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Indian News

Has Modi lost a golden opportunity?

It was one Saturday one time and a Sunday the following week and every week almost, the people of India were hooked to television sets waiting to listen to the future leader of the country, none other than Modi. That was 2013 September onwards when Narendra Modi got elected as the head of campaign committee of BJP who was addressing rallies in various parts of country. There was euphoria all over with the expectations soaring as the then dispensation had failed miserably having been accused of one scam after another. It was a movement that began with Anna Hazare fasting for the cause of Lokpal bill which eventually got passed by parliament. Arvind Kejriwal gave the political touch for the movement with his Aam Aadmi Party that eventually got Delhi to rule.

 

History was created on 16 th may 2014 when BJP got a historic mandate of 282 seats and people started celebrating with joy the advent of a non congress dispensation in full majority for the first time after Independence. The mood was palpable as the expectation that Modi rallies with its slogan of Achhe Din had generated tremendous response from public. By then the public was reeling from the effects of not only from rampant corruption, but also with higher fuel prices, inflation with high cost of living, high interest rates and lack of job opportunities.

So what did BJP promise that got them to 282 in 2014? The main catch was bringing black money back and putting it into every Indian account an amount of Rs 15 lakh. Come 2018 almost after 4 and half years of the Modi Government, where do we stand? The petroleum minister says he is helpless to bring down fuel prices as the Global factors are responsible for it. If that is the case why didn’t you bring down the prices when the global prices were falling between 2014 and 2016 the people are asking. What happened to the wind fall gains by the government during that period. You are claiming that the oil marketing companies have become profitable, what about people, a big hole in their pockets?. Is this what Achhe Din all about?.

When Demonetization was announced, there was a promise “Give me 50 days, you will see happiness forever. What happened later? The Govt has not even bothered to listen to people, when some people lost lives, not an iota of sympathy was shown towards them. Let alone that, when some people could not exchange their old currency sought one more opportunity, they were denied suspecting them to be black money hoarders.

So what has demonetization brought our life to as on today. The so called perceived black money did not come in thousands or lakhs of crores. All that RBI ended up was just a difference of 0.7 percent in the currency not returning after demonetization. The economic chain of activity got cut. Jobs were lost. Just walk on the main commercial streets in your city, you will see only the staff of a shop seen inside with occasional visits by customers. This was prevalent even during festive season. The only exceptions have been eateries.

The BJP is claiming that with demonetization the tax base has enhanced and unaccounted money has been unearthed. But at what cost? Imagine the cost of New currency printing, jobs lost, economic chain of activity getting hit. We are not privy to some of the statistics that the government claims to have benefited due to Demonetization. The better way to describe this situation is, for a professional, the money flow is badly hit, payments are not given on time even after completion of the job due to cascading effect. People are not spending money but postponing their decisions in the private sector. Orders even after confirmation is either getting cancelled or deferred due to money crunch. To add insult to injury increase in petrol price, interest rates remaining the same for old customers and essential commodities remain where they are with respect to price.

One more hit came from GST. It was a brave and bold move by Modi government but what is the benefit to common man. The prices have not come down, they have increased on some goods and more shocking has been the irrational entry of GST into certain goods where none existed earlier. Like for example, people are paying for GST for the premium they are paying for Insurance. This has lead to a perception that Modi has started punishing his voters for having voted him to power.

There is a clear perception that has set in the minds of public especially amongst the middle class that Modi government has shut all the doors for them. What used to be the safe source of income thro’ Bank interest rates has come down drastically. Any scheme that you invest in does not offer more than 7 percent returns. Let alone the FDs, keeping money in Bank Account has become scary with frauds of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi coming to light and the way the customers are being fleeced with various charges. Besides this, the middle class has also seen the commitment of this Government on fighting corruption and black money. It was only symbolic of them to join Anna Hazare for Lok Pal bill as an opposition party. After coming to power there is no word on instituting Lok Pal except a few meetings to have been called to discuss it being reported in the media.

The point here is where do people stand after 4 and half years of Modi Govt? they feel disheartened, let down. Imagine the optimism they had when the Government took over and see where they are today. Miserable is what you can describe it as. Some of the spokespersons of BJP are so vocal in suggesting that “look at the number of subscriptions to EPF, they are a big indicator of employment generation. But in reality what is the picture? When a Government undertakes such measures as demonetization and GST, it is like a scientist conducting a test before certification. What people are asking is why don’t you listen to them when it has gone horribly wrong and hurt them. Probably a dialogue will help in achieving the success. Come February every year, for the last 4 years, people have been looking forward to the Union Budget for some initiatives, measures that will address the needs of the common man. Where are they? One of the regional channel chief post this year’s budget was commenting, has this BJP government lost a golden chance? After all the Government has still not ensured basic necessities of food, shelter and education to one and all. It makes the people ask the Government why do an animal test on us when you cannot provide an alternate to our present state of affairs?

So in Summary, after 5 years our lifestyle has not improved but deteriorated with same old issues of higher prices, lesser income and more difficulty. If the recent assembly election results have not served alarm bells to BJP, then they may end up ceding the space back to Congress despite arguing in Television channels that Congress does not stand a chance.

(writer is a media and communication professional and a supporter of Cultural Nationalism)

Conscience of mother tongue has cost BJP stability in Goa

BJP stirred conscience of mother tongue in Goa among its strong supporters and has suffered electoral setbacks in 2017 elections.  Dedicated RSS volunteers and leaders formed a temporary political party – Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and fought elections with MGP to teach BJP a lesson.  The alliance of GSM-MGP-ShivSena together have managed to attract 12.9 per cent voters in favour of them which accounts to nearly 1,13,821 votes out of the 11.10 lakh total number of voters in the state. This was a crucial factor in the final outcome of Goa verdict against BJP.

In Mandrem constituency where Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar who had made the hat trick, BJP was defeated by Congress candidate Dayanand Sopte. Sopte split from BJP in the year 2012 and joined Congress. Silent votes of GSM have gone towards Congress to defeat BJP. Subhash Velingkar had stated that defeating Parsekar is one of the main agenda of GSM.

In Canacona constituency where Vijay Pai Khot, one of the sure candidates of BJP was defeated. Strong BJP workers and supporters have also voted for Congress,” one of the close aide of Pai Khot said. Porvorim, the stronghold of RSS, has also witnessed a similar trend. Being an independent for the second consecutive term, Rohan Khaunte has managed to retain his seat. Though it is a fact the constituency is a RSS domain, the alliance of MGP-GSM has just secured 222 votes. This indicates as per political analysis the RSS cadre has voted against ruling BJP government in Goa.

BJP Candidate Guruprasad Pawaskar managed to get only 6961 votes, whereas the independent candidate Rohan Khaunte won by a huge margin of 4,213 votes. Similar was the story in couple of other constituencies like Pernem, Siolim, Sanguem and Quepem. Subhash Velingkar has endorsed this analysis. In almost 12 constituencies and indirectly in 10 constituencies, silent voting has affected BJP.

After the elections, GSM has been dissolved and its members have announced rejoining of RSS.  RSS has accepted their inclusion.  Dedicated supporters of Hindutva have shown their justified anger against promotion of English medium schools at the cost of Konkani language.  Now, Manohar Parikkar has been assigned the task of leading the fragile government for next five years.  He will surely learn his lessons about inclusiveness and humbleness while facing the consequences of opportunistic politics.

Why Amnesty International is to be stopped by India?

Broken FamilesAmnesty International has published a report “Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir“. The title of the report indicates that security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir are committing human rights violations and there is no accountability for such violations. But, as the organization admits that five security force personnel were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Machil extra-judicial execution where Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmand Lone and Mohammad Shafi Lone died in a single incident. This incident is one of the 13 case studies that report cites and three of the fifteen people allegedly killed by the Army. The fact that life imprisonment was awarded to the security force personnel indicates that due procedures are followed in alleged illegal killings.

This is not an isolated instance even among the 13 incidents that the report cites. In the case of Sixteen-year-old Zahid Farooq Sheikh was killed in 2010 by the Border Security Force personnel as he was walking home from playing cricket with friends in Srinagar, a court martial was conducted by the Indian Army. Many of the relatives of Zahid attended the court martial and gave witness. The Indian Army submitted to the court that Zahid was involved in stone pelting against the BSF personnel and in a retaliatory fire was killed. It is quite possible that the inflammatory propaganda material he received against the Indian Army provoking Zahid to act against the Army.

In yet another incident, Mushtaq Ahmad Hajam who was returning from prayer was killed by a CRPF peronnel. He was moving suspiciously as stated by the CRPF personnel and when challenged, did not stop. CRPF personnel responded to his disobedience and he was killed. A court martial was initiated in this case too, which were attended by family members of Mushtaq.

In the case of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, whose mother Aahaz Dar has created the petition hosted by Amnesty International, it is observed that Mustaq Ahmad Dar was an informer of terrorists, harbored arms and ammunition. He was identified by local Muslim informers and the Army reached him only after confirmation. There are many other cases among the fifteen cases that are highlighted in the report. Some people were previously arrested for terror liks and a few others were picked up for interrogation after identified by local informers and elaborate intelligence information.

At least the above incidents are sufficient to say that Indian Army and other security agencies have initated investigation into many allegations and followed procedures before closing the case. Thus, the title is definitely of “failure in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir” is wrong and misleading. The language used in the Amnesty International report is not supportive of neutral point of view (NPOV) and is biased against security personnel.

Officially the Indian Army is committed to high standards of compliance with Human Rights issue by announcing “zero tolerance” for human rights violations as reported in the report. But, having acknowledged the policy of the Indian Army, the Amnesty Report claims

“more than 96% of all complaints brought against the army in Jammu & Kashmir have been dismissed as “false and baseless” or “with other ulterior motives of maligning the image of Armed Forces.”The small number of cases in which complaints against personnel have been investigated and military trials conducted are closed to public scrutiny.   Few details of investigations conducted by the security forces are available to the public. The military are notoriously reluctant to share substantive information about how they conduct inquiries and trials by court-martial into human rights violations. There is even less information publicly available about investigations and trials conducted by paramilitary forces. “

The Amnesty Report fails to provide the context and the background for the dismissal of complaints. The Amnesty Report describes the Indian Army as “notoriously reluctant”. Throughout the report a repeated allegation against the Army is that the investigations are not open for public scrutiny. While the Army has allowed family members to participate in the investigations, the constituents of general public, as per Amnesty Intenational, is not clear.

The report makes astonishing statements about prevailing legal provisions.

“With the continued existence and enforcement of legal provisions like AFSPA, access to effective legal remedies for victims of human rights violations and their relatives in J&K remains as limited today …”. Further, the report states its aim as “to expose the government’s complicity in facilitating impunity for security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, and challenge the de jure and de facto practices it uses to block justice for victims of human rights violations. This report challenges the use of sanction provisions under the AFSPA; demonstrates how the denial of sanction or permission has been routine and entirely lacking in transparency; and argues that the continued use of the AFSPA violates India’s constitutional guaranteed rights to life, justice and remedy”

Further the report concludes “By not addressing human rights violations committed by security force personnel in the name of national security, India has not only failed to uphold its international obligations, but has also failed its own Constitution.”

This report claims to

“military justice system (of India) violates international standards for fair trials. Further, it demonstrates how security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir have exacerbated this situation by routinely failing to cooperate with criminal investigations, civilian courts and government-ordered enquiries, and subjecting those pursuing complaints to threats, intimidation and harassment.”

These objectives and observations clearly indicative of misrepresentation of role of the Indian Army in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Further, it also indicates that Amnesty has a myopic approach in dealing with the issue of human rights. The report is silent about the role of a systematic misinformation campaign that is complicating the situation or implications of its demand of state police investigating the allegations against the Army. While making allegations of threats, intimidation and harassment against Indian Army, the Amnesty Report is consciously neglecting the role of civil administration in declaring an area as disturbed and the gravity of situation in the disturbed area to be faced by the security agencies.

In essence, the Amnesty International is failing to provide a soothing effect to the families of Kashmir who have lost their dear ones in an inevitable situation. Instead, the organization is irresponsible in unleashing a malicious propaganda against the security agencies and inciting the population against the government. The Amnesty International has an objective of working towards repealing death sentence and harmonizing the laws of India with the theoretical recommendations of UN. In order to achieve these objectives, it is creating pressure on Indian Government through these devious methods.  Stopping Amnesty International is a first step in dealing with the underlying causes for Kashmiri unrest that the Government of India should implement on a priority basis.

Indian GDP in 2014 is 1.29 Jaladhi

The numbers equal to powers of ten are frequently used in economics and other fields to represent large values.  United States uses numbers million, billion, and trillion to represent 106, 109, and 1012 respectively.  But, intermediate powers of ten have no unique name.  In India, presently, 10^3, 10^5, and 107 are referred as Sahasra, Laksha, and Koti.  Other powers of ten are referred through three three numbers.  For example, 1010 is referred as one thousand crore.  Bigger numbers such as Indian GDP are represented by using trillion unit.  In the present year budget, the Indian GDP was estimated as twelve lakh crores.  That is equal to 132 trillion rupees.  There is some kind of confusion in India about the use of names for these numbers.  Interestingly, there is systematized list of names for each power of ten in Sanskrit and we are not making use of the existing terminology.  Even terms ‘lakh’ and ‘crore’ are english version of ‘laksha’ and ‘koti’ taken from the same list.  Rigveda provides some of these names.   The Ramayana and Mahabharata provides names of numbers equal to powers of ten.  References to names representing many powers of ten are also seen in Panini’s Ashtadhyaayee, Lilaavathi, Aryabhateeya, and Vishnupuraana.  By considering two important sources from this perspective, Ramayana and Vishnupurana, the following detailed table is prepared.

Power of 10 form Name
103 Sahasra
104 Ayuta
105 Laksha
106 Prayuta
107 Koti
108 Arbuda
109 Abja
1010 Kharva
1011 Nikharva
1012 Shanku
1013 Neel
1014 Jaladhi
1015 Anta
1016 Madhya
1017 Paraardha
1022 Vrinda
1027 Mahavrinda
1032 Padma
1037 Mahapadma
1042 Karvam
1047 Mahakarvam
1052 Samudram
1057 Ogha
1062 Mahaugha

It is interesting to note that million is called prayuta, billion is called abja, and trillion is called Shanku. As an example, the size of economies of different countries are listed below with Jaladhi as a unit for the year 2014.

GDP of major economies – 2014

Jaladhi Rupees

world 44
China 5.95
USA 10.2
Europe 13.10
Japan 3.64
India 1.29
Australia 0.94
Africa 0.86
South America 3.49

Lok Sabha -16 – Resource Page

This is a resource page for issues related to 16th Lok Sabha maintained by media syndicate. Members of the 16th Lok Sabha were elected during the 2014 Indian general election. The elections were conducted in 9 phases from 7 April 2014 to 12 May 2014 by the Election Commission of India. The results of the election were declared on 16 May 2014. The Bharatiya Janata Party (of the NDA) achieved a simple majority with 282 seats out 543. Its PM candidate Narendra Modi will take office on the 26th of May 2014 as the 14th prime minister of independent India. The Indian National Congress(of the UPA) won 44 seats while the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party from Tamil Nadu won 37 seats.

General Elections 2014:      Party wise results      Constituency wise results       State wise results        Vote Share

 

See Government monitoring blog   

 

ALL INDIA Results
For Detailed results see http://eciresults.nic.in/
Party Won Leading Total
Bharatiya Janata Party 282 0 282
Communist Party of India 1 0 1
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 9 0 9
Indian National Congress 44 0 44
Nationalist Congress Party 6 0 6
Aam Aadmi Party 4 0 4
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 37 0 37
All India N.R. Congress 1 0 1
All India Trinamool Congress 34 0 34
All India United Democratic Front 3 0 3
Biju Janata Dal 20 0 20
Indian National Lok Dal 2 0 2
Indian Union Muslim League 2 0 2
Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party 3 0 3
Janata Dal (Secular) 2 0 2
Janata Dal (United) 2 0 2
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 2 0 2
Kerala Congress (M) 1 0 1
Lok Jan Shakti Party 6 0 6
Naga Peoples Front 1 0 1
National Peoples Party 1 0 1
Pattali Makkal Katchi 1 0 1
Rashtriya Janata Dal 4 0 4
Revolutionary Socialist Party 1 0 1
Samajwadi Party 5 0 5
Shiromani Akali Dal 4 0 4
Shivsena 18 0 18
Sikkim Democratic Front 1 0 1
Telangana Rashtra Samithi 11 0 11
Telugu Desam 16 0 16
All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen 1 0 1
Apna Dal 2 0 2
Rashtriya Lok Samta Party 3 0 3
Swabhimani Paksha 1 0 1
Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party 9 0 9
Independent 3 0 3
Total 543 0 543

Anand wins world chess championship

Viswanathan Anand became the World chess Champion for the fifth time on Wednesday, 30th May 2012, after beating Israel’s Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in a tie-breaker at the Tretyakov Gallery in Mascow. The match that began on May 10 was tied 6-6 after 12 games in regular format. Both Anand and Gelfand managed to win one game each, while the remaining 10 ended in draws. In the tie-breaker of four short games, the first onewas a draw and the second was won by Anand in the 77th move.Anand clinched the title once again after holding Gelfand to draws in the third and fourth games, winning the prize money of $1.5 million.This is the third championship title in a row for Anand.

The 42-year-oldAnand from Chennai has been holding the title since 2007. His opponent Gelfand had earned the spot to play for the championshipafter he defeated the worlds’ other top players in the Candidates Tournament in 2011. Currently, Anand is at number 4 with an Elo rating of 2791 and Gelfand at 20 with an Elo rating of 2727 in the world rankings. Gelfand’s victory motivated his long-time friend Russian billionaire Andrey Filatov to bid for the 2012 tournament, which he won with $2.55 million. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) had considered London and Chennai before zeroing on Moscow as the venue for tournament.

Anand encountered a tough battle as Gelfand displayed solid defence that led to a tie at the end of 12th game. The media  projected Gelfand as a probable winner hypothesizing relatively lower motivation levels of Anand. However, Anand’s famous prowess in rapid and blitz chess formats once again triumphed. After losing the second game in the rapid-fire round, Gelfand could not force a much-needed win in the remaining two games. He offered the draw after four-and-a-half hours of grueling efforts in the fourth game, putting an end to his 19-year itch for the top most title in chess.

Anand won his first world championship title in 2001 in the knockout format, and won it in match format in 2007. He defended the title in 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik and in 2010 against VaselinTopolov. During the latest championship games, Anand was assisted by Peter Heine Nielsen, RustamKasimdzhanov, Surya ShekharGanguly and Rados?awWojtaszek, whereas his Israeli opponent Gelfand’s seconds included Alexander Huzman, PavelEljanov, and Maxim Rodshtein. It was reported that there were some anonymous Seconds assisting Gelfand in the background for his preparations against Anand.

Achievements of Viswanathan Anand have always provided impetus to the game of chess in India.  The recent victory is an opportunity to herald new policy initiatives to strengthen the emerging culture of chess.  Undoubtedly, Anand is one of the tallest sports persons of India. An increasing number of voices, advocating Bharat Ratna for Anand, is being heard in the aftermath of the World Championship. A Bharat Ratna to Anand would be a fitting tribute to the chess talent. It could serve as a first step in seizing the initiative to promote the game.

Awarding of GM and IM

 The World Chess Federation (FIDE) hosts the world championship, as well as rates chess players by monitoring their performances across tournaments, leagues and matches. Players are rated through Elo Score, a statistical scoring systemupdated from the performance of players in various tournaments from time to time.  It updates scores based on the relative strengths of the player. FIDE awards various titles to chess players based on Elo scores. When a player meets a specified performance level in Chess, FIDE awards some titles to the Chess players.  A player is awarded a Candidate Master (CM) with a rating of 2200 on Elo Score and a FIDE Master (FM) with 2300 points. A player becomes an International Master (IM) with a rating of 2400 and a Grand Master (GM) when he/she reaches 2500 on Elo score. The highest Elo score is in the name of Kasparov at 2851. Viswanathan Anand became GM in 1987. There are about 1366 GMs and 3173 IMs in the world. India has about 26 GMs and 76 IMs.

 

How world chess championship was played

 The match format was the best of 12 games. Players scored one point for a win and half a point for a draw. The winning condition was to score 6.5 points. In case of a tie, the tie-breaker matches were in place.

First tie-breaker match was in the form of a 4 rapid games. The second tie-breaker match was a series of 5 pairs of blitz games. The series would continue if the tie conitnues in each pair of blitz games. The third tie-breaker match was a single sudden-death “Armageddon game”. In case of a draw, player with black pieces would win the match.

Time control for first 12 games was 120 minutes, with 60 minutes added after move 40, 15 minutes added after move 60, and 30 additional seconds per move starting from move 61. For rapid game match, time control was 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. For blitz games, it was 5 minutes plus 10 seconds increment per move. For sudden death game, time control was 5 minutes for white and 4 minutes for black with a 3 second increment for each move after 60 moves.

 

 

Manipur blockade by Kukis and Nagas demanding new districts

An indefinite road blockade on National Highway (NH) 53 and NH 39 that link the northeastern state with the rest of the country blockade began Aug . They are demanding that the Sadar Hills sub-division in the Naga-dominated Senapati district in northern Manipur be upgraded as a full-fledged district. The blockade was called by Kuki community led Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) in demand that the Sadar Hills sub-division in the Naga-dominated Senapati district in northern Manipur be upgraded as a full-fledged district. The United Naga Council, the apex body of Nagas in Manipur, has also been organising a counter-road blockade in all Naga-inhabited areas in northern Manipur, demanding that these areas should not be carved out without their consent. The people of the state continue to suffer in this tussle.

 Home Minister P. Chidambaram has appealed to groups demanding a separate district in Manipur to suspend their 92-day-old economic blockade, which has led to prices of various commodities sky-rocketing in the north-eastern state. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Governor Gurbachan Jagat have also repeatedly urged the agitators to withdraw the blockade. 

Seriously ill patients have been turned away from Manipur hospital because of lack of life saving drugs and oxygen cylinders. Manipur does not have a medical gas plant of its own and relies on the nearby state of Assam. As a result of the stir, the price of oxygen cylinder has therefore gone up – by four-five times. The price of fuel and household commodities have also shot up. Although there is a general scarcity of goods, most of the things are available at higher prices. Officially, Petrol will be available from 7 am and from midnight people start queuing up their vehicles outside the fuel station. Next morning the fuel will not be available after about two hours. However the fuel will be available in the market but at a higher price. It means that the black marketers are getting their supply and exploiting the people. while in other states, the price of petrol is around Rs67 a litre, in Manipur it is being sold at around Rs200 in the black market. An LPG cylinder can cost anywhere between Rs1,800-2,000. Then again, a kilo of potatoes will cost around Rs40-50 and onions at Rs60-70. Many people have stopped using gas cylinders and are using home grown vegetables and fish from the local pond.

Christian groups oppose anticorruption movement by Baba Ramdev

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known for teaching Yoga and having millions of followers, has drawn church’s criticism for his ties with Right-wing groups infamous for attacking Christians.

Delhi’s Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao condemned the yoga teacher’s ongoing mass campaign which seeks to curb corruption as it is being supported by Hindu groups. The Archbishop, who actively participates in civil society movements, said he was sad to see and hear a known anti-minorities baiterSadhvi Ritmbara sharing the stage with Ramdev. “One also saw a large number of saffron clad men adorning the dais, raising questions in our minds whether it was a national movement or political and/or a religious movement”, Concessao said in a statement.

The Archbishop condemned the police crackdown but justified the questioning by police who had given permission to the yoga guru only to conduct a yoga camp. Concessao said he did not “support arm twisting methods or the agenda of clean governance to be usurped by politicians for their own political gains.”

“The incident shows the unholy mix of religion and politics” UCANEWS quoted Catholic Church spokesperson Dr. Babu Joseph as saying.

Samuel Jaikumar from the National Council of Churches in India, a body representing mainline Protestants, said Ramdev’s protest had a communal element to it as it was reportedly supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the country’s largest and most influential Hindu nationalist organization. “Real issues like corruption and black money have taken a back seat,” Jaikumar added.

Ritmbara is a prominent member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or the World Hindu Council. The RSS is the ideological mentor of India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is aimed at promoting Hindu values. VHP is a religious wing of RSS and is active in opposing fradulent means adopted by Christian missionaries to lure Hindus to convert. VHP is also spearheading Ram Janmabhoomi movement to build a Ram temple at the birth place of Ayodhya.

Christian Rights groups say on an average around 200 incidents of attacks on Christians are reported each year and a majority of them can be attributed to groups like the World Hindu Council.

Ramdev, who has assets worth millions of dollars, is a Hindu leader promoting Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedas. He is demanding Indian government to bring back the illegal money to India and enact law providing for death penalty for corrupt officials. Over 100,000 people joined Ramdev’s fast-unto-death against illegal money stashed in banks abroad by corrupt politicians and tax evaders on June 4 in New Delhi. However, a police crackdown forced his followers to return in the night. Police also detained Ramdev. Hundreds of Indian-Americans followers across the United States also observed fast in support of Ramdev, who claims to give health and happiness to his followers and cure cancer and AIDS through yoga. Friday, 10th June 2011, was the seventh day of fasting by the 46-year-old yoga guru.

Source: Christian Post

Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga at Sringeri

Several Yagas and Homas were conducted in a grand manner at Sringeri beginning from 4th April 2011 – 16th April 2011. Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga, Ati Rudra Mahayaga, Rik-Samhita Yaga, Yajus-Samhita Yaga and Sama-Samhita Yagas were performed as part of the Shashtyabdapurti Vardhanti Mahotsava celebrating the (completion of) 60 years of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. Along with Yagas, Mrityunjaya Homa, Lakshamodaka Ganapati Homa, Ugra-ratha homa, Ayushya Homa and Navagraha Homas were also performed during this period. All these Dharmic activities were performed in accordance with the scriptural injunctions.

The Shastras have prescribed parayana of this Durga Saptashati one, ten, hundred or thousand times known as Chandi, Nava-Chandi, Shata Chandi and Sahasra Chandi respectively for the fulfilment of various wishes. Ayuta means ten thousand in Sanskrit. Ten thousand parayanas of Durga Saptashati will be performed in Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga.

Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga was conducted by the Math for the welfare of the world as resolved by Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. This great Yajna was conducted perhaps for the first time in the known History of Sringeri or even South India. In this Yagna,, over one thousand Ritwijas performed a total of ten thousand parayanas of Durga Saptashati, one crore japas of Chandi-Navakshari Mantra throughout the five days. Kalpokta Avarana Puja, was performed by the Pradhana Acharya to the newly made murti and yantra of Sri Chandika Parameshwari as a part of Purashcharana. Sahasranamarchana, Mahamangalarati and Ashtavadhana Seva and other ceremonies were performed in the evening throughout the five days.

Coconut by Jagadguru Shankaracharya to Chief officiating

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji graced the Yagashala for the Sankalpa ceremony at around 9:00 A.M on 5th April 2011, and offered Diksha-Vastram, Rudraksha-mala and other atrefacts required for the performance of the Yajna to the officiating preists in the Varunam ceremony.

As a part of the ceremony, the chief priest of the Yajna, Sri-Vidya-Upasana Dhurandhara Veda Brahmasri Narahari Subrahmanya Bhatt, Asthana Archaka of the Math at the temple of Sri Sharadamba performed Kalpokta Avarana Pujas to the newly made murti and yantra of Devi Chandika throught the five days.

Yagas were performed at a specially built Chandi Yagashala at Narasimhavanam. Oblations of Payasa were offered by the thousand officiating priests in one hundred Homa-Kundas blazing with the sacrificial fire on the final sixth day. The Yaga was concluded with the Purnahuti ceremony conducted by the Pradhana-Acharya or the chief officiating priest in the august presence of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya, on completion of the Homa.

Chief priest of the Yagas led the 1,200 odd priests in performing the Yajna and also conducted the Purnahuti ceremony in the august presence of the Jagadguru on the 11th of April 2011.

Ati-Rudra Mahayaga commenced on 5th of April 2011 at around 8:30 AM. 121 ritwijas who have come from all the four states of South India and from Maharashtra to participate in the event, chanted Rudra mantras of the Yajur Veda eleven times every day in the morning followed by Mangalarati at noon for ten days. Rudra-Kramapatha and archana were conducted every evening followed by Mahamangalarati, throughout the ten days. The eleven day long event concluded on the 16th of April 2011 with the Purnahuti ceremony at noon which was also be conducted in the august presence of the Jagadguru.

Samhita Yajna of the three Vedas namely Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda were conducted in three seperately constructed Yagashalas opposite Sri Sacchidananda Vilas in Narasimhavanam.

Officiating priests from South India, the Yajus-Samhita Yaga was performed for three days while the Sama and Rik Samhita Yagas were conducted for five days. In the Rik-samhita Yaga, Mantras comprising the 64 adhyayas of the Samhita of the Shakala school of Rigveda were chanted and oblations of clarified butter (ghee) were poured in the sacrificial fire to the chanting while Mantras of the Taittiriya Samhita belonging to the Krishna Yajur Veda were chanted and oblations of clarified butter were poured to the chanting in the Yajus Samhita Yaga. Mantras of the Kauthuma school of Samaveda were chanted while pouring oblations of ghee in the Scrificial fire.

Purnahuti of the Rik-Samhita yaga and Sama-Samhita yaga were conducted on the 15th of April 2011 while that of the Yajus-Samhita Yaga was conducted on the 12th of April 2011 at noon in the august presence of the Jagadguru.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, worshipped Lord Malahanikareshwara at the hill-top shrine located at the centre of Sringeri on the 8th of April 2011.

It is customary for the Jagadguru Shankaracharya to propitiate Lord Shiva at the hoary shrine of Lord Sri Malahanikareshwara on the eve of Vardhanti. In continuation of this practice, the Jagadguru arrived at the hill top to the accompaniment of Vadya Ghosha at around 11:00 A.M. after having darshanam of Goddess Sri Sharadamba and performing Sankalpa for the Ugra-ratha shanti and other homas conducted in conjunction with the Vardhanti festivities.

The Jagadguru first propitiated Lord Ganesha at the shrine of Sri Stambha Ganapati to the accompaniment of Sri Ganapati Atharvashirsha, Ganapati Sukta and other Vedic Mantras chanted by the Math pandits and students of Sadvidya Sanjeevini Samskrita Mahapathashala. Lord Ganapati was worshipped with Panchamrita ahisheka, archana, Modaka Naivedya and deeparadhana. Thence, the Jagadguru entered the age old shrine of Lord Malahanikareshwara and propiatiated Lord Shiva by offerings of Milk, Panchamrita and Udaka Abhisheka, to the accompaniment of Rudradhyaya and other Vedic mantras by Pandits – of Math and those who had gathered to officiate in various ceremonies from the four corners of the country and students of the Sadvidya Sanjeevini Samskrita Maha-Pathashala. The Jagadguru performed Mahamangalarati to Lord Shiva upon completion of the Puja and thereafter worshipped Goddess Bhavani at the shrine adjacent to the Lord.

The event concluded at around 3:00 P.M. with the distribution of Prasadam to all devotees who had gathered at the temple by the Math authorities.

Shastric basis for Ayuta Chandi Mahayaga
The Shastras proclaim that such happiness can be begotten by worship of the Divine Godhead.

By propitiating Devi, the mother of all creation all misery can be overcome and happiness can be derived. Puja, Japa, Parayana, Homa are aspects of worshipping the Divine mother. The greatness of the Divine mother has been extolled in the Devi Bhagavata, Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Mahapurana, Mahabharata and other scriptures. However the Durga-Saptashati or Devi-Mahatmya occuring in the Markandeya Purana is of paramount importance. The greatness of this text, Sri Durga Saptashati as occuring in the Markandeya Purana has been extolled in Damara Tantra and other tantrik texts. By the parayana of this sacred text, difficulties are over come, diseases are cured and wishes fulfilled.
The Durga Saptashati is comprised of three Charitras, namely Prathama, Madhyama and Uttama in thirteen chapters.

The Prathama Charitra describes the glories of the Divine mother as revealed by a Rishi to a Vaishya and Raja Suratha who prayed to the Rishi to alleviate his problems while roaming about the forest after being abandoned by his kith and kin.

In the second Charitra, the Avatara of Goddess Mahalakshmi, the slaying of Mahishasura along with his entire army of warriors, Eulogy of the Divine mother by the Gods, and granting of boons to Indra and other Gods by the Divine Mother have been described vividly.

The third Charitra describes

  • the slaying of Chanda-Munda and other demons by the Divine mother through her Fiery eye as an answer to the prayer by the Gods who were aggrieved by the pains inflicted by Shumba and other wicked demons
  •  the Avatara of Brahmi, Maheshwari and other divine goddesses from the body of the Divine Mother
  •  the slaying of Raktabija, Nishumbha and Shumba by the Divine Mother
  •  Eulogy of the Divine Mother by the Gods and her granting wishes to them
  •  worship of the Divine Mother by Suratha and Samadhi, and vision of the pleased Divine mother granted to them
  • granting of Kingdom to King Suratha and Divine knowledge to the Vaishya

REVEALED: THE INDIA CABLES FROM WIKILEAKS

Starting today, March 15, The Hindu offers its readers a series of unprecedented insights into India’s foreign policy and domestic affairs, diplomatic, political, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual – encountered, observed, tracked, interpreted, commented upon, appreciated, and pilloried by U.S. diplomats cabling the State Department in Washington D.C.

The range of subjects, issues, and persons covered by the India Cables is extraordinary. While the trained diplomat’s eye is almost always on the ball – the developing Indo-U.S. strategic relationship and everything that helps or hinders it – the range includes India’s relations with its neighbours, with Russia, the European Union, East Asia, Israel, Palestine, Iran, and the rest of West Asia, Africa, Cuba, the United Nations. It covers issues and actions relating to defence cooperation, nuclear policy, arms control, terrorism, intelligence sharing, export control, human rights, Indian bureaucracy, environment, AfPak, and much more. There is a special focus on 26/11, Kashmir, India’s policy towards and dealings with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, and where the Indian polity is headed.

Politicians of all shades, diplomats and other officials, sleuths, businessmen, journalists, busybodies, bigwigs and smallwigs figure in the WikiLeaks India Cache – which comprises 5,100 U.S. Embassy and consulate cables relevant to India (not all of them originating in India) and aggregates an astonishing six million words.

These American diplomats have been trained to listen, probe and prod, massage egos, milk sources, report, and write (supplying accessible and, at times, witty and elegant headings and sub-headings) to inform, analyse, and amuse – as though they were full-time journalists. Many of them work like wire service beavers: long lunches, yes, but very often, same day reports of important meetings. Few things escape their notice. Most of the time, they see Indian men, women, and matters through the reflected mirror of U.S. strategic interests and policy.

The India Cables have been accessed by The Hindu through an arrangement with WikiLeaks that involves no financial transaction and no financial obligations on either side. As with the larger ‘Cablegate’ cache to which these cables belong, they are classified into six categories: confidential, confidential/noforn (confidential, no foreigners), secret, secret/noforn, unclassified, and unclassified/for official use only.

Our contacts with WikiLeaks were initiated in the second week of December 2010. It was a period when Cablegate had captured the attention and imagination of a news-hungry world.