International Tiger Day

Tiger day

Dwindling numbers

The number of tigers are dwindling each year. According to the guesstimates of experts, in 1913, the world had 100,000 tigers. Hundred years later, i.e in 2013, the number came down to an alarmingly 3,274.

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Uncertain Future

International Tiger Day

Realizing that tigers were soon becoming extinct, the International Tiger’s Day was instituted in the year 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger summit with the goal of raising awareness on protecting tigers and their habitats.

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Many programs, including seminars are held in this regard, across the world.

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Need to protect Tiger and its habitat

Role of Tigers

The tigers play an important role in the health and diversity of the ecosystem by keeping in the numbers of wild ungulates in check, maintaining the ratio of the herbivorus and the vegetation that they feed on.

The Famous Poem

Tigers have been popular across the world and they have even found place in poetic imaginations. There is a famous poem on tiger by William Blake, ‘The Tyger’.

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Image: Courtesy Wikipedia

India’s National Animal

Tiger is the national animal of India. Tigers have been admired in this land since many centuries for its royal grace and majesty. This royal animal is also worshipped as the vahana of Divinity Durga.

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Goddess Durga on a tiger

Lord Ayyappa is also depicted as riding a tiger.

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Lord Ayyappa riding a tiger

Indian names

In India, tiger is called by many names such as Bagh, Puli, Venghai, Dvipin, Guhasaya, Panchanakha, Hinsaru and Shardula among others.

Names of Tigers and their meaning

Name Meaning
Dvipin Dvip meaning Island, Dvipin-One with spots like island
guhasaya Guha meaning hidden, cave, Guhasaya-One who stays hidden in caves
Panchanakha Pancha meaning five, Nakha, claws, Panchanakha – Five clawed
Hinsaru Hinsa meaning violence, Himsaru-Violent animal
Shardula Shardula meaning swordlike

Tigers in India

India is a home to more than two thirds of world’s tigers with 8 native species.

The royal Bengal tiger is found all over the country. Some of the rare species like white tigers can be found in the Girnar forest, Gujarat. Tigers of Sundarbans are the largest.

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 The Royal Bengal Tigers

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The Sundarbans Tiger

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A rare species of tiger “sumatran tiger” at Nehru Zoological Park, Hydrabad

In Popular stories

Tigers came into popular stories like Jungle Book and Jataka tales.

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Tiger in Jungle book

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A Jataka Tale Story

Tigers being killed

Tiger always symbolized India’s wild life prosperity. Unfortunately tigers were being killed everyday for sport and also for their teeth, fur and body parts for commercial purposes. The habitats of tigers have also being taken over and destroyed in the name of development.

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Poaching still prevalent

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A tiger rescued by forest officials from poachers at Madhya Pradesh Tiger Reserve

 Save Tigers = Save all

The saving of tigers also means saving of deers and other animals that tigers eat.

But in order to save these animals we need to save the trees, the plants and the grass these animals feed on.  In other words, we need to to save the forests.

Thus saving tigers includes saving the entire forest environment, all flora and fauna, as tigers rests right on top of the food chain.

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Tiger Food Web

Urgent need to save tigers

If urgent steps are not taken to save tigers now, then they may well become extinct in the coming years. This will affect the whole food chain, as also humans. Man should desist from interfering with tigers and their habitat as only this will augur well for his own survival in the coming years.

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Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola coronation day

Rajendra Chola 1 is counted among the great emperors of India, belonging to the Tamil Chola Empire. His empire extant was the whole rim of Bay of Bengal, from Maldives to Sri Lanka to Malaysia to Indonesia.

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South East Asia regions conquered by the Chola

Chola conquered 4 directions

India never invaded?

We have often heard that India has not invaded any country in the last 1000 years. This statement is not wholly true because the kings, Rajendra Chola and his father Raja Raja Chola of the Chola Empire, with its capital in Thanjavur in present day Tamil Nadu, who reigned between 950 CE and 1050 CE, had large naval fleets and conquered South East Asia such as Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives Malaysia and Indonesia.

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A painting depicting the Chola Navy of Rajendra Chola-I raid on the Kedah (Today’s part of Malaysia)

Rajendra Chola I took over the reign from his father on July 28th 1014 CE.

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Rajendra Chola and Raja Raja Chola

Chola Conquests

Conquering Sri Lanka

In 1017 CE, the king captured the whole of Sri Lanka, of which his father, Raja Chola was able to conquer only the northern half. He realized his father’s dream of gaining complete control over Sri Lanka.

Victory over Pandyas and Cheras

In 1018 CE, King Rajendra marched to Pandya and Chera regions and fighting a fierce battle, defeated their kings.

Defeating Chaulakyas

In 1021 CE, Rajendra Chola planned to conquer the Chaulakya territory. At that time, Jayasimha was the ruler of the Chaulakya territory and was going strong. However such was the prowess of Rajendra that, he was able to defeat Jayasimha in a battle, now called the battle of Maski.

Gangaikonda Cholan

Rajendra Chola then conquered regions around Ganga, from Palas of Bengal. He brought waters of Ganga in ceremonial procession and for this feat, he renamed his capital as Gangaikonda. He was conferred the title Gangaikonda Cholan, meaning, “one who brought the waters of Ganga”.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram

The city that Rajendra Chola built was named Gangaikonda Cholapuram, meaning “the city of him who conquered the kings in the Ganga region.” This city became the capital of the Chola Empire.

Today this place is listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is famous for a Shiva temple that goes by the same name – Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple.

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Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple

Oveseas Conquests

Rajendra Chola was among the first Indian kings to conquer territories outside India. His conquests included areas of present day Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Andamans, Lakshadweep and Cambodia.

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A Thai painting shows Chola soldiers invading Kedah( Malaysia) and using fire throwers against those Siamese defending themselves inside fort

In all these Conquests, Krishnan Raman served as the Commander in Chief of the Chola forces, under Rajendra Chola.

Feared by Mohammed of Gazni

Mohammed of Gazni while raiding the north west of India, dared not to cross into the Chola kingdom, fearing its might.

Closing years

The closing years of Rajendra’s reign from 1040CE to 1044CE was a golden period for the Cholas. The Chola Kingdom had extended far and wide. The naval provess of the Cholas was at its peak. King Rajendra passed on all the powers to his sons and others in the family who ruled on his behalf.

He soon passed on the mantle to his son Rajendra Chola II.

Temples and Lakes: His legacy

King Rajendra Chola is said to have built a number of temples during his 30 year reign. He built the Dharasuram temple replicating the Tanjavore temple built by his father.

Spreading Culture

The invasion of the overseas islands by Rajendra Chola was in keeping with the civilized norms of those days and did not involve destruction or plunder as is evidenced from the records of those islands. These conquests actually led to opening the doors for the spread of Indian culture, ideas and ethos to the whole of South East Asia.

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Kargil Vijay Divas

Kargil Vijay Diwas

Kargil Divas

Kargil Vijay Divas is observed, the day when Indian soldiers overcame the Pakistani insurgents and successfully regained control over the high posts in Kargil and Drass sector, earlier lost to Pakistani intruders.

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Kargil on Map

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Kargil

In honour of Kargil heroes

527 Indian soldiers were martyred, and around 1088 soldiers were wounded in this Kargil War. Kargil Vijay Divas was instituted to honour these Kargil war heroes. Every year, citizens of the nation, pay homage to the Kargil heroes at Amar Jawan Jyoti at Indian Gate, Delhi and at Kargil hills, in Kashmir valley.

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Kargil Hills Memorial

Many programmes are held all over India to remember the sacrifices made by the Indian Army then. Shaurya, valour awards were given to these soldiers and officers.

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Amar Jawan Jyoti

Pakistani soldiers indisguise

In the year 1999, Pakistani Armed Forces were training and sending soldiers, disguised as jihadi militants, into the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC).

To delink Ladakh & Kashmir

This infiltration which they called “Operation Badr” was intended to break the link between Ladakh and Kashmir by forcing the Indian soldiers to retreat from the Siachen Glacier. The goal was to force a negotiated solution from India.

Indian Soldiers caught unawares

Initially, the Indian soldiers were not aware of the nature of this infiltration. The Indian forces thought that this infiltration was by jihadis and resolved to eliminate them.

Another infiltration

In the next few days, another infiltration was observed along another part of LOC. The nature of this infiltration was very much different from the previous one which made the Indian Army to seriously study these infiltrations.

Discovering the nature of attack

On further analysis, the Indian forces realized that the enemy’s plan was much bigger and that Pakistani soldiers in disguise, had infact captured around 200 kms of Indian Territory.

‘Operation Vijay’

The Indian Government soon launched the Operation Vijay with 2 lakh Indian soldiers. The Battle which began on May 27th, lasted for 62 days and ended on July 26th.

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Indian Soldiers attacking the intruders

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Indian Soldiers in action during Kargil

India stood steadfast

India stood steadfast all through the war, whereas the Pakistani Prime Minister went to US on July 4th to meet the then President Clinton and then to China, to seek help. Incidentally, July 4th was American Independence Day.

Whereas, India did not go soliciting for help, to maintain its territorial integrity.

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Nawaz Sharif with Bill Clinton seeking help

The Success

The Indian soldiers were successful in pushing back the Pakistani intruders beyond the Line of Control and regaining the lost territory. It is to be noted that it was India’s conscious decision not to escalate the war beyond the Kargil and Drass sectors.

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Indian soldiers hoisting Indian flag after regaining Kargil

Many Films

The victory lifted the morale of every Indian. The sentiment in India was so high, that, a number of films were made on this war. LOC Kargil was one of the first films. Shot in Ladakh, this film gives a detailed account of Operation Vijay. The Film Dhoop was released in 2003 with the Kargil war as a backdrop. Another film Lakshya was released, a fictional story based on the Kargil war.

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LOC Kargil

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Dhoop

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Lakshya

Not to forget

This year, the 18th anniversary of the Kargil victory is being observed. The war might be over, but we should not forget those who sacrificed their lives in the battle. It is not enough we if just recall the sacrifices of those who gave up their ‘today’ for our ‘tomorrow’. It is time we ensure that, they get their injury benefits without any delay, which has sadly been delayed for the last many years on petty grounds.

Make it a Policy

It should also be made a policy that the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, along with ministers visit the Kargil Hills Memorial, every year, to pay homage to our Kargil martyrs who then saved Kashmir for us by giving up their lives.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian Freedom fighter who played a pivotal role in the freedom struggle.

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak

On this day, two other freedom fighters Chandra Shekhar Azad and Subramaniya Siva, also have their birthdays.

Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar Azad, born on 23rd July, 1906  was an Indian freedom fighter, who reorganized the Hindustan Republican Association with the name Hindustan Socialist Republican Army.

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Subramaniya Siva
Subramaniya Siva

Subramaniya Siva was a contemporary and co-fighter, with Subramaniya Bharati, the poet cum freedom fighter and V O Chidambaram Pillai who started Swadeshi Shipping Company. He was a writer cum activist.

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Subramaniya Siva

 More on these freedom fighters in our book, Brand Bharat.

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“Lal Pal Bal”

The Trio of “Lal Pal Bal” were forerunners of the freedom struggle much before the times of Mahatma Gandhi. Lal was Lala Lajpat Rai from Punjab, Bal was Bala Gangadhar Tilak from Marartha, and Pal was Bipin Chandra Pal from Bengal. They came from different corners of India and asked for Swaraj in united voice.

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Lal Bal Pal

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Tilak’s Birth and Education

Tilak was born on 23rd July 1856 at Ratnagiri village of Maharashtra. His father was a Samskrt teacher.

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Birth Place of Tilak

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A first cover of Tilak’s Birth Centenary issued in 1956

Tilak was among the first generation of Indians who secured a graduation.

Marriage

In 1871, Tilak married Satyabhamabhai. He began teaching mathematics at a private school.

Selfless Service

According to Tilak, spirituality was not divorced from worldly life. He got his inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita, which he believed taught selfless service to humanity.

He said, “I regard India as my Motherland and my Goddess, the people in India my kith and kin, and loyal and steadfast work for their political and social emancipation my highest religion and duty.”

Later he went on to write a commentary on the work called the Bhagavad Gita Rahasya.

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Deccan Education Society

Making social service the goal of his life, Tilak founded the ‘Deccan Education Society’ along with his college friends in Pune, with the aim of improving the quality of education in India.

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Deccan Education Society, Pune

Joing INC

Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890 and became a part of the Freedom struggle. His main aim was to unite the people against British. He worked with Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the Home Rule Movement.

Lokamanya’

He was soon conferred the title of ‘Lokamanya’, Loka meaning, ‘world’ and Manya, ‘acceptance’, as he was accepted by all sections of the society as their leader.

Father of the Indian unrest movement

He was called the ‘Father of Indian unrest movement’ by the British for his successful attempts in uprising the masses towards freedom.

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‘Bal Pal Lal’

Along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, two other freedom fighters, Bal Gangadhar Tilak became a part of the trio who were collectively nicknamed, ‘Bal Pal Lal.’

Celebrating Ganesha Utsav

In 1894, Tilak called for celebrating the domestic Ganesha festival as public event. His intention again was to unite people through the fervour of the festival.

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Tilak started Ganesha Utsav

Swaraj is my birth right’

In 1897, Tilak raised the clarion call,

“Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it.”

This slogan is ingrained in the Indian consciousness even to this day. A stamp has been released by the Government to this effect.

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Swaraj Stamp

Tilak’s call intensified the yearning for Swaraj from the British, in every common man’s mind as well as collectively in the entire population of the land. It became a turning point of our Freedom movement.

 In 1905, following the partition of Bengal, He encouraged the Swadeshi and Boycott movements.

As a journalist

At this moment, he also began his journalistic career by founding the Kesari newspaper. Tilak opposed many policies of British by publishing strong worded articles in his paper. Kesari became the voice of the freedom fighters.

Kesari newspaper

Authoring Books

Tilak was sent to jail for carrying out anti-British activities. Here, he spent his time in writing the commentary on Bhagavad Gita. He also authored a book called “Orion, or the antiquity of the Vedas”, which is a research on the antiquities of the Veda.

In this book, which he wrote in his prison cell, he writes about the knowledge in the Veda about the galaxy, the galactic arm, the position of our sun in the galactic arm, the constellation of Mrigashirsha in this arm. Through these he tries to fix probable dates when this knowledge could have been composed on earth in the form of Veda.

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Gandhi’s Guru

All in all, Tilak paved the way for Mahatma Gandhi, as the momentum of his activities helped Gandhi to start his non-cooperation movement. In this regard, Gandhi considered Tilak his Guru.

Tilak passed away on August 1st, 1920 in Mumbai. A true devotee of Bharath in true sense of the word.

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Last words of Lokmanya Tilak on verdict of Jury in 1908, is on plaque outside Central court of Bombay High Court

Funeral procession of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak

 

National Broadcasting Day

National Broadcasting Day is observed in India on 23rd July. It was on this day in 1927, the Indian Broadcasting Company started its Radio Broadcasting from Bombay. This was the first organized broadcasting in India, inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Irvin in Bombay.

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Akashvani

In the month of September of 1935, broadcasting began in the state of Mysore with the name Akashvani. This broadcasting was carried out by Dr. Gopalaswamy, a Professor of Psychology at Mysore University, with a 30 Watt transmitter from his home.

The Delhi station was inaugurated on 1st January, 1936, from its studios at Alipur Road.

AIR

The name All India Radio (AIR) was adopted by the Indian Broadcasting Company on June 08, 1936, and from then on the name has stuck.

Today, AIR is India’s National Broadcaster, being its premiere National Public Broadcaster. It is among the largest broadcasting companies in the world, with programming in 23 languages and 146 dialects. AIR’s home service comprises of 420 stations, which are spread all across the country, covering nearly 92% of the country’s area and 99.19 % of the total population.

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AIR logo – Akashvani

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AIR Broadcasting House

We all are familiar with AIR caller tune that has been heard by millions from the time it was composed in 1936. It was composed by Walter Kaufmann, a Jew refugee, who found a haven in India, from the Nazis.

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Walter Kaufmann (middle)

So, what exactly is Broadcasting?

Broadcasting, Unicasting and Multicasting

Broadcasting

As per the simple definition, Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video, to audience at varied locations through electronic mass communication. Radio and television are examples of Broadcasting. In short, it is One to All transmission.

Audio, Visual, Audio-Visual

Broadcasting content may be,

  1. Audio
  2. Visual
  3. Audio – Visual
Unicasting

This is in contrast to Unicasting, where the transmission is One to One, as in the case of telephone and telegraph. It is a One to One transmission

Multicasting

In this tech savvy age, Multicasting has become popular with the computers and internet, where by One to Many communication is possible, simultaneously, over a network.  In other words, it consists of One to Many, and Many to Many transmissions.

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Dakshinamurthy and Broadcasting

In the traditional ritual parlance, Shiva is considered a great teacher and this is famously symbolized by the Dakshinamurthy form.

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Dakshinamurthy

Dakshin means the southern direction. Dakshinamurthy is the form of Shiva, as a knowledge giver, one who gives the knowledge of the ultimate Truth, cosmos and Creation, that can help man overcome the cycle of birth and death.

Dakshinamurthy is depicted as a young knowledge giver with 4 Rishi at His feet imbibing this knowledge. While Dakshinamurthy is depicted as a young man, the 4 Rishi, who receive the knowledge from Him are older in age. The 4 Rishi ask their questions in silence and receive their answers in the same mode, i.e. in silence.

This brings forth to us that subtle knowledge cannot be expressed in words, but is imparted to the knowledge seeker in subtler meditative forms.

This legend of Dakshinamurthy highlights this subtle form of Broadcasting, Multicasting, in ancient times.

Similarly, there are many instances of Rishi, Sadhu, communicating their message and noble thought to multiple people, at once through silence.

More on Dakshinamurthy and His form of communication in our book and film, “Understanding Shiva”.

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Suta Romaharshana

Suta Romaharshana spoke 18 Purana from Naimisha Aranya forest, to 88000 Rishi assembled there, by banks of Gomti river.

How was it then possible, without a public address system to broadcast to an assemblage of  88000 Rishi, sitting over a large assemblage, who hearing the Purana, recording it and taking it to their native places, shared this knowledge with the local populace?

This would have been through siddhi and strength of mantrashabdh, for however loud the voice of Suta might have been, to reach out to such large gathering requires a medium beyond the presently known mediums of modern science.

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Suta Romaharshana broadcasting to the Rishi

Next Big Challenge

Unravelling this aspect of subtle broadcasting would be the next big challenge, before science. On this National Broadcasting Day, let us explore this form of passing information, so that our scope of communication is broadened even further.

Alexander Kadakin

Alexander Kadakin was the Russian ambassador to India, between 1999 and 2004, and between 2009 until 2017, when he left his mortal coil. He was the longest serving Russian ambassador to India.

Kadakin was a great admirer of the Indian culture, cuisine, and its great and continuous history. He was fluent in Hindi, and was much appreciated for his knowledge about Indian society, and ethos. He had a keen interest in Indian films and had many books from India, including Panchatantra, Hitopadesha and Jungle book, as his childhood passion.

It will be apt here to quote his own words, on his passion for India.

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Alexander Kadakin

“The other day, in Darjeeling, an idea struck my mind that the discovery of India is like scaling a Himalayan summit. The higher one ascends, the more the horizon broadens, and only at the top the breath-taking panorama unfolds in a short-lived drama of the morning. India has entered my life as a second homeland. It has become my Karma Bhumi, because I worked here for so many years, my Gyana Bhumi, because I have learnt a lot form here, my Tapa Bhumi (especially in the hot season), but most importantly – my Prema and Maitri Bhumi, because I have given a half of my heart to India and because me personally   and the new Russia, which I have the honour to represent as Ambassador for the second time, have millions of good friends here.”

Kadakin plays on the word Tapa Bhumi, which he uses as a pun, to indicate the hot nature of climate in the Indian sub-continent. Tapa, which means penance, also means heat. This in short shows how well he understood the country and also its language-Hindi.

Kadakin was known by his pet name Shasha, among his admirers in India. Shasha is a name of the Moon divinity, Chandra Deva, in India.

So, while his pun on Tapa refers to the heat of the sun, his pet name indicates the coolness of the moon.

Kadakin first arrived in India on the “rainy day” of August 9th 1971, as he himself describes, when his country and India signed a landmark agreement of Indo-Russia friendship and cooperation treaty. This was the treaty was useful during the Bangladesh Liberation war of 1971.

He was also in India as the Deputy Chief of the Mission, in 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up.

Later on he served as ambassador of Russian Federation to India in 1999, and served two terms.

His association with India started in 1971 and went on till 2017. A 46 years long friendship.

Kadakin passed away in New Delhi on 26th January, 2017, on the occasion of India’s Republic Day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had then described him as a “glorious son of Russia, and a great friend of India.

A friend he was, as played a key role in furthering the Indo-Russia diplomatic relations.  He was posthumously awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2018, the third highest civilian award in India.

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Padma Bhushan

The Chanakyapuri road in Delhi has been named after him, in appreciation of Kadakin, who regarded India as his Karma Bhumi and Prema Bhumi.

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A true Indophile indeed!

National Flag Adoption Day

National Flag Adoption Day is celebrated every year on 22nd July, the day when the flag in its present form was official accepted by the Constituent Assembly in 1947, as the Indian National Flag.

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Indian National Flag

The word flag in English means something that flaps in air. This word has its origin from the German word, Flagge, and dates back to the days of Tutons.

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Some Vexillologists are of the opinion that China is originally the birthplace of the flags, and the first mention of it is dated to 1122 BCE.

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In Ramayana

India has had a long history of flags. In ancient India, each kingdom had its own flag, own identity.

In Samskrt, a flag is known as Dvaja.

In the Ramayana, we have Surya Vamsa Dvaja, of Rama’s dynasty, dating to 5100 BCE.

In the Ayodhya Khanda – verse-74-36 and Kishkinda Khanda – 16-37, there is a mention of flag being hoisted to celebrate the New Year on Ashwin Purnima. In the Ayodhya Khanda – verse – 77 – there is another mention of Flags being defaced due to heat and showers.

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Surya Vamsa Dvaja

The chariots of kings, princes and soldiers hosted their own individual flags. Infact during the war, the flag of the chariot helped the rival army identify a particular soldier.

In Mahabharata

Arjuna’s flag had the insignia of Hanuman, a Vanara, through which the other soldiers identified His chariot during battles.

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Arjuna’s Dvaja with the image of Hanuman

Similarly Bheeshma’s flag had the insignia of a Tala, Palm tree and 5 stars.

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Bheeshma’s flag

Dronacharya’s flag had the insignia of Vedika – an altar, Deer Skin, Kamandalam – a Pitcher and a bow.

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Dronacharys’s Flag

Duryodhana had a snake in his Dvaja, a Sarpa Dvaja.

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Duryodhana’s Flag

For each nation, flag represents its unique identity, the country’s pride.

Divinities too

In this land, each Divinity also has its own flag.

The Dvaja of Indra, the King of Deva is mentioned in the Rig Veda, which dates to earlier than 3100 BCE.

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A Sculpture of Indra which shows his flag

In ancient times, Indra Dvaja Mahotsava was celebrated for 4 days after every successful military campaign.

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Dvaja Pata

Of the 8 modes of recitation, Ashta Vikriti that evolved in this land, Dvaja Pata is one.

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Part of Temple Architecture

Dvaja, a flag has been a part of the temple architecture from time immemorial. Dvaja stamba can be found in all temples.

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Dvaja Stamba

Flag represents Pride and Identity

For each nation, flag represents its unique identity, the country’s pride.

The Manusmrithi 9.285 says,

“Damage to dvaja is sacrilegious and the offender has to repair it or pay damages of 500 pana.”

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In pre colonial era

There were a varieties of flags associated with different empires in the pre colonial era.

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In colonial era

In the 18th and 19th century, India was under the British rule. Every Indian state had its own flags as it has been having from time immemorial.

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Flag of British India

Star of India

After the First War of Independence in 1857, the idea to have a common flag for India was mooted by the British. The first group of flags based in British symbols was called the star of India.

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Evolution of flag

In the 20th century, as the freedom struggle gained momentum, many flags were created by Indian freedom fighters with symbols unique to Indian identity.

Vande Mataram flag

The partition of Bengal in 1905, gave birth to a new flag, called the Vande Mataram flag, aimed at uniting people of different caste, creed and community.

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                Vande Mataram flag, 1906

Flag modified

In 1907, Madam Bhikaji Cama tore her sari and unfurled it as a flag at Stuttgart Congress, Germany. The design and colour of her saree was adopted in a modified Vande Mataram flag, with a few changes.

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Madam Bhikaji Cama

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Modified Vande Mataram flag, 1907

Mahatma Gandhi’s Flag

In the year 1921, Gandhiji asked a person from Andhra Pradesh by name Pingali Venkayya, to design the flag.

Venkayya designed this flag of 3 colours, white on the top, green in the center and red at the bottom, with a Charka, a spinning wheel in the middle. It was popularly known as the Charka Flag.

This Flag was first hoisted on December 31, 1929, at the Lahore Congress Session on the banks of River Ravi, in Punjab, by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It was under this flag that Gandhiji declared our goal of freedom movement as “Purna Swaraj”, complete independence.

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It was this flag, designed by Pingali Venkayya from Andhra, which became the basis for the Indian National Flag later. The Charka changed into Dharma Chakra – wheel of Dharma and the red colour at the bottom became saffron at the top,  with white in the middle and green at the bottom.

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Pingali Venkayya with Mahatma Gandhi

Swaraj flag

In 1931, The Indian National Congress adopted an official flag called the Swaraj flag which was used until 1947. The flag had three colours representing all the three main communities with a Charka in the middle. The aim was to unite all communities.

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Flag of Indian National Congress

Flag of Azad Hind

The Azad Hind movement under Subhas Chandra Bose which represented the provincial government of a free India had their own flag from 1942 to 1945.

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                                           Azad Hind Flag                                   Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

From Charka to Chakra

Suraiya Badruddin Tayabji

Suraiya Badruddin Tayabji from Hyderabad, was an Indian Civil Service officer in the Prime Minister office in 1947.

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  Suraiya Badruddin Tayabji

She designed the present Indian National Flag with Chakra, from the Charka flag that Pingala Venkayya had earlier designed.

The Charka was replaced by Ashoka Chakra in the centre.

The Indian national flag

Before Independence, a committee was formed under Dr. Rajendra Prasad to decide upon independent India’s National Flag.

This Chakra Flag was approved, accepted and adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, and it became the official flag of the Dominion of India on 15th August 1947.

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      Dr. Rajendra Prasad

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Indian National Congress Flag

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Indian Flag

Tryst with Destiny

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave a famous speech, Tryst with Destiny, about the Indian flag, on India’s First Independence Day – 15th August 1947.

He said,

“This flag that I have the honour to present you is a flag of freedom, not only for ourselves, but for all those who see it.”

“The flag represents a message of freedom and comradeship, a message that India wants to be friends with every country of the world”.

“This flag is of Indian independence.”

“Behold it is born. It is already sanctioned by the blood of martyred youths.

I call upon you gentle man, to raise and salute this flag of Indian independence.

 In the name of this flag, I appeal to all lovers of freedom, all over the world,

 to cooperate with this flag in freeing 1/5 of the human race”.

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Nehru giving the historic speech

The 1st Indian National Flag hoisted on 15th August, 1947 at Fort St George. Chennai

Accepted by all

The flag satisfied the four major communities, namely Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist, as each of the three colours, saffron, white, green and the symbol Ashoka chakra, represented the respective communities.

Colours and Chakra Represent our ethos

Saffron

This colour has denoted Sacrifice. It denotes the sacrificing mentality of service, Seva, which was exemplified by the Sadhu and Rishi of this land, who had sacrificed personal comfort for the larger benefit of the world and its inhabitants. This saffron colour has been associated with these Sadhu and Rishi from timeless eons. Over time, it therefore has also come to be associated with Spirituality and the Hindu religion.

White

This colour in the flag stands for Peace, the principle which India has stood by from the time that the Veda were first composed, for the Veda conclude with the Shanti Mantra Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti – Let Peace Prevail.

Green

This band stands for the fertility and prosperity of the land, which India had in abundance.

Blue Chakra

The blue chakra, called the Dharma Chakra in the centre, denotes the qualities that govern the people and society of this land.

The tricolor flag of India thus conveys an image of a flourishing, prosperous, peace loving, friendly nation with people who abide by the principle of Dharma and are ever ready to be of help to all.

These are the basic reasons for the choice of these colours in the Flag.

Apart from this, these colours have inspired various thinkers and poets to ascribe further meanings for the tricolor, from the point of view of the needs of the times.

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Colours of Indian Tricolur flag seen displayed in Nature

Source – A picture taken from Fort Ajinkyatara, Dist- Satara, Maharashtra – popular in social media