Talk by Kum. Niveditaji Bhide, Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra and one of the 1st lifetime workers of Vivekananda Kendra
Talk by Kum. Niveditaji Bhide, Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra and one of the 1st lifetime workers of Vivekananda Kendra
The village named Chetar (Ramgadh district, Jharkhand) sets an amazing example for the rest of the country. Since Independence not a single police case has been filed from this village in any of the police stations around. This tiny village having population of around 1000 people has around 35 teachers. Any local issues that crop up in the village are resolved in the village Panchayat. All the villagers respectfully abide to the Panchayat decisions which are always taken with general agreement of all the people. For the fine collected from those found guilty is kept in a joint account and used for the public affairs of the village or helping the less fortunate ones (like bearing the cost of marrying daughters of the poor).
The village is now coming forward as an ideal role model with techniques to be adopted at other places. This is creating general interest in academicians as well. Recently a team of students from Saint Zavier’s College of Ranchi and one of the institutions in London visited the village to study their model. Though it is little bit off from Ramgadh district headquarters, the roads are developed enough for a four wheeler to pass through with ease. There are no pot holes anywhere and the drainage system of the village runs completely underground. The youth of the village take turns to keep the surroundings cleaned and tidy.
The village is alcohol free. No villager ever drinks alcohol, be it a festive occasion or something stressful happening in their lives. The villagers belonging to wide range of castes, including Mahato, Munda, Bediya, Karmali, Muslims, Thakur, Kumbhar; stay together as a family. The people of this village even actively participated in freedom movement against the Britishers, said 80 year old Tularam Mehato.
Even the Police officer Ranjit Kumar Prasad has high regards for the people of Chetar village. He is full of appreciation for them as all the issues are solved in the Panchayat amicably and the village has done a commendable job of not having any crime record against them post-Independence.
Translated from Hindi to English by Smt.Nipa Shah
Original news item in Hindi by Sri Rajesh Patel
The new chairman of ICHR argues that faith and reason can go hand in hand in the writing of history.
The media describes him as an RSS man and the author of the Mahabharata Project, but very little is known about the mild-mannered historian from Telangana in academic circles.Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, the new chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), describes himself as a colonial historian and argues that faith and reason can go hand in hand in the writing of history.
You have lashed out against Marxist historians and their interpretation of history. Why is the writing of history a Right vs Left debate?
I think it is time to think about India’s history from an Indian perspective. For the last 60 years, our writing and understanding of history has been influenced by the West. Indian research has been far too dependent on the West to write its own history. We are dependent on their translations and interpretation. And, these are my personal views, history writing in India is Euro-centric and imperialistic. The ICHR, I understand, is in the process of acquiring digital records from centres of history in the US and Europe. This will not only give us access to our own records but will also aid us in writing history from our perspective.
You have been appointed by the BJP government. Don’t you think institutions such as the ICHR should be free of politics?
The MoU (memorandum of understanding) prepared by the founding fathers of ICHR gave the powers to the government to appoint heads of social and historical institutes. I have no qualms in admitting that these appointments are political. Have previous heads of social institutes been questioned about their appointments? Why are these questions asked only about me? The government has been formed by a democratic process. It has been elected by the people. To question that is to question democracy itself. Unlike other social institutes, the ICHR attracts a lot of attention because history is an important subject. But history belongs to the people. We have not shown or written a comprehensive history of India to the people of India. History is by the people, for the people and of the people.
You are the author of the Mahabharata project? What is the project about?
There is a certain view that the Mahabharata or the Ramayana are myths. I don’t see them as myths because they were written at a certain point of time in history. They are important sources of information in the way we write history. What we write today may become an important source of information for the future in the future. When analysed, of course, they could be declared to be true or false. History is not static. It belongs to the people, it’s made by the people. Similarly, the Ramayana is true for people…it’s in the collective memory of generations of Indians. We can’t say the Ramayana or the Mahabharata are myths. Myths are from a western perspective.
What does that mean?
For us, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are true accounts of the periods in which they were written.
But shouldn’t the writing of history be rooted in historical evidence and research?
Western schools of thought look at material evidence of history. We can’t produce material evidence for everything. India is a continuing civilisation. To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people. We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For instance, the Ramayana mentions that Rama had travelled to Bhadrachalam (in Andhra Pradesh). A look at the people and the fact that his having lived there for a while is in the collective memory of the people cannot be discounted in the search for material evidence. In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.
Are you for correcting the writing of history?
I won’t put it that way. But real history has to come through. I am a follower of truth. The ICHR should encourage research about India and Greater India—from Southeast Asia all the way to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. There is enough archaeological evidence to show the connect of our civilisation there.
What is your view on Ayodhya?
Is it not a fact that mosques as structures came to be in India in 1000 AD? Is it not a fact that the mosque was built by a lieutenant of Babur? A historian can only enlighten people on the facts of history. Historians can at best say evidence of earlier remains of a Hindu structure are there. Conflicting views are created by political leaders. If Ayodhya is not the place of Ram, where did he live? Looking at the present structures in Ayodhya, we can see people still living the way that finds a mention in the Ramayana. Historians can only give their opinion to enlighten people.
Doesn’t correcting history pose a problem? Why only cast it in the context of two communities? How about Dalits and untouchability?
The question of untouchability is relatively recent, as recent as 3,000 years. And it has its basis in the economy. It was not based on social status. Did we hear of untouchability before this period of 3,000 years? Let me give you an example. Sage Vishwamitra went to a Dalit hut and asked for dog’s meat as he was hungry. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are replete with instances of different castes, did we find a mention of untouchability there?
As a historian, are you trying to give a religious interpretation to history?
I am a Hindu and a Brahmin. To be a Hindu isn’t a religion. In my personal practices, I can adopt religious practices of the community to which I belong—as a Shaivite or a Vaishnavite. But that is not what being a Hindu is about. Religions are recent manifestations. I feel there’s only Sanatana Dharma. There was no conflict between communities or on religious lines as there was only one sanatana dharma. Now there are several reasons for conflict to take place. Besides, Muslims are the only ones who have retained their distinct culture. Can Christians or Muslims say all religions are one? A Hindu can say that. There was no conflict when there was sanatana dharma, Conflict or contests came about when temples were destroyed and mosques built on the sites in medieval times.
Didn’t Hindus destroy Buddhist monuments?
I agree. But Buddhism was on the wane then, in decline. But were thousands of people killed as they were in the raids to the Somnath temple? I won’t use the word corrections here. But the real history has to come up
These lines seem from a fiction thriller. Sadly, they aren’t fiction.
“I do not want to live in this sinful country; the sun is setting on our backyard. It is time to take that greatest journey and migrate to the land of Allah.”
“The time has come and may we all meet in paradise. I cannot live in this country; I am moved to tears watching all of you live a luxurious life style, watching TV, listening to music…”
These are lines from the letters written by Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh. Till yesterday, they were among the lakhs of ordinary residents of Kalyan in Maharashtra. Today, they have left Kalyan to seek what they believe is their true kalyan.
Fayaz and Shaikh are now global jihadis. They’ve left their homes for Iraq. Reason? They’ve decided that they must join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or the ISIS.
Naturally, Arif Fayaz’s and Fahad Shaikh’s families are a shocked and broken lot today. The boys were engineering students, in their early twenties. Also, these are no ramshackle families, but reasonably middle class households of doctors. Both boys’ disappearance was known only after one of the parents discovered a chilling note, which told their families about their sudden inspiration and departure for a cause that has only one end — death.
The distraught parents have filed complaints about their missing boys with the Kalyan police. They have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking their help. Till yesterday, their boys were bright students, and the parents hoped they would complete their studies and acquire decent jobs.
That was yesterday.
The parents still cannot believe what has hit them. They are shell-shocked, unable to even understand what brought about this change in their kids. Far from being the archetypal Islamic fanatics, Fayaz and Shaikh weren’t even religious, leave alone fanatical, the parents have stated in their complaint.
The tragic cases of Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh bring to the fore the growing threat of religious indoctrination of Muslims in India. The Internet and its reach has only made the task easier. The ISIS is the latest and according to global terrorism experts and watchers, the deadliest among worldwide Islamic terrorist outfits. It has been waging a war against the Iraqi government with a declared intent of overthrowing it to establish a full-fledged Islamic Caliphate on the lines of the 7th century Islamic rule of the religion’s founder Prophet Mohammad. The ISIS has, in fact taken the towns of Tikrit and Mosul from Iraqi government forces and its self-styled Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has already declared the areas under ISIS control to be the Islamic world’s new Caliphate.
Of particular concern to intelligence agencies is the growing radicalization of Muslim youths, which includes the Indian subcontinent. In recent years, the Wahhabi sect of Islam has gained increasing traction in the Muslim world. Wahhabism propagates intolerant Islamic zealotry, which enjoins all Muslims to wage unrelenting war upon all non-Muslims in the world. It also exhorts Muslims to totally reject all forms of modern civilization and embrace the strict puritanical Islamic living.
More worrying is the fact that an increasing number of young Muslims, including those in India, have begun believing this to be the only way to “clean up” the world. Kalyan’s Arif Fayaz came under the Wahhabi spell sometime back. He would object to the way his parents brought up his sister. “She watches lewd content on television and listens to music. On television, they show people smoking and dancing, and you watch that all day instead of praying. All this will lead you to burn in hell. I have to go and cleanse up the world,” he wrote in the letter to his parents.
The young wannabe jihadis men reportedly saved money over the past year and then left for Iraq on their own expense. The Intelligence Bureau has confirmed that Fayaz and Shaikh are fighting near Fallujah which is close to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. How good they are as fighters, is an entirely different question, but for the ISIS only numbers matter. For the latest Islamic Caliph, Muslims coming from various nations to join in his jihad, irrespective of their utility in the battlefield, is an Islamic boost of sorts, as having Muslims from different parts of the world strengthens the ISIS.
For the parents of Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh, their world has collapsed in the gunfire and explosions ripping apart Fallujah, a land so distant from their homes. Sadly, there may be more families like theirs who might be fated to see their boys disappear, only to join the one-way trip to jannat.
- By Vishnu Prasad Viriyala
“The Budget is disappointing. It has very little to offer to my sector” laments Kiran Mujumdar Shaw on NDTV. “Budget is truly reviving. It introduced incentives to REITs” celebrates another real estate company owner. “10 out of 10 for first 7 minutes of speech, then it is boring” opines a panelist on TIMES NOW. “Budget is good because sensex is going up, Oh Gauche! It is very bad, sensex collapses” equivocates another panelist demonstrating his imbecility in understanding simple things by making them complex. I was wondering what were we doing whole day? Have we reduced a union budget to something that influences sensex for a day? Is union budget meant for catering to a particular sector, section or is it just sum of all parts? Or is it just something that lets an average citizen know what have become cheaper or dearer?
A budget is much more than that. It is a numerical expression of inner intent, priorities and grander vision of a new government. It tells you the direction in which the policy makers of the country want this nation to travel. Viewed from that point, yesterday’s budget was a truly national budget and thoroughly nationalistic. Here is my take why it is so.
A Strong Bharat : Set your house first, world will come to you.
Lets first shed our notion that we need to beg for foreign investment. Not every country with a bowl in its hands and opening its doors will attract investment. Investors will flock to a strong nation that demonstrates its strength. During 1950’s, It is not a buoyant US economy that led to a strong US military but it is America’s military might that resulted in a strong economy. I liked previous NDA’s budgets too in the sense they tried to strengthen the weak link, that is, North East. Both the railway budget and the union budget of the new government have taken care of this most important aspect. Special allocation of Rs 3000 Crores for road transport for NE, 1000 Crore separate Railway allocation, emphasis on completing the projects in NE region and a whopping 53700 Crore allocation for North east region along with setting up a 24/7 TV channel “Aruna Prabha” preserving their cultural richness are all the right steps that enable not just economic integration but also emotional integration of the region with the rest of Bharat. This is of utmost significance especially in the wake of a hostile neighbor constantly looking for an opportunity. Provision for the rehabilitation of Kashmir Pundits and setting up new educational hubs in J&K are equally strong signals not only to local anti nationals but also to all those international opportunists as to what this Government stands for on national security. Although the increase in Defense budget was on expected lines, the quantum of increase made it clear the direction in which nation is heading.
Strengthened Villages: A strong Bharath needs a strong village set up
Some panelists in TV studios got bored during the speech because it was addressing the concerns of rural villages and agriculture. But not PM and his team because they knew that it is these villages and agriculture that is the heart of Bharat. This is evident from the kind of impetus given to agriculture and rural development. The entire theme around rural development revolved around Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), a dream project of former President of India Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam. Every Budget will have funds being put aside for agriculture. But, this budget distinguishes itself from the rest in its clarity as to how to serve the farmer better. Be it setting up 56 soil labs, or issuing soil health cards, or setting up a “National Adaptation Fund” to counter calamity changes or encouraging newer studies and universities, policy makers have shown wisdom in addressing the long term issues such as improving yield and providing better facilities rather than resorting to cheap tactics such as loan waivers or other short term subsidies. Another brilliant initiative in the budget is linking the MGNREGA wage payment to agriculture productivity. Wasn’t it simple economics that you cannot invest for long in a non productive asset?
Purification of Ganga is being criticized by some on the grounds that it is done to cater to the demands of nationalistic right wing groups. Even if that is the case, which is not, what is wrong in that?
Even an amateur economist will tell that the Return on Investment in the form of increased yield alongside the longest delta in the world in addition to the increased tourism, pilgrimage and balanced ecology will soon outclass the actual investment and prove to be one of the most financially viable projects. In addition to this, the dream project of previous NDA government that was abandoned halfway, interlinking of rivers, is taking a new form and if goes ahead, it is bound to change the destiny of millions of farmers and citizens in the country.
Self reliant Youth: Has he understood real Bharat?
The so called economists, intellectuals, analysts and experts failed to look at a huge world that lies beyond India Inc. i.e Indian unorganized sector or Inida UnInc. A staggering 50% of our GDP and 75% of total employment come from this unorganized sector, yet this has been hugely neglected by every FM so far. Our Harvard trained, economist ministers and policymakers so far have been taught how capital markets fund businesses in Anglo-Saxon economies and Banks fund businesses in Europe and in other Asian countries. But in India, none of the models will work. It requires a deeper and an in depth study to know as to how these small businesses are funded in India, but unfortunately none of the policy makers so far had such wisdom and failed to design an Indian model. From the road map given in his Budget, the new FM seems to have paid some attention to this aspect. Setting up a committee to study the financial architecture of MSME’s is one step forward in that direction. The government’s determination to empower the youth of the country and make them self reliant is conspicuously reflected in the budget. Apart from the budget allocations, the thought process behind ideas such as “Skill India” and “District level Incubation and Acceleration programme” raises the hope that this government is heading in right direction.
Overall economic philosophy
Though not deviated much from his predecessors in overall economic philosophy, one welcome change the new FM has initiated in his budget is to incentivize people to save along with spending. Increased disposable income as a result of increased tax limit and housing loan interest may well find its way into savings in the form of Sec 80C. Other measures to encourage industry and markets have been well taken care by the media and other vested groups.
The problem in India is the way we analyze any event or issue. People keep asking what is there for me in the budget and media keeps feeding what is there for you. John F Kennedy rightly said, “Do not ask what country has done for you. Ask yourself what you have done for country”. A budget is not meant for an individual, an organization, a group, a section or a sector. It is meant for nation. It will have nothing for you if you look at it in isolation. It will have everything for you if you consider yourself an integral part of the nation.
Then, how do I rate this budget? I firmly believe budgets are not meant for rating. They are just ideas the rating of which is dependent on their implementation. For those who are eager to know how good this is, I suggest them to wait for five years. Let our PM, as promised, come out with his report card after five years. You neither need an analysis nor an expert’s opinion to rate that. You’ll have a button in front of you and you know which symbol to press.