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News & Trends - Indian Society Lifestyle Standards
The De-Hinduization of a Continent

Personal Thought: Save Hinduism
As can be seen by any keen observer, there is a multi-pronged attack
to finish off Hinduism the way other native cultures and religions
have been wiped off from the world.
It is a sad spectacle to see glorious Hindu religion that once
stretched from Afghanistan to Indonesia being reduced to its present
pitiable plight.

Yet Hinduism can be saved; and will be saved.

But before explaining its rescue, let us know the danger faced by

Entire Indian sub-continent was Hindu land with no Muslim presence
till Muslim attack in 8th century. Hindus lost Afghanistan to Muslims
in 987, and Pakistan in 1947.

At present, just five thousand Hindus and Sikhs are left in
Afghanistan. And Pakistan and Bangladesh too present a dismal
picture. In 1947, Hindus accounted for 24 per cent of the then
Pakistan's population, but now number under two per cent. In
Bangladesh Hindus numbered 30 per cent in 1947; but now number nine
per cent. Nevertheless, in India, the present percentage of Muslim
population is much higher than that in 1947.

And independent India has seen genocide and eviction of Hindus from
Kashmir to become refugees in their own country.

In their mission to destroy and dismember India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh have dispatched crores of their nationals as also
terrorists into India. If Pak-Bangla alliance is focussed to Islamize
India, missionaries are determined to Christianize India. With each
passing day, India is being made more Islamic and more Christian and
less Hindu.

And under the pretext of bringing democracy to Nepal, anti-Hindu
forces, missionaries and Maoists want to shatter the Hindu identity
of Nepal, the only Hindu nation in the world.

Apart from discriminatory government control of all prominent Hindu
temples (whereas no Christian church or Muslim mosque has been
touched by government control), discriminatory Article 30 of the
Constitution of India is also demolishing Hinduism.

Articles 26 and 30 of the Indian Constitution have been misused by
the government to appropriate Hindu temples, and to deny Hindus the
same freedom of running their religious and educational institutions
given to non-Hindu (minority) communities. And this discrimination
against Hindus is demolishing Hinduism.

Over-optimism lacks information; pessimism lacks imagination. Let us
be realistic to know how Hinduism can be saved from its present

Many Hindus just surrender to attacks on Hinduism since they have
been de-Hinduised by Macaulayan education, and brain-washed by anti-
Hindu media. And some Hindus indulge in self-flagellation.

Since self-pity or self-flagellation or abject surrender has never
helped any victim, Hindus will continue to be attacked till they
confront their tormentors.

But Hindus can confront their tormentors only if they have the basic
weapons of an unbiased media and a strong nationalist political
party. Gross Hindu hurt can be expressed only through an unbiased
media and redressed only through a strong nationalist political

At present Hindus have neither unbiased media nor a strong
nationalist political party to protect their interests. Both these
instruments are a must to rescue Hinduism from discrimination and

There is no other way to save Hinduism. And these two weapons will
resolve all problems of Hindu society.

Both these requirements are discussed below.

In any modern democracy, both electronic and print media are powerful
weapons to mould public opinion.

In India, many of print and electronic media are controlled by anti-
Hindu forces. They are denigrating Hinduism, spreading misinformation
about Hindu scriptures, dividing Hindu society and hurting Hindu
sentiments. Hindus are being brain-washed to forget their religion,
heritage and history; and Hinduism is being derided, distorted and
destroyed by anti-Hindu media.

Killing of thousands of Hindus in Kashmir and eviction of several
lacs of Hindus from Kashmir are no news whereas Gujarat riots which
started after Hindu rail passengers were torched at Godhra are always
in the news in anti-Hindu media. Infiltration of crores of Pak-Bangla
nationals threatening to create one more Islamic country on Indian
soil finds no space in media. Similarly, conversion of poorer Hindus
to Christianity by fraud, inducement and coercion creates no ripples
in anti-Hindu media.

Pro-Hindu elements do not have even one nation-wide multi-city daily
news-paper to project their view-point. To ensure that the truth
reaches the masses, Hindus must have nation-wide mass media. Besides
boycotting anti-Hindu media, Hindus must have unbiased daily news
papers and television channels in various languages to enlighten the
readers about current affairs, Hindu religion, heritage and history.

There is no absolute justice in the world. To survive in the world
believing in "survival of the fittest", Hindus have to assert; and
reject injustice, discrimination and degradation.

To protect Hinduism from continuous onslaught, confrontation with
anti-Hindu forces is inevitable. Unfortunately, no existing political
party plans to end discrimination against Hindus or confront gradual
Pak-Bangla take-over of India.

Congress-led UPA government has no plan to end discrimination against
Hindus, or to confront terrorism and demographic invasion. Rather, it
is having soft borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh disregarding the
disastrous consequences.

And while in power, BJP too did nothing to end discrimination against
Hindus; or to fight terror, deport the infiltrators and curb their
daily influx. It did not punish even the Pakistan-sponsored attack on
Indian Parliament in 2001.

Only a strong nationalist political outfit can confront and defeat
Pak-Bangla design to dismember India. Besides, only a strong
nationalist political entity can implement genuine secularism wherein
there would be justice to all and appeasement of none.

In this dismal situation, though RSS must join active politics
immediately, RSS has given no such indication so far. Therefore, the
only alternative is to form a strong nationalist political party to
save India from disaster.

And there are some developments in this regard. Recently Bharatiya
Jana Sangh led by Balraj Madhok has been revived by Prafull Goradia,
former BJP Member of Parliament. It would be interesting to watch
further events in this respect.

Efforts of non-resident Indians for Hindu cause are admirable. But
war to save Hinduism has to be fought primarily in India since only
if Hinduism survives and prospers in India, it will survive and
prosper in other lands. Therefore, even the non-resident Indians must
focus their efforts to create the nation-wide mass print and audio-
visual media and strong nationalist political party in India to
shield Hinduism.

While web-sites, e-mails, internet groups and online petitions are
very helpful and should be continued, these must be in addition to,
and not a substitute for, mass media and regular political activity
in India.

As per French President Jacques Chirac (born 1932), "Politics is not
the art of the possible; it is the art of making possible what is

With the help of the strong nationalist political party and unbiased
media, the all embracing Sanatana Dharma (eternal religion), the
world's oldest religion popularly known as Hinduism, will not only
survive but will prevail.

Anti-Hindu historians have created the misconception that Hindus
never fought foreign invaders. But it is solely due to heroic Hindu
resistance to foreign invaders for several centuries that Hindu
religion and culture are still alive while many other ancient
religions and cultures have been wiped off long back. Hindu history
is full of heroes who fought for their religion and every inch of

Let us also do our utmost to preserve ancient India's magnificent
heritage in whatever is left as truncated India.

And the right effort is bound to bring success as Atharva Veda
(7.52.8) proclaims, "Kritam may dakhshine haste, jayo may savya
aahitah" ("Effort is in my right hand, and victory in my left").

JG Arora

March 2, 2008

A call to unite Hindus

Sadbhavna Baithak of Delhi and Haryana Prants.

"Leave the mentality of depending upon others, start taking initiatives for the society’s and country’s progress,” said Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarkaryavah of RSS. He was talking to representatives of various communities of Delhi and Haryana assembled at a Sadbhavna Baithak in Delhi on February 15. He called upon the workers to visit the backward localities of their respective areas and start sharing the sorrows and happiness of the people there. “Improve relations with them and meet them at least once a month. Then start some service projects as per their requirements. Only after improving the relations the mutual trust will strengthen,” he added.

The Sadbhavna Baithak was part of the initiative taken by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh during the birth centenary year of Shri Guruji last year to bring all sections of the Hindu society closer and to improve social harmony. During the birth centenary year this initiative proved to be a very effective tool for interaction with various communities and the Sangh workers interacted with all the sections of the society.

More than 100 representatives from Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Sangh, Ravidas Janmotsav Committee, Ramgariya, Akhil Bharatiya Kashyap Mallah Nishad Jankalyan Parishad, Akhil Bharatvarshiya Jat Mahasabha, Delhi Dhobi Samaj, Jhajhar Vikas Parishad, Sindhi Samaj, Vashya Agrawal Sabha, Jain Shwetamber Terapanth and Koli Mahasangh participated in the meeting and gave their suggestions to improve solidarity in the Hindu society. Swami Raghvananda, president of Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, presided over the meeting. Kshetra Sanghachalak Dr Bajranglal Gupt, Kshetra Pracharak Shri Dinesh Chandra, Delhi Prant Sanghachalak Shri Ramesh Prakash, former Prant Sanghachalak Shri Satyanarayan Bansal, Delhi Prant Pracharak Shri Prem Kumar and Haryana Prant Pracharak Shri Suresh Jain were also present on the occasion.

Shri Bhagwat advised the participants to celebrate the anniversaries of the great personalities together as the great personalities belong to the whole nation and not to any particular community. “It will improve social harmony and people will come together. We need to be careful that no one could damage the unity of the Hindu society. We are one therefore we have to get united. All the ideologies developed in this country have only one ideology—the manav dharma. But the ideologies, which came from outside the country believe that only they are right and all others are wrong. Sometimes the liberal people also have to resort to fundamentalism to protect the sovereignty of the nation. If we have to show our greatness to the world, we all will have to move together,” Shri Bhagwat added.

He further said the Sangh swayamsevaks refrain from politics as politics divides and even makes the nearest and dearest an enemy. Commenting on the suggestions made by some leaders at the meeting that the caste system should be broken; he said changing castes or breaking the caste system would not work, as the whole society would not concur with it. He stressed the need to organise such meetings at least thrice or four times a year. “Every time when we sit, we should discuss what steps were taken based on the decisions taken in the previous meetings,” he added. He said the initiative of such meetings is not to increase the base of the Sangh. It is for the unity of the country as only a united country makes progress. It has been the tradition of this country to get untied during the calamities. But we have to live united during the peaceful time too, as those who create troubles do not discriminate and hit at all.

Earlier presiding over the meeting Swami Raghvananda stressed the need to start from ourselves. “Don’t have expectations from others. Start from youself,” he said further adding that the community organisations should think about the problems of their groups instead of having political ambitions. In the beginning Dr Bajranglal Gupt started the discussion. Then representatives of various communities gave their suggestions to improve social harmony. Uttar Kshetra Karyavah Shri Sitaram Vyas conducted the proceedings.

The Bard in India today

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Bard in India today


What has Mr. William Shakespeare got to do with our lives today? A lot, apparently… 

Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

In a modern idiom: A scene from “Thanimaiyil Shakespeare”.

Shakespeare is perhaps one of the most complex of signifiers, setting off as he does multiple and varied associations. <b>Yet, this most translatable and adaptable of all playwrights in history, who gives universalists cause for hope, has also posed the most problems for teachers of English Literature struggling to convey something of his greatness.</b> A typical Shakespeare class in progress: teacher reads out from one of his plays and delivers plot summary gleaned from York notes or A.C. Bradley. Designed, you would agree, to kill all interest in the bard.

<b>There are three reasons why many young Indians including students of English Literature shy away from Shakespeare.</b> One common complaint that students have is that: “Shakespeare writes in difficult English, madam”. The second is something I have already outlined — the pedagogy itself — the line by line reading out, the summarising, the reams of notes. The third factor, perhaps the least understood, is that young people don’t see themselves in Shakespeare. <b>What has Mr.William Shakespeare got to do with their lives anyway? Which is why rendering and performing Shakespeare in Indian languages makes so much sense. Which is why the Hamara Shakespeare Festival, with plays like “Hamletmachine – Images of Shakespeare-in-us” makes so much sense.</b>

Contemporary contexts

Parnab Mukherjee, director of the play “Hamletmachine – Images of Shakespeare-in-us” and creative director of Best of Kolkata campus, says that if his theatre cannot respond to the political sub-texts posed by, say, the detaining of Dr. Binayak Sen by the Chattisgarh government, then he is still doing “the ICSE, CBSE or UGC approved, sanitised Shakespeare”. <b>The play uses Bangla, Assamese and English, weaving in a lot of protest literatures as additional texts. In that sense, it isn’t just a translation or a transcreation but an expanded text. It borrows from Mahasweta Devi on Nandigram, portions of Shamshur Rehman’s Bangla translation of “Hamlet” and Joydev’s Geetgovindam.</b>

The idea of adaptation itself of course is not new to us. A “translating consciousness”, as G.N. Devy has argued, works in most third world countries where a dominating colonial language has enjoyed a position of privilege. In India, Devy points out, several languages are simultaneously used by language communities and it is as though these languages are part of a continuous spectrum of signs and significance. The notion of the original text being sacrosanct and the translated text being inferior doesn’t hold much water with us. <b>Localising Shakespeare, therefore, has never been a problem. All 17 Indian languages have translated him.</b>

In their book,<b> India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation and Performance, Poonam Trivedi and Dennis Bartholomeusz provide an exhaustive history of Shakespeare in India</b>. The first performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Gujarati was held in Surat, in 1852. A 1903 Gujarati “Othello” became so popular that the male actor playing Desdemona adopted “Sundari”, the heroine’s name in this version, as his permanent stage name. Beginning with “The Merchant of Venice” in 1870, at least 30 Shakespeare adaptations in Tamil are said to have been performed by 1900 (including nine of “Cymbeline” alone), in nearly 100 towns in Tamil Nadu. Marathi saw about 65 versions of Shakespeare — chiefly free adaptations — between 1867 and 1915, starting with a popular version of “Othello” composed by Mahadevshastri Kolhatkar and performed by the Aryaddharak Natak Mandali. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar translated “Hamlet” into Marathi as “Vikaravilasita” in 1883. Jahangir Pestonjee Khambatta’s “Khudadad”, an adaptation of “Pericles”, was performed by the Express Victoria Theatrical Company in 1898. The earliest recorded public production of Shakespeare in Bengali was of a version of “The Comedy of Errors” in 1873 about which little is known. The next year saw adaptations of “Cymbeline” and “Macbeth”, and the following year of “Othello”. In 1893 “Macbeth” was adapted by Girish Chandra Ghosh, the doyen of Bengali theatre in his day.

<b>Sohrab Modi recreated “Hamlet” in his 1935 film</b>, “Khoon ka Khoon”. In 1963, Amrit Rai, Munshi Premchand’s son, took up the translation of Hamlet into Hindi. <b>Gulzar based his 1981 “Angoor” (starring Moushumi Chatterjee and Sanjeev Kumar) on “The Comedy of Errors”. And then of course there is the Hindi film “Omkara” directed by Vishal Bharadwaj.</b> <b>The two editions of the Hamara Shakespeare festival have brought us six different ways for Shakespeare to come home to us here in India.</b> Last year, the School of Drama, Kozhikode, performed “Romeo and Juliet” in Malayalam. “Jungle Me Mangal” presented by Awishkar, Mumbai, was the Marathi adaptation in Tamasha form of “Mid Summer Night’s Dream”. “The Magic Hour in Khelkali”, combined two stories of William Shakespeare, “Othello” and “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” with scenes from Kathakali stories. The play used the story of Oberon and Titania’s fight over a little Indian boy in Shakespeare’s “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” as a basis to talk about the post-colonial experience. This year, apart from “Hamletmachine”, the festival brought us Ramu Ramanathan’s “Shakespeare and She” and “Thanimaiyil Shakespeare” (Shakespeare Alone), a Tamil play scripted and directed by V. Arumugham from the School of Performing Arts, Pondicherry University.

<b>To me, there are specific reasons why the idea of rendering the bard into Indian languages appeals. One is the innocent delight of travelling from one literary tradition to another, discovering that the boundaries are porous after all. The other is the more wicked political delight of translating from a globally more powerful language to a less powerful one. In giving Shakespeare a desi twist, one is also taking a potshot at reversing the hierarchy of languages set in place by that old project of colonialism and new project of globalisation. </b>Shakespeare, then, becomes a kind of reference point, a peg on which to hang our very contemporary concerns. “Hamletmachine: Images of Shakespeare-in-us”, for instance, is thrice removed from the original, based as it is on the German adaptation by Heiner Muller, “Die Hamletmaschine”.

Changing with the times

Many a Shakespeare scholar would blanch at plays such as these. “But where is Shakespeare in all this?” they might ask. Or “How do we teach Shakespeare without Shakespeare or Hamlet without Hamlet?” <b>But if we want to keep Shakespeare alive for this generation of young people, we have to make him speak to them in their idiom. Shakespeare in comic form or Shakespeare performed in Tamil. It doesn’t matter.</b> And, who knows, one day these young people might just decide to blow up their money over a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare instead of over an Espresso at Café Coffee Day. Either way though, Shakespeare wouldn’t mind.


I also think it allows the people to highlight their problems claiming they are doing Shakespeare. I thought of this trend when I watched Maqbool (based on Macbeth), Omkara (based on Othello). Both were gangster movies but claimed to be Shakespeare adaptations. But you dont see such adaptations of Jane Austen like Kandu Kondain. Only Shakespeare attracts the protest literature types!

The Hindu American Foundation invites you to attend a lecture and discussion with Professor S. N. Balagangadhara

Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Time: 3pm-5pm.
Location: Altos Room of Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos, CA, 94022
The forum is small and will be able to engage in discussions with the Professor Bala.


Over the past twenty years, Professor Balagangadhara (Balu) has developed a research program for the study of the cultural differences between Asia and the West. His “The Heathen in his Blindness...”: Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion (Leiden, 1994) was hailed as one of the major contributions to the debate on the concept of religion and to the study of the western culture through its understanding of India. His current research addresses issues such as the theological nature of western political and ethical thought, the impact of colonialism on the Indian intelligentsia and the decolonization of the human sciences. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Research Center Vergelijkende Cultuurvetenschap at Ghent University in Belgium.

Here is some background information about the focus of his lecture:

How to Compare Cultures? The Case of India and the West
The comparative study of cultures and cultural differences is beoming more and more important at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Yet, we do not really know how to go about “comparing cultures.” We can compare any two objects and list their commonalities and differences, but what have we learned by doing so? What have we really learned by stating that “many Indians believe in reincarnation, while most westerners do not”; “Indians are more family-oriented, while westerners are more individualistic”; “India has a caste system, while the West is more egalitarian”;....? I will argue that comparison can be approached differently and more productively. Taking India and the West, I will suggest that (a) in order to understand the Indian culture, we first have to study the western culture and (b) in order to understand the western culture, we have to examine the way in which the West has seen other cultures like India.

RSVP: Arjun Bhagat 650-465-1023

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501©(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism. Contact HAF at 1-301-770-7835 or on the web at www.HAFsite.org.

<b>Stories of Lord Ram through masks and puppets</b>

Mar 12, 2008

Accessories like a gold crown mask of Lord Ram sourced from Indonesia, a Madhubhani scroll painting from Bihar and shadow puppets from Kerala, all used by people across the country and outside to narrate the epic tale of Ramayan are now on display in the national capital.

A rich and diverse collection of paintings, puppets, costumes, masks etc, used in narration of Ramayana by their respective communities is part of the exhibition organised by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

The Centre has been for the past five years involved in documenting the various reproductions of Valmiki's epic tale of Ramayan passed on from generation to generation orally among different communities in Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal among other states.

Ethnographic objects on display at this rare exhibition inaugurated at IGNCA's 'Mati Ghar' today, include a mask of Tadaka (a villanoeous female character in the epic) from Varanasi, glove puppets from Kerala, costumes used in 'Yakshagana' in Karnataka.

"The Centre has gone to great lengths to acquire ethnographic objects related to the respective performative arts," Molly Kaushal, Head of Janpad Sampada of IGNCA said.

The Exhibition is a part of "Ramkatha - Ankan, Manchan aur Vaachan" being organised by IGNCA beginning Wednesday till March 15.

So far performative arts of groups and communities from the states of Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan and Manipur have been documented, said Kaushal adding that artists from Kerala, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Goa will be documented in the coming months.
Happy Holi to all.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Vrindavan Temple promotes use of herbal colours for Holi

Fri, Mar 21 07:05 PM

Vrindavan, Mar 21 (ANI): A temple in Vrindavan is campaigning for the use of eco-friendly herbal colours during Holi, the festival of colours.

The Krishna temple makes harmless dyes from flowers and distributes it among devotees.

"The tradition of playing Holi with colours made from 'Tesoo' flowers has been going on for 250 years, the preparation for which starts 15 days ahead of the festival. The flowers are brought from Kolkata and the workers from nearby villages come here to make the colour. Flowers are boiled in water to which saffron and rose water is added and then the colour is taken by the temple people for spraying," said Gopi Goswami, a member, of the temple committee.

Most of the colours sold in markets are oxidized metals or industrial dyes and are harmful to skin. Slowly people are realising the side effects of these colours like skin allergies to cancer, eye irritation and blindness.

In contrast to which is the natural colour made from 'Tesoo' flowers, which is non-toxic and does not cause any harm to the skin upon contact and the devotees are quite happy to be splashed with these colours.

"These are very fragrant and non-toxic colours. They don't cause any skin allergy when applied," said Ridhi Aggrwal, a devotee.

Traditionally, the festival is known to have its roots in the celebration of the spring colours, as this is the time when the season is in full bloom.

The royals and the courtiers in olden times took the advice of traditional medicine men who concocted extracts of the season's fruits, flowers, roots, leaves and seeds to make colours.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Out of court

Five villages become litigation-free, thanks to the efforts of one man

Kanhaiah Bhelari

Bihar: A legal battle can be more devastating than a jail term. Two Sharma families of Vishunapur village in Kaimur district know it well.

Dukhant Sharma, 55, was involved in legal battle with Ramjanam Sharma, 60, for 30 years. During this period, Dukhant's son Baban Sharma struggled to complete his education till Class VIII as the family's earnings from carpentry went towards litigation expenses, which ran into lakhs of rupees. It left them impoverished. The case of Ramjanam was no different.

Things changed after the panchayat elections in 2003. An energetic young man, Ashok Kumar Pandey, was elected the mukhiya of Kharenda panchayat, in which Vishunapur falls. Pandey persuaded the Sharmas to end their dispute. A compromise petition was filed in the district court. Today, the Sharmas are a content lot.

"In the past four years, we have saved lakhs of rupees by engaging ourselves in carpentry," said Baban. Ramjanam's family members, too, do not have to spend their earnings from the farm on litigations. "Mukhiyaji proved to be a god for me," Ramjanam said.

Pandey's intervention has helped more than 100 families in 13 villages of the panchayat end their disputes. The district legal cell has declared the villages of Uchinar, Vishunapur, Bhorya, Hurda Khurd and Sonao as litigation-free. The remaining villages will soon be added to the list.

Pandey has a knack and a passion for settling disputes, as was seen in the quarrel between Shyamlal Kahar and Harimohan Kahar. Shyamlal went to the police to file a case after he was injured in a scuffle with fellow villager Harimohan.

When Pandey learnt about the incident, he rushed to the police station and, with the help of the sub-inspector, worked out a compromise.

It took five years for Pandey to change the face of the crime-ridden panchayat, which was once terrorised by dacoit Mohan Bind. It was a goal he had set for himself in childhood. "I had resolved that one day I would make the area crime-free," said Pandey.

After completing his LLB from Banaras Hindu University in 1994, Pandey started taking keen interest in the affairs of the panchayat. "Even as I was studying, I set time aside to understand the problems of the people of my village," he said. That villagers had forced Pandey, a Brahmin, to contest elections from a village where the majority of people belonged to the extremely backward caste speaks for his popularity.

"I would not have been able to achieve this without the support of the district administration and the peace-loving people of my panchayat," he said.

Pandey's father, Vijay Shanker Pandey, who was the mukhiya of Kharenda for 25 years, is proud of his son. "I had not been able to make Kharenda crime-free despite several attempts during my term," said Vijay, who was elected to the Bhabhua Assembly seat in 1990. "I have advised him not to join any political party if he really wants to serve the people," he said.

Pandey's next mission is to make Kharenda, which has 6,500 voters, a 100 per cent literate panchayat, and poverty-free. The literacy rate of Kharenda is 65 per cent, compared to Bihar's 48 per cent.

"I am motivating people to send their children to school," he said. "I am sure when you come here next time, the panchayat will have 100 per cent literacy."

(Courtesy: The Week; March 23, 2008)

<b>Pune girl weds NRI boy - in hot air balloon</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By Quaid Najmi, Mumbai, April 19 : Marriages are made in heaven - one wedding Saturday in Pune came pretty close.
Pune adventure sports enthusiast Shital Mahajan got married to Vaibhav Rane, working as a software engineer with Nokia in Finland, around 600 feet above the earth in a hot air balloon.

Hindu priest Milind Bildikar Guruji and Shital's father Kamlakar Mahajan accompanied the young couple in the small basket dangling below the huge multi-hued balloon.

Shital, 25, sported a red sari with golden designs while Vaibhav was attired in a cream-coloured churidar-kurta for the ceremony.

<b>Though a bit wary of the swaying basket, Guruji chanted the Vedic hymns and conducted the 'saat pheras' around a makeshift 'havan' (going around the holy fire seven times) while the couple exchanged garlands.</b>

Kamlakar "gave away" his daughter Shital to the groom.

Vaibhav then tied the traditional gold-and-black-beaded 'mangalsutra' necklace around the bride's neck as the balloon gently wobbled in the cool breeze. The morning sun swathed them in golden hue while their families and others looked up from the ground below.

Shortly after coming down to earth, Shital's 'bidaai' ceremony (leaving parents' home for husband's house) was performed. A joyous but weeping Shital told IANS that the dream towards which she had been working for the past four-five months had finally borne fruit.

"I wanted to do something different and memorable. With the support of my family, my husband's family and scores of others, I have achieved it. All the ceremonies were completed without a hitch as planned," she said in an emotion-choked voice before passing the phone to Vaibhav.

Vaibhav, hailing from Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, said that he had done para-jumping a couple of times in Finland so the experience was not entirely novel. "However, my family members are very thrilled at this unique marriage and everybody supported our endeavour," he said.

The couple will depart for Finland April 30 and hope to return in October for Diwali.

<b>The expense of conducting the marriage in the balloon came to around Rs.600,000.</b>
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>रामायण के दोहों से नशाखोरी के खिलाफ मुहिम</b>
Apr 21, 05:45 pm

वाराणसी। कहते हैं कि दिल में जज्बा हो, इरादा अटल हो और कुछ कर गुजरने की चाहत हो तो कोई भी मुश्किल आडे़ नहीं आ सकती है। सोनभद्र जिले के रहने वाले जन्म से अंधे नंदलाल आजकल आदिवासी इलाकों में रामायण के दोहों से नशाखोरी के खिलाफ एक मुहिम चलाए हुए हैं। उनका दावा है कि उन्होंने अब तक बहुत से लोगों को शराब और धूम्रपान से छुटकारा दिला दिया है।

  सोनभद्र जिले के गहलगढ़ गांव के नंदलाल के जीवन का मकसद ही अब नशामुक्त समाज बनना है। भले ही नंदलाल जन्म से अंधे हैं लेकिन गांव की पगडंडियों पर पूरे आत्मविश्वास के साथ बिना छड़ी के सहारे सुबह-सुबह अपनी डयूटी पर जरूर जाते हैं। नंदलाल की नशामुक्त समाज की मुहिम पिछले दो सालों से चल रही है जिसमें अभी तक वे बहुत से लोगों को नशे के मकड़जाल से बाहर निकाल चुके हैं।

  गौरतलब है कि सोनभद्र के आदिवासी कच्ची शराब घर-घर में अपने पीनेभर या तो बना लेते हैं या शराब के अड्डे से खरीदकर पीते हैं। इस शराबखोरी में इनका पूरा परिवार भुखमरी के कगार पर आ जाता है। शराब से परिवार की बर्बादी नंदलाल को हमेशा से चुभती रही। इसलिए नंदलाल खुद शराब के अड्डे पर जाकर उन्हें समझाते हैं।

  नंदलाल के समझाने का तरीका भी अलग है। नंदलाल एक शराब के अड्डे पर बार-बार जाते हैं और पीने वालों को रामायण के दोहे सुनाते हैं। कभी-कभी तो नंदलाल शराब के अड्डे पर रामायण के पाठ का कार्यक्रम भी रख देते हैं जिसमें गांव की महिलाएं उनका सहयोग करती हैं। नंदलाल बताते है कि कभी-कभी ऐसा करने में उन्हें गाली भी सुननी पड़ती है लेकिन धीरे-धीरे शराबी शराब छोड़ देता है और उसका परिवार सुखी हो जाता है।

  नंदलाल को नशामुक्ति अभियान के खिलाफ जंग छेड़ने का जज्बा तब मिला, जब इसी शराब की वजह से नंदलाल के सिर से बचपन में ही बाप का साया उठ गया था। मां का आंचल पकड़कर नंदलाल जब चलना सीखे, तो उनकी मां उन्हें छोड़कर इस दुनिया से चल बसीं। अब नंदलाल का इस दुनिया में कोई नहीं है लेकिन शराब की वजह से हुई बर्बादी उन्हें हमेशा सालती रही। इसलिए उन्होंने अब उसके खिलाफ अभियान छेड़ने का फैसला किया।

  आज इस कारनामे से क्षेत्र में इन्हें शराबियों का डाक्टर कहा जाने लगा हैं क्योंकि आंखों से दिखाई न देने के बावजूद भी वे प्रतिदिन सुबह उठकर किसी एक गांव में जाते हैं और वहां घर-घर जाकर उन लोगों को समझाते हैं, जिन्हें शराब ने भुखमरी के कगार पर पहुंचा दिया है। नंदलाल उन घरों की भी खोज खबर लेते रहते हैं, जिनके पति शराब छोड़ चुके हैं।

  काकरी गांव की सुकुमारी बताती हैं कि नंदलाल के आने के प्रभाव से वे अब शराब पीना तो छोड़ ही दिया है। साथ ही वे अब कुछ काम भी करने लगे हैं। कोहरौला गांव की प्रभावती देवी बताती हैं कि शराब छोड़ने के बाद वे काम के साथ-साथ पूजा भी करने लगे हैं।

  सबसे खास बात यह है कि उनकी इस मुहिम में गांव की महिलाएं नंदलाल के साथ हैं, क्योंकि अपने पति की शराबखोरी से सबसे ज्यादा महिलाएं ही परेशान हैं। नंदलाल पूरे क्षेत्र में रामचरितमानस की चौपाइयां सुनाकर लोगों को सद्मार्ग पर चलना सीखा रहे हैं।

  नंदलाल नशामुक्ति अभियान के अलावा एक छोटे बच्चों का स्कूल भी चलाते हैं क्योंकि नंदलाल को लगता है कि बच्चों को पढ़ाकर वे उनके पिता को नशामुक्ति के लिए प्रेरित कर सकते हैं। इन बच्चों में वे बच्चे खास तौर पर आते हैं जिनके पिता शराब पीने के आदी हैं। नंदलाल का यह अभियान सोनभद्र जिले के कई गांवों में जारी है। इसमें से काकरी, रेहता और कोहरौला मुख्य गांव है।

  रामायण के दोहों से नशे का इलाज कितना हो पाएगा, यह बता पाना तो बहुत मुश्किल है लेकिन इतना जरूर है कि सोनभद्र के कुछ क्षेत्रों में कल तक जहां शाम को नशे के जाम टकराया करते थे, वहां अब आदिवासी गीत-संगीत पर भी थिरकते नजर आ रहे हैं और यह चमत्कार नंदलाल के प्रयासों से हुआ है। नंदलाल उत्साहित हैं और उनका मानना है कि यह मुहिम पूरे आदिवासी इलाकों में चलनी चाहिए।


Blind by birth, villager Nandalal of Sonbhadra-UP works amid tribals. His mission in life is a alchohol-free tribal belt. Tribals of Sonabhadra area are heavily given to drinking for a few generations. To reform such tribals he uses Ramayana of Tulasidas as the tool. Cheered and supported by the tribal women he goes and sets up his ramayana camp near and sometimes right in front of the liquor shops, one after the other, and his troop keeps singing ramayana until the tribals dont give up. As it seems his efforts are already showing results and instead of drinking many tribals can be seen joining Nandalal is singing Ramayana. Not only is this resulting is better economic improvement and health for tribals, but also the revival of the traditional tribal music and dance which can be often noted these days in the evenings. Women are fanatic supporters of Nandalal. He also runs a traditional school for tribal kids.
The Death of Traditional Hinduism

From Dr. Frank Morales
A tragic occurrence in the very long history of Hinduism was witnessed throughout the 19th century, the destructive magnitude of which Hindu leaders and scholars today are only beginning to adequately assess and address. This development both altered and weakened Hinduism to such a tremendous degree that Hinduism has not yet even begun to recover.

British Attack on Hinduism
The classical, traditional Hinduism that had been responsible for the continuous development of thousands of years of sophisticated culture, architecture, music, philosophy, ritual and theology came under devastating assault during the 19th century British colonial rule like at no other time in India's history.

Innovative Cultural Genocide
What the Hindu community experienced under British Christian domination, however, was an ominously innovative form of cultural genocide. What they experienced was not an attempt at the physical annihilation of their culture, but a deceivingly more subtle program of intellectual and spiritual annihilation. It is easy for a people to understand the urgent threat posed by an enemy that seeks to literary kill them. It is much harder, though, to understand the threat of an enemy who, while remaining just as deadly, claims to seek only to serve a subjugated people's best interests.

Anglicized Hindu Intellectuals
During this short span of time in the 19th century, the ancient grandeur and beauty of a classical Hinduism that had stood the test of thousands of years, came under direct ideological attack. What makes this period in Hindu history most especially tragic is that the main apparatus that the British used in their attempts to destroy traditional Hinduism were the British educated, spiritually co-opted sons and daughters of Hinduism itself. Seeing traditional Hinduism through the eyes of their British masters, a pandemic wave of 19th century Anglicized Hindu intellectuals saw it as their solemn duty to "Westernize" and "modernize" traditional Hinduism to make it more palatable to their new European overlords. One of the phenomena that occurred during this historic period was the fabrication of a new movement known as "neo-Hinduism".

What is Neo-Hinduism?
Neo-Hinduism was an artificial religious construct used as a paradigmatic juxtaposition to the legitimate traditional Hinduism that had been the religion and culture of the people for thousands of years. Neo-Hinduism was used as an effective weapon to replace authentic Hinduism with a British invented version designed to make a subjugated people easier to manage and control.

The Christian and British inspired neo-Hinduism movement attempted to execute several overlapping goals, and did so with great success:

a) The subtle Christianization of Hindu theology, which included concerted attacks on iconic imagery (archana, or murti), panentheism, and continued belief in the beloved gods and goddesses of traditional Hinduism.
b) The imposition of the Western scientific method, rationalism and skepticism on the study of Hinduism in order to show Hinduism's supposedly inferior grasp of reality.
c) Ongoing attacks against the ancient Hindu science of ritual in the name of simplification and democratization of worship.
d) The importation of Radical Universalism from liberal, Unitarian / Universalist Christianity as a device designed to severely water down traditional Hindu philosophy.

The Death of Traditional Hinduism
The dignity, strength and beauty of traditional Hinduism was recognized as the foremost threat to Christian European rule in India. The invention of neo-Hinduism was the response. Had this colonialist program been carried out with a British face, it would not have met with as much success as it did. Therefore, an Indian face was used to impose neo-Hinduism upon the Hindu people. The resultant effects of the activities of Indian neo-Hindus were ruinous for traditional Hinduism.

The Dilemma
The primary dilemma with Hinduism as we find it today, in a nutshell, is precisely this problem of…
1) Not recognizing that there are really two distinct and conflicting Hinduisms today, Neo-Hindu and Traditionalist Hindu; and
2) With Traditionalists being the guardians of authentic Dharma philosophically and attitudinally, but not yet coming to full grips with the modern world, i.e., not yet having found a way of negotiating authentic Hindu Dharma with an ability to interface with modernity and communicate this unadulterated Hindu Dharma in a way that the modern mind can most appreciate it.

A Confused Existence
Hinduism will continue to be a religion mired in confusion about its own true meaning and value until traditionalist Hindus can assertively, professionally and intelligently communicate the reality of genuine Hinduism to the world.
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over an increasing number of divorce cases flooding the courts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the Hindu Marriages Act had done more harm to the family system in the country than strengthening it.

"The Hindu Marriages Act has broken more homes than uniting," a vacation Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and G S Singhvi observed.
<b>Steep school expenses encouraging one-child norm</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sat, Jun 28 11:10 PM

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Rising school expenses are forcing young parents in India to have only one child, a study by a business chamber says.

The study by the social development foundation of the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) found the average tuition fee for a child at private schools in large cities to be around Rs.35,000 annually.

In India, more than 30 million children are now educated in private schools. And their parents are being bled financially, Assocham said.

'It is hitting their budget very hard and potentially have a direct impact on children's schooling. Parents are especially concerned about schools that put pressure on parents to make so-called 'voluntary' contributions,' the survey said.

Apart from the regular fees, parents spend an additional Rs.30,000-Rs.35,000 annually on uniforms, extra curricular activities, textbooks, stationery, school funds, sports and excursions, among others.

Transport comes to an average of Rs.12,000 per child annually, lunch costs Rs.9,600, footwear expense is Rs.4,000-Rs.5,000 , and uniforms account for Rs.3,500-4,500.

In contrast, textbooks - the most essential component of education - come to about Rs.3,000.

Even for private preparatory schools for children aged between three and five years, parents spend about 25,000 a term.

And the amount is higher in large cities and metros.

'School costs have risen at more than double the rate of inflation and come amid warnings to parents to plan early for their child's education,' the survey said.

But the annual income of parents surveyed has not increased by more than 28-30 percent during the period.

'This has forced even well-off parents to plan for only one child,' said Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat.

The survey also showed that families with more than one child are the hardest hit.

The survey interviewed nearly 2,000 working parents across various cities in April-May. About nine out of 10 parents said meeting their wards' school expenses was 'very' difficult.

About 65 percent of them spend more than half their take-home pay on school fees, placing a significant burden on their family budget.

One out of 10 respondents said the high fees have influenced their choice of schools, with about 60 percent complaining that the money demanded does not justify the services offered.

Schools are also becoming more brand conscious, with many now insisting on branded outfits and footwear.

Parents of boys face a slightly larger bill, as they tend to spend more on their sons' after-school activities such as sports, the survey said.

Replay the Ramayana on this phone</b>

Special Correspondent

Sagem-Bleu mobile has 75 minutes of video from 1980s serial

— Photo: Special Arrangement

Culture mobile: Sagem-Bleu’s 466X Ramayana phone.

Bangalore: It claimed a world record as the most-viewed mythology serial on TV and it riveted Indian audiences for 18 months in 1987 -88.

Now a new handset launched in India by the French mobile phone maker Sagem — the Bleu 466X — comes pre-installed with 75 minutes of video edited from the 45 hours of the original 78-instalment Ramanand Sagar series, ‘Ramayana,’ by his son Prem Sagar.
Devotional songs and slokas

The content was enabled by Sagem’s India distributor, Pratham, who has also included another two hours of devotional songs and slokas enhanced with animation.
Music player

The Rs. 4199 phone includes a music player, an FM radio on speakerphone, Bluetooth connectivity, a VGA-quality camera and a video recording feature.

A free 512 MB data card is also being offered as part of the launch.

<b>Lifestyle diseases bigger threat than AIDS</b>
Can be X-posted in many threads...
Meanwhile book review from Hindu, 9 July 2008

Mapping the new wealth creators

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mapping the new wealth creators


<b>An attempt to trace the evolution of modern business and to document India’s new entrepreneurial groups  </b>

INDIA’S NEW CAPITALISTS — Caste, Business and Industry in a Modern Nation: Harish Damodaran; Permanent Black, D-28, Oxford Apartment, 11, I.P. Extension, Delhi-110092. Rs. 695.

During the early post- Independence years and right until the 1970s, there was considerable critical writing on the Indian capitalists. This was a period when the developmental state was still a viable option. Public investment was the preferred route. The state felt it expedient to position itself on the right side of the Left and to periodically make some noises about the undesirability of economic concentration. In fact, the state itself lent support to the very product ion of knowledge on the structure of big capital in India, evident in the reports of the statutory Monopoly Inquiry Commission and the Industrial Licensing Policy Inquiry Committee. Its core findings, namely that 75 business houses all over India virtually controlled the Indian industry, even became part of the popular discourse of those times. This was also a reflection on the hegemonic influence of the Left liberal intellectual tradition both within and outside Indian academia. The upshot of all this was the spawning and the generation of an enormous amount of very interesting literature which sought to throw light on the nature of the Indian bourgeoisie.

Bridging a hiatus

However, much of the most interesting work was produced by sociologists and historians, and consequently the focus remained limited to the colonial or at best to the early post-Independence period and to issues revolving around the preponderant control of the corporate space by those from traditional business communities. <b>Strangely, when it came to the narration of the post-Independence story, especially the turbulent post-1975 period, there was a virtual drought so far as serious scholarship on the capitalists was concerned. Paradoxically, despite the considerable hype about the India growth story since the post-reform 1990s and the exceptional role of the Indian entrepreneurs as prime movers of this process, there has been no serious attempt by scholars from either side of the epistemological divide to undertake a study of this class.</b> To Harish Damodaran goes the credit of successfully filling the void in our understanding of the process of the emergence of the new “wealth creators” as well as bridging the hiatus between the past and the present. This, in essence, is the point of departure of his scholarly and thought-provoking contribution.

Pattern of accumulation

Writing about capitalists especially in India is no easy task as information and hard data are extremely hard to come by. Indian entrepreneurs as a class are rather tight-lipped and secretive when it comes to sharing information about their investments. <b>Given these inherent constraints it is remarkable that Damodaran has managed to weave what is truly an extremely incisive and thought-provoking account of the complex trajectories of the accumulation process, laying to rest many myths and misconceptions about the social composition of Indian capital. It is probably the first serious study of its kind with a truly all-India sweep.</b> Precisely by extending the gaze beyond the traditionally-renowned centres of capital, largely in the North, as well as by distancing himself from the obsessive size-trap issue, the author is able to capture the diverse and heterogeneous routes to accumulation and making of the new capital. <b>What clearly emerges from this study is a distinct North/East and South/West divide with respect to the pattern of accumulation and social origins of capital — a trend which in some cases had roots going back to the colonial period.</b>

Entrepreneurial base

The chapters dealing with agro-commercial capital especially those on “Kammas, Reddys and Rajus”, “Kongunad Naidus and Gounders”, and “Patidars and Marathas” are among the most interesting sections. Rich in detail and insightful about the larger processes of accumulation, it clearly underscores the need for reinterpreting and redefining the trajectory of Asian capitalism. <b>More significantly, this account provides insights that help one to comprehend and contextualise the recent upsurge of entrepreneurial activity in these parts of India. Rather than the ‘Vaishya vacuum (as the author believes)’, the influence of ryotwari land tenurial system, in conjunction with the commercialisation process, would merit probing as a possible explanation for the ethnically broad-based entrepreneurial base in this region.</b>

<b>Nevertheless, this otherwise finely-textured book does leave one with a few niggling questions.</b> It is not quite clear, as compared to the colonial period, how caste as a social institution in contemporary India facilitated the entry of these new entrepreneurs. While clearly the Marwari-Bania dominance over industry is a thing of the past, this account suggests that they are still a force to reckon with in large parts of northern India. To what extent can this resurgence be explained exclusively in terms of caste, disregarding the overall favourable conditions for investment? Likewise, this study is relatively silent on the influence of government policy both at the Centre and in the states in creating a favourable investment-friendly environment and in facilitating the loosening of entry barriers for these new capitalists. These caveats notwithstanding, Damodaran’s book is certainly a most welcome addition to the sparse literature in this field and a must-read for all those wishing to comprehend the India development story.
Deccan Chronicle, 10 July 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Convent schools lose their sheen
<b>The once-sought after convent schools of the city are losing out to high-profile "international" schools which offer everything from e-learning and skating to entrance coaching and air-conditioned classrooms. There was a time when everyone wanted to send their children to well-run convent schools, which were considered the perfect grooming arena for children. That is no longer the case.</b>

<b>This year, several convent schools of the city have experienced a drastic fall in the number of students seeking admissions.</b>  "When I passed out from St Ann’s High School in 2001, there were people rushing to get their children in," says Kavya Reddy, a former student. <b>"But when I recently visited the school I realised that the craze is gone. Convents are no more dream schools for many in the city."</b>

<b>In the past five years, several international schools have mushroomed in the city. Though these schools charge an astronomical annual fee, affluent families prefer to send their children there. Earlier, children from elite families were a fixture at convent schools. Now they troop to international schools, which promise a "corporate teaching pattern".  This means easy transport, air conditioned classrooms, e-learning, swimming and more</b>. <b>Convents are facing tough competition </b>not just from international schools <b>but also from concept schools.</b>

There are many parents who dream of their kids making it to the IIT and these schools are feeding on this by offering IIT coaching from early days. <b>"There is much competition for IIT and other entrance exams these days and so I have put my daughter in a concept school,"</b> says Mr Ramesh Chandra, a parent.


Maybe an end of an era! Finally the Raj is getting over.
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Jul 10 2008, 02:28 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Jul 10 2008, 02:28 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Maybe an end of an era! Finally the Raj is getting over.

Fingers in the shape of an Om! (Not crossed!)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Tribal girl marries by ancient Swayamvar ceremony in Chattisgarh</b>
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Durg (Chattisgarh), July 9 (ANI): Swayamvar, an ancient wedding ceremony, was revived on Tuesday in Chattisgarh, and that too by a tribal girl in Durg district.

Swayamvar is an ancient ceremony in which marriageable maidens, brides-to-be, stipulated certain conditions, and any individual who could fulfill and accomplish them, could marry the girl as the reward.

But this time it was organized in Chattisgarh's Ghumka Village, about 110 kilometers from State capital Raipur.

Following her tribal father's desire, Annapurna decided to select her bridegroom-to-be through the Swayamvar ceremony held at their village.

Invitation to all prospective bridegrooms were sent a month ahead for the ceremony. It was mandatory that the contenders must be from Halba tribe.

About 15,000 people from far off places converged to watch the Swayamvar ceremony that finds its last mention in Hindu epic Ramayana.

<span style='color:red'>The three contenders in the ceremony were asked by Annapurna, the girl in question, to explain about "Panchtatva" or, the five elements of life, according to Hinduism.

The other challenge was to explain a couplet taken from Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas. It required the contenders to explain the value of five elements of life, Panchanan, Gyan, Daan and Yagya.</span>   <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> 

But the winner of the Swayamvar was Ghanaram, an intermediate by education. After his win, Ghanaram took permission from the girl's father and met her.

Ghanaram, the bridegroom, said: "Annapurna asked me about the five elements our body consists of. I am a disciple of Satpal Guru and so I knew about it. I feel very good, I could answer the questions."

Annapurna, the bride, said: "I am very happy. It feels like a festival. I feel good that my father has organized this elaborate ritual for my marriage."

Though the girl's father Ram Ratan Thakur is a peon in a local administrative office, his family is regarded one of the distinguished families of their village.

Annapurna has five elder brothers and one young sister.

<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jul 22 2008, 09:59 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jul 22 2008, 09:59 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Tribal girl marries by ancient Swayamvar ceremony in Chattisgarh</b>
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<span style='color:red'>The three contenders in the ceremony were asked by Annapurna, the girl in question, to explain about "Panchtatva" or, the five elements of life, according to Hinduism.

The other challenge was to explain a couplet taken from Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas. It required the contenders to explain the value of five elements of life, Panchanan, Gyan, Daan and Yagya.</span>  <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> 
http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20080709/824/...ient-swaya.html<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]84802[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Absolutely brilliant. A bright shining jewel weeded out the unworthies and found the matching jewel. Now the set is complete! I - I mean <i>we</i> - are rich.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Annapurna has five elder brothers and one young sister.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->7 is a good sized family. With the Devargal's Asirvadam, may Annapurna and her husband Ghanaram have 100 children at least. :blessing

Meanwhile, said ignorant yahoo.in:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->the Swayamvar ceremony that finds its last mention in Hindu epic Ramayana.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> MHAHAHAHAHAhaaa... Indian English-language media was always good for a laugh, but this.... Tears-running-down-cheek-funny.
Ignorance hits an all-time low in Anglisi 'Indian' media! Must be christoconditioning that has deteriorated their brains. Did they get their 'eddycation' from studying at those 'prestigious' convent schools?
Mahabharatam - as the majority population of Bharatam knows - comes <i>after</i> the Ramayanam. And Draupadi's swayamvaram in the Mahabharatam is a very famous one. (Another one from the Mahabharatam that IIRC was a swayamvaram was of the three sisters Amba, Ambika and Ambalika I think whom Bhishma won for his brothers.)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mahabharatam - as the majority population of Bharatam knows - comes after the Ramayanam.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> The yahoo's probably Weasel fan - you remember akadummy who said: "who cares which came first"

Don't we have records of Swayamvar as late as in 1100/1200s - Prithivraj Chauhan and Sanyogita?

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