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Court questions Karnataka’s Move to Celebrate Tipu Jayanti, says Mysore ruler was not a Freedom Fighter

Though Tipu was born in 1750 at Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bengaluru, his kingdom's capital was at Srirangapatna near Mysore

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Mysore Ruler Tipu Sultan, Flickr

Bengaluru, November 2, 2016: Observing that erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday questioned the state government’s move to celebrate his birthday on November 10.

“What is the logic behind the state government’s decision to celebrate Tipu’s birth anniversary (Jayanti) as he was only a king and not a freedom fighter,” asked Chief Justice S.K. Mukherjee hearing a PIL against the event.

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Known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’, Tipu Sultan ruled the Mysore kingdom from 1782-1799 succeeding his father Hyder Ali.

Though Tipu was born in 1750 at Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bengaluru, his kingdom’s capital was at Srirangapatna near Mysore.

A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Mukherjee and Justice R. B. Budhihal sought response of the state government to the PIL, which claimed that Tipu was a monarch who fought against the British to protect his own kingdom.

K.P. Manjunathja of Kodagu had filed the PIL opposing the state government's decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti. Click To Tweet

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Defending the celebration, public counsel M.R. Naik told the bench that Tipu was a great warrior who also fought against the British rulers.

Challenging the state government’s move, petitioner’s counsel Sajan Poovaiah said Tipu was a tyrant ruler who killed hundreds of people belonging to other communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis and Christians during his 17-year rule.

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At this, Justic Mukherjee noted: “Even the Nizams and other monarchs of then princely states across the country fought against the British during the 18th century and the 19th century to safeguard their own interests.”

The ruling Congress began celebrating Tipu’s birth anniversary since last year, which led to violent protests by the right-wing organisations in the Mysore region.

Opposition BJP and pro-Hindu organisations like RSS have threatened to stage protests against the event, as Tipu was a “religious bigot and violent sultan”.

Manipal Global Education Chairman and former Infosys Director T. V. Mohandas Pai also slammed the state government’s plan to celebrate Tipu Jayanti, saying it amounted to celebrating the birth anniversary of Aurangzeb, the 17th century Mughal Emperor, perceived as a tyrant and a religious fundamentalist.

“The state government, instead, should celebrate the birth anniversaries of benevolent rulers like the Wodeyars of Mysore and their Diwan (Prime Minister) Mirza Ismail,” said Pai here on Tuesday.

Accusing the government of playing politics over Tipu Jayanti, Pai said celebration of such a ruler would dived the people as Tipu had killed people of different communities and forcibly converted people to Islam.

“I am a Konkani and feel offended that the state government is celebrating somebody (Tipu) who did wrong to both communities,” he said.

Pai also said that Tipu butchered Coorgis and Christians in Kodagu and Kerala and destroyed Konkani temples near Sultan Bathery and Kasargod (in north Kerala). (IANS)

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UNICEF Calls for Action : 16 Million Children Continue to Suffer as Floods in South Asia Claim More than 1,300 Lives

According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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floods in south asia
India army soldiers carry children rescued from flood affected villages near Thara in Banaskantha district, Gujarat, India (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (VOA)
  • Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have claimed more than 1,300 lives in the last two months
  • According to UNICEF, over 16 million children in the three countries are in urgent need of life-saving support
  • Persistent rainfall has damaged school infrastructure, apart from depriving children of safe places to stay at, and necessities like drinking water and food

New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Hurricane Harvey created havoc in Houston in August, claiming 15 lives and displacing tens of thousands of people. The event was largely covered by national and international media alike, keeping people abreast with the latest updates. However, the floods in South Asia, which are equally devastating, are yet to receive due coverage from international media. According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

In its entirety, over 45 million people have suffered the direct impact of the rains and its resulting floods.

Floods in South Asia

For over two months, incessant rains have submerged numerous villages thereby forcing vast numbers of people into evacuation centers and relief camps.

According to a UN Agency report, over 16 million children residing in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are in dire need of life-saving support due to weeks of torrential monsoons that have given rise to ‘catastrophic’ floods in the three South Asian countries.

UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Jean Gough noted that millions of children have already been affected by these devastating floods as incessant rains continue to pose potential threat.  “Children have lost their homes, schools, and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south,” she added, according to a report by PTI.

According to official figures, at least 1,288 deaths have been reported since mid-August.

Gough believes the persistent rainfall and the resulting water accumulation have damaged school infrastructure among other things which will hamper children from attending classes for weeks, or even months. According to her, “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down”

Among other urgent needs of these children are clean drinking water, sufficient food supplies, hygiene supplies to control and combat the spread of potential diseases and safe evacuation places for the children to stay at, study and play.

ALSO READ Thousands displaced in Myanmar due to floods

Devastation from floods in India

According to a report by PTI, in the northern part of the country, over 31 million people have been affected in four states due to the extensive flooding. Out of this, 12.33 million sufferers are believed to be children.

The tally of houses damaged by the floods has reached 805,183 while 15,455 schools have been damaged, that has disrupted the education of children.

Additionally, the heavy downpour in Mumbai has already claimed five deaths due to drowning while twelve people, including two children have died due to the collapse of a building.

ALSO READ Why do buildings collapse?

Rescue operations are being undertaken in these states by their respective state governments, which include carrying out relief, recovery and rehabilitation operations.

Furthermore, the state governments have also sought multi-sectoral planning and coordination support from UNICEF in the three worst affected states. These include Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh.

Devastation from floods in Bangladesh

According to Oxfam, with the rising water levels, the flooding is believed to be the worst since 1988 with nearly two-thirds of the country currently submerged under water.

More than 8 million people are reported to have been hit by the floods in Bangladesh, out of which 3 million are allegedly children. Primary and community educational institutions across the country have been terribly hit with as many as 2,292 schools reportedly damaged by the high water.

The country has also reported over 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases.

Devastation from floods in Nepal

Floods in Nepal have displaced 352,738 people from their homes, thus, affecting over 1.7 million people. The water has reportedly surfaced to dangerous levels, to escape which people are making use of makeshift rafts and elephants for rescue operations.

According to a report by PTI, damage to nearly 1,958 schools has affected the education of over 253,605 children.

Major media giants across the world are pledging their support to help combat the scale of  destruction.

In a blog post, Google Vice-President of South East Asia and India wrote, “We are committing $1 million from Google.org and Google employees to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts.”

The NGO, Goonj aims to offer assistance to over 75,000 affected families across India and provide them with basic needs like food, blankets and hygiene supply while on the other hand, Save the Children is focused on setting up child-friendly public spaces for the children to have access to educational material.

Similar organizations have taken up an active role to help rebuild infrastructure for the community like roads, bridges and physical infrastructures.

What causes floods in South Asia?

Apart from the high magnitude of rainfall received this year, the floods in south Asia are believed to have been aggravated by human actions such as reckless construction on floodplains and in the coastal areas, waterways clogged by garbage and a faulty drainage system

According to a report published by VOA, experts have pointed out the inefficiency of the governments of the three countries and have said that is has become increasingly evident that the South Asian governments were unprepared for the annual monsoon showers.

However, disaster management officials also assert that it will be unfair to criticize the governments in view of the magnitude of the floods this year.


 

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Pingali Venkayya: Remembering the man responsible for our National Flag

A tribute to Pingali Venkayya on his birth anniversary, a humble man belonging a small village in Andhra Pradesh.

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Pingali Venkayya and National Flag
Pingali Venkayya designed the Indian National Flag. Twitter
  • Venkayya first conceived the idea of a national flag on 31st  March 1921 at an Indian National Congress conference
  • A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009
  • In January 2015, a statute was dedicated to him by M. Venkaiah Naidu, was put forth in the fore lawns of the All India Radio (AIR) building in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

August 2, 2017: Pingali Venkayya was an Indian freedom fighter and the man who designed the flag on which Indian national flag is based. He was born on 2 August 1876 in Bhatlapenumarru village near Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. He was a language enthusiast, knew multiple languages like Japanese and Urdu, had a doctorate in Geology, fond of history and also established an institute in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.  His village Bhatlapenumarru did not even have a statue of him till 1998.

Venkayya joined the British Indian Army at the tender age of 19 and also took part in the Anglo-Boer war in Africa. It was during this war that Venkayya met Mahatma Gandhi and formed a bond that lasted for more than 50 years.

Venkayya first conceived the idea of a national flag on 31st  March 1921 at an Indian National Congress conference. His version of the flag comprised of two colors- saffron and green to which Mahatma Gandhi added the white stripe. Lala Hansraj, Arya Samaj movement founder added the Dharm Chakra ( wheel of law) to it. Thus the present tricolor flag we see today was adopted on on July 22, 1947.

Pingali Venkayya: The unsung hero who designed India’s National Flag

Venkayya died with poverty on 4 July 1963 in Vijayawada. A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009. His name was proposed for Bharat Ratna in 2011 but In 2014 the award was instead given to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist C.N.R. Rao. Venkayya’s contributions were sidelined by the Indian government.  In January 2015, a statute was dedicated to him by M. Venkaiah Naidu, was put forth in the fore lawns of the All India Radio (AIR) building in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

On his 141st Birth Anniversary, Twitterati remembered him:

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08.

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Shaheed Udham Singh: A Patriot Who Avenged Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Here are 10 unknown facts about the Indian Revolutionary - 'Udham Singh'

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Shaheed Udham Singh Poster. Twitter

July 31, 2017: Udham Singh was born on 26 December 1899, at Sunam, Punjab. He was an Indian Revolutionary, best known for avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He did so by assassinating Michael Francis O’Dwyer, the former governor of Punjab who had supported the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Punjab Governor was responsible for it as he handed the command to Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer to kill unarmed men, women, and children at Jallianwala Bagh.

On the 31st July 1940, freedom fighter Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London. His last words were,” I don’t care, I don’t mind dying. What is the use of waiting till you get old? This is no good. You want to die when you are young. That is good, that is what I am doing”. After a pause, he added: ‘I am dying for my country’.  Such was the spirit of the brave hearted soul.

Here are 10 unknown facts about Udham Singh:

  1. Udham Singh was born with the name Sher Singh. He was brought up in Central Khalsa Orphanage, Amritsar and after Sikh initiatory rites received the name, Udham Singh.

2. He was an eye-witness of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre as he was serving water to crowd gathered along with his friends. This incidence turned him to the path of revolution which later resulted in avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

3. In 1935, when he was on a visit to Kashmir, he was found carrying Bhagat Singh’s portrait. He invariably referred to him as his guru.

4. He loved to sing political songs and was very fond of Ram Prasad Bismal, who was the leading poet of the revolutionaries.

Udham Singh
A picture depicting Udham Singh as he is being led away from Caxton Hall after the assassination of Michael O’ Dwyer. Wikimedia Commons

5. On 13 March 1940 at 4.30 p.m. in the Caxton Hall, London, where a meeting of the East India Association was being held in conjunction with the Royal Central Asian Society, Udham Singh fired five to six shots from his pistol at Sir Michael O’Dwyer. Later, he was jailed for doing so. He also went on a 42-day hunger strike in jail and was forcibly fed.

 

 

6. Udham Singh’s actions were condemned by Gandhi and Nehru but most of the commoners and other aggressive leaders said that it is an important action for Indian independence struggle. Later on, Nehru applauded his actions in 1962 and used the word ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ for him.

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7. In 1995, the Mayawati government in U.P named a district in present-day Uttarakhand after him, called Udham Singh Nagar

8. The Times of London called him ‘Fighter for Freedom’ and Bergeret in Rome also praised his actions as courageous. Singh’s weapon, a knife, a diary and a bullet from shooting are kept in Black Museum, Scotland Yard.

9. In 1974, his remains were exhumed and repatriated to India at the request of MLA Sadhu Singh. The casket was received by Indira Gandhi, Zail Singh, and Shankar Dayal Sharma. Later he was cremated at Sunam, Punjab (his birthplace) and his ashes were scattered in Sutlej River, the same river in which the ashes of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were scattered.

10. Udham Singh addressed himself as Ram Muhammad Singh Azad. This name was adopted to emphasize the unity of all the religious communities in India in their struggle for political freedom.

by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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