Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Samvad 1 November 2014

Samvad Kartik Shukla 9, Vik. Samvat 2071. Yugabda 5116: November 1, 2014

1. FESTIVALS: Dhanu Sankranti 



















20.  SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas; Visitors



1. FESTIVALS: Dhanu Sankranti is the sankranti (transmigration of sun from one rashi – constellation to another) related to Dhanu rashi and occurs on 16th December.

It is celebrated as Dhanu Yatra - a colourful festival related to Bhagwan Krishna's visit to Mathura,  at Bargarh, Odisha. Different acts of puranic descriptions are performed at specific locations and the spectators move from place to place with the action to follow the performance. During this festival the Bhagwan Krishna is offered sweetened rice flakes which are specially prepared in a Conical shape.

Dhanu is also name of the month in the Malayalam Calendar. Women celebrate Thiruvathira in this month. Thiruvathira is supposed to be the birthday of Bhagwan Shiva. Married women and girls do 'upavasa' (fasting) on that day, and sing and dance. Girls pray to Lord Shiva to get a good husband while married women pray for the longevity of their husbands. -- Go Top


2.  1.6 LAKH SEVA PROJECTS RUN BY RSS: "Seva – Service is an integral part of sangh work and it was natural that sangh workers came forward to help fllod affected people in Jammu and Kasmir" said RSS sarkaryavaha Bhayya ji Joshi at the press meet on 20th October at Lucknow where a 3-day meeting of its Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari mandal was held. He added that over 1.6 lakh service projects are being run by swayamsevaks all over the country in rural, tribal and urban slum areas. Replying to a question on the issue of Ram mandir, he said, "Ram Temple exists in Ayodhya and people worship there daily. The only issue is to make it a grand temple. As the matter is in the Supreme Court, hence, the Centre should try to remove the hurdle and fulfil the promise made to the people during the elections," He claimed that more than 1.25 lakh youth have joined the organisation last year.  -- Go Top


3. BHARAT LAUNCHES THIRD NAVIGATION SATELLITE: Bharat's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C26) lifted off with aplomb from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota at 1.32 a.m. on 16th October and precisely put the Bharatiya navigation satellite, IRNSS-1C into its perfect, pre-designated orbit. This was the 28th successful launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

The IRNSS-1C, the third of the seven navigation satellites in the Indian Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), has wide-ranging applications in terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation. From vehicle tracking to fleet management and from disaster management to mapping, the satellite extends services to its clients.

The IRNSS-C1 carried two types of payloads, one for transmitting navigation service signals to the users and another consisting of a C-band transponder to facilitate Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.

The first two satellites in the series, IRNSS 1A and IRNSS 1B were launched from Sriharikota on July 1 2013 and April 4 this year respectively.  -- Go Top


4. NANAJI BROUGHT INTEGRAL HUMANISM IN ACTION:  "Nanaji's thinking was out of box, he always tried to do something extra, beyond his given responsibility. Whatever he did he did with some value addition. He always insisted on 'self-sufficiency' approach. Optimum utilisation of local resources was the basis of his vision. He perfectly blended universal science with local technologies," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while releasing a book on Nanaji Deshmukh in New Delhi on October 11, the 98th birth anniversary of Nanaji.

RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale, veteran Sangh Pracharak Shri Madan Das, DRI president Shri Virendrajeet Singh and general secretary of DRI Shri Bharat Pathak also shared the dais. Many distinguished personalities including RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, former deputy Prime Minister Shri LK Advani, Governor of Guajrat Prof. Omprakash Kohli, etc were present at the jam-packed Vigyan Bhavan.

Speaking on the occasion Dattatreya Hosabale said, Nanaji brought 'Integral Humanism' propounded by Deendayalji in action. "When people are looking for models of development on Bharatiya values the one created by Nanaji are the living examples.   -- Go Top


5. BHARATIYAS CELEBRATE DESI FESTIVALS IN DENMARK: Vijayadashmi was celebrated by Bharatiyas in Copenhagen on September 28 in a traditional way, thanks to the efforts put in by members of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)-Denmark. The most interesting part of these celebrations was the play: Ramleela. Done with very few props, the characters were able to convey Lord Rama's story to the audience.

"The programme was designed for all age groups and involved a drawing contest based on Ramayana characters and a discussion on the main characters of Ramayana. There were 15 people in the play and we spent more than four weekends preparing for it," said Hemant Dubey, one of the active members of HSS-Denmark.

Dattatreya Hosabale, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's joint general secretary, had travelled to Copenhagen from Bharat to attend the Vijayadashmi celebrations. "He spoke on the significance of Vijayadashmi as well as key learnings from Ramayana for an hour, before ending it with a moral for the children. 

Apart from this event, many other events were also organized by different Bharatiya communities. Bharatiya Mandir in Copenhagen organised Ravana Dahan, where a small effigy of Ravana was burnt to ashes. The Gujarati community played Garba at another event on September 27. The Bengalis organised Durga Puja on a grand scale. On October 4, the newly formed Telangana Association of Denmark also celebrated Dasara and Telangana state's biggest festival, Bathukamma.   -- Go Top 



The 1000th year of coronation of renowned King Rajendra I of the famous Chola Dynasty of Bharat is a matter of great pride and inspiration to all of us. Crowned in 10I4 CE, King Rajendra I had his rule extending not only from the banks of river Ganga to the whole of Southern Bharat but also up-to Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. By virtue of his well managed administration and a well organized military, trade, commerce, art, culture, architecture and sculpture flourished under his reign in this entire region.

Literature and pursuit of knowledge also flourished in his times and several books and volumes were written, both in Sanskrit and Tamil. During his rule, several grand temples and Stupas were constructed in Bharat, Sri Lanka and South East Asia which stand testimony to our living cultural heritage. It is testified from his Charter comprising 21 Copper Inscriptions with his royal insignia written in both Sanskrit and Tamil and paying obeisance at the very beginning to Lord Vishnu which are kept by Leiden University of Netherlands.

At the time of Mahmud Ghazni's attack on our north-western frontier and the turmoil of Euro-Arab conflict, King Rajendra I provided stable rule to ensure peace, prosperity and unhindered trade in the entire South East Asian Region to Bharatiyas, especially Tamil traders and their trade associations. He also established diplomatic Mission in China to promote trade.

He also set up a University for study of Vedas and other disciplines at Ennayirum. Besides ensuring political stability, in order to promote cultural unity and emotional integrity he sent his General Aryan Rajrajan to bring holy water of Ganga, ceremonially received it, mixed it with Kaveri waters and built a grand lake due to which he came to be known as  Gangai Konda Cholan  [i.e. Chola who brought Ganga].

Remembering such glorious period of our history will be inspirational to the people in the work for national resurgence. All the people of Bharat including Swyamasevaks are called upon to remind Bharat and the world about the achievement of the Chola king Rajendra for providing benign rule with all round progress in such a vast area and to ensure their support as well as participation in all the events related to this incidence.

(Statement by RSS sarkaryavaha Bhayya ji Joshi on the eve of meeting of  ABKM at Lucknow )  -- Go Top


7. DUBAI-BASED BHARATIYA-ORIGIN EYE SURGEON HONOURED IN LONDON: Dr. Vinod Gauba, Dubai-based Bharatiya-origin doctor has been conferred the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman for his contributions to healthcare. Dr. Gauba, 36, who has worked with the less fortunate and visually impaired, was presented with the award earlier this month by Baroness Verma at the House of Lords in London. He was awarded for his pioneering role in the field of ophthalmology.

 'Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman' is presented to 20 recipients selected from over 30 million Non-Resident Indians or people of Indian origin for exceptional achievements in various fields.

"With Dubai fast becoming the Middle Eastern healthcare hub, we are proud to possess a premier level of expertise and technology in the UAE, attracting patients not only from the region but from all across the globe," Gauba said. He is based at Dubai Healthcare City, a multi-specialty surgery centre for providing specialized eye care.  -- Go Top


8. STATE DEPARTMENT CELEBRATES DIWALI AS GLOBAL AFFAIR: Bharatiya tapestries, silver lamps, and traditional delicacies adorned the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room as Secretary John Kerry inaugurated the U.S. Department of State's annual Diwali celebration. He lit a diya while a Hindu priest from the Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple (SSVT) of Maryland sang Vedic hymns amidst hundreds of well-wishers, including senior administration officials, Ambassadors, and community leaders. "As we celebrate Diwali this evening, we also hail the accomplishments of the many hundreds of thousands of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jain Americans who live now all across our country in every community," said Secretary Kerry. "And we honor their faith and their traditions, and the indispensable contributions that they make every single day to our prosperity, to our freedom, and to our culture - to this new chapter of American history that they are helping to write." Kerry was joined on stage by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ambassador of Bharat, who highlighted the joyous festivities taking place around the world.

On 20th October 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron warmly welcomed British Hindu community leaders and sevaks to his residence at 10 Downing Street, with the blessing "Shubh Diwali".  At the annual Downing Street Diwali celebration, he spoke of the valuable contribution of the British Hindu community to British life, in terms of the four purusharthas (human purposes) and he spoke of the vital contribution that the Hindu philosophy of reverence for Light, encapsulated in the Diwali celebrations, had for all people of all faiths and he wished the British Hindu community prosperity and happiness.  -- Go Top


9.  BHARAT TO BUILD 1800-KM HIGHWAY ALONG CHINA BORDER IN ARUNACHAL: To counter China, Bharat is all set to embark on an ambitious road project along the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh. The proposed Indo-China frontier highway  will run parallel along the China border and will be 1,800 km long.

The proposed highway will pass through Tawang, East Kameng, Upper Subansiri, West Siang, Upper Siang, Dibang Valley, Hawai and Vijaynagar in the bordering areas. The Government has already relaxed environmental clearances for border area projects. " The construction of the road will be a huge challenge considering the rough and hostile terrain, mostly snow-fed, through which it would pass, and will be the biggest single infrastructure project in the history of Bharat with an estimated cost of over Rs 40,000 crore," Rijiju said in Itanagar.  -- Go Top


10.  BHARAT IGNORES CHINA'S FROWN, OFFERS DEFENCE BOOST TO VIETNAM: Bharat took a decisive step towards countering China's assertive poweron 28th October by committing to help Vietnam's defence modernization, a move that will resonate unpleasantly in Beijing.

After his meeting with visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Bharatiya PM Narendra Modi said , "Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important ones. India  remains committed to the modernization of Vietnam's defence and security forces. This will include expansion of our training programme, which is already very substantial, joint-exercises and cooperation in defence equipment. We will quickly operationalise the $100 million line of credit that will enable Vietnam acquire new naval vessels from India."

For the first time, Bharat sent clear signals that it may be willing to sell the Brahmos short range cruise missiles to Vietnam, a long-standing demand by Hanoi. The previous Bharatiya government was a little hesitant, citing reservations by Russia (which is a co-developer).  -- Go Top


11. MASSIVE RELIEF AND RESCUE OPERATION BY SWAYAMSEVAKS IN CYCLONE HIT AP: The cyclone Hudhud severely hit three districts of Andhra Pradesh, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. Although, the north-east monsoon affects every year the coastal areas of Bay of Bengal during October-November, this year the devastation is huge. Visakhapatnam is the worst hit city.

RSS swayamsevaks started relief and rescue operation on October 12 itself by cutting the trees fallen across the streets and clearing the garbage to facilitate the movement of people and the vehicles. RSS with its several associated organisations like Jana Samkshema Samithi, Sewa Bharati, ABVP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Vidya Kendram Educational institutions, etc, plunged into service activities from the moment they could came out of their houses.

BVK College became the centre of activity for receiving the material and disbursing to several destinations. Nearly 1,000 volunteers were engaged in the 24 hours run activity. More than one lakh water packets, 25,000 milk packets, several packets of food, bread and biscuits had been distributed in nearly 50 localities far and near in the city. Similar supplies were sent to villages of the district including the coastal fishermen villages. Several dignitaries like Minister Shri Ravella Kishore Babu, Shri Manikyala Rao, Sri Vishnu Kumar Raju MLA, Dr K Hari Babu MP, RDO and others visited the affected areas.   -- Go Top     


12.  RSS VOLUNTEERS CLEAN MOSQUE IN CYCLONE AFFECTED VISAKHAPATNAM: Volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) cleaned mosques in Visakhapatnam, after cyclone Hudhud left behind a trail of destruction when it hit the region last week.

Coordinator of Visakhapatnam region of RSS, Ram Bahadur, said that the political leaders in the country had created a wrong perception that RSS is against Muslims and Christians.

The volunteers were seen using electric saws to cut trees that were fallen inside the mosque complex. They were also cleaning the floors and removing broken glasses that were scattered everywhere. A volunteer of RSS, Kurmit Kaur, said they were merely being human.  -- Go Top


13.  WIDOWS PERFORM LAKSHMI PUJA AT KUDROLI TEMPLE: A large number of widows were allowed on 22nd October to perform Lakshmi Pooja (workship) on the occasion of Deepavali in the Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatheshwara Temple – established in the city by social reformer Narayana Guru and renovated by Senior Congress Leader B. Janardhana Poojary. Allowing widows to do the pooja is among a string of measures taken by the temple aimed at social reformation. The temple has, earlier appointed widows, a couple of them from Dalit communities, as priests.

Around 2,000 widows from Mangalore and other parts of the state participated in the programme. They were brought into the temple in a procession accompanied by beating of drums and other musical instruments.

Indira, Lakshmi and Chandravati, the three priests at the temple, performed Lakshmi Pooja that was witnessed by the large number of widows gathered in the temple. After the pooja, widows were allowed to perform 'Aarati'. The women priests sat along with idols of presiding deity on the silver chariot that was taken around sanctum sactorum by these women three times.

This is not the first time widows have been involved in the rituals. The temple believes in "One caste one religion one god" philosophy advocated by Narayana Guru. Three years ago a large number of widows performed Chandika Homa and poojas of Nava Durga idols during the Navaratri.  -- Go Top


14. BHAGINI NIVEDITA SEWA NYAS DONATES RICKSHAWS TO PAK HINDUS: Bhagini Nivedita Sewa Nyas Delhi, on 11th October provided cycle rickshaws and other basic necessary things to the Hindus who came from Pakistan. Apart from it, 25 families who came recently from Pakistan were provided with various household things like clothes, mattress, etc. Speaking on the occasion, general secretary of the Nyas Shri Mahavir Prasad Gupta assured the Hindus coming from Pakistan every possible help till they are granted citizenship in Bharat. He also applauded the support of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat Vikas Parishad and many other organisations which have been helping the Nyas in this endeavour.  -- Go Top


15.   MALAYSIAN HINDUS CALL TO SAVE CENTURY-OLD VIVEKANANDA ASHRAM: An organization of Hindus in Malaysia Hindraf recently urged the National Heritage Department of Malaysian Government to take immediate steps to protect the Swami Vivekananda Ashram at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, in Brickfields.

The century-old ashram has been earmarked for major redevelopment that will see a 23-storey residential tower with 264 units and an eight-storey car park built at the site. "Hindraf strongly urge the National Heritage Department steps in to object on the proposed development to protect and preserve this cultural heritage as part of the rich Malaysian heritage," said its chief P. Waytha Moorthy.

The statue and the ashram were built by the Jaffna Tamil immigrants in 1904 in honour of Swami Vivekananda, who visited Malaya in 1893.  -- Go Top


16. BHARATIYA ARMY'S EASTERN COMMAND TURNS 94: Army's biggest operational command - the Eastern Command - responsible for military operations along the international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Nepal, turned 94 on 31st Oct.

The Eastern Command will continue to strive for "unparalleled professional competence to ensure the highest standards of operational readiness", Lt. Gen. M.M.S. Rai, general officer commanding-in-chief, said on the occasion at its headquarters at Fort William Kolkata.

The Eastern Command was formed Nov 1, 1920, with its summer headquarters in Nainital and winter headquarters in Lucknow. The command was designated as Eastern Army in April 1942, and its headquarters moved to Barrackpore. The Eastern Command theatre consists of three distinct geographical regions - the mountainous sectors of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the north, the jungle-clad hill tracts of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya in the east and the south, and the plains of Assam and Bengal.

Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, who led the Bharatiya Army to victory in 1971 was one of Eastern Command's illustrious commanders. Besides the current army chief, Gen. Dalbir Singh and his predecessors Gen. Bikram Singh and Gen. V.K. Singh, others who have headed the Eastern Command are Gen. P.P. Kumaramanglam, Gen. A.S. Vaidya Gen. V.N. Sharma, all of whom rose to army chief.  -- Go Top


17. NATIONWIDE BLOOD DONATION CAMP OF VHP: 1 LAKH UNITS COLLECTED: In an overwhelming response to nationwide blood donation camp of VHP on 2nd November , thousands of youth donated blood across Bharat, crossing a collection of a total of 100,000 units of blood across the nation. The blood donation drive was organised by VHP and its youth wing Bajarangadal to commemorate the Golden Jubilee year of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

VHP Chief Dr Pravin Togadia inaugurated VHP blood donation drive at Karolbagh of New Delhi. 'In Karnataka 62 blood donation camps were held in which nearly 6000 units of blood collected', said VHP leader Gopal Nagarakatte.  -- Go Top


18. BHARATIYA COP WINS UN'S   FEMALE PEACEKEEPER AWARD: A Bharatiya police inspector has been named recipient of a prestigious international female peacekeeper award by the UN's police division for her "exceptional achievements" in her duty with the UN mission in Afghanistan.  

Inspector Shakti Devi of the Jammu & Kashmir Police, currently deployed in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has been awarded the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award 2014. 

Devi has been honoured for her "exceptional achievements" in leading the establishment of Women Police Councils in several parts of Afghanistan. She has also contributed to the improvement of the status of female police and has effectively helped the police of Afghanistan move towards achieving their goals of fully adopting democratic principles of policing. 

The award was delivered during the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) conference held earlier this month in Winnipeg, Canada.  -- Go Top


19.  BHARAT - BORN SCIENTIST AWARDED WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  Bharat -born Mexican scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been presented with the prestigious World Food Prize 2014 for his agricultural research that led to a remarkable increase in world wheat production building on the successes of the Green Revolution. "It is a collective achievement, rather than that of a single person," Rajaram told while accepting the award at the Iowa State University in USA. The award "honours the innovative spirit of farmers", he said adding that "without their contributions, my research wouldn't have been possible".

By crossing winter and spring wheat varieties -- which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years -- he created wheat varieties that are disease- and stress-resistant and adaptable to diverse geographical regions and climates. In 2007, Norman Borlaug called Rajaram "the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world". Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution.  -- Go Top


20.  SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag, is on a tour to Australia. Shyam Parande, secretary Sewa International is on a short tour to Mauritius. Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag, Dr. Ram Vaidya, sah samyojak & Ravikumar would reach Bharat on the occasion of World Hindu Congress in November. Visitors: Vikram Sharma – USANicola Brown – UK  -- Go Top


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Sandalwood perfumes even the axe that hurls it down! The more we rub sandalwood against a stone, the more its fragrance spreads. Burn it, and it wafts its glory through the entire neighbourhood. Such is the enchanting beauty of forgiveness in life. – Swami Chinmayananda  -- Go Top




Asim Kumar Mitra

I just cannot remember the day. But I can definitely recall that on that day Eknathji (Shri Eknath Ranade) was coming to Kolkata from Chennai by a morning flight. I went to the airport to receive him. We were heading towards Vivekananda Kendra Karyalaya. All of a sudden Eknathji asked me, "What do you think? What should I do now?"

So sudden was the question, I was taken aback. If a giant personality like Eknathji asks such a question to a most junior worker like me what should I say? I had no answer for a moment. Then I thought when Eknathji was assigned the work of Vivekananda Memorial, he was Sarkaryavah of RSS and as a Sangh swayamsevak we have been missing him. So much so, the time before the country (1971 or 1972) was also bad so I said we hardly can afford to miss you any more from the Sangh work.

It was my honest and spontaneous reply. As a seasoned 'karyakarta', Eknathji immediately read my mind and started explaining the situation. By that time the first phase of the work of Vivekananda Memorial work was over and the then President of India VV Giri had inaugurated the grand memorial of Swami Vivekananda. In a way, the job assigned by Shri Guruji to Eknathi was successfully done. Now, puting forward a question to one and all of his acquaintances was obvious. What is the purpose of setting up of a temple? Should it not become a centre of activities to fulfill the ideal of 'Serve people, serve God'?

Answer was there in the question itself. But a junior person like me failed to understand that. Because my mind was swayed by the idea that RSS is doing this job. The idea of comprehensive upliftment of the society is very much there in the fabric of RSS ideology and its work. Why then a separate organisation is at all necessary? Then Eknathji went on at length to give me a piece of his mind. I was not quite convinced. Confusion about this was prevailed in my mind for quite some time. Then I had gone through a report of Eknathji's lecture on this very subject at Bangalore and I was totally convinced by listening his point of view. Let me quote some portions of that lecture. He said:

"Some people ask, 'Could this stone-structure alone be a fitting memorial to that great patriot saint?' To them I may humbly say that I myself have never been much of a believer in merely putting stone upon stone. The real urge in the Committee workers, including me, to work out the present memorial-plan springs forth from their faith and confidence that this granite structure would not only be an abiding source of great inspiration to posterity, but should also provide a nucleus a round which, over a period, great activities which the Swamiji preached and envisaged would spring up.

"Kanyakumari is a place, which may be considered as great symbol of purity and unity. It is a meeting point of three oceans. If the Sangam at Prayag is sacred because of the mingling of the holy waters of the three sacred rivers, this holy spot is a Mahasangam where the waters of the Ganga and Sindhu, Narmada and Goda, Krishna and Kaveri ultimately meet in the form of those three oceans the Gangasagar, the Sindhusagar and Hindu Mahasagar.

The place is, in a way, a meeting point of the East and the West also Standing at the topering end of our country, at Kanyakumari we can notice the disc of the sun rising from the sea in the East and taking a dip in the sea in the West."

"It is again the meeting point of the North and the South. The Goddess Kanya stands there at the southern most tip of our land, with a garland in Her hand to meet Her Lord, Shiva, whose abode is in Kailash, in the regions of the northernmost Himalayas.

"What a unique symbol of unity and purity! I have faith and confidence that the great memorial that is taking shape at that holy spot will, in times to come, generate a powerful current of Swamiji's thought and will envelop the entire country."

This lecture of Eknathji led me to understand him from altogether a different angle. His vision was so clear at the same time so down to earth as people of Bharat were eager to accept without any hesitation and time has proved its perfectibility. I was associated with the construction of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial at the very initial stage i.e. from 1963 to 1970. I visited Kanyakumari in the year 1963 as Eknathji wanted me to go there to get first hand experience.

Eknathji used to tell one thing that the idea of setting up of a memorial for Vivekananda would be successful only when mass participation in the construction work was assured. He said, through one-rupee coupons money should be collected so that even a poor man could participate in this Mahayajna. Mrs. Kamal Basu, wife of late Jyoti Basu, former Marxist chief minister of West Bengal, collected more that eleven thousand rupees by selling One-Rupee Coupons and deposited them to Vivekananda Rock Memorial Fund.

Eknathji was a perfectionist. When the question of constructing the bronze statue came he had engaged almost all the famous and renowned sculptors of the country. While engaging them he did not give any undertaking as to whose sculpture would be set up at the memorial temple on the rock. He only said the committee which was assigned to do this work selects the statue to be set up there at the Shilamandir. In Calcutta, he engaged Shri Debi Prasad Roychoudhury who was world famous sculptor and whose sculptures of Gandhiji or Freedom Movement of India were set up there in Calcutta, Delhi, Patna and many other places. Eknathji asked me to regularly visit the house of Shri Roychoudhury to watch the progress of the work and report it to Eknathji. Whenever I went to his house, Shri Rouchoudhury used tell me, "It was a mystery that I had accepted the proposal put forward to me by Eknathji. You know this proposal itself was derogatory for me as it had put me on the same rank of other general sculptors, which I was not. But Shri Ranade must have some kind of spiritual power by which he influenced me." The fact remained that the statue made by him was not put up at the Shilamandir at Kanyakumari. But it was placed somewhere else and in that case Eknathji abided by the condition of contract rules.

Eknathji had faced two almost insurmountable hurdles. Those hurdles were put up by (1) Prof. Humayun Kabir, Central Cultural Affairs minister and (2) Shri Bhaktavatsalam, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Both were very tough personalities. How Eknathji managed those two guys is an interesting history. Recently, some 4/5 months back at a meeting held at Chhatubabur Rsjbati, retired Justice Shyamal Sen of Calcutta High Court, while mentioning the role of Chpalakanta Bhattacharya, former editor of 'Ananda Bazar Patrika' and Congress MP said Chapalababu was of great help to Shri Eknath Ranade in collecting signatures of Members of Parliament in support of constructing the grand temple of Swami Vivekananda at the rock at Kanyakumari. Eknathji was in Calcutta at that time to organise opposition against the comment of Humayun Kabir as "temple on the Rock would spoil the scenic beauty".

Swami Sambuddhananda was the General Secretary of Ramakrishna Mission at that time. He asked Debu Maharaj who was looking after the press section of the Mission to accompany with Eknathji and help him out in this campaign. The Press of Calcutta had given all out support to the cause of Vivekananda Temple at Kanyakumari.

In Calcutta the sentiment about Swami Vivekananda was tremendous. But the work started by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari under the leadership of Shri Eknathji was unknown to them. At the same time Eknathji himself was also not so much acquainted with the prominent personalities of Bengal. Hence he chalked out a unique programme of writing personal letters to all those important personalities regularly apprising them of progress of the work at Kanyakumari.

Apart from this, every time he came to Calcutta he used to meet the chief minister, Mayor of Calcutta, sometimes the Governor of Bengal and the leaders of different political parties and social organizations. Personalities like the great historian Dr. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Speaker of state assembly Keshav Chandra Basu, Principal Dr. Amiya Kumar Majumdar, Bharat Maharaj of Belur Math and several other Swamijis of Ramakrishna Mission etc. Before his visit to Calcutta, every time he used to write letters to all those expressing his desire to meet them.

I know these things because as Calcutta Representative Eknathji used to keep me informed by sending copies of those letters to me. I am fortunate enough to get to work with such a visionary as a representative in Kolkata.

(This year is the birth centenary of Eknathji Ranade. The writer is Kolkata based senior journalist)  -- Go Top


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