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Sridhar D. Damle, currently residing in Chicago, United States, has co-authored the book- The RSS: A view to the inside and Brotherhood in Saffron- with an American academic Walker K. Andersen. Tracing the growth of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since its formation in the mid-1920s, Damle along with Anderson has examined its ideology and training system. As the first significant book on its internal workings, Brotherhood in Saffron book is the prequel to RSS: A View to the Inside. It was for the first time in this book that readers received a glimpse into the inner workings of the RSS.
Professionally, Damle is a scholar and since 2010 he has been studying the confidential British Records on Vir Savarkar. He has acquired two Master’s degrees- one in History and the other in Political Science and has also done courses in Mass Communications, Journalism, Social Psychology, and Christian theology. Being a researcher, he reads a lot of Newspapers, articles, and books in various languages. He keeps his database up to date with authentic documents. Damle also studies various archives to Government documents, especially available Home Department confidential reports.
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Damle has been closely observing RSS and its development over the years. The idea of his second book on RSS was borne out of a desire expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after he ascended to the post in 2014. NewsGram’s Kashish Rai got an opportunity to interact with him. In the interview, he has answered all those intriguing questions in detail which people generally have in their minds regarding RSS.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Kashish: In your view, Why does RSS have been equated to the Nazis? What is your take on this?
Shridhar Damle: Regarding the word “Nazi” we have already talked in our book “Brotherhood in Saffron” with documentation. Hitler came into power in 1932, while the RSS was formed in 1925 by prominent Hindu Sabha leader and mentor Dr. K.B Hedgewar and people in India came to know about Hitler after 1936. Let me tell you historically also- many prominent Indian revolutionaries considered Nazis as a group which followed the ancient doctrine called “Enemy’s enemy is our friend”. So, whomsoever would be the enemy of Britain, would be the friend of India in gaining freedom.
In 1932, when RSS was a small organization in size in Madhya Pradesh, the Madhya Pradesh Government Prohibited to join the RSS. In 1933, they banned government servants from joining the RSS. In 1934 at the assembly, the then Madhya Pradesh Home Minister equated RSS with the Nazis. And that time, the Muslim member Rahman, criticized the British government and said that the RSS can not be compared to the Nazis. In 1948, Congress minister of UP Devendra Sahay accused RSS as Nazis and he wrote that the RSS founder K.B Hedgewar went to Germany, got inspiration from Hitler, and then formed the RSS in India. Regarding that, I would like to say that Dr. Hedgewar never went out of India. Sahay must have made a mistake.
We have mentioned in our book “Brotherhood in Saffron” that power remains the center or foundation of Nazi/fascist/communist ideology. In these ideologies, one leader has got all the powers, and this can also be seen in any country ruled by a dictator also, but, in the RSS, all RSS leaders from the Prantha Pracharak to the Chief of RSS are prohibited to contest the elections. So, they don’t get political power!
“Political power is the only means by which a dictator can establish his rule and use the military or rule to suppress the freedom of press or the freedom of Speech.”
I would like to tell you that the RSS considers the political power as the single part of the life and RSS advocates counter all India organization for the checks and balance with the political power. That’s why you can see the 36 Parivar organizations are working with the cooperative movements, labor movements, farmers’ movement, student movement, or any other social movement. So, from that point of view, RSS is not to be accused of being dominant or the same as Nazis.
Kashish: Ok, So Many people claim that Sanghis have a “paramilitary” attitude. What is your take on this?
Shridhar Damle: Regarding the paramilitary attitude I would say that the goal of the Indian freedom fighters was to free India from the British Rule. There are three schools of thought for the Indian Freedom struggle- Liberal, Agitational and Revolutionist and to Achieve the goals of these schools, many people joined the Akhada, where the British didn’t allow the use of rifles. So people joined the Akhada and learned sword fighting, lathi fighting, etc.
RSS founder Dr. Hedgewar who had the experience in revolutionary activities believed that for having an all India revolt for freedom, we need to have disciplined and well-trained people. There was another aspect of Indian political life, which was riots. And riots in India is a very complicated topic. During that time self-defense was a legal right of an individual. So, for self-defense and taking part in revolts, you need to know some kind of defense technique. As the use of rifles and revolvers was banned by the British, volunteers used Lathi and Swords as their training force. So many people considered these things as a “paramilitary attitude”.
“Without any formal training, volunteers of RSS learned all the formations, march-past all other disciplines of the army. So, these are some accounts of before independence. “
Now, after independence, slowly RSS abandoned sword and dagger from their training camps and they even started using lathis just for the formation and dignity.
Most of the time they replaced the sword and the daggers with Karate. They considered Karate as the best mode of self-defense. The only thing that remained constant in a good force is discipline and planning activities in social life.
(The interview will be published in 3 parts, this was part-1. The next part will be published on 31st August 2020)
– By Kashish Rai (Twitter: @KaafyyFilmyy)
GENEVA — The battle to stem climate change may be lost as new information indicates the Amazon rain forest is turning from a carbon sink – or area that absorbs CO2 – into a source of carbon dioxide, the World Meteorological Organization warns.
The latest edition of the WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide once again broke all records last year.
The U.N. agency's report warns the concentrations of these greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere are driving climate change. It says carbon dioxide, the single most important greenhouse gas, accounts for approximately 66 percent of the warming effect on the climate.
The secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, Petteri Taalas, says about half of CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere for centuries. He says the other half is taken up by oceans and land ecosystems.
He says it is not clear for how much longer forested areas, often referred to as the lungs of the Earth, will continue to act as effective carbon sinks.
"We have already seen some alarming indications that, for example, Amazonian rain forest ecosystem, which used to be a major sink of carbon, has become now a source of carbon, which is alarming," Taalas said. "And this is related to deforestation in the area and also changes in local climate because of this deforestation."
Oksana Tarasova, who heads the WMO's Atmospheric and Environment Research Division, says the WMO only now is revealing this new finding because it has taken nine years of observation to gather the measurement data set needed to understand the changes taking place. She says not all of the Amazon forests are turning from a carbon sink to a net producer of carbon.
"So, the Western part of the Amazonia still continues to work as a carbon sink at this point. But we do not know for how long that will continue this way," Tarasova said. "We are making the measurements there and keeping our track of what is happening there. … I would take the whole Amazonia as a whole that is seen that it is a sink, but its capacity is substantially reduced."
Meteorologists say climate change negotiators at an upcoming conference in Scotland must take concrete action and make concrete pledges to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
They say setting carbon-neutral targets will not work in stemming climate change. They also warn the world is heading toward a temperature rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. This, they say, is far more than the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Climate change, amazon rain forest, UN Agency Warns, World Meteorological Organization, greenhouse gas emissions.
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Receiving compliments is something that a majority of us enjoy. Compliments, after all, make us feel good about ourselves. Sometimes compliments intended to be flattering turn out to be a tremendous turn-off, and in some cases, they are insulting. 'Beauty with brains is one of those compliments. So, is 'beauty with brains' a compliment? Without further ado, I would confidently say- NO! It doesn't matter what your gender, colour, or identity is. The answer is clearly a no.
Beauty with a brain suggests that you can only have one of these qualities and that you are an 'exception' if you possess both. "Oh, Wow! You are a beauty with brains" is a phrase that women often hear. This statement is used when a female exhibits characteristics that indicate she is intelligent. People are taken aback if they see a wise and beautiful woman because women are stereotyped to be either beautiful or brainy. The concern with this is that it is naturally assumed that men are intelligent. Women, on the other hand, are supposed to have a natural beauty. If she isn't attractive according to the norms laid down by society, it is expected that she would at the very least be intelligent. When someone manages to be both, it is regarded as a significant accomplishment.
People are taken aback if they see a wise and beautiful woman because women are stereotyped to be either beautiful or brainy. | Photo by Unsplash
Women are being stereotyped into two attributes: being attractive and being intelligent, and they are being conditioned to think that these characteristics cannot exist together. When you tell someone that they are not beautiful, you are implicitly attempting to fit them into the so-called "beauty standards" that today's era is so preoccupied with maintaining. And that is a significant issue. We are not required to fit in; we should take the risk of being unusual.
Many movies, television series, and even advertisements depict the female lead as someone who is the attractive one, well-dressed, with a face full of makeup and lovely hair. On the other hand, the intelligent girl is usually the one with unkempt hair, strange fashion sense, and little to no makeup.
While our generation has been the target of insulting and sexist slurs that have caused us to question our abilities on several occasions, let us work together to reverse the trend. Let us educate each other that beauty and intelligence can coexist and that we are all beautiful in our way and don't need to fit in the so-called standards set by our draconian society.
Keywords: women mental health, beauty, brains, men, intelligence society
Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s
R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.
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As written during the Indian Independence movements and finally published in 1943. The stories in the Malgudi days beautifully encapsulated the transitioning milieu of the British era to post-Independence India. Each of the stories portrays a facet of life in Malgudi and simultaneously a life in an Indian town. R.K. Narayan was one of the first writers who pioneered Indian writings in the English language and the book was later republished outside India in 1982 by Penguin Classics. Thus, the book enjoyed a worldwide audience. The New York Times even described the virtue of the book as "everyone in the book seems to have a capacity for responding to the quality of his particular hour. It's an art we need to study and revive."
The beautiful storytelling of the book was assisted by beautiful illustrations allowing the children to let their imagination teleport them to the world of Malgudi. All the illustrations in the book were illustrated by the world-renowned cartoonist, R.K. Laxman who is also R.K. Narayan's younger brother. The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories and excited the children, keeping them engaged in reading the book for hours.
The illustrations complimented the scenes from the stories.Pixabay
The short stories from Malgudi Days were later adapted into a television adaptation in 1986. This show was directed by actor and director Shankar Nag. It was filmed both in Hindi and English, containing 54 episodes and the first 13 episodes respectively. Later the series was revived for additional 15 episodes. The show featured several popular celebrities from the Kannada film industry of those days – Girish Karnad, Vishnuvardhan, Ananth Nag, Arundhati Nag and Vaishali Kasaravalli, to name a few. The series was premiered on the Doordarshan channel and became the window into the town Malgudi for many. The show did not only excel in its storyline the TV adaptation elevated the storytelling as the show was technically very sound and stood out in its fantastic detailing in terms of locations and sets. With the cinematography being creative The Malgudi days- TV series once again warmed the hearts of both young ones and adults.
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Malgudi- our childhood home
Malgudi days hold a special place in the hearts of whoever has read the book as a child. With the detailed descriptions of the town and stories one almost gets a feeling that they've visited the place themselves. The characters, Swami and his friends feel like they were all readers' childhood friends. The surreal feeling of being home in the world of Malgudi. The world of Malgudi is intimate, warm, lifelike, and engaging. The setting is modern, and the life portrayed in these stories is contemporary. Still, there is an old-time air about It. R K Narayan once described Malgudi as "Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."
Keywords: Malgudi days, Malgudi, R K Narayan, R K Laxman, storytelling, our childhood home Malgudi