1. FESTIVALS: Sri Radha Ashtami, the 8th tithi of Bhadra shukla paksha, falling on 23rd September this year, is Shrikrishnapriya Radhaji’s appearance day. According to Brahmavaivartapurana, her name became Radha because she appeared in the Raasamandala and immediately after picking flowers she ran towards the feet of Shrikrishna. According to Radhikopanishad as she is worshipped by Shrikrishna, she is called Radha. She was born to Kirtida and Vrishbhanu in Barsana, situated at the slope of a mountain known as Brahma parvat, 50 km away from Mathura. Devotees take a round of Gehvar forest which is situated on this mountain this day. The day is celebrated as a big festival in the temples of goddess Radha in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, Rawal and Mant. Many people fast on this day.
2. BANGLADESHI INFILTRATORS CRUX OF THE ASSAM PROBLEM: A seminar on the problem of Assam and its solution was held in Siri Fort auditorium of New Delhi on August 24. RSS Sahasarakaryavah Krishna Gopal who has worked in Assam for about 10 years explained the history and geography of Assam and Bodoland in the context of the present violence. About 100 people have died, thousands injured in the Bodo-Bangladeshi infiltrators’ violence July 19 onwards and lakhs are living in relief camps. He stressed that citizenship is not established on ration card, driving license etc. Citizenship of a person of a particular country is ascertained on the basis of his parents and grandparents in a country. Krishna Gopalji emphatically said that the present clashes in Bodoland are between the local people and Bangladeshi infiltrators and not between Hindus and Muslims.
3. CBI probe IN Assam violence: The CBI's preliminary investigation into the lower Assam violence has pointed to a bigger conspiracy behind the ethnic clashes. The agency, probing seven of the total 1,442 cases registered, has found enough evidence which shows that the first incident — that occurred on July 6 when the Kamtapuri Liberation Organization (KLO) militants killed two Muslims — had nothing to do with what happened later on July 19 onwards.
Two persons — Mahibul Haque Ratul and Mohammed Abu Siddique — were injured in an incident of indiscriminate firing by motorcycle-borne attackers in the same area in Kokrajhar on July 19. Both the incidents were more due to personal animosity and were unconnected. Details of both these incidents and statement of one arrested KLO militant were shared with local Muslim residents.
Still, four Bodo youth were attacked and killed at Jaipur under Kokrajhar Police Station by some unidentified Muslims with sharp weapons on July 20. That incident acted as a trigger that turned out to be a full-fledged communal violence, killing 88 people over the next one month.
Sources in the investigating agency said that the interrogation of all those arrested in connection with subsequent incidents showed that the killing of four Bodo youth on July 20 was a planned act. The CBI has some corroborative evidence.
All these matters and progress of probe came up for review during a meeting, chaired by Union home secretary R K Singh in New Delhi on August 27. Assam police chief J N Chaudhary shared details of cases registered in the state.
4. SARAKARYAVAHJI’s US PRAVAS: “Hindus living outside Bharat should maintain their identity and values. We Hindus have a universal message and a mission. We should unite and be strong not only for ourselves but for the welfare of the whole world,” was the gist of RSS Sarakaryavah Sureshji (Bhayyaji) Joshi’s speeches to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) karyakartas during his two-week tour to the United States from 6th August 2012. He traveled to many cities including Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York, and guided the US-born Hindu youth majority participants of the Sangh Shiksha Varg of Midwest region in Indiana.
In a well-attended dinner meeting in Houston, Bhayyaji gave an overview of the accomplishments of RSS in the past eight decades and urged the audience to be loyal and contributing citizens of the country of their adoption. He congratulated them for actively maintaining their values and being the cultural ambassadors of Bharat.
Gatherings of swayamsevaks and sevikas were organized in every city where Bhayyaji went. He stressed that being a swayamsevak means having certain qualities, first and foremost of which is the selflessness. A swayamsevak must have purity of character and should be constantly active in making Hindu society faultless, self-reliant and dynamic.
In Washington DC, Sewa International karyakartas took Bhayyaji to the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), a charitable organization that not only feeds thousands of homeless people daily, but gives job training to rehabilitate many needy people. After taking a tour of DCCK, Bhayyaji shared information about similar projects in Bharat with its volunteers and staff. He appreciated their yeoman service to the poor. He also commended Sewa International karyakartas for working together with such an organization.
Bhayyaji visited Shanti Ashram in Maryland. The ashram, started by Vyasadev (Victor Landa) who is originally from Peru, is an urban ashram involved in teaching Yoga and meditation. The followers also practice bio-dynamic farming to produce sattvic organic food. While sipping hot chai with organic jaggery, Bhayyaji invited Vyasadev to visit some similar projects in Bharat.
In sightseeing, Bhayyaji enjoyed his tour to NASA in Houston as well as to various museums in Washington DC. He visited Fullerton Hall in the Art Institute of Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda gave his famous speech at the Parliament of Religions in 1893. He also went to see the Vivekananda House in Pasedena, CA and the Self-Realization Fellowship headquarters in Los Angeles. While in New York; he visited the Vedanta Society started by Swami Vivekananda as early as 1894 there.
On 18th August, Bhayyaji was accompanied by Prof. Radheshyam Dwivedi, President, International Center for Cultural Studies, to the meeting with the Native American Ramapough Lenape community. Chief Dwaine Perry at the community center near New York, after giving a tour of the sacred ceremonial grounds, said that, similar to Hindus, they also believe in respect for all paths and lead a spiritual life in harmony with nature.
HSS, US Sanghchalak Prof. Ved P Nanda, at the gathering of swayamsevaks in New Jersey, expressed his gratitude to Bhayyaji for inspiring them through his visit. Vishwa Vibhag Samyojak Saumitra Gokhale was with Bhayyaji throughout the tour.
5. Achieving freedom not an ACCIDENT: RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr.Mohan Bhagwat hoisted the national flag at Rashtrotthana Parishat, Bangalore on August 15. Speaking on the occasion he said, “Independence day is an occasion of happiness and celebration for every one globally. Achieving freedom is not an accidental phenomenon. We fought to achieve it, aiming to regain our sovereignty, integrity and security. Even after 65years one need to introspect whether we have achieved complete freedom in all sectors.” Though we have political freedom, several social sectors still need better reforms, progress and upliftment. Each citizen should think of contributing his best to the society, remembering Swami Vivekananda, Shri Bhagwat said. In attaining freedom, Vivekananda has an inspiring role. Society still needs such great personalities who can inspire young generation, to achieve complete freedom in all sectors where we are still lagging.
Senior RSS Functionaries Mai Cha Jayadev, Mangesh Bhende, Kru Narahari, V Nagaraj, Da Ma Ravindra, Chandrashekar Bhandary, Mukunda were present during the program. Veteran Sangh ideologue, president of Rashtrotthana Parisad Dr. S R Ramaswamy presided over the function.
6. 7th ANNUAL HINDU MANDIR EXECUTIVES CONFERENCE – 2012 IN SAN JOSE: Over 350 adult and youth delegates representing over 102 Mandirs (Temples) and Hindu organizations, from across the world, attended the seventh annual Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference (HMEC), from August 17 through 18, 2012 in San Jose, CA. Addressing the participants by video-conference, Swami Dayananda Saraswati said, "This get-together is bound to create better bonds and good networking among the people connected to the Hindu Mandirs in America."
The conference was inaugurated by Swamini Svatmavidyananda Ji who said, “it (Hindu Dharma) is there in every heart, regardless of whether we went to Sunday school, balavihar, or whatever, it is there." The editor of Hinduism Today, a prominent Hindu magazine, Paramacharya Paliniswami extolled the tolerance of Hindu Dharma. Others who spoke included Swami Nikhilanand of Radhamadhav Dham, Austin, Swami Brahmswarupanand ji etc. Main issues discussed were temples and temple administration, youth, archaks etc. The resolutions passed in the conference condemned killings of Sikhs in US gurudwara, recent violence by Bangladesh infiltrators in Assam and persecution of Hindus in Pakistan. The HMEC concluded with a special address by Shri Ashok Singhal Ji, Patron and Past President of VHP Global.
7. Samiti demands stern action against infiltrators in Assam: The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the largest and the only organisation of Hindu women, on August 20, 2012 demanded stern action against the infiltrators who had sneaked into Assam in large numbers and caused the recent bloody conflict in that north-eastern border state.
In a resolution adopted unanimously at its first half yearly meeting at Nagpur the Samiti strongly condemned the atrocities, loot and arson in Bodo-dominated areas of Assam perpetrated by these infiltrators from Bangladesh. The Samiti felt that this violence ‘is a serious threat to the unity and integrity of the country’. The resolution appealed to the Assam and Central governments to take timely steps and bring the situation under control keeping in view the national interest and safety of the citizens.
It was announced in the Sabha that Vandaneeya V Shantha Kumari, popularly known as Shanthakka, will be the new Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti. Smt Seetha Annadanam from Andhra Pradesh will be new Pramukh Karyavahika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti.
Aged 60 years, Shanthakka will be the 5th Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti. The post was held by Vandaneeya Moushiji Lakshmi Bai Kelkar (1936-1978), Saraswati Tai Apte (1978-1994), Usha Tai Chati (1994-2006) and Pramila Tai Medhe (2006-2012)
Born on February 5, 1952, Shanthakka joined Rashtra Sevika Samiti in 1970. She held several responsibilities in Rashtra Sevika Samiti. Born to Sri K Venkataramaya and Smt Rajamma, Shanthakka is the youngest among three children to her parents. Her 2 elder brothers, V Nagaraj serving as Kshetreeya Boudhik Pramukh of RSS and V Manjunath was former Pranth Sampark Pramukh of RSS Karnataka.
“Our society has forgotten the age old values, ethos and lifestyle that sustained it years together. Because of this we are witnessing the disintegration of our society into smaller fragments based on castes, language, etc. To reverse this trend it is necessary to restore and reinstate that same lifestyle, values and ethos so that the society stands united and strong to make our nation great once again. This is the mission of Rashtra Sevika Samiti”, observed Vandaniya Shantakka, in her maiden address as Pramukh Sanchalika. She exhorted the ‘Sevikas’ to devote themselves in fulfilling the mission of the Samiti by creating goodwill, harmony and understanding among the members of the society.
8. Global water institute hails Gujarat govt’s Jyotigram Yojana: A new report by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has commended the Jyotigram Yojana, launched by the Gujarat Government in 2003 that provides 24-hour power supply to villages in the State.
The report, titled Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and Opportunities for a Water and Food Secure Future, has been published as the institute’s input for the ongoing 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm from August 26 to 31.
Gujarat’s rural electrification provides a remarkable learning opportunity to other nations and Bharatiya states. Load shedding and power failures are bygone days in Gujarat and unlike any other state; Gujarat now provides uninterrupted power supply with no power cuts. Jyotigram yojana is a brain child of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The report mentions achievements of the Jyotigram Yojana, launched by the Narendra Modi-Government in September 2003, while warning about water scarcity and its impact on food production for the estimated global population of 9 billion by 2050.
Recalling the power-deficit situation before the Jyotigram Yojana was launched, the report notes the situation has now changed across rural Gujarat. The report says that the Yojana’s alternative approach “diverges from the textbook optimum and embraces the electricity subsidies as a strategy”.
9. Delhi scientist wins top award for aiding Bengal farmers: The World Food Prize Foundation, started by Borlaug, has picked a Delhi-based scientist, Aditi Mukherji for the first-ever Norman Borlaug Award in Field Research and Application for her work in transforming access to water for thousands of farmers in West Bengal. The award comes with $10,000 prize, and will be formally presented to Mukherji on October 17 in Des Moines, Iowa, US.
“The research I worked on helped remove barriers in water access for farmers in West Bengal," Mukherji said from Stockholm, Sweden, where the award was announced on August 28.
Mukherji, 37, is a senior researcher at the Delhi office of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). As alumnus of Presidency College (Kolkata), JNU (Delhi), she completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge. The Borlaug Award is restricted to scientists under 40.
Though Bengal receives significantly greater rainfall than Haryana or Punjab, and has a higher water table than northern states, its agricultural productivity has been lower for several years now: an apparent contradiction that intrigued Mukherji.
Mukherji showed that antiquated government rules were spawning corruption and barring farmers from efficiently accessing water. Her research forced the government to remove these barriers.
10. MP’s growth rate leaves national averages behind: The State left all other States way behind by registering a record 18 per cent growth rate during 2011-12. It was second in terms of gross state domestic product (GSDP) growth rate. Last year, the State’s GSDP grew at 11.98 per cent. In all the components of GSDP during the 11th Five Year Plan, the state finds its place among the first four. The per capita income has grown by 19.89 per cent to Rs 38,669 (at current prices) in 2011-12.
11. the king of thanjavur was an eye surgeon: Four centuries ago, Raja Serfoji II, a Maratha ruler of the city of Thanjavur, is said to have performed eye surgeries among the various forms of medicine he practised. Ophthalmologists and laboratory experts from Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, accompanied by Dr R Nagaswamy, retired director of Tamil Nadu’s archaeology department and a former VC of Kanchipuram University, accessed the records from S Babaji Raja Bhonsle, the present prince and descendant of Serfoji.
The Maratha dynasty in Thanjavur, formed by Chhatrapati Shivaji’s half-brother Venkoji in 1675, continued till the end of the 18th century, and is reputed to have had a scientific and cultural temperament compared to the warrior characteristics associated with the dynasty in Maharashtra. The records published suggest that Serfoji, who ruled between 1798 and 1832, specialised in nayana roga, or diseases of the eye.
The original handwritten case sheets have been published in the current issue of the Indian Journal of Opthalmology.
As per the records, the raja ran a hospital called Dhanvantri Mahal, helped by an English opthalmologist referred to as “Dr McBean”, at a site where the St Peter’s Church now stands. Some of the case records are written in the Modi script and some in English. One of them is for a 45-year patient.
He was operated for cataract on September 9, 1827 and needed an additional four leeches besides a “blue pill”. A 15-year-old girl, diagnosed with a severe eye infection on August 15, 1827, with “mucoid and watery discharge”, needed 18 leeches, a powder in the neck, and the European medicine Belladona and silver nitrate solution, until she was relieved of her pain.
12. Prithvi II tested: The 350-km range surface-to-surface Prithvi II missile was successfully flight tested at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Balasore district in Odisha on August 5 giving the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) the Prithvi power.
"It was a text-book launch with very high accuracy. With this test launch, we can say that the SFC has demonstrated its expertise in firing the missile," DRDO director general and scientific advisor to defence minister, V K Saraswat said.
Prithvi II has been successfully flight tested a number of times as part of development, induction and training exercises. The team of armed forces and scientists were led by project director Siva Subramanyam and programme director Adalat Ali, director, DRDL, Hyderabad.
13. BJP takes dig at NC, Hurriyat for opposing Amarnath tract: After the BSP, the BJP has come down heavily on the state government and certain Kashmir-centric groups for opposing a road to the Amarnath cave shrine by citing the “excuse” that the ecology of the area would be harmed. Quoting geology and environment experts, chief spokesman of the state BJP Jitendra Singh has refuted the “environmental pollution theory” perpetuated by certain Kashmir-centric experts who are opposing the construction of a permanent track to the Amarnath shrine.
He challenged the so-called environment protagonists within the Hurriyat and the National Conference to scientifically prove what they were saying. Singh said it had been established by experts that since there was no glacier en route Amarnath, there ought to be no apprehension of any ecological disturbance.
14. Pak Hindus can get long-term visas: bharat: As the fourth batch of Pakistani Hindu families crossed over to Bharat amid reports of alleged persecution, the government on August 16 said they will get long-term visas to stay here if they apply under stipulated rules.
"So far, no one has applied for long-term visa. Basically, we have norms for the long-term visa. If they apply under them, they will get it," Union home secretary R K Singh said.
Eight members of three families, who entered Bharat through the land transit route of Attari, claimed that they were not seeking asylum, but any move from the Bharatiya government to help them settle down here will be welcome.
Over 250 Hindus from Balochistan and Sindh provinces, where the community has been the target of extortions, kidnapping and forced conversions, have crossed over to Bharat since August 10 amid reports of exodus following the kidnapping of a Hindu girl in Sindh.
15. 'Bharat doesn't need British aid money': In an article titled "India is heading for Mars: it doesn't need British aid money to pay the bills", columnist Theodore Dalrymple wrote in the Telegraph. "India has a long, varied, glorious (and terrible) history of civilisation, with the sophistication necessary to absorb influences from abroad, including Western scientific ones. The best and most beautiful spoken English in the world is now to be heard in India. It is outrageous that we condescend to it with our paltry aid, just to pay the mortgages of aid workers." He, however, said India still has many problems, including corruption.
"One manifestation of the underlying wisdom of Bharat is its low tally of medals at the Olympic Games, only six - none gold - when it has a sixth of the world's population. Its young people have more important things to do than put the shot or throw the javelin," the writer said.
16. CRITICISM on Ayurveda baseless: Doctors: Experts in Ayurveda have said that Ayurvedic medicines prepared as per traditional methods and according to the texts like Ashtangahrudayam and Charaka Samhita are completely safe.
Reacting to the news that presence of lead was found in Bharat-made Ayurvedic medicines in the tests done by Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) of New York city, Dr B L Sankaran Nair a special officer for the Mahe Ayurveda College said there have been reports in the past as well to denigrate the Bharatiya system of medicine, which uses mostly herbs. Nair said that the Ayurvedic medicines made by the authentic firms will not have any trace of such minerals.
Another practising Ayurvedic doctor said that the Ayurvedic medicines are always safer and the Bharatiya system always acts in a natural way to the human body without causing any side effects. All these campaigns by the foreign-based companies are baseless and was targeted against the growing acceptance of Ayurveda globally, he said.
17. Kerala to take ayurveda tourism to next level: Kerala has now set its eyes on pushing tourism centred around ayurveda, to the next level by promoting its curative and cosmetic properties. “Beaches, backwaters, hills and ayurveda are the four pillars of tourism in Kerala. We realise there is still a large potential within ayurveda to attract people to our state,” said Suman Billa, Kerala Tourism Secretary.
“So far, when it came to ayurveda, we mainly focused on well-being. But there are also the curative and cosmetic sides, and these are what we now also intend to promote,” added Billa. “What we will offer is the art and science of living, and living well.”
Billa said a pilot project would also be started on a public-private partnership mode where all forms of medicine and well-being, allopathy, ayurveda, unani and siddha will come under one roof to offer an integrated system.
18. From a tribal village to IAS Academy: Narayan Konwar, presently under training at IAS Academy, Mussoorie has a very pathetic story to tell about his past. His family meals depended on the fishing. He sold fried papad and pakora at the markets and tilled other people's fields. His school attendance suffered, and he had to drop out of class 9.
His father died when he was eight. The gratuity kept the family afloat for some time. But the pension dried up. The Konwars could not fall back on agriculture, for floods regularly destroyed crops at Chamkota village – some 70km east of Guwahati. Many a time, he and his mother and three siblings slept on an empty stomach.
Narayan would perhaps have ended up as a daily-wager, had his headmaster at Batabari High School not tried to find out why he stopped coming to school. Narayan passed his class 10 boards, but failed in class 12, because he couldn't attend classes. The higher secondary school in Morigaon was 15 km away and there was simply no money for the bus fare. He secured a second class in his next attempt. He topped in political science from Gauhati University in 2003. He taught at a college to fund his coaching in New Delhi to crack the civil services exam, and in 2010 secured the 119th position.
Narayan feels poverty or a remote area cannot come in the way of success if one is determined. And having proved a point, he has set his priorities.
19. A MAOIST TURNED EDUCATION CRUSADOR: "Pen is mightier than gun. If the state stops its dual policy for the rich and the poor, there would be no rebellion in the country," said Thimbu Oraon, 32 whom scores of youngsters had followed when he joined the Maoist camp after matriculation impressed by their ideology.
But when he decided to disassociate with the Maoists, he brought back almost all the youngsters of his panchayat into the mainstream. Today, he silently runs a school in his village Badri, Ghagra, a Naxal hit block in Gumla district, around 120 km west of capital Ranchi, besides empowering the community brethren by initiating several community development programs. Acquitted of all Naxal cases in 2008, Thimbu contested the panchayat polls for the post of mukhiya in 2009 and won with record votes. Villagers support his cause by contributing Rs. 1 and a fistful of rice every week to his Kisan Bank.
20. It’s victory all the way for ABVP: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the BJP, has emerged victorious in five of the nine universities, where elections were held on August 18. Independent candidates emerged victorious in three universities, where as one has gone to the Student Federation of India.
21. Odisha Tourism - 'Best State for Pilgrimage Tourism': Odisha Tourism has been awarded as “Best State for Pilgrimage Tourism” by Safari India a prestigious regional tourism magazine covering Bharat, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and South East Asia.
22. Dr Ajit Phadke no more: Dr Ajit Pahdke, a legend in himself in the field of medicine & patient service passed away on August 26 in Mumbai. He was 77. He was Honorary Urologist of Maharashtra’s Raj Bhavan for many years. He is survived by his wife Dr. Meena & social worker son Aditya. He was president of Mumbai’s Nana Palkar Smruti Samiti – a project dedicated to the service of the patients and also of Dr.Ambedkar Vaidyakiya Pratishthan which runs Dr.Hedgewar Hospital at Aurangabad. .
23. Shrug off fifth-country syndrome, Kalam: Former Rashtrapati APJ Abdul Kalam on August 26 urged Bharat to strive to get itself in the Number One position in regards to launching missions. It had been long since Bharat had been launching major missions after three or four countries had already done it. This “fifth nation syndrome” had to be done away with, Dr Kalam also known as the country’s ‘missile man’ told while addressing the audience in Kolkata at a programme of the Central Glass and Ceramic Institute.
24. Yoga helps Colin Farrell stay away from drugs: Irish actor Colin Farrell, who has tackled drug and drinking addiction in the past, says he is now a reformed character who loves to exercise and make the most of his life. The 36-year-old said doing yoga has helped him keep off drugs and alcohol and he is enjoying his changed life.
25. No bharatiyas, says Oz job ad: A Coles contractor has been slammed for a racist job advertisement, banning Bharatiya or Asian applicants from applying in Tasmania.
The online ad, posted on August 26, was seeking cleaners for a supermarket at Eastlands Shopping Centre. "Store requires no Bharatiyas or Asians please. Must speak English (sic)," the ad read.
According to the Voice of Tasmania, the ad, posted on the Gumtree website, sparked outrage on social media sites, with people calling for the boycotting of the store. "Which supermarket is this so I can boycott them?" one outraged Facebook user said. The ad was later removed.
26. 60,000 Kashmiri Pandit families living outside J&K: Govt: There are only 808 families of Kashmiri Pandits who still live in the Valley, while close to 60,000 families have moved out, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Augut 22.
"As many as 808 families are residing in Kashmir and 59,442 registered migrant families continue to reside outside the Valley," Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
The minister also released data on temples in the Valley along with those that were damaged during the campaign to drive out the Pandits.
Singh said 170 temples were damaged in Kashmir after migration of Kashmiri Pandits. "Of the total of 430 temples which existed before migration, 260 of them are intact, 170 were damaged and 90 others renovated," Singh said in reply to details sought by an MP on Hindu temples in Kashmir.
27. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shri Tulsi Dhanjani – Spain, Shri Abhinandankumar – Botswana. Pravas: Dr.Sadanand Sapre, sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag will visit Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar in September.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Books are infinite in number and time is short. The secret of knowledge is to take what is essential. Take that and try to live up to it. -- Swami Vivekananda.
JAI SHREE RAM
A narrative on a new social welfare model
I recently found myself traveling in Rajasthan, Bharat.
The fine countryside of Rajasthan, is of course, dotted with constant reminders of an ancient and chivalrous past; of beautiful palaces, glorious narratives of valiant Rajput men and honorable women, great carvings and filigree work, paintings and music, and an extraordinary legacy of heritage to behold from a traveler's perspective. It is also a lot more enjoyable, when one is ensconced, too, amidst the modern amenities of some magnificent hotels.
However, I also found myself looking for things that were a little less on the senses and more to do with man's esoteric quests.
I think I might have found one on the desert road, in Pokhran, where Bharat's great nuclear tests get conducted.
I happened to stop at a very fascinating but quite the mysterious place. It was the abode of supposedly a great man called Sant Harvansh Singh. This Sant, I was told, spent a large part of his life in meditation and contemplation, and in the very cavern where it seems he performed his experiments with "shakti", I found one of the most unique libraries that I may have ever seen in my life (and all of this is coming from a person who has visited Washington's monumental libraries, the Smithsonian, Harvard and Yale libraries etc).
The Saint, single handedly, in this great remote desert, seems to have collected no less than 200,000 books on every possible subject that has ever been in discussion and print in Bharat, including rows upon rows on Bharat's jurisprudence, it's monumental history of 7,000 years or more, an incredible linguistics wing (past, present and future where Michigan U researchers point to a usage of 50,000 languages and dialects in Bharat), books on all of its major and minor religions, all it's possible military strategies, its great routes of trade and navigation, it's remarkable past wealth, it's ornithology, horticulture etc. etc. etc.
I found the ability to name just about any subject and to find an incredible number of references there!
The library has also huge wings or corridors which go as far as your eye can take you, and it just takes one's breath away!
Mind you all of this is underground!
The saint also, remarkably, seems to have reversed Nature's intentions for a desert place. Where nothing could possibly grow, he succeeded in planting vegetation for acres around his habitat and has installed a remarkable husbandry for thousands of cows.
In the time I spent there, I was rendered speechless with wonder, as to how a single human force could perform such mind boggling feats, in so remote a corner of the world!
Surprisingly, I could not glean a single tangible account of this holy person, other than the usual collected whispers of faith, that he was an unparalleled Yogi who had dedicated himself to "shakti-patha" in these modern times, and had lived in complete testimony to the strength that emanates from constant "mauna" (silence).
The only tangibility that I have obtained on this surrealistic scene, seems to have come from it's recognition by another great soul, APJ Abdul Kalam. The President of Bharat, speaking at the Animal Nutrition World Conference Feb 16, 2009 at NASC Centre, New Delhi, had this to say of a model display of life from this great being
Beautiful societal mission
"While thinking about nutrition for cattle, I am reminded of my visit to Pokharan range. On the way to Pokharan, I had visited Bhadariya village where a new social welfare model has been created by Baba Sri Bhadariya Maharaj. He has an Ashram with a large underground library having around two lakh books. Baba ji has worked on de-addiction programme in 60 to 70 villages in the vicinity of Bhadariya. He has a mission of planting over one lakh trees in the region. He has got tube-wells which provide water in the desert condition. With the availability of the greenery, many stray cattle gather there and Baba has given shelter to over 600 cows. The feed is being provided by the locally available grass and feed provided by the neighbouring villagers where the de-addiction programme has taken place. As a thanks giving, the de-addicted villagers are providing good quality fodder to the cows of the Ashram. Ashram is also providing knowledge on naturopathy and herbal medicines to the rural community and treatment of the cattle. When the cows start giving milk, Baba gives milk and butter milk free of cost to all the needy and travelers passing through that region. Thus, we can see an integrated development of communication, dissemination of knowledge, medicare, cattle rearing, fodder management are all taking place together in the desert area."
The Sant breathed his last on Feb 26, 2010.