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HRD ministry reconstitutes Philosophical Council, brings students in

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New Delhi: Human and Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani reconstituted Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR). Through the reconstitution, it ropes in Sanskrit students, a former BJP member of Legislative Council in Karnataka, a retired IPS officer who has turned to Hinduism and believe in a massive approach and a scholar who is related to an organization claimed to have place Lord Rama’s actual date of birth.

This reconstitution of Council which was approved on 22 Feb 2016 added 12 new members, including four Sanskrit scholars.

The last Council term expired in Oct 2015 where Prof Siddheshwar Bhatt, a philosopher, and sanskritist was nominated as Chairperson to precede reputed educationist Prof Mrinal Miri.

The other members introduced on board are Prof SR Leela, a BJP nominated MLC within Karnataka in 2014 who is also a Sanskrit scholar and former head division of Sanskrit, Banglore College, Prof Hare Ram Tripathi from Delhi’s Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, and Prof Om Prakash Pandey who is a former HoD Sanskrit and Prakrit languages, Lucknow College.

Prof K Aravinda Rao, a retired who served as DGP in Andhra Pradesh also may be a part of ICPR. He presently working as the Director of Hyderabad-based Advaita Academy. Rao wrote books like ‘How you can inform Hinduism to child?’ and ‘Analysis of Jnanam within the Upanishads’.

Prof V Kutumba Sastri is an exceptional member of Philosophical Analysis Council, who is a former VC Somnath Sanskrit University. Sastri  is also a member of Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE), which claimed to have put an exact date to the several events from Ramayana and Mahabharata including God Rama’s exact date and time of birth.

The opposite members on board the council are Prof Kusum Jain, former professor & HoD of Philosophy, Rajasthan College, Prof Jatashankar Tiwari, former professor & HoD Philosophy, Allahabad College, Prof X P Mao, professor of Philosophy, North East Hill College, Prof R C Sinha, former professor & HoD Philosophy, Patna College. That aside Prof Dharmanand Sharma, former professor and HoD philosophy, Chandigarh College and Prof Naresh Kumar Ambastha, HoD philosophy, PKRM School, Dhanbad and Dr Rajaram Shukla, professor Vaidic Darshan, BHU Varanasi are additionally on the reconstituted ICPR Council. This council will additional co-choose one other 4 eminent philosophers.

ICPR is a physique of famed philosophers, social faces and government representatives that evaluate the progress of research in Philosophy, sponsors and tasks of analysis in Philosophy by institutes.(Inputs from agencies)

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Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

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Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.