Baishakh Shukla 6 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: May 16, 2013

1.   FESTIVALS:  Vat Savitri Puja, is observed on the Amavasya of Jyestha, falling on June 8 this year by women for long life of their husband. Women worship the legendary Savitri as Goddess and observed fast for their husband’s long life. The day is celebrated across the nation, it is observed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Orissa on Amavasya day while in Western and southern parts, on Jyeshtha Poornima day. Married ladies especially of Tamil Nadu and Karanataka observe festival with the different name as Karadaiyan Nonbu. Savitri is worshiped on this day as an incarnation of goddess and Vat or Banyan tress is also equally revered on this day. Women of nearby places gather at a temple with Banyan or Vat tree. They pour holy Ganga water on the tree, and tie red threads around the tree while going around the tree for 108 times and wish for long conjugal life to their spouses.
2.  Women symbol of peace, love & dignity: Rashtrapati Pranab Mukherjee on May 13 gave away two distinguished awards instituted by the Assam Government to two eminent personalities of the country and said that the women are the symbol of peace, love, humanity and dignity. He conferred the prestigious ‘Asom Ratna’ award 2012 on Assam’s noted litterateur Late Mamoni Raisom Goswami posthumously and gave the Srimanta Sankardev Award for the year 2008 to renowned film actor Sharmila Tagore.
 “I am happy to confer the Srimanta Shankaradev Award for the year 2008 on Sharmila Tagore. I congratulate Tagore for her rich contribution to Bharat’s cultural life. I also welcome the recognition of the contribution of Late Mamoni Raisom Goswami by the Assam Government”. Shri Mukherjee said. He said that the life of Mamoni Raisom Goswami was an illustration of struggle and the fortitude on how to overcome personal tragedy. He appreciated Tagore, who as a chairperson of the Indian Film Censor Board used her influence to promote initiatives aimed at bringing positive change in our society.
3.  YOUTH CAMP AT SYDNEY: The Sydney Chapter of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) held a 5 day residential youth camp from 22 to 27 April 2013. 35 youth / students, boys as well as girls, between the school grades of 8 and 11 participated in this challenging event. 
The key concepts and activities explored at the camp were Yoga, Fitness, competitive games, workshops and discussions about key issues that the youth face on a day to day basis.
Specific attention was given to the Leadership value of Sewa or Service.  Victor Dominiello, a young Minister for NSW Governement and a prominent spokesperson for Youth affairs, the need for service within the Australian community. He also highlighted the good work being done by HSS in promoting the positive integration of Hindu and Australian values which subsequently contributed to a robust multicultural Australian society.  Saumitra Gokhale, the International Coordinator for HSS, emphasised the need for younger generation to pursue the path of leading a simple and purposeful life with a focus on contributing back to this society.
4.  PROMOTING VEDIC WAYS IN RUSSIA: Golden domed temples and tastefully landscaped lawns have replaced dilapidated wooden houses in the riverside region of Nizhny Novgorod (about 200 miles east of Moscow, on the Volga River). A picturesque monastery complex now exists where there used to be an abandoned village. About a decade ago, a handful of Russian Hindu monks led by Swami Vishnudevanand laid the foundation of Divya Loka Ashram. They sought to expand the reach of Sanatana Dharma and to lead a life guided by the Vedas.
When Vishnudevanand, still a young boy, didn't find an explanation for his spiritual questions in the works of great philosophers such as Berdyaev, Solovyov, Schopenhauer, and Voltaire, he turned to the ancient wisdom of Hindu literatures. He found a confirmation for his internal divine surge in the Gita, the Bhagwat Purana, and philosophical texts of Sri Sankracharya.
In 2010, during the Kumbh mela in Haridwar he was conferred the title of mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara, one of the major sects of sages in Bharat. A mahamandaleshwar is a high ranking monk of an akhara who is granted special authority and responsibility for the propagation of Hinduism. "This title is a blessing from the saints. It's an honour which has opened many new possibilities. It enables me to serve Sanatana Dharma in Russia, to support and protect it," the swami describes what being the first ever Russian mahamandaleshwar means to him. Following Swami Vishnudevanand's footsteps, his disciple Anandlila Giri became the first Russian woman to be ordained such at the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad earlier this year.
Considering an enhanced interest in spirituality in Russia, this academy works as a catalyst for promoting Bharatiya values. Ilya Kurylenko, a disciple of Vishnudevanand, suggests that Russians are especially interested in yoga and Vedic practices. "Many people read the books of Adavaita teachers such as Sri Ramana Maharishi, his disciple Papaji, Ramesh Balsekar, and Sri Nisargadatta," he says. The academy reports that their recent Congress of Advaita Vedanta hosted in Moscow was attended by about five thousand people.
5.  RSS training camp in North TN concludes: The annual summer training camp of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) North Tamil Nadu concluded with the public function on 10th May at Gudiyatham. The training camp began on 22nd April with 227 trainees representing from 19 districts.
Senior RSS leaders including Suryanarayana Rao, Nandakumar, Akhila Bharatiya Sah Prachar Pramukh, Sethumadhavan, Akhila Bharatiya Karyakarini Sadasya and others guided the trainees.
Apart from regular activities, trainees went on to Mahadeva Malai for treasure hunt.  Gram Samparak to 17 villages of nine nagar inspired the trainees. Every day, leaders from various castes, industrialists, and panchayat leaders visitd the camp.
6. PIO woman shortlisted for world’s best job:  A Bharatiya-origin woman in the UK has been shortlisted out of 600,000 applicants for the post of Western Australia taste master, described as one of the best jobs in the world. Asha Patel, who grew up in Rushey Mead, Leicester, has been shortlisted along with 24 other people for the job that involves eating your way round the state, foraging out the finest produce and uncovering the best bars and restaurants. The Australian states tourism website has described it as one of the best jobs in the world. Asha is more than a little excited after being shortlisted for the role.
7. BLOOD DONATION CAMP AT NAIROBI: A blood donation and & health check-up camp was held on 28th April at Nairobi, Kenya under the auspices of  Swami Vivekananda 150th birth anniversary  celebration committee in association  with Hindu Religious & Service Centre, Kenya. While a total of 150 blood donations took place, a blood donor list of active volunteers who would be available to donate blood in any exigency, by the name Swami Vivekananda Blood Donor Group was prepared. Swami Vivekananda General Health Check-up Camp was also held where over 350 people did Blood Sugar status, Body Mass Index and general check-up.  Swami Vivekananda Eye Check-up Camp examined over 200 patients and 75 people registered themselves with Lions Club with a pledge to donate Eye. Deputy High Commissioner- Mr. Tanmay Lal, HCK Chariman – Mr. Swarn Varma, HRSC Chairman – Chhagan bhai Shah were present alongwith the HSS team.
8. HINDU-ORIGIN PONAGAR FESTIVAL OPENS IN VIETNAM: The Ponagar fest, the biggest cultural event held by Cham people in the south of the central region of Vietnam, kicked off on April 30 in Khanh Hoa's Nha Trang coastal city. The event also earned the recognition as an intangible national heritage the same day.
From April 30th to May 2nd when the festival takes place, the 1,200-year-old Ponagar tower is open free of charge to tourists. Roughly 60,000 pilgrims and visitors, almost double last year's number, were expected to join the four-day festival. The festival features such rituals as dressing up the Ponagar Goddess, requiems, floating flowers and colored lanterns, processions and offerings to the Goddess and Cham traditional dances.
The fest, held annually in the third month of the lunar calendar, is to pay tribute to Goddess Yan Po Nagar, or Thien Y Thanh Mau in Vietnamese, who is identified with the Hindu Goddesses Bhagavati and Mahishasuramardini. As legend has it, Thien Y Thanh Mau taught locals how to do farming, weaving and knitting along with several other vocations to fend for themselves and safeguarded them from calamities and wars.
9.  Bharatiya student awarded in USA for making novel water purifier:  Nisarg Patel of the Arizona State University (ASU) won the changing entrepreneurship and outstanding teaching awards at the annual Pitchfork Awards ceremony, for co-founding HyrdoGene Biotechnologies. The group reprogrammes bacteria to produce a protein bio-sensor that then purifies water from the bacteria. The idea came when one of Patel's lab partners came back from a research trip in Guatemala, where she noticed children looking at their water and drinking it if it seemed relatively clear.
"They don't realise it's contaminated with bacteria that they can't see, so that’s one of the issues we're trying to solve," Patel said. "Even if your idea is small, the fact that there are so many of you means one small impact after another can really make a difference," he added.
10.  Amartya lauds Chhattisgarh food security model: The ‘Food Security Model’ of Chhattisgarh Government has come for praise from Nobel laureate and internationally acclaimed Economist Amartya Sen during a discussion titled ‘Development versus Growth’ at private news channel. Sen was candid in his view that “Chhattisgarh is doing a better job in the domain of Food Security.”
On the other hand, the Nobel laureate remarked that the Centre’s ‘Food Security Bill’ has many shortcomings. Sen was of the view that the country’s revenue collections had grown by four times during the past few years which should be spent for socio-economic development of the people. However, he expressed concern over far less capital being spent in Bharat in the area of education, healthcare, nutrition when compared to China, Japan and other Asian countries.
11. “DAYS OF INDIANNESS” IN MARTINIQUE: The 160th anniversary of the arrival of Bharatiya workers in Martinique – a tiny Caribbean island, was celebrated in Basse-Pointe during the first weekend of May 2013. The festivity was the second edition of the "Days of Indianness." It was an opportunity to showcase all those who are contributing to the preservation of the Bharatiya cultural contribution to Martinican society.
Among the activities were an exhibition "History of Indianness in Martinique" at the town hall and a walking tour of the two small Hindu temples in the area. There were also seminars and exhibitions of Tamil language, cuisine, traditional dress, jewelry and medicinal uses of plants of Bharatiya origin that are growing on the island.
To honor the event, the town named a street after Antoine "Zwazo" Tangamen, who was a respected Hindu priest, one of the last fluent Tamil speakers on the island, and widely recognized for helping to insure the survival of Hindu tradition in Martinique.
The event was organized by the tourist office in Basse-Pointe in collaboration with the Martinique-India cultural association.
12. NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL SERVES ALL VEGETARIAN FARE: Public School 244 in Flushing is the first public school in US to serve all-vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch. School’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott says the all-vegetarian food system should be replicated at schools across the city and nation.
Chefs at the Active Learning Elementary School have swapped chicken, turkey and ham for black beans, tofu and falafel, and kids are digging in with delight. On the menu is black bean and cheddar quesadillas with salsa and roasted potatoes. "This is so good!" squealed 9-year-old Marian Satti. Students are pioneers in a citywide effort to make healthy food a staple of every child. A-rated PS 244 partnered with nonprofit New York Coalition for Healthy School Food to design recipes.  
13.  Women take 1st, 3rd ranks in UPSC exam: Women have more than levelled the playing field in the civil services exams. Not only has a woman topped the exam for the third time in a row, toppers in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes categories in the 2012 exam are also women. In a remarkably strong performance, 12 of the top 25 successful candidates in the 2012 Union Public Service Commission exam, the results for which were declared on May 3, are women. To Haritha V Kumar, an engineer from Kerala goes the distinction of topping the central services exam.
14. 15th century Jain temple in Kerala to be reopened: A 15th-century Jain temple, which has been in a dilapidated condition for the past several years, is all set for reopening after its renovation. As a prelude to its re-dedication, a three-day idol installation ceremony began at the Chandraprabha Digambar temple at nearby Jainimedu on May 11 attracting devotees from across Kerala and neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
15. Chardham Yatra begins: The first lot of 1,000 pilgrims left in Uttarakhand on May 12 for Chardham Yatra to Gangotri, Yamnotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
16.  Kedarnath shrine portals reopened: The portals of the Kedarnath shrine were reopened to the public on May 14 amid Vedic chants. About 3,000 |devotees were present on the occasion apart from the State Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat.
17.  SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned to USA after finishing his tour to Australia and NewZealand. Shri Shyam Parande, Secretary, Sewa International is continuing his tour to USA. Visitors: Group of teachers from Bali and Java, Arun Sharma and Aman Sharma – Houston, Ashish Dogra – Bay area, USA, Shri DP Dahal - Nepal
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "You young men! You are all very fortunate for being trained in the RSS, exactly on the same lines of man-making plan as envisaged by Swami Vivekananda. I have realized this and am completely convinced that this is Swamiji's work, God's work” - Swami Chidbhavanand  disciple of Swami Shivananda, a direct disciple of Shri Ramakrishna and a Gurubandhu of Swami Vivekananda

Extracts from a paper presented at 2nd ASSE International Conference on Nation, Nationality, Nationhood: What is in the Name? On 2–3 May 2013 at Tirana, Albania by: Sri RAM MADHAV Varanasi, MA (Pol. Science), Director, India Foundation, New Delhi, India 
Nation, Nationalism and Nationality are essentially European ideas which evolved in the 18th & 19th centuries.
Nation-states: A History of Just Two Centuries 
Nation States came into existence hardly two centuries ago in Europe. “The concept of nation-states, i.e. that the aspirations of the people that constitute a nation are best served by a common political entity is considered a relatively recent idea in Europe from the 18th century. Nationalism led to the formation of nation-states and modern countries. This development was followed up with a gradual hardening of state boundaries with the passport and visa regime that followed it”, says Sankrant Sanu in an enlightening article “Why India Is a Nation”. 
Many European nations that we see today didn’t exist 200 years ago or 300 years ago.
History of the United Kingdom in last two hundred years itself is a testimony to the upheavals that the concept of Nation State has endured. England, Scotland and Wales got together in 1702 to form what is called the Great Britain.
Using political, military and religious power Great Britain abolished the Irish Parliament and annexed Ireland in 1801. Thus what we today call as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland emerged. However the Catholic majority never accepted this arrangement and a long, often bloody, struggle followed, which culminated in the collapse of the arrangement of the United Kingdom. Catholic majority areas of South Ireland seceded from the UK to emerge again as the Republic of Ireland, although the Anglican Church ensured that its followers, who have by then become a dominant group in Northern Ireland, continue their allegiance to the United Kingdom. Thus the Nation State of UK that we see today can boast not even a century’s history. 
Even American history also tells the same story.
At the time of the great American Revolution in 1776 when the 13 British Colonies came under one umbrella led by Thomas Jefferson and declared independence from the British Parliament’s control, their geographical area was limited to the area covering the States on today’s East Coast of the USA. Texas and California joined in 1845 after the Mexican War and Hawaii became a State in 1900. Seen from this historical background, the United States of America as a Nation State is not more than two centuries old. 
In 1788 the new American Constitution was adopted. The Bill of Rights, the most important part of the US Constitution was adopted in 1891. It is this Bill of Rights that keeps the diverse American peoples as one. However skeptics like Samuel Huntington questioned this very feeble foundation of American identity. In his important work ‘Who Are We’ Huntington raises the crucial question as to whether the United States of America had really become one nation. His answer was in the negative although his thesis was about creating one national identity for entire America which he described as ‘Protestant Ethic without Organised Church’. 
The Nation States in Africa were a creation of the Colonists.
There are a few countries that can claim much longer history. For example countries in South America like Mexico and countries in Eurasia like Egypt, Turkey etc. But here again the Nation States of all these countries are of very recent origin and had nothing to do with their ancient past. The Aztec culture that was prevalent in Mexico before the Spanish Conquest has remained only as a museum item and mark of pride while the present day has become Hispanic in language, religion and culture. Same is the case with countries like Egypt and Turkey etc. The ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia, Egypt etc had lost all their traces in the modern Nation States of Egypt, Italy, Turkey etc. 
What is the European concept of Nation and Nationhood?  Territorial sovereignty has traditionally been seen as a defining element of state power, and essential for nationhood. It was extolled in classic modern works by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. 
In other words, a nation is any group of people aspiring to a common political state-like organization. 
Some scholars have added cultural dimension to the definition. Michel Seymour in his proposal of a “socio-cultural definition” states that nation is a cultural group, possibly but not necessarily united by a common descent, endowed with civic ties (Seymour 2000).
Classical nationalism of the western origin is the political program that sees the creation and maintenance of a fully sovereign state owned by a given ethno-national group (“people” or “nation”) as a primary duty of each member of the group. 
Ethno-Political or Ethno-Cultural form of Nationalism has led to the creation of a large number of Nation States in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It might have benefitted some, like the Israelis, the Belgians etc and continues to be seen as beneficial by groups like the Scots in UK, the Flemish in Belgium, the Kurds in Turkey and Iran and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. But it essentially is based on divisive and superiority sentiments. 
Nation-states Alien to Indian Thought 
Some Indian and British scholars have tried to apply the same Nation State concept to India as well. Sir John Strachey, a Member in the Council of Secretary of State of the British Government wrote in 1888: “This is the first and the most essential thing to learn about India that there is not and never was an India or even any country of India possessing, according to European ideas, any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious. No Indian nation, no people of India’ of which we hear so much.” As late as 1930, the Simon Commission referred to India as a “conglomeration of races and religions.” 
Surendranath Benarjee authored a book titled “A Nation in the Making” describing India as a Nation that is slowly being built on the lines of the European Nation State model. 
However, the European concept of Nation is alien to Indian thought. “The concept of nation itself is, in fact, alien to the Hindu temperament and genius. It is essentially Semitic in character, even if it arose in Western Europe in the eighteenth century when it had successfully shaken off the Church’s stranglehold. For, like Christianity and Islam, it too emphasizes the exclusion of those who do not belong to the charmed circle (territorial, or linguistic, or ethnic) as much as it emphasizes the inclusion of those who fall within the circle. Indeed, the former, like the heretics and pagans in Christianity and Islam, are cast into outer darkness”, writes eminent Indian author Girilal Jain. 
Robindranatath Tagore too was critical of the West contrasting it with the Indian thought: In fact a land of such extreme diversity in language, religions, rituals and customs is a nightmare for any scholar to explain in terms of the modern Nation State concept. That leads us to the question of what is the identity of India if not a Nation in the European sense? 
Rishi Aurobindo, one of the greatest saint-philosophers of 20th Century described Indian approach to Nationalism is the following words: “In India we do not recognise the nation as the highest synthesis to which we can rise. There is a higher synthesis, humanity; beyond that there is a still higher synthesis, this living, suffering, aspiring world of creatures, the synthesis of Buddhism; there is a highest of all, the synthesis of God, and that is the Hindu synthesis, the synthesis of Vedanta.
In an illuminating passage, Sri Aurobindo defined the essential elements of nationality. He wrote:
“We answer that there are certain essential conditions, geographical unity, a common past, a powerful common interest impelling towards unity and certain favourable ‘political conditions which enable the impulse to realize itself in an organized government expressing the nationality and perpetuating its single and united existence. This may be provided by a part of the nation, a race or community, uniting the others under its leadership or domination, or by a united resistance to a common pressure from outside or within. A common enthusiasm coalescing with a common interest is the most powerful fosterer of nationality.” 
Rashtram: The Enlightened Path 
Rastram is etymologically explained as a firm, enlightened path for welfare of a community. The word is derived as a combination of two roots: ras’mi ‘the sun’ and sTha ‘firm, placed in’. This leads to an extraordinary evocation in the Vedas: rastram me datta (Give me that lighted path). 
In India, the concept of nation existed for millennia in the form of a pan-Indian spiritual-emotional identity. In Rig Veda, the most ancient work of Hindu seers, the word ‘Rashtram’ was used to describe the national identity of the people of the land called Bharatavarsha. ‘Rashtram’ is a uniquely Indian concept for nationhood founded essentially on the spiritual foundations. Thus ‘Rashtram’ as an idea is a unifying and development-oriented (Abhyudayam) concept. 
Rashtram – The Divine Mother 
Rashtram has been invested with divinity and motherhood in the Vedas. Vak, one of the innumerable women composers of the hymns in Vedas says in the Pratham Mandala of Rig Veda: 
Aham Rashtri Sangamani Vasunam Chikitushi Prathama Yagyiyanam – Rig Veda
I am the beholder of this Rashtra; benefactor of the gods; and first among the worshipped. 
From time immemorial women were held in very high esteem in India and this hymn is the in a sense the originator of the concept of Bharat Mata – the Motherland Bharat. Rishi Aurobindo described her as Jagajjanani – the mother of all mothers – the Universal Mother. 
In the foreword to R.K. Mookerjee’s The Fundamental Unity of India, late Sir J. Ramsay MacDonald, ex-Prime Minister of Britain writes: “The Hindu regards India not only as a political unit naturally the subject of one sovereignty – whoever holds that sovereignty, whether British, Mohamedan, or Hindu – but as the outward embodiment, as the temple – nay, even as the goddess mother – of his spiritual culture… He made India the symbol of his culture; he filled it with this soul. In his consciousness, it was his greater self.” 
Evolution of Rashtra 
In Bharat there was evolution of Rashtra. It is not similar to the theory of Nation in the West. There is a beautiful shloka in Atharva Veda which says: 
Bhadram icchhantah rishiyah
swar vidayah, tapo dikshaamupanshed agre.
tato raashtram, bala, ojasya jaatam
tadasmai devaupasannmantu
It means that a bhadra icchha – a benign wish originated in the minds of ancient seers during the course of their penance. This benign wish was for Abhyudayam – the welfare and glory of all.
Abhyudayam is material and spiritual wellbeing of the mankind. Now what is Rashtra here? This is not political but it is spiritual. This is for the welfare of all. 
But the most important question is how to explain bhadra icchha (benign wish)? The entire philosophy of Rashtra emanates from this bhadra icchha (benign wish). A doctrine of Dharma was developed on the basis of this bhadra icchha. 
Sage Kaṇāda in Vaiśeṣika Sūtra notes a definition of Dharma by its beneficial impact, focusing on discharge of one’s responsibility: 
Yatobhyudaya nisreyasa siddhihi ca dharmah
“That which leads to the attainment of Abhyudaya (prosperity in this world) and Nihśreyasa (total cessation of pain and attainment of eternal bliss hereafter) is Dharma”. The Bhadra Icchha – Benign Wish of the sages was to secure this two-fold objective. 
It is this Dharma which is the soul of the Rashtra. Swami Vivekananda described India as ‘Dharma Praana Bhaarata‘ – ‘Bharat with Dharma as soul’. This concept of National Soul is unique to India and that soul is ‘Rashtra‘ – the quintessential national identity of India. Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya called it ‘Chiti‘.
Dharma can be understood a set of values that define the ethical, spiritual life of India as a Rashtra. They include its outlook to life, creation, universe, god, state, wealth and everything else. It is these ideals on which the Indian nationhood – Rashtriyata – was founded and thrived. It is these ideals India ‘never lost sight of’ in her long journey through victories and vicissitudes. 
Some of the fundamentals of Dharma can be enumerated briefly in order to underscore the difference between the concept of ‘Rashtram‘ and ‘Nation’. 
On the question of Creation it believes: 
* Isavasyam idam sarvam (Chapter 4: The Isavasya Upanishad).  The entire universe, animate and inanimate alike, is pervaded by Isvara – the divine consciousness. 
On the question of ethnic, racial, linguistic and other difference in the world it proposes: 
* Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
The entire world is one family. 
On the economic question it talks about ‘sustained consumption’: 
* tena tyaktena bhunjitah
One should acquire only that much which was left for him by Isvara 
On the welfare question, it states: 
* sarve bhavantu sukinah – sarve santu niramayah
Let ALL be happy and free from diseases 
On the environment related questions, its proposition is: 
* Mata bhumi putro’ham prithvyah (Atharva Veda 12|1|12) This earth is my mother and I am her son. 
On the question of religious diversity in the world, it proposes: 
Indram mitram varunnamagnimaahutathoe divyah sa suparnoe garutmaan |
Ekam Sadvipraa bahudhaa Vadanti maatarisvaanamaahuh
– Rig Veda
Truth is one; wise men interpret in different ways.
It has attained ultimate levels of tolerance, accommodation and celebration of pluralism on the earth. 
nana vibrati bahudha vivacasam
nana dharmanam prithivi yathaukasam
sahasra dhara dravitasya ye duham
dhruvena dhamurenk pasphuranti 
‘The earth is full of variety; it contains people speaking different dialects and speech, of diverse religious customs, each living according to what they think is right. The earth contains innumerable valuable things. It bears trees and plants of great diversity. We should pay homage to that Earth’.
Entire World is One Rashtram 
 ‘Rashtra’ is not a political concept in the sense that it doesn’t define any geographical boundaries. It is more an ethical, spiritual concept – a view and way of life. The sages of India concluded that this whole earth surrounded by oceans is one Rashtra 
prithivyah samudra parayantaayah eak raat iti
Therefore the idea and concept of Rashtra is a philosophy here. It is a way of life and principles to live life which define relationship and expected behavior between people and other beings. 
State under Rashtram 
Contrary to Nation State concept Rashtram views State as one of the many institutions that help society pursue the path of Dharma. State, described as Rajya, is thus not coterminous with Rashtra. 
The Aitereya Brahmana, one of the ancient scriptures of India describes 10 kinds of Rajyas under one Rashtra: 
Samrajyam. bhaujyam. svarajyam. vairajyam.
parameshthyam. rajyam. maharajyam adhipatyamayam.
SamantaparyayI syat. sarvabhauma sarvayusha antadaparardhat.
Chanakya, the great Indian political philosopher, states that Rajah – the King – is a servant of Dharma. Unlike in Nation States the Rajah enjoys no special privileges whatsoever.
Millinnia-old Experience of India as Rashtram 
In India, this kind of Rashtra existed for Millennia as an ethical and spiritual idea pervading the entire national life of Hindus. There existed innumerable political units in the form of kings, vassals, principalities, self-governed republics and occasionally the monarchs. But they never interfered in the national life of the people. Their duties were limited to safety, order and development.
To conclude, Rashtra is spiritual, all inclusive and is for the welfare of all. The foundation and the meaning behind it is not political or divisive. This Rashtra does not exist on the basis of rulers or army. This Rashtra has originated from the bhadra ichchha (benign wish) of the sages – rishis. This bhadra ichchha (benign wish) sees element of supreme soul in all, it propounds the idea of Ekam Sadvipraa bahudha vadanti and has a vision of sarve bhavantu sukhinah before it. 
It is this bhadra ichchha, which has given rise to the Bharatiya Rashtram – Indian nation and sustains it through Dharma that should be the basis for a new discourse on Nation and Nationality.

Baishakha Krishna 6-7 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: May 1, 2013

1.  FESTIVALS: Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti on the full moon day of Baisakh, falling on May 25 this year, celebrates the birth of Gautam Buddha in 563 BC. The festival also commemorates Bhagwan Buddha's enlightenment and nirvana. The festival is observed by lighting oil lamps before the image of the Buddha, by reciting prayers or reading from the Buddhist scriptures and worshipping the statue of Buddha. Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh) are, in particular, known for the Buddha Purnima celebrations. Bodhgaya is the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is decorated with colorful prayer flags and flowers. Special prayers are offered under the Bodhi tree, where the Lord Buddha attained enlightement. Sarnath is the place where the Buddha after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya taught his learning to the followers.
2. HINDUTVA IS THE BINDING FORCE: “Our society has some shortcomings and all the great men who tried to uplift the nation have concluded that unless and until we could do away with these shortcomings, the nation won’t rise to the state of its pristine glory,” said RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, at a public function in Nasik on April 18. "Hindutva is the soul of this country. The nation will rise with awakening of this soul & not just by trying to copy others RSS firmly believes that only right thinking; united people can help the nation to rise. And that is why RSS is uniting Hindus” he added.  Also present were Prant Sanghachalak Dada Sahane, Zilla Sanghachalak Nana Salunke and Nagar Sanghchalak Vijay Kadam who briefed the audience about various sewa activities in Nashik region viz Jankalyan Blood Bank, Shankaracharya Nyas, Shri Guruji Rugnalaya and a hostel run for students from Meghalaya.   
 3. PAK HINDUS DEMONSTRATE AT UN OFFICE, SUBMIT MEMORANDUM: Inhuman nature of Pakistan exposed before the world community when Pak Hindus narrated their heartfelt story of atrocities at the office of the United Nations in New Delhi on April 17 in a demonstration led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) against violation of their human rights in Pakistan. Addressing the silent demonstrators the VHP state president Swadesh Pal Gupta & the vice president Mahavir Prasad said that abduction, rapes, attacks on houses & temples and large scale forced religious conversions are the common atrocities being faced by Pak Hindus. They have been forced to live like animals and are being brutally killed at many places. They have only three options before them, to accept Islam, to leave Pakistan or to get killed. The demonstrators also submitted a memorandum to the UN secretary General to save the Hindu Human rights.
4. TELL CENTRE TO SCRAP SETHU SAMUDRAM, TAMIL NADU URGES SUPREME COURT: The Tamil Nadu government has urged the Supreme Court to direct the central government not to proceed with the implementation of the Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project in the Palk Strait. The channel will facilitate navigation between Bharat's East and West coasts.
In his affidavit before the apex court, Tamil Nadu government's chief secretary said that besides its questionable economic viability, the shipping channel project would adversely affect the extreme eco-fragility of the surrounding area. The state government said that shipping channel project was not in public interest.
The Tamil Nadu government sought the court's direction to the centre to "give careful consideration and to accept" the conclusion and recommendation of Dr RK Pachauri's report. The affidavit filed on April 15, 2013, urged the apex court bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar to direct the centre to declare Rama Sethu as a national monument and stay away from currying out any activity which may affect it.
5. MUMBAI UNIVERSITY HAS MORE SUPERRICH ALUMNI THAN CAMBRIDGE OR BROWN: Mumbai University is the only Bharatiya entry in a top 20 graduate 'rich list' that has ranked universities that will make you a millionaire. With 372 multi-millionaires (net worth: $37 billion) as alumni, it is ranked 18th in the list. Delhi University also finds mention: though it does not figure in the top 20 list, it has 229 super-rich alumni. According to research by wealth analyst Wealth-X, Harvard boasts of the highest number of rich alumni globally: 2,964 multi-millionaires worth a total of $622 billion. Harvard is also the alma mater of 52 billionaires, the largest number of billionaire alumni.
6. TRIBAL RIGHTS SUPREME: The Supreme Court, on April 18, has confirmed the principle that tribal people need to have a decisive voice in industrial projects affecting their lives by rejecting a bid by Vendanta Resources, controlled by London-based self-made billionaire Anil Agarwal, to lift a ban on mining bauxite in the Eastern state of Orissa. The court ordered village gram sabhas -- to say within three months whether they want the bauxite mining to go ahead. The 8,000-strong Dongria Kondh tribes believe the remote hills are the home of their god, Niyam Raja, and they rely on the land for their crops and livelihood. "If the bauxite mining project, in any way, affects their right to worship their deity, known as Niyam Raja, in the hilltop of the Niyamgiri range of hills, that right has to be protected," the Supreme Court declared.
7. ACHARYA SOHANLAL RAMRANG HONOURED WITH DR HEDGEWAR PRAGYA SAMMAN: Noted writer and scholar Acharya Sohanlal Ramrang was felicitated with 24th Dr Hedgewar Pragya Samman in Kolkata on April 21. The Puraskar, which consists of cash of Rs 51,000, coconut, shawl, a citation and a memento, was presented by the BJP national vice-president Balbir Punj. The Puraskar was provided by Shree Burrabazar Kumarsabha Pustakalaya. Poorva Kshetra Sanghachalak Ranendranath Bandopadhyaya was also present on the occasion. Balbir Punj said secularism and democracy survive in the country only because of Sanatan Hindu culture.  He said both these are safe until Hindus are united.   
Receiving the Samman, Acharya Sohanlal Ramrang said the Samman would grant him new energy. He said Dr Hedgewar reawakened the Hindu way of life and presented the Hindutva in new form. He said the nation which forgets its past, loses its identity.
8. ECONOMIST RAJ CHETTY WINS ‘BABY NOBEL’: Delhi-born Raj Chetty, a 33-year-old professor in the Department of Economy at the Harvard University since 2009, whose pioneering work was cited by US President Barack Obama in his last year's State of the Union Address, has won the prestigious John Bates Clark medal, often described as the 'Baby Nobel' of this year. The John Bates Clark medal is awarded to an American economist under the age of 40 who is adjudged to have made a "significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge".
Chetty is the first person of Bharatiya origin to win this award. The American Economic Association Honors and Awards Committee said Chetty is a remarkably productive economist whose contributions assimilate evidence using a variety of methodological perspectives to shed new light on important public policy questions.
9. STREET KIDS DANCE TO GLORY: As the arc lights fall on six-year-old Bhumi, she does her handstands, back flips and somersaults in lightning speed, so effortlessly it seems she is made of jelly. Her performance is greeted by tumultuous applause.
Those travelling down BRT corridor from Saket to Moolchand in Delhi have seen Bhumi and her cousins Kalpana (9), Sonam (10) and Veerta (7) many times. Their skills bring them averted glances, cold indifference and, at times, abuse when they perform on the road.
 But today is different. Pirouetting alongside young artistes from Urshilla Dance Company at Kamani Auditorium on Friday, they are being feted for their rare talent. Their flexible bodies make them perfect practitioners of contemporary dance forms.
"The idea is to dance for a cause. And these children are smart, have uncommon potential and need help to shape their futures," Bhavini Misra, choreographer and founder of the dance company, said. Bhumi and her cousins are from Chhattisgarh. They were brought to the capital to earn for their family who are traditional acrobats and tightrope walkers.
For Bhumi, it all began when "Didi" stepped out of her car. "She held my hand and asked me 'do you want to dance on stage'?" she said. Unsure at first she ran up to her elder brother. And since that time there has been no looking back.
Misra has not just trained the six children but has been negotiating with parents to invest in their future. She intends to enrol them in school. Two others, Ravi and Chhavi, are residents of Delhi, already enrolled in schools by their parents. "I always wanted to do this. It was a dream my friends and I dreamt before they died in a car crash," said Misra.Misra's production, Anurakti, aims to bridge socio-economic gaps and help young street-side acrobats shape their future. "After a lot of search, I came across street performers in CP and then at BRT. We have spoken to their parents and their artiste fees are being invested for their future. After the show, we are looking to place them in schools with the help of an NGO," she said.The group is also counselling the children who see this performance as a one-time chance to earn. Bhumi wants to study but Sonam (10) wants to go back to her roadside stunts. Her resistance to 'education' notwithstanding, Sonam puts up a phenomenal jugalbandi with the trained artiste on stage. She says she likes the energy and light that surround her there.
10. BORDER LINES: China's military incursion is a reminder that India's China policy needs greater realism and resolve: A Chinese platoon's foray last week into Indian territory at Burthe in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector of the Ladakh region was not a routine "incursion" across the long and contested Himalayan boundary. India and China don't agree on where exactly the Line of Actual Control is. Their security forces undertake patrols to their respective claim lines, which don't match and generate "incursions" by one side or the other. These "incursions" end when patrolling units withdraw after moving up to the claim line. This time, the Chinese platoon chose to stay put after intruding nearly 10 kilometres into Indian territory. Delhi responded by sending military reinforcements to the area and initiating talks.
Delhi, however, finds that the local Chinese commanders on the ground as well as senior officials in Beijing are unresponsive to India's concerns. A spokesperson of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs publicly rejected India's assertions on the intrusion. The foreign office in Delhi called in the Chinese envoy to demand a quick resolution of the issue. From the Indian perspective, this must necessarily include a withdrawal of the Chinese platoon and the removal of the structures it has put up. Delhi and Beijing must also reaffirm their commitment to maintain peace and tranquility on the border.
The Chinese military incursion comes amid the reported plans of the new premier, Li Keqiang, to make India one of his first foreign destinations. The incursion is a welcome reminder to Delhi that it must always differentiate between the expanding opportunities for cooperation with China and the enduring tensions on the border. In the past, Delhi has downplayed the difficulties on the China border and held them back from public view amidst soaring rhetoric about collaborating with China to change the world. At the same time, however, Delhi has no reason to overreact. It must prepare for a possible escalation while exploring all avenues for a peaceful resolution. Delhi must also take the Indian people into confidence on the implications of China's growing military assertiveness on the northern borders. From Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, there is a growing sense that the UPA government has become ineffective in responding to Chinese provocations. Many in Delhi's strategic community are convinced that the Congress leadership may be soft-pedalling the problems with China in the name of non-alignment and other discredited ideas of the past. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can no longer wait to inject some resolve and realism into India's China policy.  (Editorial, The Indian Express, Apr 24 2013)
11. RAM NAVAMI RITUALS NOT ALLOWED: For the first time in 64 years, the district administration didn’t allow the special Ram Navami rituals at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya as per a Supreme Court order passed 19 years ago. Despite the apex court’s order, the rituals were performed every year. However, this year the administrative authorities took the decision following strong opposition from Hashim Ansari, the first appellant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Seva Samiti has been performing traditional rituals despite the Supreme Court through its various orders restraining any religious activity on the acquired land of Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi. The chief priest appointed by the court, Acharya Satyender Das, is authorised to offer only daily prayers at the disputed site but no special prayer is allowed.
Faizabad DM Vipin Kumar Diwedi had earlier clarified that the administration would abide by the Supreme Court orders. So, when on Friday (19 April  ) the samiti members reached the first entry point of the acquired area — the Rang Mahal barrier — they were stopped and the metal ‘kalash’ (urn) was taken by a local priest arranged by the administration there.
The chief priest of Ram Janmabhoomi said, “One of my followers took the kalash, but it was not offered to Ram Lalla in the makeshift temple.”
12. ONE DUTY TO PERFORM: Every Hindu has but one great obligation, and that is to pass his religion on to the next generation of Hindus. That's all he has to do, pass his religion on to the next generation. Then that generation passes it on to their next generation. If we lose a single generation in-between, the whole religion is lost in an area of the world. How many religions have existed on this planet? Thousands of them. What happened to the Zoroastrian religion? It barely exists now. What happened to the religion of the ancient Greeks? They must have missed several generations. The ancient Mayan, Hawaiian, Druid and Egyptian religions are all virtually forgotten but for the history books.   
The great men and women in our history have withstood the most severe challenges to our religion and sacrificed their energies, even their lives, that it would not be lost to invaders who sought to destroy it. It is easy to be courageous when an enemy is on the attack, because the threat is so obvious. Today the threat is more subtle, but no less terrible. In fact, it is really a greater threat than Hinduism has ever had to face before, because an enemy is not destroying the religion. It is being surrendered by the Hindus themselves through neglect, through fear, through desire for land and gold, but mostly through ignorance of the religion itself. If Hindus really understood how deep into their soul their religion penetrates, if they knew how superior it is to any other spiritual path on the Earth today, they would not abandon it so easily but cherish and foster it into its great potential. They would not remain silent when asked about their religion, but speak out boldly its great truths. They would not hesitate to stand strong for Hinduism.   
How can Hindus in the modern, mechanized world pass their religion to the next generation when they are not proud enough of it to announce it openly to business associates and all who ask? When the Muslim seeks employment, he is proud to say, "I worship Allah." The Christian is proud to say, "I worship Jesus Christ." But too often the Hindu is not proud to say, "I worship Lord Ganesha.'' In our great religion there is one Supreme God and many Gods. The average Hindu today is not proud of this. He feels others will reject him, will not employ him, will not like him. Of course, this might be true. It might be very true. Then he should seek out people who do respect Hinduism. These are the people to associate with. – An email from Shri Kedar Nath Gupta, 7148 Baywood Court, Mississauga (on), L5N 5N6, Canada ro 9057851778.
13. BHARAT, CHINA COMPETE FOR SPACE NOW: With China pro-actively pursuing South Asian nations for launching satellites, a wary Bharat is now planning to approach the smaller South Asian neighbours — Maldives and Sri Lanka — to let their empty "orbital slots" to be used by Bharatiya satellites.
It is widely known that these smaller countries have "empty" orbital slots, and both Bharat and China are now keen to use them. This new and emerging concern in the Bharatiya establishment has given rise to an opportunity for the Bharatiya space agency ISRO to launch satellites, in the slots of other countries. What bothers Delhi is also that China's stated purpose for these satellites needs to be verified against its actual activities.
It is learnt that the Bharatiya government held discussions within its space and foreign ministries, and have decided to talk to these neighbours towards this end. This week, the Bharatiya establishment is going to raise the issue with the visiting Maldives Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim.
14. VANCOUVER – LARGEST PUNJABI SETTLEMENT OUTSIDE PUNJAB: White Canada is fast changing its colours as visible minorities — Asians, Blacks and others — are outgrowing the white population. According to projections done for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 60 per cent residents of the Greater Vancouver area by the year 2031 will be non-whites.
Daniel Hiebert of Vancouver-based University of British Columbia, who is an expert on immigration and did this projection, says, "There is no European city with anything like this demographic structure nor will there be in 2031."
 The good news is that South Asians, read Punjabis, will be the second biggest group after the Chinese by 2031. And Sikhism will be the second biggest religion in the Greater Vancouver area in the next decades, says the study.
But Surrey city on the outskirts of Vancouver is already a 'Punjabi city'. Some call it the Southall of Canada as more than 40 per cent of its population is of Punjabi origin. Surrey reported more than 94,000 speakers of Punjabi in the last year's census which pegged the city's population at about 500,000. "In that sense, the city has become the largest Punjabi settlement outside Punjab," says Indo-Canadian community leader Balwant Sanghera, who heads the Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) of Canada.
15. BHARAT TO HELP MYANMAR IN IT AND FARM SECTOR: Bharat is going all out in its efforts at capacity building in Myanmar, a key neighbour and the only South East Asian country it shares land boundary with. Information technology, skill development, agriculture are the key areas Bharat is focusing on.
Efforts are also afoot to set up the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology (MIIT).
The task force for the same is headed by S Ramadorai, advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on skill development.
In the field of agriculture, Bharat has offered assistance to set up a Rice Bio Park in Myanmar and renowned agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan is heading these efforts. Another area includes production of cardamom in the Naga Self Administered Zone.
An India-Myanmar Industrial Training Centre has been set up by HMT(I) in Pakokku and a second centre is being set up in Myingyan. The other initiatives in the area with Bharatiya assistance include Myanmar-India Centre for English Language (MICELT), a Myanmar-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (MIEDC) and an India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT Skills (IMCEITS).
16. CHABAHAR BHARAT’S ANSWER TO GWADAR: Bharat is set to counter the recent Chinese takeover of Pakistan’s Gwadar port by developing the Chabahar port in Iran. Developing Iranian port will help Bharat counter neighbours Ahead of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to Iran from May 3-5, the Union cabinet is likely to approve an assistance plan of $100 million (about Rs. 539 crore) to develop the port. “The cabinet approval is expected soon,” said an official. Gwadar has strategic importance for China as 60% of its crude oil comes from Gulf countries that are close to the port.
Chabahar will not only help New Delhi counter Beijing’s presence but also boost Bharat’s trade and investment ties with landlocked Afghanistan and central Asia by providing it with a transit route to the region (Pakistan does not allow Bharatiya goods to pass through its territory). Bharat, Iran and Afghanistan have already signed an agreement to give Bharatiya goods heading for central Asia and Afghanistan preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.
Moreover, the development of the port will also help Afghanistan reduce its dependence on Pakistan’s Karachi port for access to the Bharatiya Ocean. At present, Afghanistan uses Karachi for its trade and to receive energy supplies.  Chabahar has been on the agenda in discussions between Bharat and Iran since 2003. But a host of problems including the chill in India-Iran ties have prevented the project from taking off so far.
17. OVER 200 CHRISTIANS RETURN HOME IN TIRUNELVELI, TN: In a solemn homecoming ceremony organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on April 10 at Tirunelveli, over 200 Christians returned to their mother way of worship. A yajna was performed on the occasion. Swami Shantananda blessed the homecomers. Shri Gopalaratnam, State vice president of the VHP, spoke and informed that the VHP would see that Hindu names of the homecomers are published in the Gazatte. State secretary of Hindu Lawyers Munnani, Shri Kutralanathan, also was present on the occasion. 
18. RSS PITCHES IN TO SAVE BAJI RAO PESHWA’S TOMB: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has pitched in to rescue the historic monument where Maratha ruler Baji Rao Peshwa was laid to rest.
Situated on the bank of Narmada at Raver Khed in Khargoan district of Madhya Pradesh, the tomb is in danger of getting submerged with the increase in water level of the under-construction Maheshwar dam.
RSS Sah-Sarkaryavah Suresh Soni on 28 April said that the tomb will not be allowed to get submerged. He was at Raver Khed to participate in a programme to mark death anniversary of Baji Rao Peshwa. “All efforts will be taken to preserve the historical monument,” he said. Rajya Sabha member and BJP leader, Anil Dave said that a huge wall be constructed around the tomb to protect it in case of increase in water level.
Collector of Khargone, Navneet Mohan said that a wall will be constructed around the tomb at the cost of Rs 5 crore and process is under way to issue tender for the work.
19. SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S VIEWS ON CONVERSION - A SEMINAR AT CHENNAI: 150th year Celebrations Committee of Swami Vivekananda' of Tamilnadu has organized a daylong seminar at 'Infosys Hall', Chennai on 31.3.2013.
Swami Vimurthananda Maharaj, Editor, Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, Ramakrishna Matt, Chennai in his special address spoke on the dangers of conversion.  He initially narrated a story on how conversion is being done. Then he quoted various quoting of leaders across the country.
Journalist Aravindan Neelagandan, Dr. R.Srinivasan (Sastra University, Thanjavur), Prof. P Kanagasabapathy (Director, Centre of Indian Economy & Culture Studies, Coimbatore) & Shri A Krishnamachari (Editor, Panchajanyam magazine), Prof. V Insuvai (Prof. IRT Polytechnic) & Sri A Ramakrishna Prasad (Thinker and Speaker) presented their papers.
Swami Mithrananda, Acharya of Chinmaya Mission concluded the seminar on how our religion Hinduism is Universal. Shri S Gurumurthy called upon the Sadhus to conduct a debate on religious harmony wherein harmony can only be seen in Hinduism.
20. SHAKUNTALA DEVI NO MORE: Bharatiya mathematical genius and astrologer Shakuntala Devi, who was dubbed "human computer" for her swift numerical calculation abilities, passed away in Bengaluru on April 21 after brief illness. She was 83. She is survived by her daughter, son-in-law and two grand daughters.When three years old, she was found to be fond of numbers and having a phenomenal memory. She could calculate any equation and reel off amazing numbers in a flash. According to the Guinness World Records, Shakuntala Devi displayed her mathematical skills when she was six years old at a public function in Mysore, about 150 km from here and two years later, proved to be a prodigal wizard in number games at Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu's Chidambaram, about 200 km from Chennai. In 1977, Shakuntala Devi discovered the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. Three years later, in June 1980, she answered in 28 seconds when she was asked to multiply two 13-digit numbers picked at random at the Imperial College in London. She wrote a number of books on mathematics and astrology including "Fun with Numbers", "Astrology for You", "Puzzles to Puzzle You" and "Mathablit".
21. THREE YEAR ACTION PLAN FOR QUALITATIVE CHANGE: Sanskar Bharati, the leading organisation dedicated to the promotion of Bharatiya art and literature, has formulated a three years action plan to bring a qualitative change in the organisational activities at the three-day national executive committee meeting held at Jalaun - Uttar Pradesh April 13-15.       
Addressing the delegates, RSS Sahasarakaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal said during the last one thousand years many Bharatiya art forms were destroyed by the invaders, libraries were burnt, idols and temples were ruined, but the feeling of art still survives among us. He called upon the artists to spread the original cultural and Vedic knowledge to the masses and impart good samskars to the younger generation.    
Senior Pracharak Madhubhai Kulkarni and all senior leaders of the Sanskar Bharati including founder member Yogendraji, former president and noted Marathi film director Rajdutt, were present at the meeting. Apart from it, about 100 delegates from different parts of the country attended the meeting.
22. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag would tour New Zealand after finishing his tour to Australia. Ravikumar sah samyojak will return to Bharat after his tour to Hong Kong. Dr. Ram Vaidya, sah samyojak returned to UK after his Bharat trip. Shyam Parande, secretary Sewa International is on a tour to USA. Visitors: Shashi Chibber – UK
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. – Bhagwan Gautam Buddha 


Rushikesh Kulkarni

For a moment think of yourself as a child aged 8, living in a small village somewhere in India. There are several problems facing you. You are being bullied or regularly beaten up by your parents for no fault of yours. As a child, you have two options – fight or flight. You choose the latter and run away. Get on the first blue train heading out to a big city like Mumbai, hide under the berths, doze off and when you wake up – you are thrown into the sea of humanity. Then hunger strikes, you beg, you find an odd job to do and eventually meet many children like yourself. The railway station starts to become your home. Sooner someone passes a lit cigarette or shows you the bottle, not just alcohol but also whitener ink and life takes a new turn, this seems like the point of no return.
Boys at the Samatol shelter
On an average about 200 children arrive in the city from all parts of the country escaping miseries of their home. No sooner do they arrive, they are sucked into the quagmire of the busy, ruthless urban life, left to fend for themselves. However, that’s not what a child that young deserves, at an age where one is meant to read, learn and play – one is forced to earn their daily bread by doing manual labour, unfit for anyone that young and of course, prohibited by the Constitution of India. The society considers them as cheap labour or completely irrelevant, hopeless cases. And this collective attitude towards these children transpires into an encouragement for them to turn to anti-social tendencies. But to generalise is unfair, and organisations such as Samatol Foundation prove why.
Registered in 2006 and started by Mr. Vijay Jhadav or Vijay Dada as he is fondly known, Samatol, meaning ‘balance’ is actually an acronym that stands for Samata, Mamata, Tohfa and Lakshya. Vijay Dada started counselling runaway children on the platforms of CST way before he registered the organisation. But now his operations have extended across the city and along with his dedicated team of coordinators and volunteers, works towards rehabilitating children who run away from their family and come to Mumbai.
The team helps them reconnect with their families through guidance and counselling. At the Samatol shelter at Mamnoli, a small village on the Kalyan-Murbad road, they run a 45 day programme aptly named Man Parivartan for the children. It involves early morning physical exercises, counselling sessions and cultural programmes which are aimed at getting their lost identities back, de-addiction from various substances and instilling in the children a sense of discipline. During this programme all efforts are made to get in touch with their families. Letters are dispatched, phone calls are made and all leads are pursued to establish contact and resolve issues that led the child to choose the flight option.
 “Many a times, there is a communication gap between parents or simply no communication at all which creates many complications and misunderstandings between the family” tells me Mr. Aakash Gupte, Coordinator at Samatol Foundation when I visit their Dadar office one afternoon. “For a child, the first 48 hours after arrival in the city are crucial, and are known as the Golden Hour, if the team manages to send him/her back to his village, the case is mostly successful” he adds. Gupte says that each time a call is received, one of them immediately reaches the spot and the process is kick started. No efforts are then spared to win over the child’s heart and reunite him/her with the family.
When I ask him about volunteering and donation opportunities at Samatol Foundation for the general public, he says they are open to volunteers joining them but he also invites people with specific interests/skills whose training can be imparted to the children. The impressive artworks and motifs hanging on the wall are made by the children, he tells me proudly. Society looks at these children as pests and harbours a negative attitude, which can only change by going a layer deeper and understanding the causes that led them to run away and turn up in the city. Working/volunteering with organisations such as Samatol or even knowing about their work will help the public sensitize themselves and also help them to view them in a different light next time. And encouraging such initiatives is necessary because, the point of no return that the runaway child has reached, could well vanish and home won’t be too far.
To report cases/volunteer at Samatol Foundation one may contact Mr.Vijay Jhadav – 09892961124, 9702716734 or visit the Samatol Website.