\ SAMVAD  श्री विश्व निकेतन SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN
Bhadrapada Krishna 1, Vik. Samvat 2076 Yugabda 5121: 16 August 2019

19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN Food for Thought

1. FESTIVALS: GANESH UTSAV: Ganesh Chaturthi, Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi, falling on September 2 this year, is a festival celebrating the birth of Bhagwan Ganesha. Although the festival is celebrated since the time memorial, but it was Bal Gangadhar Tilak who in 1893 started organizing Ganesh Utsav as a social and religious program and popularized it as a public festival to mobilize mass awareness and opinion against British rule. The festival served as a meeting place for people of all castes and communities at a time when public social and political gatherings were banned by the British.
Today also, apart from celebrations and traditional rituals at home, this festival and Ganesh immersion processions take place with fervor at almost all the places across Bharat and also abroad like Nepal, Thailand and other countries. -GoTop

2. J&K, LADAKH WILL GAIN FROM ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370: RASHTRAPATIJI: In his address to the nation on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day, Rashtrapati Ram Nath Kovind ji hoped that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will gain from the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A and said that the move would make all the central laws applicable in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. He said that right to education for children, making triple talaq illegal, information to all were some of the benefits of the decision. In the course of his speech, Shri Kovind explained that while the Union government is involved in creating infrastructure for the country, people should use these facilities for their benefit and protect the infrastructure. Emphasizing the need for social harmony and mutual respect in the society, he said people should have the same expectations from and regard for fellow citizens as they would expect them to have from and for themselves. -GoTop

3. LAL QILE KI PRACHEER SE PRADHAN MANTRI NARENDRA MODI: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the 73th Independence Day, soon after hoisting the National Flag. During his address, Pradhan Mantriji spoke at length about the transformations taking place in the country and presented the government’s vision to take Bharat to greater heights of glory through public participation. “It has been under ten weeks since the new Government was formed but several path breaking decisions have been taken”, said PM Modi.
Speaking about the recent revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said, "By abrogating Articles 370 and 35A, we have fulfilled Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's dream. Pradhan Mantriji added that the government had worked for the farmers and workers by providing Minimum Sale Price and pensions. “We are also working to provide inclusive development to the tribal communities, minorities and all sections of the society,” he said. PM Modi during his speech said that there were several avenues which could contribute towards Bharat becoming a five trillion-dollar economy. “Bharat will have a Chief of Defense Staff- CDS,” was an important announcement made by Pradhan Mantri Modi ji.-GoTop
4. RSS CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY AT ITS HEADQUARTERS IN NAGPUR: RSS Sarsanghachalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat unfurled the flag at Smriti Mandir Reshimbaug on the Independence day while Sarkaryavaha Bhaiyaji Joshi unfurled flag at the RSS headquarters at Mahal in Nagpur. "On the 73rd Independence Day of the country, we believe that if we are committed then we can convert the impossible into possible”, Bhagwat said while addressing the delegates.
He further said that the ideal of equality amongst citizens was enshrined in the constitution and it had become a reality due to the commitment of the leaders and society. -GoTop
5. BHARATIYAS ABROAD CELEBRATE I-DAY WITH ZEAL FERVOUR: Thousands of Bharatiyas across the world proudly celebrated 73rd Independence Day with the tricolour fluttering high and the national anthem reverberating at Indian missions abroad on 15th August.
Bharatiyas in UK, USA, Australia, China, Pakistan, the UAE, Nepal, Singapore, Israel, Indonesia and several other countries marked the day with hoisting of the national flag and singing of patriotic songs.
In Beijing, a large number of the Indian diaspora took part in the Independence Day celebrations held at the Bharatiya Embassy. The Bharatiya High Commission in Pakistan celebrated the day with great enthusiasm with the Chargé d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia unfurling the National Flag.
The Bharatiya Embassy in Nepal donated 30 ambulances and six buses to local hospitals and various charitable organizations to mark the day. In Israel, around 300 people of Bharatiya origin from all over the country gathered in the northern coastal town of Herzliya to celebrate the Independence Day. -GoTop

6. LADAKH CELEBRATES FIRST INDEPENDENCE DAY AS UT: Ladakh, which will become an Union Territory after the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, celebrated Independence Day with fervour on Thursday, with local BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal saying the region has got "independence from Kashmir".
The parliamentarian, whose speech in the Lok Sabha after abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir drew praises, was seen dancing and playing the drums along with locals.
Namgyal hoisted the national flag at the local BJP office along with party national general secretary Ram Madhav.
Ladakh, which will become an Union Territory after the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, celebrated Independence Day with fervour on 15th August with local BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal saying the region has got "independence from Kashmir". The parliamentarian, whose speech in the Lok Sabha after abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir drew praises, was seen dancing and playing the drums along with locals. Namgyal hoisted the national flag at the local BJP office along with party national general secretary Ram Madhav. -GoTop

7. ARTICLE 370 POWERS GONE, J&K BIFURCATED: The Bharatiya Parliament voted for and approved the nullification of Article 370 which gave special powers to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the division of the state into two Union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Simply put, the area of Jammu and Kashmir has now become two Union territories. Moreover, the special status enjoyed by the state under Article 370 of the Bharatiya Constitution has been revoked. Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have approved the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir and the Rashtrapati ji has subsequently notified these provisions. As far as the revoking of Article 370 was concerned, the provision had been made inoperative through a clause within the article. Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry, where key subjects like law and order are with the Centre. Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh. -GoTop

8. NANAJI DESHMUKH, BHUPEN HAZARIKA, PRANAB MUKHERJEE CONFERRED BHARAT RATNA: Rashtrapati Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji presented the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, to his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh’s close relative Virendrajeet Singh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika’s son Tej at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan on August 8 at a brief ceremony at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi, UpaRashtrapati M Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Justice of Bharat Ranjan Gogoi were among those who were present at the function.-GoTop

9. DAILY HEARING IN SUPREME COURT ON RAM MANDIR DISPUTE: Daily hearings in Supreme Court on Ram Mandir dispute began on August 6. Placing historical facts and archaeological evidence before the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachus, Ashok Bhaushn and S Abdul, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan appearing for Ram Lalla on August 14 contended that Babri Masjid was ‘invalid’ under Sharia law as it was built on the ruins of a temple and by usurping the land belonging to Hindus. Allahabad High Court has accepted in its judgment that there was a temple at the site. Taking a leaf out of Shia Wakf Board’s claim over Babri Masjid, Vaidyanathan further contended the even the Shia board agreed that a temple was demolished to construct the mosque at the disputed site. -GoTop

10. CHANDRAYAAN-2 ENTERS LUNAR TRAJECTORY: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the 'trans lunar injection (TLI) manoeuvre on August 14 and Chandrayaan-2 left the Earth’s orbit to enter a straight path towards Moon. Explaining the lunar trajectory journey, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said, "Chandrayaan-2 will take six days to travel in the lunar trajectory to reach Moon (lunar orbit) on August 20." The total distance from Earth to Moon is 3.84 lakh kilometre. -GoTop

11. SUSHMA JI WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN OUR MEMORY AS A PERSONALITY EVER DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE: Condolences from RSS Sarsanghachalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat and Sarkaryavaha Bhaiya ji Joshi: The sad news of the untimely demise of Smt. Sushma Swaraj is unbelievable and unfathomable. This is extremely painful. Her nearly 45 years of public and political life has been exemplary and worthy of emulation in many respects. Her image as an ideal worker, a skilled leader, a capable and effective minister, and as ever dedicated personality, will always remain in all our memories.
In this era of such transformation, her departure is extremely unbearable. In this sad hour we express our heartfelt condolences to all her family members. May Ishwar give us all the strength to bear this loss. We pray to the almighty to grant space to the departed at his feet. -GoTop

12. IIT BOMBAY STUDENTS DITCH BLACK ROBE, WEAR KURTA PYJAMA AT CONVOCATION: Ditching the ceremonial black robe and headgear, the students of IIT Bombay decided to go traditional with white kurta pyjama at their 57th convocation on August 10.The institute conferred an honorary doctoral degree to Infosys co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani who is also an alumnus of IIT Bombay. Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' was the chief guest.-GoTop

13. SPIRITUAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE FEDERATION OF RUSSIA AND BAPS: A high-level official spiritual dialogue with senior swamis of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) was organized by the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Parliament of Russia, Mr Iliyas Umakhanov at Moscow on 26th July. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha was represented by senior swamis from Bharat and the UK, Pujya Brahmavihari Swami and Pujya Yogvivek Swami, while The Russian Federation delegation included seven prominent national thinkers and officials. The hour-long exchange of ideas and constructive dialogue covered a range of topics – from de-addiction drives by children to environmental campaigns by youth volunteers, from the generation of family values to the regeneration of nations by reviving morality and spirituality – considerably impressing the officials. They invited the swamis to provide their valuable vision and guidance for future global initiatives and showed a willingness to assist in the upcoming BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, a historic and iconic project of global harmony. -GoTop

14. PUPPET SHOW DRAWS CROWDS IN US: ‘Malvikaagnimitram’ a musical comedy by Dhaatu Puppet Theater not only captivates the viewer with its brilliant production and old world vibe but is also reviving the dying art of puppetry. Dhaatu is currently performing in 21 cities in the US to raise funds for Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America’s (VHPA) initiative “Support a Child” (SAC). Internationally famed Bengaluru based puppeteer Anupama Hoskere and her crew of artists have already performed in eight cities and have drawn huge crowds at every venue. Hoskere, a trained classical dancer brings Mahakavi Kalidasa’s story of King Agnimitra and Malvika to life through the medium of puppets. -GoTop

15. VIVEKANANDA KENDRA HANDS OVER GANDHI PEACE PRIZE TO DEFENCE MINISTER: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari was conferred with the Gandhi Peace Prize of 2015 earlier this year. A sum of Rs. One crore accompanied the prize which was given to the Kendra for its contribution towards promotion of self-help, sustainability and development throughout our country, especially in areas populated by tribal communities. True to its ideals, the Vivekananda Kendra has now handed over the Gandhi Peace Prize money to the Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. The Kendra has described its decision as humble offering of the organization towards the Jawans of our great motherland. The money will be used for the welfare of the families of our martyrs. -GoTop
16. ARUMUGASWAMY PARADES IN A NEWLY BUILT CHARIOT IN MAVIDDAPURAM KANDASWAMY KOVIL: Arumugaswamy, the six-faced Bhagwan Murugan, paraded in a glorious, newly built chariot at the Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Kovil in northern Sri Lanka on July 30. Thousands of devotees gathered on the Chariot Festival day, or Ther Thiruvizha as it is known in Tamil, after twenty-nine years. The festival saw pilgrims flock to Maviddapuram from all over the island and even from continents away, to get the blessings of Bhagwan Skanda, destroyer of evil. The annual high festival of the temple, which lasts for twenty-five days, commences on the fifth day, after the new moon of the month of Aani (June 15 to July 15), with the Chariot Festival on the twenty fourth day. -GoTop

17. 25TH WASO ROBE OFFERING CEREMONY: Thanantana Dhamma Palaka (Hindu) Association (SDSS Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh) held 25th Waso Robe Offering Ceremony at the State Pariyatti Sasana University (Yangon) on August 4. It was attended by Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko, Yangon Region Hluttaw Speaker U Tin Maung Tun, Ambassador of Bharat Saurabh Kumar, Director-General of the Religious Affairs Department U MyitOo and officials, Chairman of All Myanmar Hindu Central Council, and members, U MaungMaung, Chairman of the Thanantana Dhamma Palaka Association, and members, and people from Hindu community. The congregation first received the Five Precepts from the Yezagyo Sayadaw Agga Maha Pandita Bhaddanta Nanindhasara. Afterwards, women recited the MingalaSuta, and Shri Rajesh Kumar of the Thanantana Dhamma Palaka Association supplicated the association’s activities in the area of religion and culture. At the ceremony, the Bharatiya ambassador and officials offered Waso robes to the Members of the Sangha. -GoTop

18. RSS SETS UP RELIEF CAMP FOR FLOOD-AFFECTED PEOPLE IN MAHARASHTRA'S SANGLI: As the monsoon took a scary turn in Western Maharashtra, unexpected aggressive floods took over the city of Kolhapur and Sangli. The cities were left paralyzed with many parts inundated and more than 2 lakh people displaced with no basic necessities like food, clean water, and clothes. More than 500 small villages have been dangerously affected. More than 50,000 homes have been destroyed completely. RSS Jan Kalyan Samiti swung into action by undertaking rescue work as well as relief activities such as distributing rehabilitation kits, conducting medical camps besides urgently arranging cooked food and shelter. Sewa International is also mobilizing resources for the aid of flood affected people in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Keral. Please visit www. sewainternatoinal.org for more details. -GoTop
19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Visitors: Bhanu Gowda & family—USA, Satish Kumar—Switzerland, Rajeev Sharma—Ethiopia,
Food for Thought: What should the yogi have to fear? Trees, plants, and all that is inside and outside, is He Himself - Guru Nanak -GoTop

Dr. Vijay Chuathaiwale
That Sushmaji was an exceptional orator and articulate parliamentarian is something yone knows. But what might be lesser-known facts are about her clarity of thoughts and purpose, her enormous ability to go into micro-details and last but not least is her ideological commitment.
Because of these qualities, she could undertake operations and projects of massive scale and execute it to perfection, which is certainly not an easy task in the government set-up. Take for example, the rescue operation in Yemen in 2014. It was Prime Minister Modi who worked out an arrangement with Saudi King so that there would be a narrow window of two hours every day for a week when Saudi side would stop bombing in Yemen. In a well-planned operation between various agencies, with then MoS General V K Singh stationed in Djibouti, India rescued 5000 Indian citizens and close to 2000 citizens from 48 countries (including USA, France, England, Germany and Israel). In the last five years, more than two lakh people who were trapped in a foreign land have been rescued and provided a safe passage to the homeland.
“Reaching the unreached” is another hallmark of India’s foreign policy in last five years. One will be surprised to note that India’s Prime Minister had not visited several important countries for decades before Prime Minister Modi took charge. Sri Lanka, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Nepal to list a few. There were 39 countries where no Indian minister ever visited. Under “Vrihad Sampark Yojana” drawn by foreign ministry, it was planned that all 192 countries will be visited by at least one minister before the end of the term of last Lok Sabha. Till March 2019, barring three countries, 189 countries were covered. Sushmaji and her two Ministers of State visited 110 countries.
Another example of this unprecedented outreach is the India-Africa Summit. In the past, this summit used to be attended by 17 representative countries of Africa. Prime Minister Modi instructed to invite all 54 countries of the African continent for 3rd India-Africa Summit. Needless to say that each country has gladly accepted the invitation, of which 41 were represented by the top leadership of those countries.
Under Sushmaji’s leadership, our embassies all across the globe were transformed into people-friendly “Home Away From Home”. During my visits abroad, members of Indian Diaspora repeatedly shared their pleasant experiences while dealing with Indian consulates or embassies. This people-friendly attitude created enormous goodwill among the global community. In addition, a lot of processes were simplified, obstructions eliminated, resulting into enhanced efficiencies. For example, now citizens of 161 countries can visit India using eVisa, which can be obtained online, significantly reducing the time in physically depositing a passport in embassy and receiving it after several days. Similarly, merging of PIO and OCI cards into one has given equal recognition to entire India Diaspora, irrespective of the colour of their passport. In innumerable cases, Sushmaji instructed our embassies to issue emergency visas for the urgent medical treatment in India, including many from Pakistan, generating enormous goodwill in those countries. In our country, getting a passport was not an easy task. The major bottleneck was so few passport offices and Passport Seva Kendra. Ministry of External Affairs under Sushmaji’s leadership took a major drive to open maximum centres where people can apply for a passport. As of now, close to 375 centres are opened across India. It is being planned to has passport offices in each parliamentary constituency.
Sushmaji’s Twitter diplomacy has carved out a unique space in global diplomatic circles. She has effectively used not only to communicate with people at large but also for resolving their issues. She was globally seen as someone who is ever-ready to lend her helping hand to people in distress. No wonder, even Washington Post has named her “Supermom of State”. No other foreign minister has resolved so many issues, helped so many people in distress, so quickly, using social media. She opened doors of embassies over the weekend to issue visas in case of emergencies and doors of passport offices were opened so that newly-wed couple can enjoy a honeymoon. (So much was her popularity that someone even asked her to help her to repair his refrigerator, which she has politely declined.) At the same time, she opened an integrated web portal (www.madad.gov.in) to address all such grievances which was being monitored 24x7 by her office.
I was fortunate to work with her closely because of my role in the party. First time I met Sushmaji was after I took charge of my current responsibility in BJP. Shyam Parande introduced me to her in her office. As soon as she heard my name, she warmly welcomed me and started talking to me as if she knew me for several years. Since then, I continuously experienced her warmth in interacting and guiding me. I always found her very warm but at the same time, very focused and clear in her thought process. She was always keen to interact with our ideological fraternity when she used to travel abroad. A few days before every major tour, Satish Gupta ji from her office would call us informing that EAM had kept specific time to meet our karyakartas. Meeting her was always a very memorable experience to each one of them.
In recently concluded elections, she led “literature committee” set up by party president. I was a member of that committee. We were entrusted to create literature/talking points (other than manifesto). During the meetings of this committee, I was mesmerised by her command on both Hindi and English, her choice of words and also her strive for perfection. She would loudly read the line, re-phrase it, ask everyone’s opinion, change the sentence, read it loudly again twice, before finalising. She was equally paying attention to color scheme, quality of paper and even font size. Even though she hardly did any public program during the campaign, I requested her to have Facebook live interaction with global Indian Diaspora. She readily agreed. So popular was this virtual meet that it attracted more than 2.5 lac views on various social media platforms.
Last time I met her it was in the first week of June. She was as jovial as always, briefly reviewed what was achieved in the last five years, asked me several questions about my life before joining politics. Coincidently, it was my birthday. I told her about it before leaving and asked if I could click a selfie with her. She not only agreed to it but also fed me sweet with her hand. I touched her feet for blessings, never knowing that it would be my last meeting with her.
In her last speech on India’s foreign policy (on 13th March 2019), then Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj defined two pillars of India’s foreign policy under Modi government. First “Rashtrahit Sarvopari” and second, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. During her tenure as a foreign minister, she always walked the path based on both these principles.
We will miss you Sushma ji for a long period of time.  (The writer is In-Charge, Foreign Affairs Dept, BJP)  -GoTop

Shri Vishwa Niketan  vishwav@bol.net.in