Have I got it right ? क्या हम सही पकड़े हैं ?

Today Anas Haqqani tweeted. See the screenshot of the tweet and a couple of replies are give in text below.

If you have, like me, all the time in the world to spend and really want to know who this moron is click here

Yes, he is now a Talibani Minister in Afganistan. He was one of the negotiators with Americans at Doha.

There is a news item on Tribune today suggesting this tweet may be the cause of a spate of shootings of innocent civilians in Kashmir.

Two tweets by a Haqqani Network scion which glorified the destruction of statues in Somnath have stirred social media users and given food for thought to intelligence agencies here.

Making a reference of his visit on Tuesday to Ghazni, a city past its prime, Anas Haqqani glorified Mahmud Ghaznavi and his act of breaking the Somnath temple idol.”

Haqqani’s first tweet in Pashto went unnoticed where he made no reference to Ghazni’s foray into Somnath though he did say that the medieval age ruler had been a breaker of idols. His second tweet, an hour later, was in English and it specifically mentioned that he had “smashed the idol of

This set the social media on fire with some Afghans berating him for digging up the past, others hailing his statement and Indians largely pointing out that the Somnath Temple today shines in full glory whereas Ghazni is a dust bowl.

Having read the above, I recalled writing of our learned historian cum story telling intellectual Romila Thapar on Somnath that I had read many years ago in a monthly journal of the Communist Party of India.

Memory loss is a natural phenomenon in old age of lesser mortals like me. I wanted to quote her words of wisdom on this controversy. But if I quote someone it has to be backed by an authentic source. That is “sina quo non” in the times that we live in.

And since I have a lot of time to waste no no spend these days I searched and found a reference.

The following quotes are what Romila ji had opined after extensive research in a subject that leftist liberal marxists like her ( these words are deliberately chosen to portray the oxymoron nature of marxists) . Yes in contemporary times they are liberals and nationalists are conservatives.

And the comic tragedy is that neither the marxists liberal nor nationalist conservatives know who they are.

“Not unexpectedly, the Turko-Persian chronicles indulge in elaborate myth-making around the event, some of which I shall now relate. A major poet of the eastern Islamic world, Farrukhi Sistani, who claims that he accompanied Mahmud to Somanatha, provides a fascinating explanation for the breaking of the idol.11 This explanation has been largely dismissed by modern historians as too fanciful, but it has a significance for the assessment of iconoclasm. According to him, the idol was not of a Hindu deity but of a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess. He tells us that the name Somnat (as it was often written in Persian) is actually Su-manat, the place of Manat. We know from the Qur’an that Lat, Uzza and Manat were the three pre-Islamic goddesses widely worshipped,12 and the destruction of their shrines and images, it was said, had been ordered by the Prophet Mohammad. Two were destroyed, but Manat was believed to have been secreted away to Gujarat and installed in a place of worship. According to some descriptions, Manat was an aniconic block of black stone, so the form could be similar to a lingam. This story hovers over many of the Turko-Persian accounts, some taking it seriously, others being less emphatic and insisting instead that the icon was of a Hindu deity.

THE identification of the Somanatha idol with that of Manat has little historical credibility. There is no evidence to suggest that the temple housed an image of Manat. Nevertheless, the story is significant to the reconstruction of the aftermath of the event since it is closely tied to the kind of legitimation which was being projected for Mahmud.

The link with Manat added to the acclaim for Mahmud. Not only was he the prize iconoclast in breaking Hindu idols, but in destroying Manat he had carried out what were said to be the very orders of the Prophet. He was therefore doubly a champion of Islam.13 Other temples were raided by him and their idols broken, but Somanatha receives special attention in all the accounts of his activities. Writing of his victories to the Caliphate, Mahmud presents them as major accomplishments in the cause of Islam. And not surprisingly, Mahmud becomes the recipient of grandiose titles. This establishes his legitimacy in the politics of the Islamic world, a dimension which is overlooked by those who see his activities only in the context of northern India.

BUT his legitimacy also derives from the fact that he was a Sunni and he attacked Isma’ilis and Shias whom the Sunnis regarded as heretics.14 It was ironic that the Isma’ilis attacked the temple of Multan and were, in turn, attacked by Mahmud in the 11th century and their mosque was shut down. The fear of the heretic was due to the popularity of heresies against orthodox Islam and political hostility to the Caliphate in the previous couple of centuries, none of which would be surprising given that Islam in these areas was a relatively new religion.

Mahmud is said to have desecrated their places of worship at Multan and Mansura. His claims to having killed 50,000 kafirs (infidels) is matched by similar claims to his having killed 50,000 Muslim heretics. The figure appears to be notional. Mahmud’s attacks on the Hindus and on the Shias and Isma’ilis was a religious crusade against the infidel and the heretic.

But interestingly, there were also the places and peoples involved in the highly profitable horse trade with the Arabs and the Gulf. Both the Muslim heretics of Multan and the Hindu traders of Somanatha had substantial commercial investments. Is it possible then that Mahmud, in addition to religious iconoclasm, was also trying to terminate the import of horses into India via Sind and Gujarat? This would have curtailed the Arab monopoly over the trade. Given the fact that there was a competitive horse trade with Afghanistan through north-western India, which was crucial to the wealth of the state of Ghazni, Mahmud may well have been combining iconoclasm with trying to obtain a commercial advantage.”

~ Romila Thapar Click here for the full article

There is another article in right wing online portal Opindia.

They quote not our desi Romila Thapar but an equally worthy historian/ writer story teller from the west Richard Davis.”

“In ‘Lives of Indian Images’, 1999 (Princeton University Press), Richard Davis mentions Ghaznavi wanted to destroy the idols as his duty as a Muslim.

Excerpt from Lives of Indian Images’ by Richard Davis, 1999 (Princeton University Press).

Let me end this post by linking a tweet by Times Now where in the daughter of a Kashmiri Pandit Bindroo who was shot by terrorists sends a reply and challenge to the terror mongers.

Geetha VK, Oorumooppathi (Kadar Tribal Leader) from Vazachal Settlement, near Athirapilly, Trissur

G Krishnan
G Krishnan

G.Krishnan started his career  in the NDDB  as a Graduate  Apprentice in 1973 and subsequently  worked in the Planning Division and the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing. In 1978,he went on deputation to CLUSA and worked in the  vegetable  oil project for a brief period.

Krishnan left NDDB in 1978 and worked in the banking sector. He was for a number of years Senior Economist with the Central Bank of India, and the Reserve Bank of India Mumbai. After opting  for voluntary retirement from the Bank in 2000,he has been actively  involved  in various environmental  struggles in the Southern Western Ghats.Krishnan has also been  involved in various  RTI related issues in Kerala.He is presently  settled  in a small agricultural  farm in Kerala and finds happiness in the company his rubber  and nutmeg  trees.

The blog titled ‘Aching Joys’which appeared a few days back in Vrikshamandir contained two photographs of a lady attired in a blue dress,surrounded by three others.Clearly,the lady in blue sort of looked out of place in the midst of three city slickers (an expression which I learned from Prof. Michael Halse!).

Soon after it’s publication,a few of my former friends and colleagues started contacting me to know a little more about rubber and other plantation crops.However,most were curious to know more about the mysterious lady in blue!

Surprise,surprise. Though unfamiliar to many of us,this mysterious character is one of the better known and widely recognized faces in Kerala as well as environmental activists. She is Geetha V.K, the first woman chieftain or ‘Oorumooppathi’ of a tribal settlement in Kerala,belonging to the forest dwelling Kadar community.

In Malayalam, Kadar means forest dwellers.They live in small communities and eak out a living from the forest.Today,there are only about 1800 Kadars in India and 90% of them live in nine settlements near our neighborhood. They do not undertake farming or any other form of agriculture. Essentially, they survive by collecting honey and medicinal plants from the forest in which they live. They consume a lot of fish too which is available in abundance in the Chalakudi river,on the banks of which most of their settlements are located.

Geetha is only 32 years old and is the first person from her community to complete schooling.Being the tribal chief –incidentally,as per protocol,any outsider,including government officials require her consent to enter the settlement.

Being the Oorumooppathy,many would imagine her to be aggressive and fierce.On the contrary, she is a rare and soothing presence in the middle of the dense Western Ghat forests. With her mild manners and soft spoken words, she has amazed each one of us who have known her and worked with her.

Top row from left to right; 1- Geetha with Bhoomika Award 2018 for environmental protection 2- Geetha leading the anti dam agitation at Vazachal settlement Bottom row from left to right 1- Wives of former NDDB employees with Geetha 2- Athirappilly Falls 3- Vazachal settlement 4- Another view of Athirappilly falls

The only time I have seen her assuming an aggressive avatar is when the officials of the State Electricity Board appears in the vicinity. This is explained by the fact that her community had to undergo three wholesale displacements during the past 100 years to make way for new hydroelectric electric projects in the midst of dense forests.

Today, her community is being threatened once more as the State Electricity Board has drawn up plans for a new project in the vicinity of their settlement. However, for the past 20 years she and her people have successfully prevented the state authorities from proceeding from the project and thereby preventing one more eviction.

For the purpose,she has successfully mobilized public opinion within the State and filed 2 suits in the Kerala High Court, which rightly points out the fact that the two new proposed projects are planned in land which has been legally entrusted to them by the very same government under the Forest Rights Act-2006.

Geetha was barely 12 years old when I met her for the first time in early 2000’s.During those days,we used to closely interact and work with the Kadar community under the umbrella of the NGO named River Research Centre. Initially,as a 12 year old, she was part of a children’s group known as ‘Kuttykoottam’ organized,guided and nurtured by one of Kerala’s prominent Environmentalist,the late Dr.Latha Anantha.

Realizing her potential, Latha took her under her wings and inculcated the spirit of idealism,empathy for her downtrodden Kadar community and love for nature.This was the beginning of Geetha ‘s celebrated journey which won her respect,awards and national recognition. We ,who have worked with her and known her see her as an embodiment of courage, determination and hope.

Greetings on the occasion of Onam

My dear friend PT Jacob shared today this social media message of positivity and humanity. I reciprocate the feelings expressed and convey my greetings to all.

Some days ago I read a message from a friend on Onam.

I don’t know why that social media message posted on the occasion of Onam attracted my unusual attention . I have read it several times and each time I read it touches me deeply. And I then indulge in one of my favourite past times in old age- translate English to Hindi.I have taken some liberties in translating it in Hindi. I tried to keep intact the implied meaning of the original as far as possible. Errors if any are mine.

Another one from the past.

As we get closer to the holy and divine Onam festival, this was a great reminder. 

As we converse with HIM trying to come clean of all our negative emotions and guilt, HE smiles HIS most endearing smile and asks us: 

“When you were a child you did many things including running around the house in a semi clad or unclad manner. This gave your mother a lot of worry and stress. Do you think your mother is still upset fir what you did then? The same logic applies to your relationship with me. I will keep guiding you as your divine mother amd father. Karmic debts will need to be paid. I will wait because I know your evolution will happen in the course of time.

This is such a relief for us for we realise that none of our foolishness needs to be treated as fatal error. In turn we too must not treat anyone else’s behaviour towards us as unforgivable. As this thought emerges we experience a sense of “SUPREME FREEDOM”. Completely free from our past be it ours or be it it someone else’s. No grudges, no anger, no feelings of wrongdoing or being wronged. A lesson learned. Time to send blessings and prayers to all especially for the ones who suffer from grouses and grudges and are grumpy for reasons best known to them.

Let this Onam be spent joyfully with our egos crushed by HIS divine feet.

बीते दिनों की एक और बात । 

पवित्र त्यौहार ओणम आने वाला है और आ रही हैं  बीते दिनों की उनकी बताई कुछ और यादें !

वह” हमारी सभी नकारात्मक भावनाओं और अपराध-बोध से मुक्त होने के प्रयास में मददगार हैं।हम जब उनके संपर्क मे आते हैं तब वह अक्सर अपनी सबसे प्यारीमुस्कान भर हमसे पूछते हैं,जब तुम बच्चे थे तब तो तुम घर के चारों ओर अर्ध नग्न या बिना कपड़े के भागते थे तथा और भी बहुत से उटपटांग काम करते थे । इससेतुम्हारी माँ को बहुत चिंता और तनाव होता था ।

क्या तुम्हें लगता है क्या अब भी तुम्हारी माँ तुम्हारी उस समय की गई हरकतों से परेशान हैं?

मेरे साथ तुम्हारे रिश्ते पर भी यही तर्क लागू होता है। मैं तुम्हारे दिव्य माता और पिता के रूप में तुम्माहारा र्गदर्शन करता रहूँगा। कर्म ऋणों का भुगतान तब तक करनाहोगा जब तक तुम मुझे पूरी तरह से आत्मसमर्पण नहीं कर देते।

यह हमारे लिए इतनी राहत की बात है कि हमारी किसी भी मूर्खता को घातक त्रुटि के रूप में मानने की आवश्यकता नहीं है। बदले में हमें भी किसी दूसरे के व्यवहारको भी अक्षम्य नहीं मानना चाहिए। जैसे ही यह विचार उभरता है हमे एक अभूतपूर्व स्वतंत्रता की, सर्वोच्च स्वतंत्रता का भावना अनुभव होता हैं। अतीत से पूरी तरहमुक्ति चाहे वह हमारा हो या किसी और का।

न कोई द्वेष न क्रोध न ही गलत काम करने या गलत होने की कोई भावना।

एक सबक ।

ओणम यानि सभी को आशीर्वाद और प्रार्थना भेजने का समय, विशेष रूप से उन लोगों को जो शिकायत और द्वेष से पीड़ित हैं, क्रोधित है, कुछ कारणों से जो शायदही उन्हें मालूम हों ।

इस ओणम को हम उनके दिव्य चरणों द्वारा कुचले गए अहं के साथ आनंदपूर्वक व्यतीत करें।

🩸 रक्तबीज


पिठ्ठू हटा किया दुश्मन गद्दीनशीन,
अजब किया अमरीका तैने किया ग़ज़ब।

दुश्मनों बीच कूद कथित आलमी अमन के लिए,

बनाये और बेचे तैने हथियार ग़ज़ब ग़ज़ब।

बनते रहे “चचा” दुनिया में अमन के लंबरदार तेरे सारे सदर,
भूलेगी नहीं प्रताड़ित दुनिया,

बाप बेटे बुश, ओबामा ट्रंप और “वोक” बाइड्न को।
मारे तूने लाखों निर्दोष लोग बारम्बार,
पर मरे तो तेरे भी सैनिक हज़ार हज़ार।

करेगा क्या अब भी दुनिया में तू अमन की लंबरदारी?

अफ़ग़ानी आतंकियों से खा मार, क्या आई कुछ समझदारी?

किसके दम पर?

डालर और विध्वंस्कारी हथियारों के व्यापार के दम पर?
अपने बिगड़े उच्छृखल “वोक” बच्चों या रिफ्फूजियों के बच्चों के दम पर?
या मानवाधिकार, जमहूरियत, की झूठी दुहाईंयां देकर?

शापित है रे तू अमरीका,
घोंट घोंट गला हथियाई ज़मीन तूने अमरीका के मूल वासियोँ की,
फिर लाकर गुलाम दूर अफ़्रीका से, दुकान अपनी सजाई।

बकवास करता है तू मानवाधिकार अवामी जमहूरियत की दे दुहाई
रहने दे धन्नो, न हो पायेगी तुझसे अब दुनिया की चौधराई।

उखाड़ सकता है तो उखाड़,

और कुछ नहीं तो उँगली ही उखाड़ कर दिखा चीन की, इस्लामी आतंकवाद की,
दोनों को तो बनाया तो तूने ही ना,

अपने धनबल और नौजवानों के रक्त से सींच,
तेरे ही रक्त के है दोनों बीज।

श्री रश्मि कांत नागर के सहयोग के लिये आभार ~ वृक्षमंदिर

Brihadiswara Temple

Dr. MPG Kurup
Dr. MPG Kurup

Former Executive Director National Dairy Development Board

Indian Art , History , Culture , Architecture and Vedic India

Art , Architecture and Culture

Thanjavur Brihadiswara Temple : (also called Peryaudayar Kovil

Located south of Kaveri , built by Chola King Rajaraja Chola in 1010 AD : however construction : additions , Alterations , and Modifications , went on in bits and pieces for centuries : largest temple in south India , built in 44 Ha of land .

The Temple architecture is complex , Dravidian style , rock cut , Chola Temple style .The temple construction is immersed in mystery , no one including Google or Wikipedia , provide answers.

The Temple tower (Raja Gopuram ) is 216 ft tall and has a huge granite block some 80 mt and 7.7 ft wide , at the very top. No one offers any explanation on how it reached the top.

Prathishta : Lord Shiva , but the Temple has shrines for many of the Gods in the Hindu Pantheon.

The temple and also the city of Thanjavur is famous for its Art and Culture : the classical Indian Dance form “Bharatha Natyam ” originated in Thanjavur !

So also the South Indian Classical Music , popularly known as ” Carnatic Music ” : origin attributed to Music Samrat Thyagaraja !

Source : Text and Pictures : Google / Wikipedia

अनुभूति – 8

मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा

मै कहां हूँ इन सबके बीच

कभी कभी, जब बाहर के झंझावात से दूर एकदम अकेले और अपने को समेट बटोर कर बैठता हूं तो आत्म मंथन, आत्म चिंतन, आत्म विग्रह और न जाने किस किस स्टेज से गुजर जाता हूँ।

ऐसे ही एक हालात में ख्याल आया एक अजीब सा प्रश्न, क्या मै अन्दर और बाहर से एक यूनिक डिवाइन क्रिएशन, जैसा कि भगवान ने हमें बनाया था या जैसा मै अपने मां के गर्भ से इस दुनिया में आया था, एक पुनीत, प्रिस्टीन कृति, वैसा रह गया हूँ। या मेरे साथ एक सतत, कौन्टिन्यूयस मेटामौर्फोसिस होता रहा। और मै एक बिल्कुल ही म्युटेटेड पर्सनैलिटि रह गया हूँ। क्या मे एक एकाई, युनिट, हूं या एक कोलाज़। जक्सटापोजिनन औफ मल्टिपल क्राउड।

याद कर के देखता हूँ, तो करीब दो से तीन हजार लोग, हादसे, मधुर कटु यादे अपना अपना स्थान बना कर अन्दर बैठे मिलते है कितने चुप चाप निकल या फिसल गए होंगे, पता नही। इन सारे कम्युलेटिव इनडिविज्युलस का सतत योगदान के बाद क्या मेरी इन्डिविज्युलिटी प्रिस्टीन बची है। डाउटफुल।

महाभारत और रामायण संपूर्ण रूप से तो नही पढ़ा, लेकिन इनके पात्रों के बारे में, कुछ साहित्य मे पढ़ा। जो मेरी समझ में आया उसकेअनुसार ये सारे के सारे संख्या, नाउन, से ज्यादा विशेषण है। ऐडजेक्टिव। और इन सब का कोई न कोई अंश हमारे अन्दर विराजमान है, चाहे नैनो से नैनो मात्रा में। भीष्म, कृष्ण युधिष्ठिर, दुर्योधन, राम, सीता, विश्वामित्र, जनक, कुन्ती, गांधारी, कौशल्या, कैकेयी, उर्मिला श्रुतकीर्ति, रावण, मंदोदरी, तारा, बाली, विभीषण, सब अपने अपने अंश के दावेदार बने बैठे हैं।

सिर्फ पुरातन की बात नहीं। हमारे बचपन से लेकर आज तक वे सारे जाने अनजाने लोग भी अपना घरौंदा बना करअपना दावा ठोंक रहे हैं। तो फिर मै कहां हूं इन सब के बीच?

केवल एक सान्त्वना बचाए रखती है। और वह यह है कि मै ,और सिर्फ मै इस हुजूम मे शामिल नही हूं। हम सब एक ही थैली के चट्टे बट्टे है।नो एक्शेप्शन।

एक रिक्येस्ट। अनुरोध, विनय। नम्र विनती। समय निकाल कर अन्दर झांकने की की कोशिश कीजियेगा। अपनी वूटेदार ज़िंदगी के कालीन पर सो कर इतने सारे लोगों के योगदान से बनाए गये निहायत ही हसीन और खुशबूदार चादर ओढ़ कर रंगीन सपने देखने का नाम ही असली ज़िन्दगी है।

आज़मा के देखिए।

अनुभूति -7

मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा

ज़िन्दगी किसी की मोहताज़ नही होती। हमारी हर कोशिशों के वावज़ूद, हम जितनी कोशिश करते है, हम ही ज़िन्दगी के मोहताज होते चले जाते है।

ज़िन्दगी का विवेक, ज़िन्दगी जीने का शऊर, ज़िन्दगी को समझने का सलीका, ज़िन्दगी के समझने से आती है, समझाने से नही। उसके लिये नही चाहिये कोई डिग्री, कोई कॉलेज, कोई युनिवर्सिटी, कोई कागज़, कोई कलम, या कोई दावात

जिनका ज़िक्र मै इस पोस्ट मे कर रहा हू, उनका नाम शौकत है। मै उन्हें शौकत मियां या मौलाना कहता हूं और वे मुझे हुज़ूर कहते हैं। 

शौकत भाई कबाड़ी वाले हैं। पिछले पचास साल से कबाड़ का धन्धा करते हैं सुबह अपना रिक्शा लेकर निकलते है और शाम के चार पांच बजे तक जो भी मिलता है ले कर लौट जाते है। हमारे धर्मशाला का कबाड़ भी वही ले जाते हैं। दोपहर के समय इसी धर्मशाला के सामने अपना रिक्शा लगा कर कुछ समय के लिए आराम करते है। 

अक्सर हम मिलते है और कुछ तुकी, कुछ बेतुकी हर सब्जेक्ट पर खुल कर बातें होती है। ऐसे ही एक दो औकेजन पर ज़िन्दगी और ज़िन्दगी के करिश्मों पर बात हुई।

ज़िन्दगी की हकीकत और ज़िन्दगी के करिश्मों की बात इस तथाकथित “अनपढ़”, “कबाड़, भंगार खरीदने, बेचने वाले” आदमी के मुंह से सुन कर हतप्रभ रह गया।

कितनी बड़ी सच्चाई, निखालिस हकीकत बेहिचक, सहज और बेबाक लफ्ज़ो मे बयां कर गये शौक़त भाई !

बोले “हुज़ूर जानते है, मै हर सुबह बिस्तरे से उठ कर और रात को बिस्तरे पर जाने से पहले चार चीज़ें याद करता हूँ। और वे चार चीज़ें है, क़फन, क़व्र, क़यामत और ख़ुदा। कभी न पाँचवीं
चीज़ याद की, न सोचा।

और जब सुबह अपना खाली रिक्शा लेकर निकलता हू तो बस एक ही ख़याल रखता हू, परवरदिगार ने इस दुनिया में भी तो खाली हाथ भेजा था। जो मिलेगा, उसकी ही दुआ होगी। मेरी क्या हस्ती है। उसका हिसाब कभी गलत नही होता।

कभी जब उनका रिक्शा लबालब भरा होता है और मै मज़ाक करता हू, अरे शौकत भाई, आज तो अच्छी खरीदारी हो गई, तो हंस के कहते हैं, देने वाले के पास तो बहुत था  मेरा दामन ही छोटा पड़ गया। उसने भी सोचा होगा कि जितना आसानी से खींच सकता है, उतना ही देना चाहिए। बस बहुत है। अल्लाह का क़रम।

और जिस दिन उनका रिक्शा बिल्कुल खाली होता है और पूछता हूँ, तब भी उसी हंसी के साथ, “आज मेरी इबादत मे कोई कमी रह गयी होगी। आज मै इसी लायक़ था। उसके हिसाब मे कोई गलती होने का सवाल ही पैदा नही होता। कल फिर देगा। 

 हमेशा हंसते रहते हैं शौकत मियां। दिन में तीन बजे, बिना किसी नागा के शौकत भाई और मेरे सामने बैठे मास्टर जी, टेलर मास्टर और सामने के धर्मशाला के संरक्षक तीनो एक साथ बैठ कर चाय पीते है।

पैसा बारी बारी से देना होता है, आज एक तो कल दूसरा, फिर तीसरा और तब आप देखें, ज़िन्दगी और ज़िन्दगी का मज़ा क्या है। उनकी बेबाक हंसी के ठहाके आस पास के पांच सात मकानों तक सुनाई देते है।

कौन कहता है ज़िन्दगी किसी की मोहताज होती है?

ज़िन्दगी जीने का हुनर आना चाहिए।

ज़िन्दगी निहायत ही खूबसूरत और हसीन है, ऊपर वाले की नियामत है। प्रीस्टीन है। पुनीत है। पावन है। पवित्र है। अनमोल है। बेमिसाल है।

बस इसके क़रीब आने का इल्म और हिम्मत होनी चाहिए। हौसला होना चाहिए। 

शौकत भाई के कुछ फोटो अपलोड कर रहा हू।

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Dr. MPG Kurup
Dr. MPG Kurup

Former Executive Director, National Dairy Development Board

India : Art , History , Culture , Architecture , Vedic India

Art , Architecture , Culture

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Located in Srirangam , Thiruchirapally District , Tamil Nadu

Legend : Built by a lady called Hampi , in 817 – 894 AD : Historically , the first main structure was built by Chola King Dharma Varman in 8th Century AD ! But floods in Kavery destroyed that and was rebuilt by Choka King Killivalavan .

The Temple was under Cholas till 13 th century , then Pandians and finally Vijayanagara Empire by the 13th century . The present Temple Complex was built under the Vijayanagara Empire .Temple site is an island in River Kavery , with Kolli Dam on one side.

A most sacred Vaishnavite temple with Lord Maha Vishnu as the Presiding Deity. There are some 50 shrines inside for different deities in the Hindu Pantheon , 7 holy Theerthas (pools) , 21 Gopurams and consecrated gateways ! The Raja Temple is the tallest gopuram in Asia : 237 ft.

Ranganathaswamy Temple is the largest functional Hindu Temple in the world : Angkor Wat Temple , Combodia is much larger , but is now only a monument , not a functional temple) : Srirangam Temple : area is 155 acres , perimeter wall is 4 km long !

The Ranganathaswamy Temple , Srirangam , Thiruchirapalli , Tamil Nadu is now UNESCO world heritage centre and attracts over a million tourists , global as well as domestic .In addition thousands of Devotees from all over the country.

Pictures : Clock wise , from top left :1. Main Temple entrance , 2. Panoramic View of the island and temple complex , 3. Ariel View Srirangam , 4. Temple Complex , 5. Colourful Gopuram Remaining pictures : Temple art : carvings on black granite :

( Source : Text and Pictures. : Google / Wikipedia)

What is Coincidence !

I started working at the age of 22 and got a regular full time job with the National Dairy Development Board ( NDDB), Anand in 1968. I decided to leave NDDB after 32 years of service in the year 2000. It was a one of the most difficult personal decisions of my life. Thereafter, I worked for 17 more years with Grow Talent Company Limited / School of Inspired Leadership at Gurgaon and finally after 49 years of service “retired” in the year 2017. I am still connected with a couple of organisations but I am not involved in operations. 

Life is not roller coaster ride. My life too has been full of ups and downs but the overall feeling is good and filled with a sense of deep gratitude for all those who helped and encouraged me over the years.

This blog is not my biography. However, it may not be out of place to share some background information to put in perspective a rather unusual experience I had on the day of my birth in 1993.

I was traveling from Delhi to Ahmedabad that day.

My first salary as a regular employee with NDDB , Anand was Rs 435.21 per month. I have been an income tax payee since financial year 1968-1969.
I paid Rs. 235 as income tax that year.

The salary I got was good as there was some surplus too.

I was able to send some small amount to my mother, indulge in luxury on a few occasions by traveling to Baroda paying Rs. 0.65 for a third class rail ticket one way and have lunch at Quality restaurant.

Milk from Amul dairy doled out of cans cost Rs 1.05 per litre. We would buy coupons in advance to pay for the same. A thali at Amul canteen cost Rs 1.35.

As the years went by expenses kept on increasing. Among friend we would borrow from each other. to be borrowing of money at month end among friends and colleagues.

In my 1968 diary I found that I had noted down money borrowed from others and to be returned but it was hardly more than 10-15 rupees in a month.

I was waiting for the flight and to while away time walked into the bookshop at the airport. Determined not to buy a book I was only looking at books flipping a few pages and of course the price before putting it back.

I picked up Autobiography of a Yogi and read a few pages. As I was about to keep the book back on the shelf I looked on a page that provided information on the life of Yoganand.

Mukund Lal Ghosh who later came to be known as renowned Swamy Yoganand Paramahans was born on 5 January 1893 and I had his book in my hand on 5 January 1993 exactly 100 years after his birth.

He was born in Gorakhpur and so am I. Muftipur where he was born is a mohalla in Gorakhpur city and my village is some 30 km from the city!

Price of the book was not very high.

That day I broke a promise made to myself and bought the book.

What is Coincidence ? Why and how does it happen? I found an interesting article in the Atlantic the author, Julie Beck gives a real life incident which he experienced and towards the end of the article has this to say “ In their 1989 paper, Methods for Studying Coincidences, the mathematicians Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller considered defining a coincidence as

a rare event,” but decided “this includes too much to permit careful study.” Instead, they settled on, “A coincidence is a surprising concurrence of events, perceived as meaningfully related, with no apparent causal connection.”

What do you think ? Would be interesting if you also share such incidents of coincidence. Do please write back in the comments column given below or share an article by email at sk@vrikshamandir.com

कलम जो लिखे और बोले -2

मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा

हमारे अंदर की स्मार्ट 

सिटी और हाइवे

कभी आप को एक बीराने, बिल्कुल सुनसान इलाके से बिल्कुल अकेले गुज़रने का मौका मिला है?

 मिला होगा। सब के साथ होता है। 

कैसा अनुभव हुआ होगा। कोई आस पास नहीं। चारो ओर बस अंधेरा और खामोशी। 

एक हल्की सी आवाज भी डरा देती होगी। जिस किसी भगवान या देवता या मसीहा को आप मानते  होंगे और उनके जितने नाम आपको याद होंगे, सब अपने आप बाहर आने लगते हैं। 

आप पीछे भी नही जा सकते कारण वहां भी वही हालत है। अच्छे बुरे काम, अच्छे बुरे आदमी, सब बाइस्कोप की तरह आने जाने लगते हैं। लेकिन छुटकारा नही मिलता। छोटी सी छोटी सी चीज़ भी पीछा नही छोड़ती।

मै किसी पब्लिक रोड या स्मार्ट सीटी की बात नही कर रहा हूं। अपने द्वारा ही बनाए गए अन्दर की स्मार्ट सीटी और हाइवेज की बात है। कभी अन्दर की सैर कीजिये। 

भीड़ के चिल्ल पों मे खामोशी खोजना कितना कचोटता है।

 एक चुभन और टीस के साथ उन्माद और आनन्द का काकटेल। नशा,बेहोशी,थकान, हैंगओवर  और फिर नींद।

कितनी रंगीन और मज़ेदार होती है ज़िन्दगी ।

दाना या भूसा ?
Photo by Antony Trivet on Pexels.com मैं कृषि स्नातक की पढ़ाई कर …
कुछ इधर की कुछ उधर की कुछ फिरकी
यह लेख अपने आप मे एक लेख नही वरन एक पत्र से …


~ Dr MPG Kurup former Executive Director National Dairy Development Board

India : Art , History , Culture , Architecture , Vedic India

History , Culture

Ramanathaswamy Temple : Rameswaram

Sanathana Dharma is commonly referred to as ” Hinduism ” in India , even though the term only refers to the practical and functional aspects of Sanathana Dharma : And Hinduism is the overwhelmingly Hindu !

I am neither a Historian nor an Enthusiast of Sanathana Dharma ! My prime objective in starting these feature posts was to place before the ” am janatha ” , basic information on the enormity of the Levels of achievements of this 5000 years of the unbroken Indian Civilization : Culture , Arts , Architecture , Literature and Spirituality !

Adding to the numbers and size of the Hindus is not part of the ajenda : Sanathana Dharma does not believe in conversions of followers of other faiths to Hindus ! And yet one in seven of all persons on Earth is Hindu !

Ramanathaswamy Temple , located on the Rameswaram Island . The Temple was under the Pandyan Dynasty during the 15th Century , but came under the rule of the Sethupathis , a breakaway group , of the Madurai Nayaks by 1520. AD !Jaffna Kings also contributed to the Temple construction !

The Temple is dedicated to Ramanatha : Shiva : the Jyothirlinga , here , is believed to have been installed and consecrated by Lord Rama himself on his way back from Lanka , for worshipping Shiva and to atone the sins of Brahmahathya for killing Ravana and many others in battle . See Rama Theertha : picture on bottom right , is the Pond Sree Ram used for his daily ablutions !

The Ramanatha Temple had been , over the centuries under the control several dynasties and powers , including the Islamic invader Malik,Kaufer , finally was taken over by the Vijaya Nagara Empire.

Sita Devi is believed to have died in Rameswara . Rama Sethu is identified as the mass of soft sand and floating stones ( Pumice Stones / Lime Stones) from Pampan Island towards the Sea. The Temple architecture is stunning and intricate and has several long corridors with thousands of pillars in them. The third corridor is the longest temple corridors in the world : 197 metres and with 1210 pillars.

Ramanathaswamy Temple is one of the Char Dham Temples and also one of the 12 Jyothirlingas in the Country : the Southern Most.

Source: Google / Wikipedia

Raag Darbari 2021

My Twitter handle goes by the name Vaidyaji (वैद्यजी).

Actually, Vaidyaji is the name of the main character in Raag Darbari a satirical Hindi novel by Shri Lal Shukla. I am not alone in operating under the name of a character from Raag Darbari. There are many Twitteratis like me who have handles using the names of characters of Raag Darbari. Since the story of Raag Darbari is about Shivpalganj, most of the characters call themselves Ganjha.

No one knows if it is because of “ganj” as in Shivpalganj or because of freely available bhang and ganja in the area in and around Shivpalganj. Anyway to be called a Ganjha is considered as a badge of honour.

Shrilal Shukla defines the word “Ganjha” in his inimitable style.

“कोई किसी गँजहा से दो रुपये तो क्या, दो कौड़ी भी ऐंठ ले तो जानें।’’ ‘गँजहा’ शब्द रंगनाथ के लिए नया नहीं था। यह एक तकनीकी शब्द था जिसे शिवपालगंजके रहनेवाले अपने लिए सम्मानसूचक पद की तरह इस्तेमाल करते थे। आसपास के गाँवों में भी बहुत–से शान्ति के पुजारी मौक़ा पड़ने पर धीरे–से कहते थे, ‘‘तुमइसके मुँह न लगो। तुम जानते नहीं हो, यह साला गँजहा है।’’

We have Twitter handles that go by the name of Rangnath, Badri Pahlwan, Ruppan, Chhote Lal, Principle Saheb, Langad, Jagnath, Thakur Doorbeen Singh, Ramadheen Bheekham Khedvi, Daroga ji and Vaidyaji’s man Friday Saneechar are all to be found on Twitter.

There is one Twitter handle that goes by the name Raag Darbari too.

Actually the suggestion to have my Twitter name as Vaidyaji came from another character from Raag Darbari, Ramadheen Bhikhamlhedvi who is opposed to Vaidya ji.

We have lot of fun commenting on the current state of affairs both in political circles and the society at large from our perspective,very often, quoting verbatim or in a somewhat modified form how that character would have perceived the current events.

Raag Darbari was published in 1968, the year I started my regular full time job at NDDB. Raag Darbari got Sahitya Academy Award in 1969. I first bought a copy of this satirical novel some time in 1973 or 1974. After that I have purchased many copies some lost, others taken by friends who decided to keep it for good or misplaced it. I have a copy of this book in Gurgaon, at Vrikshamandir in my village and also here in Toronto. I also have it on Kindle.

I had English translation of the book by Gillian Wright but did not like it much as the subtle humour of narratives in original local colloquial Hindi has not come out right from.

For the benefit of readers who may not have read the book and not aware of plot of the book please click on the Wikipedia page of Raag Darbari and Indiannovelscollective.com

This NDTV video gives a glimpse of one of the issues touched upon in the narrative of Raag Darbari; Education. Ravish ji being Ravish and a reputed and committed TV anchor too has taken a pot shot on education by bringing out the current state of affairs in a college where Rajnath Singh ji was once a teacher.

Be that as it may, this is what Raag Darbari has to say on state of education in India written in 1968 and that holds true today as well.

वर्तमान शिक्षा–पद्धति रास्ते में पड़ी हुई कुतिया है, जिसे कोई भी लात मार सकता है।

Raag Darbari brings out failing values in post independence Indian society, the helplessness of the intellectuals (no they will not admit it) in understanding the complexities of Indian society.

Raag Darbari is a classic (in Hindi कालजयी) written some 42 years ago, is relevant in current times as well.

I was moved to write this blog because of an incident that took place yesterday in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh and which went viral on social media. 

After a log time I had such a hearty laugh. Even now while typing these lines I am laughing out loud.


There are other videos too with music of 70’s. and 90’s played during fight scenes of Bollywood films. The readers comments were as funny as the video clips.

The following video is a statement by the police on the actual incident. The incident took place in Bagapat.

Watching these videos and reading the comments reminded me of scenes from Raag Darbari. Only the locale and time has changed. Raag Darbari was written in 1960’s and the story was about a village Shivpalganj. Current episode is from Baghapat.

I would be sharing below screen shots of comments given by some Twitter handles.

But before that a tweet which looks back at yesterday’s event.

Now that the police has acted, social media has made the news viral but will there be justice which deters people from engaging in such behaviour? And what is justice? 

 For those who indulged in the street fight it was an existential fight. For media both main stream and social media it was an occasion to get TRP and eyeballs. For casual watchers like me  it was fun and mirth at the cost of others. For the intellectuals who comment on every thing , since it was neither a  Hindu vs Muslim or Savarna versus Dalit fight it did not matter. 


“रंगनाथ ने कहा, क्यों ? गाँव–पंचायत तो है। उसने कहा कि हाँ, पंचायत तो है, पर वह सिर्फ़ जुर्माना करती है। ज़मींदार था तो जूता लगाता था : उसने समझाया कि हिन्दुस्तान साला भेड़ियाधँसान मुल्क है। बिना जूते के काम नहीं चलता। ज़मींदारी टूट गई है, जूता चलना बन्द हो गया है, तो देखो, सरकार को खुद जूतमपैज़ार करना पड़ता है। रोज़ कहीं–न–कहीं लाठी या गोली चलवानी पड़ती है। कोई करे भी तो क्या करे ? ये लात के देवता हैं; बातों से नहीं मानते। सरकार को भी अब ज़मींदारी तोड़ने पर मालूम हो गया है कि यहाँ असली चीज़ कोई है तो जूता। रंगनाथ ने कहा कि यह भी कोई बात हुई, जूते के सहारे लोगों को कब तक तमीज़ सिखायी जाएगी। उस आदमी ने कहा कि जूता तो चलते ही रहना चाहिए, जब तक बदमाश की खोपड़ी पर एक भी बाल रहे, जूते का चलना बन्द नहीं होना चाहिए।”
 ~ राग दरबारी 

Before I end here are some quotes from Raag Darbari on the legal system in our country.


“तो रंगनाथ बाबू, इसको कहते हैं कौड़िल्ला–छाप इन्साफ़। दिहातियों को ऐसा ही समझा जाता है। ओछी नस्ल के आदमी। उन्हें और क्या चाहिए ? चले जाओ पंचायत अदालत में और कौड़िल्ला–छाप इन्साफ़ लेकर लौट आओ। ‘‘और जो बड़े आदमी हैं। रईस–वईस, हाकिम–हुक्काम, ऊँची नस्ल के लोग, उनके लिए कीमती इन्साफ़ चाहिए ? घास खोदनेवाले सरपंच नहीं, मोटा चश्मा लगानेवाले, अंग्रेज़ों जैसी अंग्रेज़ी बोलनेवाले जज।

तो बड़े आदमियों के लिए ज़िलों की बड़ी–बड़ी अदालतें हैं। जैसी चाहें, वैसी अदालत मौजूद है। ‘‘उनसे भी बड़े लोगों के लिए बड़े–बड़े हाईकोर्ट हैं। सबसे ऊँची नस्लवालों के लिए सुप्रीम कोर्ट। किसी ने आँख तरेरकर देख लिया तो उसी बात पर सीधे दिल्ली जाकर एक रिट ठोंक दी। ‘‘कौड़िल्ला–छापवाला, ओछी नस्ल का आदमी, वहाँ एक बार फँस जाय तो समझ लो, बैठकर उठ न पाएगा। दाने–दाने को मोहताज हो जाएगा। ‘‘हाईकोर्ट, सुप्रीम कोर्ट की शौकीनी सबके बूते की बात है ? एक–एक वकील करने में सौ–सौ रण्डी पालने का ख़र्च है। ‘‘तभी तो दिहातियों के लिए कौड़िल्ला–छाप इन्साफ़ का इन्तज़ाम हुआ है। न हर्रा लगे न फिटकरी, रंग चढ़ा भरपूर। एक खुराक ले लो, बुखार उतर जाएगा। अपने देश का कानून बहुत पक्का है, जैसा आदमी वैसी अदालत।’’ वे अचानक अवधी पर उतरे और बोले, ‘‘जइस पसु, तइस बँधना।’’