Balochistan Occupation Day

Balochistan Independence

Balochistan became an Independent state after 100 years of British rule. The tripartite agreement between Balochistan, Pakistan and the British to grant independence to Balochistan was formally announced on August 11, 1947.

Balochistan Recaptured

But this independence was short lived as Balochistan was recaptured by Pakistan 9 months later on March 26th, 1948.

A Buffer State

From time immemorial, Balochistan has been a buffer state between Indian civilization and Persian civilization. Buffer state is a country between two major countries which facilitates friendship between the two big countries.

Balochi Language and Samskrt

Balochi is the language of the Baloch people. The language is close to Samskrt.

Shakti Peetha

The Shakti Peethas extend from Tripura in the east to Balochistan in the west, all part of the land of Bharatha. Hinglaj is an important Shakti Peetha located in Balochistan. The annual four day pilgrimage to the Hinglaj Shakti Peetha is organized every April.

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Shakti Peetha in India

Pishey art work

Baloch people are known for their Pishey art work, out of which a variety of works like bags, shoes, hats and baskets are made.

Jinnah

In early 1940s, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim league were flexing their muscle for an independent Pakistan for Muslims.

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Muslim league

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Mohammed Ali Jinnah

Balochis wanted to be with India

The Balochis who were natives of western most part of India gave their call to be with India and not with to be formed Pakistan. This region was known as Balochistan, the native place of the Balochis.

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Balochistan Region

It was North West Frontier Province Assembly which passed a resolution to join with India. Khudai Khitmadgar supported by Congress was in power in North West Frontier Province at that time.

Direct action

Since the 1940s, many have been of the opinion that the freedom fighters of India then let down the Baluchis in their plea to be with the Indians.

Taken aback by the call for direct action by Jinnah which unleashed violence across many parts of India. The congress leaders were then forced to succumb to the demands of Muslim league. In retrospect, this direct action and the violence that followed directly on the Hindus does not seem much different from jihads by some of the narrow minded fanatics.

If Pakistan could get two options one in the west and other in the east as East Pakistan, then why could the Baluchi region not have joined India as a separate geographical entity in the far west region of the land?

The Balochis since 1948 of being forcefully captured by Pakistan has been continuously clamoring for being an independent country. The struggle of Balochis is observed every day.

Chipko Movement

Chipko Movement was organized in the 1970s to prevent deforestation that was rapidly happening in the country. The word ‘Chipko’ means ‘embrace’. The movement sought to prevent cutting of trees, by hugging trees. It was a non-violent struggle against the destruction and exploitation of India’s precious natural resources, the forests.

Inception of the Movement

The movement started with local women in the Rani village rallying together on 26th March 1974, to safeguard Banj trees. The rapidity with which these trees were being felled invoked the concern of the Pahadi People, as they began to notice the drastic effect it had on their daily livelihood and in the environment.

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The Benevolent Banj

Himalayan Tsunami

The Himalayan Tsunami of 2013 was a fallout of the disappearance of Banj trees. More on the importance of Banj trees in maintaining the ecosystem of the mountains in our article, Himalayan Tsunami, Waiting to Happen, Happened – Why?

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Hugging Trees to Save Them

The Pahadi women formed human chains and hugged the Banj trees to prevent them from being felled. In 1974, the Pahadi women prevented the auctioning of around 2500 trees, by standing around them in embrace.

One of the popular slogans of the Chipko movement was,

‘Embrace the Trees and

Save them from being felled;

The property of our hills,

Save them from being looted’

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Chipko Movement

Across the Country

Starting from this small village, the Chipko movement spread through the country and reached its peaks in 1980, when it forced the then prime minister Indira Gandhi to pass a law, banning the cutting of trees in the Himalayan region for the next 15 years.

Afforestations Carriedout

Over the next many years, the Chipko movement was instrumental in many afforestation work.

Award

In 1987, the Chipko Movement was awarded the ‘Right Livelihood Award’.

Sunderlal Bahugana

Sunderlal Bahugana was the main leader of the Chipko movement. He travelled 5000 kms in 3 years, between 1981 and 1983, passing on the message of the Chipko movement. In 1989, Saunderlal Bahugana began many hunger strikes, in protest against the construction of a dam in the Himalayas, where the forests would be the casualties. The Chipko movement thereafter was known as ‘Save the Himalaya Movement’.

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Sunderlal Bahugana

Among 100 who shaped India

In an edition of India Today magazine of 2008, the people who organized the Chipko Movement were counted among the ‘100 People who shaped India’.

They indeed shaped the Himalayan region. If not for the Chipko Movement, the Himalayas would have faced many Tsunamis in the last many decades, and been badly out of shape.

World Pyramid Day

The concept of Meru is pyramidal in shape. Pyramids are there all over the world. In Egypt, in Mexico, in Bosnia, in Turkey and in  many other places. At each place, the physical pyramids have different purposes. Researchers are today unravelling newer meanings for what these pyramids stood.

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Meru

In the Indian civilization too, the concept of pyramids does exist, not in the physical form of gigantic pyramids but in the concept of Meru. At a ritual level, there is Meru worship.

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For the noble factors that are inherent in Meru, it is referred to as Su Meru.

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Sumeru Parvat

We call Egyptian pyramids as “pyramids”, as the word is derived from the Greek word, “pyre mid”, meaning there is fire energy in the middle of the pyramid. The ancient Egyptian word in the native Egyptian language in “Mru”. It is indeed interesting to note that Mru and Meru are phonetically similar and refer to a similar concept.

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Egyptian Pyramids

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Conical Meru Shaped structure, Turkey

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Pyramid of the Moon Mexico

While archaeological remains of pyramids are available all over the world as hardware, the information on why they were made and how they were made has been lost in all these lands.

In India however, we have exhaustive texts on Meru, on what it means and on why we give importance to this concept of Meru.

Does this suggest that while hardware is strewn all over the world, the software to understand them lies in the ancient Indian Meru texts?

A connect is needed between the two to unravel the mysteries of pyramids. In iconography, one of the forms of Vishnu is known as Srivatsa. This can be identified with a pyramidal triangle etched on the chest of Vishnu over His heart.

Among many things, the Meru symbol also denotes knowledge. This symbolism of denoting knowledge is not just in Indian thought but can also be seen in architecture in Greco Roman style Fasad as well.

In the Indian thought, the base knowledge on each subjects originates from the Veda which is the starting point. That knowledge is explained in different Upanishads. This knowledge is also explained with stories in different Purana. The scholars and rishi give further information as relevance to their times. This creates a plethora of other subjects. In present day Hindi, these are commonly called as Tipany.

This way of arranging of knowledge from the source through all these explanatory texts are pyramidal in shape. Thus we see, among the many explanations for Meru, the explanation and arrangement of knowledge as it has come down to us today, is in the shape of Meru.

More on Meru, in our book, Brand Bharat Vol-2.

Bhagat Singh

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.

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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.

Education

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.

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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.

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   Bhagat Singh, Sukdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru

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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

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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.

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Statue of Bhagat Singh at Indian Parliament

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Stamp on Bhagat Singh

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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 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.

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

Puppets

Kerala

Pava Kathakali  1
West Bengal

Bener Putul

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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

Puppets

Bihar

Yampuri

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West Bengal

Patul Nautch

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Orissa

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

Puppets

Andhra Pradesh

Tholu Bommalata  5

Karnataka

Togalu Gombeyata

 6

Kerala

Tolpavakoothu

 7

Maharashtra

Chamadyache Bahulya

 
Tamil Nadu

Tolpavaikoothu

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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.

States

Name of Puppet

Puppets

Rajasthan

Kathaputli  9

Orissa

Kundhei

 10

Karnataka

Gombeyatta

 11

Tamil Nadu

Bommalatam

 12

Assam

Putul Nach

 13
Maharashtra

Kalasutri Bahulya

 14

Kerala

Nool Pavakoothu

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Andhra Pradesh

Keelubommalatta

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Manipur

Laithibi Jagoi

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Krishna-Sutradhar

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.

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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.

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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.

Ramayana

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.

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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.

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Valmiki moved by pathos

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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.

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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.

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William Wordsworth

Mahabharata

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.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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           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,

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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.

Kabir

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.

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Kabir

Tulsidas

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

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Tulsidas

Kalidasa

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.

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Kalidasa

Kamban

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.

Tagore

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.

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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.

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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.

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