Thursday February 27, 2020

Bithoor: This is the place where mankind originated according to Hindu mythology

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By Rituparna

Around 24 kilometers north of Kanpur lies the historical and majestic town of Bithoor that also steals a mention in the Puranas.

According to legends, Bithoor is the place where Lord Brahma created mankind. Therefore, it came to be known as Brahmavarta or the seat of Brahma. The holy scriptures also consider Bithoor to be the center of Universe.

Embedded in the ghats of holy river Ganges, a nail of horse is an object of special reverence for the devotees here. The believers consider that nail to be of Brahma’s horse. It is believed that the nail fell on the ghats while Brahma was going for Ashwamedha yajna. After the completion of the yajna, the forests of Utpalaranya came to be known as Brahamavarta, and from there derives the name of Bithoor.

In the later centuries, Brahmavarta blossomed as the capital of the Utpalaranya Kingdom ruled by King Uttanpad. It is said that his son, Dhruva, penanced here to please Brahma. That place is pointed out to be Dhruva Teela in Bithoor.

Bithoor’s Brahmeswar Mahadev embraces with itself a striking story that unfolds with the establishment of a Shiva linga on the Brahmavarta ghat by Brahma. It is also believed that the sages were bewildered by the demonic activities of the ogre. It was when Lord Brahma came to sages’ rescue, and spotted his clog (wooden slipper) to provide a safe and secure venue to perform the religious activities.

Conversely, MS Tyagi, assistant officer, Uttar Pradesh State Archaeology Department said, “The department has not found any object, which could symbolize the presence of Brahma’s abode, it is a matter subject to public’s belief and reverence, and department has never pestered them.”

Moreover, Bithooor outlines the epics from Ramayana, when Lord Rama freed Rajsuia, considered to be his horse for the Ashwamedha yajna. The Ramayana delineates the horse to be the symbol of sovereignty in the kingdom of Lord Rama while the abduction of the horse meant disobeying the king. The twin sons of Lord Rama, Luv and Kush, fetched the horse, and it resulted into a fight between Lord Rama and his sons.

The devotees revel in the simplicity of a small pool inside Valmiki Ashram, famous as Sita-Kund. Sita-Rasoi is still preserved, near which stands ‘Swarga Nasinee or Deep Malikha Stambha,’ which is studded with niches around illuminations. The tower has 48 steps leading to its top by a cupola, from where one can have a panoramic view of the entire city. These beautiful architectural buildings are under the surveillance of Uttar Pradesh State Archaeological Department.

 

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)