ज्वारक फाम…

जोहार का फाम (याद) खास कर हमारे वरिष्ठ लोगों को बहुत आती है. उसी फाम को ताजा करते हुए यह छोटी कविता प्रस्तुत है हमारी बोली-भाषा में…

A Story of Priorities and a Jar…

Hi young friends,

Some of the most Memorable Lession in Life come from stories. Stories are fundamental to the way we process life experiences and the feelings that surround them. Stories are a way to encapsulate life’s memorable moments and enduring life lessons. The human brain is programmed to perceive patterns and grasp the plot sequences of stories to store them in long-term memory.

So here is a small story for you…

A philosophy professor once stood up before his class with a large empty mayonnaise jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full.

His students all agreed the jar was full.

He then added small pebbles to the jar, and gave the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”

The students agreed that the jar was still full.

The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up all the remaining empty space.

The students then agreed again that the jar was full.

The Metaphor:

In this story, the jar represents your life and the rocks, pebbles, and sand are the things that fill up your life. The rocks represent the most important projects and things you have going on, such as spending time with your family and maintaining proper health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.

The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, hobbies, and friendships), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.

Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life, and material possessions. This could be small things such as watching television, browsing through your favorite social media site, or running errands. These things don’t mean much to your life as a whole, and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.

The Moral:

The metaphor here is that if you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.

In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the “rocks,” because they are critical to your long term well-being.

There is another view …

Someone says that the harmful side effect of delaying lower priority tasks was, the longer the list of such lower priority tasks grew, the more stress it started adding to daily routine.

So instead of following the rocks, pebbles, and sand story blindly as it was told, I would recommend to modify it a bit where instead of filling the jar with only rocks first, and then pebble, etc., you could fill it with few rocks, then few pebbles, then some sand, and then again few more rocks, pebbles and more sand. This way you’re making balanced progress in all areas.

Another approach you can consider is — at the macro level (monthly or annual), prioritize the most important things, but at the micro level (daily or weekly), keep it flexible as per the situation and needs at that time.

There may be many more views but the issue is one should know his priority and lower priority things and have a positive approach in dealing with them.

What do you think…? Share them or at least discuss them with your dear ones…

See you soon with a new post…

The 110 years old lady and Postmaster… a true story

This is a story of 55 year old Postmaster and a 110 year old woman. In this part they don’t celebrate Rakshabandhan but the way a man takes all the trouble to reach a woman to help her with pension is nothing less than a true Rakshabandhan.

It all happened when Collector V. Vishnu from Tirunelveli visited the Injikuzhi tribal hamlet at the Tiger Reserve and met 110-year-old Kuttiyammal. The Collector assured the elderly woman of a monthly Old Age Pension of Rs 1,000, and directed the authorities to deliver her the money through the India Post office.

As S. Christuraja single-handedly manages the Upper Dam Branch post office, it came down to him to ensure Kuttiyammal received her pension. The Injikuzhi tribal hamlet is located uphill of Chinnamayilar Kaani near the Papanasam dam.

One Sunday every month, this 55-year-old postmaster embarks on a day-long trek deep into the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve forest to fulfil an assurance made to a 110-year-old woman five months ago. S Christuraja, of the Papanasam Upper Dam Branch, received this special mission after Collector sanctioned old age pension to the woman.

“I take a four kilometre boat ride across the dam’s banks, organised by forest officials, and then trek nearly 10 kilometres after that,” Christuraja says. When the level of water in the dam is too low for a boat ride, he treks 25 kilometres via the Chinnamayilar Kaani, braving leech bites.

Since the journey takes a day, the postmaster makes the delivery on Sundays only. “I start at 7 am and trek to a stream in the forest. After having breakfast by the stream, I reach the temple next to the hamlet and bathe in the river before reaching Kuttiyammal’s house,” he explains.

After a chat with Kuttiyammal, he returns to catch the boat back by 5 pm. Christuraja, who joined service on May 19, 1997 as an Extra Departmental Delivery Agent, is a native of the Agasthiyar Kaani settlement in the forest. This gives him an edge, according to Senior Superintendent of Post Office, Tirunelveli Division, Sivaji Ganesh.

Christuraja is able to work with the people and reach the hamlet. Earlier, postal staff used to arm themselves before visiting such remote areas,” said Ganesh.  As for Kuttiyammal, her relative Iyyappan (40) says that access to the pension has given the supercentenarian priceless peace of mind.

Collector V Vishnu honoured Papanasam Upper Dam Branch Post Master Christuraja during the Independence day celebrations on Sunday, for trekking over 10 km every month to deliver pension to a 110-year-old woman in a remote tribal hamlet.

Expressing his gratitude, Christuraja said that he never expected any reward for his service and will continue to work for the people. Tirunelveli Division Postal department officials appreciated his efforts later during the week at Ambasamu.

Though it may not be a Rakshabandhan but a beautiful ‘bandhan’ God has proposed for Christuraja.

My favourite festival… Raksha-Bandhan

Hi young friends,

Each year, numerous festivals are celebrated all over the nation. However, most people don’t know the underlying reason behind commemorating these festivals and they merely celebrate them as age-old practices; as a part of tradition. If one knows the deeper meaning for celebrating a particular festival, one can celebrate them with added faith.

So the Raksha-bandhan, one of my best festivals is here. Celebrated on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Sravana (July/August), this festival celebrates the love of a brother for his sister. On this day, sisters tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to protect them against evil influences, and pray for their long life and happiness. They in turn, give a gift which is a promise that they will protect their sisters from any harm. Within these Rakhis reside sacred feelings and well wishes. This festival is mostly celebrated in North India.

There is a history of Rakshabandhan which dates back to Hindu mythology. As per Hindu mythology, in Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas had torn the corner of her sari to prevent Lord Krishna’s wrist from bleeding (he had inadvertently hurt himself). Thus, a bond, that of brother and sister developed between them, and he promised to protect her. Lord Krishna was deeply touched by her gesture and in return promised to take care of her from all evils in the world. He called it the Raksha Sutra. And as we know that when Kauravas tried to dishonour her in the court by attempting to disrobe her, Lord Krishna blessed his sister and made sure that the sari she was wearing became endless in length. This is how her brother saved her from the evils – as he had promised.

There is another story of Rakshabandhan which is also quite interesting.

There once lived a powerful demon king, Bali, the grandson of Prahlad (a great devotee of Shri Vishnu). Bali was also very devoted to Shri Vishnu and as a result, became invincible and defeated all the ‘”Devas’ in Heaven.

Fearing for their lives, the Devas sought Shri Vishnu’s help in defeating Bali. So Shri Vishnu took on the “Vaman” (dwarf) Avatar and went to King Bali.

Bali was a very generous king, who would always help anyone who sought his help. Shri Vishnu, in the Vaman avatar went to Bali and asked if he could give him all the space that he can cover with three strides. Owing to his nature, Bali agreed and as soon as Vaman started walking, he started growing bigger and bigger till he was big enough to cover the whole earth in one stride and the sky in the second.

Vaman asked Bali where he should keep his third stride, to which Bali bowed down before the Lord and requested him to keep His foot on him.

Appeased by the King’s devotion and generosity, Shri Vishnu promised divine protection and immortality to Bali. Then Shri Vishnu, disguised as a doorman, would protect Bali from any possible danger.

Eventually, Lakshmi Devi got restless without Shri Vishnu in Vaikunth. She descended on earth as a mortal woman and told Bali, that her husband has gone away for a long errand and she needed a place to stay.

Bali welcomed her in vowing to protect her as his own sister. On the day of Purnima in the month of Shravan, Goddess Lakshmi tied a thread of coloured cotton on Bali’s wrist. Touched by her sincerity, Bali grants her the wish to ask for anything.

Lakshmi Devi points at the doorman and requested Bali to return her husband. At first Bali was confused, but soon realised that the doorman and the woman were none other than Shri Vishnu and Lakshmi Devi. Bali kept his promise and asks Shri Vishnu to return to Vaikunth.

When a girl/woman ties a rakhi around her brother’s wrist, he promises to protect her from all the problems in life and gives her his blessings. Nowadays, you can finds Rakhi bands of all shapes and sizes from which you can select one that represents your sibling bond the best.

In the modern interpretation of this ritual, the roles can go either way. The attention shifts from the religious aspect to a more playful exchange of gifts and a mutual understanding of peace, at least for a day!

Almora and Kumaon … the history.

Hi friends, 

The famous historian Pundit Ganga Datt Upreti had collected many stories about the legendary history of Kumaon. His following account of the foundation of Almora, may be found interesting:

“About six hundred years ago, when the Chand Rajas held their court at Champawat in eastern Kumaon, the reigning king was one day hunting on a hill (at present Almora), which was at that time covered with dense forest. A hare suddenly started up before him, and he began to pursue it, whereupon it was transformed into a tiger, and on reaching the top of the hill disappeared. The king consulted his Brahman astrologers concerning this strange event. They all accepted it as a most favourable omen, and counseled the king to found his capital on the spot where the tiger had disappeared. The site was accordingly examined, prior to beginning of building operations, and a large crowbar was driven into the ground. It sank so deep that the astrologers declared it had pierced the back of the Seshnag, or great serpent which the Hindus supposed to support the universe, and they accepted the fact as a sign that the king’s dynasty should endure forever. But the king, impelled by curiosity, insisted on the bar being dragged out of the ground, and, sure enough, the point of it was seen to be stained with blood. Thereupon the astrologers in wrath declared that as a punishment for the Rajah’s presumption and unbelief, his descendants should reign but for a few generations.”

Were it not for this valuable information, we should naturally suppose that the real reason of Almora’s selection as the capital was the abundant supply of water there, and the excellent quality of the  soil on the slope below the ridge, where an immense amount of grain  is grown for the food-consumption of the people.

The ancient town of Almora, before its establishment, was under the possession of Katyuri king Baichal Deo. He donated the major part of this land to a Gujrati Brahmin Sri Chand Tiwari. Later on when Chand kingdom was founded in Baramandal, the town of Almora was founded at this centrally located place in 1568 by Kalyan Chand. In the days of the Chand Kings it was called Rajapur. The name ‘Rajpur’ is also mentioned on a number of ancient copper plates.

The Chand dynasty attracted many Brahman families from the plains, who settled in Kumaon and have multiplied exceedingly, so that this province contains an unusually large proportion of the Brahmin caste. Many of them have entered Government service and prospered.

Around later half of 18th century, the power of Kumaon was on decline, as the then King, Mohan Chand was unable to properly administer the country. After the fall of Doti the Gorkhas decided to launch an attack on Kumaon, under King Prihvi Narayan Shah’s unification of Nepal campaign. The Gorkha forces under the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa crossed the Kali River and reached Almora via Sor and Gangoli. Mohan Chand fled to plains and Kumaon was easily annexed to the Gorkha Kingdom. 

The Gorkha rule in Kumaon lasted for 24 years, and has been termed as ‘cruel and oppressive’ in a number of texts. The only architectural advancement during the period was a road connecting Kali River to Srinagar via Almora. Almora was the largest town of Kumaon during the Gorkha period.

The Gorkhas started meddling with the Nawab of Oudh, who was then suzerain of the British Empire. He asked for help from the British thus paving the way for the ‘Anglo-Nepalese War’ of 1814. 

The British forces under Colonel Nicholas, comprising about 4500 men and six ponder guns entered Kumaon through Kashipur and conquered Almora on April 26, 1815. On the same day Chandra Bahadur Shah, one of the Gorkha chiefs sent a flag of truce requesting to end hostilities in the region. A negotiation was brought up the following day, under which the Gorkha agreed to leave the country and all the fortified places. The war ended with Nepal signing the ‘Treaty of Sugauli’ in 1816, under which Kumaon officially became a British territory. 

Later the region was annexed by the British and Kumaon region was joined with the eastern half of the Garhwal region as a chief-commissionership on the non-regulation system, also known as the Kumaon Province. It was governed for 70 years by three administrators namely Mr. Traill, Mr. J.H. Batten and Sir Henry Ramsay.

The arrival of British opened up the entire region to European explorers and avid travellers. Surveying and mapping the vast and unexplored terrain became a passion for many.

There was widespread opposition against British rule in various parts of Kumaon. The Kumaoni people especially Champawat district rose in rebellion against the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 under the leadership of the members like Kalu Singh Mahara.

In 1891 the division was composed of the three districts of Kumaon, Garhwal and Tarai; but the two districts of Kumaon and Tarai were subsequently redistributed and renamed after their headquarters i,e. Nainital and Almora.

Mahatma Gandhiji was revered in Kumaon and on his call the struggle of ‘Salam Saliya Satyagraha’ led by Ram Singh Dhoni was started which shook the very root of British rule in Kumaon. Many people lost their lives in the satyagraha due to police brutality. Gandhiji named it the ‘Bardoli of Kumaon’ an allusion to the ‘Bardoli Satyagrah’. It followed by many freedom struggles in which many Joharis participated.

Remembered and respected in Japan… but forgotten in India…!

Hi my young friends,

We have umpteen number of stories of our great men and women to tell to our children. Of late, I have been sharing some of them with you. I am lucky that I have some friends who also help me in my story-telling and today’s story is the outcome of an information shared by one of my best friends (Shri Suresh Goel from Delhi).

While sharing the information my friend asked me a straight question…

“Does anyone in India know this piece of history?”

I can’t say about others but frankly speaking I had no idea about this piece of history I am unfolding now with my friend’s help.

Here is the real story ….

The year was 1946 and the country was Japan where a ‘Trial’ was arranged in a huge garden house on the outskirts of Tokyo. It was ‘The International Military Tribunal’ known as ‘Tokyo Trial’ of fifty-five (55) Japanese war criminals including Japan’s then Prime Minister Tojo, after losing World War II. Of these, twenty-eight (28) people had been identified as Class-A (crimes against peace) war criminals. If proved, the only punishment was the “death penalty”.

There were eleven international judges from all over the world. When the announcement of judgement took place ten out of eleven were announcing……”Guilty”…. “Guilty”…… “Guilty”……… Suddenly one thundered, “Not Guilty!”

A silence came down in the hallway. Who was this lone dissenter?

This lone dissenter judge was Hon’ble Radhabinod Pal who was asked to represent India as a member of the tribunal of judges (10 from other countries).

Born on 27 January 1886 at Taragunia, Salimpur, Kushtia, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day Bangladesh), his mother made a living by taking care of a household and their cow. For feeding the cow, Radhabinod used to take the cow to the land near a local primary school.

He used to listen to the teachers teaching the class from outside of school. It was his daily routine. It all happened one day when the inspector of schools from the city came to the village to inspect the school. He came to the class and asked some questions to the students. Everyone was silent. Radhabinod, who was watching the proceedings from outside of the classroom window, shouted, “I know the answers to all your questions.” Then he answered all the questions one by one. Inspector, impressed with him, asked… “Wonderful!.. Which class do you read?”

The answer came, “I do not read…I graze a cow.” 

Everyone was shocked to hear that. Calling the head teacher, the school inspector instructed head teacher to ensure his admission in school as well as provide him some stipend.

That is how the education of Radhabinod Pal started. Then after passing the school final with the highest number in the district, he was admitted to Presidency College. After taking M Sc. from the University of Calcutta, he studied law again and got the Doctorate title. In the context of choosing the opposite of two things he once said, “law and mathematics are not so different after all.”

Coming back again to the International Court of Tokyo. 

In his convincing argument to the rest of the jurists he signified that the Allies, (winners of WWII), also violated the principles of restraint and neutrality of international law. In addition to ignoring Japan’s surrender hints, they killed two hundred thousand innocent people using nuclear bombardment.

The judges were forced to drop many of the accused from Class-A to B, after seeing the logic written on twelve hundred thirty-two pages by Radhabinod Pal. These Class-B war criminals were saved by him from a sure death penalty. His verdict in the international court gave him and India a world-famous reputation.

Radhabinod Pal is described as the modern father of International Humanitarian Law. He was the Head of the Department of Law Calcutta University. He was persuaded not to write this judgement and was appointed the first President of the International Court of Justice. But he refused and wrote the Judgement. 

In 1966, Pal visited Japan and said in a speech that he had admired Japan from an early age for being the only Asian nation that “stood up against the West”. The Emperor of Japan conferred upon Pal the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Pal is revered by Japanese nationalists and a monument dedicated to him stands on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine. The monument was erected after Pal’s death.

Judge Pal’s dissent is frequently mentioned by Indian diplomats and political leaders in the context of Indo-Japanese friendship and solidarity. For example, on 29 April 2005 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to it as follows, in his remarks at a banquet in New Delhi in honour of the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi:

It is a noteworthy fact that though we have gone through various phases in our relationship, in times of difficulty, we have stood by each other. It is important to recall that India refused to attend the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951 and signed a separate Peace Treaty with Japan in 1952″. “This, Pandit Nehru felt, gave to Japan a proper position of honour and equality among the community of free nations. In that Peace Treaty, India waived all reparation claims against Japan. The dissenting judgement of Judge Radhabinod Pal is well-known to the Japanese people and will always symbolise the affection and regard our people have for your country.”

On 14 December 2006, Singh made a speech in the Japanese Diet. He stated:

“The principled judgment of Judge Radhabinod Pal after the War is remembered even today in Japan. Ladies and Gentlemen, these events reflect the depth of our friendship and the fact that we have stood by each other at critical moments in our history.”

Japan respects this great man. In 1966 Emperor Hirohito awarded him the highest civilian honor of the country, ‘Kokko Kunsao’. Two busy roads in Tokyo and Kyotto have been named after him. In Tokyo, Japan, he has a museum and a statue in Yasukuni shrine. Japan University has a research center in his name. 

His verdict has been included in the syllabus of law studies there. In front of the Supreme Court of Tokyo, his statue has been placed. In 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his desire to meet his family members in Delhi and met his son.

He is the author of many books related to law. In India, almost nobody knows him and perhaps not even his neighbors know him! A hindi movie was made on him, Tokyo Trials, starring Irfan Khan but that movie never made headlines.

He is just one of the many many underrated & unknown Indians! But he remains the true son of India.

Night Person vs Morning Person…m

Hi friends and kids,

My daughter often reminds me that I need to change my lifestyle because I am a night person. She wants me to be a morning type as she thinks that people who are more active at night face greater health risks. 

I don’t know whether there is a risk or not for a night person, being a night type gives me an utter sense of peace and freedom which the rush hours in the daytime have never ever had. And this would always be my most favorite thing about the night.

I don’t know whether everybody else feels the same, but as a night person I have always loved writing my book, blog or poems at night. The silence and calmness penetrate my soul only at night while during the day it happens to be mostly about the daily routines and the time management.

Somehow the night opens me to a more expressive self, less concerned about what people may think of me, more open to experiences.

When I leave my house in the night for a little walk, I find the street is bathed in moon light. And as I walk on the pavement alone I talk to myself endlessly. My inner conscience is supportive, enlightening and even unpredictable at times. I cry and laugh with them under the moon light.

I come back with lovely thoughts and imagination and sit before my tab to express myself. 

That is my side of the story being a night type. 

But you know what people say about night person ?….any idea…? Oh… the night type of person is called a night owl? Very funny… Isn’t it.

To answer that question, they first talk about body clocks. All humans — and other animals — have internal regulating mechanisms, or “body clocks,” which allow a person to adapt to natural day or night cycles, “telling” them when to eat, rehydrate, and sleep.

Some experts explain that the daily time-keeping system is called ‘circadian’ from the Latin ‘circa diem,’ which means ‘approximately a day,’ deriving from the duration of a cycle of earth rotation.”

However, not everyone’s circadian rhythms coincide. Some people feel the most refreshed early in the morning, but feel like they’re falling asleep by 9:00 p.m., and people who are most active in the evenings and have trouble waking up in the morning.

The degree of morningness or eveningness is one of the most important aspects of an individual. But in a context in which the constructs of our global society accommodate morning lark habits — where “the early bird catches the worm” — it is night owls whose health is usually most at risk.

The mismatch between a person’s biological time and social time — which most of us have experienced in the form of jet lag — is a common issue for night owls trying to follow a normal working day.

In a study published earlier this year, Facer-Childs and colleagues found that night owls experience something akin to jet lag every day. More precisely, connectivity was lower in certain brain regions of night owls than it was in morning larks.

Essentially, this meant that evening types had shorter attention spans, slower reactions, and less energy than morning people.

And night owls do have their advantages, which researchers also acknowledge. One study from 1999 argues that “early to bed, early to rise will likely make you anything but wise,” finding that night owls score better on intelligence tests than morning larks.

An international review published in Advances in Nutrition in 2018 found that adults who fared better in the evenings were more at risk of developing heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes. Its authors, however, argue that “this may be potentially due to the poorer eating behavior and diet” in night owls.

Research from 2017 also shows that night owls are more likely to receive a diagnosis of obesity, which is a significant risk factor for conditions such as diabetes and cancer. This study’s authors also suggest that “evening types” may have an increased cardiovascular risk. Finally, some studies suggest that night owls have an increased risk of depression when compared with morning larks. May be due to this my daughter suggests me to change my lifestyle.

The question of whether night owls should modify their rhythms to try and become “morning people,” or whether workplaces should strive to accommodate the different needs of individuals remains highly contentious. But one thing is clear… if you know the person what type he is… it helps you to understand him better and make him do better in his own time.

Some people have indeed found that adjusting their routines so that they would become more active in the morning has actually helped them in the long run.

Frankly speaking I love being a night type and like to end my blog post with the poem of Robert Frost –

Are you morning type or night type? Share your experience…

See you soon with my new post. Take care.

Google Doodle and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan…

Hi Kids, 

There is a nationalist poem, which is regarded as one of the most recited poems in Hindi literature – 

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी…..

I don’t know how many of you know the author of this famous poem, but when I was your age, I mean when I was in 6th class way back in the late 60s I remember having learned this poem by heart. 

Yesterday when I was googling something on my computer, to my surprise I saw a Google Doodle of a lady with a pen and paper, dressed in a saree.

I know whenever Google celebrates some VIP’s birthday or some of his/her achievements, they get a Doodle on him/her. I still remember Google celebrated great Nain Singh Rawat’s 187th Birthday on 21 October 2017 with a Doodle on him. Since then there were many write-ups on him on social media. So I rarely ignore Google Doodle as it provides great information on the person being selected for celebration.

16th August was birth anniversary of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and Google celebrated her 117th birth anniversary with a doodle. It is illustrated by New Zealand-based guest artist Prabha Mallya and features the activist and author sitting with a pen and paper, dressed in a saree.

She was India’s first woman Satyagrahi a trailblazing writer and freedom fighter whose work rose to national prominence during a male-dominated era of literature.

Her Jhansi ki Rani,  nationalist poem, is regarded as one of the most recited poems in Hindi literature. Here is the full poem…

On August 16, 1904, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was born in Nihalpur, Tamil Nadu. She was known to write constantly, even in the horse cart on the way to school, and her first poem was published when she was just 9.

The call for Indian independence reached its height during her early adulthood. As a participant in the Indian Nationalist Movement, Subhadra used her poetry to call others to fight for their nation’s cause.

The Google Doodle page described her poetry as, “Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poetry and prose primarily centered around the hardships that Indian women overcame, such as gender and caste discrimination. Her poetry remained uniquely underscored by her resolute nationalism.”

In 1923, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s unyielding activism led her to become the first woman satyagrahi, a member of the Indian collective of nonviolent anti-colonialists to be arrested in the struggle for national liberation. She continued to make revolutionary statements in the fight for freedom both on and off the page into the 1940s. She published a total of 88 poems and 46 short stories.

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan died in 1948 in a car accident near Seoni, Madhya Pradesh on her way back to Jabalpur from Nagpur.

Knowing your leaders inspire you. Isn’t it…

See you soon with a new post. Take care.

Sawan, the Month of Ultimate Devotion

Hi friends.. kids,

You know Sawan is here. Sawan means rainy season. In our Hindu culture sawan is known to be very pious month for Hindus.

‘Devotion’ is a beautiful word. It comes from the Latin word, devovēre, meaning ‘to vow, to make a solemn pledge or promise. So, a devoted person completely surrenders himself to the service of God. And Sawan is the month of such ultimate devotion.

This holy month is the most significant month for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Due to their devotion, they consciously choose to worship Lord Shiva in this Sawan month and their devotion is fueled by endless love. They believe that Lord Shiva will bless them with prosperity and everlasting happiness. As a result, nothing can stop devotees from expressing their deep adoration for Mahadev during Sawan.

In Sawan Parthiv Shiva Ling Pooja is recommended for overall growth, success, wealth, health and peace in home and business. It also gives freedom from Shani Dosh (Saturn miseries) and fulfills any desire. In this puja handmade Shiva Lingams from mud are worshipped. This is a highly beneficial pooja and gives relief from all strains. Parthiv Shiva Lingam also known as Saikata Lingam means Lingam made with Mud/Sand (Parthiv-Earth).

In this human life we commit numerous sins and to get liberation for the sins committed it is highly recommended to do Lord Sivas puja with complete dedication and follow the right path thenceforth.

Lord Ram after the assassination of Ravana; in a place called Rameshwaram (Tamilnadu, India) installed a Parthiva Lingam (Lingam made of sand/mud) to get rid of a sin called Brahmahatyamahaapaatakam (sin of killing a BRAHMIN); this was clearly mentioned in Puranas. Even today many people visit that shrine and its always very divine. According to ancient Hindu scriptures, many devotees had been gifted Liberation from the cycle of Life & Death.

During the holy month, many devotees endure immense hardship by going on an annual pilgrimage to seek His blessings. The pilgrimage, that has been suspended this year due to COVID-19, is very challenging. Devotees collect water from River Ganga and offer at Shiva temples. They visit various places, including some really difficult terrains, like Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand, to fetch water.

Walking barefoot with kavads (special vessels with Holy Water from The Ganges) on their shoulders, devotees move towards their destination ignoring the excruciating physical pain. Their profound devotion gives them such great endurance. By undertaking this arduous journey, they show their unwavering love for Lord Shiva. It seems that devotees have become akin to Lord Shiva and He is filling them with courage.

It is their devotion that pushes them beyond physical limits to serve their Lord Shiva. It is a festive dedication of their whole self to Him. The prayerful devotion also manifests itself through their Satvic lifestyle and daily prayers. Many devotees practice fasting on Mondays or even for the entire month. They seek to be near Lord Shiva, persevere and spend time in prayers and meditation.

Scriptures say that Lord Shiva can be pleased quickly and Sawan is the best month to please Him. Further, He can be pacified by anyone and so one of His names is ‘Ashutosh’- one who is pleased very quickly. His devotees belong to all castes and creeds and walks of life. Lord Shiva loves all and fulfills their wishes.

He fulfils the materialistic desires of worshippers by bestowing the choicest blessings upon them. He blesses the simple-hearted with religious zeal, grants peace to pious devotees, and connects with seekers who meditate on Him.

Devotion is the Answer to all Questions. Life is all about change. We always face questions like what to do in life, which direction to choose, what choice should we make, what should we do for a living, how to meditate regularly, etc. These are just some of the many questions that we face in our day-to-day life and will continue to face. But where can the answers be found?

Devotion is the answer here. God guides His devotees to follow the appropriate path and make the right choices in life. For this inner awakening and guidance, we need to ask Him with full devotion and for the same purpose devotees choose this month of Sawan.

They sit before Lord Shiv and pour out their heart in His Holy presence and seek His blessings. And being ‘Bholenath’ He fulfils the wishes of all. Jai Bholenath…!

May Lord Bholenath brings happiness, health and prosperity to you and your family.

See you soon with a new post. Take care.

Eklavya and Indian sports…

Hi Kids, 

We just witnessed the great Olympic games held in Tokyo, Japan. I don’t know about you but I was glued to my television set right from morning to evening and enjoyed as many events as I could. Did you…? I am sure you did… 

Have you noticed how sport can bring out the best and the worst in us. This is dramatically illustrated in the Mahabharata, our ancient but living epic, which never ceases to remind us of the scope of human frailty and potential. In this Olympics we saw how some of the sportspersons from small and poor countries showed exceptional magnanimity and heroism, at the same time some of the most celebrated heroes from rich, big and affluent countries came across as petty and low.

In one sporting incident the highest guru and his beloved royal disciple in the epic – showed lowest form of unsportsmanship which contributed to racism and abuse.

During Mahabharata times there lived a young Nishada (a tribe of hunters) prince by the name of Eklavya who aspired to become a great archer and a brave warrior. So he was keen to become a disciple of the great Guru Dronacharya – the greatest teacher of the art of archery and the science of warfare in the kingdom. Since Eklavya’s family were Shudras, his father remained silent. Eklavya knew what was bothering his father. He said, “Father, I know we are Shudras, belonging to the hunting tribe. But the Guru is a wise and learned man. Please allow me to become his disciple.”

Eklavya’s father was a kind man and did not wish to refuse his son. So he gave his blessings and sent his son on his way.

Eklavya reached the Gurukul of Guru Dronacharya – who was also the royal teacher of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He went to Drona and folded his hands in greeting, bowing down low to touch the sage’s feet. Drona was surprised to see the stranger and asked him, “Who are you?”

“Oh Guru, I am Eklavya, the son of the Chief of the Nishada tribe of hunters in the forests of Hastinapur. Please accept me as your humble shishya (disciple) and teach me the art of archery”, replied Eklavya.

Dronacharya reflected for a minute, then said, “Eklavya, if you are a Nishada hunter, then you are a Shudra, the lowest caste in the kingdom. I am a Brahmin, the highest of castes. All my students are Kshatriyas, the warrior caste. I cannot teach a Shudra boy.”

The Pandavas stood watching the exchange. Encouraged by the Guru’s words, Arjuna spoke up, “Guru Dronacharya is a royal teacher, who is training train us – the princes of the kingdom. How dare you expect to be taught by him! Leave the gurukul now.”

When our epic like Mahabharata shows us such disparity and favouritism what is there to learn from such behaviour. Our selection process is therefore influenced by such disparities and favouritism. Otherwise in a country of 130 crores people, how come India won only one gold medal, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals (total 7 medals) whereas a country like China, with a population of 139.7 crores (almost the size of India), won 38 gold medals, 32 silver and 18 bronze medals (total 88 medals). Even many countries, which are much smaller than India – both in terms of size and population and economically weaker, won more medals than that of India. Obviously there is something wrong in India…. like ignoring the villagers, tribes, Dalits.

Coming back to Eklavya story….

Resolute in his determination to learn archery, Eklavya went back to the forest. There he built an idol of Guru Dronacharya with mud and placed it in a secluded clearing. Eklavya believed that if he practiced faithfully in front of his Guru, he would be able to master the art of archery. After years of practicing, he became a skilled archer, even surpassing the best archer in the kingdom – Arjuna.

This is exactly happening to many of our villages, tribal / Dalit boys and girls. Despite that they are the victims of neglect, some of them are learning on their own and showing their performances and skills in village level events. But there are no one to take note of their potentials.

Eklavya, one day, while practicing, heard a dog barking some distance away. Its constant barking irritated Eklavya, who fired seven arrows in quick succession, filling the dog’s mouth without injuring it. The dog was no longer able to bark and roamed around the forest.

Thus roaming, the dog reached the Pandavas, who were practicing in the forest along with Guru Dronacharya. Drona was amazed to see such a feat of archery. He realized that only an extremely skilled archer could have done this. He, along with the Pandavas, set out to look for the archer. Soon they came across a young man, dressed in a hunter’s clothes practicing archery. It was Eklavya.

Dronacharya went up to him and asked, “You aim is remarkable! Who is your teacher?”

“You, Sir,” replied Eklavya.

Dronacharya was stunned. “How can I be your Guru when I have never met you before?”

“I am Eklavya, the boy who came to learn archery from you at your gurukul. After you refused, I came back to the forest and made a mud idol of you. I prayed to it everyday, and with its blessing I was able to master the skills of archery”, replied Eklavya.

Dronacharya realized that Eklavya had the skills to surpass even Arjuna. However, as the royal teacher, Eklavya’s excellence would put him in a difficult situation, as a mere Shudra hunter would surpass a Kshatriya prince under his tutelage.

He devised a way out. To Eklavya he said, “Seeing that you have learnt from me, you will now have to pay guru dakshina – my gift for training you.”

Eklavya was overjoyed at this. A guru dakshina was the offering made to a teacher when the teacher considered the shishya to have completed his learning. He replied, “I am blessed that you have asked me for guru dakshina. I would never refuse anything that you ask.”

Dronacharya seized his chance, “Eklavya, as guru dakshina, you have to give me your right thumb.”

Everyone was shocked, even Arjuna. Everyone knew that an archer could never shoot an arrow without his right thumb.

Eklavya looked steadily at Dronacharya. He realized the reason behind this demand. Nevertheless he replied, “I will never disobey your wish, Sir. I am grateful that you recognized me as your disciple even though I am a Shudra.” Saying this, he took a knife and cut off his right thumb and placed it at his Guru’s feet.

In our case our selectors, professionals, trainers, officials are behaving like Dronacharya. They are insecure because they know that if the boys/girls from villages, tribes, Dalits are given proper training by expert trainers, the learners from urban and metros will be surpassed by them. This insecurity is killing the talents of our villages, tribals and Dalits.

Sport does not always produce sportsmanlike behaviour. Even Arjun, among the noblest of heroes in the Mahabharat, succumbed to insecurity in dealing with Eklavya. The great teacher Drona had no compunction in refusing the Eklavya on grounds of caste. Even he demanded guru dakshina from an archer who was never trained by him. It was like unbecoming a guru and showed complete lack of sportsmanship.

However, Tokyo Olympics has shown us some remarkable acts of camaraderie among competitors. Two equally exceptional and deserving high-jumpers chose to break their tie, not through a jump-off but by sharing their gold medal. In doing so, both players emerged as not only true sportsmen but also true heroes. We saw sportsmanship there in poor and small countries. There are no upper and lower caste division. They love sports, encourage sportsmanship without thinking the caste, culture, race, religion of the sportsperson. That’s why they are there winning more medals unlike India.

This is what sports and sportsmanship is all about, not like the act of Guru Drona and royal prince Arjuna…..and our present selectors, professionals, trainers from metros and big cities.

This is what I think. If you have different view share them. We will all be benefitted.

See you soon with a new post. Take care.

Know your village… Nachni

Hi friends, kids

In the series of “Know your village “, I have so far covered 4 villages namely…Kanoli, Talla Dummar, Shama and Darkot.

Today I am posting a write-up about a village which affects almost every Johari, Munsyari-wala, Talla-Johar Wala, and the people of the border area of Kapkot block near Ramganga river.

The village is Nachni, at the Thal-Munsyari roadside, 15 Km northwards from Thal. I don’t know how it derived its name. Neither there is any dancing group of families nor the village has any connection with dance. But it’s name is catchy… NACHNI. Wow…!

Though few Shauka families are from Nachni, its importance cannot be undermined as it is located at a significant place on the Link Road for Munsyari area. Nachni falls under Munsyari tehsil of Distt Pithoragarh. It is at a distance of 75 kms from district headquarter Pithoragarh. Munsyari is nearly 70 kms ahead of Nachni.

Nachni is surrounded by Berinag Block towards South , Munsyari Block towards North, Kapkote Block towards west and Bansbagarh area towards East. As per 2011 Census its population is 1109 and number of houses are 299. Female Population is 49.3%. Village literacy rate is 75.3%.

Nachni is well known in the whole district being at a culmination of Ramganga river and BHUJGARH river. Near the confluence a Shiva temple is there. Its post office is at Tejam, 7 kms ahead on Munsiyari road. It has a Government Inter College which is just across the road from Nachni bazar. In the name of Bank, State Bank of India opened its branch here in 1983 and I am happy to share that I was the first Branch Manager of SBI, Nachni and remained posted there for one and half years.

Though the bazaar area is known as Nachni to most of the people, the original NACHNI village is just above the main road (300 meters above). The village is dominated by Khasias, Brahmins and scheduled castes. The main occupation is agriculture. The bazar remains busy as many villages are nearby for whom Nachni is their bazar. Moreover, Govt. Inter College and Primary schools are adjacent to the bazar and one can find school / college children roaming in the bazar area. The laughter of children, the sound of pahari songs, the murmur of bargaining by villagers in thin air coming from Ramganga make the market colourful and full of life.

Ramganga river serves as a border line between Pithoragarh District and Bageshwar District. Nachni was also known for an age-old suspension bridge on river Ramganga. It was a bridge of strong iron to connect the districts of Pithoragarh and Bageshwar (Villages like Mahargari, Kanoli, Chilkia, Jhini, Chetabagar, Lwenta, Ramari, Palnadhura, and some others).

The suspension bridge was washed away following heavy rain in Nachni area on 11 July 2018 . Heavy rains continue to create flood-like situations in every rainy season in different parts of the area. In 2018 there was tremendous destruction in the 20 km radius on Thal Munsyari road. All internal roads were closed due to debris. Many families, animals were affecte badly.

With the suspension bridge being washed away in floods, one house collapsed in a falling boulder, while three houses were submerged into the Ramganga river with the bridge. Bhainskhal’s Panchayat house near Nachni was also washed away after the Khabariya Nala overflowed. The villagers are living with fear of flood-like situations in the rainy season.

In fact the stretch from Nachni to Tejam road is a threat to the main Munsyari road. Frequent soil erosion during the rainy season is very dangerous and has claimed the lives of men and cattle during the rainy season. It vitally needs attention. In the year 2015-16 the landslide nearly blocked Ram Ganga and a big Lake was formed. This is a very big big challenge to the life of villages located on the river bank side.

After the destruction of the suspension bridge of Nachni, the people of both sides are having a tough time. The market of these villages on the border is dislocated. More than a hundred and fifty children from the villages come to the school/college to study. The district administration of Pithoragarh has put a rope-way on the Ramganga river. One has to pull the rope for movement. To send children to school, the parents have to pull the rope twice a day to send their children to school.

The villagers are demanding restoration of the bridge. When the administration did not listen, the villagers built a temporary bridge of about sixty metres long by shramdan (श्रमदान) on the mighty Ramganga river. This temporary foot – bridge has now facilitated the influx of people on both sides. But this temporary bridge has washed away in this rainy season. The villagers will again try to build it after rains. But how long will this continue…is a big question!

Another feature of NACHNI is that though it receives timely sunshine in summer but during winter the sunrise takes place as late as 12 noon and sets early before 4 pm.

For years we have been experiencing that during the rainy season the Himalayan region is highly prone to landslides and is seismologically volatile. The Geologists say that the terrain is becoming increasingly treacherous, as there is very little topsoil or green cover to bind it. Even the slightest downpour exposes the boulders that are ready to roll downhill. Sometimes such an avalanche of stones and boulders is triggered by the displacement of a single stone from its position. The large scale deforestation and inappropriate cropping pattern and also unplanned building of roads and houses are the main causes behind the aggravated depletion of precious top soils. So Nachni and many other hill side villages will continue to live in fear of landslides and flood like situations unless there is some serious planning by the experts and implementation of their suggestions.

Hope you enjoy knowing your village. See you soon with another post. Good day and take care.