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Bhagat Singh

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A Shaheed

Bhagat Singh was one of the most influential freedom fighters of the Indian freedom struggle. The title Shaheed, meaning ‘martyr’ most often precedes his name. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was a martyr who inspired the youth of the country to take part in the Indian independence movement.


Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Into a family of revolutionaries

Bhagat Singh was born into a Sikh family on 28th September, 1907 at Jaranwala Tehsil in Punjab. He was born into a family of revolutionaries. His birth coincided with the release of his father and uncles from jail. They had been imprisoned for carrying out anti British activities.

Bhagat Singh.jpg


Bhagat Singh’s grandfather was a follower of Arya Samaj, the religious reform movement founded by Swami Dayanand Sarasvati. The young Bhagat Singh joined the Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School, for his education.

Becoming a revolutionary

At the age of 12, Bhagat Singh was greatly moved by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, when thousands of people who had gathered at a peaceful public meeting were shot dead by the British. This tragic event sowed revolutionary sentiments in the mind of Bhagat Singh.

At the age of 14, Bhagat Singh was witness to another gruesome incident when a large number of unarmed people were killed by the the colonial dictators at Nankana Sahib Gurudwara.

Thus apart from being born into a family of revolutionaries, these violent incidents perpetuated by the British ensured that Bhagat Singh would also become a revolutionary at a young age.

Joining Young Revolutionary Movement

Bhagat Singh soon became a part of the Young Revolutionary Movement to defeat the colonial rulers.

Finding Naujawan Bharat Sabha

In March 1926, Bhagat Singh founded the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, which translates to Youth Society of India. The Youth Society of India sought to bring together youth peasants and labourers, against the British.

A Life dedicated to Freedom

When his family wanted to get him married, Bhagat Singh ran away from home, leaving behind a letter which read,

“My life is dedicated to noblest of causes, that of freedom of the country. So there is no worldly desire that can lure me now.”

Death of Lala Lajpat Rai

In 1928, Lal Lajpat Rai, another revolutionary, was killed by the British, for leading a non-violent struggle demonstration against the Simon Commission. This infuriated Bhagat Singh who sought to take revenge.


Lala Lajpat Rai

Killing British police officer

Bhagat Singh was then involved in the killing of British police officer John Saunders. Bhagat Singh was an accomplice along with Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru in this assassination that was carried out to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.

Throwing bombs into Central Legislative Assembly

Immediately after this, he along with Batukeshwar Dutt, another revolutionary, threw bombs into the Central Legislative Assembly.

Arrest and Execution of Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh was soon imprisoned by the British. Even in jail, he continued his struggle, by undergoing a 4 month fast, seeking equal rights for Indian prisoners on the lines of British prisoners.

Room In Delhi University In Vice Regal Lodge where Bhagat Singh was imprisoned during Trial

Bhagat Singh was convicted by the British for carrying out the murder of John Saunders and was hanged on 23rd March, 1931, along with Sukdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru.


   Bhagat Singh, Sukdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru


Death warrant of Bhagat Singh

Death Certificate of Bhagat Singh

Their death anniversary is today popularly observed as Martyr’s Day.

“Shaheed-e-Azam” Bhagat Singh offering his head to Bharat Mata, Bazaar Art


The martydom of Bhagat Singh reported in a newspaper

His legacy – A Source of Inspiration

Bhagat Singh today finds a place in Indian Parliament in the form of a large bronze statue. There are innumerable memorials of Bhagat Singh at different parts of the country. There are many films on his life and stamps released in his name. He continues to be a source of inspiration for the youth of this country.


Statue of Bhagat Singh at Indian Parliament


Stamp on Bhagat Singh


Legend of Bhagat Singh, A Hindi Film

World Water Day

In the Northern hemisphere, months of April, May, June mean summer. At the peak of summer, most lands look parched and dry. People await the rains for relief from sweltering heat.

Availability of water in summer becomes a problem in different parts of the globe.

Perhaps, as a warning of this oncoming problem, the world observes World Water Day on March 22nd every year.

100 plus words for water

In Indian ethos, water is one of the five elements, the others being earth, fire, air and space. Water has over 100 words in Samskrt, with each word denoting a particular attribute of water.

अर्णः, क्षोदः, क्षद्म, नभः, अम्मः, कवन्धम्, सलिलम्, वाः, वनम्, घृतम, मधु, पुरीषम्, पिप्पलम्, क्षीरम्, विषम्, रेतः, कशः, जन्मः बृबूकम, बुसम्, तुग्र्या बुर्बुरम्, सुक्षेम, धरुणम्, सुरा, अररिन्दानि, ध्वस्मन्वत्, जामि, आयुधानि, क्षपः आहिः, अक्षरम्, स्त्रोतः, तृप्तिः, रसः, उदकम्, पयः, सरः, भषजम्, सहः, शवः, यहः, ओजः, सुखम्, क्षत्रम्, आवयाः, शुभम्, यादुः, भूतम, भुवनम्, भविष्यत्, आपः, महत्, व्योम, यशः महः, सर्णीकम्, स्वृतीकम्, सतीनम्, गहनम्, गभीरम्, गम्भरम्, ईम, अन्नम्, हविः, सद्म, सदनम्, ऋतम्, योनिः, ऋतस्य योनिः, सत्यम्, नीरम्, रयिः, सत्, पूर्णम्, सर्वम, अंक्षितम्, बर्हिः, नाम, सर्पिः, अपः, पवित्रम्, अमृतम्, इन्दुः, हेम, स्वः, सर्गाः, शम्बरम्, अम्वम्, वपुः, अम्बु, तोयम्, तूयम्, कृपीटम, शुक्रम्, तेजः, स्वधा, वारि, जलम्, एवं जलाषम्

100 words for water

From this, we see that how much Importance this civilization, people, language, gave to water and its varied applications.

The Stark Reality – Water, a Finite Resource

Water is a renewable resource. At the same time, it is not an infinite but a finite resource.

The amount of water available globally, while it seems large, is in fact very limited, for nearly 98 % of the water on earth is in the form of water in the seas and oceans, as salt water. This water is not useful for industry, agriculture or for animals and humans.

Trying to harness this brackish sea water through the modern reverse osmosis process is not only capital intensive and costly but the annual operations and maintenance costs are prohibitive too. That puts almost 98% of water on earth, out of our reach.

Given this scenario we have to depend on the balance, little over 2% water for our water needs.

A substantial portion of this 2% of fresh water too, is locked up as ice in the 2 poles, the ice caps on snow covered mountains and the heavy glaciers in them.  They form about 1.725 % of the total water on earth.

So, what is left as flowing fresh water, is hardly 0.025 % of all the water in the world.


Flowing fresh water is thus not infinite, but finite and very minuscule

Human population on the other hand has been growing steadily, adding about one billion to its population every few decades.


Mindless Agglomeration of people saps water resources

This means that the same quantity of water has to be shared by a billion more people every 10 years, which means that there is going to be less and less water for each individual, for their needs of life, as the years roll by.

Farming, a Water Guzzler?

The major needs of water for life are not for drinking, bathing and washing, but the major consumption of water is for growing the food we eat.

Hence many tend to classify farming as a water guzzler. Many city dwellers are also under the impression that animal products may be a viable alternative to growing food during water shortage.

Is that really so?

The Reality

1 Kilo of grain, be it rice, wheat, pulses, cereal, needs about 1500 litres of water. That is indeed a high volume of water needed to grow grains.

In comparison, to create 1 kilo of meat, approximately 15000 litres of water are calculated to be required. So, growing live stock for meat is actually 10 times more water intensive than growing grains for food.

This is a bigger water guzzling reality.


Vegetarianism – A Need, Not Choice Any More

If earth has to be sustainable and water resources have to be judiciously handled for the burgeoning population, then it becomes not a choice, but a necessity, that we move away from being a meat eating population to vegetarianism, so that 9/10th of the fresh water currently lost on growing live stocks just for human consumption, is made available once again for human needs.

Food Wastage – What else is wasted?

What is even more worrying to observe, is the atrocious wastage of the food that has been produced using this limited, precious water.

It is estimated that about 30% of all the food that is produced is wasted.

Just imagine the amount of manual effort, land use and other resources that had gone into the production of this food for consumption. Think of the amount of the precious water that has gone into producing these foods, which literally goes down the drain when the food is wasted.

 Virtual Water

The water that goes into the production of food is now referred to by the term “virtual water” of the product.

In today’s world economy, there is free trade of food from one region to another.  With newer technologies to keep food produce fresh during transport and genetic modifications to give them a longer shelf life and world appeal, we have now transcended the bounds of seasons, climates, geography and topology.

Non seasonal and non local foods have therefore found their way into local reach thus encouraging some regions of the world to produce in excess of their local consumption needs, so that it can be exported for more gains, to other regions of the world where this product is in demand.

Along with the produce, since there is also a virtual transfer of the water that has gone into the making of the produce, there is also a “virtual water trade” happening along with every trade of produce.

Trade Compensation

Producers get paid for their produce.

Exporters get paid for their handling.

The nation receives foreign exchange.

But what about the “virtual water” that has gone into the growing of the produce and has been traded with?

Has the land been compensated enough for the depletion of this virtual water?

Will the monies received, be able to reproduce water in excess of the finite limit of fresh water that falls on a land?

Who is to compensate for this loss in Nature? Does it really matter to us?

This question gains further significance in the context of the current, lopsided, world economy and trade.

A Manmade Global Imbalance

A careful look at trends around the world will show that most of the water intensive produce of the world is produced in and exported from the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world. Typically the countries in the tropical belt which receive more rain and shine.

These countries send out their finite amount of fresh water as “virtual water” in their product exports on one hand and complain of shortage of water on the other hand to meet the direct needs of water. They finally end up borrowing from the developed nations to find solutions for their water shortage problems, little realizing how it is being created in the first place.

As a global community, we need to become aware of this virtual truth, of an imbalance being created by mankind in the last few centuries.

A Natural Balance

Our ancients seem not to have encountered such an issue. Could be because of their prudent way of living, guided by the rhythm of seasons, climates and topology.

Humans and animals consumed locally produced seasonal products – those that were adapted to be produced in their local topology, those that could be produced in that season, for their climatic conditions.

This not only kept them fit and healthy for their local conditions but also did not put undue stress on their finite amount of local water, inorder to produce locally for the entire world.

Reflecting on Virtual Water


Hema and Hari by the Firat River (Eupharatus), in Turkey

The overall amount of water on this earth has not changed. This earth has in the last many millennia sustained its population of people, animal life and plant life with these finite water resources. We the humans have made this free natural resource into a trading commodity in the last few decades.

How long will this help sustain the modern, commercial times that we live in?

Divine Nature has ordained us to enjoy free life, fresh water and pure air.

Are we in our pursuit of satiating our taste buds with alien foods and in our greed for monetary wealth, creating imbalances in our minds, body and Nature?

World over, mankind has to pause and think,

“Do we all really need global food at our local kitchens, at the price we are all really having to pay for it?”

World Poetry Day

A poetry is a form of literature that conveys meaning through rhythmic language. In Samskrt, the word used for a poetry is Kavita, from the root word Kavi, which has a host of meanings such as intelligent, skillful, wise, prudent, enlightened, and also a poet. A poet combines all these qualities within himself and has a special place in society.


The world oldest poetry is written by the first poet, Ratnakar, who is better known as Maharishi Valmiki. This first poem of the world was composed around 5100 BCE. His other master piece poetry is the Valmiki Ramayana, which chronicles the life times of Rama and the values that He stood for. It is one of the two itihasa, Epic Poetry, the other being Mahabharata.

More on the historicity of Rama and the Ramayana in our, Rama Trilogy and film, Historical Rama.


Around 5100 BCE, in a deep forest, two Krauncha, Heron like birds were mating. A hunter shot one of them down with his arrow. Valmiki who happened to observe this incident was moved by pathos and from him naturally came forth a verse.


Valmiki moved by pathos


Thus came the first poem of humanity through pathos – “Sokah Slokatwam Aagatah”. It is for composing this poem, Valmiki is referred to as Adi Kavi, the first poet.

Valmiki badly shaken by this incident returned to his ashram, unable to utter anything further.

He then remembered to have said something on that occasion and asked his Sishya Bharadwaja if he remembered what he had said. Bharadwaja repeated what he had heard from Valmiki and they both were surprised at the particular pattern and rhythm in his utterance.


Valmiki in conversation with Bharadwaja

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, the celebrated English poet expresses poetry as,

 “Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, takes its origin from emotions, recollected in tranquility.”

This seems to aptly fit the incident of Valmiki watching the shooting of the Krauncha bird and the outcome being the first poem.


William Wordsworth


Mahabharata, another itihasa of this land, is the longest poetry in the world with over 1 lakh sloka. The historicty of Mahabharata events and Krishna is discussed in our book, Historical Krishna.


Subjects expressed as poetry

In this land, every subject was expressed in poetry, be it philosophy, science, history or mathematics. There was a poetic garb for all modes of thought, and the expression of thought in poetic form was considered scientific. When thought reaches high pinnacle, it assumes the garb of poetry. A fit method to pass on through generations.


Subjects found expression in poetry in this land

Teaching children thru Poems

Today, one of the first lessons taught to a child is a nursery rhyme.

The usage of nursery rhymes in the modern system of schooling is an import from India.

Dr. G U. Pope, one of the noted British educationist of India who had made Madras his base, observed the teaching of rhymes in India and remarked,


Avvaiyar’s Aathichudi – Tamil classic rhymes

What Dr. Pope was referring to in this statement, is the Aathichudi, the timeless classic of Tamil learning for children. Aathichudi was composed by Avvaiyar a Tamil poetess who educated the people and rulers on good values through her simple yet profound oneliners.


           Avvaiyar                                  Dr.G.U.Pope

Aathichudi in Tamil is a collection of simple verses where every verse starts in the Tamil alphabetical sequence. Each verse speaks of noble deeds that must be practiced by children through their life, thus inculcating values from early stages of life itself. In the order of the Tamil language vowels A, Aa, I, Ii, U, Uu ..etc. the Aathichudi verses go as,


These could well be described as the earliest nursery rhymes of the world, as Aathichudi goes back to well over 2000 years ago.

The concept of Aathichudi, which educates a child to give, to share, to possess a calm and demure demeanour in their lives and so on, is a far cry from the nursery rhymes such as Jack and Jill which leave one searching for the message in the rhyme.

Meaningful poetry for educating children from their early years have been existing in all regional languages of India.

The usage of nursery rhymes in the modern system of schooling is an import from India.

Poets of this land

This land has seen poets from ancient to modern times. These poets were also saints who had dived deep into their selves. When they emerged from their divine experience, more often than not, there flowed from their lips, beautiful poetry, about their ethereal experiences. Poetry was a medium used by these poet saints to express the unfathomable.


One of these poet saints was Kabir, whose poetry has influenced people across the world.  Kabir through his poems drew around the major principles, symbols and philosophy of both Muslim and Hindu thought. His works inspired even the Sikh Guru Arjan, who included Kabir’s teachings in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh text. Kabir works include Kabir Granthwali, Sakhi Granth and Bijak. The main feature of these works are his two line couplets, ‘Kabir-ke Dohe’ which convey His teachings and have inspired many over last few hundred years.




Tulsidas is another poet saint, known for his popular work, Ramacharitamanas, which is composed in poetry form, in narrating the life of Rama.




Kalidasa is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of this land. His poems are based on the Indian Purana and other scriptures. He is the author of two epic poems namely Raghuvamsa, an epic poem about the kings of Raghu dynasty, and Kumarasambhava, which describes the birth and adolescence of Devi Parvati, her marriage to Lord Shiva, and the birth of Karthikeya.




Kamban was a Tamil poet par excellence, who is well known for his work, Ramavataram, popularly known as Kamba Ramayana. It is one of the greatest epic poems of India, written over thousand years back.


In recent era, before independence, Rabindranath Tagore was another popular poet. Among his famous poems is the Gitanjali, for which he received the Nobel Prize.


Rabindranath Tagore

Bankim Chandra

Bankim Chandra, was a freedom fighter cum poet who kindled patriotic fervor in the minds of other freedom fighters and the general masses, through his poem Vande Mataram. The first two verses of this song was adopted as the national song of India.


Bankim Chandra

World Poetry Day

Poetry is one of the fine expressions of man, and is closest to his own nature. World poetry day was instituted by the United Nations in 1999, and is observed every year on 21st March. The idea behind this day is to promote the writing, reading and publishing of poetry, across the globe, and to bring different poets together to given impetus to poetry movements in the world.

In this way, this day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of linguistic expression.



World Puppetry Day

Puppetry is a theatre performance that involves controlling of puppets, which resemble a human or animal figure, animated o by a human called a puppeteer.

Puppetry is a traditional form of folk entertainment in India. Puppeteers are story tellers who contemporize the story to the situation. The themes of a Puppetry is based on the ancient stories, from the Purana, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other local legends. A Puppetry theatre encompasses creative expressions such as music, painting, sculpture, dance and drama.

India, the Mother of Puppetry

Anupama Hoskere, a puppeteer from India on her visit to Prague, Czechoslovakia, found the Czechoslovakians holding India as the motherland of puppetry. She came across Czechoslovakian texts for puppetry which opened with the line that India is the mother of puppetry.

Types of Puppet

There are Puppets unique to different parts of this country.

There are 4 different types of Puppet.

  1. Glove Puppets
  2. Rod Puppets
  3. Shadow Puppets
  4. String Puppets

Glove Puppets

Glove Puppets are worn on hands, where the middle finger and thumb acts as hands of the puppet, while the index finger acts as the head.  These are small figures with head and arms on a skirt as its dress. They are also known as Hand Puppets.

Glove puppets are popular in the in the states of Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa.

States Name of the Puppet



Pava Kathakali  1
West Bengal

Bener Putul



Rod Puppets

Rod puppets are an extension of glove-puppets, but are much larger. They are supported and manipulated by rods from below. These puppets have mostly three joints. The heads, supported by the main rod, is joined at the neck and both hands attached to rods are joined at the shoulders. The main holding rod that supports the puppet is behind a robe or costume of the puppet. The action rods are connected to the hands of the puppet and manipulated by the puppeteer to show action.

This kind of Puppets are popular in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa.


States Name of the Puppet





West Bengal

Patul Nautch



Kathi Kandi


Shadow Puppets

Shadow Puppets are flat puppets that are operated against a rear of a rightly stretched white cloth screen. They are made out of a leather, treated to make it translucent.

The Shadow Puppets are popular in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.


States Name of Puppet


Andhra Pradesh

Tholu Bommalata  5


Togalu Gombeyata






Chamadyache Bahulya

Tamil Nadu




String Puppets

It is the most common Puppetry in India. They are made of wood, or wire, or cloth stuffed with cotton, rags or saw dust.

The Puppet is suspended from a hand held control strings that are attached to different parts of the Puppet’s body. The Puppet is manipulated by operating the control as well as by loosening or pulling the relevant strings.


Name of Puppet



Kathaputli  9







Tamil Nadu




Putul Nach


Kalasutri Bahulya



Nool Pavakoothu


Andhra Pradesh




Laithibi Jagoi




Krishna is known by the name Sutradhar, the person who controls the string which controls all creatures. Sut meaning string. This simile suggests that puppetry and controlling through string was prevalent during Krishna’s times. The concept of Puppetry existed in this land for atleast 5100 years back, as we have been able to date Krishna’s birth year to 3112 BCE, in our book, Historical Krishna.


In Bhagavad Gita, Verse 7, Ch-7, Krishna identifies Himself with the Universal Divine String, and all the creatures to beads on string.

The relevant sloka being,

मत्त: परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ति धनञ्जय |
मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सूत्रे मणिगणा इव || 7||

matta paratara nānyat kiñchid asti dhanañjaya
mayi sarvam ida
prota sūtre mai-gaā iva

There is nothing higher than Myself, O Arjun. Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.

World Puppetry Day

In this sense, the whole Creation is a Puppet Play of the Divine Puppeteer. World Puppetry Day is observed every year on March 21st, to celebrate Puppetry, where man is the Creator, who manipulates his creatures, the Puppets.