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Spiritual head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Pramukh Swami dies at 95 in Botad, Gujarat

Born Shantilal Patel on December 7, 1921, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was ordained as Shastri Narayanswarupdas

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Pramukh Swami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 13, 2016: Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the popular spiritual leader of the Swaminarayan sect, breathed his last on Saturday evening, officials from Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Swami (BAPS) said.

The 95-year-old godman had been unwell for over the last three years. He died at Botad in Saurashtra, where he was stationed.

His death left a pall of doom among his lakhs of supporters that included all sections of the society.

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Born Shantilal Patel on December 7, 1921, he was ordained as Shastri Narayanswarupdas. He was initiated as a swami in 1940 by Shastriji Maharaj, founder of BAPS, and took over as the guru of BAPS followers in 1971.

 Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Logo. Image source: Twitter
Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Logo. Image source: Twitter

The followers of BAPS believed that Pramukh Swami was the fifth spiritual successor of Lord Swaminarayan.

As head of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has overseen the growth of BAPS as a global behemoth after the modest beginning in Gujarat. Under him, maximum Hindu Swaminarayan temples across several countries in the world came up.

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He also spearheaded the efforts of the charitable service organisation affiliated to BAPS. The volunteers of the organisation would be at the forefront of rescue and relief during every national and man-made calamity, from the earthquakes to floods, cyclones and fires.

Expressing condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet called Pramukh Swami “a stalwart among humans who embodied compassion and humility and “he was a mentor to me”.

Among several global leaders, former President Late APJ Abdul Kalam was seen to be among the leading disciples who would seek guidance from Pramukh Swami on spiritual matters. (IANS)

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India: Asiatic Lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests to Have Radio Collars Fitted Around their Necks

A radio collar is a wide band of machine-belting fitted with a small radio transmitter and battery

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Asiatic Lions, Gujarat, Gir Forests
Since June 11 up to now more than 25 representative lions of as many prides have been fitted with radio collar devices imported from Germany. Pixabay

The rare Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests and surrounding regions will have radio collars fitted around their necks this month, similar to the lions of the African savannah and the Serengeti.

According to Chief Conservator of Forests in Junagadh D.T. Vasavada, since June 11 up to now more than 25 representative lions of as many prides have been fitted with radio collar devices imported from Germany.

A radio collar is a wide band of machine-belting fitted with a small radio transmitter and battery. The transmitter emits a signal at a specific frequency that can be tracked from up to five kilometres away.

When trying to locate a particular collared lion, the researcher dials the appropriate frequency and drives while listening for the beep signal. A directional antenna is mounted on top of the vehicle, and once the signal is detected, the researcher simply drives in the direction where the signal is loudest.

Asiatic Lions, Gujarat, Gir Forests
The rare Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forests and surrounding regions will have radio collars fitted around their necks this month. PIxabay

“This will help the forest department in monitoring of the group’s movement, research, knowing the territory of the animal and other details. From Sasan, a high tech monitoring unit will monitor their activities. A total of 75 radio collars have been imported from Germany for the purpose,” he added.

Vasavada said as all the members of a pride of lions normally remain within a distance of around half to one kilometer of one another, the location of the representative beast would in fact give the location of an entire pride.

Representatives of the entire lion landscape in and around Gir in Saurashtra region of Gujarat spread in the five districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Botad would be radio collared in around a month’s time.

According to the last lion census of 2015, there were 523 male, female and lion cubs in the Gujarat forests.

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During floods and other calamities and spread of diseases, the radio collars would be a big help for forest teams. The radio collars would also be helpful in letting the lion trackers know if any group of lions was close to the railway tracks or roads. (IANS)