Dhyan Chaand

Legendary Hockey Player

Dhyan Chaand, the legendary Indian hockey player is counted among the greatest sportsmen this country has every seen.

    ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’

The greatest hockey player the world has known. Known for his great ability to score goals, he was nicknamed ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’.

    ‘The Wizard’

Internationally, he was called “The Wizard” for his great ability to control the ball. His name was verily synonymous with hockey.

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Dhyan Chaand, the Hockey Wizard

Dhyan Singh was born on August 29th, 1905 in Jodhpur.

Practicing under Moon light

He later got the name “Chaand” as he used to practice hockey under moon light, Moon in Hindi is Chaand. We should remember that there were no flood lights in those days.Thus came about his name Dhyan Chaand.

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Dhayanchand practicing under moonlight

From Moonlight to Limelight

From being under ‘moon light’, Dhyan Chaand soon came under international limelight.

    1927-Folkstone Festival

He displayed his skills against the British Hockey team at the London Folkstone festival, scoring 36 of India’s 72 goals in 10 matches.

    1928-Summer Olympics in Amsterdam

In 1928, the Indian Hockey Team participated in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this tornament, Chaand helped India gain a victory score 3-0, by scoring 2 goals.

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 Gold Medal of Amsterdam Olympics               Dhyanchand in action during the Amsterdam Festival

      Wizard of Hockey

Dhyan Chaand’s impeccable control over the ball was such that, people soon started having doubts as to whether he had hidden a magnet in his hockey stick. The ball always seemed to stick to his hockey stick when he was playing. Once, during Indian hockey team’s sojourn to Japan, the Tokyo hockey officials had a similar doubt. They broke open his stick to see whether there was a hidden magnet within. Such was his magic!

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Dhyan Chaand scoring a goal

    Playing with Walking Stick

In another amusing incident, a lady from the audience asked Chaand to play with her her walking stick. He was able to score goals even with that walking stick.

    1932 Olympics in USA

In this Olympics, the Indian hockey team defeated the United States 24-1. Dhyan Chaand scored 8 of these goals and made it a one sided contest.

    1933 The most memorable moment

Interestingly, the most memorable moment for Dhyan Chaand according to him was in a match in which he did not score a goal. This was the Beighton Cup final of 1933. The contest was between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes. In this closely fought match, Dhyan Chand provided a crucial pass for the only goal of the match won by Jhansi Heroes.

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Jhansi Team with the Beighton Cup

    1935 Tour of New Zealand and Australia

This was another memorable tour for Dhyan Chaand as he scored 201 of the total 584 goals by the Indian team in 43 matches. Needless to say, the Indian team crushed their opponents.

    Meeting Don Bradman

During this tour of Australia, Dhyan Chaand met Don Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer. After seeing Dhyan displaying his skills, Bradman paid his tributes to the Indian hockey magician remarking, “He scores goals just like we score runs in cricket.” That was the consistency and ease with which Dhyan Chaand scored goals.

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    Don Bradman                                                                 Dhyan Chaand

     1936 Olympics – Hitler impressed

Even the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler was impressed by Dhyan Chaand’s skills. In the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Dhyan Chaand led the Indian Hockey Team. In the first round of the final, Indians lead German 1-0. In the second round, the Indian team managed 6 consecutive goals.

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Dhyan Chaand displaying his magic during the Berlin Olympics

At this moment, the Germans resorted to body play, trying to win by foul means. Dhyan Chaand was injured as he broke one of his teeth. He however continued to play.

Hitler who was in the audience couldn’t see his team being crushed. He left midway.

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Adolph Hitler at Olympics, 1936

During the course of the match, the Germans sensed a foul play at the ease with which Dhyan Chaand was scoring, inspite of his breaking his teeth. He was ordered to change his stick. The magic however continued and Indians won the final 8-1.

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Dhayan Chand, the hero of Berlin Olympics

    An invitation to become German

The next day Hitler called Dhyan Chaand for a meeting. Hitler offered him German citizenship for his scintillating performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior position in the German military. Dhyan Chaand however refused saying, “India is my India”.

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                                                    Hitler                                                             Dhyan Chaand

    After World War

In the subsequent years from 1939, no matches could be played as the World War-2 was on. After the Word War, Dhyan Chaand continued to display his magic. He hit 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa.

Post Retirement

In 1948, Dhyan Chaand retired from the sport. The glory of Dhyan Chaand did not fade. Many statues were erected in his honour. The citizens of Austria erected his statue with four hand and four sticks, displaying his control over the ball.

The astro-turf hockey pitch at the Indian Gynkhana Club in London has been named after Dhyan Chand.

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The Dhyan Chaand astro turf hockey pitch, London

In his own country, a statue of his can be found near India Gate, Delhi. Many such statues in honour of Dhyan Chaand can be found all across the country

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  Dhyan Chaand Statue, India Gate     

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                                                Dhyan Chaand Statue, Jhansi         Dhyan Chaand Statue, Vishakapatnam

The Indian Government has issued a stamp in his honour in 1980.

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Stamp on Dhyan Chaand

Dhyan Chaand’s birthday is also observed as National Sports Day India. The Dhyan Chaand Award has been institued by the government in his memory.

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Dhyan Chaand Award

The Gentleman – Good husband

Inspite of his greatness, Dhyan Chaand was simple at heart. An incident with a fan shows his strong roots in Indian culture. In an exibition match that he played at Prague, a lady fan who was impressed at his game, came upto him and requested to allow her to kiss him. Dhyan Chaand politely refused saying, “I am a married man”.

Rush of Pakistani fans at Lahore station

Sometime after 1947, Dhyan Chaand was in Lahore railway station as part of the Indian on their way to Peshawar, to travel from thereon to take part in Joshan celebrations, Afghanistan. Hundreds of Pakistani fans rushed to have a glimpse of Dhyan Chaand. There was much rush at all stations as many trains arrived late by 4 hours at Peshawar.

A forgotten hero

It is sad that we have forgotten such a hero. A fitting way to remember and honour him would be confer Bharat Ratna on him. That will an apt tribute to this great sportsman.

Bhagavad Gita – Birth Date

Come November and it is time to celebrate the Gita. 22nd November as per the English calendar and Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day, i.e. the 11th   phase of the bright fortnight of the Margashira month as per the Indian calendar, is the day to commemorate the birth of the Gita.

Who or which Gita are we referring to here?

It is the Bhagavad Gita, which has been the literature of this civilization, this land and this nation since we can all remember.

It is the Gita which has been playing many roles in the lives of Indians, since the times of Krishna, who delivered it and left it behind to guide the people for long after His own lifetime.

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Gita Upadesha

Gita in Law

In the court one swears by the Gita. This practice has been going on for over 200 years. That makes it the nationally accepted book, both on a personal count and as well as being legally tenable. Not accepting the truth after swearing on the Gita, amounts to perjury.

All these were in practice, much before the words secularism and pseudo secularism came to vogue in India.

The Most Comprehensive Guide

The Bhagavad Gita answers one’s many queries, both from the Sthoola, bodily level and from the Sukshma, the subtle, ethereal level.

Upa means “near” and adesha means “instruction”. Upadesha is the instruction received by a disciple, sitting close to his master.

Krishna while delivering the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna says,

“I taught this to Vivasvan, who in turn passed it on to Vaivasvata Manu, from whom it was passed on to Ikshvaku, after which it was lost in the passage of time. As this knowledge is since lost, I, Krishna, son of Vasudeva am giving it you Arjuna, on this battlefield.”

The teaching of Krishna, was applicable not only to Arjuna and the situation that he was in, but is also applicable to each one of us today even after so many millennia. Through the medium of this dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, mankind, to this day, continues to enjoy and benefit from the most comprehensive guide to right living in this Universe.

This Bhagavad Gita discourse by Krishna shows Him in the light of one of the foremost spiritual teachers of mankind. His teachings through the Gita have remained a universal guide to mankind across many millennia, inspiring and leading many to walk the path of duty and righteousness.

Kurukshetra Battle and Bhagavad Gita

The uniqueness of Bhagavad Gita lies in the fact that it was given on a battle field, at the beginning of the battle between the Pandava and the Kaurava at Kurukshetra.

On the day of the war the armies are lined up, ready to fight, waiting for the signal to start the battle.

At this juncture, standing at the head of the Pandava Army, facing the war giants on the Kaurava side, Arjuna, the archer par excellence and the main warrior for the Pandava forces, is troubled by serious doubts.

He sees that in front of him, the opponents whom he has to engage in battle and kill, are his own Guru – Dronacharya, his Grand Sire – Bheeshma, his own cousins – the Kaurava and other known friends.

Arjuna then questions Krishna, his friend, cousin, confidante and mentor in life, now in the role of his charioteer, of the paradoxical need to shed blood of his near and dear ones, only to establish rights over a kingdom. He asks Krishna as to why he should fight for the kingdom, if all his near and dear were to perish in the same war?

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Kurukshetra battle to start

Krishna then takes on the role of a philosopher, a teacher and explains to Arjuna the meaning of life, this creation, this universe and man’s role in it. Krishna dwells exhaustively on the concept of the soul and its relation to the body, the concept of the body and its relation to the acts it performs, the concept of these acts and their relation to their results, the concept of these results and their relation back to the soul and finally the concept of the soul and its relation to the supreme consciousness of the cosmos.

Step by step, with an answer for every question asked by Arjuna, Krishna patiently leads Arjuna into a world of deep spiritual knowledge, where Arjuna sees Krishna’s cosmic form. Arjuna learns of the ways of operation of the cosmos and the cosmic consciousness, which would apply to himself and all the beings around him, irrespective of whether he decides to fight the battle or not and whether he kills his near and dear ones or not.

Krishna elevates Arjuna to the highest echelons of knowledge about the way of life in the Universe.

Arjuna was going through an exhilarating experience of God Himself explaining the nuances of the cosmic laws to him.

Date of Gita

The Bhagavad Gita Upadesha and the start of the battle, occur on the same day. Today, with the aid of the sky configurations described in the Mahabharatha text we can assign a date in the modern calendar to the date of the battle and hence a date for this “Song of the Divine”.

We have been able date the life of Krishna and the various events of the Mahabharata through our series, “Historical Krishna”.

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Tradition calls this day when Gita was born as Gita Jayanthi and to this day it is celebrated on Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi, meaning the 11th day in the bright fortnight of the month of Margashira.

On this day, there was a New Moon along with a Solar Eclipse, in Jyeshta star on October 14th, 3067 BCE, followed by a Full Moon on October 28th, 3067 BCE. This lunar cycle marked the lunar month of Karthika, since the full moon occurred near Karthik star.

The month that follows Karthika, is Margashira and the New Moon occurred around 12 Nov 3067 BCE. This makes Nov 22nd, 3067 BCE, which was the start of the battle and the day of Gita, a Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day, the 11th  phase of the bright fortnight of Margashira.

The tradition of celebrating Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day as Gita Jayanthi matches what the skies showed 5100 years ago.

This means that the year 2016 is the 5083rd year since the Upadesha of Gita.

A Revelation of God Himself

The Bhagavad Gita was revealed to mankind by God Himself. The word Bhagavad means ‘God, the Lord’ and Gita means ‘Song’. The word ‘Bhagavad Gita’ thus literally translates to, ‘Song of God’.

Krishna reveals his Viswaroopa, the Cosmic Form to Arjuna, showing that He is the Supreme Lord of Creation, incarnated in a human form to add credibility to His Gita.

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Vishvaroopa Darshana

This revelation of God, the Gita Upadesha was witnessed by Arjuna, Sanjaya the commentator, Vyasa the compiler and a host of other fortunate ones.

Arjuna’s grandfather, Krishna Dwaipayana, whom we reverentially call as Veda Vyasa, for he also compiled the Veda, recorded the Gita Upadesa for posterity.

The Difference

There have been many occasions in many lands, many civilizations, where God has conveyed His message to mankind, through His Son or through a messenger, a Prophet.

Similarly, there have been other times when God has thought it fit to pass on knowledge through different noble and wise persons.

In that sense, this land, the civilisation and nation of India, has experienced a difference, for, it has had the privilege to have an Avatar, an incarnation of God Himself, giving His message to mankind in person. And this was in the form of His song, the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavad Gita not a religious text

Bhagavad Gita deals with life, duties, actions, mind, soul, purpose of life and the belief in the divine God. All these aspects are common to human life, civilizations and all religions. From this perspective, Bhagavad Gita is a manual of all these above points and not to be limitedly construed as a religious text, even though it has come down from the mouth of God. The dialogue between the two, Krishna and Arjuna, was more about the purpose of life and actions than a religious discourse.

Gita therefore, should verily and proudly be accorded the status of a knowledge asset, a literary treasure, a godsend counsel for realization of the self, whether one is a citizen of India or the world.

What is Shit?

Shit-A Serious Matter

What is Shit? How did this word come about? Are you amused by these questions? Then, probably you didn’t know the history of this word. The humour here is indeed a serious matter.

Malam, Malinita

The Indian word for Shit is “Malam”, meaning ‘filth, dirt’ which is removed, not only for humans, but for all animals. Malam, Malinita also means to ‘steam up, heat up’, meaning that which had the capacity to blow up.

Shipping Manure

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the commercial fertilizers had not yet come to be. Large shipments of manure were order of the day. In this period, ship was a major means of transport.

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Ship

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Manure

The disaster

Manure was always dried before shipping, for, in dry state, it weighed less than in wet.

Once, a disaster was encountered, when the sea water touched the manure bundles in a ship. The process of fermentation began again, the byproduct being the highly combustible Methane Gas.

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Manure Produces the Highly inflammable Methane

The manure bundles were stored below the decks. The unimaginable happened. Methane began to build underneath the docks. Very soon, a loud ‘Boom’ was heard.

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Before one could come to terms with the inevitable, the whole ship was on fire and destroyed.

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Methane gas led to fire

Many ships were destroyed in this manner, before it was actually understood, what was happening.

Shit and then Ship

After discovering the peril these manure ships faced, these bundles were always stamped with the instruction, ‘Stow High In Transit’ – S.H.I.T, meaning, ‘load the manure bundles high enough from lower decks while loading’, so that, sea waters do not reach the Methane generating Cargo.Thus evolved the term Shit, ‘Stow High In Transit’. This term has remained to this day.

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On a humorous note, “Cargo loaders had to ‘Shit’ manure for safety reasons.”

The word ‘Shit’ soon came to be used as a derogatory word for ‘irritation”, for the number of ships that it had blow up.

Demonetization

Landmark Move

The move by the Government to demonetize 500 Rs. and 1000 Rs. notes has shook the whole country, and especially the world of those running a parallel economy. This is a landmark step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards curbing black money. For long now, black money has been a part of a wave of plunder this country has been facing since independence.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the demonetizing of 500 and 1000 Rs notes

Image result for india's 500 rupee note

Image result for india's 1000 rupee note

In our book, You Turn India, we speak about the three waves of plunder this country has seen. India has been plundered many a times over, in the last 1000 years.

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Three Waves of Plunder

The plunders of India, can be slotted into 3 waves of looting:

  1. Near West Onslaughts – The onslaughts from the Near West such as that of Mohamad of Ghauri, Mohamad of Ghazni, around 1000 CE and that by Nadir Shah around 1700 CE.
  2. The Colonial Plunder – The drain of Indian wealth, primarily by the East India Company of the British between 1600 CE to 1947 CE.
  3. The Home-Grown Plunder – The looting of Indian money by Indians themselves from 1950 CE till date.

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Three Waves of Plunder

Third Wave

This 3rd wave, started soon after India’s Independence and continues to deplete the country.

While the previous 2 waves stopped with the ousting of the invaders, this 3rd wave, being the handiwork of Indians themselves, has the potential to go on ceaselessly, taking the whole nation downhill, if left unchecked.

The monies of the 3rd wave of plunder are equally large or probably even larger and more importantly, can be quantified, identified, repatriated and specifically channelized for the rejuvenation of the country as a whole.

While the previous 2 waves of plunder are large, done and the wealth forever lost, in stark contrast, we shall see how the monies of the 3rd  wave of plunder are equally large or probably even larger and more importantly, can be quantified, identified, repatriated and specifically channelized for the rejuvenation of the country as a whole.

Our book You Turn India speaks in detail about the ways to curb this wave of plunder, and in bringing back the hoarded black money to the mainstream economy.

At a national level, many governments have brought in respective schemes during their times, to enable the recovery of black money circulating at the national level, using voluntary disclosure schemes. These haven’t been very successful for long.

The 4 Prong Approach-An age old Indian ethos

It is here we speak of the 4 prong approach in You Turn India.

The age old Indian ethos speaks of a 4 step approach to correct anyone –

Sama – balanced education,

Dhana – incentivizing good behaviour,

Bhedha – discrimination to kindle the conscience,

Dhanda – punishing to evoke conformance.

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Now that the above three steps have failed, the government has had to adopt the 4th one, Dhanda. The stick, Dhanda approach, is always the last, after all other methods have been tried out and when applied in this order, it has not failed. It has been a time tested approach with relation to human nature.

Carrot and Stick Approach

The present step of the government is not all about Dhanda though. It is a Carrot and Stick approach. In an effort to entice the evader to bring back his monies stashed away in the Tax Havens and not lose it completely, India needs to give an economic amnesty to the people who disclose and bring back these monies in large quantities, which the present dispensation has done.

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All in all, this is a great decision, and should be welcomed by all, even though it has led to a few inconveniences. If we can work towards creating an inflow of this currency, back into the economy and work to direct it to revive the flow of waters once again in all parts of our land, in a sustainable manner for growth and development, then, the coming generations can look to a future with all round prosperity.

Five years on, since book You Turn India was published, events are happening in the same sequence as we had highlighted.

The people of this country will now have to act decisively and in unison, within themselves and with the government. It is time that we see things as a whole and make a collective decision on how to ensure the sustenance of oneself, one’s people and one’s land for posterity.

November – Time to Celebrate Children

Seeing God as a Child

One can see an expression of the Indian love for children in the manner in which they have idolized even their gods in the form of a child.

We thus see portrayals of Shiva as Bala Shiva, Rama as Bala Rama, Krishna as Bala Krishna, Ganesha as Bala Ganapathy, Karthikeya as Bala Muruga and Hanuman as Bala Hanuman.

                     

              Bala Ganapathy                                          Bala Rama                                                  

Bala Muruga

                                                                 Bala Krishna

    Bala Shiva

Godly Children

Indian legends, the Purana are replete with enjoyable stories of the acts of various divinities in their child like form, some among these divinities being Tattva, cosmic principles and some others being historic personages.

The history epic, Valmiki’s Ramayana contains portrayals of Lord Rama and His brothers as ideal children. Through the behavior and life of these historic and ideal children, the Ramayana conveys the message of obligations of brotherhood, obedience to parents and obeisance to teachers. It celebrates childhood as the budding point for all qualities displayed in later adulthood.

The other history epic, Vyasa’s Mahabharata, through the lives of the five Pandava and the 100 Kaurava brothers, brings to focus competitive spirit amongst children. It showcases how impressions both positive and negative, formed during childhood can assume far greater proportions and cause great impacts to society in years to follow. It alerts us of the propensity of children to retain impressions and emotions well into their lives.

Purana dealing with tattva divinities such as Ganesha, Kartikeya have portrayed them symbolically in child like forms and through symbolic stories of symbolic acts of these divinities, have conveyed principles of the cosmos, of mankind, of mind, of intellect and of ego to help elevate man’s thinking and behavior.

Yet other Purana have immortalized some of the children of long bygone eras, in the saga of the land for generations that have followed in the last many millennia. The story of the boy Sravana’s devotion to his parents, the story of Markandeya’s unshakeable faith in the divinity Shiva, even in the face of death are known to most, through the land, even in this day.

The Purana legends have also showcased scientific possibilities involving children and their upbringing. We thus have legends showcasing the ability of the foetus to grasp happenings and sounds outside the womb. The story of Prahalada showcases how he imbibed devotion towards Narayana while in his mother’s womb and carried it forth as a little boy. The story of Ashtavakra again highlights how Ashtavakra imbibed the Upanishad while in his mother’s womb and used it later to help his father in times of need. Yet again, the story of Abhimanyu reiterates how a child starts gaining knowledge right from the time it is in the womb of its mother.

The legend of Dhruva symbolically narrates the scientific phenomenon of precession of the earth and its effect on the pole star seen in the skies. It is a beautiful way in which the principles of astronomy have been woven into a simple legend.

Srimad Bhagavatham contains many anecdotes on the pranks played by Lord Krishna, His brother Balarama and their gang of friends, Gopa and Gopi. This text highlights the qualities of innocence as well as impishness in children. It celebrates children for the adorable and affable beings that they are.

Seeing God in a Child

Children by nature are mischievous. To be mischievous is an innate quality of children.

Krishna’s precocious pranks are part of the rich folklore of this land.

                                              

                                                          Krishna’s pranks

Krishna, His pranks and His lovable, playful ways, set the trend for how people regarded children, in the land of India across millennia.

This land, by culture, for the last 5,100 years since the times of Krishna, has viewed children as a replica of Krishna and has relished their pranks as they would Krishna’s. The mischief of children has rarely been associated with punishment and reprimanding. It has instead been eulogized and happily expressed as an imitation of Krishna.

Given this ethos, when elders admonish their children for their harmless pranks, it is not stern and wrathful. It has in it an admiration for their innocence and a tolerance with an understanding that by nature, children are given to their ways of pranks.

A culture that gives space for children to grow up with their mischief also automatically gives them the space to grow out of their mischief as a part of the transition from childhood to adolescence.

Holding Children in High Esteem

It is no wonder that various political, religious as well as social leaders have focused specially on the children in the society. They have not only showered affection on them, but they have also invested time and effort in grooming the children in society, in morals, ethics and values. We thus have in many languages, simple couplets composed specially for inculcating good conduct and values in children. These couplets served as the nursery rhymes in this civilization much before the British replaced them with theirs.

Children’s day celebrations are a facet of the high esteem in which this civilization holds the development of its children.  Classic examples of this commitment, even till a couple of centuries ago, can be seen from the quote of Brigadier General Alexander Walker of East India Company from 1780 to 1810.

Dedicating November 14th, the birth anniversary of prominent leader Jawaharlal Nehru, who was close to children, as Children’s Day, is a representative gesture of the high esteem in which children have been held through the ages.

 Nehru with children

It is a day for us to recognize the value of children, the values in children and the values that have to be taken to the children for the development of a valued society.

It is a day to rededicate ourselves to the cause and joys of children.

Chhath Puja

A Festival to Thank the Sun

Chhath Puja is a popular ‘Sun Worship’ festival in and around Bihar. It is a festival to thank the Sun for the life and warmth it has bestowed on us. The antiquity of the festival can be traced to the Mahabharata period.

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Chhath Puja

 Chhath, Etymology

The word “Chhath” comes from the Samskrt word “Shashti”, meaning “six”, for this festival is observed on the 6th day of the ascending phase of the moon, Shukla Paksha of the Karthika month.

Karna observed Chhath Puja

The tragic hero of Mahabharata, Karna who is Surya Putra, worshipped the Divinity Sun on this day. His kingdom in the Mahabharata period is in the region of Bhagalpur, Bihar. The Biharis have a close affinity to this festival.

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Karna

Draupadi observed Chhath Puja

Draupadi, the queen of the Pandavas is also recorded to have observed this Sun worship.

Observed in North India

Since then for over 5100 years, this festival has had resonance in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and adjoining parts.

In the sequence of the Kaumudi festival of Deepavali period, the Chhath festival has its role of importance as other regional festivals.

Skanda Shasti – Soora Samharam

Soora Samharam is the day when Lord Skanda defeated Taraka Asura. Skanda refers to Lord Skanda. Shasti is the 6th day or tithi of a Paksha, the fourteen day phase of the moon.

The vanquishing of Taraka Asura by Skanda is commemorated on a Shasti day and hence is also called Skanda Shasti. In other words, Skanda Sashti that falls in Karthika Month is specially known as Soora Samharam.

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Lord Skanda Killing Taraka Asura

Skanda, meaning

The word Skanda in Samskrt means ‘Spill Over’. As per the Purana, the spilled over energy of Shiva was taken in possession by the deva and which took the form of Skanda, the vanquisher of Taraka Asura.

The Legend

In our Purana, Taraka Asura had secured a vara, boon from Brahma that he should meet his end only at the hands of a son of Shiva. This was a clever boon in the backdrop as Lord Shiva was an unmarried mendicant then, engrossed in meditation. The Asura soon started wrecking havoc all over the world, causing trouble to all. Lord Shiva is persuaded to wed Parvathi, the daughter of the King Himalaya. Skanda is born. He goes on to vanquish Taraka Asura with His Vel, a spear and relieve the Deva and the whole earth from his burden.

Vel – Removal of ignorance

The implement of Skanda is a spear, also called Vel in Tamil language. This spear is not just a war weapon. This Vel is used to remove the veil of ignorance.

Taraka, Cross Over

The word Taraka means to cross over. By overcoming Taraka, we cross over from ignorance to knowledge. Skanda Shasti is venerated as the day Skanda helped us to crossover from ignorance to Knowledge.

Commander of Deva

In a multifacet personality that He is in the Puranic lore, apart from being a Guru who removes ignorance, Skanda was also the commander-in-chief of the Deva, protecting them always from the Asura.

Skanda Purana

The largest Purana, the Skanda Purna is dedicated to the exploits of Lord Skanda.

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Kaumara Mata

Among the Shadmatas, the 6 religions of India, the Kaumara Mata is dedicated to Lord Skanda.

6 Primary Temples

There are 6 primary temples of Murugan in Tamil Nadu.

  1. Tirupparamkunram
  2. Tiruchendur
  3. Swamimalai
  4. Palani
  5. Thiruthani
  6. Pazhamudircholai

In Other Countries

There are temples of Skanda in other countries as well.

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Murgan Batu Temple, Malaysia

Events on this day

Every year, people across the world, especially in South India, commemorate the victory of Lord Skanda over Taraka Asura on Skanda Shasti by organizing many events in honour of their Lord. The devotees of Lord Skanda enact many plays on the exploits of their Lord. Various hymns in praise of Lord Skanda are recited and hundreds of people join feasts organized by the temples.

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Crowd at Skanda Shasti celebrations in Tiruchendur Temple, Tamil Nadu