Indian Coast Guard

An interim Indian Coast Guard came into being on 1st February, 1977. The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18th  August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India. It operates under the Ministry of Defence.

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Inauguration of Indian Coast Guard by Prime Minister Moraraji Desai along with Vice Admiral VA Kamath

The Indian word for coast guard is “Tat Rakshak”, Tat”, meaning ‘shores’, and “Rakshak”, meaning, ‘one who safeguards’.

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Indian Coast Guard

The Indian word for coast guard is “Tat Rakshak”, Tat”, meaning ‘shores’, and “Rakshak”, meaning, ‘one who safeguards’.

 “Tat Rakshak” is ‘one who safeguards the shores of this land’.

This extends from 10 to 30 nautical miles from the coast.

That India established its coast guard only 30 years after its independence is in itself intriguing.

The slogan for Indian Coast Guard is ‘Vayam Rakshak’. Vayam stands for “We, Our”. Here, the word ‘Vayam Rakshak’ means, ‘For our protection of us’.

Every nation has to guard its sea borders.

India by its very geography has got a very large coast of 7516 Km which is warm through the year and vigilance has to be extended through the year.

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Indian Coastline

In contrast, in Europe and Non Atlantic countries when the sea is frozen for few months in a year, the demands of coast guards are different. In case of India, the seas being warm, the vigilance level needs to be round the clock.

Pala Empire

The Pala kings of Bengal who ruled between 750 CE and 1174 CE had a strong coast guard.

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Pala Empire under King Devapala

From this image it is clear that Pala kings covered much of Bay of Bengal. This necessitated that they have a strong fleet of navy as well as coast guard.

Chola Kings

The Chola kings of Tamil Nadu covered the southern half of Bay of Bengal for a few hundred years. They also had a strong navy and coast guard.

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The Chola Empire during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I

Maratha Empire

Shivaji under Maratha created a strong coast guard cum naval fleet. Among the Maratha coast guard, the most famous name is Kanhoji Angre.

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Statue of Kanhoji Angre in Alibag, Maharashtra

Raja of Kozhikode

The Zamorin of Calicut, the Raja of Kozhikode was called Samuthiri, meaning ‘Lord of the Seas’, had his own strong coast guard.

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Vasco da Gama meeting the Zamorin of Calicut, Raja Samuthiri

Where we lost out

When the Portuguese, British started attacking India repeatedly in 1500s and the French and the Dutch in the 1600s, what the coastal leaders lacked was good coast guard mechanism. This is one of the reasons for the downfall of India in succumbing to the colonial powers. This one fact highlights to us the importance of coast guard in maintaining national integrity.

Let us recognize the valiant efforts of the sailors of the coast guard who day & night guard our shores so that we may go about our daily work in peace.

Direct Action Day

The Week of the Long Knives

16th August 1946, when India was exactly a year away from Independence, saw one of the worst riots between Hindus and Muslims in Kolkata. So severe were the nature of the massacre, that the whole week from the 16th has been termed ‘The Week of the Long Knives’.

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The Massacre during the ‘The Week of the Long Knives’

Initiated by the Muslim League

The massacre called the ‘Direct Action Day’, also known as the ‘Great Calcutta Killings’ was initiated by the Muslim League, to achieve their demand for a separate nation for Muslims called Pakistan. Direct action is another name for Jihad.

The Backdrop to the Massacre

Indian National Congress and Muslim League were the two major parties in the Indian Constituent Assembly of 1946. At a time when discussions were on between the British administration and the Indian leadership on the complete transfer of power to India, Muslim League put forth an alternate demand of dividing India into Hindu Majority India and Muslim Majority Pakistan. This was not acceptable to the Congress which outrightly rejected this proposal of the Muslim League.

Call for Hartal by the Muslim League

The Muslim League leaders called for a hartal on 16th August in protest against the Congress, as Bengal and the surrounding states in the country witnessed one of the worst riots in history.

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The crowd that attended the Meeting called by the Muslim League for Direct Action

Muslim League Govt. powers the riots

In the situation prevailing then in Bengal, Muslims were the Majority with 55 % and Hindus 43%. Bengal had a Muslim League Government then with the British being the coalition partner, an alliance formed to checkmate the strong opposition that included Indian National Congress, Hindu Mahasabha Party and the Communist Party of India.

4000 killed, 1,00000 homeless

In this backdrop, the in power Muslim League carried out a great massacre, in which around 4000 were killed and 1,00000 rendered homeless within three days.

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A Newspaper called Associated Press dated 17th carrying a report on the killings

Genocide in Naokhali

The riots literally wiped out the Hindu community in Noakhali district of Bengal which saw a genocide that killed 50,000 Hindus.

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Naokhali District, Bangladesh

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An unbelieveable scene from the ‘The Week of the Long Knives’

The riots spread to other states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

These events eventually led to the Partition of India in 1947.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is one of the most well known saints of this country. A spiritual leader who promoted religious harmony through his life. An ideal for Spiritual Seekers.

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Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Birth

Ramakrishna was born Gadhadhar into a Vaishnava Brahmin family on February 20th, 1836, at Kamarkupur, in West Bengal. Prior to his birth, his parents had mystical visions, indicating the birth of a great soul as their son.

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Birth Place of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Spiritually inclined at young age

The seeds of spirituality were sown in Ramakrishna at a very young age. He had the opportunity to meet many saints at a tender age and was influenced by the stories of Ramayana and Puranas, narrated by them.

First Spiritual Experience

Ramakrishna had his first spiritual experience at the age of six. While visualising white cranes in the backdrop of dark clouds in the sky, he became absorbed in this scene and lost external consciousness. He experienced great bliss in that ethereal state. Ramakrishna had many such experiences in his childhood.

Priest at Kali Temple

Ramakrishna became the priest of the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple in 1856. From then on, he was drawn to the deity at the shrine and became an ardent devotee of Devi Kali. He had many spiritual experiences with the Divine Mother and many times lost outward consciousness, being immersed in bliss.

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Dakshineshwar Kali Temple in those days

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Dakshineshwar Kali Temple as it stands today

Marriage

Ramakrishna married Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, now respectfully called Sarada Devi in the year 1859.

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Sarada Devi

Even into Married life, Ramakrishna was never distracted from his spiritual endeavour.

Showing Religious Harmony in Practice

Ramakrishna undertook many sadhana, spiritual practices through his life. He sought to show to the world that all religions are one and lead to One Divinity. Ramakrishna awakened people to this harmonious thought not just through his teachings, but in actual practice.

Practicing Islam & Christianity

Ramakrishna practiced other religions including Christianity and Islam.

While practicing the tenets of Islam, Ramakrishna dressed himself as an Arab Muslim, performed Namaz 5 times each day and continuously repeated the names of Allah. After 3 days, he had a vision of Prophet Mohammed merging in his body.

Ramakrishna had a vision of Jesus Christ merging in his body when he undertook to practice Christianity.

Epitome of Religious harmony

Similarly, Ramakrishna undertook spiritual practices pertaining to many religious sect and every time had the vision of the respective deity. He also practiced the Advaitic Sadhana and realized the One Formless Divinity.

Ramakrishna thus became an epitome of religious harmony in the country.

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Ramakrishna, An Epitome of religious harmony

A True Paramahamsa

From Spiritual Seeker, Ramakrishna had now become a Spiritual Master. Ramakrishna began to attract many spiritual seekers who felt they were face to face with a highly evolved Guru. He was now popularly known as Ramakrishna ‘Paramahamsa’, with the latter honorific title meaning ‘A fully blossomed soul’.

Guru to Swami Vivekananda

Ramakrishna is the one who inspired Swami Vivekananda, his chief disciple into spiritual life and to carry out the mission of unravelling Indian wisdom and revealing it to people, both in India and in the West.

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Swami Vivekananda

In this light, Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission to propagate the teachings of his Guru.

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Ramakrishna passed away on August 16th, 1886 at Cossipore, West Bengal.

A Continuous Source of Spiritual Inspiration

Apart from Vivekananda, Ramakrishna inspired many spiritual seekers through his life and continues to kindle the spiritual fervour in many youth of this country, even today. The result has been that Ramakrishna Mission has spread to every nook and corner of this land and the world.

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Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai

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Ramakrishna Mission, Bangalore

                       Ramakrishna Mission, Pune and Hyderabad

            Ramakrishna Mission, Agartala  and Delhi 

Today, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa continues to live in the hearts of his millions of devotees.

True Independence

Independent-Day

Swatantrata

We have all heard this word, being mentioned frequently in connection with the freedom struggle of India against the British. The word Swatantrata is easily understood to connote independence.

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Meaning

If you break the word Swatantra, it has two components to it, swa and tantra.

Swa denotes self and tantra stands for sciences, techniques, practices of a land, the way we live, in consonance with our surroundings and nature in a sustainable manner. Tantrayukti is a discipline of studies where the word tantra stands for scientific. Tantrayukti is a work of scientific reasoning or scientific debates.

From this meaning, we realize that swatantrata is more than independence, just political independence. When one fights for swatantrata, it is not just for political independence. It is not just for governance independence. It stands for a higher level of freedom, a higher dimension of independence.

It is the freedom, the right to practise one’s own sciences and techniques. It is the independence to practise one’s own indigenous way of living, that which is sustainable and in consonance with nature – the nature of the land, the nature of the people and the nature of Nature itself.  It is to maintain oneself free from all influences and act under one’s own will. It thus stands for the notion of Independence, freedom.

Against British

So when our immediate forefathers fought for Swarajya, freedom, independence, it was not a call only for Swa rajya, meaning self rule or primarily, political freedom of India. But the overall call was for Swatantrata too.

Swaraj is my Birthright

Rajya is to rule. Swa rajya is self rule. This slogan of Swarajya was made popular by one of India’s early freedom fighter, Lokamanya Balganagadhar Tilak, when he raised the clarion call,

Swarajya is my birth right and I shall have it.”

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Bal Gangadhar Lokmanya Tilak

This uprising, due to the rising yearning for Swarajya, Swatantrata, from the British, in every common man’s mind as well as collectively in the entire population of the land, was not a one off event. It has been the turning point of our history. Many personal uprisings have occurred many a times over, at many a crucial juncture, in the long history of this civilization.

Chandragupta

One of the other prominent, better known examples of such an uprising, is when the king, Raja Chandragupta, with the help of master tactician, Chanakya, successfully threw off the yoke of repression, of the Nanda tyranny, so that people could practise “their practices” freely.

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Chanakya – an artist impression

Knowledge of tantra

For a group of people to be called a civilization or society, it is essential that they have their own set of indigenous practices. For a society or civilization to follow their own practices, what is essential, is the knowledge of what their practices are? How did these practices come about? How have these practices evolved and got refined through the ages? Are these practises in consonance with Nature? And how can these practices help them lead a sustainable, prosperous and happy life?

It is only when one is aware of these habits, practices, culture and ethos, does one begin to understand one’s society, civilization and culture.

It is only then, will one also know if one is practising the tantra, scientific practices of one’s civilization.

Science is not just theory alone or laboratory experiments.

Science is the principle of the functioning of Nature, the cosmos, which includes man and his society. In short, science stretches right from the subtle rules that govern the creation of the cosmos to the conduct of every entity in the cosmos, whether living or non living, in its own sphere of existence. A vast domain indeed!

When a society or entity, either out of repression or out of choice, does not practice its own tantra, set of indigenous practices or a sustainable way of living, the urge for swatantrata will eventually arise in that society, in the minds of the common man of that society.

Such a call for swatantrata could also finally result in the desired power to the society or group, to practice its own set of ways.

But when such a call for swatantrata is not further followed up with tantra, which are in sync with the basic sciences, tantra of the cosmos and which can sustain the society, it will not be long before it leads to a call for another swatantratra once again.

On this Independence Day, the 15th day of August, let us understand the real meaning of Independence, swatantrata, as a society’s practice of its own indigenous way of living, in line with its history, geography, geology, topology, climatology, ecology, biology, cosmology and all other sciences, which go towards shaping the society and its culture.

Swarajya vs Swatantra

What we fought for and obtained from the British is swarajya, self rule. We have a long way to go to achieve our true Swatantrata, the courage and will to practice our own, indigenous, proven, sustainable techniques.

To practise Swatantrata, Swarajya is a fundamental need. For without self governance it will not be possible to freely practise the practices of one’s land. As a corollary to the statement, if we have Swarajya it does not naturally mean that we are practising Swatantrata too. Swarajya aids, helps in practising Swatantrata. But to practise Swatantrata, Swarajya + gyana is imperative.

Let us with this knowledge, Gyana and Vigyana, march towards swatantrata, true Independence.

Independence

Krishnadevaraya Coronation Day

Raja Krishna Deva Raya cornation day

In the year 1509, on Sri Krishna Jayanthi day, Janamashtami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, Raja Krishnadevaraya ascended the throne of Vijayanagara, a kingdom that reached its zenith during his reign. Vijayanagara was a kingdom that covered the peninsular India with its capital at Hampi.

Under its most famed king, Krishnadevaraya, the kingdom became prosperous and was known for its well administered society.

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Raja Krishnadevaraya

Krishnadevaraya was born in 1471 CE, and ascended the throne in 1509 CE.

In the year 2009, the 500th year of the Coronation was celebrated at Hampi.

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Commemorative stamp issued on the 500th year of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya

A great King

He is one of the greatest kings not only of South India, but of India as well.

In the annals of Indian history, the name of Krishnadevaraya is seen to be on par with great kings like Pulakesin –II, Raja Raja Chola and Samudragupta.

He was the one who kept at bay the Bahmani Sultan of the Deccan, and thereby helped preserve the cultural heritage of this land.

Visitors to India on Krishnadevaraya & Vijayanagara Empire

Domingo Paes

Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveler, who visited the court of Krishnadevaraya, gives an account of the great persona of Krishnadevaraya.

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Domingo Paes also speaks about the prosperity of the city of Vijaynagara, namely Hampi.

“The City of Vijayanagara was atleast as large as Rome and was the best provided in the world.”

Nicola Conti

Nicola Conti, another visitor to India during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, speaks of the extent of the city of Hampi.

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Present day map of Hampi

He did not write this himself, but his views were recorded by Poggio Bracciolini, Secretary to Pope. This was published in 1723 by the Abbe Oliva of Paris, in a book by name, “De Varietate Fortunae, Liber Quatuor”, by Poggio Bracciolini.

Eduardo Barbosa

Eduardo Barbosa who visited India in 1516 CE, gives a description of Hampi.

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A great Administrator Supported by able ministers

From the above descriptions, it becomes clear that Krishnadevaraya was a great administrator, and Vijayanagara Empire had reached its peak under his rule.

Krishnadevaraya was supported by many able ministers.

He had a Prime Minister by name Saluva Timmarusu, who helped the king in all aspects of administration. Krishnadevaraya reverentially called him Appaji, Appa meaning Father. This minister was verily a father figure to the King, and guided him in many respects.

He was the Chanakya of Vijayanagara Empire.

Renovated temples

Krishnadevaraya during his rule built, renovated and expanded hundreds of temples all over South India, including the famous Tirumala temple at Tirupati.

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Statue of Krishnadevaraya at Tirumala, Tirupati

9 Gems and Tenali Raman

In those days, the number of courtiers in some of the well-known kingdoms of the land had been 9. As each courtier is a gem in himself, they were collectively referred to as Navaratna or 9 gems.

The court of Krishnadevaraya too had 9 courtiers.

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Among the above nine gems, the name of Tenali Raman stands out. Tenali Raman was a Vikata Kavi, a humorous poet and a court jester extraordinaire.

Rulers of yore had realized that all serious matters of court cannot be handled only through serious deliberations. Jest, humour was needed to handle many situations.

Tenali Raman brought in humour to solve serious matters in the Court of Krishnadevaraya, through his humorous poetry.

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The episode where Tenali Raman got his boon of humour and poetry from the Divine Mother Kali.

More on this in our book, “Telugu Talli – Her Unknown Side”.

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Golden Age of Telugu literature

Krishnadevaraya was himself a poet and also encouraged and supported many poets and writers of all languages. His rule saw a plethora of works on Telugu literature, and other languages.

Which is why his reign is also referred to as the Golden Age of Telugu literature.

Krishnadevaraya was a master of many languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Samskrt.

His work ‘Amuktamalyada’ is one of the best works in Telugu Literature, which described the story of Andal and Her pangs of separation from Lord Ranganath, an aspect of Narayana, at the temple of Sri Rangam in Tamil Nadu.

He was a man who could wield a pen as well as a sword.

5129th Janmashtami

Click Here To Access Free ebook : Proving The Historicity Of Krishna

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Click Here To Access Free ebook : Proving The Historicity Of Krishna

The people of this country never had any doubts about the historicity of Krishna until the colonial historians projected Krishna as a mythical figure cooked up by wonderful stories.

The story of Krishna is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of India and the people of this land revere Him as a Divinity. The colonial hangover has however left a doubt on the historicity of this highly adored Divinity.

The science of Archaeo-Astronomy has enabled us to go beyond the boundaries of conventional archaeology in tracing the historicity of some well known personages of this land, such as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira and Shankara. Planetary configurations mentioned in the ancient scriptures pertaining to major events and personages connected, help us date events that happened around these personages, centuries and millennia ago, either manually or with more ease and accuracy, using Planetarium software.

As per the Purana, Lord Krishna was born around midnight. That night was the eight phase of the moon known as Ashtami Tithi. The moon was near Vrshabha, the bull, i.e the Taurus constellation that houses the star Rohini. The star Rohini is known as Aldeberan in modern astronomy. The month was Shravana, one of the 12 months in the Indian calendar.

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Krishna’s Birth in Prison

These details are clearly mentioned in the 10thSkanda, 3rd chapter of the Bhagavata Purana. The relevant sloka is,

Shravana vada ashtami, Rohini Nakshtra, uditam Lagnam

This detail combined with details of sky configurations for events that happened around Krishna’s lifetimes, namely the Mahabharata, leads us to the exact birth date for Krishna.

Sky Chart of Krishna's birth

Krishna’s Birth Chart

 Courtesy Prof.Narahari Achar, Memphis University, USA

Such a search leads us to 27th July, 3112 BCE as Krishna’s date of birth in the Gregorian Calendar.

In Indian tradition, Krishna’s birth is also called as “Sri Jayanthi”. The word “Jayanthi” has an interesting connotation in Indian Astronomy. Indian astronomers have accorded special names to lunar phases occurring at certain stars.

The lunar phase occurring at Punarvasu star in Gemini constellation is called Jaya. The lunar phase occurring at Pushya star in the Gemini constellation is called Nasini. The lunar phase seen at Shravana star in the Capricorn zodiac is called Vijaya. Similarly, the phase of the moon occurring at Rohini star is called Jayanthi.

Krishna’s birth which happened when the moon was at Rohini star is called Sri Jayanthi.

Jayanthi also means celebrations and the word has thus come to be used to indicate birthday celebrations. Thus, the word “Jayanthi, over time, has also come to be used for the birthday celebrations of other great personages and we today celebrate Buddha Jayanthi, Mahaveer Jayanthi, Shankara Jayanthi, Shivaji Jayanthi, Gandhi Jayanthi, Ambedkar Jayanthi etc.

 “Jayanthi” became popular because of association with Krishna.

Every year, for millennia, Indians have been celebrating Krishna’s birthday in the Shravana month, on Rohini Nakshatra, Krishna Paksha Ashtami (8th phase of the waning moon) based on these details in scriptures.

It is the year of birth however, which has been the missing piece in common knowledge.

Not only from Archaeo-astronomy, but also from a wholistic analysis of data across various disciplines, today we can conclude that Lord Krishna was born in 3112 BCE.

So, this year, 2017 CE, makes it the 5129th year since His birth, Sri Jayanthi. Let us celebrate this 5129th birthday of Lord Krishna, keeping in mind that India’s most beloved Divinity was indeed also a historical figure who had walked this planet about 5100 years ago.

While Divinity is a matter of faith, historicity is a matter of existence. With the unravelling of the dates for Krishna, what comes out for all to see is the beautiful blend of Divinity and Historicity in Krishna. One does not preclude the other.

More on this in our book, Historical Krishna.

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International Left Hander’s Day

Lefties not inferior

A day for left-handers! Aha! In modern parlance, left has got a connotation of being less than equal. So, certainly we need a day for the left handers to say that the lefties are no way inferior.

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Dexterity, Daksha

Dexterity is a matter of capability of the hands. The words “Dexterity, Dexterous” trace their roots to the Latin word “Dexter”, meaning skillful, which in turn is etymologically similar to Daksha, the Prajapati in Indian legends.

Daksha

Daksha is a Prajapati, a progenitor. The word Daksha means one who is capable, strong, competent, skillful and who can lead. Daksha is probably the earliest recorded person, equally skilled with both hands.

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Daksha Prajapathi

Arjuna

Arjuna is one of the earliest recorded ambidextrous person. He was called Sabyasachi, meaning ambidextrous. Even now people are named Sabyasachi in India in memory of the first recorded ambidextrous person in History of the world.

Left ideology

The communists are derisively called as “leftists” which is given as a left-handed complement. They have accepted this complement as their ideology being inferior.

Left Handed excellence

There are many left handed persons who excelled in different parts of the world including sports and music where their left handed posture is clearly to see for one and all.

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Left Handers displaying their skills in their unique left handed postures