Monday July 16, 2018

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: A warrior who helped revive Hindu culture

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By Sanket Jain

The fire which is burnt in a young child’s mind is never an outcome of the good things, rather the path of struggle and the days of darkness make one establish their mighty clan, which stands in good stead for hundreds of years leaving behind the legacy.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj one of the finest rulers who made a valiant effort to establish the Maratha clan is a perfect embodiment of vitality. Most of the people are unaware of the great ideas, which were implemented for the first time by Shivaji Maharaj and most of them exist till date.

Where students have just heard of the names of Ramayana and Mahabharatha, Shivaji studied them carefully and was inspired by them to initiate the process of a change, which would leave everyone star struck. Usually at the age of 16, students take the courage to visit a hilly fort and trek for the first time in their life. Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort of Torna, which was under the clutches of the Bijapur kingdom just at the age of 16. This is how his life began!

Shivaji Maharaj built one of the finest economic systems of that period. Rawlinson quoted,

“Like the great warriors-Napoleon is a conspicuous example-Shivaji   was also a great administrator, for the qualities which go to make a capable general are those which are required by the successful organizer and statesman.”

Economic system and revenue

At that point of time, all the officers were given Jagirs (feudal land grant). Shivaji was the first to drop that practice and he started paying all the officers in cash, which turned out to be one of the best decisions. In order to avoid the practice of corruption, he divided the kingdom into 4 parts, and each part had a Viceroy. All of these provinces had a number of sub divisions called pranths.

The Zamindars and the Deshmukhs used to levy taxes on the farmers, Shivaji gave up this practice. The Government dealt with the cultivators directly and the land was measured using a rod called the Kathi.

Tolerance to all religions

Shivaji Maharaj is considered to be a Hindu and Maratha ruler, which is quite different from the reality. There were many Muslim officers in his army and he never had any ill feeling towards any religion. On the other hand, some of his enemies were Hindus. Rustam-I- Zamani of Rajapur was a close friend of Shivaji and he punished Doroji one of his generals who captured Rajapur. He was the one who helped revive all the good things in Hindu culture and abolished most of the bad aspects.

Father of Indian Navy

Despite having some of the best kingdoms, Indian rulers never built a navy of their own. Shivaji Maharaj was the first to build a navy and owing to it, he is known as the father of Indian Navy. He established a naval force with cannons mounted on the ships. The fort of Sindhudurg is a perfect paragon of the naval intelligence that he possessed. After the possession of 8 to 9 forts in Deccan, he started trading with the foreign merchants.

Honoring women and mercy to the prisoners of war

Shivaji is one of the very few rulers who treated both men and women equally. His rule could be defined as the term of approbation for women. Maratha army captured many forts and towns, but all the women were sent back safe with honor.

The prisoners of war were treated with respect by Shivaji Maharaj. He welcomed the people who were ready to join the Maratha army and never judged anyone on the basis of their heritage and culture.

Patriotism and Nationalism

Shivaji was not an egocentric with an over inflated sense of expansion of his kingdom. Like Chanakya, Shivaji too dreamt of a united India. He was perfectly fine with the other kings and opposed the foreign rulers. Shivaji was the one who wiped away Mughals who ruled the nation for many decades. Chatrasal Bundela was inspired by Shivaji Maharaj, and Bundela created his own kingdom in Rajasthan.

Efficient governance

The governing council of Shivaji Maharaj was divided into 8 parts.

Peshwa– He looked after the welfare of all the states.

Amatya– He looked after the finance of the kingdom and was responsible for all the taxes and their proper collection.

Wakia Nawis– He used to keep a track of the events that happened in the courts and in the meetings.

Samant– He was responsible for all the foreign affairs and was responsible for taking care of the foreign guests and ambassadors.

Sachiv– He ensured that all the orders were implemented carefully and in right earnest.

Pandit Rao– He was the overall religious head and looked after the religious ceremonies in the kingdom.

Nyayadish– He was responsible for civil and military justice.

Senapati– He recruited the officers for the Maratha army and was responsible for maintaining all of them.

These are just a few points about Shivaji Maharaj.  Disguised in the shadows of a Maratha or a Hindu ruler, Shivaji Maharaj was far more than what we perceive him. He was never judgmental about any religion and always respected all the people.

His life inspired thousand of rulers, but we should ask ourselves one question:

Can we look beyond the biases and judgments we create for any particular ruler? The answer and the life of Shivaji Maharaj will drop you down in the dream below.

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Most Terrible Water Crisis Ever In History Leaves Millions Of Indians Thirsty

6 percent of GDP is very much dependent on water.

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A woman washes clothes as her daughter bathes in the Yamuna River on a hot day in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2017.
A woman washes clothes as her daughter bathes in the Yamuna River on a hot day in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2017. VOA

Weak infrastructure and a national shortage have made water costly all over India, but Sushila Devi paid a higher price than most. It took the deaths of her husband and son to force authorities to supply it to the slum she calls home.

“They died because of the water problem, nothing else,” said Devi, 40, as she recalled how a brawl over a water tanker carrying clean drinking water in March killed her two relatives and finally prompted the government to drill a tubewell.

“Now things are better. But earlier … the water used to be rusty, we could not even wash our hands or feet with that kind of water,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Delhi.

India is “suffering from the worst water crisis in its history”, threatening hundreds of millions of lives and jeopardising economic growth, a government think-tank report said in June.

From the northern Himalayas to the sandy, palm-fringed beaches in the south, 600 million people – nearly half India’s population – face acute water shortage, with close to 200,000 dying each year from polluted water.

Residents like Devi queue daily with pipes, jerry cans and buckets in hand for water from tankers – a common lifeline for those without a safe, reliable municipal supply – often involving elbowing, pushing and punching.

On the rare occasions water does flow from taps, it is often dirty, leading to disease, infection, disability and even death, experts say.

“The water was like poison,” said Devi, who still relies on the tanker for drinking water, outside her one-room shanty in the chronically water-stressed Wazirpur area of the capital Delhi.

“It is better now, but still it is not completely drinkable. It is alright for bathing and washing the dishes.”

Water pollution is a major challenge, the report said, with nearly 70 percent of India’s water contaminated, impacting three in four Indians and contributing to 20 percent of the country’s disease burden.

Yet only one-third of its wastewater is currently treated, meaning raw sewage flows into rivers, lakes and ponds – and eventually gets into the groundwater.

“Our surface water is contaminated, our groundwater is contaminated. See, everywhere water is being contaminated because we are not managing our solid waste properly,” said the report’s author Avinash Mishra.
Loss of livelihood

Meanwhile, unchecked extraction by farmers and wealthy residents has caused groundwater levels to plunge to record lows, says the report.

It predicts that 21 major cities, including New Delhi and India’s IT hub of Bengaluru, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.

The head of WaterAid India VK Madhavan said the country’s groundwater was now heavily contaminated.

“We are grappling with issues, with areas that have arsenic contamination, fluoride contamination, with salinity, with nitrates,” he said, listing chemicals that have been linked to cancer.

Arsenic and fluoride occur naturally in the groundwater, but become more concentrated as the water becomes scarcer, while nitrates come from fertilisers, pesticides and other industrial waste that has seeped into the supply.

The level of chemicals in the water was so high, he said, that bacterial contamination – the source of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid – “is in the second order of problems”.

“Poor quality of water – that is loss of livelihood. You fall ill because you don’t have access to safe drinking water, because your water is contaminated.”

Currently, only 70 percent of India’s states treat less than half of their wastewater.
Currently, only 70 percent of India’s states treat less than half of their wastewater. pixabay

“The burden of not having access to safe drinking water, that burden is greatest on the poor and the price is paid by them.”

Frothy lakes and rivers

Crippling water problems could shave 6 percent off India’s gross domestic product, according to the report by the government think-tank, Niti Aayog.

“This 6 percent of GDP is very much dependent on water. Our industry, our food security, everything will be at stake,” said Mishra.

“It is a finite resource. It is not infinite. One day it can (become) extinct,” he said, warning that by 2030 India’s water supply will be half of the demand.

To tackle this crisis, which is predicted to get worse, the government has urged states – responsible for supplying clean water to residents – to prioritise treating waste water to bridge the supply and demand gap and to save lives.

Currently, only 70 percent of India’s states treat less than half of their wastewater.

Every year, Bengaluru and New Delhi make global headlines as their heavily polluted water bodies emit clouds of white toxic froth due to a mix of industrial effluents and domestic garbage dumped into them.

In Bengaluru – once known as the “city of lakes” and now doomed to go dry – the Bellandur Lake bursts into flames often, sending plumes of black smoke into sky.

The Yamuna river that flows through New Delhi can be seen covered under a thick, detergent-like foam on some days.

On other days, faeces, chemicals and ashes from human cremations float on top, forcing passers-by to cover their mouths and noses against the stench.

That does not stop 10-year-old Gauri, who lives in a nearby slum, from jumping in every day.

With no access to water, it is the only way to cool herself down during India’s scorching summers, when temperatures soar to 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

“There usually is not enough water for us to take a shower, so we come here,” said Gauri, who only gave her first name, as she and her brother splashed around in the filthy river.

Also read: India’s bulging water crisis: Is it too late for us to do something?

“It makes us itchy and sick, but only for some time. We are happy to have this, everyone can use it.” (VOA)