Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspirational story of women hockey captain Rani Rampal

Rani Rampal : “I wanted an escape from my life; from the electricity shortages, to the mosquitoes buzzing in our ear when we slept, from barely having two square meals to seeing our home getting flooded when it rained. My parents tried their best, but there was only so much they could do–Papa was a cart puller and Maa worked as a maid.
There was a hockey academy near my home, so I’d spend hours watching players practice–I really wanted to play. Papa would earn Rs.80 a day and couldn’t afford to buy me a stick. Everyday, I’d ask the coach to teach me too. He’d reject me because I was malnourished. He’d say, ‘You aren’t strong enough to pull through a practice session.’
So, I found a broken hockey stick on the field and began practicing with that– I didn’t have training clothes, so I was running around in a salwar kameez. But I was determined to prove myself. I begged the coach for a chance– maine bahut mushkil se convince kiya unko finally!

But when I told my family, they said, ‘Ladkiya ghar ka kaam hi karti hai,’ and ‘Hum tumhe skirt pehen kar khelne nahi denge.’ I’d plead with them saying, ‘Please mujhe jaane do. If I fail, I’ll do whatever you want.’ My family reluctantly gave in.
Training would start early in the morning. We didn’t even have a clock, so mom would stay up and look at the sky to check if it was the right time to wake me.
At the academy, it was mandatory for each player to bring 500 ml of milk. My family could only afford milk worth 200 ml; without telling anyone, I’d mix the milk with water and drink it because I wanted to play.

My coach supported me through thick and thin; he’d buy me hockey kits and shoes. He even allowed me to live with his family and took care of my dietary needs. I’d train hard and wouldn’t miss a single day of practice.

I remember earning my first salary; I won Rs.500 after winning a tournament and gave the money to Papa. He hadn’t ever held so much money in his hands before. I promised my family, ‘One day, we’re going to have our own home’; I did everything in my power to work towards that.

After representing my state and playing in several championships, I finally got a national call up at the age of 15! Still, my relatives would only ask me when I was planning on getting married. But Papa told me, ‘Play until your heart’s content.’ With my family’s support, I focused on doing my best for India and eventually, I became captain of the Indian hockey team!

Soon after, while I was at home, a friend papa used to work with visited us. He brought along his granddaughter and told me, ‘She’s inspired by you and wants to become a hockey player!’ I was so happy; I just started crying.

And then in 2017, I finally fulfilled the promise I made to my family and bought them a home. We cried together and held each other tightly! And I’m not done yet; this year, I’m determined to repay them and Coach with something they’ve always dreamed of– a gold medal from Tokyo.”

Forgotten Heroes: A Tribute to U Tirot Sing Syiem

By: Dr. Ankita Dutta

The story of the Indian freedom struggle in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya would remain incomplete without U Tirot Sing Syiem. The Khasi, Garo and Jaintia Hills were brought by the British under their political control in phases after their annexation was complete. There was vehement resistance from the traditional chiefs and local leaders of the region. Tirot Sing was the Syiem (Chief) of a Khasi kingdom called Nongkhlaw situated in the mid-western Khasi hills of Meghalaya.He was born in 1802 and traced his lineage from the Syiemlieh clan. He was therefore addressed as the Syiem by the common people of the hills who respected him for his fine leadership qualities.

After the first Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26) and the signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo (1826), the British Government decided to occupy the Brahmaputra to connect the two valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Surma by an all-weather road. Such a road could be constructed only through the Hima Nongkhlaw territory of the Khasis. It happened to be the fastest route to connect Assam and Sylhet with the rest of Bengal. The objective was to link the two important British headquarters – Kamrup (currently Guwahati) with Sylhet (in present-day Bangladesh). Connecting both these Valleys was of strategic importance for the British, to ensure speedy and safe movement of their troops by improving the road communication.

The political agent of the British at the North-Eastern Frontier, David Scott, requested Tirot Sing to grant them permission for the construction of this road. Scott proposed that in lieu of the permission, Tirot Sing would be given control of the duars and the check-posts which passed through Assam. They also assured him of free trade along the proposed road. Tirot Sing consented to this proposal after a two-day long consultation with his durbar, believing that it will improve connectivity in the area. After the construction of this road began, Raja Balaram Singh of Rani in present-day Assam disputed Tirot Sing’s claim over the duars. When Tirot Sing went to confront him with his troops, the British gave a cold shoulder and betrayed him at the last moment.

They were forcefully penetrating into the hills, occupying lands and imposing their own belief systems on the locals. Being the Raja, Tirot Sing strongly resented against such arbitrary actions of the foreigners. The Khasis thus decided to drive away the foreigners from the hills, which ultimately led to the Anglo-Khasi war of 1829-1833. Tirot Singh played an exemplary role in this battle. Soon, he received the news that the British were bringing in further reinforcements from Guwahati and Sylhet. He understood that they wanted to grab the entire territory lying between the Brahmaputra and the Surma Valleys.

Alarmed at the threat to his kingdom, he served a notice to the British asking them to leave Nongkhlaw immediately. But, they paid no attention to his orders. He thus declared a war against the British for their attempt to colonise the Khasi hills. It was on the night of April 4, 1829 that Tirot Sing’s forces attacked the British garrison at Nongkhlaw in which two officers were killed and a few others suffered major casualties. Tirot Sing and his army fought for four years continuously without surrendering.

He selected special bands of warriors and deployed them in secret caves in the hills to produce ammunition. They terrorized the British officers posted in the Khasi hills by conducting lethal night raids on their outposts. They also employed various locally-developed techniques of guerilla warfare. They used the knowledge of their hilly terrain to their utmost advantage. Tirot Sing’s patriotic valour could not be dampened even after he sustained a severe bullet injury. He was known for his deft organizational skills, supported by efficient spies. His immortal words – “Better to die an independent king than reign as the vassal” – infused strength and courage among his people.

In January 1833, he was captured by the British forces from his hiding spot in the hills. After a brief trial, he was deported to Dhaka. He died on July 17, 1835 at the Dhaka Central Jail. His name is immortalised at the Martyr’s Column in Shillong, along with the names of the Garo leader Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma and the Jaintia warrior U Kiang Nangbah. A life-size statue of Tirot Sing was unveiled last year on his 186th death anniversary at Madan Mot Tirot, Mairang. Tirot Sing’s death anniversary is commemorated in Meghalaya every year on July 17 (declared as a state holiday). Government of India released a postage stamp in his honour in the year 1988.

(The writer holds a PhD in Political Science and regularly writes on topics related to Assam and the Northeast).

An Ideal Child : by The Mother

AN IDEAL CHILD

IS GOOD-TEMPERED

He does not become angry when things seem to go against him or decisions are not in his favour.

IS GAME

Whatever he does he does it to the best of his capacity and keeps on doing in the face of almost certain failure. He always thinks straight and acts straight.

IS TRUTHFUL

He never fears to say the truth whatever may be the consequences.

IS PATIENT

He does not get disheartened if he has to wait a long time to see the results of his efforts.

IS ENDURING

He faces the inevitable difficulties and sufferings without grumbling.

IS PERSEVERING

He never slackens his effort however long it has to last.

IS POISED

He keeps equanimity in success as well as in failure.

IS COURAGEOUS

He always goes on fighting for the final victory though he may meet with many defeats.

IS CHEERFUL

He knows how to smile and keep a happy heart in all circumstances.

IS MODEST

He does not become conceited over his success, neither does he feel himself superior to his comrades.

IS GENEROUS

He appreciates the merits of others and is always ready to help another to succeed.

IS FAIR AND OBEDIENT

He observes the discipline and is always honest.

THE IDEAL CHILD

… likes to study when he is in school,

… he likes to play when he is in the playground,

… he like to eat at meal-time,

… he likes to sleep at bed-time,

… and always he is full of love for all those around him,

… full of confidence in the divine Grace, full of deep respect for the Divine.

Source : https://auroville.org/contents/4927

Campaign for construction of Shri Ram temple at Ayodhya unified Bharatvarsh

Credits to Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra (@ShriRamTeerth)
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Mar 6
Even as the world’s biggest campaign since January 15, 2021, for construction of the grand temple of Bhagwan Shri Ram at Ayodhya completed on February 27, 2021, it unified Bharatvarsh from east to west and north to south.
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Mar 6
We have succeeded in achieving our goal of Samarpan in 400,000 villages. Contact was also made in all the wards of the urban areas. Although the statistics of the families contacted are yet to come, but it is estimated that we have touched about 100 million families.

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Mar 6
Samarpan (contributions) have been received from every quarter. During this drive, many such occasions and episodes also came which moved the minds and hearts of the volunteers. At many places, even the beggars, daily wagers & small farmers also made their prayerful offerings.

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Mar 6
About 900,000 Karyakartas in 175,000 teams contacted people from door-to-door. The Samarpan amount was deposited in Banks through 38,125 Karyakartas. The app, created by Dhanusha Infotech, has acted as a digital bridge among the Karyakartas, banks and the trust.

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Mar 6
To maintain transparency of the entire campaign, while 49 control rooms were working across the country, 23 qualified karyakartas led by two chartered accountants at the main centre in Delhi, were constantly in touch with the entire network to monitor the accounts

Even if the final figures are yet to come, it can be said, based on the banks’ receipts till March 4, that the Samarpan amount would cross INR 2500 crores. This month, the audit of the campaign in every district of the country would also be completed.
7:23 PM · Mar 6, 2021·Twitter for Android
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Mar 6
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From the North-Eastern region of Bharat, Arunachal Pradesh have contributed INR 45 million, Manipur INR 20 million, Mizoram INR 2.1 million, Nagaland INR 2.8 million, Meghalaya INR 8.5 million, & from South, Tamil Nadu contributed INR 850 million, and Kerala INR 130 million.
Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra
@ShriRamTeerth
·
Mar 6
The devotees who missed this Samarpan (contribution) drive, can still make their contributions through our website https://srjbtkshetra.org/donation-options/.

Devotees from outside Bharat are requested to wait a little more. They will be notified upon completion of FCRA formalities.

Rani Ahilyabai Holkar

Revamping of Kashi Vishwanath corridor or construction of Sri Rama’s temple at Ayodhya are in the focus today. However, a few centuries ago, not just these two temples but hundreds of other temples were renovated due to the single-handed devotion of one woman, Queen Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, while the regions in which these temples are situated were under the rule of Muslim kings. It also raises the question, why were temples destroyed in the first place?

In 1293CE, Allauddin Khalji/Khilji raided Bhilsa and looted temples and public wealth. Bhilsa had numerous rich temples with idols of gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones. The residents of Bhilsa concealed idols in the riverbed of Betwa to prevent the loot but he hauled the idols from river. Khilji moved to South when he heard about the riches of Devgiri under the rule of Ramadeva. After a few battles Ramadeva had to surrender and Khilji took away:

2400 kilos of gold
4000 kilos of silver
28 kilos of pearls
8 kilos of precious stones

With the looted wealth, Allauddin Khilji built an army to conquer Malwa region in 1305CE. Until Marathas strengthened themselves and defeated them, the invaders continued looting temples and public wealth.

Rise of Holkars:

After Marathas conquered Malwa region, Malhar Rao Holkar was appointed as an officer under the ruler Shahu I. He helped Marathas spread their kingdom to Northern states and was granted the estate of Indore in 1733 by Peshwas. Peshwas (Brahmins) gifted the kingdom to Holkars who were Dhangars (occupation of raising cattle), contrary to the narrative that upper castes suppressed so-called lower castes.

Ahilyabai Holkar:

Malhar Rao’s son, Khanderao died at a young age in 1754 during the war of Kumher. Malhar Rao ruled Malwa region with the support of strong cabinet of ministers till 1766, and during this period, Malhar Rao trained his daughter-in-law Ahilyabai in military affairs and state administration. After his death, his daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar became the queen in 1767. Ahilyabai was born on 31st May1725CE in the village of Chaundi, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Her father, Mankoji Sindhia (Shinde) was the Patil of that Village. She was married to Khanderao Holkar in 1733.

Sir John Malcolm, the Scottish historian who seized the province from Ahilyabai’s successors in 1818, devoted 21 pages praising Ahilyabai’s reign in his book “Memoir of Central India”. While doing research he said that “The more enquiry is pursued, the more admiration is excited.” He also mentioned “In the most sober view that can be taken, she was one of the purest and most exemplary rulers that ever existed”.

Ahilyabai Holkar is always known and admired for her contribution in restoring the temples and monuments which were destroyed by invaders. Ahilyabai not only developed big cities, but also smaller villages and constructed wells, tanks, canals to support irrigation. Her efforts and grants to renovate the temples and dharmic places were not just restricted to her kingdom, but are visible Pan-India. It was in her reign that 4 Jyothirlingas were restored – Kashi Vishwanath of Varanasi, Vaidyanath of Parli, Somanath of Gujarat, Grishneshwar of Ellora, Maharashtra. She renovated dozens of old temples including Gaya, Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kanchi, Avanti, Dwaraka, Badrinarayan, Rameshwar and Jagannath Puri. The Ramachandra temple in Puri, Hanuman temple in Rameshwaram, Vishnupad Temple in Gaya, Bihar and the Sarayu Ghat in Ayodhya were all built with her contribution. Most of the ghats on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi were constructed during her reign. She facilitated the water delivery to more than 30 temples in the south from river Ganga. Ahilyabai wrote letters to Kings of different regions, seeking permission for reconstructing the demolished temples.

State Administration

Ahilyabai Holkar personally handled the state affairs and administration. She sat in durbar daily to pay attention to complains and issues of her subjects, she was always accessible to her people. During her reign, the crime rate greatly dropped as she vigorously encouraged trade and farming, supporting business and agriculture.

Ahilyabai moved her administrative capital to Maheshwar, while Indore was the business capital. During her reign, Maheshwar became a center for music, arts and literature. She focused on developing industries especially textile industries, Maheshwar is the home for the world-famous Maheshwari sarees. Ahilyabai was also successful in managing the local tribes in her kingdom, and employed tribes to protect the travelling merchants. She had got her daughter married to Yashwantrao, a poor but brave man, who defeated a dacoit.

Ahilyabai was known as the `Philosopher queen’. She was reluctant to impose the death penalty. She held that all mortals are works of the almighty and it was not in human authority to commit violence upon his creation. However at the same time she was firm and exercised a strong control over her kingdom. She had a reliable and trustworthy team of ministers and administrators throughout her reign. Ahilyabai Holkar died in the year 1795 at the age of 70.

American historian Stewart Gordon writes that a definite proof of her ability as a ruler was that her territories in Malwa were not engaged in local battles during her reign, though there were wars all around in the country. According to Gordon, “Ahilyabai had one of the most stable reigns of the 18th century.”

Joanna Baillie writes about the queen in 1849 as:

“For thirty years her reign of peace,
The land in blessing did increase;
And she was blessed by every tongue,
By stern and gentle, old and young.
Yea, even the children at their mothers feet
Are taught such homely rhyming to repeat
“In latter days from Brahma came,
To rule our land, a noble Dame,
Kind was her heart,
and tright her frame,
And Ahlya was her honoured name.”