B +Ve !!

A site for all positive thinkers to grow together !


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EGO Vs SELF-ESTEEM


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How do you reflect insecurity?

How do you reflect insecurity?.


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SECURITY IS EVERYBODY’S RESPONSIBILITY


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THE FESTIVAL OF RAMZAN


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PRIME MINISTER’S SPEECH

Text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech on India’s Independence Day from the Red Fort:

My dear countrymen, brothers, sisters and dear children,

I greet you all on this anniversary of our Independence.

The leaders of our freedom movement, under the stewardship of Mahatma Gandhi, had dreamt of an independent and prosperous India. On this day in 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took the first step towards the realization of that dream by hoisting the Tricolour at the Red Fort. The journey we began on 15 August, 1947 is now 65 years old. We have achieved much in these 65 years.

Today is certainly a day to celebrate the success of our democracy. However, on this occasion we should also introspect about what remains to be done. We would achieve independence in the true sense only when we are able to banish poverty, illiteracy, hunger and backwardness from our country. This would be possible only when we learn from our failures and build on our successes.

Brothers and Sisters,

You are aware that these days the global economy is passing through a difficult phase. The pace of economic growth has come down in all countries of the world. Seen together, the European countries are estimated to grow at 0 percent this year. Our country has also been affected by these adverse external conditions. Also, there have been domestic developments which are hindering our economic growth. Last year our GDP grew by 6.5 percent. This year we hope to do a little better.

We cannot do much about the conditions that prevail outside our country. But we must make every effort to resolve the problems inside our country so that our economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities in the country are again speeded up.

While doing this, we must also control inflation. This would pose some difficulty because of a bad monsoon this year. However, we have taken many measures to deal with the situation. In districts where there has been a deficit of 50 percent or more in the rainfall, diesel subsidy is being provided to farmers by the Government. Seed subsidy has been enhanced. Funds available under the Central scheme for fodder have been increased. Our effort is to ensure that people do not face difficulty due to shortage of seeds, fodder or water in any part of the country. It is good that we have a big stock of foodgrains because of the hard work of our farmer brothers and sisters, and availability of foodgrains is not a problem for us.

Brothers and sisters,

As far as creating an environment within the country for rapid economic growth is concerned, I believe that we are not being able to achieve this because of a lack of political consensus on many issues. Time has now come to view the issues which affect our development processes as matters of national security.

If we do not increase the pace of the country’s economic growth, take steps to encourage new investment in the economy, improve the management of Government finances and work for the livelihood security of the common man and energy security of the country, then it most certainly affects our national security.

I promise to you today that our Government will work hard for India’s rapid economic growth and for shielding the country from the effects of the global economic slowdown. I promise that we will work hard for creation of new employment opportunities for our young men and women living in villages and cities. We will make every possible effort to secure the livelihood of our poor brothers and sister, our workers and our farmers. We will leave no stone unturned to encourage investment in our country so that our entrepreneurs can make a substantial contribution to our economy.

My dear countrymen,

I believe that this period of difficulties will not last long. Even as we face these problems, we should be encouraged by the fact that we have achieved extraordinary successes in many areas in the last 8 years. We now need to replicate these successes in newer areas.

Brothers and sisters,

It has been our endeavour in the last 8 years to empower our citizens socially and economically so that they can contribute to the sacred task of nation building.

Today, one out of every 5 households in the country has become eligible to benefit from the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Act through a job card. In only the last one year we have provided employment to more than 8 crore people under this scheme.

When the UPA Government came to power in 2004, we had promised that we would provide electricity to all villages. To fulfill this promise, we launched the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. More than 1 lakh new villages have been provided with electricity connections under this scheme and now almost all the villages in the country have been electrified. Our next target is to provide electricity to each and every household in our country in the next 5 years and to also improve the supply of electricity.

My dear countrymen,

No praise is high enough for our hard working farmers. They have produced a record output of crops successively in the last 2 years. Because of our Government’s efforts for development of agriculture and for protecting the interests of farmers, agriculture has grown at an average rate of 3.3 per cent in the 11th Plan which is substantially higher than the 2.4 per cent we achieved in the 10th Plan. In the last 8 years, we have doubled the support prices of crops. We are providing loans at low interest rates to lakhs of farmers.

Our children are the biggest strength of our country. If our children are provided with good education and are healthy, then our future would be bright.

This is the reason why we have paid special attention to the needs of children in our policies and programmes. The education of children has been made mandatory by law. In the year 2006-07, only 93 per cent of children in the age group 6-14 years were getting admission in schools. Today almost all children in this age group are being admitted to schools. More than 51,000 new schools have been opened in the country and about 7 lakh teachers appointed in them in just the last 2 years. Now we will focus on improving the quality of education. In the next few months we will put in place a system of continuous assessment of the benefit our children are getting from teaching. Participation of the community and parents would be ensured so that they can be satisfied with the quality of teaching.

The Mid-day-meal Scheme provides nutritious meals in schools for about 12 crore children everyday. This is the biggest scheme of its kind in the world.

In the last one and half years no new case of polio has come to light and now India does not figure in the list of countries affected by this disease.

Malnutrition in children is a big challenge for us. We have taken steps in many dimensions to deal with this problem. In the last 8 years, the number of mothers and children benefitting from the ICDS has doubled. The process of making the ICDS more effective is in its last stages and will be completed in the next 1 or 2 months.

We had launched the National Rural Health Mission in 2005 so that health services can be extended to each village in the country. Today this Mission is being implemented with the help of 10 lakh health personnel including 8.5 lakh Asha workers. After the success of the National Rural health Mission, we now want to expand the scope of health services in our towns also. The National Rural Health Mission will be converted into a National Health Mission which would cover all villages and towns in the country. We are also formulating a scheme for distribution of free medicines through Government hospitals and health centres.

Brothers and sisters,

We want to create many new job opportunities for our youth in the coming years. To achieve this it is necessary that we train them in skills which our economy needs. It is our endeavour to put in place a system in which training facilities are available in many new skills. We also wish to provide short duration training courses of 6 weeks to 6 months for our young brothers and sisters. The National Skill Development Council has formulated a major scheme for skill development in which 8 crore people will be trained in the next 5 years. This is an ambitious scheme which can be implemented only through a specialized agency of the Central Government. Therefore, we are considering the establishment of a National Skill Development Authority so that skill development programmes all over the country can be implemented in a coordinated manner. We would also need contribution from the private sector and non-Governmental organizations in this work.

Creation of new employment opportunities is possible only when we encourage industry and trade. For this we need to speedily improve our infrastructure.

Recently we have taken new measures to accelerate infrastructure development. Ambitious targets have been fixed in roads, airports, railways, electricity generation and coal production. The Government will take steps to increase investment for infrastructure development with the help of the private sector. To attract foreign capital, we will have to create confidence at the international level that there are no barriers to investment in India.

Brothers and sisters,

Just 10 years back only 3 out of every 10 households in our villages were benefitting from banking services. Today more than half of the rural households get the benefit of bank accounts. It will be our endeavour to ensure that all households benefit from bank accounts in the next 2 years.

We want to create a system in which money from Government schemes – pension for old people, scholarship for students and wages for labourers – can be credited directly into people’s bank accounts. This would reduce inconvenience to the beneficiaries, make it easy for them to receive payment and increase transparency. For this work, we will take help from the Aadhar scheme under which about 20 crore people have been registered so far.

To provide housing for our poor brothers and sisters residing in urban areas of our country we will soon launch the Rajiv Housing Loan Scheme. Under this scheme, people belonging to the economically weaker sections would be given relief on interest for housing loans of less than Rs.5 lakh.

This year we will present the Twelfth Five Year Plan for consideration of the National Development Council. The Plan would determine the future course of action on all important matters relating to the country’s development. It would lay down measures for increasing our present rate of economic growth from 6.5 to 9 per cent in the last year of the Plan. The Plan would focus special attention on areas important from the point of view of reaching the fruits of development to each citizen of our country and specially to the weaker sections of our society. I have full confidence that the Centre and the States will act together to implement the Twelfth Plan in an effective manner.

Brothers and sisters,

The incidents of violence which occurred in Assam recently are very unfortunate. I know that these incidents have resulted in the disruption of the lives of a large number of people. We fully sympathize with those families which have been affected by the violence. We are doing everything possible to provide relief to them. I also promise to you that our Government will make every effort to understand the reasons behind the violence and work hard with the State Governments to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in any part of the country.

We have achieved success in many areas of internal security. In Jammu and Kashmir, people participated in large numbers in the Panchayat elections. There has been a reduction in violence in the North Eastern States and we are engaged in dialogue with many groups there so that they can join the mainstream of development. We have initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people residing there, especially our brothers and sisters belonging to Scheduled Tribes, can be removed and their lot can be improved. However, we need to be constantly vigilant as far as internal security is concerned. Communal harmony has to be maintained at all costs. Naxalism is still a serious problem. The incidents which occurred in Pune in the beginning of this month point to the need for much more work to be done in the area of national security. We will continue to do this work with sincerity in the future also.

My dear countrymen,

I would like to congratulate our scientists and technologists who have enhanced our prestige by successfully testing the Agni V Missile and launching the RISAT- I Satellite in space this year. Recently the Cabinet has approved the Mars Orbiter Mission. Under this Mission, our spaceship will go near Mars and collect important scientific information. This spaceship to Mars will be a huge step for us in the area of science and technology.

Brothers and sisters,

We have seen a lot of discussion in the recent months about the role of our armed forces and their preparedness. I would like to emphasise here that our armed forces and paramilitary forces have defended the security of our country both during war and peace with valour and honour. Our soldiers have made the biggest of sacrifices, whenever needed. Today I would like to reassure our countrymen that our armed forces and paramilitary forces are prepared to face any challenge. The Government will continue to work for modernizing these forces and providing them with the necessary technology and equipment. Today, I would like to thank our security forces, who are guarding our frontiers bravely, from the bottom of my heart. We will continue to make efforts for their welfare.

Our Government has set up a committee to examine issues relating to pay and pension of armed forces personnel. This committee will also look into matters concerning pension of retired men and officers and family pension being paid to their families. We will take prompt action on the recommendations of the committee, once they are received.

My dear countrymen,

Our Government has paid special attention to the welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and other weaker sections. The special needs of our tribal and backward districts are being met through programmes such as the Integrated Action Plan, Backward Regions Grant Fund and Tribal Sub Plan. Through the Forest Rights Act, we have given proprietary rights to lakhs of our brothers and sisters belonging to Scheduled Tribes on land on which they have been living for generations. We are formulating a scheme to ensure that people belonging to Scheduled Tribes can get fair and remunerative prices for the forest produce they collect. The Government wants to speedily convert the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill into a legislation. Through this law we want to provide funds for the benefit of our tribal brothers and sisters in the mining areas.

We will make the 15 points programme for minorities more effective. The Multi-Sectoral Development Programme being implemented in districts with large minority populations will be expanded.

We have enhanced the amount of post-matric scholarship available to children belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities. Our efforts to make these scholarship schemes more effective will continue.We are considering a new and effective law to put an end to the repulsive practice of manual scavenging and to provide opportunities to those engaged in this practice to begin their lives afresh.

Brothers and sisters,

Our commitment to make the work of the Government and administration transparent and accountable stands. On the last Independence Day, I promised you that we would take many steps for this purpose. I am happy to state that during the last 1 year we have achieved good progress in this area. The Lok Sabha has cleared the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill. We hope that all political parties will help us in passing this Bill in the Rajya Sabha. A number of other Bills have also been presented before the Parliament. The Cabinet has cleared a Public Procurement Bill. We will continue our efforts to bring more transparency and accountability in the work of public servants and to reduce corruption. But we will also take care that these measures do not result in a situation in which the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest gets affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation.

Brothers and sisters,

In my first message to the country after assuming the office of Prime Minister I had appealed to you to contribute to the sacred work of nation building. I am very happy that today more of our citizens than ever before, and specially the youth, are taking interest in issues related to the progress of our society and country. Our Government believes that the difficult problems which India faces can be resolved only with the cooperation of the common man. It will be our endeavour that in the coming time, still more people help us in tasks like removal of poverty, illiteracy and inequality.

I believe that no power in the world can stop our country from achieving new heights of progress and development. What is needed is that we work together as one people for the success of our country. Let us once more resolve that we will continue to work for a progressive, modern and prosperous India.

Dear children join me in saying Jai Hind,

Jai Hind,

Jai Hind.


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SATYAMEV JAYATE – HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

Here i’ll update my views on all episodes of Satyamev Jayate.

Wish you Happy Independence Day!


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A FIRST TIMER

LETTER FROM A GIRL TO JRD TATA IN 1974

THE GIRL WRITING AS HERSELF…

It was a long time ago. I was young and bright, bold and idealistic. I was in the final year of my master’s course in computer science at the Indian Institute of Science [IISc] in Bangalore, then known as the Tata Institute. Life was full of fun and joy. I did not know what helplessness or injustice meant.

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and red gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of science. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from universities in US. I had not thought of taking up a job in India.

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco [now Tata Motors]. It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: “Lady Candidates need not apply.” I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up a job, I saw this as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers. Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful.

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco’s management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco. I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company’s chairman then).

I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote. “The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives. They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.”

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune facility at the company’s expense.

I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mates told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost — and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city. To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways.

As directed, I went to Telco’s Pimpri office for the interview. There were six people on the panel and I realised then that this was serious business.

“This is the girl who wrote to JRD,” I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room.

By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. That realisation abolished all fears from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, “I hope this is only a technical interview.” They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude.

The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them. Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, “Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.”

I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, “But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.”

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. That city changed my life in many ways. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House [the Tata headquarters] when, suddenly, JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw ‘appro JRD’. Appro means ‘our’ in Gujarati. That was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.

I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, “Jeh (that’s what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.”

JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it). Thankfully, he didn’t.

Instead he remarked. “It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country.

By the way, what is your name?”

“When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,” I replied. “Now I am Sudha Murty.”

He smiled that kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realise JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.

“Young lady, why are you here?” he asked. “Office time is over.”

I said, “Sir, I’m waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.”

JRD said, “It is getting dark and there’s no one in the corridor. I’ll wait with you till your husband comes.”

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn’t any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, “Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.”

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, “Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.”

In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, “So what are you doing, Mrs Kulkarni? (That was the way he always addressed me.)

“Sir, I am leaving Telco.”

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Pune, sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I’m shifting to Pune.”

“Oh! And what you will do when you are successful?”

“Sir, I don’t know whether we will be successful.”

“Never start with diffidence,” he advised me.

“Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. I wish you all the best.”

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive.

Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay office, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote to me, “It was nice listening about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he’s not alive to see you today.”

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters every day. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn’t do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today’s engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tatas remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model – for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and munificence.

*Sudha Murthy is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. She is involved in a number of social development initiatives and is also a widely published writer.

Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004 .


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PROTECT YOURSELF – HAPPY RAKSHA BANDHAN

We celebrate ‘Raksha Bandhan’ every year. The ritual is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan’. This day is also known as ‘Rakhi Poornima’ or ‘Shravan Poornima’. The word ‘poornima’ means a full moon night. This day has a great significance on everybody’s life. Let’s revisit our history and mythology once more.

 

HINDU MYTHOLOGY:

Like all Indian festivals, this too has a myriad of stories and legends regarding its origin. Some of these stories can be traced back to Indian mythology and even the puranic times. Raksha Bandhan is also referred to in the epic tale of Mahabharata when Lord Krishna advised Yudhishthir to perform the ceremony to protect himself and his people from war. Kunti (the mother of Pandavas) tied a rakhi to her grandson Abhimanyu and Draupadi tied a rakhi on the wrist of Lord Krishna.

  • Santoshi Ma

This day is also celebrated as the birthday of maa santoshi. Ganesh  had two sons, Shubh and Labh. On Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh’s sister visited and tied a rakhi on Ganesh’s wrist. Feeling deprived,  the sons immediately began pressing Ganesh and his two wives, Riddhi and Siddhi, for a sister. Finally, Ganesh conceded the demand, and Santoshi Ma (literally  the Mother Goddess of Satisfaction) was created by divine flames that emerged from Riddhi and Siddhi.

  • Krishna and Draupadi

Another incident from the epic Mahabharat concerns Krishna and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. She had once torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s wrist to staunch the bleeding from a battlefield wound. Krishna was touched by her action and declared her to be his sister, even though they were unrelated. He promised to repay the debt and then spent the next 25 years doing just that. Draupadi (in spite of being married to five great warriors and being a daughter of a powerful monarch) trusted and depended wholly on Krishna. Krishna repaid the debt of love during the “Cheer-Haran” (literally “clothing-robbing”) of Draupadi, which occurred in the assembly of King  Dhritarashtra  when  Yudhisthira  lost her to the  Kauravas in gambling. At that time, Krishna indefinitely extended her saree through divine intervention, so it could not be removed, to save her honor. This is how he honored his rakhi vow towards Draupadi.

  • Bhavishya Puran

Bhavishya Puran is a tale about the war that took place between the demons and the gods. The king of demons Brutra was approaching and the gods lead by Indra were about to face defeat In this crisis, Indira visited Guru Brihaspati to resolve the problem Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist which would evoke powers by sacred mantras on Shravan Purnima. It was this sacred thread that lead Indra to victory.

  • Indra and Indrani

According to this legend, a battle was being fought between the deities and the demons during the hindu month of Shravana on a full moon day. It is said that the demons were in a dominating position and this troubled Lord Indra. His wife Indrani, unable to see his husband saddened over losing the battle, prayed to God and prepared a sacred thread which she tied on the right wrist of her husband. As a result, not only did Lord Indra end up winning the battle but also escaped from it unhurt.

  • King Bali and Goddess Laxmi

According to a legend the Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess  Lakshmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.

During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked, she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife. Thus the festival is also called Baleva which means Bali Raja’s devotion to the lord. This thread was yellow that made yellow Raksha Bandhan popular among brothers and sisters. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan.

  • Yama and the Yamuna

According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.

HISTORY:

The pages of Indian history testify that the Rajput and Maratha queens have sent Rakhis even to Mughal kings who, despite their differences, have protected their Rakhi-sisters at critical moments and honored the fraternal bond. Hindu King Porus refrained from striking Alexander, the Great because the latter’s wife had approached this mighty adversary and tied a Rakhi on his hand, prior to the battle, urging him not to hurt her husband.

  • Alexander the Great and King Puru

According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BC, Roxana (or Roshanak, his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, a  Katoch  king, gave full respect to the rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow to Alexander, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.

  • Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun

One Islamic Scholar believes that Raksha Bandhan grew in popularity after Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, sent a rakhi to the  Mughal  emperor  Humayun  when she required his help. A popular narrative that is centered around Rakhi is that of  Rani Karnavati  of  Chittor  and  Mughal Emperor Humayun, which dates to 1535 CE. When Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of the king of Chittor, realised that she could not defend against the invasion by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun. Touched, the Emperor immediately set off with his troops to defend Chittor. Humayun arrived too late, and Bahadur Shah managed to sack the Rani’s fortress. Karnavati, along with a reported 13,000 other women in the fortress, carried out ‘Jauhar’ on March 8, 1535, killing themselves to avoid dishonour while the men broke into the gates and rode out on a suicidal charge against Bahadur Shah’s troops. When he reached Chittor, Humayun evicted Bahadur Shah from fort and restored the kingdom to Karnavati’s son, Vikramjit Singh.

Although contemporary commentators and memoirs do not mention the Rakhi episode and some historians have expressed skepticism about it, it is mentioned in one mid-seventeenth century Rajasthani account.

OTHER FESTIVALS ON RAKHI DAY:

  • Raksha Bandhan celebrations in India and Nepal

While Raksha Bandhan is celebrated all over the country, different parts of the country mark the day in different ways. Rakhi is celebrated as Rakhi Purnima in North India. The word “Purnima” means a full moon night.

In Nepal, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on shravan purnima. It is also called Janai Purnima (Janai is sacred thread and purnima means full moon). Janai is changed in this day, in Brahmins and Kshetry families. A sacred thread is tied on wrist by senior family members and relatives. Nepalese people enjoy this festival, eating its special food “Kwati”, a soup of sprout of seven different grains.

  • Gamha Purnima

Rakhi is also celebrated as ‘Gamha Purnima’ in  Odisha. On this date, all the domesticated Cows and Bullocks are decorated and worshipped. Various kinds of country-made cakes called ‘Pitha’  and sweets  ‘mitha ‘ are made and distributed within families, relatives and friends. In Oriya  Jagannath  culture, the lord Krishna & Radha enjoy the beautiful rainy season of Shravana starting from Shukla Pakhya Ekadashi (usually four days before Purnima) and ending on Rakhi Purnima with a festival called  Jhulan Yatra. Idols of Radha-Krishna are beautifully decorated on a swing called Jhulan, hence the name Jhulan Yatra.

In southern & Central parts of India including  Kerala,  Andhra Pradesh,  Tamil Nadu,  Karnataka,  Maharashtra  and Odisha, this day (i.e. Shravan Poornima day), is when the Brahmin community performs the rituals of Avani Avittam or Upakarma.

  • Balarama Jayanti

This is also celebrated as Shri Baladeva birth Ceremony. Lord Krishna’s elder Brother Prabhu Balarama was born on this Poornima.

  • Narali Purnima

In western India and parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa this day is celebrated as Narali Purnima. On this day, an offering of a coconut (naral in Marathi) is made to the sea, as a mark of respect to Lord Varuna, the God of the Sea. Narali Purnima marks the beginning of the fishing season and the fishermen, who depend on the sea for a living, make an offering to Lord Varuna so that they can reap bountiful fish from the sea.

  • Jandhyam Poornima

Jandhyam is Sanskrit for sacred thread, and Poornima denotes the full moon in Sanskrit. The people of the  Kumaon  region of  Uttarakhand, celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunyu on the Shravani Purnima, it is a day on which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day, the famous Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district  Champawat.  Punyu  in  Kumauni  means  Purnima  or full moon it is the purnima  in which the sacred thread  Janeu  or  Janyo  is ceremonially changed. The Raksha Bandhan celebrations are similar all across North India. The thread changing ceremony is done all over India.

  • Kajari Purnima

In central parts of India such as  Madhya Pradesh,  Chattisgarh,  Jharkand  and  Bihar  this day is celebrated as Kajari Purnima. It is an important day for the farmers and women blessed with a son. On the ninth day after Shravana Amavasya, the preparations of the Kajari festival start. This ninth day is called Kajari Navami and varied rituals are performed by women who have sons until Kajri Purnima or the full moon day.

  • Pavitropana

In parts of Gujarat, this day is celebrated as Pavitropana. On this day, people perform the grand pooja or the worship of Lord Shiva. It is the culmination of the prayers done throughout the year.

  • Jhulan Purnima, Poonal/Jandhya Poornima/ Janyu

According to Bengali Culture & Celebration, in the state of  West Bengal  (India), this day is also called Jhulan Purnima. Prayers & puja of Lord Krishna & Radha are performed there. Sisters tie rakhi to Brothers and bestow immortality. Political Parties, Offices, Friends, Schools to colleges, Street to Palace celebrate this day with a new hope for a good relationship. Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Konkan, and Orissa change their sacred threads on the same day (Janayu, called as Poonal in Tamil, Jandhyam in Sanskrit)

NEW AGE RAKHI:

  • Rabindranath Tagore & Rakhi

Tagore’s vision of celebrating Raksha Bandhan was totally different. According to him Rakhi is not only a festival of the siblings but it’s a celebration of mankind and of humanity. He promoted the concept of unity and harmony among all members of the society. He believed that it is the responsibility of all the members of the society to help and protect each other and encourage a harmonious social life. For him Rakshabandhan festival is the celebration of fellow feeling and concern. Especially in today’s context Tagore’s vision is very much applicable as it teaches us to think and care for others. The history behind this festival dates back to the year 1905 when the British empire decided to divide Bengal, a state of British India on the basis of caste and religion. That time Rabindra Nath Tagore arranged a ceremony to celebrate Raksha Bandhan to strengthen the bond of love and togetherness between the

Hindus and the Muslims of Bengal and together fight against the British empire. He used the platform of Raksha Bandhan to spread the feeling of brotherhood. It was his vision to spread the nationalist spirit among people from different ethnic groups. His literary works have always transcended race, gender, religion and geographical boundaries. In his works and his beliefs he has always felt that it is important to have freedom of mind irrespective of race, religion and culture.

According to him, if we can think beyond our religion and caste then only we can become true human beings. So to spread this message of love he thought Raksha Bandhan to be the most appropriate day to spread this message. Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan started congregations like Rakhi Mahotsavas. This invoked trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. The festival for them is a symbol of harmony. The tradition continues as people tie rakhis to the neighbors and close friends. It is a festival denoting National sentiments of harmony. So if we look in to the actual significance of this festival in today’s world, which is full of crisis and strife, these kinds of rituals, hold the key to peaceful existence. The auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan can be used as a potent tool for social change, which could ultimately envelop everyone in a permanent bond of love and friendship. Tagore used white threads for Raksha Bandhan thus made white Raksha Bandhan popular among Friends.

  • Celebration & my views

In its initial days it’s celebrated as a day to signify the sacred relationship between a brother and sister. It’s a social bonding aimed at peaceful co-existence. The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread, by the sister on the wrist of her brother. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her.

Traditionally, the sister does not eat anything before tying the rakhi; she breaks her fast by accepting some sweets from her brother after the ceremony. The brother, on his part, gives her some money or a gift according to his means. During the two festivals “Raksha Bandhan (or ‘Rakhi’)” and “Bhaidooj” sisters and brothers show their love and respect for each other by tying a thread around their sibling’s right wrist.

Raksha Bandhan has evolved over time with its meaning and significance. In old days it was considered a brother should take vow to protect his sister by all means and for that reason we celebrate this day once in a year when our sisters tie threads in our hands. The brother in return presents a gift. That value still hold good with some additional possibilities.

On this holy day school children visit our president to tie thread at Rashtrapati bhavan. We have partly extended its significance from brother sister relationship to other areas too.  Now we need to extend our traditional values to every corner and every object that needs protection. Yes, I mean it. Not only brothers and sisters but every other object (living or non-living) that needs protection should come under it.

I’d like to remind you a very nice concept of ‘Vriksha Raksha Bandhan’ which is already into practice in some areas now. We talk about Vriksha Raksha Bandhan when we observe our natural environment in danger. It is a ritual (mostly among educates mass in urban areas) to protect our trees. It’s heartening to see school children coming forward and tying threads on trees. They pledge to take care of one tree each. This consciousness from school days will definitely help them become responsible citizens when they grow to their adulthood. I don’t think anybody will have a second opinion our environment (both tress and animals inclusive) needs protection.

With all these additional possibilities, it’s our social responsibility to provide mutual protection with changing times. It’s often assumed sisters to be always responsible and brothers to be less careful.  So, sisters always take care of their brothers but not the vice versa. If that’s true, why do brothers tie thread asking their sisters to give protection as they always care by default? This is our thought process. It’s not very true. Though the values have not changed over time, we need a change in our mind-set how we visualize things at present.

Why does our love for some never diminish even at the time of distress? On the other hand we don’t like few others even when happy and content. Love is beautiful. It’s really difficult to understand if we don’t experience it in our life. Like beauty we can’t measure love too. It’s eternal. We say, we love our pets, environment and society but we fail to give them protection at the time of need. We love them because of the benefits we get in return. Imagine a time when tress stop producing oxygen; will you love trees? The truth is we love only our own self, our want. That love is so intense that it makes us greedy and selfish.

When people are too selfish in their need, they expect others not to harm them and protect them but they do things just the contrary that put the whole society in danger. We can’t preserve humanity in the absence of social/human values. I’ll give you protection provided you deserve the same. How can i help you unless you help yourself? It’s a time to think who really needs protection. It’s our sisters, brothers or all in the society.

I am taking care of plants and trees in our garden. I’ve also decided to tie RAKHI to all my sisters from coming year as they tie the thread to me. Let’s preserve human values and extend this sacred relationship everywhere.

REFERENCES:

Wikipedia & speaking tree


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