To Worship or Not to Worship Shirdi Sai Baba: That Is the Question…


.

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Dwarka Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Dwarka Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati seems to be an outspoken person. A few days before the recent parliamentary elections the seer was in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh to attend a religious programme. A reporter from a news channel pressed him to know his views on Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate. The seer lost his cool and instead of answering slapped the reporter.

The incident was politically coloured with both Congress and BJP taking different stands. The seer brushed aside the matter, saying he did not want to discuss politics.

Mayank Aggarwal, the State Congress leader said: “Sadhus should not be asked political questions in the first place.” He also added that the seer wanted the discourse to be around religious issues and felt bad at being asked about Modi.

The BJP spokesperson Hitesh Bajpai,  said: “We believe that the religious leaders are the flag-bearers of religion, ethics and truth. They should be the epitome of forgiveness. Questions from the media are of prime importance and should not be brushed aside.”

However, the unperturbed seer brushed aside the matter, saying he did not want to discuss politics. Elucidating on the matter he said: “I slapped the reporter and told him ‘you are talking about him (Modi) so that he can remain a topic of discussion’.

On June 30, 2014, while addressing a meeting of the central working committee of the Bharat Sadhu Samaj at Kankhal near Haridwar in Uttarakhand, the forthright Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand stood steadfast on his stand on Shirdi Sai Baba. He asserted that Sai Baba was a Muslim fakir and should not be worshipped like a Hindu deity. He said his campaign to protect the Hindu religion will continue even if he is sent to jail, “They may burn my effigy or even send me to jail, but my campaign to protect the sanctity of the Hindu religion will continue,” Shankaracharya said.

On June 30, 2014, while addressing a meeting of the central working committee of Bharat Sadhu Samaj at Kankhal near Haridwar in Uttarakhand, the forthright Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand stood steadfast on his stand on Shirdi Sai Baba. He stressed that there is a need now to guard against forces that were “corrupting” the Hindu religion by arbitrarily creating new gods and propagating them. He said his campaign to protect the Hindu religion was being opposed by those who had made religion a means of livelihood and some people were making money in the name of Shridi Sai Baba. He said worshipping Sai Baba was a conspiracy to divide the Hindus.

Uma Bharti (Source: dnaindia.com)

Uma Bharti (Source: dnaindia.com)

At that meeting a letter sent by Uma Bharti, the Union Minister of water resources, to the Shankaracharya explaining the rationale behind her statement made the previous day was also read out at the confluence. In the letter she had said, looking upon someone as a god was people’s prerogative.

Shirdi Sai Baba - 2 Shirdi Sai Baba - 1 Shirdi Sai Baba - 3

However, Uma Bharti’s justification did not seem to satisfy the seer. Known to be a Congress backer, the Shankaracharya, belittled Uma Bharti saying he thought a devotee of Lord Ram had become a Union minister and a Ram temple in Ayodhya would soon be a reality, instead, she turned out to be the “worshiper of a Muslim.” He asked whether she had not seen the pictures of Sai Baba depicted like Hindu Gods including Shiva and Vishnu?

Now, while people are ranting and raving over this controversy of whether it is right to worship a human or not, some might wonder who the protagonist, Shridi Sai Baba, is.

The early life of Sai Baba continues to be an enigma. There are no reliable and consistent records of his birth and parentage. He is believed to have been born around 1838. He arrived at Shirdi as a nameless individual at a young age.

At Shirdi, he stayed on the outskirts of the village in Babul forest and meditated under a tropical evergreen Neem tree. Many villagers after perceiving him as an embodiment of discipline, penance and austerity, revered his saintly figure and gave him food.

After wandering in the woods for days, Sai Baba took shelter in a disused decrepit mosque. He referred to his new dwelling as “Dwarkarmai“, after the abode of Lord Krishna in Dwarka.

Very soon he had a large number of devotees among the Muslims, Hindus and Zoroastrians, who regarded him according to their individual beliefs, as a saint, a fakir, an avatar or an incarnation of god, or a Sadguru. They flocked to Dwarkarmai seeking spiritual guidance.

Unlike the present day spiritual leaders, Sai Baba had no love for corporeal materials. His sole concern was teaching self-realization.

Sai Baba is worshiped by people in India and around the world as a saint. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to the Almighty and the guru. He did not distinguish people based on religion or caste.

It still remains a mystery and almost everyone is uncertain of Sai Baba’s true religious leaning – Islam or Hinduism. His teachings combined elements of Islam and Hinduism. He practiced Islamic rituals, but taught using words and figures drawn from both traditions.

A minor section of the Islamic community in India considers Sai Baba as a Muslim Fakir and as a Sufi Pir or Peer, translated into English as “saint” and could be interpreted as “Elder”. In Sufism a Pir’s role is to guide and instruct his disciples on the Sufi path.

Zoroastrians like Nanabhoy Palkhivala and Homi Bhabha, worship Sai Baba who has been cited as the Zoroastrians’ most popular non-Zoroastrian religious figure.

Sai Baba died on October 15, 1918. He was buried in Shirdi. He is well known for the aphorisms such as “Allah Malik” (“God is King”) and “Sabka Malik Ek” (“One God governs all”), which is associated with both Islam and Sufism. He also said:

Trust in me and your prayer will be answered“.

.

About these ads

Have Will? Then, You Can Travel in the Indian Subcontinent!


.

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Up to now I thought overloading was the major trait of transportation peculiar to India alone. But, now, I am really confused …

.

Video grab from "Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!" uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.

Video grab from “Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!” uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.

I grabbed the above image from a video titled Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory! uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia. I do not think anyone in the West would have seen a train crowded like this in their country. But in India, it is a common sight, particularly during the festival seasons.

The regular commuters are mainly laborers coming to New Delhi from neighboring states. They would work for a week and then return home over the weekend. Most of them travel without tickets, and the state-owned Indian railways, are compelled to permit this, else their entire railway system will be debacled by these laborers.

Indian Railways ... (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)

Indian Railways (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)

I came across the above image captioned “Indian Railway…” on IMC – India meets Classic presents… web page hosted on wordpress.com. I doubt whether this photo was taken in India. I think it was most probably, taken somewhere in Pakistan. Also, I wonder whether all these people are genuine passengers or merely clinging on to the train, posing for the photograph to prove a point.

Recently, I viewed several videos on YouTube about railways in Asia. When I saw the following video titled “End of Ramadan rush-hour in Bangladesh” uploaded by No Comment TV on August 8, 2013, I was dumbfounded.

Eid al-Fitr or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). On this day all Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity.

This video shows thousands of Bangladeshis getting crammed on ferries and climbing on trains while leaving Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, to return to their home villages and celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This video needs no further comments.

.

Was the Indian Railways Born on April 16, 1853?


.

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

It is generally believed that the railways were first introduced to India on April 16th, 1853. The Bori Bunder to Thane line is customarily seen as the birth of the world’s largest railway systems, but the plan for the first rail system was drawn in 1832. The laying of an experimental track began in 1836 near Chintadripet, in Madras (now Chennai). When the experiment proved successful, a 3.5 mile (5.6 km) rail track was laid between Red Hills and St. Thomas Mount in Chennai.

On December 22, 1851, the first steam locomotive in India was used during the construction of the Solani canal near Roorkee, a city in Haridwar district, Uttarakhand. Bengal Sappers of the Indian Army built the railway line to carry soil for the construction of the canal from Piran Kaliyar, 6.2 miles (10 km) from the city.

It is commonly believed that the two-wagon train was hauled by a Jenny Lind class locomotive built by E.B. Wilson and Company at their Railway Foundry in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England or something very similar in design, by the name of “Thomason“. However, surviving work records do not substantiate this fact.

The engine had a short life. A boiler explosion destroyed it a few months after it started operating. It might have been a secondhand engine. Nonetheless, it pioneered a new era in the transportation history of India.

The locomotive rail paths are still intact.

Replica of Jenny Lind in Roorkee (Courtesy of Kota Shivaranjan/Flickr gallery of travel photos)

Replica of Jenny Lind in Roorkee (Courtesy of Kota Shivaranjan/Flickr gallery of travel photos)

A replica of what the locomotive might have looked like is exhibited at Roorkee Railway Station in original LB&SCR (London, Brighton and South Coast Railway) livery as a monument to the historic moment.

The National Railway Museum in Delhi also has illustrations of a Jenny Lind with the name “Thomason” the shop.

 

On April 16th, 1853, at 3.35pm, the first train in India left Bori Bunder, in Bombay (now Mumbai), for its destination Thane, 34 kilometres away. (Source: oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in)

On April 16th, 1853, at 3.35pm, the first train in India left Bori Bunder, in Bombay (now Mumbai), for its destination Thane, 34 kilometres away. (Source: oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in)

Although the first rails were laid at Chintadripet in Madras, the first train flagged off was on April 16, 1853, between Bori Bunder (later Victoria Terminus, now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Thane. It travelled 21 miles (34 Km) with the aid of three locomotives: Sahib, Sindh, and Sultan. 400 invited guests in 14 carriages enjoyed the historic ride. This journey set a milestone in passenger train service. The governor, Lord John Elphinstone flagged off the train at 3:30 pm.

Robert Maitland Brereton (2 January 1834 – 7 December 1911) was an English railway engineer in India. (source: en.wikipedia.org)

Robert Maitland Brereton (2 January 1834 – 7 December 1911) was an English railway engineer in India. (source: en.wikipedia.org)

A British engineer, Robert Maitland Brereton, was responsible for the expansion of the railways from 1857 onwards. The Allahabad-Jabalpur branch line of the East Indian Railway was opened in June 1867. Brereton linked this track with the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, resulting in a combined network of 4,000 miles (6,400 km). And, from March 7, 1870, onwards, it became possible to travel directly from Bombay to Calcutta. “Around the World in Eighty Days,” the classic adventure novel written by the French writer Jules Verne was partly inspired by this railway.

At the opening ceremony, the Viceroy Lord Mayo concluded:

“… it was thought desirable that, if possible, at the earliest possible moment, the whole country should be covered with a network of lines in a uniform system.

An  Indian train (Source - dhankedeshme.blogspot.in)

An Indian train (Source – dhankedeshme.blogspot.in)

In 1951, the various railway systems were nationalized and brought under the banner of the Indian Railways becoming the world’s largest railway network. It covers more than 71,000 miles (115,000 km) of multi-gauge track – broad, metre and narrow gauges – over a route of more than 40,000 miles (65,000 km) and 7,500 stations. Its operations cover all the states and seven union territories in India. It also provides limited international services to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Indian Railways have roughly over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 passenger coaches and 8,000 locomotives. Indian Railways also own locomotive and coach production facilities at several places in India.

On April 16th, 1853, at 3.35pm, the first train in India leaves Bombay for Thane (Source: oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in)

On April 16th, 1853, at 3.35pm, the first train in India leaves Bombay for Thane (Source: oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in)

In 2011, Indian railways transported more than 24 million passengers daily, roughly half of which were suburban passengers, amounting to 8,900 million passengers annually (not counting the ticketless travellers), and over 2 million tonnes of goods daily.

In 2011–2012, the Indian Railways had revenues of: ₹1119849 million (US$19 billion) consisting of ₹696760 million (US$12 billion) from the freight and ₹286455 million (US$4.8 billion) from tickets issued to passengers.

.

Dhanushkodi – Fifty Years After the Cyclone of 1964


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

A cyclonic storm now referred to as the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone or the Dhanushkodi cyclone started with the depression that formed in the South Andaman Sea on December 17, 1964. On December 19, it intensified into a severe cyclonic storm. From December 21, it moved westwards, 400 km to 550 km per day. On December 22, it crossed Vavunia in Sri Lanka with a wind speed of 280 km per hour.

On December 22-23 night, the cyclone moved into Palk Strait and made landfall in Dhanushkodi, at the southern tip of Rameswaram island, on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India. The devastating tidal waves that were 7 metres high submerged all houses and other structures in Dhanushkodi town  with heavy casualties.

On December 22, 1964, the tidal wave smashed into the Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger train and washed it into the sea while it was crossing the viaduct during the cyclonic storm.

 The railway track in Dhanushkodi destroyed by the cyclone of December 22, 1964

The railway track in Dhanushkodi destroyed by the cyclone of December 22 – 25, 1964.

More than 100 passengers drowned in the sea. The death toll was estimated to be anywhere between 115 and 200. The variation is due to the many ticketless travellers. The railway line running from Pamban Station to Dhanushkodi Pier was washed away.

The 1¼ mile-long Pamban Rail Bridge over the Pamban Channel, that links the Indian mainland with the island of Rameswaram was also badly damaged; 126 of its 145 girders collapsed. However, the lift span was barely damaged.

The Pamban bridge after restoration (Source: the hindu.com)

The Pamban bridge after restoration (Source: the hindu.com)

Most of the girders were salvaged from the sea and the Pamban viaduct was working once again in a span of just three months time.

The metre gauge branch line from Pamban Junction to Dhanushkodi was abandoned after the cyclone destroyed it.

Prior to the cyclone, Dhanushkodi was once a flourishing town. Then, the Railway line to Dhanushkodi, destroyed in the 1964 cyclone, went directly from Mandapam station to Dhanushkodi without touching Rameswaram. In those days Dhanushkodi had a railway station, a small railway hospital, primary schools, a post office, customs and port offices. There were hotels, dharmashalas (religious rest houses), and many textile shops that catered to the Hindu pilgrims and travellers to Sri Lanka.

A map showing the ferry route from Dhanushkod, Indiai to Talaimannar , Sri Lanka (Source:-Wikimedia Commons)

A map showing the ferry route from Dhanushkod, Indiai to Talaimannar , Sri Lanka (Source:-Wikimedia Commons)

Dhanushkodi is about 18 miles (29 km) West of Talaimannar, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). There was a steamer ferry service which operated daily from the pier on the south-east of the Dhanushkodi town to the pier at Talaimannar. The ferry transported travellers and goods, across the Palk Strait.

In the 1950s and 1960s, I used to travel to Ceylon by the Dhanushkodi-Talimannar steamer ferry.

The Indo-Ceylon Express, also known as the Boat Mail train, plied from 1915 to 1964 on a metre gauge track between Egmore Station in Chennai (then known as Madras) and Dhanushkodi. It took almost 19 hours to complete the journey of 420 miles (675 Km).

Ferry service from Dhanushkodi Pier to Talaimannar in the 1950s.

Ferry service from Dhanushkodi Pier to Talaimannar in the 1950s.

After the Boat Mail train reached Dhanushkodi Pier at 15:05 hours in the afternoon, the passengers after alighting from the train had to pass through the customs before boarding the ferry which used to leave the Indian shore soon after 16:00 hours. Depending on the weather, it took between 2 and 3½ hours to cross the very shallow Palk Bay and reach the Talaimannar Pier in Sri Lanka. The voyage used to be bumpy and nauseating when the sea was rough.

The name of the train changed from Indo-Ceylon Express to Rameswaram Express after the 1964 cyclone. Now, it is a 12-hour journey from Chennai to Rameswaram on a broad-gauge track.

On June 12, 2014, my wife and I along with relatives left Chennai on Rameswaram Express to attend a wedding at Pamban town. We reached Rameswaram the following day around 5:30 am and lodged in a hotel. We hired a van and left the hotel around 11:00 am to see Dhanushkodi.

After travelling for 20 minutes, we reached Dhanushkodi. Even 50 years after the cyclone of 1964, Dhanushkodi remains a dilapidated strip of land.

The driver stopped the van at a spot on the Indian Ocean side where many other vans carrying tourists were parked.

The driver said he cannot go farther as local regulations, meaning rules set by the local cartel of van drivers, forbids it. But the members of that association ply a number of their own vans to ferry the travellers to the end of Dhanushkodi and charge ₹100/- per person. At the end of the journey we paid ₹2,200/-.

After 35 minutes of a bumpy ride by van, on shallow waters and muddy tracts, we reached the tip of Dhanushkodi where Adam’s Bridge, a chain of sand shoals between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar begins. The distance from the tip of Dhanushkodi in India and Talimannar in Sri Lanka is about 18 miles (29 km). The Dhanushkodi fishermen say that some sand dunes are just 50 yards in length. Surprisingly, the smallest land border in the world, is a shoal in Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka – just 45 metres in length.

An eerie stillness prevailed around us except for the chatter of the few tourists subdued by the sound of waves. There were a few marine birds pecking on the soggy earth searching for food and many sea eagles circling in the air ready to swoop on any prey they could spot in the shallow waters or on the muddy land.

We saw many Hindu pilgrims bathing in the Palk Bay. The Hindus believe that pilgrimage to the holy city of Kashi (Benares / Varanasi) in North India would not be complete without having the ritual bath at the tip of Dhanushkodi, considered a sacred confluence of the Palk Bay and the Indian Ocean, before completing their pilgrimage to Rameswaram.

St. Antony's Church at Dhanuskodi devastated by the cyclone of 1964 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

St. Antony’s Church at Dhanushkodi devastated by the cyclone of 1964 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

It was heartrending to see only thatched huts and no buildings with standing walls. The only walls we saw were the dilapidated walls of St. Anthony’s church and of a school devastated during the cyclone of 1964.

Trinkets and ornaments made from seashells (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Trinkets and ornaments made from seashells (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The main trade other than fishing was the sale of conch shells, and trinkets and ornaments made of shells sold at exorbitant prices to tourists and pilgrims.

Eventually, we left Dhanushkodi around 2:30 pm with a heavy heart after having seen the ravages wrought by the 1964 cyclone.

.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

 

Hoodwinking the Innocent in the Name of Jesus and The Holy Spirit


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

An innocent Congo boy

In the New Testament in Mark 10:13-16 we read:

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

If your heart is physically weak please do not view these videos.

The images you see in these videos are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where self-styled pastors hoodwink ignorant rural folk using the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These criminals who call themselves “pastors” resort to so-called “exorcism” of infants and children to fatten themselves by levying a high fee equal to US$50 or more to drive out the evil spirits in the innocent children. The government officials in Congo do not bother to intervene and arrest these extortionists because they receive their kickbacks under the table.

In India too, there are in every nook and corner, many crooked Christian pastors such as these, who inveigle ignorant people to their churches and fleece them in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

These felons should be stripped bare and molten lead should be poured into their blasphemous mouths for Exodus 20:7 says:

You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

.

.

.

Is a College Degree Necessary for Smriti Irani to hold the HRD Portfolio?


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

I do not subscribe to any political party. But, when I perceive talent in any form, I will be the first person to endorse it.

.

Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.

Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.

Smriti Zubin Irani, a former model, television actress and producer represents the Bharatiya Janata Party and is the incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014. She is a first time Lok Sabha polls contestant and a first time minister and the youngest in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

She is a first time Lok Sabha polls contestant and a first time minister.

Born on March 23, 1976, in Delhi to a family of Punjabi–Bengali background, Smriti Malhotra is the eldest amongst three sisters. She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School (HCA) in New Delhi, and discontinued further education.

Smriti worked as a waitress at McDonald’s before finding stardom in modelling. In 1998, Smriti was one of the finalists of the Miss India beauty pageant.

In 2000, she made her debut with TV series Aatish and Hum Hain Kal Aaj Kal Aur Kal, both aired on Star Plus. In mid-2000, Irani bagged the lead role of Tulsi Virani in Ekta Kapoor’s production Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus. She holds the record of winning five consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards for the Best Actress (Popular), four Indian Telly Awards, eight Star Parivaar Awards.

In 2001, Smriti married Zubin Irani, a Parsi.

Smriti Irani is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and is now widely acknowledged in the BJP as a key member of Narendra Modi’s inner circle.

In her message to the Subject Toppers of Senior School Certificate (Class XII) Examination, 2014 conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi, posted on the website of the Government of India Ministry of Human Resource Development she said:

I congratulate all the students of CBSE who have excelled in their schools, districts and States in different subjects.

I applaud those who have worked hard and have got good results which make them and their families proud.

Examinations, marks, and above all values and Character in life, are the means to move forward and achieve progress

I wish all the students success in achieving their dreams in whatever walk of life they find joy and fulfilment and thereby contribute to a healthy, harmonious society and a strong nation.

But, there is something to be said about Smriti Irani’s own education.

Congress leader Ajay Maken questioned Smriti Irani’s credentials to lead the HRD ministry which oversees the country’s education system including the prestigious IITs and IIMs. Hitherto, the portfolio had always been held by a person with high academic qualifications. Maken tweeted: “Smriti Irani is not even a graduate,” triggering a political row, which until then had been fuelled online solely by her main detractor Madhu Purnima Kishwar, an Indian academic, and writer, who has been going hammer and tongs at Smriti Irani since the swearing-in.

In the past Madhu Kishwar vociferously defended Narendra Modi both on Twitter and on television channels. Now, after the swearing-in, Kishwar seems to have taken on a new role of being his critic-in-chief.

Smriti Irani seemed unfazed by the drama. However, there is more to this controversy.

Her BIODATA published in the HRD website states:

Educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi, Delhi.

Smriti Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications.

In 2004, in the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India she submitted that she had received a bachelor’s degree in Arts (B.A.) in 1996 from Delhi University (School of Correspondence).

Details of school and university education - 1

 

In the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India for the recent 2014 elections Smriti Irani claimed that she only completed Part I (first year) of her bachelor’s degree in commerce (Part I B.Com.) in the year 1994 from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (correspondence)..

Details of school and university education - 2

 

To add venom, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Smriti Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written the examination.

This incidence of doubts raised about Smriti Irani’s education leads to the perennial question “What is education?

When knowledge, skills, and habits convey from one person to another through teaching, training, or research we call it education. So, we can say that education is any experience that has a developmental effect that leads to the way one thinks, feels, or acts.

Education - 1

By the way, do you think that all recipients of diplomas and college degrees are really educated?

At present, most people look at education as commonly divided into stages: preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship under the guidance of others. But many do not freely acknowledge that education may also be autodidactic.

Autodidacticism or autodidactism or self-education is self-directed learning.

An autodidact is a self-teacher. Autodidactism is a contemplative and absorptive process. One may become an autodidact at any point in one’s life. While one may have studied a particular field in the conventional method they may choose to inform themselves in other, often unrelated areas by self-study.

Many autodidacts have complemented their formal learning with self-study. Though I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I am an autodidact in computer science. Forty-two years ago, I was not able to find any teacher who could teach computer science. So, I spent a great deal of time reviewing the resources found in physical libraries and buying whatever books on computer science that I came across in search of knowledge. I always say: “To learn, teach!” I gained most of my knowledge in computers by following this dictum — teaching others who sought knowledge in basic computer science.

Though autodidactism is only one facet of learning, many autodidacts have made notable contributions to the human race. Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci is one of history’s best known autodidacts.

Since most autodidacts do not advertise themselves, why not we consider Smriti Irani as one such person.

On May 19, 2014, Smriti Irani hit back at Congress leader Ajay Maken’s comments on her educational qualifications. She said,

Judge me by my work, I would only say this… Attempts have been made to deviate my attention from my work. The party has always entrusted me with assignments as they have confidence in me.

The late Kamaraj Nadar, former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, India, was a 3rd grader. He was a visionary and he opened hundreds of primary schools accessible to rural kids to improve the literacy rate in Tamilnadu.

The current Chief Minister of Tamilandu J. Jayalalitha is a 10th grader (Matriculation). She is fluent in several languages, including English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi.

So, before you write off Smriti Irani as an ‘uneducated’ person, just listen to the speech she gave before an International audience at the International Women’s Conference in February 2014, at The Art of Living International Center, Bangalore, India, a few months before she was sworn-in as the Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and then form your opinion about her.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Six Qualities a Man in India Expects From His Wife


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

A woman of worth is the crown of her husband,
but a disgraceful one is like rot in his bones.
- Proverbs 12:4

The presence of near and dear ones, reception parties – large or small, and honeymoons, etc., most certainly enhance the pleasures of the occasion and the joy of a wedding.

But what is the ultimate goal of a marriage from a man’s viewpoint?

Universally, all men wish for a perfect wife. But what does one mean by a “perfect wife”? What are the qualities needed to be an ideal spouse? Many women do not know about it though most of the qualities of a perfect wife are already built into them and develops as she grows up.

In India, Neeti Saara or Neeti Sastra is a popular collection of morals written by Baddena, a 13th century Telugu poet, believed to be a Chola prince named Bhadra Bhupala.

Baddena sums the six noble virtues an ideal wife should have in a verse as:

‘కార్యేషు దాసి, కరణేషు మంత్రి, భోజ్యేషు మాతా, రూపేచ లక్ష్మీ, శయనేషు రంభ, క్షమయా ధరిత్రీ… and so on.

 

‘Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri; Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha, Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri, Shat dharmayukta, Kuladharma Pathni’

Translation:

Karyeshu Dasi: work like a maidservant.

Karaneshu Mantri: advice like a minister.

Bhojeshu Mata: feed like a mother.

Shayaneshu Ramba: please in bed like Rambha.

Roopeshu Lakshmi: look beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi.

Kshmayeshu Dharitri: be patient like Earth.

Shat dharma yuktah Kula dharma Patni: A woman who has these six virtues is a good housewife.

Be a maidservant

Be a maidservant

Give advice ((Source: martofimages.com)

Give advice

Feed like a mother (Source: martofimages.com)

Feed like a mother

Please in bed.

Please in bed

Look beautiful like (Source: beautifullwallpapersfree.blogspot.in)

Look beautiful

Be patient (Source  - photogallery.indiatimes.com)

Be patient

In short, a good housewife should serve her husband like a maidservant; counsel him like a minister to deal with various problems that confront him; feed him like a mother; please him in bed as a courtesan like the heavenly seductress Rambha, unrivalled in the art of making love; maintain her beauty like Goddess Lakshmi; be patient and endure like Mother Earth.

This indeed is a tall order! I do not think any woman in the 21st century would qualify as a perfect wife by meeting these six criteria.

In this age of sex equality, the women argue that these verses were written by a man and so are chauvinistic. What will happen if a woman expects the following six qualities in a man?

Bhogeshu Raja: Rich like a king.

Vachaneshu Rama: Honest like Lord Rama.

Chaturasya Krishna: Intellectually smart like Lord Krishna.

Dhairyeshu Karna: Courageous like Karna.

Roopecha Indra: Handsome like Lord Indra.

Kaameshu Madana: Romantic like Madana Kamaraja.

Shatdharmayuktha manadharma Ramana: A man who has these six virtues is the dear husband.

Rich

Filthily Rich

Honest as Lord Rama

Honest

Intellectually smart like Lord Krishna

Intellectual

Courageous as Karna

Courageous

Handsome

Handsome

Romantic as Madhana

Romantic

If you are a man, do you think you can qualify as a perfect husband?

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

Enhanced by Zemanta

India and Day 26 – Part 5: Resurgence of the BJP


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

In numerology, the numbers 8, 17 and 26 mean “money, power,” and are also the numbers of destruction. Numerologists consider the number 8, 17 and 26 emphasize the areas of career, business, finances and authority. These three numbers are the great Karmic equalizers that balance the material and immaterial worlds – forces that just as easily creates as it destroys. So, when 8, 17, and 26 come to the fore, we can be assured that we will reap what we have sown.

On the material plane, the 8s focus on results, often in the form of money, which it sees as a tool, not the end of the rainbow. People with strong 8s in their charts may lose fortunes in their life, but they will never consider bankruptcy a reason to slow down or feel sorry, but rather would surge once again, stronger and more success-oriented than before.

The recognizable traits of the 8s are drive, ambition, discipline, efficiency, organization, management, control, focused and goal-oriented, good judgment, practical, realistic and possess the authority.

According to Cheiro, the number 8 stands for the planet Saturn. This number influences all people born on the 8th, 17th or 26th in any month.

Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on September 17, 1950.

May 26, 2014 – Narendra Modi  sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India

On May 26, 2014, ten minutes after 6 pm, 63-years-old Narendra Damodardas Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party, armed with a decisive mandate was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

The glittering event, replete with symbolism and grandeur, was attended by the heads of SAARC countries like Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 6th president of Sri Lanka, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and a galaxy of other dignitaries.

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source - ips.lk)

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source: ips.lk)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source - Flickr)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source – Flickr)

Modi opted for a small team of 45 ministers: 23 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 12 Ministers of State. This is the smallest government to take the oath in the last 15 years.

Another view of Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Another view of Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Here is the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi published in the official website of the Prime Minister of India:

My dear fellow Indians and citizens of the world, Namaste!

A very warm welcome to the official website of the Prime Minister of India.

On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India’s development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation. Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development.

I envision this website as a very important medium of direct communication between us. I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world. I hope this platform creates opportunities to listen, learn and share one’s views.

Through this website you will also get all the latest information about my speeches, schedules, foreign visits and lot more. I will also keep informing you about innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government of India.

Yours,
Narendra Modi

Let us hope and pray that Narendra Modi and his cabinet with their mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance” will usher in a golden era in India.

Jai Hind!

.

 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 2

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Enhanced by Zemanta

India and Day 26 – Part 3: The Devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

December 26, 2004 – Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

On Sunday, December 26, 2004, an undersea megathrust earthquake, known as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC in the Indian Ocean with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, between Simeulue in the Aceh province of Indonesia and mainland Indonesia. The earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 9.1–9.3, is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph.

The duration of faulting, between 8.3 and 10 minutes, was the longest ever observed. The behemothic quake caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre (0.4 inches) and triggered other minor earthquakes as far away as Alaska.

The tsunami was then known by various other names such as: “The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami,” “South Asian tsunami,” and “Indonesian tsunami.” Since the tsunami occurred on December 26, it was also known as the “Christmas tsunami” and the “Boxing Day tsunami.”

December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (Source: all-that-is-interesting.com)

December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. (Source: all-that-is-interesting.com)

The earthquake triggered a tsunami, considered to be one of the deadliest in history, which inundated coastal communities with waves up to 100 feet (30 meters) high and killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

Costlines severely hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami (Source: academic.evergree.edu)

Coastlines severely hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami (Source: academic.evergree.edu)

The huge waves racing at the speed of a jet aircraft took fifteen minutes to seven hours to reach the various coastlines. The waves hit the northern regions of the Indonesian island of Sumatra immediately. Thailand was struck about two hours later, despite being closer to the epicentre because the tsunami waves travelled more slowly in the shallow Andaman Sea off its western coast. About an hour and a half to two hours after the quake, Sri Lanka and the east coast of India were hit. The waves then reached the Maldives.

Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

The earthquake and resulting tsunami in the Indian Ocean had a devastating effect on India. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs about 18,000 are estimated dead.

The following table compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that a total of 227,898 people died. According to this table, in mainland India and in its territories, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 12,405 people died in the tsunami, around 5,640 are missing and 647,599 people have been displaced.

Figures compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey

COUNTRY WHERE
DEATHS OCCURRED
CONFIRMED ESTIMATED INJURED MISSING DISPLACED
INDONESIA 130,736 167,799 n/a 37,063 500,000+
SRI LANKA2 35,322 35,322 21,411 n/a 516,150
INDIA 12,405 18,045 n/a 5,640 647,599
THAILAND 5,395 8,212 8,457 2,817 7,000
SOMALIA 78 289 n/a n/a 5,000
MYANMAR (BURMA) 61 400–600 45 200 3,200
MALDIVES 82 108 n/a 26 15,000+
MALAYSIA 68 75 299 6 n/a
TANZANIA 10 13 n/a n/a n/a
SEYCHELLES 3 3 57 n/a 200
BANGLADESH 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
SOUTH AFRICA 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
YEMEN 2 2 n/a n/a n/a
KENYA 1 1 2 n/a n/a
MADAGASCAR n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,000+
TOTAL ~184,167 ~230,273 ~125,000 ~45,752 ~1.69 million

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean were devastated by the tsunami, and by the initial quake and several aftershocks that occurred during the following days. The Great Nicobar and Car Nicobar islands were the worst hit among all the islands due to their proximity to the epicentre of the quake and because of the relatively flat terrain.

One-fifth of the population in Nicobar Islands was reported dead, missing or wounded. Chowra Island lost two-thirds of its population of 1,500. Communication was cut off when many islands submerged. The Trinket Island was bifurcated.

Fishing communities were destroyed and very little is known about the effects of the tsunami on the indigenous tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The official death toll in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was 1,310, with about 5,600 missing from the islands. But the unofficial death toll, including those missing and presumed dead, was estimated to be around 7,000.

Map showing Tsunami Affected Area in India.

Map showing Tsunami Affected Areas in India.

The tsunami hit the southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. It inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast. Around 8,000 deaths were reported from Tamilnadu, and around 200 deaths from Kerala. The district of Nagapattinam was the worst hit in Tamil Nadu, with nearly 5,500 deaths.

The tsunami of December 26, 2004 inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast of southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

The tsunami of December 26, 2004 inundated villages and devastated cities along the coast of southeastern regions of the Indian mainland. Crown. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Surprisingly, Bangladesh, which lies at the northern end of the Bay of Bengal, had only two confirmed deaths, despite being a low-lying country and located relatively near the epicenter. Also, distance alone does not guarantee a safety since Somalia located in the Horn of Africa on the eastern coast was hit harder than Bangladesh even though it is much farther away.

Coasts, with a landmass between them and the location of origin of a tsunami, are usually deemed safe, but tsunami waves can sometimes steer around such landmasses. Being a relatively small island, the western coast of Sri Lanka suffered substantial damages from the impact of the tsunami; likewise, the Indian state of Kerala too was hit by the tsunami, despite being on the western coast of India.

The government of India announced a financial package of about US$200 million to Andaman and Nicobar islands after the tsunami, but the unbearable living conditions due to rise in sea level, constant aftershocks and fear of another similar tsunami, propelled thousands of settlers on the islands to relocate to the Indian mainland.

According to the World Bank, reconstruction was expected to cost more than US$1.2 billion in India alone.

.

 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat

Next → India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 1

.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

January 26, 2001 – The Gujarat Earthquake

Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)

Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)

On January 26, 2001, a strong earthquake struck the Kutch area in Gujarat at 8:46 AM local time (3:16 UTC) and lasted for over two minutes.

The earthquake had a magnitude between 7.6 and 7.7 on the moment magnitude  (Mw) scale and had a maximum felt intensity of X (Intense) on the Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale. The epicentre was about 9 km south-southwest of the village of Chobari in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District of Gujarat, India.

Base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)

Base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)

The January 26, 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the most damaging to strike India in the last five decades, led to a large loss of life and property.

The earthquake turned the cities of Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Gandhidham, Kottar, Kukuma, Lodai and Ratnar, along with nearby villages to ruins in less than two minutes.

The city of Ahmedabad lies about 300 km east of the epicenter in the village of Chobari and falls in the seismic Zone III (IS: 1893-1976) of India. Many mid to high-rise residential buildings pancaked on their lower levels and collapsed, leading to several hundred causalities and significant financial loss.

The quake though equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (which had a death toll of 3,425) killed around 20,000 people in Gujarat, wounded another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes. The estimated economic loss was reported to be about US $5 billion.

February 26, 2002 – Pogrom in Gujarat

On February 26, 2002, the Sabarmati Express left Ayodhya. Several passengers travelling on that train were Hindu pilgrims, returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. The following morning, someone stopped the train when it neared the Godhra station by pulling the emergency chain.

Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

Under controversial circumstances, four coaches of the train caught fire. Many people were trapped inside the train. In the resulting conflagration, 59 people, including 25 women and 25 children, were burned to death.

In 2005, retired Supreme Court judge Umesh Chandra Banerjee, served as chairman of the committee constituted by the Government of India to probe the fire in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. He found that the coach fire was not deliberately started, but was accidental and not started by the Muslim mob. Later, when an Ahmedabad court ruled that there was a conspiracy to set the train on fire, Justice Banerjee stood by his findings and said it was an accidental fire as there was evidence to suggest the blaze began inside the train and that it was not firebombed.

Nevertheless, it has been alleged that a large mob attacked the train and four coaches were burned as the result of a conspiracy hatched by local Muslims.

After the burning of the train the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for a statewide bandh (strike), even after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional and illegal. The bandh was followed by three days of inter-communal bloodbath in Godhra as well as the rest of Gujarat. The state government headed by Narendra Modi did not take any action to prevent the strike, or stop the violence. Independent reports indicate that Rajendrasinh Ghanshyamsinh Rana, the former VHP president, had endorsed the strike, and that he and Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, used inflammatory language to worsen the situation.

Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)

Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)

According to the official figures, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died; 2,500 people were non-fatally injured, and 223 more were reported missing. However, other sources estimate that up to 2,000 Muslims died. There were instances of rape, children being burned alive, and widespread looting and destruction of property.

The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)

The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)

Narendra Modi has been accused of initiating and condoning the violence. Also, it has been alleged that police and government officials orchestrated the violence by directing the rioters by giving them lists of Muslim-owned properties.

In 2012, the Muslim community reacted with anger and disbelief when a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India cleared Modi of complicity in the violence. In July 2013, allegations were made that the SIT had suppressed evidence. That December, an Indian court upheld the SIT report and rejected a petition seeking Modi’s prosecution. In April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT’s investigations in nine cases related to the violence, and rejected a plea contesting the SIT report as baseless.

.

 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 1: India’s Independence Day and Republic Day 

Next  India and Day 26 – Part 3: The Devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta