Why Women are still considered Second Class Citizen in Indian Society?

*[‘International Women’s Day’ – celebrating Womanhood that comprises of all the attributes that are natural to Women i.e., patient, affectionate, caring, emotional, generous, devoted, elegant, calm, sensitive, strong, courageous amongst the top ones.

In this era of male dominance our society is constantly dealing with conflicting issues such as gender equality & women empowerment. Recent movies for instance, Padmaavat and Manikarnika made a huge impact on mindset of people as the portrayal of Women therein, represents & redefine the multitude characteristics of a woman. How significant is to hold on to one’s individuality, is to be learnt from such powerful characters of Indian society. In this small initiative at Vedic WAVES Blog, an effort has been made through a survey to gather an opinion over the current status as enjoyed by women in present day society, in India.]  

*Editorial note by Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Assistant Professor, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Women are not just considered but are also treated as 2nd to men in current society. Ancient social engineering made women equal half. First time a woman was considered an object … Bharata rose in arms to protect Dharma of equality and respect.

Ms. Neera Mishra, Chairperson, Draupadi Dream Trust

I consider the very question based on ignorance. Granted gender discrimination occurs around the world (in case of both sexes) and India would have it’s own share of problems. I grew up in villages and also spent time in cities of India. I also lived in multiple countries. Based on my limited experience I have not seen imbalanced discrimination against women.

That remains my experience.  If at all, I have noticed discriminatory laws against men, especially in family law courts around the world.

Mr. Nilesh Oak, Adjunct Faculty, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Theoretically, women are on a par with men but in actual practice they are considered second class citizens who suffer discrimination in almost all walks of life. This kind of mindset is starkly evident not only in the family for the upbringing of female child in comparison to the male ones but also in education, jobs, career opportunities, promotions and future expectations. The society must eradicate this obvious injustice and menace perpetrated by people in general and institutional biases in particular.

Dr. Dayanand Parashar, Former Associate Professor, Physics, ARSD College, University of Delhi, Delhi

प्राचीन भारत में महिलाओं को देवी के तुल्य सम्मान था। मनु के द्वारा भी इसकी पुष्टि की गई है। जो भी विषमताएं आईं हैं, वो निसंदेह मुस्लिम संस्कृति के प्रभाव से है और अब पाश्चात्य संस्कृति का प्रभाव भी दृष्टिगोचर है। समाज में महिलाओं की स्थिति सुधारने के लिए सर्वप्रथम उनको शिक्षित करना होगा, सिर्फ साक्षर बनाने से बात नहीं बनेगी। अब पहले से महिलाओं की स्थिति में सुधार है, इसका कारण शिक्षा ही है। समानता में लाने के लिए महिलाओं को मुफ्त में शिक्षा, और रोजगार के अधिक अवसर उपलब्ध कराए जा सकते हैं।

श्रीमति स्नेहलता उपाध्याय, पुस्तकालयाध्यक्ष, राष्ट्रीय संस्कृत संस्थान

Yes, women are better than men in respect of mental ability, farsightedness, sincerity, still they are treated as second grade citizens now. They are not getting their due recognition in nation-building. Even in Vedic times, they weren’t treated respectably. Apala can be cited as example, who was abandoned by her husband due to skin disease. Even Gargi was asked to keep shut when Yagyavalkya could not answer her queries. Situation is same even now!

Dr. Raj Kumari Trikha, Former Associate Professor, Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, Delhi

In this materialistic world those who don’t earn/ have money are looked at as 2nd.

Mrs. Suvarta Vinod, Anandavan Bhakta Samudaya, Institute of Advanced Studies in Veda and Science.

Everything was balanced during Vedic period, but it is only after post Vedic era the misinterpretations of our ancient Indian texts that evolved such thought process in Indian society.

Secondly, It varies from culture to culture –via- family to family in the sense of treating their daughters-in-law, i.e., how families expect their daughter-in-law to behave in particular manner.

Dr. Pankaja Ghai Kaushik, Assistant Professor, Sanskrit, Lady Shree Ram College, University of Delhi, Delhi

भारतीय समाज में सम्बन्धों को महत्व दिया जाता है। ऐसे सामाजिक परिप्रेक्ष्य में महिला का स्थान माँ, बहन, बेटी, और धर्मपत्नी के रूप में सर्वोच्च विदित है। इन सम्बन्धों से वंचित यदि महिला का, या कि किसी और भी वर्ग का, अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय दिवस मनाना भारत में अजूबा सा लगेगा|

प्रोफेसर बलराम सिंह, सदस्य, बोर्ड ऑफ़ डायरेक्टर, वेव्स

Maintaining balance in the society is not a woman’s problem, it’s a national issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced business, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, gender-balance in wealth… Let’s hope this race ends, balance remains with gender equality.

Happy Women’s Day!!

Mrs. Shubha Rawal Wadhawan, Chief communications Officer – IG International pvt. Ltd.

I don’t consider there is a difference between men and women. So first of all there is no need for celebrating International Women’s Day. Is there any International Men’s Day? When you celebrate something like this then you producing yourself as victim. You already give an upper hand to men. In a civilized and sensible society in reality there shouldn’t be difference between men and women. Both have their own limitations biologically, physically and mentally. We should know each other limitations and respect similar to a normal Indian family. Once we understand this we will make a better society.

Dr. Raj Kumar, Assistant Professor, Botulinum Research Center, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

We live in a patriarchal society where in male members are given more liberty and decision making choices. It’s a woman who is expected to change her surname after marriage. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of cooking, cleaning, etc. It’s a woman who works even on holidays. There is no holiday for women. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of family and children after marriage. They are made to do work both inside and outside their homes. It’s just because women are not given a friendly environment to show their talents. The problem lies in our education system and Indian values. Women are still not given adequate education. Even the text books we read show women doing all the household chores like cooking, cleaning and taking care of men. They don’t depict men doing household work rather men are shown going to work or seeking leisure in their free time. Our Indian family values also don’t support a woman standing hand in hand with her male partner. From the very initial stages girls are taught to walk properly, dress properly, keep themselves presentable. The in-laws also expect their daughter-in-law to look after the entire family needs. Even in case of major decision making events the opinion of women is kept as second choice and the ultimate decisions are still taken by male members. Even in job sectors more preference is given to male members keeping less job opportunities to women.

Ms. Tanya Kumra, Accounts Assistant, Shreeram World School, Delhi

I always believe that women are same as the men. When I was a child my MAA always fulfilled my dreams, when my family faced economic problem my elder sister has been there to support me, and now when I  face ups and down in my life  my wife becomes my strength. My supervisor (Prof. Rani Majumdar), my well wishers like Prof. Shashi mam, Dr. Aparna Dhir di and many more always teach me, support me and advise me. They all are women. Therefore how can I believe women are second in Indian society? For me without these women I (men) am incomplete!!!

Kisi ne Kya khoob kaha

Soch ko badlo sitare badal jayenge/

Nazar ko badlo nazareyin badal jayenga/

kastiyan badal ne ke zaroorat nehin hai/

dishayein badlo kinare khud badal jayenge.

Mr. Tahasin Mondal, Research scholar, Department of Sanskrit, AMU, Aligarh, U.P

I don’t think women are considered second in the society. I think there is no society without women. Women are the ones who is giving birth to a child, upbringing the child and making of a future citizen. So in short women only are shaping the thoughts, values and the culture of the society. Whatever a woman teaches a child goes on for generations!! Women are also the biggest strength of a man! A woman who is strongly supporting a man that man is definitely successful in all spheres of life. In Ramayana, it is said man and woman are two wheels of the same chariot, if somehow one wheel breakdown the chariot automatically stop. So, both have to be strong to move in the sphere of life. It is just that every individual has to play his role in life. It is not about 1st or 2nd. I think it is about how efficiently you play your role in life, the tasks assigned to you, your duties towards your people and of course yourself too! It is definitely not about 1st or 2nd at least in today’s times. All the things have to go hand in hand for the smooth running of one’s life.

Mrs. Neeti Chawla, Housewife, Delhi

“As women, we have super powers. We are sisters. We are healers. We are mothers. We are goddess warriors”

It’s International Women’s Day, a day to honor and celebrate the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women. It’s a day to remind ourselves why women are so amazing. They are the ones who are responsible for bringing new lives to existence. There’s no field where women are lagging behind men. It’s a day to be cherished… Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely ever smiling faces no matter what comes.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidayalaya, U.P.

In the modern era, Indian women are no more lacking behind men. They are equally capable and talented in all the fields, e.g., doctors, teachers, astronauts, etc. But still in some places Indian women have not got the equality as men due to religious or orthodox thoughts which need to be changed by giving proper education and awareness.

Mrs. Ankita Dhir, Teacher, K.R. Mangalam World School, Delhi

In present time, Indian women doing their empowerment and society also demand for Equality. The fearless woman today raises her voice against harassment like “MeToo Campaign”.

Mr. Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Fellow, Sanskrit, JNU, Delhi

The Indian woman has to make her way through all the social prejudices against her, and the men yet have to allow and accept the women to be equal participants in the country’s way forward.

Mrs. Rajni Bhalla, Teacher, DAV Public School, Delhi

In my point of view women are considered to be an integral part of the Indian family and society. They are not given secondary status as we can see in our families or around us in the society.

Ms. Anuja Sinha, Director and Anchor, TCN Media

भारत में आज भी स्त्री का स्थान दूसरे नंबर पर है क्योंकि भारतीय समाज पुरुषों के द्वारा ही संचालित होता रहा है और कहीं ना कहीं स्त्रियां स्वयं भी जिम्मेदार हैं| उन्हें स्वयं को उपभोग की वस्तु के दायरे से बाहर निकलना होगा| वैचारिक रूप से स्वतंत्र होना पड़ेगा|

डॉ. सुषमा चौधरी, अध्यापक, संस्कृत, कमला नेहरू महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

The position and status of women in society has been changing from time to time. In Vedic India, woman was considered like a goddess. With time, the position of women received a set- back. But in modern context, women no longer depend on others. Education has raised her status. She holds equal status in society.

Ms. Suruchi Sharma, Teacher, Modern Public School

हिन्दू संस्कृति को जीवंत रखने का श्रेय नारी को ही है। नारी को परिवार का हृदय और प्राण कहा जाता है – न गृहं गृहमित्याहु गृहिणी गृहं उच्यते ।

श्री विकास शर्मा, तदर्थ अध्यापक, संस्कॄत, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

Women are a perfect combination of strength and beauty. 

Happy Women’s Day !!

Mrs. Rekha Khandelwal, Housewife, Mumbai

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Indian Festivals based on the Concept of Yajña (Part-III)

Continued from Part-II

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

Festivals during Māgh, Fālgun, Chaitra and Vaiśkha:

Mahāśivrātrī: This festival is celebrated on the 14th day of Kriśna Pakṣa in Māghmās. This is celebrated with great pomp and glory at twelve Jyotirlinga places i.e. Kedarnāth, Baidyanath, Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Mallikarjuna,  Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Nageshwar, Ghrishneshwar, Tryambakeshwar, Bhimashankar, and Rameshwar. When the twelve Jyotirlingas come for discussion, I must mention their importance for Suvrushti Projects. “Suvrushti’ means ideal, adequate and well-distributed rainfall. The inspirational Research Paper which has been the basis of Suvrushti Pojects undertaken by Vedāśram; was the paper submitted by a primary teacher from Bihar in 1950 to our then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The summary findings of this research paper was that Twelve Jyotirlingas are the Holy Fire Places (nodal centres of Sacred Fires) which attract and accelerate the Monsoon Cycles in Bhārat Khand i.e. India. If a series of Somayāgas are performed during dry season (Rain Conception Period) at these twelve Jyotirlinga places, Bhārat Varsha will get Suvrushti-timely, adequate and well-distributed rainfall during wet season throughout the country. This theory and RCRD Theory of Varāh Mihir were validated during the Suvrushti Projects undertaken by Vedāśram in 2005-06 and 2015-16. The reports of these Suvrushti Projects have been published in Asian Agri-History Journal published by Asian Agri –History Foundation.

On the day of Mahāśivrātrī in the ceremonial pūjās, Devas are invited, Śiva is invited, Yajñā is performed. Offerings are made with chants and devotional songs. Rudra Swahakars are performed at most of the places. At our Homa farm we also organize” Rudra SwahakarYajñās” periodically but not necessarily on Mahāśivrātrī Day.

“Rudra Swahakar”Yajñā being performed at the Farm

Holī: On the full moon day of Fālgun, Holī is celebrated throughout India. Holī has religious, philosophical, spiritual and seasonal significance. In India, the Agri-eco production system has basically two cropping patterns in a year i.e. Kharip crops and Rabbi crops. Kharip crops mature during Aświn-Kārtik (Oct. /Nov.) and Rabbi crops mature during Fālgun to Vaiśkha (Jan. to April). It is our Vedic tradition that new produce of crops is first offered to Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā which are the main sources of cosmic energy and then we start having it as food to nurture the life bio-energy within us.  In Sanskrit the word ‘Holak’ means raw (just reaching maturity stage) cereals and grams roasted in bonfires of dry cow-dung patties, wood and grass stalks (remains from the fields). Holī as a colourful festival has significance in many ways. The first and foremost is the process of Yajñā. Holy Bonfires are lit and offerings of sweets and snacks prepared from new season’s crops are made to Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā. Incense sticks and lamps are lit and sacred fires, which represent success of good over evil, are circumambulated thrice with slow pouring of water from the containers. The next day is celebrated as “Dhulīvandana” where, ’Bhūmi’ or ‘Prithvī’ is recognized and appreciated. From Dhulīvandana to Rang Panchami it is celebrated as a colourful festival representing colours of spring flowers and nature’s beauty and bounty. It is a joyful festival of throwing on or smearing others with colours without any discrimination. In the bonfires, old furniture, dead wood, prunnings of trees and waste material of crops are burnt as and by way of “Holikā Dahan” for “Space Clearance” (discarding old and welcoming new).

From Puraṇas, one story which is associated with “Holikā Dahan” is the story of Bhakta Pralhād and ‘Dhundha’ or ‘Holikā’ Hiranyakashyapu’s sister. Holikā had a boon that she will not get burnt in fire i.e. she had protection from fire. Hiranyakashyapu, the Rakṣasa was against the worship of Lord Vishnu by his own son Pralhād. Since Bhakt Pralhād was not ready to give up worship of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu ordered that Pralhād be burnt alive. For that purpose he made Holikā to take Pralhād in her lap and lit a big fire. But with the grace of Lord Vishnu Pralhād was saved and Holikā got burnt into the fire, thus representing the success of virtue over vice.

Jyotir bhaskar Jayant Salgaonkar, the founder and author of, “Kālnirṇaya Panchāng” (published in many Indian Languages) describes in his book, “Dharmbodh” a ‘Vrita’ or ’Anuṣṭān’ (practice) called “ Vanhi Vrita” which is related to Agnihotra / Yajñā. Vanhi Vrita is started on the 14th day of Fālgun Kriśna Pakṣa or one day prior to Fālgun Amāvasyā. On this day an idol of Agni made from any metal or five metals is worshipped and offered cow-ghee, til (sesame seeds) and sugar with mantra, “Agnaye Swaha!”. Agni is worshipped because Agni is the connecting link between man and Devatās like Indra, Varun, Ādi Śakti, Lord śiva and Vishnu. During Holī all elements i.e. Prithvī, Āp, Teja, Vāyu are worshipped and readiness is made for celebration of the fifth element,’ Ākāś’ on the following first day of Chaitra i.e.’ Gudi Padava’ by hoisting well decorated/adorned Gudis or flags pointing towards Ākāś’or Space, which is the mother of all other elements, for auguring well the  “ New Year” as per Hindu Calendar.

Rāmnavamī Navrātra: This is celebrated as birth-day of Lord Rāma. In some parts of the country Yajñās like, “Vishnu Yāga” are performed.

Akśaya-Tritīya/Paraśurām Jayantī: Akśaya-Tritīya is supposed to be an auspicious day as per Hindu calendar. On this day also some Yajñās/ Homas are performed. Lord Paraśurām had initiated Param Sadguru Shri Gajanan Mahāraj of Akkalkot Maharashtra, to rejuvenate the Vedic Yajñā system and also the Vedic Way of Life. Followers of Param Sadguru Shri Gajanan Mahāraj perform Havans on this day while celebrating Paraśurām Jayantī.

Vedic Yajñā System and Festivals based on the concept of Yajñā:

Our Vedic Yajñā System broadly consists of Yajñā  performances during “Sandhi Kāl” or “Sankraman Kāl” as Nityakarmas for restoration of atmospheric order, ecological and seasonal balance and ensuring Suvrushti  i.e. good, adequate and well–distributed rains –“ निकामे निकामे न पर्जन्यो वर्षतु-“ “Nikame Nikame Nah ParjanyoVarśatu!”. Apart from these Yajñās there are various Naimittik or Kāmya Yajñās which are prescribed in Vedic system including Homas and Havans which form part of Sixteen Hindu Sanskāras. The Yajñā System for ecological balance, good rains etc. consists mainly of the following :

  1. Agnihotra (Smārta/ Shrouta)— ‘ Nitya’ Daily at the time of sunrise and sunset as per circadian cycle.
  2. Darshya-Poorna Māsya (Smārta/ Shrouta Eshti )— ‘Nitya’ Fortnightly  on Full-Moon/ New Moon Day as per Moon Cycle.
  3. Chaturmāsya Yāga (Shrouta Eshti )—‘Nitya’ during Sandhi Kāl i.e Transition Period of change in Seasons as per Cycle of Seasons. This is also called as Medicinal Homa for healing the Atmosphere.
  4. Somayāgas– ‘Nitya’ during Sharad Ṛtu and during Vasant Ṛtu.” वसंते वसंते ज्योतिस्तोमेन यजत” –“ Vasante Vasante Jyotistomen Yajat!”.
  5. Parjanya Yāga—‘Naimittik’- During Rainy Season when one or two Nakṣatras have gone dry and Bhūmi is “Vrishti Kāmu”, i.e, when the land is desirous of rains for sowing new crops (new life).

( Nitya = Regular ,  Naimittik = Occasional for specific purpose)

From the above it will be clear that Agnihotra can be performed individually by anybody, however for performance of Shrouta Yajñās, particularly so in case of “Sapt Somayāgas”, you require Ritwijas well versed in all Vedas. Our great Rishis had anticipated that if Shrouta Yajñā System gets dwindled or out of practice for whatever reason at least the festivals based on Yajñā Concept will be celebrated by mass-participation; for the purpose of keeping Atmospheric Order and Ecological Balance and also to safeguard cultural traditions. Since Yajñās are related to environmental protection, purification/ restoration of atmospheric order, ecological balance and ensuring good rains during Monsoon Season it is important to understand the relevance of Verse 28 and Verse 30 of Chapter 21 of Brihat Samhitā:

भद्रपदाद्वयविश्र्वाम्बुदेवपैतामहेष्वथर्क्षेषु |

सर्वेष्वृतुषु विवृध्दो गर्भो बहुतोयदो भवति ||२८||

“Bhadrapadādvaya Viśvāmbudeva Paitā Maheṣvathkṣerṣu \

Sarveṣvṛtuṣu Vivṛddho Garbho Bahutoya Do Bhavati  \\28\\

The Rain-foetus that develops when the Moon stands in any of the five asterisms viz. Purvabhādra, Uttarabhādra, Purvaṣadha, Uttaraṣadha and Rohiṇī in any season will yield plenty of rain. Also

मृगमासादिश्वष्टौ षट् षौडश विंशतिश्र्चतुर्युक्ता |

विंशतिरथ दिवसत्रयमेकतमर्क्षेण पन्चभ्य: ||३०||

Mṛgamāsādiśvaṣto  Ṣat Ṣodaś Vimśatischaturyuktā |

Vimśatiratha Divasatraya Mekatamarkṣeṇa Panchabhyaḥ ||30||

Rain-foetuses coming into being when the Moon is in conjuction wih any of the aforesaid asterisms during the month of Margaśirṣa, Pauṣya, Māgh, Fālguna, Chaitra and Vaiśakha; will yield rain after 195 days for 8,6,16,24,20 and 3 days respectively.

Thus celebration of and participation in the festivals based on Yajñā concept by masses ensures restoration of Atmospheric Order, Eco-Seasonal balance and good rains during the rainy season. This is the great wisdom and sagacity of our Ṛṣis and Seers in interweaving seamlessly the festivals based on Yajñā concept in our social and cultural life. Therefore these festivals should be celebrated with proper understanding of the Yajñā concept incorporated into them and not simply by way of fun and frolic or introducing any pervert way of celebration. The sanctity of Yajñā, Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā has to be kept in mind in the joyful celebrations of these festivals.

References:

  • Panditabhushan Sastri VS & Bhat MRV, “Varāh Mihir’s Brihat Sanhita” With an English Translation  and Notes . V.B. Soobbiah & Sons Bangalore City.1946.
  • Jyotirbhaskar Jayant Salgaonkar, “Dharmbodh” (in Marathi) Jaya Ganesh Mandir  Nyas, Medha Malwan, Dist-Sidhudurga Maharashtra 2011.

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

Disintermediation: The Future of Higher Education (Part II)

(Continued from part-I)

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra

The single most important trend that is revolutionizing education is information technology, especially the internet. Teaching platforms like the Khan Academy are the wave of the future, not the physical classroom in a brick and mortar building. The old-fashioned teacher is being squeezed out along with the physical classroom. The total cost of higher education in the US is estimated to exceed $500 billion annually, using the old delivery models. Many administrators in major universities are worried that their institutions are becoming like the dinosaurs. A disruption is long overdue and we should see this as an opportunity for creative entrepreneurship. This may be seen as a part of the wider trend in dis-intermediation (bypassing of the middleman) taking place in various industries.

  • The new cloud-based teaching methods are rapidly threatening the old school systems in many ways, such as the following:
  • Huge campuses are becoming obsolete. In the future, the buildings required will be mostly those with laboratories and high-tech infrastructure that cannot become virtual. The ordinary classroom will become almost extinct.
  • Old teaching materials are already obsolete. The teacher’s class notes that were once written on the board or handed out in class are now a waste of time because all that is readily available online. With video conferencing, considerable interaction is also available without physical meetings.
  • This trend will lower tuitions significantly because it is not necessary to hire full-time faculty.
  • This also changes the demand side of university professors and impacts the future of academicians as a profession. Many subject matter experts who are not formally classified as professors will be teaching part-time and sharing their knowledge and practical experience. The old style professor with limited real world experience will be replaced by learned persons who will also bring their lived experience to teach.
  • All this means an end to the ivory tower academic snobbery of the past, in which there was great prestige associated with being a professor disconnected from mundane life. Now the floodgates are opening for teaching that is brought by knowledgeable individuals who are embedded within communities and who also speak as voices of the community.
  • Higher education will be a lifelong pursuit and not limited to a few years of college/university. Most workers will take online courses as a regular part of staying current with the trends in their field. Education will be seen as something you do all your life and for which you do not need necessarily to take several years off.

While the above list of changes pertains to the teaching side of higher education, there are equally revolutionary changes expected in the research side, especially in the humanities. Let us discuss religious studies in the US academy, as an example.

Twenty-five years ago, when I first started monitoring and intervening in the American academic research on Hinduism, the academic fortress was a formidable center of power. To make any impact, it was crucial to get inside the system one way or another. But today, an increasing amount of high quality scholarly works are being published by scholars and practitioners outside the walls of the academic fortress. Many guru movements have their own writings and publishing houses. The new works produced by Hindu movements are not only about standard topics like Bhagavad Gita, but also pertain to issues of society, politics, family, health, etc. Many other groups started by civic society now nurture non-academic research and publishing. These new suppliers are seen as threats to the turf traditionally controlled by the academicians. The academic empire is fighting back, but it is a losing battle. (I am an example of someone seen as a threat to the officially credentialed producers of knowledge about my culture.)

The number of readers who receive their knowledge about religion from sources outside the academy far exceeds the number who are sitting in class to learn from their professor. The American academicians refused to accept this trend during the past two decades when I tried to explain it to them. They were too arrogant to be open to this new reality. The pride of being the exclusive source of knowledge had been instilled in them during their PhD, and was seen as their ticket to success that could never be taken away. This attitude of the senior professors has misguided the new generation of academicians, and made the academic system insular and vulnerable.

Today, most people get their knowledge about religions (their own and those of others) through television, online sources, personal travels to sacred and holy sites, teachings from their gurus and swamis, and reading materials published by non-academic writers. If someone wants to invest in spreading particular ideas about our traditions, the investment is better spent on such platforms and not on feeding the old system which is rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead, they should rethink the dynamics of this intellectual kurukshetra of civilizational discourse. Only then can they develop a more viable strategy for interventions.

Indians have in the past bought used technologies and obsolete models in certain industries, at a time when the Western countries exporting these were migrating to new paradigms. I feel many of us are being fooled into investing in what is rapidly becoming an obsolete model of higher education.

Instead of funding American higher education’s pre-internet era system, India should develop the next generation platforms. And India should not be content with a back-office role in this emerging industry, but should develop and own the brands seen by the end users (i.e. the students). Besides developing the platforms and delivery systems, Indians should also lead in content development and educational methodology, especially in areas where traditional Indian systems would give us a competitive advantage.

There are also examples where unethical opportunism is driving the disintermediation. For example, China is disintermediating the R&D centers of the West by stealing intellectual property. They take the lead in implementing others’ discoveries. We can argue about the ethics, but this is a ground reality shaping our world. The examples of disintermediation I am proposing in education are perfectly ethical and should be seen as natural evolution. The age of disintermediation is upon us. It is important to ride this wave rather than avoid it out of fear or ignorance.

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra, Member, Board, WAVES-USA

Disintermediation: The Future of Higher Education (Part-I)

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra

When I was consulting for AT&T, British Telecom and other IT giants in the 1980s on futuristic strategies, I used the term “disintermediation” to mean getting rid of intermediaries in various industries. The new technology would enable tech companies to replace the middlemen in a variety of fields. I argued that travel agents, stock brokers, record labels, book publishers, etc. were examples of highly vulnerable businesses. Displacing them with tech platforms presented great opportunities for my clients.

At that time, such ideas were considered too far out, but it made a lucrative consulting career for me to dish out path-breaking propositions for very large MNCs. They had virtually unlimited money to spend on exploring futurist ideas. Today, these ideas are considered established and even old school. Not only have the above mentioned intermediaries become obsolete, one can also see the same trend of disintermediation in retailing (i.e., Amazon), taxis (i.e., Uber), e-learning (i.e., education), to name a few.

One of my predictions for disintermediation that has not (yet) come true is politics. I had predicted that rather than democratic elections taking place every few years, there could be real-time measurement of the pulse of the voters and instant polls to make policies and elect/de-elect politicians. Further, one could envision an artificial intelligence system adapting itself in real time to reflect public opinion and have the authority to govern on some matters – subject to human supervision to avoid over-mechanization or abuse of some kind.

We must first understand how and why “intermediation” came about, before fully understanding dis-intermediation.

In the beginning, producers and consumers lived in close proximity to one another. The village was self-sufficient in many ways, and only certain kinds of products had to be imported from the outside. The industrial revolution changed this. It became more efficient and competitive to have middlemen between producers and consumers. The distance between the points of production and consumption increased and have become global. Distribution channels and supply chains are global today and there are many layers of intermediaries. This trend of globalized supply chains and distribution is likely to increase even further. It gives better resource allocation than the local model of small-scale self-sufficiency.

At the same time, every new wave of technology disrupts the supply chain and distribution channels. This means new opportunities for the creative and enterprising minds will continue to present themselves. My focus in this article is on the way such trends are rapidly disrupting the field of education.

Indians were once upon a time (during the days of Nalanda, Taxashila and other world-class universities) the preeminent producers and exporters of knowledge, ideas and values to the rest of Asia. Now we are consumers of what the Western institutions teach us. We are stuck in a system of dependency so serious that our elites feel they must get certified by the West in order to be credible back home in India. But a window of opportunity has opened up and we cannot afford to miss this chance to take back our leadership role as a knowledge producer and exporter. This window is due to the disruptions caused by the internet.

One of the latest trends in US universities is the growing role of foreigners, including Indians, in the affairs of these universities. First this role was only in the form of foreign students bringing in billions of dollars. Many US academic institutions are financially dependent on foreign students because they cannot meet their expenses through domestic student tuitions alone. An effect of this has been that a large number of Indian elites (both in USA and those returning to India) have been influenced by American values and principles, both good and bad. From the US side, this is not only a great source of tuition fees but also a way to spread its intellectual influence.

A more recent trend is for wealthy Indians to invest in US universities for personal brand building. (See an interesting article, titled, ‘Harvard is a hedge fund with a university attached.’) This is shortsighted and dangerous. Indians are giving grants and endowments to US universities without adequately evaluating the subject matter being produced by the scholars. It’s all about wealthy Indians seeking a seat at the high table of prestige in American society. They see their family name on a building or attached to an academic chair as their next step in climbing the social ladder. Few donors get sufficiently involved in the details of the subject matter and the impact that is being created by their donation.

A major contrast between India and China in this regard is that China retains strict control over the disciplines pertaining to its civilization, values, domestic politics and culture. They readily buy (or use unscrupulous means to acquire) Western science, technology and business knowhow. But they do not want to brainwash their youth with Western prejudices in areas of the humanities that are considered sensitive to the interest of national unity and security. India has not been able to appreciate this strategic point even now.

Against this backdrop, I want donors to understand some tectonic trends that are taking place in US higher education which are rapidly making brick and mortar university campuses obsolete. I wish to advise those giving donations to US academic institutions to step back and rethink their strategies keeping the future trends in mind. Most donations being given are wasteful because they fund obsolete models at a time when they should be funding the incubation of new models.

(to be continued….)

Sh. Rajiv Malhotra, Member, Board, WAVES-USA

Indian Festivals based on the Concept of Yajña (Part-II)

Continued from Part-I

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

Festivals based on the concept of Yajñā during Aświn and Kārtik :

Sh. Anand Gaikwad along with his wife performing Yajñā

Durgā Pūjā/ Navrātrī: During Durgā Pūjā, Mā Durgā i.e. Ādi Śakti is worshipped. Mā Durgā is worshipped in different forms starting with Śailputrī Devī on first day. The second day is Brahmachāriṇī Pūjā and subsequently Chandraghaṇṭā is worshipped for peace, tranquility and prosperity, Kuśmānḍā for cosmic energy, Skandamātā as a relationship between mother and son. She is also called as Padmāsīnī since she is seated on lotus flower. On day six she is worshipped as Kātyāyīnī, on seventh day as Kalvatri or Mā Kāli and on eighth day as Māhā Gourī the eighth form of Māhā Durgā.Durgā Saptaśati Japas and Havans are performed for “Nav Cadī”, “Śat CadiYajña. Durgā Pūjā is not considered complete without the performance of Havans. In these havans samidhās of Yajña-Vṛkśās are used and different types of havan samugrī are also used which is prepared from aromatic and medicinal herbs.

Daśherā: This day is celebrated as Vijayā Daśamī i.e. success of good over evil. It is considered as a very auspicious day as per Hindu calendar therefore new possessions are acquired. Some Naimittika Yajñas are performed for material well being, health, wealth, peace and prosperity. In agriculture sector, sugar factories worship and start boilers on this day for subsequent starting of new crushing season. This practice is prevalent in Maharashtra, which produces about 35% to 40% of the total sugar produced in the country.

Dīpāvalī:  Festival of lights celebrated by Indians all over the world. The first day of Dīpāvalī is called Vasubaras when, “Savatsā Dhenu“ i.e. lactating cow with young calf  or  entire cow family is worshipped. During ancient times the wealth and prosperity were measured in terms of or judged on the basis of number of cows one possessed. Therefore, ‘Godhan’ was first worshipped before worshipping any other type of ‘Dhan’. For establishing divine relationship and complete integrity with our Homa Farm and Family, we have started performing Havans on Rigveda 10.169, Atharvaveda 4.21 & 3.14 as a part of cow pūjā on Vasubaras day at our farm. Although no specific types of Yajñas are performed during Dīpāvalī days, the houses and surrounding premises are decorated with flowers, mango/ banana leaves, electrical lamps and oil/ ghee lamps are lit to celebrate it as a festival of lights. On Lakṣmī Pūjā Day and Kārtik Pratipadā, flowers, sweets and preparations made from new harvests, dryfruits etc. are offered to the deities as a part of pūjā.

Sh. Anand Gaikwad while worshiping cow

Sankrama Kāl Festivals: This is a transition period when the Sun starts entering Uttarāyaa and Sankrama. Festivals based on the concept of Yajña are celebrated throughout the country under different names.

Māgh Bihu and Meji Fires: Māgh bihu is celebrated in Assam during January to mark the end of harvesting season. It is a thanks-giving celebration to the nature’s bounty as the granaries are full after harvesting the first new crops of the year. On or before the day of Sankrāntī Bellaghars and Mejis are prepared by menfolk with Bamboo sticks and other wood / grass material. Beautiful make-shift cottages in the form of Bellaghars are prepared.People stay overnight in these Bellaghars, enjoys feasts and next day the Bellaghars are lit. The ashes are spread in the fields, rivers and trees for improving soil health and bringing luck for better harvesting next season. On the day of Sankrāntī people gather together in their fields at very early hours and do Meji fires. Meji fire is a ritual in which Agni is worshipped. All the offerings are placed in front of Meji and one of the elders of the community does the honour of lighting up the Meji. A thick cloud of smoke covers the area and the crackling sound of burning bamboos is heard. While the sacred Meji fires burn, people greet each other and enjoy the feasts. Womenfolk distribute the offerings placed before Meji fires as Prasādam.

Lohri: Every year on the previous day of Makar Sankrāntī in Punjab, Haryana and north-western region, the harvesting festival celebrated is known as “Lohri”. This commemorates the passing off of winter solistice and Lohri represents the largest night before the end of winter solistice followed by the shortest day of the year in Māgh as per Hindu calendar. Although Punjab is known for production of wheat, this festival is related to the sugarcane harvesting after the crop reaches the maturity. Sugarcane products such as jaggery and gachak are essential for Lohri along with groundnuts which are also harvested in the season. Traditionally people eat chikki, gajak, sarso dā sāg, makkai de roti, raddish, groundnuts and jaggery during the festival. Lohri celebrates fertility and joy of life. Harvested fields and farmyards are the central attraction. The farmyards are lit up with lights and bonfires. Folk dances are a part of the festival such as men perform Bhāngara whereas women perform graceful Giddā dance. People circle around the bonfires and offer sugarcane, puffed rice, popcorn etc. while performing folk dances with songs and prayers to Agni. The prayers to Agni Devatā are for his blessings for prosperity and fertility of land. The fire signifies the spark of life and prayers are said for goodwill and abundant crops. They also shout, “Ādar Āye Dilather Jāye” i.e.” Let the wealth, prosperity, honour come and poverty vanish.”

Pongal: Pongal is celebrated as a harvesting festival with glory in Tamilnadu, Puducherry, Sri Lanka and by Tamilians. This harvesting festival is dedicated to Sun God. In Tamilnadu it is a four-day festival called “Thai Pongal” usually celebrated every year from 14th to 17th January. It corresponds with Makar Sankrāntī which is celebrated throughout India. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation and gratitude to Sun God for bountiful crops and their successful harvesting. Part of the celebration is boiling of the first rice of the season as an offering to Sun God i.e. “Sūrya Mangalam”. The four day Pongal celebrations are Bhogi, Thai, Maatu and Kannuml. On “Bhogi” day, people discard old belongings and celebrate new possessions. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated to give a festive look and the farmers keep medicinal herbs, neem leaves etc in the north-east corner of each field to prevent crops from diseases and pests.

The main event, “Thai Pongal” takes place on the second day of four day celebrations. On this day, milk is cooked in a vessel and when it starts bubbling and overflowing, freshly harvested rice is added and cooked, as an offering to Sun God. The day marks the start of Uttarāyaṇa i.e. when the Sun enters the 10th house of Indian Zodiac viz. Makar or Capricorn. “Maatu Pongal” is celebrated to recognize and appreciate the cattle for providing dairy products to human beings and fertilizers, labour and transportation for agricultural operations. Cows, buffaloes, oxen are bathed, decorated and fed with mixture of Pongal, jaggery, honey, banana and other fruits. “Kannum Pongal”, the fourth day of the festival marks the end of Pongal. The word ‘Kannum’ in this context means ‘visit’. Many families hold reunions. Villagers visit relatives and friends while in the cities people gather on beaches, theme parks and gardens. The exchange of greetings and gifts take place and the joyful atmosphere prevails in all households.

Makar Sankrāntī: The sun’s entry  in Makar Rāshi and starting of Uttarāyaa is celebrated as Makar Sankrāntī or “Sankrama Parva” in Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, while it is celebrated as, ‘Uttarāyaa’ in Gujarat and Rajasthan. In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated for four days like Pongal in Tamilnadu. The fourth day here is celebrated as “Mukkanuma” for worshipping cattle. Some people also take non-vegetarian dishes on the fourth day while they do not take any non-vegetarian food during first three days of Makar Sankrāntī.

In Maharashtra, Makar Sankrāntī is celebrated not only for three days but as a Sankrama Parva it extends right up to Rathasaptamī, the 7th day of Śuklapaka of Māgh. The previous day of Makar Sankrāntī is called “Bhogi”. On this day, Bājrā rotī of Til (Bread of Pearl Millets with toppings of Sesame Seeds) is prepared and a bold dish of mix-vegetables consisting mainly of green bengal gram, carrots and various types of beans, which are the produce of new crops is prepared. On the day of Makar Sankrāntī a delicacy of “Gul Poli” (rolled Chapatti/Roti with inside stuffings of jaggery and sesame seeds) is prepared and offered in Pūjā.

During the period from Makar Sankrāntī to Rathasaptami (except the third day which is called, ‘Kinkrant’) “Haldi-Kumkum” programmes are organized and celebrated by ladies. People meet their relatives and friends and offer Laddoo made from Sesame Seeds and Jaggery with greetings for auspicious days of Uttarāyaa and for establishing re-unions and good relationships with each other. On Rathasaptami day Sun god is worshipped in the form of “Sun riding the Chariot of Seven Horses”. On this day milk is boiled in small earthen pots and allowed to overflow as an offering to Sun God. Thus, Makar Sankrāntī with extended period up to Rathsaptami is the largest festival celebrated during Sankrama Parva, while the Sun enters the Makar Rāshi.

In all these festivals the concept of Yajña is deeply rooted. The basic principle is expression of appreciation and gratitude to the nature, nature-spirits and deities for their benevolence and bounty. Sacrifice of something given by nature (Idam na mam!) for ‘Samaṣṭī Kalyān’ and ‘Mānav Kalyān’. The elements of, ‘competition’, ‘Brand building’ or ‘Conflict with Nature and others’; which are the basis of Western Approach to Agriculture or any Business activity , is totally absent here . On the contrary the concept of, ‘Sacrifice for Samddhī‘; i.e. overall prosperity, peace and happiness is very much ingrained in these festivals. Prayers for Bounty or Samddhī to Agni or Sun God are for the purpose of ‘plenty for all and sharing with all’. The concept of Yajñā in these festivals makes the fundamental difference in the Cultures.

to be continued….

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

Indian Festivals based on the Concept of Yajña (Part -I)

Sh. Anand Gaikwad

Introduction

While I was studying Varāh Mihir’s “Brihat Samhitā” and participating in the exercise of validation of his Rain conception and Rain Delivery (RCRD) theory for Monsoon -2016; the basis of Yajña concept being incorporated in some of the Indian Festivals came to my mind as a realisation. I have been thinking about it ever since the publication of the report about this validation exercise in Asian Agri-History Journal 2018 Vol.22 (2), the International Quarterly Journal of Asian Agri- History Foundation. My association with late Ashwamedhayaji Shri Nanaji Kale for  validation of Suvrushti  Project and RCRD Theory for Monsoon 2016, was a wonderful experience for me; particularly for understanding the greatness of our Ṛśis in theorizing their observations  of nature, environment, atmospheric order and the  Cosmological  System consisting of Sun, Moon, Planets and Nakṣatras. One marvels at the wisdom and expertise in interweaving these theories in social and cultural life for the common benefit of mankind.

All of us are familiar with the Indian Monsoon. The word Monsoon has its origin in Arabic word, ‘Mausam’ which means ‘season’. The word which was originally referred to wind reversals in the Arabian sea, has come to mean the whole range of the phenomena associated with the annual weather cycles in tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Australia and Africa. Therefore, the study of Monsoon weather patterns is of great importance for every Indian farmer, every student of Environmental Science and for that matter every Indian citizen, because Monsoon is the life-line of India. According to world climate patterns and regional geography of Asia and India, Monsoon climate patterns are characterized by large scale seasonal reversals of winds, giving very distinct seasons, ’Summer’ and ‘Winter’. In summer moist air is carried northwards from the Indian Ocean over the Indian sub-continent bringing rains. In winter, cool dry weather is carried southwards. Thus, the year gets divided into wet and dry seasons. In addition a short North-East Monsoon affects the south-east coastal states of India due to winds bringing moisture from Bay of Bengal. The Summer Monsoon arrives in southern India in late May or early June and gradually advances northwards and westwards reaching Jammu-Kashmir, Pakistan by early July. It begins to retreat from north western regions and Pakistan by September and withdraws from south India by November. This pattern of advancement and withdrawal gives Indian sub-continent its characteristic seasonal rainfall pattern which is called Indian Monsoon.

Our great Ṛśis and seers during Vedic Period and Post Vedic Period had studied these weather patterns and encapsulated their findings in scriptures like , “ Brihat Samhitā“ of  Varāh Mihir, “Arthaśastra“ of Kautilya  and “Kṛśi Parashar“ of  Parashar. In addition to these examples of the Science of Rainfall Prediction and Rain Conception Signals, there are many ancient texts of Astrometerology of Vedic traditions like –Parashar Samhitā, Garg Samhitā, Kashyap Samhitā, Maghmala Samhitā, Narad Samhitā etc. which have been mentioned in the reports/ books published by Shri Yogiraj Ved Vidnyan Aśram, Barshi, Dist. Solapur Maharashtra, (Vedaśram) founded by late Ashwamedhayaji Shri Nanaji Kale mentioned above. Vedaśram carried out various experiments of, Suvrushti Projects and Validation of Varāh Mihir’s RCRD Theory by performing Somyāgas, Parjanya Yāgas for establishing scientifically the relationship between Yajñas, Agriculture, Environment and Rainfall.

Varāh Mihir’s Theory of Rain Conception and Rain Delivery ( RCRD):

Varāh Mihir in his, “Brihat Samhitā” gives his theory of Vṛśṭi Garbhadhārana (Rain conception) and Vṛśṭi Prasav (Rain delivery). Chapters 21 to 28 of this book are devoted to this subject-matter. Before laying down his theory, Varāh Mihir explains the importance of the knowledge of Rainfall Prediction, Rain Conception Signals and Rain Delivery at the beginning of chapter 21 entitled “Garbh Lakṣaṇam” (Pregnancy of clouds) in the first verse as follows:

अन्नम् जगत: प्राणा: प्रावृट्कालस्य चान्नमायत्तम् |

यस्मादत: परीक्ष्य: प्रावृट्काल: प्रयत्नेन् ||१||

Annam Jagataḥ Prāṇāḥ Prāvṛṭkālasya Chānnamāyattam  I

Yasmādataḥ Parīkṣyaḥ Prāvṛṭkālaḥ Prayatnen  II1II

It means that as the food is life-giving and life-sustaining force to all living beings and the food is dependent on rainfall (Monsoon) it should be observed, investigated and studied carefully. In India only 35% of the cultivated land is an irrigated land, which means that almost 65% is rain-fed area, which is entirely dependent upon Monsoon. Hence farmer’s knowledge about Rain Conception Signals and Rainfall Prediction is of great significance.

केजिद्वदन्ती कार्तिक शुक्लान्तमतीत्य गर्भदिवसा: स्यु: |

न च तन्मतं बहुनां गर्गादीनां मतं वक्ष्ये II II

Kejidvadantī Kārtika Śuklāntamatītya Garbhadivasāḥ Syuḥ  I

Na Cha Tanmataṁ Bahunāṁ Gargādināṁ  Mataṁ Vakṣye II5II

Thus, some sages say that the days of pregnancy of clouds begins after the full moon of Kārtika month but the opinion is not shared by the majority. Therefore he further says:

मार्गशिर: सितपक्षप्रतिपत्प्रभृति क्षपाकरेआषाढाम् |

पूर्वा वा समुपगते गर्भाणां लक्षणं ज्ञेयम् ||||

Mārgśiraḥ Sitpakṣapratipatbhṛti Kṣapākareāṣāḍhām I

Pūrvā Vā Samupagate Garbhāṇāṁ Lakṣaṇaṁ Jñeyam II 6 II

The symptoms of pregnancy of clouds are to be detected / observed when Moon transits Purvāśāḍha asterism commencing from the first day of Mārgaśirsya. Varāh Mihir’s prime RCRD Theory is stated in verse 7 :

यन्नक्षत्रमुपगते गर्भश्चंद्रे भावेत्स चन्द्रवशात् |

पन्चनवते दिनशते तत्रैव प्रसवमायाति || ||  

Yannakṣatramupagate Garbhaśchandre Bhāvetsa Chandravaśāt I

Panchanavate Dinśate Tatraiva Prasavmāyāti  II7II

The rain-foetus formed during the Moon stay in a particular asterism (Nakṣatra) will be born 195 days (192 calendar days  + or – one day ) later at the time when the Moon will be again in the same asterism according to the laws of her revolution (Moon Cycle). Thus, the RCRD Theory of Varāh Mihir in simple words is that rain conception takes place during dry period (Mārgaśir to Chaitra).The rain conception signals can be observed from the first day of Mārgaśir till Chaitra Māsa. The rain-foetus conceived during this period will give rain delivery after the gestation period of 195 days (approx. six and half months later) at the time of same asterism when the foetus was conceived. The various rain conception signals to be observed are given in other verses and depending on the rain conception signals observed the rain delivery after the gestation period of 195 days  can be predicted . One can prepare a local calendar of rainfall prediction and validate the same with actual rainfall on those days. A farmer can plan his agricultural operations based on this local Agro-climatic calendar.

The relationship of Yajña with Agriculture and Environment :

When one reads the RCRD Theory of Varāh Mihir along with the gospel truth given in Bhagavadagītā Chapter 3 Śloka 14:

अन्नाद् भवन्ति भूतानि पर्ज्यन्यात् अन्नसंभव: |

यज्ञात् भवन्ति भूतानि पर्ज्यन्या: यज्ञ: कर्मसमुद्भव: ||३.१४|| 

Annād bhavanti bhutāni parjanyāt Annasambhavaḥ I

Yajñāt Bhavanti Bhutāni Parjyanyāḥ Yajñaḥ Karmasamudbhavaḥ  II3.14 II

One leads to logical conclusion that Yajñas be performed during the dry period to facilitate rain conception and rain-foetus nourishment during the gestation period. This very concept has been incorporated in our festivals which are based on Yajña/ Havans starting from Durgā Navrātri in Aświn to Rāma Navmī in Chaitra and Akaya-Ttīyā in Vaiśākha. The deities worshipped are Ādi Śakti, Puruśa, Śiva, Agnī and Surya and the offerings are preparations of cereals and pulses of newly harvested crops. Our Ṛśis have interwoven these festivals which are based on ’Suryōpasana’ and ‘Agniupasana’ in our cultural system for celebration / participation by masses.

(to be continued…..)

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

सर्वरूप अटल : हम सब अटल, हम सबमें अटल

Alok Dwivedi

-Alok Kumar Dwivedi

अटल जी का व्यक्तित्व एवम् जीवन

अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी निहसंदेह भारतीय लोकतंत्र के प्राणपुरुष रहे। ग्वालियर में जन्मे अटल जी को कवि हृदय अपने पिता जी से विरासत में प्राप्त हुई। अटल जी के सम्पूर्ण जीवन में उनका द्रवित कवि हृदय प्रवाहमान रहा। आजकल प्रशासन में नैतिकता की विवेचना करते हुए जो सर्वप्रमुख गुण बतलाया जाता है वह है- ’सम्वेगात्मक बौद्धिकत’ अर्थात् प्रज्ञा और हृदय का सम्मिलित शासन। इस अवस्था में हृदय (भावनाओं) का निर्णयन में महत्वपूर्ण स्थान होता है। भारत में प्रधानमंत्री के रूप में अटल जी अपने इसी गुण के लिए अजातशत्रु के रूप में भी सम्बोधित किए गये। समाजिक व्यक्ति के जीवन में किस प्रकार से बदलाव लाया जाय, उनके जीवन को किस प्रकार से ख़ुशहाल किया जाय, लोकतंत्र में उनकी आवाज़ को सड़क से लेकर संसद तक किस प्रकार से गतिमान किया जाय ये सारी बातें ही अटल जी के अटल अंतस में प्रवाहित होती रहती थी। इसे मूर्त रूप प्रदान करने हेतु अटल जी ने अपना सम्पूर्ण जीवन तपस्या रत रखा। अटल जी का जीवन इतने आयामों को संजोये रहा है कि उनके महाप्रयाण कर जाने पर लोग उनके जीवन के एक-एक पक्ष को अपने में प्रतिबिम्बित होते देख रहें हैं। माता-पिता के प्रति सम्मान का भाव रखने वाला व्यक्ति अटल जी के बचपन में अपना बचपन देख रहा है, पिता से मित्रवत रहने वाला बालक अटल जी के कॉलेज के दिनो में उनमें ख़ुद को देख रहा है क्यूँकि अटल जी कानपुर के डी०ए०वी० कॉलेज में लॉ की पढ़ाई में अपने पिता जी के ही साथ एक ही कक्षा में पढ़ते थे और मित्र की भाँति हॉस्टल के एक ही रूम में रहते थे। पत्रकार अटल जी में पत्रकार देखते थे क्यूँकि प्रारम्भिक दौर में अटल जी पत्रकार थे। छात्र राजनीति में भी अटल जी कॉम्युनिस्ट छात्र विंग एस॰एफ०आई॰ से जुड़े रहे तो छात्र राजनीति में रुचि रखने वाले भी उन्हें अपने आदर्शों में मानते रहे हैं। राष्ट्रप्रेम के भावों से ओतप्रोत हो स्वाधीनता, स्वाभिमान और लोकतंत्रात्मक मूल्यों हेतु राष्ट्रीय महत्व के आंदोलनों में सक्रिय भागीदारी करने वाले लोग अटल जी में ख़ुद को प्रतिबिम्बित मानते हैं। 1930 के दशक के मध्य में अटल जी ने राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ में सक्रिय रूप में जुड़कर स्वतंत्रता आंदोलनों में भागीदारी दी। उन्होंने इस दौरान विभिन्न छात्र संगठनों के छात्रों को स्वतंत्रता आंदोलनों में भागीदारी सुनिश्चित की। आंदोलनों में सफलता या असफलता के पश्चात् किसी संगठन से वैचारिक स्तर पर मतभिन्नता होने पर नए संगठन की आधारशिला रखने वाले लोग अटल जी में अपना यह रूप देखते हैं। स्वतंत्रता प्राप्ति के पश्चात् कश्मीर के मुद्दे पर विचारों की सहमति न होने पर डॉक्टर श्यामा प्रसाद मुखर्जी ने जब जनसंघ की नींव डाली तो अटल जी इसके संस्थापक सदस्य रहें। जो लोग अपनी कार्यक्षमता से किसी-किसी के दिल में विशेष स्थान बना लेते हैं वे लोग  भी स्वयं को अटल जी में देखते हैं। अटल जी की कार्यशैली से अत्यंत प्रभावित होकर पंडित दीनदयाल उपाध्याय जी ने उन्हें संसद सदस्य बनाने हेतु तीन जगहों से लोकसभा का उम्मीदवार बनाया था अपनी कार्यशैली से विरोधियों को भी आत्ममुग्ध करने की शैली रखने वाले अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते है । यद्यपि नेहरू जी के प्रधानमंत्री रहते हुए संसद में अटल जी कांग्रेस की नीतियों के प्रखर आलोचक रहे परन्तु उनकी वाक्शैली, कार्यक्षमता और जनहित के मुद्दों को प्रभावी रूप से उठाने से मुग्ध होकर नेहरू जी ने एक बार विदेश से आए प्रतिनिधिमंडल से इन्हें मिलवाते हुए कहा था कि यह लड़का भविष्य में इस देश का प्रधानमंत्री बनेगा। हिंदी, हिन्दू और हिंदुस्तान में आस्था रखने वाले लोग भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं जनता पार्टी की सरकार में विदेश मंत्री के रूप में संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघ में भारत का पक्ष रखते हुए अटल जी ने अपना भाषण हिन्दी में देते हुए आपातकाल के पश्चात् भारत में हुए लोकतांत्रिक स्थिरता को मज़बूती से लोगों के सामने रखा। अपनी कविता “हिन्दू तनमन हिन्दू जीवन” में हिंदुत्व के बारे में श्रेष्ठ प्रतीकों का प्रयोग कर हिन्दुत्व का विचार दृढ़ किया। जीवन जीते हुए अपने स्वाभिमान और अपने विचारों से कभी समझौता न करने वाले भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। अटल जी ने जब भारतीय जनता पार्टी की स्थापना की तो संसद में इसके मात्र दो सदस्य थे परंतु अपनी राष्ट्रवादी विचारधारा और स्वाभिमान के आत्मबल से जन सरोकार के मुद्दों को निरन्तर प्रभावी रूप से सदन के पटल पर रखते हुए एक दिन सबसे बड़ी पार्टी के रूप में सामने आए और दुनिया  सबसे बड़े लोकतंत्र में सरकार बनाकर यह दिखा दिया कि यदि जीवन में निरन्तर हम नैतिकता के पथ पर चलते हैं तो निश्चित ही एक दिन सफलता ज़रूर प्राप्त होगी। व्यक्तिगत और सार्वजनिक जीवन में नैतिकता और मूल्यों को आत्मसात करने वाले लोग भी अटल जी के जीवन के एक पक्ष में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। जब संसद में सरकार को बचाने के लिए एक सदस्य की आवश्यकता थी तब भी ख़रीद फ़रोख़्त की राजनीति से ख़ुद को दूर रखते हुए अपने आदर्शो से समझौता न करते हुए विपक्ष में बैठना स्वीकार किया। १३ दिन के अल्पकालिक सरकार के गिर जाने पर अटल जी के संसद में दिए गये भाषण को लोकतंत्र के श्रेष्ठ राजनीतिक मूल्यों का आप्तवाक्य कहा जाए तो कोई अतिशयोक्ति नहीं होगी। संसद में भाषण के दौरान अटल जी ने कहा था कि “सरकारें आएंगी-जाएंगी, पार्टियां बनेंगी-बिगड़ेंगी पर यह देश रहना चाहिए…इस देश का लोकतंत्र अमर रहना चाहिए….” इन मूल्यों के साथ अटल जी राजनीति में आगे बढ़ते गये। समाज में वे लोग जो आपसी साझेदारी और सहयोग से किसी साध्य की तरफ़ गति करने को श्रेयस्कर मानते हैं वें भी अटल जी में स्वयं को देख सकते हैं। अटल जी ने लगभग २५ पार्टियों को साथ मिलाकर केंद्र की सरकार को सफलतापूर्वक नेतृत्व प्रदान किया यह स्वयं में अद्भुत रहा। इस दौरान देश के जनहित के मुद्दों को भी अटल जी ने सामंजस्यपूर्वक हल करने का प्रयास किया। कवि जो जीवन और जगत की यथार्थता को प्रकट करते हुए अपनी बातों में भविष्य के अंकुर प्रस्फुटित करता है वह भी अटल जी में स्वयं को देख सकता है। अटल जी विशाल हृदय वाले कवि जो जनसामान्य के अंतस के भावों को शब्दों के द्वारा प्रकट कर शासनसत्ता पर बैठे लोगों को उनके कर्तव्यों के निर्वहन हेतु प्रेरित करते रहे। अटल जी की ख़ूबी यह रही कि जब उन्होंने ख़ुद शासन सत्ता की बागडोर सम्भाली तब उन्होंने ख़ुद को भी काव्य के माध्यम से अपने कर्तव्यों और दायित्वों का बोध कराना जारी रखा। जो लोग एक कुशल प्रशासक के रूप में हैं वे भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। अटल जी दूरदर्शी प्रशासक थे और प्रशासन में सम्वेगात्मक बौद्धिकता को अत्यंत महत्व देते थे। वे अपने पड़ोसियों से सम्बंध को सुधारने के पक्षधर थे और इस क्रम में पाकिस्तान के लाहौर तक मैत्री बस सेवा को प्रारम्भ कर वहाँ स्वयं गये और मित्रता का हाथ बढ़ाया परंतु वहीं दूसरी तरफ़ जब पाकिस्तान ने कारगिल पर हमला किया तो सेना का साहस बढ़ाते हुए भारत के पराक्रम और शौर्य को कम नहीं होने दिया। अमेरिका की तमाम पाबंदियों के बावजूद पोखरन परीक्षण विश्व पटल पर भारत की उपस्थिति का आभास कराया। सर्व शिक्षा अभियान “सब पढ़े सब बढ़े” और स्वर्णिम चतुर्भुज योजना उनकी दूरदर्शिता को प्रकट करती है। एक प्रशासक के रूप में अटल जी पंडित दीन दयाल जी के अंत्योदय के विचार को आत्मसात करते हुए नीति निर्माण करने और उसको मूर्त रूप प्रदान करने को सदैव प्राथमिकता देते रहे। एक प्रशासक के रूप में वह समावेशी विकास के पुरोधा माने जाते हैं।

Atal ji

अटल जी की विचारधारा

लोकतंत्र के प्रहरी अटल जी में स्वयं की दूरदर्शी राजनीति को प्रतिबिम्बित पाते हैं। एक बार संसद में केवल दो सदस्यों के होने पर कांग्रेस द्वारा उपहास करने पर अटल जी ने कहा था कि “आज आप लोग हमारी संख्या बल पर हँस रहें हैं, एक दिन ऐसा आएगा जब केंद्र सहित अन्य सभी राज्यों में हमारी सरकार होगी, हम सत्ता पक्ष में होंगे और आप विपक्ष में होंगे“। इस दृष्टि से अटल जी काल के चक्र घूर्णन को शाश्वत मानते थे। आज जो देश की राजनीतिक दशा है वह उनकी बातो को यथार्थ धरातल प्रदान करती हैं।

वैदिक मूल्यों के पक्षधर  ’अटल जी’ 

अटल जी इस प्रकार अन्य से भिन्न रहे। एक प्रखर राष्ट्रवादी के रूप में वह भारतीय संस्कृति और मूल्यों के उत्थान हेतु सदा प्रतिबद्ध रहे। सामान्यतः यह देखा जाता है कि राजनीतिक लाभ के लिए लोग जाति, धर्म, पंथ इत्यादि के आधार पर समाज को विभक्त करते हैं और अपना लाभ लेने की कोशिश करते हैं पर अटल जी सदा मूल्यों से युक्त राजनीति के पक्षधर रहे। मूल्य वैदिक परम्परा का आधार स्तम्भ रहा है और जब भी व्यक्ति अपने विचारों और कार्यों से मूल्यों के संवर्धन में योगदान करता है तो निश्चित ही वह कहीं न कहीं वैदिक परम्परा का ही संवर्धन करता है। वैदिक सभ्यता के इतिहास के लगभग 5000 वर्ष से अधिक के राजनीतिक इतिहास में सदा ही एक महत्वपूर्ण बात रही कि यहाँ राजनीति का धर्म रहा है, धर्म की राजनीति नहीं रही।अटल जी ने अपने कार्यों और व्यवहार से सदा ही राजनीति के धर्म की वकालत की जिसका ध्येय वाक्य रहा कि समाज में सदैव ही बिना किसी भेदभाव के समाज के समस्त वर्गों के हितो का संरक्षण करना और साथ ही समाज के वंचितो और पिछड़े तबक़ों के उत्थान के प्रयास किया जाय। एक समय देश में ऐसी स्थिति आयी जब लोग बच्चों के प्राथमिक स्तर की शिक्षा से अपने दायित्वों से विमुख होने लगे। इसके परिणाम स्वरूप देश में प्राथमिक स्तर के बच्चों में स्कूल छोड़ने की संख्या में व्यापक बढ़ोत्तरी हुयी। निश्चित ही किसी देश के लिए यह एक काफ़ी विमर्श का विषय होता है। अटल जी जैसे कवि हृदय को काफ़ी व्यथित करने वाली बात थी। इस संवेदना को महसूस करते हुए अटल जी ने शिक्षा के अधिकार को मूल अधिकार अधिकार माना। इसे मूल कर्तव्य की श्रेणी में भी डाला गया। इसके परिणामस्वरूप प्राथमिक स्तर की शिक्षा में बच्चों की संख्या में काफ़ी सुधार हुआ। भारत को परमाणु शक्ति बनाने के सम्बंध में अटल जी का संसद में यह सीधा वक्तव्य था कि देश को अपने सुरक्षा मानकों को लेकर सदा सचेत रहना चाहिए और हर प्रकार से सदैव तैयार रहना चाहिए। पड़ोसियों को लेकर भी अटल जी काफ़ी उदार रहे। वह सदा ही कहा करते थे कि पड़ोसियों से सम्बंध मधुर रखना एक कुशल रणनीति का हिस्सा है क्यूँकि पड़ोसी बदले नहीं जा सकते। इसी आधार पर उन्होंने पाकिस्तान से सम्बंधो को नया आयाम देते हुए भारत पाकिस्तान मैत्री बस सेवा भी शुरू की पर जब पाकिस्तान ने कारगिल पर आक्रमण किया तो उसका भी मुँहतोड़ जवाब देने से बाज़ नहीं आए।

अटल जी का महाप्रयाण अटलसत्य मृत्यु को साहचर्य प्रदान करने जैसा है। जिस प्रकार से संस्कृत का यह प्रसिद्ध श्लोक है-

   “ ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥”

अर्थात् वह जो दिखाई नहीं देता है, वह अनंत और पूर्ण है। यह दृश्यमान जगत भी अनंत है। उस अनंत से विश्व बहिर्गत हुआ। यह अनंत विश्व उस अनंत से बहिर्गत होने पर भी अनंत ही रह गया। इसी प्रकार अटल, अटल मृत्यु से समागम कर अटल सत्य ही रह गया। ना ही कुछ ह्रास हुआ ना ही कुछ वृद्धि हुई।

-Alok Kumar Dwivedi, Research scholar, Department of Philosophy, University of Allahabad