Friday November 24, 2017

Preserve languages to preserve culture

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By Harshmeet Singh

Over the past few years, a number of people have raised concerns regarding our ‘eroding’ cultural values without giving a thought to the probable causes behind it. And the few who tried to examine the reasons chose to blame the changing lifestyle for such amendments in our culture. But interestingly, we haven’t given much thought to the close connection between language and culture.

Language is much more than just a medium of communication. It enables us to leave behind thoughts, ideas and attitudes for the generations to come. Memories are based on languages. Different words are associated with different experiences. Our memories of certain events in our lives are based on the very words used during those events. The way we interact with each other, the words we use to express our feelings and gratitude are an essential component of our culture. It is beyond doubt that language forms the basis of any culture. With indigenous languages fast getting eroded in the country and English subsuming them all, the fundamental change in our culture shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

For instance, in our culture, people are addressed and treated differently based on their age and stature, which is not usually the case in Europe and the USA. Hence, while Indian languages offer different words to address people of different age groups, English doesn’t offer such variations.

The western culture puts emphasis on the individuals hence the most widely used words are I and You. In US, for example, ‘you’ is appropriately used to address anyone from the highest of authorities including the President to the kids. In comparison, Indian languages offer a number of other variations which highlight our values of inclusion and accommodation.

It is said that it is impossible to learn Japanese without learning about their culture. Japanese pay a lot of attention to the status and rank of the person while addressing him or her, unlike in Europe or the USA.

We often fail to acknowledge the fact that there are a number of words in our indigenous languages which can’t be perfectly translated to other languages. When the languages erode, they take such words with them, and hence a part of culture dies with the death of every language.

With changing times, new languages evolve while giving a miss to the older ones. Most of us term it as an ‘evolution’ and try to downplay its negative implications. Unless we put an end to this practice and start preserving our languages, we can’t expect our cultural values to stay strong.

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Influence of Indians Upon Western Intellectuals

Book called ‘Great Minds on India’ by SalilGewali, which answered my question and took my knowledge of the ancient Indians much further than I could have imagined. Indian sages asserted the Earth as spherical many centuries before the Greek’s speculation over this idea.

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Einstein_and_Tagore Great Minds on India
Einstein and Tagore Berlin 14 July 1930. Wikimedia

-by Bernie David Holt

  • This fabulous book by Salil Gewali demonstrates to us how old Indians impacted present-day science, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and others.
  • The book initially alludes to a standout amongst the most eminent individuals ever – Albert Einstein. It lets us know inside the book that Einstein said ‘without Indians, no advantageous logical revelation would have been made’.

Sitting on the beach, staring at the pale blue sea, wondering, is the world really spherical? I could clearly see the flat, never-ending sea of water and thought to myself, how did we find out the world was actually a spherical shape? Thanks to my Yoga teacher and my association with this ancient discipline that brought me to lay my hand on the amazing book called ‘Great Minds on India’ by Salil Gewali, which answered my question and took my knowledge of the ancient Indians much further than I could have imagined. Indian sages asserted the Earth as spherical many centuries before the Greek’s speculation over this idea. I quickly realized the science and the literature of the Modern times far behind when compared to the ideas expounded by the ancient Indians. This book truly demonstrates that India affected the cutting edge world; these are cases of extraordinary individuals that helped society in different ways, who credited India’s disclosures and speculations.

The book initially alludes to a standout amongst the most eminent individuals ever – Albert Einstein. It lets us know inside the book that Einstein said ‘without Indians no advantageous logical revelation would have been made’ on the grounds that without the “numeric framework”, that Indians made, it would not have been conceivable.

ALSO READ: A Look Back In History: Contribution of Indian Mathematicians in the field of Mathematics

Dick Teresi recognized that Indians discovered that the earth circles the sun and realized that a planet’s path is elliptical, a great many centuries previously the thought was acknowledged inside Europe and the created areas. Dick Teresi is an exceptionally famous author and columnist, who was best known for authoring ‘Lost Discoveries’.

Archibald Wheeler trusts that the Indians knew “everything” and in the event that it was conceivable to decipher their old dialect, we would have every one of the responses to every one of our inquiries. He was the co-creator of ‘The component of atomic splitting’ by Niels Bohr.  Wheeler is the researcher and coined Black Hole, who is also instrumental in the development of Hydrogen Bomb.

Erwin Schrodinger, a splendid physicist, trusted that blood transmutation from India is an unquestionable requirement as it spared otherworldly pallor. Schrodinger was the designer of Wave Mechanics, which is one of the best logical creations of the twenty-first century.

Great Minds of India Salil Gewali
Great Minds on India is a book written by Salil Gewali. Facebook

One of the best hypotheses, the ‘Hypothesis of relativity’ is a hypothesis made by the old Indians, and is “light years”. Light years are there utilized as a part of room terms right up till today and is educated in science ponders within school foundations. This was said by Alan Watts, who was a logician and a standout amongst the most productive scholars of the previous century.

Indians also investigated the importance of natural laws, (many yet to be discovered by the modern scientists and philosophers) the nature of the soul, the birth of the universe, and what is past the cycle of life, birth, and demise, the connection between body, mind, knowledge, and soul. Their vision addressed the idea of holiness, the preeminent planning power that may underlie normal laws. To put it plainly, they tried to know everything that the psyche can appreciate — from the particle to unendingness, the making of the universe, and its significance. The source of different branches of science, craftsmanship, and theory ascribed to this human advancement are genuinely exceptional results of India’s “Jijnyasa”, or urge to want to know with clear vision.

But, I’ve found shockingly disturbing contrary fact in India and among Indians. Over 90% of Indian origin do not subscribe to their own rich civilization and spiritual culture. Just going over the news media and acclaimed literary works published from India astonish us that how there certain powerful people openly hate their own cultural values.

Even the half-literate love to quote Milton, Eliot; and shake themselves in a musical beat of rock-n-roll. This country’s government has found itself in the tangle of controversies while convincing its people about the practical benefits of Yoga and meditation.

I believe, the excellent publication of Gewali’s book will serve the purpose since Indians will get to know about Indian wisdom and spiritual knowledge from their Western masters. The research-based book of over twenty-five years, which has been translated into eleven languages, has recently been prefaced by a world-famous NASA scientists – Dr.KamleshLulla of Houston. Finally, I choose to invoke a very profound quote from the book by a pioneering philosopher of German romanticism August Schlegel – ‘Even the loftiest philosophy of the European appears like a feeble spark before the Vedanta’.

(Bernie David Holt 36a Slade Gardens, Erith, England)

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Diwali Puja 2017: Everything You Need To Know About Timings, Muhurat

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Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped
Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees on the day of Diwali. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 18, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).

Here are some of the things you must take care of:

Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals

It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.

Kalash pujan
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja kalash. Wikimedia

Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja

Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.

For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.

Idols of Ganesh-lakshmi are being worshipped on the eve of Diwali. Wikimedia

Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja

Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. It starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’  Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.

– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar

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5 Events Of November Which Are Ideal For Family Vacations

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Events in November which will give you a vacation mood.
Events in November which will give you a vacation mood. Wikimedia.

As we approach the year’s end, Indians not just bid adieu to their summer outfits but also welcome the festival seasons. October and November are two months in India which are full of cultural events and festivals, which make these months, the ideal time for going on family vacations.

Below are the events of November 2017 which you will regret missing. They are worth the try for family vacations:

1.  Dev Deepavali, Varanasi

family vacations
Representational Image. The ghat of holy city Varanasi. 

Varanasi, the holiest city of India, celebrated Dev Deepavali on Kartik Poornima every year. The festival is celebrated with joy. The ghats of Varanasi are lit with beautiful diyas (earthen lamps). God is believed to have descended to the banks of Ganges, to take a holy dip. The festival will take place on November 3, 2017.

 2. Dharamsala International Film Festival

Filmmaker, cinema buffs or all those people interested in the art of films come together of Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF). This film festival will witness filmmakers coming from different regions to show films on various issues- socially relevant, contemporary etc. DIFF will take place from November 2 to November 5. If you are a movie buff, then you should immediately pack your bags and seal a date for attending the festival.

3. Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan

Family vacations
Representational Image. Camel Fair is celebrated in Pushkar. Pixabay

Pushkar Camel fair, a cattle fair, in Pushkar which truly defines the real meaning of culture. The Pushkar Camel Fair has been in tradition for a very long time. The fair attracts a huge crowd every year. One of the most ideal and happy places for family vacations. It will take place between 23rd October to 4th November.

Also Read: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

4. NH7 Weekender

The five seasons old Indian multi-city music festival has indeed garnered a lot of attention and love from the musically inclined youngsters across the country. It is a combination of national and international studies coming together. In Meghalaya, the event will take place from October 27 to October 28.

5. Guru Purab

family vacations
Sikhs celebrating Guru Purab. Wikimedia.

Guru Purab, one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. The golden temple celebrates it with a lot of joy. The celebration which Amritsar witnesses at this time are unbelievable. It will take place on November 2017. Golden temple is indeed one of the best places for family vacations.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.