Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day.Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.
People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.
But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.
As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.
People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.
That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.
Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.
Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.
Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.
Around 1617, the group of Separatists living Leiden, afraid of losing their cultural identity decided to set up colonies elsewhere, in some other country. Discussions were held as to where the group should go. The decided not to settle near England since that might closely duplicate the political environment back in England.
Candidate destinations included Guiana, where the Dutch had already established in 1616, Essequibo, a colony on the Essequibo River in the Guiana region on the north coast of South America; or somewhere near the existing Virginia settlements. Virginia was an attractive destination because the presence of the older colony might offer better security and trade opportunities.
At the same time, there were many uncertainties about moving to far-off places such as America because of the stories they heard about failed colonies over there. Also, there were fears of violent natives; scarcity of food and water; the possibility of exposure to unknown diseases; and hazards of distant travel by sea.
The London Company, also called the Charter of the Virginia Company of London, was an English joint stock company established by royal charter by King James I, for the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America. It administered a territory of considerable size in the region.
The territory granted to the London Company included the coast of North America from the 34th parallel (Cape Fear) north to the 41st parallel (Long Island Sound), but being part of the Virginia Company and Colony, the London Company owned a large part of Atlantic and Inland Canada. The company was permitted by its charter to establish a 100-square-mile (260 square km) settlement within this area. The company shared the territory, north of the 38th parallel with the Plymouth Company, with the stipulation that neither company should establish a colony within 100 miles (161 km) of each other.
The London Company administered a territory of considerable size in the region. The Leiden Separatists made arrangements with the London Company to establish a new colony in North America. The intended settlement site was at the mouth of the Hudson River, at a distance that allayed concerns of social, political and religious conflicts, but still provided the military and economic benefits of relative closeness to an established colony.
Robert Cushman, a well-to-do wool comber, was the Chief Agent for the Leiden congregation.
John Carver, a successful London merchant, and brother-in-law of John Robinson’s wife, had joined the Pilgrims around 1610.
The New World seemed to offer the opportunity the Leiden congregation needed, but the group had no means for getting across the Atlantic Ocean and establishing a colony. In 1617, the Leiden congregation sent Robert Cushman and John Carver to England to seek financial backing for crossing the Atlantic and to obtain a land patent. But the negotiations delayed because of internal conflicts in the London Company, but ultimately the duo secured a patent in the name of John Wincob on June 9 (Old Style) / June 19 (New Style), 1619.
The charter granted by the king stipulated that the Leiden group’s religion would not receive official recognition.
When the preparations for the voyage stalled because of the continued problems within the London Company, competing Dutch companies approached, and discussed settling in the Hudson River area.
Thomas Weston (born 1584) persuaded Edward Pickering, in 1615, to become his agent in Holland. Together they began to import a variety of nonconformist religious tracts that were seditious. In 1619, he left England and traveled to Leiden, Holland, where his agent Pickering had married a woman belonging to the exiled Separatists, who were then hoping to gain passage to America.
Negotiations with the Dutch broke off when Thomas Weston, the agent for Merchant Adventurer investment group, assured them that he could resolve the delays of the London Company who intended to claim the area explored by Hudson before the Dutch could become fully established. However, the first Dutch settlers did not arrive in the area until 1624.
Thomas Weston told the Leiden group that parties in England had obtained a land grant north of the existing Virginia territory, to be called New England.
While these negotiations were on, William Brewster ran afoul of the English government by involving in the religious unrest emerging in Scotland.
In 1618, King James had promulgated the Five Articles of Perth, which were seen in Scotland as an attempt to encroach on their Presbyterian tradition. Pamphlets critical of this law, King James I and his bishop were published by Brewster and smuggled into Scotland.
By April 1619, these pamphlets were traced back to Leiden. This was at a critical time for the Leideners, as the preparations for their voyage to America had entered a critical phase and William Brewster’s guidance was badly needed. Brewster’s whereabouts between then and the departure of the congregation to New England remained unknown.
Supplies and a small ship Speedwell, originally named Swiftsure, built in 1577 and took part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English fleet , was procured to take some passengers from Holland to England; and from there cross the Atlantic to Virginia where it would be deployed for fishing, with its crew hired for support services during the first year.
Thomas Weston helped them to lease a second larger ship, Mayflower, for transport and exploration services.
There was not enough berths for the whole congregation to depart on the first trip. Many members were not able to settle their affairs within the time for departure. Also, there were constraints such as the budget for travel and supplies. As such, it was decided that the younger and stronger members of the congregation make the first voyage and settlement and the remainder agreed to follow if and when they could.
Robinson opted to remain in Leiden with the rest of the congregation. He intended to make the Atlantic crossing with the rest of his flock as soon as it was financially possible. It was not to be. Robinson died in 1624 in Leiden.
In July 1620, Speedwell set out from Delfshaven with some members of the Leiden congregation. On reaching Southampton, Hampshire, they met with Mayflower and the other colonists hired by the investors. William Brewster joined the first group of Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower and was appointed to lead the voyagers.
After making final arrangements, the two vessels set out of Southampton, Hampshire on August 5 (Old Style) / August 15 (New Style).
Soon afterwards, the crew of Speedwell reported that their ship was taking in water. So, both ships were diverted to Dartmouth in the English county of Devon. There Speedwell was inspected for leaks and sealed, and a second attempt to leave also failed, bringing them only so far as Plymouth, Devon.
Since Speedwell was untrustworthy for the long voyage, they sold it. Speedwell’s master and some of the crew transferred to the Mayflower for the trip.
Again due to limited berths, out of the 121 combined passengers, only 102, seventy-three males and twenty-nine females were chosen to travel on the Mayflower with the consolidated supplies, and a crew led by Captain Christopher Jones.
Half of the passengers had come by way of Leiden. Of these 37 were members of the Separatist Leiden congregation that included about 28 adults. This article “List of Mayflower passengers” mentions the names and details of the passengers on board the Mayflower during its trans-Atlantic voyage.
Mayflower finally set sail from Plymouth, Devon, England on September 6 (Old Style) / September 16 (New Style), 1620.
Shortly afterwards, in 1607, John Smyth and the members of the Gainsborough group moved on to Amsterdam. Brewster was fined £20 (about £3.66 thousand today) in absentia for his non-compliance with the Church of England, and he resigned from the position of postmaster.
Of the lay preachers among the Scrooby congregation, William Bradford was the most prominent next to William Brewster. The members of the Scrooby congregation decided to follow John Smyth’s group to Amsterdam. On arrival in Amsterdam a congregation of English dissenters living and worshiping in Amsterdam for over 10 years greeted them. This group, the earliest to arrive in Amsterdam, was officially titled the “Brethren of the Separation of the First English Church at Amsterdam,” and were known, informally, as the “Ancient Brethren.” By 1607, the members of the Ancient Brethren having attained economic stability constructed of a new church.
Francis Johnson (1562–1618), was the leader of the Ancient Brethren at that time. He was an English Presbyterian minister educated in Cambridge like Richard Clyfton and John Smyth. He first came to Holland in 1590 to serve as pastor of an English-speaking church in Middelburg. Though Johnson was a strong believer in reform, he tenaciously opposed Separatism. He confiscated Separatist books and was about to burn them. However, his intellectual curiosity impelled him to read some of those books. On reading the books, he changed his beliefs. Johnson then left his non-Separating Middelburg congregation and returned in 1591 to London where he was elected the pastor of the separatist congregation later to be named the Ancient Church.
In 1593, Francis Johnson and about 50 of his London congregation were jailed for their religious views. Around this time, two other radical reforming Separatists, Henry Barrow and John Greenwood, the authors of the books that had originally converted Francis Johnson to Separatism, were hanged at Tyburn.
Johnson’s congregation except Francis Johnson himself was gradually freed from jail, and they started to migrate to Amsterdam where, leaderless, they struggled to stay as a community. In 1597, after a failed attempt to establish a colony in Canada, Johnson joined his congregation of exiled separatists who had migrated to the Netherlands to avoid persecution, and resumed his pastorate with Henry Ainsworth as their teacher.
Several years before the arrival of the Scrooby group in 1608, Francis Johnson, had excommunicated his own father and brother for criticizing his wife.
In 1608, the newly arrived Separatists did not officially join the Ancient Brethren. The three congregations: Gainsborough, Scrooby and Ancient Brethren, maintained their independence and for a very short while worshiped peacefully together in the new church building.
By late summer of 1608, the two Separatist congregations – Gainsborough, led by John Smyth, and Scrooby, led by Richard Clyfton – were well settled in Amsterdam.
John Smyth disrupted the unity among the congregations by his disposition and constantly evolving religious views. Henry Ainsworth described Smyth as having published “three sundry books wherein he hath shewedhimselfe of 3 several [different] religions.“
William Bradford described John Smyth as:
“an eminent man in his time, and a good preacher, and of other good parts; but his inconstancy, and unstabble judgment, and being so suddenly carried away with things, did soon overthrow him.“
While Richard Clyfton was battling away with John Smyth, the rest of the Scrooby congregation was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the controversies and disruptions. They quietly reconstituted around John Robinson, their more tranquil teacher and minister.
Soon, Robinson and the more peaceful elements of the Scrooby group began to look for another place to live. It may have been William Brewster, who had visited The Netherlands in the 1580s, who suggested the Dutch city of Leiden.
In February of 1609, Robinson asked the Leiden City Council for permission to move to that city. He described his group as:
“… members of the Christian Reformed Religion, born in the Kingdom of Great Britain, to the number of one hundred persons or thereabouts, men and women.”
The answer came back:
“The Court… declare that they refuse no honest persons ingress to come and have their residence in this city, provided that such persons behave themselves honestly, and submit to all the laws and ordinances here.“
On May 1, 1609, John Robinson and most of the Scrooby congregation arrived in Leiden without Richard Clyfton who remained behind in Amsterdam and joined with the Ancient Brethren. William Bradford wrote:
“Mr. Richard Clifton was a good and fatherly old man when he came first into Holland, having a great white beard; and pity it was that such a reverend old man should be forced to leave his country, and at those years to go into exile. But it was his lot, and he bore it patiently. Much good had he done in the country where he lived, and converted many to God by his faithful and painful ministry, both in preaching and catechising. Sound and orthodox he always was, and so continued to his end. He belonged to the church at Leyden; but being settled at Amsterdam and then aged, he was loath to remove any more; and so when they removed he was dismissed to them there, and there remained [in Amsterdam] until he died.”
Richard Clyfton, lived in Amsterdam until his death on May 20, 1616. He was buried in the Zuiderkerk or “South Church,” beside his wife Ann who had died three years earlier.
At that time, Leiden, a city in the Dutch province of South Holland, was a thriving industrial center with about 100,000 inhabitants. On arrival there, the congregation lived in small houses. Many members were well able to support themselves working at Leiden University or in the textile, printing and brewing trades, while others, hampered by their rural backgrounds and the language barrier, were less able to bring in enough income.
Of their life in Leiden, William Bradford wrote:
For these & other reasons they removed to Leyden, a fair & bewtifullcitie, and of a sweete situation, but made more famous by yeuniversitiewherwith it is adorned, in which of late had been so many learned man. But wanting that traffike by sea which Amerstdam injoyes, it was not so beneficiall for their outward means of living & estats. But being now hearpitchet they fell to such trads & imployments as they best could; valewing peace & their spirituallcomforte above any other riches whatsoever. And at length they came to raise a competente & comforteable living, but with hard and continuall labor.
By 1617, although the congregation was stable and relatively secure in the Netherlands, there were ongoing issues that needed to be resolved.
Bradford noted that the congregation was aging, compounding the difficulties some had in supporting themselves. Some, having spent their savings, gave up and returned to England.
Edward Winslow (October 18, 1595 – May 8, 1655) was a Separatist. In 1617 Winslow traveled to Leiden, Holland and worked with William Brewster as a printer. Winslow’s list of the issues faced by the congregation living in Leiden was similar to that of Bradford. In addition to the economic worries and missionary possibilities, Winslow stressed that it was important for the people to keep their English identity, culture and language. They also believed that the English Church in Leiden could do little to help the larger community there.
The Scrooby congregation found the Dutch morals much too lascivious. Their children were becoming more and more inclined towards the Dutch way of living, “drawn away by evil examples into extravagance and dangerous courses.” The elders of the congregation realized that they faced eventual extinction if they remained there.
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and many people celebrate the day with religious significance. Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November.
Several instances of Thanksgiving that were held in early New England have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving.”
The modern Thanksgiving Day celebration is traced to the autumn celebration held in late 1621 at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The feast known as “The First Thanksgiving” was not known as such to the Pilgrims. “Harvest festival” would be a more proper term because a bountiful harvest prompted the 1621 Plymouth feast.
Pilgrims and Puritans who emigrated from England in the 1620s carried the tradition of Thanksgiving with them to New England – a solemn ceremony of praise and thanks to God for the congregation’s good fortune.
The Pilgrim holidays celebrated in Plymouth in 1621 for a plentiful harvest, was probably held in early October 1621. It was celebrated by the 53 surviving Pilgrims, along with Massasoit Sachem the leader of the Wampanoag, and “Massasoit” of the Wampanoag Confederacy and 90 of his men. The celebration lasted three days and featured a feast that included waterfowl, wild turkey and fish brought by the colonists, and five deer brought by the natives.
Three contemporary accounts of the event survive: Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, Mourt’s Relation probably written by Edward Winslow, and New England’s Memorial by Capt. Nathaniel Morton, Plymouth Colony Secretary and William Bradford’s nephew.
The Thanksgiving in 1623 was held in response to the good news of the arrival of additional colonists and supplies. The latter event probably occurred in July 1623 and consisted of a full day of prayer and worship and probably very little revelry.
The story of the Pilgrims seeking religious freedom has become the central theme of the history and culture of the United States and the Thanksgiving Day.
The Pilgrims were the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of “Brownists” (named after Robert Browne), a common designation for early English Dissenters, and Separatists from the Church of England before 1620.
The Puritans were a significant group of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries, including English Calvinists. Puritanism was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England and maintained their membership in and allegiance to the Church of England. The term “Puritan” was coined in the 1560s, as a term of abuse for those who found the Elizabethan Religious Settlement of 1559. Puritans did not originally use the term for themselves.
From the late 16th century onwards, the word “Puritan” was applied to a number of Protestant churches, and religious groups within the Anglican Church. However, the members of churches that did not agree with the Puritans knew themselves as members of particular churches or movements.
In this essay, I use the term “Brownists” and “Separatists” for the English Dissenters who separated from the Church of England in the 16th and 17th century who were not “Puritans”.
Robert Browne of Lilford
Robert Browne (1550 – 1633) considered ‘The Father of the Pilgrims‘ is important in American history because his concept of separation of the Church from the State initiated the first step in American democracy. Hence, he is also known as ‘The Grandfather of the Nation‘.
He was born at Tolethorpe Hall in Rutland, England, into a wealthy, prominent Northamptonshire family, the Brownes (Elmes) of Lilford.
By 1580, Browne became a leader in the movement for a congregational form of organization for the Church of England. He rejected the puritan view of reform from within the Church and started to look outside the established Church. In 1581, Browne attempted to set up a separate Congregational Church in Norwich, outside the Church of England. In April 1581, while preaching in the Bury St. Edmund, Suffolk area, authorities arrested Browne for unlicensed preaching and imprisoned him by the order of Bishop Freake of Norwich. William Cecil, Baron Burghley, his kinsmen, interceded for his release.
Between May and August 1582, due to hostility from the local church authorities most of the congregation moved from the politically volatile England to the relatively calm and tolerant Middelburgh in Zeeland, Holland. On arriving in Holland, members of the congregation suffered from illness. There they formed a church on what they conceived to be the New Testament model. However, within two years the community in Holland broke up due to internal dissensions.
Robert Browne published at Middelburgh two of his most important works: “A Treatise of Reformation without Tarying for Anie” in which he asserted the right of the church to affect necessary reforms without the civil magistrate’s authorisation; and “A Booke which sheweth the life and manners of all True Christians” which set out the theory of Congregational independency.
Both books were immediately banned in England by the English authorities. By the middle of 1583, they issued a Proclamation against buying, selling or possession of the works of Robert Browne. At Bury St Edmunds, the authorities arrested, tried, and hanged John Copping and Elias Thacker, former members of Browne’s Norwich congregation, for selling Browne’s seditious writings.
Browne was an active Separatist from 1579 to 1585 only. He returned to England and to the Church of England and got employed as a schoolmaster and parish priest. Browne’s companions and followers who hung on to his earlier separatist concepts now looked upon him as a renegade.
However, the term “Brownists” became a common designation for early Separatists from the Church of England before 1620. The Brownists are briefly mentioned in Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Nightwritten around 1600–02, where Sir Andrew Aguecheek says: “I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician‘ (III, ii). The Browne family seat, Tolethorpe Hall, is now home to the Stamford Shakespeare Company.
Richard Clyfton was born around 1553 near the Nottinghamshire village of Babworth. Ordained as a minister in 1586, he was named pastor of All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth, near East Retford, Nottinghamshire, England. He held this position from 1586 to1605.
In the 1590s, Clyfton started to preach dissenting religious views and conducted services using prayers that were not in the officially authorized Book of Prayers. He soon gathered followers from the surrounding towns and villages. His congregation held Separatist beliefs comparable to nonconforming movements led by Robert Browne, John Greenwood, and Henry Barrowe. In 1593, Barrowe and Greenwood were hung at Tyburn for sedition.
William Brewster of Scrooby and William Bradford of Austerfield who later launched the “Pilgrim adventure” were inspired by the preaching of Richard Clyfton.
Unlike the Puritan group who maintained their membership in and allegiance to the Church of England, Separatists held that their differences with the Church of England were irreconcilable and that their worship organized independently of the trappings, traditions and organization of a central church such as the Church of England.
In 1593, Barrowe and Greenwood were hung at Tyburn for sedition.
Scrooby is a small village, on the River Ryton and near Bawtry, in the northern part of the English county of Nottinghamshire. At the end of the sixteenth century, William Brewster, the Archbishop’s bailiff, who was also the postmaster of the village occupied the Manor House at Scrooby belonging to the Archbishops of York.
William Brewster, heard Clyfton preach. Impressed by Clyfton’s services, Brewster joined Clyfton’s Babworth congregation and participated in Separatist services.
Around 1602, young William Bradford, living in the Yorkshire village of Austerfield some ten miles from Babworth joined Brewster “to enjoy Mr. Richard Clifton’s illuminating ministry.”
From 1595 to 1606 Brewster served Archbishop Matthew Hutton who was sympathetic towards Puritans but not to the Separatists.
In 1604, the Hampton Court Conference denied substantially all the concessions requested by Puritans, save for an English translation of the Bible. In 1605, following the Conference, Clyfton declared a “nonconformist and nonsubscriber” was deprived of his position at Babworth. Brewster invited Clyfton to live at his home.
Services were held with Richard Clyfton as pastor, John Robinson as teacher and William Brewster as the presiding elder.
In 1606, Brewster arranged for a congregation of Separatists, led by John Smyth in Gainsborough, to meet privately at the Scrooby manor house. John Smyth, about 20 years younger than Richard Clyfton was an ordained minister and graduate of Cambridge University. In 1600, appointed as a preacher of the city of Lincoln, he lost the position soon afterwards because of his unorthodox views. Even though both the Scrooby group and the Gainsborough group were Separatists, their views were not entirely and necessarily the same.
Around this time in 1606, after Archbishop Matthew Hutton’s death, Tobias Matthew, one of King James’ chief supporters at the 1604 conference was elected as his replacement. Mathew promptly started a campaign to purge the archdiocese of nonconforming influences, both Separatists and those wishing to return to the Catholic faith.He replaced disobedient clergymen and confronted, fined, and imprisoned prominent Separatists.
Scrooby member William Bradford, who kept a journal of the congregation’s events that was later published as Of Plymouth Plantation wrote:
But after these things they could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but were hunted & persecuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some were taken & clapt up in prison, others had their houses besett & watcht night and day, & hardly escaped their hands; and ye most were faine to flie & leave their howses & habitations, and the means of their livelehood.
An undeniable elegance coupled with once in a while revelation of enchanting playfulness, and an exceptional inclination toward timing, have always been the brand of Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketer.
The hurriedly arranged Test series India vs West Indies was mostly for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to bid farewell from cricket.
Yesterday, November 16, 2013, was a memorable Saturday for Sachin.
India won the second Test match against the West Indies by an innings and 126 runs for the second straight time, and the series 2-0. But that win was reduced to a mere footnote by an emotionally charged farewell speech by Sachin Tendulkar that stirred a rapt live audience in the fully packed Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and TV viewers around the world.
The speech revealed to the world a Sachin Tendulkar, the speaker.
At 11:47, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the ‘God’ of cricket, was finally saying goodbye to cricket and his fans with glistening tears on his face, after entertaining the world with his 24 years of phenomenal cricket.
This speech uncovered the remarkable person that Sachin was, underneath the universally recognized cricketer. He moved his audience and his adoring, ardent, die-hard fans to tears, and made them fall in love with him once again.
Sachin Tendulkar, the “Master Blaster” made his Test debut against Pakistan on November 15, 1989. Yesterday, he ended his cricket career with a total of 34,357 runs in international cricket and 15,921 runs in Tests. Ricky Ponting, the now retired former Australia captain scored 13378, and Jacques Kallis, the highest placed active player is now on 13,140 runs. In all likelihood, these figures of Sachin will never be beaten.
He was the greatest ambassador of the sport of cricket and has touched the lives of all cricket lovers around the globe.
Sachin Tendulkar has been the single colossal to inspire Indian cricket over three generations. He was the perfect ambassador of the sport of cricket, and has touched the lives of all cricket lovers around the globe.
This Saturday is doubly memorable because an official announcement was made by a release from the Prime Minister’s Office that Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred with Bharat Ratna.
According to a report, Sachin said: “I dedicate this to my mother.”
Sachin Tendulkar is the seventh person from Maharashtra to be conferred the Bharat Ratna after Dhondo Karve, Pandurang Kane, Vinoba Bhave, BR Ambedkar, Lata Mangeshkar and Bhimsen Joshi.
Today, the curtains came down for 40-year-old Sachin Tendulkar’s remarkable cricket career. Sachin gave a heart-warming speech to thank his family, teammates, coaches, friends and fans saying it was unbelievable that his life between “22 yards in the last 24 years” has at last come to an end.
Here is Sachin Tendulkar’s Farewell Speech:
All my friends, settle down. Let me talk, I’ll get more and more emotional.
My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that wonderful journey has come to an end. But, I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who played an important role in my life also, for the first time in my life I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk, but I will manage.
The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. Without his guidance, I don’t think I would have been standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of eleven and told me that “Chase your dreams, but make sure you don’t find short cuts. The path might be difficult, but don’t give up,” and I have simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being, which I’ll continue to do so and I’ll try my best. Every time I have done something special whenever I showed my bat, it was for my father.
My mother, I don’t know how she dealt with such a naughty child like me. I was not easy to manage. She must be extremely patient. For a mother, the most important thing is that her child remains safe and healthy and fit. That was what she was most bothered and worried about. She took care of me for the last 24 years that I have played for India, but even before that she started praying for me the day I started playing cricket. She just prayed and prayed and prayed and I think her prayers and blessings have given me the strength to go out and perform, so a big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices.
In my school days, for four years, I stayed with my uncle and my aunt because my school was quite far from my home, and they treated me like their son. My aunt, after having had a hard day’s play, I would be half asleep, and she would be feeding me food so I could go again and play again tomorrow. I can’t forget these moments. I am like their son, and I am glad that it has continued to be the same way.
My eldest brother, Nitin, and his family, have always encouraged me. My eldest brother doesn’t like to talk much, but the one thing he always told me is that whatever you do, I know you will always give it 100%, and that I have full confidence and faith in you. His encouragement meant a lot to me.
My sister, Savita, and her family, was no different. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir willow bat. But that is where the journey began. She is one of those many who still continue to fast when I bat. So, thank you very much.
Ajit, my brother, now what do I talk about him? I don’t know. We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me Archrekar sir, my coach. From there on my life changed.
You will find this hard to believe that even last night he called to discuss my dismissal, knowing that there was a remote chance of batting again, but just the habit which we have developed, the rapport we have developed, since my birth. It has continued and it will continue. Maybe even when I’m not playing cricket we will still be discussing techniques. Various things we agree upon, my technique, and so many technical things which I didn’t agree with him, we have had arguments and disagreements, but in the end when I look back at all these things if that hadn’t happened in my life, I would have been a lesser cricketer.
The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1991 when I met my wife Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way. I know Anjali, being a doctor; there was a wonderful career in front of her. When we decided to have a family, Anjali took the initiative to step back and said you continue with your cricket and I will take the responsibility of the family.
Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to play cricket freely and without any stress. Thanks for bearing with all my fuss, all my frustrations, and all sorts of rubbish that I have spoken. I normally do.Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through the ups and downs. You are the best partnership I have had in my life.
Then, the two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. They have already grown up. You know, my daughter is 16 and my son is 14. Time has flown by. I wanted to spend so much time with them on special occasions like their birthdays, their annual days, sports day, going on holidays, whatever. I have missed out on all those things. Thanks for your understanding. Both of you have been so, so special to me you cannot imagine. I promise you for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, but the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.
My in-laws, Anand Mehta and Annabelle, both have been so, so supportive, loving, caring. I discuss various things in life, generally with them, and have taken their advice. You know, it’s so important to have a strong family who is always with you and guiding you. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali, so thank you very much.
In the last 24 years that I have played for India I have made new friends, and before that I have had friends from my childhood. They have all had a terrific contribution. As and when I have called them to come and bowl to me at the nets, they have left their work aside to come and help me. Be it joining me on holidays and having discussions on cricket, or whenever I was a little stressed and wanting to find a solution so I can perform better. All those moments my friends were with me. Even for when I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and thought that my career was over because of injuries, that is when my friends have woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drive with me and make me believe that my career was not over. Life would be incomplete without all those friends. Thanks for being there for me.
My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother took me to Archrekar sir. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands. Normally he sits in front of the television and he watches all the games that I play. When I was 11, 12, those were the days when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a couple of practice matches a day. The first half the innings I would be batting at Shivaji Park, the second half, at some other match in Azad Maidan. Sir would take me all over Mumbai to make sure I got match practice.
On a lighter note, in the last 29 years, sir has never ever said well played to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard. Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career, because there is no more matches, sir, in my life. I will be witnessing cricket, and cricket will always stay in my heart, but you have had an immense contribution in my life, so thank you very much.
My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground, the Mumbai Cricket Association, which is so dear to me. I remember landing from New Zealand at four o’clock in the morning, and turning up for a game at eight o’clock here, just because I wanted to be a part of Mumbai cricket, and not that somebody forced me or the Mumbai Cricket Association pressurized me to be here. But that was for the love of Mumbai cricket, and thank you very much. The president is here so thank you very much, along with your team, for taking care of me and looking after my cricket.
The dream was obviously to play for India, and that is where my association with BCCI started. BCCI was fantastic, right from my debut believing in my ability, selecting me into the squad at the age of 16 was a big step. So, thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me and the BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle. Things would have been different if you had not been behind me, and I really appreciate your support, especially when I was injured, you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of, and that I got fit and fine and playing back for India.
The journey has been special. Last 24 years, I have played with many senior cricketers, and even before that there were many senior cricketers whom I watched on television. They inspired me to play cricket, and to play in the right way. Thanks to all those senior cricketers, and unfortunately I have not been able to play with them, but I have high regards for all their achievements and all their contributions.
We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, is not here, and my team-mates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult, not to be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments. All the coaches for their guidance, it has been special for me. I know when MS Dhoni presented me the 200th Test match catch one day one morning. I had a brief message for the team. I would like to repeat that. I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team, serving the nation.
Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and right values. I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this wonderful sport. Each generation gets this opportunity nearly to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you that you will to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit to the best of your ability, and bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.
I would be failing in my duties if I didn’t thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers, who have put this difficult body together to go back on the field and be able to play. The amount of injuries that I have had in my career, I don’t know how you have managed to keep me fit, but without your special efforts, it would never have happened. The doctors have met me at weird hours. I mean I have called them from Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Delhi, I mean wherever. They have just taken the next flight and left their work and families to be with me, which has allowed me to play. So a big thank you to all three of you for keeping me in good shape.
My dear friend, late Mark Mascarenhas, my first manager, we unfortunately, we lost him in a car accident in 2001. But he was such a well-wisher of cricket, my cricket, especially Indian cricket. He was so passionate. He understood what it takes to represent a nation and gave me all the space to go out and express myself, and never pressurized me to do this ad or promotion or whatever the sponsors demanded. He took care of that and today I miss him, so thank you Mark for all your contribution.
My current management team, WSG, for repeating what Mark has done, because when I signed the contract I exactly told them what I want from them, and what it
requires to representing me. They have understood that and respected that. So, thank you very much WSG.
Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my manager, Vinod Naidu. He is more like my family and all the sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work, has been special, so big thank you to your family as well for giving up so much time for my work with Vinod.
In my school days, when I performed well, the media backed me a lot. They continue to do that till this morning. Thank you so much to all the media for supporting me and appreciating my performances. It surely had a positive effect on me. Thank you so much to all the photographers as well for those wonderful captured moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. So, to all the photographers a big thank.
I know my speech is getting a bit too long, but this is the last thing I want to say. I want to thank all the people here who have flown in from various parts of the world, and have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a zero or a 100-plus, whatever. Your support was so dear to me and meant a lot to me. Whatever you done for me, I know I have met so many guys who have fasted for me, prayed for me, done so much for me. Without all that that life wouldn’t have been like this for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and also say that time has flown by rather quickly, but the memories that you have left with me will always be with me forever and ever, especially “Sachin, Sachin” that will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.
Thank you very much. If I have missed out on saying something, I hope you understand.
‘I hate you Sachin, you are making millions cry, don’t go,‘ stated a placard at the ground.
As a 16-year-old cricketer Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar made headlines on November 15, 1989, for being the third youngest Test debutante by playing against Pakistan. On October 10, 2013, the 40 year-old cricketer known to his ardent fans as “God of Cricket” announced his retirement ending a blazing 24-year career.
The 200th and last Test Match for Sachin Tendulkar began yesterday, November 14, 2013, at his home ground, Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai.
Before the start of the Second Test between India and West Indies, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) honoured Sachin Tendulkar by presenting him with a trophy.
India’s skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed a specially crafted gold coin with Sachin’s image on one side and the MCA’s logo on the other as West Indies skipper Darren Sammy called. Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl first disappointing Sachin’s fans.
Sachin received the gold toss coin as a memento as he plays his 200th and last Test match of his 24 years career. Select dignitaries will receive 1000 replicas of the coin at the stadium.
After the toss, the Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal released the commemorative postage stamps to pay tribute to the prodigious cricketer. Union Minister Sharad Pawar, Rajeev Shukla and Milind Murli Deora also joined in releasing the postage stamp honouring Tendulkar. After Mother Teresa, the 40-year old legend is the second person to have a postage stamp released after him, when still alive.
Great cricket stalwarts of yesteryear such as Clive Lloyd, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarksr, Ravi Shashtri, Wasim Akram greeted Sachin Tendulkar, walked on to the field with the rest of the Indian team to field against the West Indies.
Union ministers Kabil Sibal, Sharad Pawar, Milind Murli Deora, Rahul Gandhi, actors Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, and many other VIPs, were seen at the stadium yesterday and today along with the ever-roaring die-hard fans including Sachin’s mother, his daughter Sara and son Arjun.
The West Indies were bowled out for 182 in their first innings. Pragyan Ojha took a five-wicket haul.
At the third session of day’s play, Darren Sammy opened the bowling for the visitors, and Murali Vijay took the strike.
At 13.2 overs, when the score was 77, Shikhar Dhawan was caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul to Shane Shillingford bowling after scoring 33 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara walked into bat. Four balls later Murali Vijay fell to Shillingford for 43.
At the fall of the second Indian wicket the loud cheer from the live audience at Wankhade Stadium and Sachin’s fans around the globe glued to the TVs in their homes and offices, invariably welcomed Sachin. Coming on to bat as number 4 has been Sachin’s cherished batting position.
In 1948, while playing in his last Test innings at the Oval, Sir Don Bradman’s eyes became moist and he failed to spot Eric Hollies’ googly. He got out for a duck. Luckily, Sachin Tendulkar has escaped from that type of predicament for at the end of the first day’s play Sachin had scored 38 runs from 73 balls.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored 34 runs from 49 balls. At the end of the first day’s play India after facing 34 overs had scored 157 runs for the loss of two wickets. In the Indian dressing room Bhuvneshwar Kumar padded up as the nightwatchman removed his gear.
Here are some of the tweets from cricketers all around the world who paid their tribute to Sachin:
Alan Wilkins tweets: This is a Test Match like no other! Let Sachin enjoy it as much as he can…this is a celebration of the greatest Cricket Career of all time.
Ian Bell tweets: The atmosphere in Mumbai right now must be immense!! #ThankYouSachin #LittleMaster
Joe Root tweets: Sachin made his debut for India before I was born. Then played in my test debut #ThankYouSachin
Mahela Jayawardena tweets: @sachin_rt Great opponent, fantastic memories..no better role model. Enjoy ur last game!
Matthew Hayden tweets: @bhogleharsha @alanwilkins22 Sachin…..Sachin #Legend please pass on my respects during your commentary in Honour to Tendulkar #whataplayer
Michael Vaughan tweets: 38 no… #Sachin. #God. Alarm clock will be set…..
Russel Arnold tweets: Good luck to Sachin today…. Hope he dishes out a treat for his mother!!! #IndvsWI
Shane Warne tweets: @warne888 #Sachin was the best batsmen I’ve seen. @brianlara second and outstanding too. These 2 were so much better than everybody else….
Stuart Broad tweets: Remarkable achievement by a legend of the sport we love. #200 #ThankYouSachin
Tweets from Indian cricketers:
Dinesh Karthik tweets: Wishing Sachin paji a grt test match,will be watching it only for the legend #ThankYouSachin
Rohit Sharma tweets: I can never retire from Sachin. #SRTFOREVER
Suresh Raina tweets: No matter how many times u say it, still feels less. The greatest ever. The Legend. Wonderful to say #SalaamSachin
Today, morning, a very relaxed and calm Sachin Tendulkar walked on to the field with Cheteshwar Pujara. The play started with Pujara facing Best.
Tendulkar hit a four off Best’s last ball in the 39th over (38.5) to reach his 68th Test fifty. It was also, his 10th against West Indies. Pujara reached his 4th Test fifty getting one run off a ball from for Gabriel.
Last ball of the 48th over (47.5) off the relatively new bowler Narsingh Deonarine proved fatal for Sachin Tendulkar.
“Deonarine to Tendulkar, out Caught by Sammy!! No, no, no, Tendulkar, no, no, no. How many times have we seen a relatively new bowler get his wicket. It is that man Sammy again taking another blinder. I tell you what, it was not an easy catch at all. Flatter delivery outside off stump, Tendulkar looks to cut late and gets a thick outside edge, the ball flies quickly off, and Sammy leans back and takes a wonderful catch. The entire ground is stunned. He gets a standing ovation as some are in tears. Wife Anjali cannot believe that he’s been dismissed and so can I. He was batting so beautifully, unfortunately, the treat has come to an end. Thank you Master for all that you’ve done. “
Tendulkar c Sammy b Deonarine 74(118) [4s-12] and Virat Kohli, right handed bat, came to the crease.
With his 68th half-century, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (born April 24, 1973) may well be concluding his long and spectacular cricketing career.
I wish all children in India “A Happy Children’s Day!”
In 1925, The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1 as International Children’s Day and then established universally in 1954. Now, many countries around the world, celebrate Children’s Day, but on different days each year.
Universal Children’s Day
A major global variant of Children’s Day is the Universal Children’s Day celebrated on November 20 every year.
The United Nations General Assembly recommended this day in 1954 to urge all its member countries to institute a day, with the aim to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children, and to initiate action to help and promote the welfare of children globally as outlined in the Charter.
Today, November 14, India celebrates Children’s Day. On this day, India remembers and honours the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The children of India fondly called him “Chacha Nehru” (Hindi: चाचा नेहरू)) or Uncle Nehru.
Nehru consistently emphasized the importance of showering love and affection on children. He saw in them the future of India.
On Children’s Day, the Kids in India engage themselves in the fun and frolic. Various educational, cultural, social, institutions organize functions and conduct competitions for children all over the country. The State and the Central governments organize film festivals in many parts of the country to showcase Children’s films.
In many schools, the children themselves arrange the cultural activities on this day. Teachers also get involved; in many schools, they sing and dance for their students.
Every year, India Post issues special stamps of paintings by children and First Day Covers for commemorating Children’s Day in India. Here are the commemorative stamps issued from year 2006 to 2012. Please note that these images of the postage stamps are not to scale.
The people in India, belonging to culturally diverse and fervent societies celebrate various holidays and festivals. The different states and regions in India have their own local festivals depending on prevailing religious and linguistic demographics.
Deepavali (also known as Diwali, Dīvali, Dīpāwali, Dipabali, etc.,), is one of the most sacred festivals of the Hindus.
Deepavali is a “festival of lights,” symbolizing the victory of righteousness over spiritual darkness. All over the world, the Hindus celebrate Deepavali jubilantly with their families in their homes, performing traditional spiritual activities. In India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, people belonging to other religions as well join the Hindus in the celebrations.
Goddess Lakshmi is the most significant deity during Deepavali Puja. Several other gods and goddesses are also worshipped. Various religious rituals are followed during the five-day festivities.
Deepavali is celebrated as a five-day festivity that starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of Ashwin and ends on Bhau-Beej, celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik. However, in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the Deepavali festivity begins one day earlier on Govatsa Dwadashi, and is a six-day festivity.
The month of Ashvin begins with the Sun’s exit from Virgo in the solar religious calendar. In the Sanskrit language ‘Ashvin’ means light. It is the seventh month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar.
In many cultures, people use the lunisolar calendar where the date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.
In the Tamil sidereal solar calendar, used by Tamils all over the world, Ashvin is known as Aipassi (ஐப்பசி). In the Bengali sidereal solar calendar, officially used by the Bengali people in West Bengal and Bangladesh, it is the sixth month and is called Ashbin (আশ্বিন).
The Five/Six Days of Deepavali
Deepavali celebrations is a five-day festivity spread over from Dhanteras to Bhau-Beej. In some places like Maharashtra and Gujarat the celebrations begin with Govatsa Dwadashi. All the days except Deepavali are named according to their designation in the Hindu calendar. The days are:
Govatsa Dwadashi or Vasu Baras (27 Ashvin or 12 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):
In Sanskrit, Go means cow and vatsa means calf, Dwadashi or Baras means the 12th day. On this day the cow and calf are worshiped.
According to Hindu mythology, Prithu was a king, from whom the earth received her name Prithvi. The epic Mahabharata and the Hindu text Vishnu Purana describe him as a part Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu.
Prithu was the son of King Vena, a tyrant. Due to the lawless rule of Vena, an appalling famine engulfed the earth making it barren. King Prithu went after Prithvi, the earth goddess, who fled from him transforming herself into a cow. After being caught, Prithvi agreed to yield her milk as the world’s grain and vegetation that brought prosperity to the world once again.
Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras or Dhanwantari Trayodashi (28 Ashvin or 13 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):
In Sanskrit, Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day. This day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month Ashvin, and usually eighteen days after Dussehra.
According to Hindu mythology, Dhanvantari is an Avatar of Vishnu. He appears in the Vedas and Puranas as the physician of the gods devas, and is the god of Ayurvedic medicine. He is depicted as Vishnu with four hands, holding medical herbs in one hand and a pot containing rejuvenating nectar called amrita in another.
In the myth of the Samudra or Sagar manthan (Churning of the Ocean of Milk), Dhanavantari emerged bearing the pot of nectar after the Devas (demi gods) and Asssuras (demons) churned the ‘Ocean of Milk’ using the Mount Mandarachala, also known as Mount Meru, as the churning rod and Vasuki, the king of serpents, as the rope.
The Hindus pray to Lord Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for good health for themselves and others, especially on Dhanteras, his Jayanti (Birth Anniversary), along with Goddess Lakshmi, the provider of prosperity and well-being.
Lord Kubera, the God of assets and wealth is also worshiped on this day by the Hindus. Dhanteras is very significant among business communities since it is customary to buy precious metals on this day.
Naraka Chaturdashi (29 Ashvin or 14 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):
Chaturdashi is the 14th day (Tithi) of the waxing phase or waning phase of the moon.
This day signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, because on this day the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. . This day is also known as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas or Choti Diwali.
In one source in Hindu mythology, Narakasura is the asura son of the earth goddess Bhūmī-Devī (Earth) and Lord Vishnu in his Varaha (boar) Avatar. In other sources, he is said to the son of the asura Hiranyaksha. It was foretold that he would be destroyed by a later incarnation of Vishnu. So, his mother, the earth, sought a boon from her consort Vishnu for a long life for her son, and that he should be all powerful. Vishnu out of love for Bhūmī-Devī granted these boons.
Narakasura, knowing himself to be unrivalled in prowess became evil, and subdued all the kingdoms on earth and brought them under his control. Next, he set his eyes on Swargaloka (the heavens), the abode of the devas. Unable to withstand the powers of Narakasura, the mighty Indra, the lord of the devas, fled from Swargaloka. Narakasura became the overlord of both the heavens and earth. Intoxicated by power, he stole the earrings of Aditi, the heavenly mother goddess, and usurped some of her territory, while also kidnapping 16,000 women.
The devas, led by Indra appealed to Vishnu, asking him to deliver them from Narakasura. Vishnu promised them that he would help them when he would be incarnated as Krishna.
Narakasura was allowed to enjoy a long reign because of the boon granted by Vishnu.
When Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, he married Satyabhama, an Avatar of Bhūmī-Devī. Aditi, being a relative of Krishna’s wife approached her for help. On learning about Narakasura’s ill treatment of women and his behaviour with Aditi, Satyabhama was enraged. Shr approached Lord Krishna for permission to wage a war against Narakasura.
As promised to the Devas and Aditi, Vishnu in his Krishna avatar, riding his mount Garuda with wife Satyabhama, attacked the great fortress of Narakasura. The battle was fierce. Narakasura unleashed all his army on Krishna. However, Krishna slew them all. He also killed Mura, Narakasura’s general. Thus, Krishna is called ‘Murāri ‘(the enemy of Mura).
The desperate Narakasura launched his great weapon, sataghini, a thunderbolt, and then his trident on Krishna, but these weapons did not harm Krishna. Eventually, Krishna beheaded Narakasura with his Sudarshana Chakra, a spinning, disk-like super weapon with 108 serrated edges.
Before dying, Narakasura requested a boon that his death anniversary should be celebrated by all people on earth. This day is celebrated as ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’.
In southern India, this is the actual day of festivities.
On this day, the Hindus, all over the world, wake up before dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. In Tamilnadu, after the bath, a home-made medicine known as “Deepavali Lehiyam” is consumed, which is supposed to aid to overcome digestive problems that may ensue due to feasting that occurs later in the day. They light small lamps around their homes and draw elaborate kolams or rangolis in front of their houses. They perform a special pooja with offerings to Krishna or Vishnu, for liberating the world from the demon Narakasura on this day. The Hindus believe that bathing before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky, is equal to taking a bath in the holy river Ganges. After the pooja, the devotees burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As a day of rejoicing, housewives prepare elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet with family and friends.
Lakshmi Puja (30 Ashvin or 15 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):
Amavasya, the new moon day, is the most significant day among the five days Deepavali festivities and the ceremonies followed on that day are known as Lakshmi Puja, Lakshmi-Ganesh Puja and Deepavali Puja. The Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings also known as the banisher of obstacles.
Deeyas (little clay pots) are lit in the homes and streets to welcome prosperity and well-being.
On this day, ink bottle, pens and new account books are worshipped. Ink bottle and pen, are sanctified by worshipping Goddess Maha Kali. New account books are sanctified by worshipping Goddess Saraswati.
Govardhan Pooja and Bali Pratipada (1 Kartika or 1 Shukla Paksha Kartika):
In North India, this day is celebrated as Govardhan pooja, also called Annakoot.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna taught people to worship Govardhan, the supreme controller of nature, a manifestation of himself and to stop worshiping Lord Indra, the Lord of Swargaloga and also the god of Rains. Indra was furious and directed his wrath on the people by raining on them. Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods.
For Annakoot, large quantities of food are decorated symbolising the Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna.
In the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Govardhan pooja is performed with great zeal and enthusiasm.
In Haryana Govardhan Puja forms an important part of the celebrations of Diwali. There is a tradition of building hillocks with cow dung, to symbolize the Govardhan hill. After making such hillocks, devotees worship them after decorating them with flowers. They move in a circle round the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.
In Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, this day is celebrated as Bali-Pratipada or Bali Padyami. The day commemorates the victory of Vishnu, in his dwarf form Vamana, over the demon-king Bali.
In Maharashtra, it is called Padava or Nava Diwas (new day). Men present gifts to their wives on this day. In Gujarat, it is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar.
Yama Dwitiya or Bhau-Beej (2 Kartika or 2 Shukla Paksha Kartika):
On this day, siblings meet to express love and affection for each other. Brothers visit their sisters’ place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts to their sisters.
This tradition is based on a story when Yama, lord of Death, visited his sister Yami (the river Yamuna). Yami welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. So, the day is also called ‘Yama Dwitiya’.
Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali), the Sikh celebration of the sixth Nanak Guru Har Gobind’s return from detention in the Gwalior Fort, coincides with Diwali. This coincidence has resulted in celebrating the day among many Sikhs and Hindus.
Many Buddhists in India celebrated the anniversary of Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism around the time of Diwali.
Jains celebrate the anniversary of Mahavira’s (or Lord Mahavir) attainment of nirvana on October 15, 527 BC. Many Jains celebrate the Festival of Lights in his honor.
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed annually on August 23rd. The Day commemorates the uprising that took place on August 22-23, 1791, when slaves in Saint Domingue, today Haiti, launched an insurrection which ultimately led to the Haitian revolution.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, in a message to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition said: ““We must teach the names of the heroes of this story, because they are the heroes of all humankind.”
This year is particularly important with many key anniversaries, including:
220 years since France’s General Emancipation decree liberated all slaves in present-day Haiti;
180 years since the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 ended slavery in Canada, the British West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope;
170 years ago, the Indian Slavery Act of 1843 was signed.
Slavery was also abolished 165 years ago in France; 160 years ago in Argentina; 150 years ago in the Dutch colonies; and 125 years ago in Brazil.
Year 2013 is also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States, which declared on January 1, 1863: all persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.
The Dutch Slave trade in Coromandel coast, India
Many would be surprised to know that the Dutch were precursors of slave trade in India.
Pulicat (Pazhaverkadu) is a historic seashore town in Thiruvallur District, of Tamil Nadu, India. It is about 60 km north of Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, on the barrier island of Sriharikota, which separates Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal.
In 1502, the Portuguese established a trading post in Pulicat with the help of the Vijayanagar rulers. They built a fort there and held this fort until their defeat by the Dutch in 1609.
By 1612, the Dutch established themselves in Pulicat to the north. Till 1690 Pulicat remained the capital of Dutch Coromandel.
The slave trade is one of the oldest trades in the world. Slaves and textiles were the most profitable merchandise exported by the Dutch at Pulicat to their Indian Ocean trade headquarters at Batavia (Jakarta), in exchange for spices such as mace and nutmeg.
Between 1621 and 1665, the Dutch deployed 131 slave ships from Pulicat, to transport 38,441 Indians captured on the Coromandel coast, and sold as slaves to the Dutch plantations in Batavia and to work as domestic helps for the Dutch masters. Those in the age group of 8 to 20 were preferred as slaves for export.
To learn more about the slave trade on the Coromondel coast, I recommend you to read a very informative article titled “Baggage that weighs heavily on the mind” written by P. J. Sanjeeva Raj and published in The Hindu.