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DAV: Century old education institute still leads the way

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By Harshmeet Singh

Very few would know that the call for ‘Swarajya’, usually associated with Lokmanya Tilak, was first given by Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj. In fact, the word ‘Harijan’, often traced to Mahatma Gandhi, was also first used by Dayanand Saraswati. Born in a Brahmin family as Mul Shankar Tiwari, Saraswati was a staunch supporter of the Vedas. He never sought to establish a new religion; rather he asked everyone to walk the path suggested by the Vedas and accept universal brotherhood.

In 1875, he wrote a book called ‘Satyarth Prakash’ in Hindi. In Satyarth Prakash, he mentions, “I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice, truthfulness and the like; that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust, partaking of untruth and the like, and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas—that I hold as adharma.”

Dayanand Saraswati
Dayanand Saraswati

His pragmatic teachings attracted a large bunch of followers towards him including Lala Lajpat Rai, Madam Cama, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahatma Hansraj and Swami Shraddhanand.

Though the Arya Samaj was largely successful in its aim of restricting conversion of Hindus, it suffered a split soon after the death of Dayanand Saraswati. The split came in the form to 2 fractions, viz. the Gurukul fraction headed by Swami Shradhhanand and the College Fraction which was headed by Lala Hansraj and Lala Lajpat Rai. While the Gurukul fraction went on to form Gurukuls in Haridwar with the aim of imparting education in Sanskrit medium to the young generation, the college fraction went on to establish the first DAV (Dayanand Anglo-Vedic) College in Lahore in 1886. The famous Hans Raj college in the Delhi University is also named after the same Lala Hansraj.

Even though the College fraction wanted English to be the medium of instruction in the schools, they never undermined the significance of Sanskrit language and ensured that it remains an integral part of the schools’ curriculum. And this ideology continues even today. With the DAV schools mixing the best of both worlds (modern & traditional), they stand true to their name of Anglo-Vedic schools.

An ex-student of the DAV School, Ara, Devanshu Chandra has a broad smile on his face while talking about his school days. He says, “I don’t think I would have ever understood the Indian culture so well had I not been a student at DAV. All our morning prayers were in Sanskrit and there were frequent yagya ceremonies at the school as per the Dayanand principle.”

Further sharing his memories, he adds, “We used to have Dada Daadi day at School once in a while where our grandparents were invited and treated with all the respect in the world. It was amazing.”

Today, 129 years hence, the DAV group of schools and colleges has its presence in Nepal, Singapore, Fiji and Mauritius, along with various parts of India. Unlike some of the other old education groups in the country, the DAV schools have successfully maintained and enhanced their popularity among the students due to their envious academic record. Year after year, the DAV Schools have managed to grab top rankings in multiple school surveys across the country.

And if you thought that DAV is just giving birth to bookworms and nerds, you can’t be any farther from the reality. DAV schools boast of an Asian Airgun Shooting Champion to go with a bronze medalist in the Cycling Competition at the recently concluded Special Olympics World Game at USA (Los Angeles). The DAV schools have some humungous numbers at hand. With over 600 schools spread across multiple nations, the group educates over 20 lakh students each year.

Even today, when the other schools are trying hard to shrug off their Indian identity and project themselves as International schools, DAV is proudly carrying on its tradition of Vedic teachings while integrating the best of western world in its curriculum. With all the talks of revamping education and introducing ‘advanced techniques’ in our education system, DAV schools stand as a tall proof of the fact that century old institutions, if taken care of, can very well give the newer generation of schools a run for their money!

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India can’t be Superpower if Spiritual Heritage is compromised, says BJP Chief Amit Saha

BJP President Amit Shah urged the people to follow the path shown by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj

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Representational image. Pixabay

Kurukshetra, October 23, 2016: Underlining the need for preserving India’s spiritual heritage, BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday said the country could not become a superpower if its spiritual heritage was compromised.

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“If we make even a little compromise with its spiritual heritage, India cannot become a superpower,” Shah said while addressing the 104th annual function of Gurukul, Kurukshetra.

“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the country is fast progressing towards a prosperous, secure and strong nation by preserving its spiritual heritage,” Shah said.

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Referring to Kurukshetra as a pious land where Lord Krishna delivered the message of Gita, Shah said: “The solution to all problems in the world lies in this sacred book.”

Highlighting the selfless work of various saints, Shah pointed to the contribution of Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati.

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Shah made it clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supported the Arya Samaj ideology and urged the people to follow the path shown by Swami Dayanand. (IANS)

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Find out how Arya Samaj is playing a crucial role in educating children in Fiji!

Since its establishment, Arya Samaj in Fiji has focused on education largely and currently owns and manages many schools and institutions in the country

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(Aum) The symbol of Arya Samaj via Wikipedia.org
  • The Arya Samaj in Fiji was established on 25th December 1904 at Samabula
  • Based on the fundamental principles of Dharma or True Religion, it teaches love, justice and righteousness towards all, irrespective of race, caste or creed
  • Vishnu Deo was the first leader and the only Hindi language newspaper in Fiji, Fiji Samachar

August 17, 2016: Arya Samaj is a Hindu faction that promotes values and practices based on the Hindu text Vedas, which started as a reformist movement by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in the 19th century. Arya Samaj simply renounces all rituals and beliefs which are commonly associated with Hindus except those originating from the Vedas. It was the movement had that removed almost all concepts introduced after the Vedas in Hinduism.

The vision of Arya Samaj in Fiji is to evolve and educate-

“A Society where everyone is literate and conforms to acceptable moral, spiritual, cultural and social values”

Arya samaj in Fiji was established by a handful of followers who had little knowledge of the work of Mahrishi Dayanand. It was Dayanand, who was the founder of the Arya Samaj Movement in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 10 April 1875. Although the influence of Arya Samaj gradually became weaker among Indians in Fiji, as other organizations were established; but it remained a dominant force in politics until 1959. To the present day, Arya Samaj in Fiji speaks out on the issues affecting its members and its work, which is visible through the various educational institutions it manages today.

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Arya Samaj in Fiji was born out of the desire by the Girmitiyas meaning the descendants of Fiji Indians, to sustain the religious, cultural and social inheritance and provide a platform for the upliftment of their living standards. The inspiration to the members who established Arya Samaj in Fiji was derived from the Satyarth Prakash, written by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati himself in 1875. It can be dated back to 1893 when the learning centers were established by a small group of people who had organized themselves into sects. With the arrival of Shiu Datt Sharma in 1902, a temple was established in Samabul, which also acted as a school attended by many.

Today Arya Samaj is all over Fiji and since 1904, it has contributed significantly to the struggles of the Girmitiyas, their needs, and demands. Believing in promoting knowledge through education, the Arya Samaj in Fiji under the auspices of the National organization Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, established many schools to educate children. Prior to this several informal centers of learning were in operation by the Samajs and individual members that can be dated back to 1893.

From 1926 to 1929 under the auspices of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, some 100 Fiji-born Indian boys and girls were sent to India to study at various Arya Samaj institutions. At the end of its first century of existence, the Arya Samaj Movement in Fiji proudly owns many educational institutions.

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Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj
Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj

MANAGEMENT
The affairs of individual Samajs or sects are managed by the officials through elections conducted every March of a year, by their respective members, under the provisions of Local Samaj Constitution provided by the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. The affairs of the National Body, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, however, is managed by an Executive Committee consisting of 13 Office Bearers and 35 representatives from affiliated sections, who are elected at the Annual general meeting (AGM) every June. Other functions of the administrative wing of Sabha are vested in the various sub-committees and Boards of School Committees by appointment of the National Executive at the post-Convention (AGM) Executive meeting. The Arya Mahila Mandals and Arya Yuva Dals are an integral part of the Samajs and are very active at Samaj and National level.

The Sabha’s Headquarters is situated at its property at Samabula, Suva.

To conclude, Arya Samaj has specifically aimed at its educational activities and worked for the education of many children in Fiji, built many educational institutions as well. As Indo-Fijians have migrated overseas, they have taken their religion and culture with them. Consequently, Arya Samajs have been established and spread in many countries by former Indo-Fijians.

prepared by Yajush Gupta , twitter: @yajush_gupta

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On his birthday, 5 unknown facts about Lala Lajpat Rai

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By Harshmeet Singh

One of the biggest figures of the India Independence movement, Lala Lajpat Rai was instrumental in awakening the masses towards the goal of Swaraj. An integral part of the famous Lal Bal Pal trio, Lala Lajpat Rai’s contribution towards Indian National movement was unparalleled. As the nation gets ready to celebrate his 151st birthday today, NewsGram brings forth five relatively lesser known facts about the leader fondly known as ‘Punjab Kesari’.

1. Punjab National Bank

Lala Lajpat Rai had a big hand in the setting up of Punjab National Bank, which is today’s India’s third largest Bank in terms of the asset size. He was an integral part of the Bank’s leadership in its first decade of operation.

2. The original brain behind ‘Make In India’

photo credit: techpp.com

Though the Modi government is taking all the credit for coming up with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, it was Rai, who first designed the Swadeshi movement along with Gandhi, Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh and Bipin Chandra Pal.

3. ‘Punjab Kesari’

Though a number of people think that he was given the name ‘Punjab Kesari’ (the Lion of Punjab) inspired by the famous Punjabi newspaper, the fact is that he was given this name before the newspaper ever came into existence! This name was given after he played an instrumental role in the non-cooperation movement started to protest against the draconian Rowlatt Act.

4. Arya Samaj connection

Rai was much influenced by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the well known socialist reformer. He came out in strong support of the Arya Samaj movement in Punjab state. He also went on to teach in the Anglo-Vedic College, which was operated by Arya Samaj.

5. “Every blow aimed at me is a nail in the coffin of British imperialism” 

One of the most historic quotes during the Indian Independence movement was given by Rai. Lala Lajpat Rai, along with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, led a non-violent procession against the Simon Commission. It was during this procession, that he became the target of a merciless lathi charge led by British police.

Despite being severely injured, he attended a meeting the same evening and said, “Every blow aimed at me is a nail in the coffin of British imperialism”. He further added, “I do not know whether I shall remain, but you should never worry. My spirit after me will go on exhorting you to make more sacrifices for liberty.”