Magh Krishna 8 Vik Samvat 2068, Yugabda 5113: January 16, 2012

1. FESTIVALS:  Vasant Ritu: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – P. B. Shelley. Spring season, the transition period between winter and summer, is the most favourite season in Bharat and starts on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Magha, known as Vasant Panchami,  falling on 28th January this year. Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life (both plant and animal) being born. Many flowering plants bloom this time of year, in a long succession sometimes beginning even if snow is still on the ground, continuing into early summer. The season is celebrated as a festival in different parts of the world in different ways.
2. BHARAT MY GRAND MOTHER-LAND: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO PM – “Trinidad is my motherland and Bharat the birthplace of my grandparents, is my ‘grand motherland’, said 68-year-old Kamla Persad Bissessar, the first woman Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya delegates in Jaipur on January 8.    
Starting her address with traditional Hindu greeting of “Sitaram”, she said when her forefathers like those of many of her countrymen left shores of East India, they did not carry with them either mobile phones or tweeters or facebook accounts, but only copies of holy Bhagvad Gita and Koran. The values they carried with them have stood with them through generations and this is why most of the people in her country still remain attached to the rich cultural heritage of their forefathers.
“More and more countries are becoming aware of the power of the diaspora to contribute not only for the socio-economic development in their homeland but also to shape and sustain positive images of the country of their origin,” she said.
On January 11, Smt Kamla Persad Bissessar, accompanied by husband Gregory Bissessar and other relatives who came from Port of Spain, visited her ancestral village Bhelupur in Bihar wherefrom her forefathers migrated to a far-off place, where she said that they were not educated people but they had vision for better life. “When they went, they had no gold, no diamond, no traveller cheque and they had no facility of cell phone, Internet, Blackberry and Facebook. What they took with them was Ramayan, Gita and Koran and the lifestyle, tradition, values from this land,” she said as audience clapped and cheered.
Kamla had a message for the villagers. “Education is the only way to get rid of poverty. … Get your daughters educated. For future generations, do what my ancestors did: give education to children.”  
3. SURYA NAMASKAR BY 50 LAKH STUDENTS: 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand on January 12 was celebrated with the offering of Surya Namaskar by 50 lakh students across Madhya Pradesh with state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan leading from the front. "Surya Namaskar is not associated with any particular religion. It is a yogic exercise having a unique coordination of mind and body aimed at keeping a person perfectly alright." Chouhan told reporters after the exercise. Large number of students took part in the sun salutation exercise in the entire state with ministers leading it at divisional and district headquarters. Sheikh Bilal, a student of class X, got up at 6 in the morning, facing chilly wind at 7 degree Celsius, to reach his school at 8am. He reached Government Naveen Higher Secondary School to be a part of the world record feat. At the venue, where chief minister performed, number of muslim students were also seen participating in the Surya Namaskar, defying the fatwa issued by the clergy a day ago. Taufeeq of class VIII said that his parents had no objection on his doing yoga or surya namaskar, which was a good exercise for his body. The department embarked upon a novel idea to organise the Surya Namaskar at the same time across the state. To achieve the goal a Surya Namaskar programme was aired live on Akashvani. The students and other participants in various districts, blocks and villages in the state listened to the Yoga instructions through radio to perform Surya Namaskar.
4. HEALTH FOR HUMANITY YOGATHON COMMENCED WITH NATIONWIDE WAVE OF SUN SALUATION: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA volunteers and fitness enthusiasts from all across the nation began the 6th  year of annual “Health for Humanity Yogathon” or "Surya Namaskar Yajna (SNY)" by offering 69190 Surya Namaskars in 88 different places from 27 states.  In a nationwide wave or lehar, 1984 participants performed total 5322 sets of Surya Namaskar (13 Surya Namaskars per set). This fifteen day Yogathon that began on January 14, 2012 will continue till January 29, 2012.  All participants and beneficiaries of this unique event will continue exercise practice sun salutation yoga individually at home or collectively at community centers or other public gathering places all across the United States.
Hon. Congressman Frank Wolf from 10th District of Virginia commended HSS for promoting healthy activities such as Yoga. Hon Mayors Town of Morrisville, NC and that  of City of San Antonio, TX also appreciated the Yogathon by proclaiming in their respective town and City. Many more public events in schools, Universities and other locations are planned at various locations. This program is open to people of all ages, gender, and races.  Details of this event, training resources, and advertising aids are available on the official HSS SNY website:
5. 15TH WORLD SANSKRIT CONFERENCE: “Sanskrit is the soul of India. It is indeed much more than a language, a complete knowledge system. It represents a culture that is not narrow and sectarian but open, tolerant and all-embracing,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said inaugurating the 15th World Sanskrit Conference in New Delhi on January 5. Chirapat Prapandvidya, 70 an Assistant Professor and Adviser to the Sanskrit Studies Centre at Silpakorn University, Bangkok was conferred the title of “Vachaspati” (D Lit) at the end of the five-day conference. Prapandvidya discovered that he must study Sanskrit first) but it has endured the test of time and has made him write his finest works - Thai translations of Sanskrit texts like Kalidasa’s Meghdootam, part of Budhacharita and precious inscriptions of Bharat , Cambodia and Thailand.
6. HUMBLE TULSI A ‘POTENT SHIELD’ AGAINST RADIATIONS: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has applied for patent of the new formulation of tulsi, a traditional Bharatiya cure for common cold and cough. The DRDO is believed to be the first research organisation in the world to have come up with a herbal alternative to fight ill-effects of radiations.
“We are working on that property of the plant to develop medicine to protect against radiation poisoning. Herbal radio protectors such as tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum or basil) will have an advantage over chemical compounds, because these would have lesser side effects. Besides the widely available tulsi, podophyllum hexandrum (Himalayan may apple) and sea buckthorn hold similar properties,” Chief Controller of Research and Development at DRDO Dr W Selvamurthy said.
7. US SHOULD CLEAR STAND ON PAK-SPONSORED TERRORISM- MODI: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on January 13 told the US Republican Party delegation that their country should make its policy clear on Pakistan- sponsored terrorism against Bharat.
A seven-member delegation of the Republican Party of the US, led by Paula Dobriansky, also discussed the issue of Indo-US relationship and that between Gujarat and China.
"Indo-US relations have been cordial. But since both-- India and the USA have been victims of terrorism and India faces it from across the Pakistan border, the latter (the US) should clear its stand on the issue," Modi told. "India is not expecting the USA to publicly condemn Pakistan-sponsored terrorism towards India, but can change its attitude towards the problem," Modi said.
8. SEVA BHARATI SPREADS WINGS IN J & K: The entire life of this region has scattered due to to strange geographical, political and social set up. Because of the immense cold and snowfall, maximum number of people from Kashmir and Laddakh come to Jammu and stay for over half a year. Terrorism has forced Hindus to take shelter at the rehabilitation camps located in Jammu and other lower regions. The plight of terror-hit brethren is very grave. The paucity of infrastructure and other facilities has added fuel to the fire.
Due to the lack of schools and colleges in appropriate number, percentage of illiteracy is more in this state. A single school serves the educational need of students from a number of villages. Moreover, being a mountainous region, students have to cross several hurdles for reaching the school. This causes spurt in dropout rate and the children engage themselves in traditional business. Not much avenues are available for higher education; hence those who want to study further have to migrate.
Same is the plight of health sector also. Government hospitals, private hospitals and doctors are constrained only up to cities and towns. Villages located in the far-flung regions lack good doctors and hospitals. Sub-standard and even bogus doctors have polluted the rural health of J & K. Terrorism has endangered the security of common man. Lack of social harmony and mutual co-operation is a common scenario. Ethical values are being eroded. People are moving away from their glorious culture. Cultural and social life of J & K people is getting swept away in the wave of terrorism. Seva Bharati work started in Jammu in mid 80s when terrorism was at its peak. Seva Bharati carved a niche in the hearts of people through its various social and health related works. Its Seva Kunj office comprises of computer training centre, tailoring training centre and a library. Also, due to the various projects such as Ved Mandir Pathshala, Bharatiya Vidya Mandir School, Swami Vivekanad Medical Mission Hospital, Vedadhyayan Kendra, etc, the entire surrounding atmosphere has filled with an aroma of seva.
Total 417 Seva Bharati projects are being run in Jammu at present. Out of these, a maximum number of 313 projects are education-related. Out of the 313 educational projects, 298 projects are related to primary education and vocational training is provided at 15 centres. Educational centres comprise of bal sanskar kendras, adult education classes, ekal vidyalayas, hostels, libraries, computer and tailoring training centres, etc.
Health projects comprise of activities such as organizing health check-up camps, running dispensaries, neurotherapy centres, creating awareness about AIDS, looking after the patients at government hospitals, ambulance, blood donation camps, etc.
Seva Bharati work is progressing in multiple directions because of the physical, moral and economic support from various organizations and kind-hearted donors from the society.
9. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HINDUISM: India Heritage Research Foundation, involving some 2,000 scholars based all over the world, has brought out an 11-volume, 7,086 page ‘Encyclopedia of Hinduism. “Hinduism isn’t a religion, it’s a powerful intellectual system. It is a kind of manual for living based on ethical materialism. It is also deeply and widely interpretative. Like nuclear science, Hinduism is essentially a system of knowledge and this encyclopedia attempts to explain various elements for both the scholar as well as the student of ideas,” said Kapil Kapoor, former  Jawaharlal Nehru University professor, the editor-in-chief. A separate team was hired and it worked from 2008 to 2011 under the editorship of, collating, editing and proof-reading each entry.
There are many reference books that deal in a scholarly, non-religious manner on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. This ‘Encyclopedia of Hinduism’ fills a gap that was there for readers in English who wish to pursue knowing about one of the most prevalent thought and social systems. The encyclopedia has been published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi and its 11 volumes are priced at Rs 21000.

10. SIKHS WIN TURBAN CASE AGAINST FRANCE AT UN: The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has concluded that France had violated the religious freedom of 76 year old Ranjit Singh when he was asked to remove his turban for his ID photograph. The UNITED SIKHS had filed a communication on behalf of Ranjit Singh to the UNHRC in December 2008. United Sikh is a UN-affiliated international NGO that works for humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organisation, aimed at empowering those in need and Sikh community across the world.
The UNHRC observed that "even if the obligation to remove the turban for the identity photograph might be described as a one-time requirement, it would potentially interfere with the freedom of religion of Ranjit Singh on a continuing basis because he would always appear without his religious head covering in the identity photograph and could therefore be compelled to remove his turban during identity checks."
11. DRDO BUILDS DEFENCE AGAINST DIRTY BOMBS: An overt nuclear war may be a remote possibility but the threat of non-state actors unleashing "dirty" nuclear bombs, biological or chemical agents to wreak havoc remains a clear and present danger.
Keeping in mind the seriousness of the threat, Bharatiya armed forces have inducted NBC defence equipment worth Rs 1,200 crore and another Rs 1,200 crore is in the pipeline. These range from nerve agent detectors, dosimeters, portable gas chromatographs, autoject injectors and first-aid kits to NBC integrated field shelters, respiratory masks and suits, roentgenometers, NBC reconnaissance vehicles and decontamination systems.
Armed with a fresh "detailed'' NBC threat analysis, DRDO estimates military as well as civilian forces in Bharat  will need to induct NBC defence equipment worth around Rs 10,000 crore over the next 5 years.
"Today, 85% of NBC defence inventory held by armed forces has been developed by DRDO, and produced by defence PSUs and around 60 private companies," said DRDO chief controller Dr W Selvamurthy.
12. SERVING THE SICK: Mumbai with its large hospitals like Tata Memorial and KEM (King Edward Memorial) providing affordable treatment for critical diseases like cancer, attracts thousands of patients from all over the country. However, accommodation for the duration of hospitalisation for patients and the accompanying family members has been a major problem. Nana Palkar Smruti Samiti (NPSS), founded in 1968, sought to bridge this gap. It provides free accommodation and food to the patients and their two attendees as well as transportation to hospitals.
NPSS was founded in the memory of late Nanasaheb Palkar, writer, orator and a well-known pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who was also a social crusader with keen interest in patient-care. NPSS started with one room in Parel (mid-town Mumbai). The services of the organisation gained popularity by word of mouth and more patients started seeking the help of NPSS. So, a plot of land was granted by the then municipal commissioner.
In 1997, NPSS got approval to build a 10-storey structure. The building is known as Rugna Seva Sadan. It can accommodate 76 patients and 152 accompanying attendees. At times, there are patients who can afford nominal fees. For them, NPSS charges Rs50 per day for monthly accommodation and Rs25 per meal. “With the help of donations from the public, we strive to give accommodation and other facilities to people who are poor and traumatised by the illness,” says AM Joshi, former secretary and trustee of NPSS.
Patients are given the facilities on obtaining a certificate either from a member of the RSS or the medical social worker of the hospital from where the patient has been referred. The organisation provides free ambulance service to the patients to take them to hospitals like Tata Memorial, KEM and Sion Hospital and charges Rs5 each to the patient’s attendees.
In 2004, NPSS started a dialysis centre with a nominal charge of Rs350. It has 12 haemodialysis machines treating 36 patients a day. Additionally, it also runs a low-cost pathological laboratory and provides free medicine and counselling to TB (tuberculosis) patients, among others. These services are free for poor patients; for others, a nominal fee is charged. NPSS has lithotripsy centres in Matunga (Mumbai) and Aurangabad (Maharashtra), providing treatment at Rs3,500. NPSS gives financial assistance to poor patients undergoing treatment; for this, its monthly budget is Rs1.5 lakh.
NPSS provides and arranges for blood donor registry and blood donation camps every year for major hospitals. It also has a branch in Borivali, where doctors provide medical care at a nominal rate. It hires out equipment like walkers, wheelchairs and water beds on low rent. Please see for more info.
13. MAKAR  SANKRANTI CELEBRATION BY  HSS – NAIROBI: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nairobi nagar celebrated Makar Sankranti Utsav on Sunday, January 15 2012 at Deendayal Bhavan.The Chief guest was Hindu Council of Kenya, National Chairman, Shri Vanrajbhai Sarvaiya. A total gathering of 165 people attended, with 130 in Poorna Ganavesh (Sakha members).Ten committee members of Hindu
Council of Kenya also attended the event as invited guests.
Shri Vanrajbhai Sarvaiya, gave a talk about the relevance of Makar Sankranti in individual spirituality and harmony of Hindus as a Samaj
(community). He emphasised on the importance of Hindu unity and recognition by the Kenya Government of Hindu social and developmental
efforts. He said that being a swayamsevak (selfless volunteer) and attending shakha is what has disciplined him in virtues with which he has been able to perform as the National Chairman of Hindu Council of Kenya. Shri Ramchandraji Pande, HSS Pracharak also spoke at the occasion.
14. TN SWAYAMSEVAKS MATCHED SPEED OF THE ‘THANE’ STORM : Gusty winds and torrential rains of Cyclone ‘Thane’ hit the coastal areas of Chennai, Cuddalore and Puducherry (UT). Several trees, street lamp posts and electric poles were uprooted causing extensive damage to the road and electrical network. The Prathamic Shiksha Varga of Puducherry Vibhag was concluded on December 30, one day in advance in order to carry out the relief work.
Rescue services faced difficulty in reaching the affected areas due to damaged roads.  Swayamsevaks cleared the uprooted trees and electric poles which helped the line men to attend and restore electricity immediately in some parts of Puducherry town.  Mosquito coil, match boxes, candles, bread packets, water packets were distributed to 600 houses at five places of Puducherry town and to 1000 houses of the villages surrounding Villiyanur, Thirukannur, Kalapattu Panchayats of Puducherry.
In Cuddalore district, 3 kgs of rice were distributed along with candles, match boxes, mosquito coils etc. to 1200 houses of Vandipalayam and Pudupallayam villages.
In North Chennai, food packets were distributed to 5 most affected fishing hamlets for 100 persons in each hamlet for two days. The Swayamsevaks who undertook this quick relief work were in fact undergoing training in a seven day camp of RSS. They attached greater importance to serve the needy and therefore were at the doors of the storm hit.
15. ABVP 57th NATIONAL CONFERENCE: “It has been more than six decades since independence yet constitutional rights have not reached the masses. The dream of Ram Rajya cannot come true unless economical, political and social rights are granted to the citizens in proportionate way. To embark on this journey for the fulfillment of Ram Rajya we need to reinvent the philosophy of the Bhagwat Gita and Gandhiji.” These were the energetic lines of former chief justice of Bharat Shri R. C. Lahoti on the eve of the inaugural session of 57th  National Conference of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad at Talkatora Indoor stadium, New Delhi on January 4th.
He expressed distress over the existing predicament and travails of the innocent people whose life has become pathetic and miserable due to highly political motive and lost morality.
Smt. Manan Chaturvedi, who received Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar Yuva award,  asserted that for the establishment of an empowered society, woman’s power has to shoulder the responsibility of the next generation for a well cultured and developed outfits.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were Dattatreya Hosbale, Suresh Soni, Ravishankar Prasad,  Sunil Ambekar, Prof. Milind Marathe.     
16. FIRST HINDU CHAPLAIN IN US MILITARY: Returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan often struggle with readjusting to civilian life, health issues, and guilt. Until recently, the 1,000 or so Hindus serving in the US military - and their families - lacked a military confidant who understood their religion and culture. But now Captain Pratima Dharm has been appointed as the US military's first Hindu chaplain. She says her position is significant not just to her military congregation, but also to the religion's one billion.
17.  VISUALLY CHALLENGED WILL NOW GET A PEEK INTO THE RAMAYANA, thanks to a 17-years old student who has made the epic available in Braille. Pranav Raghav Sood, a grade XI Bangalore student, chose the great epic as it was not available to the visually challenged. After encouragement from his family, this young boy took 120 days to type out C Rajagopalachari's Ramayana in English in MS Word format. Any text in this format can be directly programmed into Braille and this does not require any further editing.
18. BHARAT TO COMPLETE YEAR WITHOUT NEW POLIO CASES; On January 13, Bharat  will reach a major milestone in the battle against polio as it will mark a year without a fresh case of polio in the country. Once all samples collected till January 12 have been cleared, Bharat will be off the World Health Organisation’s list of polio-endemic countries, to be released on February 12.
To be “polio free”, Bharat will need to keep this performance up for two more years, and ensure that all samples stored in laboratories are free of the virus — this, officials said, was the bigger challenge. The last polio case reported in Bharat was that of a two-year-old in West Bengal on January 13, 2011. The two “hotbeds” of the disease, western Uttar Pradesh and central Bihar, have been polio free for close to two years now.
“We are very happy but the goals get steeper. The pulse polio drive has taken off well, even Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are reporting a coverage of 99 per cent or more. Internationally we are being lauded because even in Washington, 6 per cent of children are not immunised. WHO wants us to guide other endemic countries,” said Anuradha Gupta, joint secretary in charge of reproductive and child health.
19. BRITISH PHARMA COMPANY'S BID TO PATENT GINGER FOILED: Bharat has foiled an attempt by a British pharmaceutical company to claim a patent on using ginger for the treatment of cold.
While Bharatiyas  have been gulping down 'adrak chai' for generations as a home remedy, Nicholas John Larkins, London, filed a patent application (GB2436063) titled "Pharmaceutical composition for the treatment of excess mucous production" on March 16, 2006 at the British patent office. The firm claimed a "unique finding" in the use of ginger ( Zingiber officinale) and kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa) for the treatment of cough and lung diseases.
"Within two weeks of India providing evidence, the attempt to pirate India's traditional medicinal knowledge was struck down by the UK patent office in 2011," a health ministry official said.
20. YUVA-2012 AT PANTNAGAR, organized by Vivekananda Swadhyay Mandal (an initiative by alumni of Pantnagar University in Uttarakhand) was formally inaugurated on the 149th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The chief guest, Shri Pranav Pandya ji, Vice- chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalay inaugurated the 4 – day International Youth Conference with a theme ‘Youth for Inetgral Humanism’ by deep prajvalan. Other honorable dignitaries included Nivedita ji, Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, , Dattatreya Hosabale, a renowned social activist, Shri Jagdish Upasane, senior editor, India today (Hindi) and other eminent scholars and well wishers.
Shri Dattatreya expressed his thoughts by acknowledging the Vedas and the ancient culture of this vast country, where the greatest saint of
all times have lived. Sri Pranav Pandya ji said that it is only through sheer perseverance and constant struggle that one achieves a mammoth will power which moves the entire universe.  
21. KALAM FORMULA: SMILING MOMS KEEP NATION HAPPY: "If my mother is happy, my home is happy. If my home is happy, society is happy. If society is happy, my nation is happy." Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam imparted these words of wisdom to an audience made up of students from over 120 schools from across New Delhi at a function organised by the Times of India's Student Edition in association with What Can I Give ( WCIG), an initiative started by Kalam on Jan 17.
 “There are many dimensions to make our mother smile which is based on one's own interest...  There are four rules to succeed in life -- aim high, continuously acquire knowledge, hard work and perseverance," he said.
The session also saw a question-answer round where the students bombarded Dr Kalam with questions like, why is Bharat so weak when it comes to mathematical aptitude. How can creativity make my mother smile? How can I make my mother smile?"This aim can be achieved if you see five people who cannot read and write and teach at least one to do so," said Kalam.
22. CAN PUJAS BE ALLOWED IN GOVT OFFICES? WHY NOT, ASKS HC: Is  Ayudha Puja or Saraswathi Puja in government offices a non-secular activity deserving to be banned? 'No', rules the Madras high court.
"Showing respect to the place of work and the objects of work will in no way offend the feelings of others or affect secularism. Ayudha Puja is referable to prayer, reverence or respect given to objects through which an individual performs his profession or occupation. Ayudha Puja in its real terms transcends all religion," a division bench of Justice R Sudhakar and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan of the Madras HC has said. Dismissing a public interest writ petition the bench said an individual showing respect to his occupational tools cannot be said to offend the secular nature of the state.
23. DATTOPANT THENGADI CHOWK IN MUMBAI: A crossing at Mulund (West) in Mumbai was named after Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh founder,  late Dattopant Thengadi recently at the hands of BJP leader Ravindra Bhusari. The crossing was named due to the efforts of corporator Shri Vishwanath. A proposal to this effect was placed before the BMC in 2005 and it could be materialised only in 2011.
24. MN SUKUMARAN NAMBIAR PASSES AWAY: MN Sukumaran Nambiar, son of the late legendary actor MN Nambiar, passed away in Chennai on January 8 following heart attack. He was 60. He joined the BJP in 1991 and held key positions including the post of Treasurer. He also served on the Ayyappa Sewa Samajam and  Dharma Rakshana Samiti. Promonent political leaders including BJP president Shri Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Jaylalita expressed grief at his sudden demise.
25. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Visitors: Ma.Vedji Nanda, Shridhar Damle-USA; Arjunlal Sharma, Ravi Solanki – UK, Shriniwas Kale – Caribbean.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: His preeminent characteristic was kingliness. He was a born king and nobody ever came near him either in India or America without paying homage to his majesty. – Romain Rolland on Swami Vivekananda  

A catalyst for modernity
The manner in which our languages are losing their cultural contexts and gibberish (kolaveri di) is replacing literary merit of poetry, at least in terms of popularity, it may seem that Sanskrit and sanskriti (culture) are both obsolete, quaint and out of context. But, since the rest of the world has begun to chant the Vedic hymns and is looking up to Sanskrit to offer panacea for global issues, we are forced to take note of it, despite our fixation with everything English. Considering that we have a tendency to politicise and communalise our languages — we did it to Urdu and killed a language system of great finesse — some efforts were made to communalise Sanskrit too by some militant secularists who filed a petition against the teaching of Sanskrit in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on grounds that it was against secularism. The apex court refuted the absurd proposition in 1994 to save the language from its further communalisation.
Yet, merely introducing a language, as rich as Sanskrit, at school level in a three language formula is not enough to explore its linguistic richness. Nor is it enough to run degree courses in the universities, because of the ‘scoring’ advantage of the subject. Compared to the gains reaped by Germany and the USA, by their research and scholarly studies conducted on the vast reservoir available in Sanskrit, in India we are still stuck at our Akashvani broadcast in Sanskrit, which is highly Hindi-ised, according to foreign scholars of Sanskrit. The advantage of this reservoir of knowledge — may it be Panini’s treatise, Sanskrit dramas, Vedas, Vedangas, epics, kavya ( poetry), science, philosophy, aesthetics, medicine, Kautilya’s Arthashastra — the treasury is lost to us in the absence of serious conviction and research. The timeless wisdom contained in the language needs more than rhetoric and symbolic seminars. It needs to attract the best talent available in linguistics to help it enrich other streams of knowledge by its reservoir.
Despite leaders like B R Ambedkar and Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, who supported the cause of Sanskrit, it is due to our colonial mindset that the language still gets identified with pundits and Hindu rituals. While our Sanskrit scholars deliver speeches in English, the foreign scholars of Sanskrit compose songs in this heritage language, thereby lending it a modern appeal. (Editorial, Tribune 11 January 2012 )

Good relations with Israel are in India’s interest
More than a decade after Mr Jaswant Singh became the first Minister for External Affairs to visit Israel, incumbent SM Krishna’s three-day visit to that country from January 8 to 10 marks a welcome surge in India’s relations with Israel. Even though formal diplomatic relations with Israel were established in 1992, the Jewish nation has since then emerged as one of our most reliable allies. Both countries have a shared experience of hostile neighbours and remain deeply affected by the scourge of terrorism. The brutal terrorist attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, is perhaps the most poignant example of the grave challenges jointly faced by both countries; much like the tremendous Israeli support that poured forth in the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage served as a powerful reiteration of the strength of our bilateral ties. Against this backdrop, it is no wonder then that India and Israel are already committed to and actively engaged in strategic cooperation on defence, security and related areas. Although details remain hazy for obvious reasons, since 2007 Israel has been this country’s second largest supplier of defence and security hardware after Russia. Moreover, bilateral trade has also grown significantly from a mere $200 million, diamond-centric transactions in 1992 to a far more diversified business worth $5 billion last year. The numbers are expected to increase dramatically once the Free Trade Agreement, which is already in the pipeline, is inked.
However, to fully enjoy the vast potential of a strong bilateral relationship with Jerusalem, New Delhi must be more understanding of Israel’s concerns. The varying positions of the two countries towards Iran and Palestine, particularly, have to be finely balanced so that they don’t lead to needless misunderstandings. On several issues, differences can be narrowed to a large extent. For instance, Israel has genuine reasons to be concerned about Iran’s bomb-in-the-basement nuclear programme. India, too, believes that a nuclear Iran is not in its national interest. Yet, for reasons related to India’s energy needs, New Delhi cannot afford to strike out blindly or in rage; it has to calibrate its response. Israel should understand India’s compulsions. Similarly,  India must appreciate Israel’s compulsions when it comes to dealing with the Palestinian issue. From New Delhi what appears to be a problem with a simple solution is in reality a problem that defies a solution, no matter how flexible Jerusalem may want to be. Both India and Israel must realise that friendship between nations is not without differences. In pursuit of good relations, countries focus on areas of mutual interest and not on differences. Twenty years after India corrected a historic wrong; it should make every effort to take its friendly relations with Israel to a new level of cooperation. (Editorial, Pioneer 11 January 2012)

Paush Shukla 8 Vik Samvat 2068, Yugabda 5113: January 1, 2012

1. FESTIVALS:  Makar Sankranti, the holy day when the Sun enters the sign of Makara or Capricorn, falls normally on January 14. This most auspicious festival of the Hindus is celebrated in various parts of the country in different ways. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, it is referred Uttararayan while in Northern part of the country it is known as Sankranti, in Tamil Nadu it is known as Pongal. Apart from Bharat it is also celebrated in Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand and all other countries where Hindus have a sizable presence.
The birth of Swami Vivekanand on the Sankranti day is an inspiring indication of the passing of the long night of self-oblivion and birth of an effulgent era of Hinduism. The festival is also the last of six festivals celebrated by HSS and RSS at their shakhas. The closing of the function on this occasion is sweetened by the distribution of til-gul to the participants.
2. RUSSIAN COURT REFUSES TO BAN BHAGVAD GITA: A Russian court on December 28 rejected a petition, described by Bharat as "patently absurd", which had sought a ban on a translated version of Bhagvad Gita, bringing cheers to followers in Bharat as well as those across the world. Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk had argued that the Russian translation of "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" promotes "social discord" and hatred towards non-believers. The text is a combination of the Bhagvad Gita, one of Hinduism's holiest scriptures, and commentary by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON. The prosecutors had asked the court to include the book on the Russian Federal List of Extremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts including Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and books distributed by the Jehovah's Witness and Scientology movements. The judge, after reviewing the petition from the state prosecutors and the responses against it, dismissed the plea.
3. FDI IN RETAIL UNACCEPTABLE- SARSANGHACHALAK: "Our retail sector provides employment to crores of people and it is not strong enough to even compete with the Bharatiya corporates like Reliance and Tata. Then, how can we expect it to face the economic might of multinational retailers like Walmart? Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi brand retail at the cost of our own people cannot be accepted at all. “ said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, addressing a gathering of professors and lecturers in New Delhi on December 19. The topic of lecture was ‘Global Scenario, RSS, Bharat & We’. Uttar Kshetra Sanghachalak Dr Bajranglal Gupt, Delhi Prant Sanghachalak Shri Kulbhushan Ahuja and Sah Prant Sanghachalak Dr SS Agrawal also shared the dais. Hundreds of lecturers and professors including the Mayor of Delhi Prof Rajni Abbi, participated in the function.
In his speech Shri Bhagwat touched many current issues and said the root cause of majority of the problems in the world today is selfishness and greed of the man. About the Communal Violence Bill, Shri Bhagwat said Bharat has provided shelter to all those who were tortured or humiliated in any part of the world. Answering a query regarding the reconstruction of Sri Ram temple in Ayodhya, Shri Bhagwat said it would not take more than two years for building the temple if the land is provided to Hindus now. He said Bharat has to play a vital role in the global scenario and we should make ourselves ready to bear this responsibility. Quoting Rabindranath Tagore who described Hindutva as a binding force, Shri Bhagwat stressed the need to create leaders with high character like Anna Hazare and Dr Abdul Kalam even up to the village level.
4. RIG VEDA TO PARTICLE PHYSICS by G. S. Mudur: Physicist Vivek Sharma who was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and now leads an international group hunting for the Higgs boson sees the search as an attempt to seek out answers to questions posed in the Rig Veda.
Sharma, who went to a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Pune and pursued master's in physics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, says he was drawn to experimental particle physics after learning Rig Veda hymns from his mother, a Sanskrit scholar. The ancient text has a hymn on creation that speculates on the origin of the universe and describes a period when "all that existed was void and formless".
"It was a shock, it left an impression in my mind. Thousands of years ago people were contemplating our origins," said Sharma, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and head of a Higgs search team at CERN, the European research laboratory.
He was still a high school student but began thinking how modern technology might be used to probe creation. The Higgs boson, the subatomic particle that Sharma and his colleagues are looking for, was predicted in the 1960s to explain the origin of mass. A discovery of the Higgs boson is important for physicists because it is the last missing, or unseen, piece of a bedrock theory of physics called the Standard Model that explains all the forces and particles in nature except gravity.
Sharma moved to the US in 1984, treating higher studies in the US as a route to plunge intoexperimental physics requiring expensive machines ' particle accelerators ' but spent five years at CERN in the early 1990s where he discovered two new subatomic particles, including a cousin of the proton, but five times heavier.
His enthusiasm for experimental physics emerges in his talks ' whether delivered to fellow-physicists or aspiring students. It also appears to temper any emotions that might spring each time particle detectors at CERN spot signals resembling traces of the Higgs boson.
"Experiments will ultimately tell us what is right and what is wrong," he said. In the coming months, Sharma and his colleagues will refine their analyses and combine the data from the two main particle detectors looking for the Higgs boson.
"Our curiosity about our origins doesn't change anybody's life, but there is a satisfaction from understanding such things," Sharma said in a telephone interview ahead of the CERN seminar where scientists presented their latest results from the Higgs search.
"But when we build machines like the Large Hadron Collider (the particle accelerator at CERN where proton-proton collisions are used to search for the Higgs boson), it requires us to invent new technologies that can change people's lives," he said.
The World Wide Web was created at CERN to help physicists move data around between different computers in a seamless fashion. "It's a great example of how something that is good for physicists turned out to be fantastic for the public," Sharma said.
New technologies and ideas that are born in experimental physics laboratories may have implications in information technology and medicine. "Our goals are esoteric, but what sometimes comes out benefits the public," he said.
Sharma, whose routine in recent years has been eight weeks at CERN and 10 to 15 days with his wife and 7-year-old daughter in San Diego, is also keen on drawing more students to physics.
His homepage has a link to a talk he once delivered to prospective students and their parents. "The popular belief that physicists do not make much money is totally false," the link says. "Physics majors make more money than chemistry or bio majors." ( – Wed, Dec 14, 2011)
5. SSV-2011 OF HSS MAURITIUS: Hindu Swyamsevak Sangh Mauritius, successfully conducted ‘Sangh Shiksha Varga – 2011’ (Sat. 26 Nov. to Sun. 3 Dec. 2011) at D.A.V. College Morceliment Saint Andre. There were 52 Swyamsevaks, 42 Sevikas along with 9 Shikshaks from 25 places.
The shareerik was daily three  and half hours different physical training which included dand, niyuddha, yogasana, padavinyaas, Various Shakha Khel, Yogachap, Samata, Achaar Paddati and Vyayamyog.
Apart from daily charcha & Baudhik Sessions there were special sessions for Management Skill Games, Business Skill Games, Quiz Competition on Ramayana, Traditional Ramayana chanting programme, Treasure Hunt etc.
A sanchalan was held with Ghosh for all Shiksharthis in nearby town “Triolet”. Samarop Programme was held on Sat. 3 Dec 2011 and around 200 parents were present from the beginning.
6. SIXTH ALL BHARAT KHELKOOD COMPETITION COMMENCES IN PUNE: Sixth Khel Kood competition organised by All Bharat Vanavasi Kalyan Aashram was inaugreted by Rashtiya SwayamSevek Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak Dr. Mohan Bhagavat on Dec 29 in Pune Maharashtra. Talking about need to incorporate Vanvasis in main stream society Dr. Bhagwat said, “Vanvasi people are not lacking in their capability but they should be recognised in society. It is important.”
2000 players from 32 states of the country and Nepal have participated in this 4 –day competition. Players will explore their talent in football, Kho-Kho, Kabbadi, atheletics, shooting and marathon.
All Bharat level sports event,"Akhil Bhartiya Khelkhud spardha" is organised every 4 years. The main aim of Khelkhud competition is to give sports exposure to all vanvasi youth.
Sports Authority of India is in close contact with these competitions and supports the best talents for excellent performance. Bharat’s long distance runner Kavita Raut and archer Limba Ram are the few names who got in national and international sports through Khelkhud competition.
7. ROLL BACK COMMUNAL ORDER, DEBAR CONGRESS(INC), SAYS VHP: A High level delegation of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)  comprising the Int'l Vice President shri Om Prakash Singhal, the newly elected international Secretary General  Champat Rai met the chief Election Commissioner of Bharat ia on Dec 29 demanding withdrawal of order issued by the under secretary to the Govt. of Bharat regarding sub-quota for minority communities just before the date of declaration of election in the five prominent states of the country. VHP also demanded a ban on fighting election by the Indian National Congress (INC) in the polls to come.
In its memorandum VHP said that the religion-based reservation is not only prohibited by Articles 15(1) and 16(2) of the constitution and violative of articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the same too but also divide the country.
8. HSS NEW YORK SAKHI SAMELAN: HSS, Shivaji shakha, Westchester NY conducted “Sakhi Samelan” on the 4th of December wherein nearly 30 sevikas from NY vibhag got together. It was fun filled day learning, playing and knowing each other. Yoga, rapid games, Balagokulam Radio commercial game, shakha geet ‘Charaiveti Charaiveti’, and a bauddhik on motives behind having HSS and RSS by NY Vibhag Karyavah Rudra Upadhyaya were highlights of the sammelan. The granddaughter of Mausiji (Dr. Sanjivani Bakhare) shared with the participants her childhood experiences with Mausiji; the importance Mausji laid on educating women and making them self-independent.
9. HUM HINDUSTANI-KASHMIR HINDUSTAN KA: “Scrap Article 370, ensure employment to Kashmiri youth, retrieve areas forcefully occupied by Pakistan and China in Kashmir”. These are not the demands voiced by some hardcore Hindu organization or leaders. They were raised publically by the Muslims of Bharat including J& K on December 18, 2011 at Jantar-Mantar in New Delhi.
The occasion was culmination of “Hum Hindustani-Kashmir Hindustan Ka”, a unique campaign launched some three months ago by Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an organization of nationalist Muslims of India. During the 3 - month campaign the MRM activists conducted prayers in mosques, convened seminars and meetings all over the country. It concluded on Dec 18 when nearly 10,000 Muslims from 23 states and 175 districts of Bharat participated braving the chilling cold and dense fog to raise these demands.
They came from all directions carrying the national tricolors and placards displaying their demands to scrap Article 370, take back the areas of PoK and CoK and ensure peace and progress of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
10. THIS SMALL FARMER HAS OVER 350 VARIETIES OF PADDY - Kestur Vasuki: SR Srinivasamurthy, a 38-year-old farmer of Siddanahundi near southern city of Mysore, is part of a silent revolution in farming sector. This farmer who has proved that farming is a profitable venture is practicing natural and organic farming as his mantra.
This farmer who has collected more than 350 varieties of paddy from across the country has been part of a mission to provide desi varieties to the farmers at affordable rate. Srinivasamurthy is a small farmer and has been traveling, learning and collecting desi varieties of paddy from many States of Bharat. He has been inspired by the fact that the Puri Jagannath Temple which offers 365 varieties of rice in a year, has made him study and collect some of the paddy varieties as part of his promotion to protect desi paddy varieties across the country. Srinivasamurthy is also opposed to BT crop and is aware of its implications on the farming sector.
Talking to The Pioneer, this dynamic young farmer believes that protecting desi seeds would promote sustainable agriculture in all odds. He said, “I have been practicing natural farming and organic farming. We have to protect our own desi varieties of seeds. Many have vanished because of the onslaught of the sustainable campaign by the vested interests in promoting their product. I have been collecting and growing desi seeds promoting our own varieties across the country.”
Srinivasamurthy’s small farm today is a bio diversity hotspot where one can see more than two hundred varieties of paddy seeds meeting growing demand by the farmers from Karnataka and other States. This farmer who has been collecting paddy varieties since 2007 has got native seeds developed in his one-and-a-half acre farm and has answers to all queries by the farming sector. He has varieties which could withstand severe summer to heavy rains, has all answers which would surely bring smiles on the farmers’ face.
His journey of exploration to find paddy varieties across the country began in 2007 as he believes that protecting desi varieties would help bring cheers in Indian agriculture. He has travelled to Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and many other States which has helped him collect more than 300 local varieties of paddy to augment his mission to grow more without bothering about fertilisers or pesticides. On his exploratory journey this farmer, a graduate in Arts, learnt different agricultural techniques to overcome drought and severe natural vagaries.
“I heard that our country had more than 2 lakh desi paddy verities which have vanished from the agriculture scene giving way to new and very few varieties which are controlled by a few. I learnt in Puri Lord Jagannatha Temple that the deity has been offered every day one variety of rice as part of the ritual. This has made me go mad with understanding diversity in agriculture. I have now collected seeds of so many varieties and giving them to only farmers. I strongly believe that all BT and other crops won’t help us but we need our own desi varieties. This has to be part of our food security,” said Srinivasamurthy.
He has many varieties of paddy which are unique to many States. His technique for many desi varieties is helping farmers across the country to protect and promote desi varieties which cherishes his mission. He has also been guided by an NGO Sahaja Samruddi to promote natural farming.
Srinivasamurthy strongly believes in de-control of seeds from multinational companies and proves a point in Bharatiya agriculture which is predominantly guided by industrial policy. Today he has many rare varieties such as, Sastikasali, believed to be a cure for infertility, Bolga, Madras Sanna, Doddigya, Bheema Saale, Solari, Ratna Chudi, Aanekombina Battha, Atikarya and other varieties to promote desi dynamics in natural farming.: Pioneer, December 26, 2011.
11. GURUJI’S THOUGHTS WILL BRING HARMONY IN INDIA: S GURUMURTHY: “If we understand Hindutva as described by Guruji Golwalkar and practice it the way he explained, we can bring real harmony between communities”, told Eminent Economist and thinker S Gurumurthy. He was talking in a lecture organised by Mythic Society in Bangalore as part of Sri Noor A Alikhan Endowment Lecture Series.  “A renascent India can be achieved if we follow the way Guruji showed. It is not uniformity that we need, it is unity in diversity that can take India to a greater hinght”, Gurumurty added.
12. DEVELOP DEFENCE INFRA-STRUCTURE IN BORDER STATES: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri has cautioned the Centre against the tardy development of defence infrastructure in States bordering China. He said connectivity in most of the border States has been neglected and thus poses a grave security hazard. “Reaching some border posts in Bharat still takes two to three days. Comparatively China has gone far ahead with deployment of big vehicles, helipads and extensive border road network in its area,” Khanduri said. He was speaking during the Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw Memorial Lecture on ‘Bordering States: The Bulwark of National Security’ in Delhi on December 17. The lecture was organised by the Conclave of Defence Services Veterans.
Shri Khanduri also emphasised on constituting a centralised branch of intelligence agencies which is specialised in collecting vital information regarding infiltration, fake currency, explosives and drugs along the borders.
13. BHARAT-BORN NOBEL LAUREATE VENKY GETS KNIGHTHOOD: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Bharat-born US citizen whose pioneering work in molecular biology won him the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has been honoured with a knighthood by the royal establishment, UK in a rare recognition of achievements by foreigners based in Britain. Ramakrishnan, known to most as Venky, is based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. He has been conferred knighthood "for services to molecular biology" in the New Year Honours List 2012.
14. TRIBAL YOUTH WIN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON: Running barefooted, an 8 membered team of tribal youth of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram  recently won Runner-Up award in reputed Bangalore International Midnight Marathon. In an event where nearly 8500 athletes participated, this VKA team stood against all odds and won this prestigious Marathon. Midnight International Marathon, first of its kind in the world, was organised on December 10th by Rotary Bangalore’s I.T. Corridor unit, with a motto of ‘Run for a Child’, to create awareness about Child healthcare, nutrition and Child education. With just a delay of 90 seconds, team secured second place in the Men’s 35km section of Marathon relay.
This was the maiden Marathon race for these youth hailing from the dense forest area of Titimati of Virajpet Taluk in Kodagu district, Karnataka. Of this 8 membered team, Maada, a student of class 12 is a known sprinter. Others, Vishwanath, Harish, Papu, Raju PN, Suresh, Timmayya, and Venkatesh are coolie workers having high athletic skills.
15. BHARAT, THE LARGEST MILK PRODUCING NATION: Bharat continues to be the largest milk producing nation in the world with close to 17% of global production with 121m toones in 2010-11, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) said in Ahmedabad on December 20. NDDB Chairman Amrita Patel said higher GDP growth, increased incomes in rural areas through schemes like MGNREGA and a growing population are contributing to a rapidly growing demand for milk.
16. COURT ASKS WEBSITES TO REMOVE OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT BY FEB 6:  Setting a deadline for 22 social networking sites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to remove all "anti-religious" or "anti-social" content, a Delhi court on Saturday directed the companies to file compliance reports by February 6. Additional Civil Judge Mukesh Kumar, who had on December 20 in a ex-parte order issued summons to the social networking websites, granted around one and half month for compliance of his order.
17. VAJPAYEE TURNS 88: Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee completed 87 on December 25. A host of senior leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, greeted him on the occasion. BJP observed Vajpayee's birthday as good governance day. "Greetings and well wishes are coming from all over the country for Atalji. He is the tallest leader of the BJP and is our source of inspiration. Though he is not able to work actively, his presence is still a source of inspiration for all party workers," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
18. GURU PUJA UTSAV was conducted at Bloomington shakha on 17th Dec. 2011. Total 25 Swayamsevaks and sevikas participated in the  utsav and did the Gurupujan. Dharmendra ji Nimavat (Springfield, IL Shakha coordinator) was the pramukh vakta for the Utsav. Hemant ji Kale conducted the whole program. An inspiring video on the HSS work in US was shown. Shkha mukhya shikshak Pankaj Garg sang the vaiyaktik geet “Vishwa Guru Tav archana mein...”Dharmendra ji in his baudhik emphasized on the point of why Bhagwa Dhwaj as Guru  and Guru Poojan as a concept in Hindu Dharma.
19. RASHTRAPATI NOD TO MP COW SLAUGHTER BILL: Rashtrapati Pratibha Patil has given her assent to the Madhya Pradesh Prohibition of Cow Slaughter (amendment) Bill 2010 meant to raise the quantum of punishment for offenders and shift the burden to prove innocence to accused. Under the amended Bill, the punishment for cow slaughter will be at least a year and maximum seven years along with fine of Rs 5,000. Earlier, the punishment for such an offence was three years of imprisonment or fine of Rs 10,000 or both. The amended legislation has also made the provision of punishment for offences like storing or transporting beef with a minimum term of six months, which can be extended up to three years.
20. SURYA KUMBHA IN SURINAM:  Desi Botras, the President of the South American country Surinam will inaugurate the celebrations of Surya Kumbha on January 15 which will culminate on February 1. Intellectuals from Bharat and other parts of the world will participate in the celebrations.
21. POSTAL STAMP BY JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HONOURING MUTHU JI:  Bharadwaj, a youth from Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu went to Japan in the 10th century. To the Japanese he was ‘Baramon’. Today everything with which the Japanese rightly feel proud of as their ancient heritage and culture was given to them by this monk. The Japanese have three scripts - one of them based on Tamil and Sanskrit.
A Japanese delegate Shri Shuzo Matsunoga participated in the Fifth World Tamil Conference held at Thanjavur in 1981 (30 years ago). He presented a paper on ‘Thirukural & Thiruvalluvar in the eyes of Japan’.  Muthu, now 91years young, of Omalur off Salem, Tamilnadu came in contact with Sri Shuzo Matsunoga after the Conference who translated the English version of G U Pope’s Thirukuraal (aphorisms) as guided by Muthu Ji.  Shuzo also translated various books of Subramania Bharathi (Kuil Paatu), Naaladiar, Vallalarr poems, Manimegalai and Silapathigaram into Japanese language.
The Government of Japan has included this Thirukural as a lesson in the text book at college level. To cap it all, when the Japanese Government proposed to release a postal stamp to honour Shuzo Matsunoga for his works, he humbly refused and said, “To translate this tamil literature into Japanese language, Muthu from Salem has helped me. So the credit goes to him”. On his recommendation the Japanese Government released a postal stamp on Muthu (Salem) for 80 Yen (Rs.27/-) in 2007.
Shri Ravikumar of Vishwa Vibhag during his recent tour of Tamilnadu, met Muthu Ji. Muthu ji lauded RSS for its social service and patriotic fervor.
22. 555 ODISSI DANCERS PERFORM TOGETHER: Odissi dancers from across the globe presented a spectacular show together in the biggest ever assembly at the opening of International Odissi Festival in Bhuvaneswar on December 23. Creating history of sorts, the colourful mega dance show by 555 performers together on a single platform heralded the eight-day event aimed at finding a place in the Guinness World Record. The dancers from Bharat and abroad in traditional colourful Odissi attire performed during the grand festival organised by Odisha's Tourism and Culture department in association with Odissi Research Centre (ORC) and US-based Indian performing Arts Promotion (IPAP).
23. BHU TO HAVE CENTRE FOR MALAVIYA STUDIES: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced on Dec 27 that a centre for Malaviya studies will be set up at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Addressing a function in New Delhi to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, he said a digital collection of  Malaviyaji's writings would also be compiled for the first time. Lauding Malviyaji’s efforts in building the Indian National Congress, Dr. Singh said Malaviyaji wanted to blend the best of Bharatiya learning with the modern scientific ideas of the west.
24. VHP ANNOUNCES NEW TEAM: Vishwa Hindu Parishad has announced on Dec 18 a new team of office bearers at VHP international meet at Kochi- Kerala. G.Raghava Reddy-new VHP International President, Dr Pravin Togadia  -International Working President,  Ashok Chowgule -  Working President VHP External, Chmapat Rai, Delhi; International, General secretary. Man Ashok Singhal and S Vedantumji will Giude VHP as Advisor.
25. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Dr.Sadanand Sapre, sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will return Bharat completing his tour to Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. Visitors:
THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The end is the beginning of all things, suppressed and hidden, awaiting to be released through the rhythm of pain and pleasure. – J. Krishnamurti.

India's future does not depend on the Lokpal Bill. The fact that the enactment of the draft seems to have gone into a coma does not mean the country has slipped into unconsciousness. Yet, that Bill is an important and crucial framework for our moral self-confidence and for our self-pride as a people.
When the Lok Sabha passed the Bill, I was delighted; in fact, elated for three reasons: first, a national surge, an upsurge of sentiment against the abominable phenomenon of corruption had at last reached the law-making body of the country and crystallised into a legislative text, howsoever imperfect. Here was a people's movement coalescing with the Constitution's rubric to rid India's body politic of its most poisonous toxin.
Second, Team Anna's campaign had put the institution of Parliament to the test. It had placed the onus for change onto the shoulders of elected MPs. Parliament was now passing that test, and passing it most creditably. Here was the highest edifice of our democracy, the repository of a whole people's political trust, doing itself and the nation proud.
Third, we could now look forward to a brand new institution ranking high, with Parliament and the judiciary, comprising some nine individuals of credit selected by a panel of the elected and the 'selected' dignitaries, who would put corruption among public servants on notice. Here was a new vision, a new energy, being gifted by the departing year to the new one just dawning.
These were notable achievements; in fact, they were huge fulfilments. Although compromised by disappointment over the defeat of the proposal for a constitutional amendment that would have put the lokpal beyond any facile tinkering, they were something of which one could say 'Nothing less is deserved by the people of India; and nothing else can be expected by representatives of the world's largest democracy'.
But the spectacle of the Bill collapsing in the Rajya Sabha under the weight of polemics and worse, is a huge disappointment; in fact, it is a disillusionment.
Here was a golden opportunity for Parliament to rise to the occasion, to equal the people's expectations of it - squandered.
There was a great deal of posturing in the House on Thursday. There was a great deal of offending and defending. The past was raked up, intentions were questioned, old wounds opened, new ones inflicted.
But the whole thing - the debating of the Bill's clauses, the disputing of its motives, the rubbishing of the Anna Hazare campaign, the valourising of Parliament's legislative supremacy, all of that seemed to flux into a common crucible - an acknowledgment of the need for a lokpal. No one, except Ram Vilas Paswan asked, in all honesty, if we really need a lokpal. Barring that, the need for a lokpal was as much of 'a given' as the need for checking corruption.
So, what happened?
There will never be a satisfactory or convincing answer to that question.
The puzzlement and utter dejection writ on the earnest face of its chairman, and our Vice-President, the good and high- minded Hamid Ansari, was, at that moment, the face of India.
What is important now and vital, in fact, as much to the future of parliamentary credibility as to that of civil society-powered popular campaigns is that:
- The Rajya Sabha's failure to pass the Bill be taken as a reverse, but not an irreversible defeat.
- The momentum for giving the nation a lokpal not be allowed to slow down.
- The campaign be given, by the campaign leaders, not 'more of the same', but a gear-shift into a fresh powering that takes the campaign into (a) a heightened awareness generation and (b) negotiation with MPs from all parties, without mixing up its high-minded objective with electoral misadventures. Trying to telescope the lokpal campaign with UP's electoral fortunes will be like forcing a rainbow into a dust-storm.
- The campaign be taken by the ruling political combination into a working session with other parliamentary parties in a manner that ensures its passage in the next session of Parliament.
No one has doubted or disputed Parliament's prerogative to legislate transformationally. No one should have to doubt its desire to do so with sincerity. No one has doubted or disputed Team Anna's prerogative to campaign inspirationally.
No one should have to doubt its wisdom to do so with patience.
(Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a former administrator, diplomat and governor.) --Hindustan Times, December 31, 2011.

Bharat must shelter those who seek asylum
The recent case of a group of Pakistani Hindus who entered the country on month-long pilgrimage visas but have since then sought political asylum citing religious persecution back home has brought India’s immigration and citizenship policies under the spotlight. In response to a public interest litigation, the Delhi High Court has stayed the imminent deportation of the 151 Pakistani Hindus whose visas expired months ago and asked the Union Government to explain why they should not be offered refuge. The Government has time till February next year to respond. But, since the Government does not have a specific policy on the matter, and has traditionally dealt with such issues on a case-by-case basis, it has led to enormous dissatisfaction and resentment among those affected. This lack of definite policy guidelines on the matter, especially with respect to people of Indian origin regardless of their religious affiliation, cannot continue to remain. The situation also leaves many asylum-seekers with no other choice but to slip through the cracks in the system and settle in the country illegally — a situation that neither benefits the individual nor the state. For centuries, India has been home to entire communities of refugees — from citizens of erstwhile East Pakistan who feared that they would be butchered by the Pakistani Army to Afghan nationals who wished to escape their war-ravaged country to Tibetan exiles. Yet it has been only in the recent past that the Government has signed a handful of bilateral agreements that provide a legal framework for the problem. However, most of them have been ineffective, as the Sirimavo-Shastri pact that was signed between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka in 1964 to help that country’s embattled Tamil community has shown.More recently, the Government has introduced laws that allow special benefits regarding travel and work within the country to those who are officially recognised as ‘Persons of Indian Origin’, and has offered the title of ‘Overseas Citizen of India’ to some non-resident Indians. However, neither of these measures has satisfied the aspirations of the vast Indian Diaspora that wishes to maintain ties with its homeland, nor have they benefitted the large number of Hindus who have periodically sought refuge in this country. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs must take the lead in formulating a policy to find a desirable way out. The Ministry is in the best position to do because it interacts directly and regularly with overseas Indians and understands their issues better. No doubt, the Government has to tread carefully keeping in mind the various legal tangles as much as the underlying emotions. But these complications have to be resolved some day. – Editorial, The Pioneer, December 23, 2011.