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Celebrating Krishna Janmashtami: Find out why Krishna is the most loved and adorable Deity of Hindu Pantheon

A reciprocator of devotees’ love, Lord Krishna is known to be the most adorable and mischievous of all Hindu Deities

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Baby Krishna sleeping. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Janmashtami is celebrated by 930 million people all over the world, in the month of July or August
  • The festival is 2-day long affair, also known as Krishna Ashtami on the first day, and Janmashtami on the second day
  • At midnight, the curtain is unveiled to finally reveal the flamboyantly decorated idol on an even brighter altar

August 24, 2016: Krishna Janmashtami is one of the most celebrated festivals among the Hindus in India and this year it falls on Wednesday, August 24. It is, after all, a day that marks the earthly appearance of the favorite Hindu god, Krishna!

Krishna is known to be the favourite of the whole Hindu pantheon. A reciprocator of devotees’ love, He is known to be adorable, the most mischievous. According to the Hindu Mythology, Krishna is known to be the most gentle and romantic lover and his loyalty and love for friends is unparalleled. A fierce warrior, an earnest hero and the wisest teacher and philosopher- Hindus view him as the most powerful human incarnation of Vishnu, the highest avatar, according to Hindu Mythology.

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Janmashtami is celebrated by 930 million people all over the world, in the month of July/ August and with the same spirit and zeal as that of a New Years. It marks the day of spiritual renewal and regeneration among Hindus.

Bal Gopal. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Bal Gopal. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu Mythology, Krishna is said to have been born almost 5,200 years ago in the Indian city of Mathura and the main purpose for his birth is to free the earth from demons and their evil deeds. Krishna is also said to have given birth to the concepts of bhakti (devotion) and good karma in particular, which are very deeply mentioned in the Hindu text, Bhagavad Gita.

The festival is a 2-day long affair and is known as Krishna Ashtami on the first day, and Janmashtami on the second day. The entire period is observed by some Hindus by substituting sleep with bhajans (Hindu hymns). Krishna is believed to have been born at the stroke of midnight and it is at this time that the main festivities start.

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Bhog (food offered to the God) is prepared from milk and curd as Krishna was a famous dairy stealer in his young age and curd, butter, and milk are believed to be his favorites. A few believers also offer chappan bhog (56 dishes offered to the God). Some Hindus (except the young and infirm) even fast on the first day and only break their fast after the midnight festivities and religious ceremonies, by having panchamrit (holy water).

Krishna's idol during Janmashtami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Krishna’s idol during Janmashtami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Much like Diwali, various plays, dances, and songs are re-enacted from the god’s early life. In temples and homes alike, painting and idols of Krishna are bathed, decorated with new clothes, jewelry, and flower garlands, and placed in a cradle behind a curtain. A shankh (conch shell) and holy chants are also played and sung to express admiration for the little Krishna. The cradle is rocked by every attendee of the festival, or as many as possible. Incense is burnt and scriptures are recited, all adding to the vibrancy of the festivities.

At the midnight, the curtain is unveiled to finally reveal the flamboyantly decorated idol on an even brighter altar. Kirtans (group singing lead by an individual) usually begin at this time, all devoted Krishna. The religious celebrations in the temples of Mathura- Krishna’s birthplace, and Vrindavan- another religious city in India, are especially famous for their grandeur and illumination.

-by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Find her on Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.