Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31st in 1875 at Nadiad in the present day state of Gujarat.

 

The House and room where Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born

One who shaped the Indian Union

The modern Indian Union owes its Shape and States to him. He is the founding Father of the Union of India.

Iron Man who united India

Sardar Patel played a major role in India’s Freedom struggle. After Independence, he united more than 500 kingdoms into 1 country – the modern India.

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Pre Partition British India Map

There is a common myth that it was the British who united India.

We have busted this myth in our book, Breaking The Myths.

When they left India, on 14th August 1947, there were 5 presidencies and about 555 kingdoms.

The credit to have made India a single political nation should go to Sardar Vallabhai Patel, for which he has been given the right honorific, “Iron Man of India”

We speak about his role in creating a Political India, in our book, Breaking The Myths – Vol-1 – About Identity.

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Father of Indian Civil Services

Sardar Patel was also instrumental in creating the IAS and IPS and is regarded as the Father of Indian Civil Services.

A Baristar in Law

He was a baristar at law who gave up his practice and joined Gandhi in freedom movement like many others of his times. The title Sardar was given to Vallabhbhai Patel by Mahatma Gandhi.

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Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi

One who stood up to Jinnah

He was the one man who could stand up to Jinnah during those tumultuous pre-partition years. Interestingly both hailed from Gujarat.

Support of 14 Congress Provinces

Post Independence, Sardar Patel had the unanimous support of 14 Congress Provinces to become the first Prime Minister of India.

Great Prime Minister that India never had

It was on the insistence of Mahatma Gandhi that Sardar Patel stepped down and let Jawahar Lal Nehru become the first Prime Minister. This intervention of Mahatma Gandhi made India lose the opportunity of an elder statesman, the Iron Man Patel being the first Prime Minister of India. Today Sardar Patel is considered as the great Prime Minister that India never had.

Accession of Hyderabad

One of his great achievements was the accession of Hyderabad to India through police action.

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Police Action in Hyderabad

Sardar Patel – Geopolitics

Sardar Patel was a man who understood geopolitics of the land beyond his time.  He wrote a letter dated November 7th, 1950 to Nehru on how the aspiration of China on Tibet will change the very geopolitics of Asia. This letter became prophetic.

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Why Kashmir Problem Persists?

One area where Nehru did not allow Sardar to involve himself is Kashmir. Sadly, this is the pestering problem that India has been facing for the last many decades.

If he had been given a free hand as in other princely states, the Kashmir problem would have been solved in 1950 itself.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel passed away on 15th December, 1950.

Roads and Statues in name

Today, every city in India has a Road and statues in his name.

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A Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Kolkata

Stamp

The Government of India has released a stamp in his name.

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Sardar Patel Film

A Film ‘Sardar’ was released in the year 1993 on the Life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

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Rashtriya Ektha Divas

Sardar Patel’s Birth Anniversary is truly the day to remember the unity that is India. In a fitting tribute to this great statesman, the Indian Government has declared his birthday as Rashtriya Ekatha Divas.

 

D K Hari and D K Hema Hari
Bharath Gyan

World Savings Day

The World Savings Day was instituted by the first International Savings Bank Congress on October 31st, 1924. The day is dedicated to promote Savings among People.

Savings, Etymology

The word ‘Saving’ comes from the Greek word, Salvare, meaning ‘to make safe or secure.’

In Samskrt

In Samskrt, Savings is denoted by the word ‘Mitavyaya’. Mita means ‘little’ and Vyaya means expenditure. In other words, Mitavyaya, Savings means to ‘limit our expenditure’.

Gold, the Barometre

The timeless method of Savings in the Indian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Mayan civilizations was in the form of gold. It is the barometer of value from time immemorial, across civilizations

Strength of a civilization comes from its Savings

The strength of an economy not only comes from its production and consumption, but also from Savings. One of the features of a good economy is the Savings Potential of the people.

Savings inherent to India

India as a society knew the value of thrift. The ethos of India has always been towards Savings. Indian economy has been prosperous through the ages since people as a practice, saved water, grains, cattle, gold and knowledge.

In India, this reality of Savings has been lot more with the women folk.

Dutch and Scot

In Europe, among the different nationalities, the Dutch and Scots are looked up to as being thrifty.

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Thrifty Scots

Vasundhara bank

In the days of yore, there were as we know there were no banks. People saved gold, by safeguarding it in some nook or corner in their house and in the earth, in their garden. Since the earth is known as Vasundhara, this secret place of Savings have also been jocularly referred to as Vasundhara Bank.

Swiping Cards

In the current modern era of plastic money and credit cards, people are swiping, spending and are deep in debt and consequently low in Savings.

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People Swipe, Spend and are in Debt

Whereas, in Indian ethos, Savings has helped this civilization rejuvenate itself, wave after wave of plunder. This habit of Savings has been one of the key factors for its rejuvenation after each wave of plunder.

Savings for our Children and Grandchildren

On this Savings Day, let us recognize this and do little Savings for ourselves and for our generations to come. The way our father and forefathers saved not only the monetary items but also natural resources for our benefit, we need to save all this for our dear children and our dearer grandchildren.

Deepavali Season, Day 5 – Sharing The Wealth

After taking stock of wealth and setting up new books of accounts, it is now time to share this wealth with kith and kin.

Bhai Dhuj

The 2nd day after the Amavasya, is therefore celebrated as Bhai Dhuj in the West and North of India.

Bhai Dhuj

Bhai Dhuj is a festival celebrated during this Kaumudi Mahotsava month, Deepavali period, when the brother goes to the sister’s house to greet her family and give her gifts. Post-harvest, there is abundance and prosperity all around. This is the time of sharing. Given this, it is but natural that the brother visits his married sister bringing goodies for her from her parent’s house. For the married sister the brother’s house is after all her house of birth, it is an occasion for reunion.

Deepavali Season, Day 4 – A Day of Prayer and Pledge

Govardhana Pooja

The Govardhan episode is a very popular legend related to the deeds of Krishna. Krishna, who was born in Mathura around 5,100 years back was a very precocious child, a child prodigy. Krishna is the central character of the Mahabharatha events. It is Krishna who gave us the sermon of the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the primary texts of the Indian lore, speaking of the duties of man and his relationship between himself, his soul and the divine Creation.

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Govardhana Giridhari

More on Krishna and his historical personage can be read in the book, “Historical Krishna’ which is part of the Bharath Gyan series.

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Historical Krishna Series

Krishna in his childhood, once questioned his elders as to why they were praying to Indra, when instead they should be praying to the hills, the rivers, the forests, the fields and the cows which were so immediate to them, which were near them, which gave them succour in their daily lives.

Krishna opined that instead of praying to Indra, the people of Vrindavan, among others should be praying to Nature and such aspect that gave them the immediate succour. Hearing Krishna’s wrongs of wisdom the people turned their prayers from Indra to the hills, the orchards, the rivers and the cows that were nearby which gave the people the daily nourishment. Indra, the leader of the divine forces obviously did not like being neglected. Indra unsheathed his wrath and sent down lightning after lightning and torrential hailstorms.

The common people who had listened to the advice of Krishna were frightened by the turn of events and turned to Krishna for help. Krishna literally rose to the occasion and lifted up a nearby hillock, collected the local people under it and shielded them from the wrath of Indra, which eventually subsided after wearing out against the steadfastness of Krishna.

This episode was one among the many defining moments in the life and deeds of Krishna. This event which happened over 5,100 years ago, is commemorated to this day as Govardhana Pooja  a day after Deepavali.

While at one level this legend seems like a miracle performed by Krishna, at a ground level, the Govardhana Giri episode is symbolic of Krishna steering people towards achieving harmony with Nature by focusing their attention on performing their daily chores bearing in mind the dependency of man on Nature. Through this Govardhan Giri episode and bringing people under the shade of Govardhan, Krishna was bringing people to the fountainhead of knowledge and re-emphasizing the need for rational thought, physical sciences and knowledge in one’s daily life.

Annakut

This event of Govaradhan Giri is also celebrated as Annakut where varieties of food preparation are decorated in the form of a mountain, symbolizing Govardhana Giri and offered to the divine and later distributed to all.

After all the celebrations and feasting, the Govardhan Pooja is a reminder to people to pay obeisance to the Nature around them that has given them all this prosperity and to pledge to work in harmony with Nature in the forthcoming seasons.

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Annakut at Art of Living, Ahmedabad

Start of New Accounting Year

The 1st day of the Karthik month, is celebrated as the start of the New Accounting year by the trading community, especially in Western India, the gateway for trade since the times of Krishna, 5100 years ago. More on this can be found in our work Historical Krishna of the Bharath Gyan Series.

For this community of traders, with new produce, fresh stocks have arrived for trading. New books of accounts were therefore opened to start fresh account keeping. This day was celebrated with prayers for a good financial year ahead and also to commit to conducting business in an honest and righteous manner.

Bali Pratipada

The day after Karthik Amavasya, i.e. the Prathama, Pratipada, according to legends is the day when Vishnu in the form of Vamana, a short statured scholar, sends the mighty Asura king, MahaBali to Patala Loka. More about this legend and where Patala Loka lies, is discussed in out book 2012 – The Real Story of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This event is a reminder to people on how arrogance can bring one down, irrespective of however good one is. Bali was a great king and was loved dearly by his people. He was known for his large hearted charity. But he was so arrogant about his greatness and goodness that he did not deem it fit to listen to his Guru’s advice at a critical juncture and this brought about his downfall.

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Vishnu as Vamana, sending MahaBali to Patala Loka

This day of Bali Partipada after Deepavali and all the wealth, is a reminder to people on how not to get arrogant like Bali, about the wealth one has gained but to accept it with grace and share it with all like Bali again.

Sister Nivedita

Sister Nivedita was one of the foremost disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She was born Margaret Elizabeth Noble at County Tyrone, Ireland, on 28th October, 1867.

A teacher, an author, a nurse and a social worker.

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Sister Nivedita

School Teacher, Founded a School

In her early days, Sister Nivedita worked as a school teacher and founded a school.

Meeting Swami Vivekananda

In the year 1895, she met Swami Vivekananda in London and became his disciple. She was given a new name by Swami Vivekananda – Nivedita, meaning ‘The Dedicated One’ when she was initiated into Brahmacharya by her Guru on 25th March, 1898.

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Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita

 

A Epitome of Service

She was indeed dedicated to the welfare of the society. She was an epitome of her Guru’s dictum – “Service to man is Service to God”.

Moving to India

Nivedita soon made India her permanent residence and started staying in Calcutta to work for the Ramakrishna Mission established by Swami Vivekananda.

Opening a School for Girls

Nivedita was particularly concerned about education for girls. In this regard, she opened a school for girls at Bagbazar in Calcutta.

Instrumental in setting up Indian Institute of Science

Sister Nivedita played a vital role in the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

 As a Nurse

In 1899, when Calcutta was under plague epidimic, Nivedita played the role of a nurse for poor patients.

Providing Support to Bose

Nivedita also participated in spreading Indian Science and Culture. She was the one who supported India’s famous scientist J C Bose who founded the wireless Radio during his tough times and helped him gain recognition by lending him financial assistance.

Guru to Bharathiyar

Mahakavi Bharathiyar considered Sister Nivedita as his Guru. She inspired him to fight for women’s rights. She opened his eyes on women’s liberation.

An Able Author

Nivedita was also an able author who wrote many books such as ‘Kali the Mother’, ‘The Web of Indian Life’ and ‘The Master as I saw Him’ among many other works.

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The Book

In her memory

Today, many schools In India have been named after her.

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The government of India has also released a stamp in her name.

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Sister Nivedita passed away on 13th October, 1911 at the age of 43 at Darjelling.

Deepavali

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Winter marks a period filled with festivals of lights and Deepavali ushers in this season of lights.

Deepavali is by far the most popular festival, celebrated all over India. It is also the most popular Indian festival celebrated all over the world.

Deepavali

Deepavali as the name itself suggests, is the festival of lights – an array of lights, literally.

While Deepavali is celebrated all over India, it is interesting to note that it is celebrated in different parts of India to rejoice very different events.

But despite these varied reasons all over India, Deepavali is uniformly celebrated as the festival of Lights. How has this come to be so?

In the Indian calendar, Deepavali comes about 3 weeks after the Navaratri festivities. It marks the onset of winter. It starts getting darker earlier each day, even when the evening is still young. That is when there is need for lights – a string of lights to brighten up one’s life, to brighten up our houses before the community retires for the night.

So it is an apt need for seasonal lighting and all one needs is a reason for celebration, a reason for lighting and Deepavali comes with a number of reasons for celebration.

Also during this month the air is relatively still in many parts of India because the south west monsoon has just ended. Still air is needed for the lamps to burn brightly.

Deepavali – Many festivals in One

It will be interesting to note that Deepavali itself is not just one festival. It is many festivals celebrated together as a season of festivals.

Kaumudi Mahotsava – Origins of Deepavali

If we search for the origin of this festival, then we come to see that in days gone by, long ago, in fact, millennia ago, the people of this civilization used to celebrate a month long festival then known as Kaumudi Mahotsava.

The word Kaumudi draws its source from Kamal, the lotus.  Kaumudi is a water lily. Kaumudi also means moon-light.

In this season, after the monsoon, this land India, would have had four months of incessant rain. All the village ponds and lakes would be full, brimming with crystal clear, fresh water. These water bodies would have had a surfeit of lotuses and lilies blooming in them. The sky is usually clear and the moon is visible through the month, not being obliterated by the monsoon clouds.

These water bodies would therefore have been lit up with beautiful rows of water lilies, bobbing merrily, reflecting the light of the moon.

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One can well imagine what a beautiful sight it would have been. It would have seemed like a celestial festival.

No wonder our ancients thought it fit to name it a month long festival named after the scenario, which is a feast to the eye and to the mind.

Flower festivals are held in many parts of the world in different seasons to celebrate Nature as she blooms with joy. The Kaumudi Mahotsava seems to have been a precursor to all as even 5000 years ago, during the times of Mahabharata, there is reference to this period as Kaumudi. Kaumudi is the month when Krishna departs on his peace mission to the court of Hastinapura.

Within this Kaumudi Mahotsava period of one month there are a range of festivals with Deepavali as one among them. With its array of lights, Deepavali stands out as its premier festival and by common usage, has come to symbolize this entire period and the Kaumudi Mahotsava.

In those days, people had the leisure, the pleasure and the measure of time to celebrate their prosperity with a series of festivals spread over a month. Today, we are living in a fast world, where everything is crammed, where everything is rushed, where everything is abridged.

It is no wonder then that a month long celebration of Kaumudi Mahotsava has also become abridged by the people to a shorter Deepavali festival. In other words, in modern times when everything has become abridged, all these festivals too have collectively come to be abridged and celebrated as a single festival called Deepavali.

Reviving Kaumudi Mahotsava

When man ceases to be a machine and realizes that he is a human and starts looking at life as a celebration, then we can once again go back to celebrating a month long Kaumudi Mahotsava.

To do that, what is even more important, an urgent job on hand is to rejuvenate the village lakes, tanks and all other water bodies of the land, so that when it rains we can harness the waters, where it rains and let the lotus, the national flower of India bloom in every water body. We can then feast our eyes in the wonderful spread of the lotus and white water lily and celebrate Kaumudi Mahotsava month both with our outward eye – our eye and senses, as well as with our inward eye – our mind.

Deepavali celebrated under different names

In South India, Deepavali is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdasi, to commemorate the defeat of the Asura, Naraka, by Krishna.

In North India it is celebrated as the return of Rama to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana from a 14 year Vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana, the Rakshasa. It marks the coronation of Rama as King of Ayodhya.

In Western India, the focus is on celebrating it as Lakshmi Pooja and the start of a New Financial Accounting year, in the traditional trader families.

In the North West of India it is celebrated as Kubera Puja.

Similarly, other regions too have their special reason to celebrate Deepavali.

Deepavali Celebrations

Typically, in present times, Deepavali spans over 5 days starting from the 13th dark phase of the moon, Krishna Paksha of Indian month of Aswija, known as Aipasi in South, to 2 days after Karthik Amavasya.

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Deepavali Season, Day 3 – Lighting Up Life With Joy, Enlightenment

Karthik Amavasya, Deepavali

The day of Karthik Amavasya, New Moon, is celebrated as the main day of Deepavali and is ascribed to many reasons.

Lakshmi Pooja

In most parts of India, especially the north and west, the Deepavali festival is celebrated as Lakshmi Pooja. Lakshmi is the divinity for wealth. During this Lakshmi pooja traders start new accounting books for the next accounting year.

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Why do the traders in India start new accounting year on Deepawali?

India as a land is a monsoon rain fed Country. The Southwest monsoon rain sets in in the first week of June. This South West monsoon rain lashes throughout India for the next four months. India being an agrarian Society, that is Agriculture being its main occasion, it is during these four months of continuous rain that the primary crop of India is sown and reaped.

By the time the abundance of this crop is harvested and brought to the market to be traded, it is the time of Deepavali. It is the time of plenty. It is the time of fresh arrivals.

Isn’t it but apt that the new financial, new accounts year for the traders start with Lakshmi Pooja? It has been so through the centuries and through the millennia.

In the word Lakshmi you have the root word Lakshya meaning aim, goal. The aim of a society is to be productive, harmonious and noble. It is when there is bounty that all this is possible. This Lakshmi Pooja is not only significant for the traders to start new account but also encourages the people at large to relish their hard work from the bountiful harvest, share their bounty with one and all, which in turn brings out their nobility, their dharma –  the aim, the goal, the lakshya of people.

Thus Lakshmi Pooja is just not praying to the divinity of wealth but is in fact a culmination of four months of agrarian effort and is a form of thanks giving to the divinity of prosperity for the plentitude showered and also a time for setting goals to lead a noble and harmonious life.

Coronation of Rama and Rama Rajya

Rama, the legendary hero of India was born in Ayodhya and ruled the kingdom of Kosala about 7,100 years ago.

The historicity of Rama has been traced in our book, Historical Rama from the Bharath Gyan Series.  Rama, after his fourteen years vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana who had kidnapped His wife Sita, Rama returned to His city Ayodhya with Sita and His brother Lakshmana, to begin His rule on this day. Rama ascended the throne in the year 5076 BCE.

This day of His return and the event of coronation as King of Ayodhya, Rama Pattabhishekh, was marked with joy by lighting series of lamps, Deepavali. It has been celebrated since then, every year as Deepavali in North India.

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Coronation of Rama

The noble rule of Rama, from then on through the Itihasa, Ramayana and the Puranic legends, have come down to our times, our knowledge, as the period of ideal rule. This ideal rule of Kingship is what is eloquently referred to as “Rama Rajya”. The details of this Rama Rajya, the components of this ideal rule and its relevance in the modern management scenario is discussed in our work “Rama Rajya” which is part of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This ideal rule of Rama was so much cherished through the systems, practices, traditions and stories by generations and generations of people through the ages in this land that the people thought it fit to celebrate the coronation of Rama, His Pattabhishekham as the festival of Deepavali so that successive rulers of this land can try to emulate the good components, the good features of the rule of Rama that can make the land and its people prosperous, progressive and peaceful through the ages.

It is for this reason that to this day, the festival of Deepavali is remembered and celebrated year after year, yearning for a good rule from the rulers of the land.

The rule of India is in turmoil today. The rule of India is sans values.

Apart from bursting crackers, wearing new clothes, eating sweets, distributing gifts and sweets and wishing each other a Happy Deepavali, if we can reaffirm to ourselves the reason for which the festival of Deepavali  has being celebrated continuously for the last 7,100 years and create in our times, an atmosphere of a Noble Rule and a value based living, then the festival of Deepavali will truly light up our lives.

Return of the Pandava

It was on this day, about 5100 years ago, that the Pandava returned to Hastinapura, after their 13 year exile. It was a day of joy for the people of Hastinapura which they too expressed by lighting lamps to welcome them. This formed another reason for the celebrations of Deepavali since then.

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Pandava return to Hastinapura

The historicity of the Pandava and the events in their lives can be found in our work Historical Krishna, from the Bharath Gyan Series.

Start of Vikram Samvat

About 2000 years ago, in 56 BCE, Vikramaditya was crowned king of Ujjain on this day. This day marked the start of the Vikram Samvat, Vikram Era which we follow to this day. It is one of the official calendars for the Government of India. The New Year as per this calendar start with Chaitra Amavasya, i.e. around April in present times.

Starting from the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya with Sita and His coronation, to the day of Pandava’s return to Hastinapura with Draupadi, to the day Vikramaditya was crowned king, thereby starting the Vikaram Era, have all been celebrated across millennia, as days of joy and hope for good times ahead, by lighting lamps and sharing sweets.

Mahavira PariNirvana

Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara, attained PariNirvana, liberation from His mortal life, at Pavapuri, in present day Bihar, on the day of Deepavali.

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Mahavir Jain

This day is therefore celebrated by the Jains as a day of salvation and enlightenment.