A large chunk of these funds has been diverted to Kanya Kelavani Nidhi, created for educating the girl child in Gujarat. While a major part of the sum comes from donations, considerable amounts are also raised from auctioning gift articles which Modi has received. A part of the collections also goes to the CM's Relief Fund, which saw inflow to the tune of Rs 104 crore ever since Modi took over the reins.
28. NO MATCH TO NETAJI, SAYS SANGMA: Former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangama has said Bharat could not produce any leader after Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, who could match up to his stature and serve the nation like him. Sangama was speaking on the occasion of 4th Netaji Subash Memorial Lecture in Delhi.
Remembering Bose’s contribution to the freedom struggle, Sangma said the leader had a charismatic persona and in his 31 years experience as a Parliamentarian, he had not come across anyone with such conviction and appeal.
29. OPINION POLL: 71% AFGHANS FAVOUR BHARAT, 2% PAKISTAN: Reflecting tremendous goodwill of its soft power in Afghanistan, Bharat has been voted as the most favoured country, getting 71% votes in an opinion poll there while Pakistan was viewed favourably by a meagre 2% of the people.
The poll, commissioned by BBC, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and German Broadcasting company ARD, showed Bharat was way ahead of all other countries, including the US which is leading the war against terror there.
In the poll conducted between December 11 and 23 last year, Germany polled 59% and stood at second spot. The US came third with 51% polls, Iran followed with 50% votes and Britain got 39%.
Pakistan managed only two per cent votes, according to the survey conduced by Kabul-based Afghan Centre for Socio-Economic Opinion Research (ACSOR).
30. NATIONWIDE 'YOGATHON' LAUNCHED IN US: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh has launched a nationwide 'yogathon' which aims to create awareness about yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
During the two-week 'Health for Humanity Yogathon', from January 16 to 31, Hindu Swyamsevak Sangh USA encouraged its members and others at its 140 centres across the country to perform one million repetitions of 'Surya Namaskar'.
"Within first five hours on January 16th, 1194 participants performed 39,173 Surya Namaskars at 55 different places all across the United States." The HSS, based in New Jersey, said efforts in this regard have been recognised by a number of cities and organisations.
Mayor William McLeod of Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago, actively participated in the local workshop. The city of Decatur in Georgia declared January 17th as 'Yoga Day/Surya Namaskar Day, USA'.
Ramesh Bhutada, CEO of Starpipe Products in Houston, Texas encouraged his employees to participate in this Yogathon. Every day over 20 employees attended the Surya Namaskar session at the company's premises.
The organisation has been hosting this event every year since 2007.
The Yogathon has attracted attention of yoga community, civic leaders, and even elected officials across the country. Many have encouraged their fellow citizens to participate for a healthier lifestyle, it added.
31. DELHI DOCS REBUILD AFGHAN WOMAN'S 'MISSING' URETER: With one of her ureters 'missing', 37-year-old Victoria Khan of Afghanistan had been in severe pain till doctors at Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre performed a one-of-its-kind surgery lasting 11 hours. As a result of an injury during an operation in her country, Khan lost her right ureter — a 25-26cm tube connecting the kidney to urinary bladder. To fill this gap, doctors first lowered her right kidney by 15-17cm and then, in a first, created a 10cm ureter using a flap from her bladder.
Doctors faced a double challenge as Victoria was also found to have a stone in her left kidney even as her right kidney had no outlet. While the stone was removed through endoscopy to keep Khan's urinary system working, it was a task for doctors to connect the bladder with the right kidney that was leaking.
A team of four doctors decided to first relocate her kidney. The final step was to bridge the gap. Dr P P Singh, head, department of urology at Batra Hospital said, "To make a ureter about 10cm in length and 3mm wide, we took a piece from the bladder. This flap was used to form a tube which worked like a ureter." The idea worked.
Victoria recovered in less than three weeks and is now back at work in Afghanistan.
32. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shri Dineshmani Dubey from Thailand.
33. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Kumbha Mela -- Waters contain/ All disease-dispelling medicaments,/ Useful for the upkeep of our body,/ So that we may live long/ To enjoy the bright sun./ That there is ambrosia in waters,/ There is healing balm in them,/ And there are medicinal herbs,/ Know this all,/ And by their proper use become wiser. --Rig Veda 1.23
And then the Kumbh Mela arrived. It was a great moment for me. I have never tried to seek holiness or divinity as a pilgrim, but 1.7 million people cannot be hypocrites. --Mahatma Gandhi
Nothing more impressive, picturesque, and pregnant with meaning and significance than Kumbh Mela can be witnessed in all of India. -- Sidney J M Low

Kapil Dave
Not many people know about Gujarat's Buddhist heritage —not even Gujaratis. Few would know that Devni Mori village in Sabarkantha district, where Lord Buddha's 'asthi' was found during excavation, is one of only five places in the world such relics have been recovered. The Devni Mori relic is now kept at the museum of MS University's archaeology department in Vadodara.
It is to draw the world's attention to the state's Buddhist heritage that the Narendra Modi government recently organised an international conference at Vadodara, on Gujarat's Buddhist connection.
Myth has it that Lord Buddha had visited Gujarat but, based on archeological evidence, Buddhism's presence in the state can be traced back to the age of Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC.
As history books tell us, Emperor Ashoka had a change of heart when he saw the bloodshed and suffering caused by the Kalinga war. He renounced violence and became a Buddhist. It is mainly because of his efforts that Buddhism spread to all parts of Bharat and to China and the nations of the Far East. More than 12 Buddhist sites have been discovered in Gujarat but, except for the Ashokan rock edicts and some caves, the others are not so well known. The best known of
the Ashokan sites is the famous rock edict at Girnar in Junagadh.
Even after the decline of the Mauryan empire, Buddhism continued to flourish in Gujarat. It was alive and flourishing in the state during the reign of the western Kshatraps, and the Saka rulers of
western and central India. Evidence of its ontinued presence in Gujarat till the fourth century AD has been found at various places in the state. The Maitraka rulers, too, patronised Buddhism, along
with Hinduism and Jainism. Their rule lasted from 470 AD to 788 AD.
When the Chinese travellers, Hiuen-Tsang and I-Tsing, visited Gujarat during the age of the Maitrakas, they found thriving centres of Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism in the state.
In his account of his Bharat travels, Hieun-Tsang has described Vallabhi, the capital of the Maitraka rulers, as being the heart of a large, prosperous kingdom. He reports having seen 100 monasteries
with around 6,000 Buddhist monks living in them. He also writes about foreign students studying at the university in Vallabhi.
In the 7th century AD, the university at Vallabhi was one of the most important Buddhist universities in the world, comparable in renown to Nalanda's Buddhist university. Hieun-Tsang describes a lace in Kutch — believed to be modern Koteshwar — which had Buddhist viharas housing 5,000 devotees.
The long presence of Buddhism in Gujarat - from the third century BC to the eighth century AD — saw the construction of Buddhist monuments across the state. These include rock-cut caves, free-standing and rock-cut viharas, and stupas.
The stupas are hemispherical structures standing on raised platforms with a railing, carved pillars and an ambulatory passage for pradakshina.
The hemispherical dome represents the sacred axis linking heaven with earth, while the square platform, conical spire, the crescent moon and the disc represent cosmic elements with a symbolic significance. Brick stupas have also been found at Boria near Junagadh. --24 Jan DNA