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Justifying transfers, Culture Minister claims no attempt of ‘saffronisation’

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Addressing the change at the National Museum and the Lalit Kala Akademi, the Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma claimed that this move is to bring new talent with no attempts of ‘saffronisation’.

“We took the decision to change the heads of institutions in the interest of the organisations, not individuals,” Sharma said. He further added that the ministry works in the interest of the organisations and not individuals.

Sharma claimed that the ‘so-called intellectuals’ who lacked faith in the democratic are behind these baseless rumours. “The intellectuals who have gone to court against the government have no faith in the democratic system. Where is the question of saffronisation? In the Akademi, we have given charge to an additional secretary. If he is saffronised, every bureaucrat in the government is saffronised,” he added.

The ministry has been in the eye over the abrupt transfers of National Museum head Venu Vasudevan and Lalit Kala Akademi chief Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty. Defending the government taking over the Lalit Kala Akademi, an autonomous body under the culture ministry, he said this was based on complaints about its mismanagement.

“There is a process of upgrading and addressing issues of the Akademi. We have received many complaints of mismanagement, embezzlement of funds and misappropriation from a section of artists and we acted upon it,” he said.

A group of artists have moved to the Delhi High Court accusing the government of “trying to change the character” of the Akademi. Sharma said that he would not give importance to the complaint.

“I am not going to give importance to people like Ashok Vajpeyi who officially called Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Godhra murderer,” said Sharma. Vajpeyi, a noted Hindi poet, was the Akademi’s chairman from 2008 to 2011.

Vasudevan’s overnight transfer also invited scathing attacks from various quarters. Vasudevan, who revived the National Museum with many innovative and ambitious plans, was transferred to the sports ministry in April. Sharma maintained that the transfer was a routine administrative process.

“We have nothing against Venu Vasudevan. He was appointed as an administrator and was doing good work. However, we were always on the lookout for better people who have more technical experience related to museums,” said Sharma.

Vasudevan, whose tenure was supposed to expire in December 2016, was shunted without being given any specific reason. While the advertisement for Vasudevan’s replacement was issued only after his transfer, Sharma said the “right person” had already been identified.

However, the future of many ambitious projects that were in the pipeline are in a limbo after Vasudevan’s exit. Protesting his transfer, Ashok Vajpeyi, historian Romila Thapar and art critic Ranjit Hoskote have initiated an online petition that is likely to be submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee.

Eyebrows were raised when Dipali Khanna did not get a second term as the Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA). Earlier this year, Leela Sampson had quit as the censor board chief after its decision against a film was overturned by an appellate tribunal. The censor board comes under the information and broadcasting ministry.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.