Ashadha Shukla 4, Vik Samvat 2071. Yugabda 5116:July 1, 2014




1. FESTIVALS: The Kānvar Yatrā or Kavad Yatra is annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kānvarias who travel on foot to, Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River, Ganga Jal, which is later offered at their local village Shiva temples on the day of Shravan Shivratri or Amavasya ( July 25 – 26  )  

The Yatra used to be a small affair undertaken by a few saints and old age devotees until the 1990s, when it started gaining popularity. Today, hundreds of thousands of devotees from surrounding states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and reach these places to participate in Kanwar Mela.
The Yatra is named after the kānvar, a single pole made of bamboo with two roughly equal loads dangling from opposite ends. It is carried by balancing the middle of the pole on the shoulders.  -Top


2. PRESIDENT OF BHARAT RECEIVES A COPY OF ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HINDUISM: The President of Bharat, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received a copy of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium on 23rd June.
Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji of the Parmarth Niketan, who is the founder chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, for undertaking the massive effort of bringing out the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. He said that Hindu religious philosophy identifies Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksh, as the foremost objectives of a human being. Striking a balance in human behaviour in working towards these objectives has been prescribed as a key aim of human existence.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Shri L.K. Advani, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sushri Uma Bharti, Dr. Karan Singh and various other religious leaders. -Top


3. HSS HINDU YOUTH CONFERENCE 2014: From April 5th-6th 2014, 29 Yuvas from the NorthEast area gathered at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania for a two-day Hindu Youth Conference. The goal of this conference was to provide a platform for young people between the ages of 18-35 to socialize, share ideas, and get more in touch with their identity as Hindu Youth. Participants included some young working professionals, and students from various Universities like Pennsylvania State, Drexel Rutgers etc.  
Shakha was conducted in a manner geared towards new yuva and each agnya was explained before it was given. Many activities were planned in the schedule to encourage teamwork, build enthusiasm, and stimulate bonding. Boudhik activities were planned so that they would be more interactive rather than lecture based and the topics chosen were useful specifically for Yuvas. The varg ended on a high note with a conclusion by Yelloji Mirajkar, highlighting the universal and all-inclusive principals of Hinduism. -Top


4. PM MODI ASKS ISRO TO PLAN FOR SAARC SATELLITE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 30th June that Bharat’s space programme must be made available to developing nations, and the SAARC countries in particular, minutes after witnessing the successful launch of five foreign satellites on board the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse PSLV rocket.
The PM, who was on a two-day visit to space facilities at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, witnessed the successful launch of five foreign satellites on the PSLV-C23 rocket from the space centre on Monday.
The PSLV-C23 carried a 714-kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7 as its main payload with a 14-kg satellite called AISAT of Germany, two 15-kg satellites from Canada CAN-X4 and CAN-X5, and a 7-kg Singapore satellite called VELOX-1 as piggyback payload.
Modi also asked scientists to extend space technologies to map land records in the country on a regular basis to bring about greater accuracy in land records which are often riddled with problems which affect the poor. -Top


5. BHARATIYA CONCEPT OF NATION ASSIMILATES EVERYONE —DR KRISHNA GOPAL: “The concept of nation in Bharat was not born in 1947. It was developed through the ages and it assimilates everyone. All from Buddha to Kabir and Shankar Dev to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kept this concept alive and going. There is a need to understand that the concept of nation for Bharat is not a political concept rather spiritual,” said RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal. He was speaking at a seminar organized in Delhi on 75th death anniversary of RSS founder Dr Hedgewar on June 21. Organized by India Policy Foundation, New Delhi, the topic of the seminar was ‘Dr Hedgewar and Indian Nationalism.’ IPF chairman Prof Kapil Kapur, director Dr Rakesh Sinha and historian Dr Saradindu Mukherjee were also present on the occasion.
Dr Rakesh Sinha said the modern historians especially the Left and Nehruvians have done a great damage to the history of Bharat. The role of RSS in the national movement was completely ignored and deliberately swept under the carpet. Others who spoke include Dr. Sharadindu Mukherjee and Professor Kapil Kapoor who proposed a vote of thanks. -Top                  


6. SANSKRIT CONFERENCE AT MCGILL:  Samskrita Bharati (Canada) participated in the 10th Annual Sanskrit Conference held at McGill University in Montreal on 30th May where they launched a unique product – Sanskrit Greeting Cards with support of Prof. (Dr.) Arvind Sharma. Samskrita Bharati wishes to make Sanskrit popular in daily lives through use of innovative approaches like Greeting Cards for special occasions and have many exciting future projects in the pipe line. -Top


7. 7 Poor students clear IIT-JEE via ‘TAPAS’: Prashanth, son of a construction worker and Ragahavendra Valmiki, son of a daily wage earner always dreamed of studying in Bharat’s premier technological institutions like the IIT but their financial background and conditions at home threatened to derail their dreams. Thousands of such bright young minds have such dreams but are forced to hold back due to their financial and social status. But today Prashanth, having secured the 255th rank and Ragahavendra Valmiki getting the 1007th rank in IIT-JEE have ensured a promising future for themselves. Thanks to ‘Tapas‘, a free residential programme initiated by Rashtrotthana Parishat, an organization inspired by the RSS, which has avowed to turn the dreams of the brightest among the underprivileged into reality.
As many as 34 students from very poor backgrounds have completed second Pre-University (PU) this year from ‘Tapas’. The students selected for the programme have fared well in CET, JEE Main and JEE Advanced too. This year, 30 out of 34 students qualified in JEE Main and were eligible to appear for JEE Advanced and 7 have qualified in the JEE-Advanced and become eligible for entry into Indian Institute Technology.
 “My father is a construction worker and that is the only source of income for my family. Both my elder brother and sister are studying too” says Prashanth. It was due to the encouragement of the principal and good coaching by the teachers which enabled him to crack the IIT-JEE, he says. He wishes to continue his post-graduate studies in IIT itself.
 “Reaching the unreached and bringing them to main stream is the key objective of Tapas. We are humbled to see all 34 students of batch one will get into prestigious institutes and come out as great engineers who will uplift their family and transform the society they are part of. At Tapas we focus on building character along with sharpening their skills for entering IITs,” said Dinesh Hegde, General Secretary, Rashtrotthana Parishat.
Every year Tapas selects 30-40 most promising boys, studying in Class X and offers them free PU Education and trains them for the IIT-JEE. Details of the program and organization is available at   -Top


8. STRIKE A POSE AT YOGA EVENT IN TIMES SQUARE: Thousands of sun-worshipping yogis lined their mats up in the middle of Times Square to celebrate the summer solstice on 21st June. More than 11,000 people followed the Athleta sponsored events “Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind over Madness Yoga” as they gradually moved from pose to pose with their bare feet.
“It’s the longest day of the year. In the yoga tradition, this is the day you worship the sun,” told Christina Cielusniak, 25, a yoga instructor from Wayne, N.J. The sun is an important aspect of yoga. In fact, one of the most familiar stances is Surya Namaskar, which means “sun salutation” and represents a symbolic movement of the human reliance on the sun. 
“So it really is this metaphor for the larger challenges of our lives. How do we stay present, how do we stay focused with all the distractions,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, told CBS News.
Tompkins led the first of eight free classes given on 21st.  “I am struck at how it actually is possible in the midst of all this busyness to get yourself into a different state of mind,” he said.
The event was held both June 21 and 22 to give as many people as they could the opportunity to participate in the free classes, which were live streamed on several websites. -Top


9. SUSHMA SWARAJ PRAYS FOR B’DESH, BHARAT PROSPERITY AT DHAKA TEMPLE: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited the well-known Dhakeshwari temple in Dhaka on 27th June saying it had capped a “successful” visit to Bangladesh. “I prayed for prosperity of both India and Bangladesh,” she told Hindu community leaders and devotees after offering the puja at the centuries old temple at the old part of Dhaka as part of her private schedule.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad president Kajal Debnath said that Swaraj was given a replica of the temple along with a saree as a gift from the temple authority while Hindu women worshippers and community leaders welcomed her with flowers.
Dhakeshwari means “Goddess of Dhaka” and the temple is known to be the most important Hindu place of worship, earning it the status of Bangladesh’s ‘national temple’. It was built by Sena dynasty king Ballal Sen in the 12th century. -Top


10. DR. MOHAN BHAGWAT ATTENDS DEATH CENTENARY OF VASUDEVANAND SARASWATI: RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat addressed a gathering on an occasion to mark centenary death anniversary of Maharashtrian spiritual leader Vasudevanand Saraswati Maharaj at Garudeshwar, Gujarat on 28th June.
During his speech RSS Sarasanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat stressed on the need of spreading the ‘values of religion’. Noted Spiritual leader and Ayurvedic physician from Karla, Balaji Tambe also attended the function along with Bhagwat. “A Hindu is the one who does something passionately, without seeking anything for self. That becomes his puja.” said Balaji Tambe.
Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati 1854–1914), also known as Tembe Swami, is a saint who is regarded as an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.
He was an expert Sanskrit scholar and has authored around 19 books like Dwisahastri Gurucharitra), Datta Puran etc. His Samadhi has been built on the river bank at Garudeshwar, Gujarat. There is a famous Datta Mandir in the same place. -Top


11. ASTRA AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE TESTED SUCCESSFULLY FROM SUKHOI-30:  Bharat's indigenous Astra BVR (beyond visual range) missile,  first home made air-to-air missile, was successfully tested from a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft on June 20th from a naval range off Goa at over six km altitude.
"It was a control and guidance flight which successfully demonstrated interception of an electronically simulated target at long range," the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) statement said.
The Astra is a single-stage solid-propellant missile that is 3.57 m long and 178 mm in diameter, with a 154-kg launch weight and a 15 kg conventional explosive payload. It has active radar terminal guidance, electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), and smokeless propulsion.
The missile has been designed to be capable of engaging high-speed targets at short range (up to 20 km in tail chase mode) and long range (up to 80 km in head-on chase mode). At sea level it has a range of up to 20 km but could have a range of 44 km from an altitude of 8,000 m and 80 km if launched from an altitude of 15,000 m. -Top


12. WORLD HINDU CONGRESS TO BE HELD IN DELHI: The inaugural World Hindu Congress will be held in New Delhi later in the year. The November 21-23 conference has been organized by the World Hindu Foundation.
Leaders and representatives of various Hindu organizations, temples and associations are invited to attend the congress. The number of delegates is limited to 1500, of which foreign delegates are limited to 750.
It is expected that the delegates will be people of accomplishment and achievement, committed to working for the Hindu resurgence.
The theme envisioned is the Hindu principle of Sangachchhadhwam Samvadadhwam, which means ''Step together, Express together''. The congress aims to take the movement for Hindu solidarity to the next level.
“This task needs to be undertaken with a single minded focus of rebuilding the spiritual and material heritage of Hindus,” said Swami Vigyananand of the World Hindu Foundation.
Under the World Hindu Congress, there will be several conferences held. These include: The Hindu Economic Conference, Hindu Youth Conference, Hindu Women Conference, Hindu Educational Conference, Hindu Organizational Conference, Hindu Political Conference, and Hindu Media Conference.  For more information about the Congress, visit   -Top


13. BHARAT CONTINUES TO PROMOTE CULTURE IN FIJI: The Government of Bharat via its Indian Council for Cultural Relations continues to assist people of Fiji with donations of musical instruments and educational scholarships.
The latest arrival of musical instruments have been donated in the northern division.
“The musical Instruments sent from Indian Council for Cultural Relations were gifted by His Excellency the High Commissioner Shri Vinod Kumar on June 7, 2014 in the Northern Division,” said Director Indian Cultural Centre in Fiji, Kishan Lal Kanojia.
The Indian Cultural Centre in Fiji was the first ever to be established by the Bharatiya government outside the subcontinent and has to date provided thousands of scholarships for students to study in Bharat over its 41-years of existence in Fiji. -Top


14. SWAYAMSEVAKS IN RESCUE & RELIEF: A Building having 11 floors was collapsed due to heavy rain at Moulivakkam – Chennai on 28th June evening.
After hearing this sad news, over 50 RSS Swayamsevaks immediately went the spot. They engaged themselves in the activities like making paths to Cranes & Other rescue vehicles, helping in disposal of dead Bodies, safeguarding the injured persons, providing drinking water facilities etc till morning. In this accident, around 40 persons were killed and 15 persons were injured and rescued.
At least four passengers were killed and 23 others injured 13 of them seriously, when 12 coaches of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in Bihar’s Saran district on 25th June.
RSS Swayamsevaks from the local area rushed to the venue of the railway accident, helped in the rescue operation, helped the passengers who were in a real need of help. -Top


15. SENIOR PRACHARAK DHIR JI PASSED AWAY   in the wee hours of June 20th at Yangon – Myanmar after a brief illness. Mananeeya Shri Ram Prakash Dhir ji @ Sayaji U Sein Tin was born in Monywa (Upper Burma) in 1926.  After graduating from Punjab University in 1947, he became a sangh pracharak.
He visited Burma briefly in 1948 and then again returned in 1956 at the behest of Dr. Mangal Sen ji for the work of Sanatan Dharm Swayamsevak Sangh (SDSS, then Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh ) which he continued to do till his last breath.
Ma Dhir ji is considered to be the doyen of sangh work in Myanmar as he was instrumental in inspiring countless youngsters to join and work for sangh, spreading shakha network  and other activities viz establishing hostels like Seva Ashram at Kyauktaga, Preparing and disseminating religious and language education via Hindu Dharm Shiksha Samiti etc.
His pioneering efforts in organizing Buddha exhibition which traced the origin and spread of Bhagwan Buddha and Buddhism were widely appreciated by Bhikkhus, Buddhist scholars and general public alike.  -Top


16. LONDON: HSS NEW KARYALAYA INAUGURATED: New office -  ‘Karyalaya’ of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) UK, situated at Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7HF, was inaugurated on June 21 remembering the legacy and life message of Dr Keshava Baliram Hedgewar which was coincidentally the Punya Tithi of the RSS founder. This year, 2014, also happens to be the 125th year.
Dhirajbhai Shah, UK Sanghachalak, spoke on the occasion and shared his wishes and concerns.  -Top


17. YOGA IN SIERRA LEONE: Sierra Leone may not be the kind of place you expect to find yoga. But thanks to a group called Yoga Stretch, it is becoming increasingly popular. The organization is headed by Tamba Fayia, once a child soldier in Sierra Leone's civil war, who in 2012 became the country's first qualified yoga teacher. He says yoga transformed his life.
While Sierra Leone has long been at peace, many still suffer the mental effects of its 11-year civil war. With just one psychiatrist and poor mental health facilities in the country, Mr. Fayia wants to use yoga to help them, as well as ordinary people, overcome their trauma and stress. -Top


18. HINDU COMMUNITY DEDICATES FIRST AREA HOUSE OF WORSHIP IN DAYTONA BEACH: Wearing saris and carrying offerings of flowers and coconuts, women and girls processed from North Beach Street to the Hindu Cultural Association building on Madison Avenue east of Mulberry Street in Daytona Beach in Florida USA.
The procession on June 7 marked the beginning of a weeklong series of rituals that would consecrate the Hindu Cultural Association building into a religious temple or “mandir,” the first Hindu temple for Volusia County, members said.
On 9th June, in a nine-hour ceremony from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., statues were imbued with religious significance as believers “put the soul to the statues,” believing them to be living representations of deities.
Locally, there are about 250 followers in Volusia and Flagler counties. The mandir has a reception hall, an auditorium and other facilities.  -Top


19. SANJAYA RAJARAM NAMED WINNER OF 2014 WORLD FOOD PRIZE: Bharat -born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been named the winner of the USD 250,000 World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in increasing global wheat production by more than 200 million tonnes following the Green Revolution.
More than 480 high-yielding wheat varieties bred by Rajaram have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike. “Rajaram’s work serves as an inspiration to us all to do more, whether in the private or public sector,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry at an event where he delivered the keynote address.
Rajaram followed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman E Borlaug at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, leading its Wheat Program from 1976 to 2001. The World Food Prize was established in 1986 by Borlaug in order to focus the world’s attention on hunger and on those whose work has significantly helped efforts to end it. -Top


20. EMERGENCY REVISITED: Akhil Bharatiya Loktantra Senani Parishad had organised a panel discussion to discuss “Emergency in Context of Politics” on completing 39 years post Emergency in the Constitution Club New Delhi on June 26.
The Panel was held by Dr Subramaniam Swamy, Former Union Minister with Shri Ram Bahadur Rai, Editor-Yathavat; Shri Raj Kumar Bhatia, Former National President-Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP); Shri Laxminarayan Bhala, Conserver- Hindustan Samachar and Shri Rajendra Agarwal, MP-Lok Sabha.
While speaking on the occasion Dr Subramaniam Swamy said, “We are thankful to those who fought and were imprisoned during the Emergency. I will request the Central Government to provide them all the special status of being revolutionaries and freedom fighters.” -Top


21. SINGAPORE CONSERVES 179-YEAR-OLD HINDU TEMPLE:   A 179-year-old Hindu temple in Singapore, which is among the 75 heritage buildings proposed for conservation, will reopen this month after a $5.6 million makeover.
The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was built as a small shrine in 1835 by early Tamil immigrants. The temple in the Little India precinct has undergone SGD 7 million ($5.6 million) renovations and is scheduled for reopening on June 22, 2014.
A dozen craftsmen from Tamil Nadu have been doing restoration work to the temple's 640 statues and deities, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The craftsmen have also restored and painted the temple's eight domes and decorative cement fixtures on its ceilings and facade.
The URA spokesperson said the temple was both historically and socially significant. It is one of the 15 places of worship listed for conservation. The temple is popular among Singapore's Tamil
community and migrant workers from Southern Bharat who spend their weekend and day off in Little India. -Top


22. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Ravikumar sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag visited Myanmar to take part in shraddhanjali program for Swargiya Dhir ji. Visitors: Brahmanand, Suresh Giri Thailand -Top
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed. - Jiddu Krishnamurti -Top

Subhash C Kashyap
  An uncalled for controversy over the leader of the opposition (LOP) in the 16th Lok Sabha (LS) has been created by those with vested interests, and it refuses to die down.
The position in regard to recognition of parliamentary parties and of LOP is crystal clear in parliamentary procedure and practice, as also under the statute law. To make a sitting of the House, the LOP and his party requires a minimum of 10 % of total membership of the House. This requirement of 55 members is based on a deeper principle of parliamentary polity and history going back to British Parliament.
In the first LS in 1952, the single largest party in opposition was the Communist Party (CP) with 30 members. It was recognized as a group, not a parliamentary party. No party had even the required minimum number of 30 for recognition as a group in the second LS. In the third, the largest party in opposition was again the CP, this time with 34 members; the fourth LS, the Swatantra Party emerged as the largest party in opposition with 45 members — one more than the Congress in the present House. Both terms, the parties were recognized only as groups, along with Jan Sangh which had 31 members.
For the first time, in 1969, after the split in the Congress Party, Congress (O) with 60 members was recognized as the opposition party and its leader as the LOP.
This lasted for about one year only. In the fifth LS again, no parliamentary groups; in 1977, the sixth LS, Janata Party with 153 members became the ruling party while the Congress sat in opposition. Following splits in Congress and Janata Party, Congress (I) with 58 members and Janata Party (S) with 68 members were recognized as parliamentary parties.
There were no recognized parliamentary parties in opposition in the seventh and eighth LS (1980-89); parties with 30 members or more like Janata-S (41 members) in 7th LS and Telugu Desam (30 members) in 8th LS were all recognized as groups only. The 9th to 15th LS, spanning 1989-2014, parties in opposition and LOP were duly recognized because the mandate of a party having a minimum of 55 members was fulfilled.
In as much as a parliamentary system works on precedents and practices, it should be seen that right from the first LS in 1952 till now there has been no occasion when any party with less than 55 members has been recognized as a political party and there have been long periods when there has been no LOP. Laws enacted by Parliament in this regard make the position clearer. The Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 provides for the leader of the party in opposition having the greatest numerical strength and recognized as such by the Speaker/Chairman being recognized as the LOP. Those advocating grant of LOP status in LS with salaries, allowances etc of a cabinet minister to the Congress with only 44 members selectively quote the Act ignoring the requirement of the Speaker's recognition. And, Speaker's recognition cannot be arbitrary or even discretionary. It has always been and has to be subject to Direction 121(c) which categorically stipulates the 10% membership condition. It makes no sense to argue that the Direction is dated, belongs to (first LS speaker) Mavalankar's times and is not relevant after the 1977 Act. If that were so, there would have been LOP in the 7th and 8th LS which came after the 1977 Act, with the Congress in power.
If that was not enough, the Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognised Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998 clinches the issue decisively when it refers to a recognized party in LS as a party which has a strength of not less than 55 members. It also provides for political parties in LS having strength of 30-54 members being recognized only as parliamentary groups.
The law gives actual numbers, leaving no onus on the Speaker in the matter. The established practice is that the Speaker on his own does not make any declaration in the matter of recognizing parliamentary parties or groups. He/she decides only when a formal request is made by members concerned.
It is insensitive poppycock for some party lobbyists to suggest that the Modi government or Speaker should show large-heartedness and, at the expense of the public exchequer, extend to someone the salary, allowances and perks against the law. If this is done, it is bound to be questioned in a court of law and declared null and void.
So far as the important role of LOP in the appointment of NHRC, CVC, CIC, Lokpal etc is concerned, it is for the government to bring in necessary amendments.
The very fact that in the absence of a recognized LOP, the leader of the single largest group in opposition has been asked to perform the role shows the situation has been envisaged. -- (The author is former secretary general of Lok Sabha and president of the Indian National Bar Association) -Top
Anirban Ganguly
The so-called intellectual mainstream relegated SP Mookerjee to an ideological corner and suppressed his versatility, his national acceptance and his vision for national progress
Sixty one years after he was consigned to a confined and lonely death by free India's first democratically elected Government on June 23, 1953, Syama Prasad Mookerjee's dream and vision of creating an alternate political stream and narrative in India has finally achieved fruition. The question as to why a personality of his stature and dimension, who had nothing but India's supreme national interest in mind and who strove to establish the democratic experiment in India on a firm footing, met with such an end is one of those lingering and unexplained episodes in India's history which still await their moment of truth. Ironically, this unraveling of the truth was suppressed simply because the self-professed democrats of that era, belonging to a particular ideological hue, all Mookerjee's contemporaries and colleagues in national politics, displayed a staunch aversion to unraveling the truth behind his death in detention.
Mookerjee's evaluation in the field of politics has somewhat been done, but even here the so-called intellectual ‘mainstream’ relegated him to an ideological corner and suppressed his versatility, his national acceptance and his encompassing vision for national progress. Rarely was there a leader who displayed such dexterity in varied fields such as education, culture, politics, parliamentary affairs and administration. Generations today would perhaps scarcely believe that in each of these fields Mookerjee attained the pinnacle and that too in such a short and action packed life.
Leaving his politics aside here, it is indeed fascinating to see the civilisational vision that Mookerjee exuded. As president of the Mahabodhi Society of India, he had long anticipated the need to revive India's civilisational ties in her neighbourhood. Long before the ‘Look East Policy’ had been conceived, Mookerjee looked to South-East Asia and as the carrier of Buddha's message sought to bind the region in a civilisation knot with its mother country, India. In his reminiscence, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee in Indo-China, JM Majumdar, for example, describes how the then Cambodian monarch, Norodom Sihanouk, welcomed Mookerjee and the Relics of Buddha's chief disciples as an “immense ‘Kusala’ for our country and people to have henceforth a direct bond with Lord Buddha owing to the arrival of the sacred relics.” In reply Mookerjee spoke of how despite passing through “varying fortunes, good and bad”, the “ancient land of Cambodia and many other adjoining countries still bear the indestructible signs of the heritage that have come from our Motherland, Bharat, since time immemorial.”
But his action was not limited to these exchanges alone, one of the legends in the study of Indian art, Stella Kramrisch, in her assessment of Dr. S.P. Mookerjee and Indian Art, mentioned how he worked indefatigably to establish the study of Indian history and culture in the University of Calcutta and set up one of the earliest museums of Indian art and supported some of the best scholars of the epoch to carry out research on India's past. As Kramrisch noted, “art mattered to him and he in turn left his mark not on the history, but on the future of art in India.” The deeper objective of Mookerjee's cultural activism, however, was to bring about a larger cultural reconstruction in India, as he spelt it out once in one of his presidential addresses to the Asiatic Society, “Let me emphasise that I do not at all minimise the need for a radical reorientation of the economic and industrial policy of India. A country whose educational and economic backwardness is a standing disgrace to human civilisation has got to be placed on her feet again and its people must get fullest advantage of its inexhaustible raw materials. But let me state at the same time that neither can India attain her full strength and glory nor can she contribute worthily to the cause of stabilising human civilisation, if we ignore the need for a proper cultural reconstruction in India.”
The eventual working out of that ‘cultural reconstruction in India’ would perhaps be another lasting tribute to Mookerjee and to his fascinating life and legacy. -- (Daily Pioneer, 23 June 2014) -Top