The Candid Eye

December 31, 2009

UPA now admits Saraswati existed

In a significant shift from its earlier stand that probes conducted so far showed no trace of the mythical river, the Union Government has recently admitted that scientists have discovered water channels indicating “beyond doubt” the existence of the “Vedic Saraswati.”

The Government’s fresh submission came in response to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha on December 3 by Prakash Javadekar (BJP), who wanted to know whether satellite images had “established the underground track of Saraswati, and if so, why should the precious water resources not be exploited to meet growing demands.”

To this, the Union Water Resources Ministry quoted in writing the conclusion of a study jointly conducted by scientists of ISRO, Jodhpur and the Rajasthan Government’s Ground Water Department, published in the Journal of Indian Society of Remote Sensing. Besides other things, the authors had said that “clear signals of palaeo-channels on the satellite imagery in the form of a strong and powerful continuous drainage system in the North-West region and occurrence of archaeological sites of pre-Harappan, Harappan and post-Harappan ages beyond doubt indicate the existence of a mighty palaeo-drainage system of the Vedic Saraswati river in this region… The description and magnanimity of these channels also matches with the river Saraswati described in the Vedic literature.”

A leading educationist and currently chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yash Pal, who had published in 1980 in his own words “a small paper on the existence of Saraswati river which attracted attention,” concurred with the view. “Surveys so far have brought out clearly the path the river had taken when in flow,” the national research professor told The Pioneer. He did a stint with ISRO (which has played a pivotal role in the probes so far) from 1973-1980 where he set up the Space Application Centre.

Saraswati River : Image Courtesy - http://www.sindhulogy.org/

On whether the Union Government should assume a proactive role on the issue of reviving the river to tackle the water shortages, he said, “With advancement of technology more research should be conducted. The river was not lost yesterday; perhaps due to tectonic shifts it disappeared ten thousand years ago. We have to keep these issues in mind.”

All through its tenure until now, the UPA Government had denied the existence of the mystery river. Then Culture Minister Jaipal Reddy had told Parliament that excavations conducted so far at nine sites had not revealed any trace of the lost river Saraswati. He stated that the UPA Government had not extended the sanction for the project given by the NDA Government. Giving a progress report of the Saraswati River Heritage Project launched by the NDA Government, he had said that though the project report was prepared in September 2003 envisaging a cost of Rs 36.02 crore, it was later slashed to Rs 4.98 crore.

The Leftists, who commanded great influence over the first five years of the UPA regime, too, were dismissive of the evidences. Senior leaders even castigated probe agencies for ‘wasting’ time and money over the study of the mystery river. Three years ago, senior CPI(M) leader and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury slammed the ASI for its efforts.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, which he headed in 2006, said, “The ASI has deviated in its working and has failed in spearheading a scientific discipline of archaeology. A scientific institution like the ASI did not proceed correctly in this matter.”

These assertions had come despite mounting evidence of the river collected by central agencies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Central Groundwater Authority (under the Water Resources Ministry). The Government had also failed to acknowledge expert opinion that the river’s revival could tackle the increasing water demands of more than 20 crore people in the North-West region of the country.

The first national impetus for research on Saraswati came during the NDA regime when the then Union Culture Minister Jagmohan in June 2002 announced excavations to trace the river’s course. He named a team of four experts – Baldeo Sahai of ISRO, Ahmedabad, archaeologist S Kalyan Raman, glaciologist Y K Puri and water consultant Madhav Chitle – for the task. But even earlier, States like Haryana had begun their study of the ‘underground river.’

Talking of the progress, SL Aggarwal, an official in Haryana Irrigation Department said, “Work on the 3.5 km stretch of river Saraswati between Jyotisar and Bibipur would be completed in one-and-a-half months and then we would be able to revive the ancient river and be able to use the water for irrigation purposes.” The Haryana Government recently sanctioned Rs 10.05 crore for the project of revival of the river, with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission carrying out geophysical and geoelectric surveys for drilling of wells in association with Kurukshetra University for exploratory purposes.

A non-government organisation (NGO), Saraswati Nadi Sodh Sansthan, has also been working for the revival of the ancient river through its entire track. Two seminars were held on this issue on October 22, 2008 and November 21, 2009 at Kurukshetra where representatives from ONGC, Geological Survey of India and Indian Space Research Organisation were invited.

Rajasthan too has been an active participant in the project. Some four decades ago the Archeological Survey of India (GSI) had conducted excavations at a village named Kalibanga in Srigananagar district of Rajasthan, unearthing a full- fledged township beneath a mound, locally called ‘Thed.’

The ASI researchers came to the conclusion that the sight belonged to the Harappan period. Subsequent studies revealed that this flourishing town was situated on the banks of the Saraswati which once flowed from this part of the Rajasthan desert.

About two decades ago, scientists at Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) at Jodhpur launched a project to track down the traces. They concluded that the ancient channels were a dead river that could well be Saraswati. Interestingly, here, the ancient texts and the geographical history of the region were constant bases of reference of the studies.

Analyses of images earlier taken by the American satellite Landsat in the 1970’s clearly showed the presence of underground water in a definitive pattern in the Jaisalmer region. As part of the project, then, underground water researchers were asked to dig bore wells at places from where this lost river used to flow. They selected Chandan Lathi near Jaisalmer for this purpose.

To the surprise of researchers, the water found after digging the bore wells at places on the course of the river was not only sweet but available in plenty. Encouraged by this discovery, they dug two dozen bore well in the area, from where the river used to flow, and in all of them they found sweet water.

A few years later Dr Vakankar, a noted historian, as part his Itihas Sanklan Yojna, visited this and other sites linked with the river. Together with another expert Moropant Pingle, he concluded that the Saraswati used to flow from this part of Rajasthan, Sirsa in Haryana, Bhatinda in Punjab and Srigangangar district in Rajasthan.

With the Government indicating a shift in its position, it remains to be seen whether the research work by central agencies that had come to a near halt, will now resume.

— With inputs from Lokpal Sethi in Jaipur and Nishu Mahajan in Chandigarh

Source : The Pioneer

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December 30, 2009

A murderous ideology tolerated for too long

Filed under: Islam,Jihad,Terrorism,UK,Wahabism — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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Jihadist Islamism is comparable to Nazism in many respects. The British public realises this; so do the intelligence services.

Friday’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner by a British-educated Islamist was foiled by the bravery of its passengers and crew. We cannot assume that we will be lucky next time. And the indications are that there will be a next time. According to police sources, 25 British-born Muslims are currently in Yemen being trained in the art of bombing planes. But most of these terrorists did not acquire their crazed beliefs in the Islamic world: they were indoctrinated in Britain. Indeed, thousands of young British Muslims support the use of violence to further the Islamist cause – and this despite millions of pounds poured by the Government into projects designed to prevent Islamic extremism.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab : Image Courtesy - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Is it time for a fundamental rethink of Britain’s attitude towards domestic Islamism? Consider this analogy. Suppose that, in several London universities, Right‑wing student societies were allowed to invite neo-Nazi speakers to address teenagers. Meanwhile, churches in poor white neighbourhoods handed over their pulpits to Jew-hating admirers of Adolf Hitler, called for the execution of homosexuals, preached the intellectual inferiority of women, and blessed the murder of civilians. What would the Government do? It would bring the full might of the criminal law against activists indoctrinating young Britons with an inhuman Nazi ideology – and the authorities that let them. Any public servants complicit in this evil would be hounded from their jobs.

Jihadist Islamism is also a murderous ideology, comparable to Nazism in many respects. The British public realises this; so do the intelligence services. Yet because it arises out of a worldwide religion – most of whose followers are peaceful – politicians and the public sector shrink from treating its ideologues as criminal supporters of violence. Instead, the Government throws vast sums of money at the Muslim community in order to ensure that what is effectively a civil war between extremists and moderates is won by the latter. This policy – supported by all the main political parties – does not seem to be working. The authorities, lacking specialist knowledge, sometimes turn for advice to “moderate” Muslims who have extreme sympathies; supporters of al-Qaeda are paid to disseminate their ideology to young people.

Radical Islamist leaders are not stupid: they know how to play this system. The indoctrination of students carries on under the noses of public servants who are terrified of being labelled Islamophobic or racist. Therefore they fail to do their duty, which is to protect Muslims and non-Muslims alike from a terrorist ideology. If providing that protection requires fewer “consultations” with “community leaders” and more arrests, then so be it.

December 29, 2009

Art of Living ‘transforms’ juvenile delinquents

A group of volunteers of a spiritual organisation founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of Living, has succeeded in transforming the juvenile delinquents at the Boys’ Observation Home in Shivajinagar, Pune.

Though the NGO had organised its Bal Chetna and Nav Chetna courses for these children earlier, they did not have much impact. “Merely conducting the workshops was not enough. We then decided to start daily follow-ups, as suggested by the authorities,” said Nitin Pradhan, a coordinator of the group.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar

“These children used to have violent fights, and at least 3-4 boys would escape from the home each month. They were always on the lookout for an opportunity to run away,” said MN Sonawane, superintendent of the observation home.

The results started becoming apparent four months ago when the teenagers, 46 of them, attended the Nav Chetna course. They were taught ramdhyan, pranayam and satsang. “Earlier, it was impossible to control these children. They used to become restless and would constantly fight among themselves. But we worked hard for two months. Their warden, who used to stand in the hall with a cane in her hand, did not require it after a couple of weeks,” said Pradhan.

Such has been the transformation that the children now look forward to the daily dhyan and satsang. “The running away stopped completely in October. They have become quieter and observe the daily routine with discipline. They have developed a bond with the volunteers as they feel cared for. The effectiveness of these workshops will be further proved once we rehabilitate them back into the society. We conduct various short-term courses like candle, paper bag, and chalk-making for them. One volunteer suggested that they should be trained as plumbers and electricians. We are considering the suggestion,” said Sonawane.

Their rehabilitation of these kids is essential because they tend to fall back into bad company. They also involve other youngsters from their area in criminal activities. This will stop if they start earning and realising the benefits of a positive way of life, Sonawane said. The observation home is now in talks with another NGO, which imparts vocational training for free to children from weaker sections of society.

Encouraged by the results, the Yerawada Boys’ Observation Home, which was in the news recently as the children had escaped in hordes from there, has also invited the AOL volunteers to conduct these courses at their home.

December 28, 2009

Confluence of services

The most needed thing for Hindu community is finally happening.All the spiritual organizations,different sects of Hinduism are coming together for harmony among the people, a much needed one in today’s India.Excerpts from Express Buzz.

Buoyed by the success of the first Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair organised by the Chennai chapter of the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony (GFCH) in February, its second edition will be inaugurated in the city on Thursday, with 96 Hindu organisations, some of whom have conflicting ideologies, showcasing their bouquet of service activities. The idea is to present a grand vision of their ceaseless, selfless, multi-dimensional service to humanity. In the first edition of the fair, 36 organisations had participated.

Zodiac Symbol Meanings Ecliptic path

To be held at Sri Ramachandra University grounds in Tiruvanmiyur, the five-day fair will be inaugurated by Governor Surjit Singh Barnala. Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa would be the guest of honour and chairman of the Murugappa Group A Vellayan would deliver the keynote address.

Noted columnist S Gurumurthy would make the welcome address.

Groups that denounce divisions of the basis of caste, like the Mata Amritanandamayi Math or Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living, will share space with caste-based groups, such as the Hindu Nadar Magamai and the Nagarathar associations. Likewise, the Arya Samaj, which denounces idol worship, will be a participant along with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.

Prominent among other organisations participating in the fair are the Brahmakumaris, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Andhra Mahila Sabha, ISKCON, Nandalala Seva Samithi Trust, ancient Tamil Saivite mutts of Tiruppanandal Adheenam, Sri Kasi Math and Thiruvavadurai Adheenam besides Sri Ramakrishna Math and Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam.

The central pavilion of the fair will have the aggregate details of the services rendered by different Hindu spiritual and service organisations.

Go puja would be performed everyday at the fair venue besides chanting of Vedic verses and Vishnu Sahasranaman. A lot of other spiritual functions are scheduled to be held.

A similar fair is likely soon at Coimbatore besides other Indian cities.

According to the GFCH, “the fair intends to dispel the myth that Hindu spiritual organisations are not socially conscious. For instance, 90,000 schools are being run by Hindu groups, but people are unaware of it.” Dr N Mahalingam of the Shakti Group is the chairman of the organising committee of the event and danseuse Dr Padma Subramaniam is its secretary.

December 27, 2009

Caste system -1. Varna – Profession by Choice

An elaborate detailed talk by the historian Sri D. K. Hari, was an eye opener on the knowledge of Caste system, its true intention and form, and its current situation. The brief of talk is present here. My personal understanding and additional interpretations presented in this series:-

In the modern political view of India, the very word Caste is looked at as controversial. The word Caste was brought on India by the Portuguese with their term“Casta”. The term “caste system” is of British colonial creation and was first used in 1871 census in India.

Varna and Jathi:

From time immemorial we have been having the societal division concept through Varna and Jathi. This concept of Varna and Jathi were combined and transformed into caste system by the colonial British administrators for their administrative nomenclature and classification.

What do you understand by Varna? Many people think of it as color of the skin. Though it does mean color, it was not used for  what is the division of people in the society based on color.

The word Varna is etymologically from Var meaning to choose. There are four Varna in India. They being:

Brahmana, Vaishya, KshatriyaSudra

As the word Varna suggests it is to choose ones way of life among these 4 primary streams.

Under or inside the Varna is the concept of JathiJathi stands for trade guilds, stock, variety. It also refers to species or nation. These two concepts of division of labour in society based on choice attitude and aptitude of the individuals practiced from ancient and medieval India was summarily clubbed as caste by British colonial administrators.

The Four Varnas were not by birth, but by choice. A parson from any Jathi was allowed to take the task in one of the four Varnas. There are ample examples of Rishis who were initially fishermen, robbers and so on, thus from any Jathi a person could become Brahmana, based on his skills and knowledge.

There have been many kings who were from various Jathi, based on their valour.

There have been many businessmen based on their negotiation skills, not based on the birth.

Sudra doesn’t refer to the lowest, it refers to the tasks which are logistics oriented. People choosing Sudra varna could manage irrigation system, for example. And an irrigation system was by no means less important than defence or army, and India being farmers’ country the irrigation system was its backbone.

The importance of various varnas, and the power in the society the people following certain varna has always been fluctuating, and not given to one Varna. E.g. the Kshatriyas would be very important in war time, where as Vaishyas would be important in peace time, for bringing prosperity to the country by good trade. Brahmanas would be very important when everything is prosperous, as the human beings would seek the knowledge of divine, and Sudras would be important when festivities are to be organized, huge crop harvesting and transport is to be managed.

Migration:
The caste system of India was not tightly bound but had the concept of migration from one caste to another in built based on the occasion of the individual person. Most of the great Rishi, the Vedic scholars and the other great scholars of the Indian civilisation were born in the Sudra varna and because of their abilities and realisation migrated to become Brahmana.
Kings of Bharath:
Most of the kings of India also belong to the Sudra Varna and because of their kingship became Kshatriya. This migration was a recognised aspect of the IndianVarna system.
Caste Stratification:
It is in the medieval period during the onslaught and later in the colonial period the caste stratification took place which led to the debacle and down slide of India.
Caste – a pan religious reality:
The horrors of caste are not limited to the Hindus alone . The Indian Christians also the practice of caste system very rigidly. They have segregated churches, segregated cemeteries, segregated services, segregated processions.
The Muslims also have practiced the caste system in India with Azraf being the noble and the Arzal being the degraded. The Mayazur are the low caste bonded labour in Pakistan.
Even among the Sikhs the caste does exist in reality as the Jat Sikh and the Chamar Sikh.
From this it is clear that the concept of caste is not just in the Hindu religion but it is a pan religious reality of India.
Social leaders:
Various social leaders of India whose names are noble and endless have worked tiredlessly to abolish or mitigate the horrors and stratification of caste whenever it has reared its ugly head in the society.
Colonial wreak:
The colonial rule in India wreaked the economy of the land. Probably the most affected by the colonial rule were the Sudra whose property, education, vocation and stature were snatched away from them by the British administrators.
Change adapt:
Today, as India is progressing we see a cycle of changes happening. With these changes, the Jathi Varna concept of India needs to adapt itself. This concept held the fabric of the Indian society in its progress for many thousand years.
Realisation:
The realisation that should come now in us, is that the 3 upper castes namely Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya should realise that they all belong to the common stock of people and due to opportunities and historical reasons they are better off socially now. The above 3 castes are of the same genetic stock as the Sudra. They belong to the same land, same society, and have all been one through the ages. This realisation should enthuse these three castes to take a concrete effort by themselves in uplifting the Sudra brotheren through positive effort.

December 26, 2009

Article 311

Filed under: Bureaucracy,Corruption,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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The Central Minister of Law, Shri Virappa Moili made a public statement that the corrupt government employees should be dismissed or removed from service and Article 311 of the Constitution of India which is protecting them should be amended or be dropped from the Constitution.However,Biswabhusan Harichandan, the former minister of Law, Government of Orissa has objected to the abolition of this article.

Veerappa Moily : Image Courtesy - http://harinigallery.blogspot.com/

So far as the first part of his statement is concerned, we entirely agree with him but the second part of his statement that Article 311 should be dropped from the Constitution requires close examination.

Article 311 provides that (1) No person who is a member of the civil service of the union or an All India Service or a Civil Service of a State or holds a Civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an Authority sub-ordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(2) No such person as afore said shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Article 311 of the Constitution does not prohibit the government from dismissing any corrupt government employees, it only provides that the delinquent employee should be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of charges made against him. There should be an enquiry against him where he will have the opportunity of explaining his conduct. Article 311 has also authorised the government or the concerned Authority in the government not to hold any enquiry where it is not reasonably practicable. The authorities are required only to record the reasons as to why it is not practicable to hold the enquiry. If the government is armed with so much of power to dismiss a corrupt government employee, after observing some formalities as required by Article 311 what prompted the Law Minister to think of abolishing such a valuable right of the employee. If the government employee is corrupt, he should immediately be dismissed from service in the greater interest of the administration, but the case of corruption must be proved against him otherwise the employees who are dutiful but upright and a bit independent minded will be subjected to victimisation, if they fail to act according to the whims of their higher bosses.

This valuable right of a citizen or government employee cannot be taken away arbitrarily without giving him any opportunity of being heard. He is entitled to know the crime he has committed. We should not forget that we are governed by rule of Law on which the entire Constitutional system of this country is based. The cardinal principles of rule of Law is that nobody should be punished without being afforded an opportunity of hearing. The framers of the Constitution had clearly foreseen this danger while drafting the Constitution.

Read the complete article here.

December 25, 2009

You are a Christmas tree!!

Filed under: Art of Living,Sri Sri Ravishankar — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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You are the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is pointing upwards and its branches grow on all sides. It is orderly. At the time of year when no tree bears anything, it has many gifts to offer. And it is green throughout the year. A Christmas tree bears the gifts and the lights not for itself. All the gifts you are carrying in your life are for others. Anyone who comes to you, you offer them your gifts.

Guruji Sri Sri RaviShankar

There were lots of gifts around Sri Sri’s couch. John asked Sri Sri, “Are you going to open the gifts?” Sri Sri winked and pointed at the people and said, “I am always opening the gifts.” (Laughter)

Your life is a gift. And you have come to unwrap the gift. In the process of unwrapping, you also save the wrappers. Your whole environment, situations, circumstances and body are the wrapping papers. When we unwrap, we destroy the wrapping paper. We are in such a hurry at times that we even destroy the gifts. With patience and endurance, open your gifts and save the wrapping papers.

– His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar

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