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India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru established parliamentary system of governance in India: President Pranab Mukherjee

Mukherjee said that the Indian democratic process was still unfolding

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President Pranab Mukherjee, Source- Wikimedia

Mumbai, March 17, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said it would not be wrong to credit India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with establishing parliamentary system of governance in India.

Speaking at India Today Conclave here, Mukherjee said it was a “tremendous risk” to take any step in the circumstances prevailing then, but Nehru took the plunge and as a result India is a vibrant democracy today.

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“Nehru in his long innings as Prime Minister of India had profound influence over my generation. If someone says that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is the architect of parliamentary system of governance in India, he won’t be wrong,” Mukherjee said.

“It is not that he did not make mistakes but the fact remains that he took tremendous risk of introducing parliamentary politics in a country that is so vast and diverse, had zero economic development and low literacy levels at that time. But he took the risk,” he added.

Mukherjee noted that as a sign of vibrant Indian democracy, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 66 per cent of “800 million people of India voted to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha”.

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Mukherjee said that the Indian democratic process was still unfolding.

“It was Nehru who gave a new shape to India in 1956 by deciding to have states based on language. Today we have 29 states and the formation of Indian states has not closed. India’s democratic process in unfolding,” he said.

Mukherjee also noted former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decisive action in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

“Indira Gandhi had a strong influence over me. The high point of her political career was her effective and almost decisive role in liberation of Bangladesh. She was an effective Prime Minister who could utilise her power to further the principles she believed in,” he said. (IANS)

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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‘India Won the 1962 War and Gandhiji was not Murdered’: Are New Textbooks in India Misinforming the Youth?

How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have a all-too-glorified past?

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New School Textbooks in India are not telling the real history to youth. Wikimedia

August 25, 2017: Fake news has become the biggest evil to true information. Exaggerated/ altered facts to support an ideological agenda has become increasingly common, combined with photoshopped images and fabricated videos.

But this misinformation when breaches the sacredness of education and knowledge, it takes the form of the most dangerous thing. Such fabricated tales are now available in the new textbooks in India.

History, in particular, has been twisted and told to young students of India. It is unfortunate that the textbooks which are to shape the able youth of the nation and telling outright lies.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

Below are some of the incidents that have been explained differently than the reality:

THE MUGHALS

The Hindus have always hated the Mughal chapter of the Indian History. The Mughal Dynasty came to India for conquest and occupied the majority of the nation. The Dynasty which came from Central Asia ruled over the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1857 after which the White people took over. The slavery of Hindus in their own nation is a sad but true fact. The Mughal rule was also perceived as the authoritarian nature of Islam, although the interests that the dynasty was pursuing were purely political. The people who opposed the Mughal Dynasty in India included Chattrapati Shivaji, the Maratha King, along with Assam Kings Commander Lachit Borphukan, are well respected among the Hindu sect.

There was also an incident involving Mughal King Akbar and Rajput Chieftain Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap rejected becoming subordinate to Akbar. Hence, a war was waged which later came to be known as the Battle of Haldighati. Although Maharana’s Rajput forces gave a tough fight, it was outnumbered by Akbar’s huge military.

In July 2017, India Today reported that in the Class X textbooks of history, it is said that it was the Rajput forces that defeated the Mughals in the battle. This change was approved by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education during the period of revising state textbooks.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Nowhere in the Class VIII textbooks do the students find the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The book does explore Gandhi’s life span, but it does not inform how the father of the nation was killed by Nathuram Godse. The Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal has published the textbook.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU

The same textbook that has omitted Godse’s name has also forgotten Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first PM and the longest one at that. While Nehru’s decisions during his leadership are of various debates, the book has not discussed the first PM and his role in reconstructing a newly independent and divided nation. However, the book has extensively mentioned the First President Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel. Indian Express reported how the political ideology has played a role here to hide the true picture of history. Nehru, for all his secular ideas and a different idea of the country, which was not so popular among some sects.

1962 WAR BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

India was taken off guard by an attack from the Chinese troops in 1962. India, which was still recovering from independence, lost embarrassingly. In the recent Dokhlam standoff, Chinese media has reminded India of the humiliating defeat. Needless to say, the 1962 Indo-Sino war left a mark on Indians.

But in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanskrit Textbooks for Class VIII students, it is claimed that India won the war. The book titled ‘Sukritika’ explicitly states, “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” reports Times of India. The textbook is published by Kriti Prakashan and is used at CBSE affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh.

THE UNFORTUNATE REALITY

Indian Express had also reported the dire need for improvement in Maharashtra. Important events of world history (and not just western history) such as the French and American Revolution, Magna Carta, Greek Academia, etc. are all replaced by the glorification of the Maratha dynasty.

These incidents are shameful when viewed from a citizen’s lens. How can one expect to believe knowledge and intellect when information itself is a lie? How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have an all-too-glorified past?


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Nehru Largely Responsible for Indo-China Border Dispute

Jawaharlal Nehru was a big failure in international relations as evident from his being the pioneer in spoiling India’s relations with China and creating the Kashmir issue with Pakistan

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Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Indian constitution. Wikimedia

– by Gaurav Tyagi

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a confrontation, since mid-June on a piece of territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.

This dispute is a tripartite one, involving India, China and Bhutan. The aforesaid terrain is claimed by Bhutan, which has no diplomatic ties with Beijing.

India and Bhutan have a treaty of friendship dating back to 1949. This gives India complete influence over Thimphu’s defense and foreign policy.

The stand-off appears irresolvable with India refusing to withdraw its troops back to its side of the international border and China insisting that diplomacy would only be possible once, Indian troops move back.

India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on 27th July. It was the first high-level meeting between India and China since, the aforementioned military stand-off between these two nations, which started on 16th June.

Unfortunately, this meeting also failed to resolve the deadlock.

The Chinese accuse India of trespassing into the Chinese territory while the Indian side maintains that it just responded to Bhutan’s request for help.

ALSO READ: Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Releases Online Forms for Second Bullying Survey of Hindu American Youth

India suffered a defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 war between both these countries. This bitter memory still continues to haunt the Indian policy makers.
It’s therefore imperative to analyze the situation leading to the Indo-China battle during 1962 because one cannot face the future with confidence/clarity unless the ghosts of the past are buried.

Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell made portions of the Henderson Brooks report public by putting it on his blog in March 2014.

This report was an internal Indian army enquiry into its loss to China in the 1962 war. Maxwell was the New Delhi correspondent for ‘The Times’, London during that period.
The report was compiled by Lt. General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat.
Successive Indian governments have refused to make the report public because it rightly proves that Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India instigated the 1962 war with China.

Indians grow up with the narrative that China attacked India in 1962. This was a trick used by Nehru to enrage public attitude in India against China.

The so called ‘McMahon line’ on the border between China and India is just an Indian claim from the legacy of British imperialism.

Britishers deceptively ensured that India, post-independence inherit a border dispute with China. They did it by moving into the Chinese territory in the Northeast during the 1940’s in spite of repeated complaints by the Chinese government in this regard.

The Chinese wanted to settle the matter of McMahon line. Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China visited India in 1960 asking for an agreement on the McMahon line but due to Nehru’s rigid and illogical stand, no agreement on this issue could take place.

Nehru refused to negotiate with the Chinese. His adamant stand was; “We will decide where the boundary is. It’s not negotiable. Chinese have to accept”.
The Henderson Brooks report clearly mentions that the absurd ‘forward policy’ of Nehru, directing Indian troops to patrol; ‘show the Indian flag’ and establish posts as ‘far forward as possible’ from the existing positions resulted in the Indo-China war of 1962.

BJP also blamed Nehru for the 1962 fiasco. A prominent leader of BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad in March 2014 asked for the Henderson Brooks report to be made public. BJP under the leadership of Modi won the 2014 parliamentary elections with overwhelming majority.

Modi government is not dependent on any other political party for its survival in the Indian Parliament. Modi must therefore, take decisions, which are in national interest rather than trying to preserve the falsely created lofty image of Nehru.

ALSO READ: Challenges to the Narendra Modi government before the Upcoming 2019 Elections

Past Congress governments in India didn’t do anything in this regard since, Congress party comprises of only sycophants of Nehru clan. They do not have the guts to criticize Nehru and his failed policies.

Modi should make the Henderson Brooks report public and lift the ban imposed on Neville Maxwell’s book; ‘India’s China War’ imposed by the erstwhile Congress government to safeguard the reputation of Nehru in the eyes of the Indian public.

This would go a long way in initiating a meaningful dialogue between India and China resulting in the final resolution of the border dispute to the satisfaction of both nations.
National boundary negotiations are easy, if both sides meet with an open-minded ‘give and take’ attitude. It’s an historical opportunity for Modi to leave his mark on the ‘sands of time’ as the boldest Indian PM, who courageously corrected the blunder committed by Nehru.

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.