Diwali Tradition – by French Association of Singapore

By: Fayrouz Yataghane.

Deepavali illuminates us from September 29th to
November 6th


Deepavali also named Divali or Diwali is one of the most
important cele-bration for the Hindu community. It is
celebrated for three consecutive days with the main day
being on November 6th this year. In Singapore preparations
have started end of September in Little India but not only
there…
Deepavali is celebrating the successful fight of Rama,
considered in Hinduism an avatar of Vishnu God, against
Ravana, the demon king. Deepavali refers to the light of
the “dip”, a traditional oil lamp, that people who were
living in Ayodhya town would have placed “in rows”
for welcoming Rama’s return. That is the reason why,
according to the tradition, Indian families illuminate their
houses and streets for Deepavali.

Deepavali all over the world

Deepavali is celebrated by many generations in India and
by Hindu peo-ple all over the world, as confirms Snehal
Thaker, president of the Hindu Council of Australia – HCA.
This organization, which was established in 1998, aims to
unite the Hindu community in Australia and to promote
its culture and tradition. “The HCA has organized the
Deepavali Festival in Australia each year for the last twenty
years. In 2017, over 6000 people from different ethnic
background and ages gathered to attend the celebration.
A success due to the joined efforts of the Hindu
representatives of eight countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan,
Fiji, Bangladesh, Tibet, Indonesia and of course, Australia.”
“This year again, the HCA will organise the Festival. Due
to the large success of the Festival in the past, this year it
will take place at the Adelaide Show Grounds, to respond
to the at-tendees’ expectations in terms of space and
comfort. All is planned to welcome them, and to protect
them against the rain!” says Snehal Thak-er.

Deepavali through the generations

 

Shaheen Sivji

Shaheen Shivji is an Indian woman. She has a fifteenmonth-
old daughter and she is currently working part time
at the French Alliance of Singa-pore. She studied French at
University, back in India, and she continues to learn French
here in Singapore, where she moved to, with her husband
two years ago.
Shaheen doesn’t celebrate Deepavali for religious reasons
because she is not Hindu but Muslim. However, she
explains that this celebration is gathering Indians from all
religions. “Above the myth and the religion, Deepavali
symbolizes the Light. Lights from many different sources
and colour are flashing happily in our streets during the
Festival. For children, this period is really very exciting and
synonym of holidays and sweets! During those three days,
we prepare both savoury and sweet food to of-fer them to
our guests, family and friends. After the prayers, we launch
the fireworks, and everybody can try to make Rangoli, a
drawing de-signed with coloured powders. The women
are wearing a special Sari, particularly well decorated,
and for the men, trousers with a tunic, that depending of
its style, providing some information about the social position
of the person.”
During this period, respect and goodwill are the values
that are highlight-ed: “This moment is a large gathering for
all people, not only family”, says Shaheen.

Sujatha Sundaram is Indian and Hindu. She has been living
in Singapore since 2010. She was born in South India and
lived in North India.

Sujatha Sundram

Sujatha celebrates Deepavali each year as she was doing
back in India. According to her, it is the most important
Festival for Hindus: “We cele-brate it in every place in India,
each region in its own way: in the South, we celebrate it
in the morning, in the North, it is usually in the evening. But
there are also common points: we decorate the house, we
buy new clothes and gold jewellery. We draw Rangoli on
the floor at the entrance of our house, we make cakes for
friends and family, who are invited or visited. And in the
evening, we switch on the lights around the house and
fireworks are launched everywhere! In the past, in India,
we were a big family, living very close to each other. Now
that we are a bit more dis-persed, that event is more social
than religious. The children are still waiting for Deepavali
with great anticipation. They appreciate the conviv-iality
and the festive ambiance and of course the gifts!”

Deepavali through the flavours

Manjunath Mural

La Gazette pushed the doors of the Michelin Star Restaurant
“The Song of In-dia” to meet its famous chef, Manjunath
Mural. He offers to share the Deepavali delights through a
special menu, as a trip across India…

What do you propose for Deepavali celebration?

I’ve prepared a 4-course set menu specially for the
occasion. As per our mis-sion “Journey Through India”, the
menu highlights the specialities of each region all over India –
from North, South, East to West. Of course, no cel-ebration
is complete without enjoying the traditional Indian Mithai
sweets which are a symbol of goodwill and friendship.
Where does the celebration of Deepavali come from?
The origin of the Deepavali festival most likely started out as
a fusion of har-vest festivals across ancient India.

How does the Indian/Hindu community usually celebrate
Deepavali?

Deepavali, or Diwali symbolises light triumphing over
darkness. We Indians of-ten celebrate by decorating our
homes and offices with bright lights and can-dles and
setting off fireworks displays. Of course, we also have our
Mithai sweets that we will give to our friends and family.

What do you aim to share with people through your
cooking?

My philosophy has always been to present a Journey
Through India, that is why the food served at The Song of
India is inspired by traditional recipes from North, South,
East and West India.

Could you tell us about your personal experience as a
chef? And the way that has lead you to the cooking?

During my training in India, I had the chance to meet and
learn from these two chefs both women were originally
from Thailand. While observing them, I was so impressed
with their passion for food and the respect they earned
from the guests and team. It made me realise that this
profession is full of respect and passion and it was at

that moment that I decided to become a chef. My guests are
my motivation. I’m always inspired to create new exciting
dishes that will keep them coming back for more.
Restaurant: The Song of India: 33 Scotts Road 228226
www.thesongofindia.com
Special Deepavali menu available from 3rd to 10th of
November 2018

Deepavali in Singapore

Deepavali Festival in Singapore will mainly take place
in Little India from September 29th to November 6th with
many highlights that should not be missed!
Find more information on the website https://www.littleindia.
com.sg, in-viting you to live the Deepavali experience.
“Head to Little India where the streets are transformed
into a fantasyland of colourful arches and stunning lights.
Wander through the bazaars with their glittering gold and
gems, exquisitely embroidered saris and gleam-ing golden
oil lamps. Inhale the scent of marigolds, roses and jasmine,
thickly braided into lush floral garlands mingling with the
perfume of sweet incense and the fragrance of Indian
spices and Ayurvedic mas-sage oils …”
Let’s just admit it: we are tempted!

Fayrouz Yataghane

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Significance of Sri Sitarama Bhadrachalam

रामो रामो राम इति प्रजनामभवन् कथााः | रामभूिं जिभूद्रमे राज्यं प्रशासति ।
तनत्यपश्ु पा तनत्यफलास्िरवस्र तनर्व्नर ााः | कामवशी च पजन्र याः सखु स्पशश्र च मारुिाः ।
Sri Vaalmeeki Ramayana – Yuddha Kanda – CXXVIII. 103, 104

Under Sri Rama’s rule, people rejoiced everywhere hailing Rama ! Rama! Rama! in jubilation
and recounting his deeds; it looked as if the entire universe was infused with Sri Rama naama;
nature was always in full blossom; rains were plenty and timely; weather was pleasant with
soothing wind breeze .
***
It is of great joy and delight to let everyone know that the utsava moortis Lord Sri Rama along
with Sita Devi, and Lakshamana are, for the first time, coming to Sydney from the ancient and
famous Sri SitaRama temple of Sri Bhadrachalam which is on the banks of mighty Godavari
river. On this festive occasion two significant events are planned – SitaRama Kalyanam and
SriRama Pattabhishekam. While Sri SitaRama Kalyanam is a blessing for every household, Sri
Rama Pattatbhishekam is a blessing for entire world. Please do participate in large numbers
along with your family and your friends, praise, pray, sing and dance in the name of Sri
SitaRama and get filled with joy and happiness.

To better appreciate the significance of the event we bring you a brief blurb on the temple
town of Bhadrachalam,rom where the moortis are coming, and the significance of utsava
moortis.

About Bhadrachalam

Bhadrachalam has a unique history. The mountain Bhadra-Adri or Bhadra-achalam, from
which the place derives its name, is part of India’s gigantic mountain range popularly eastern
ghats. In treta yuga Sri Sita Rama along with Lakshmana stayed in the jungles of Dandakranya
( part of eastern ghats) as part of their eleven year vanavaasa. The mighty Godavari river and
the beautiful and bountiful dandakaranya served as his abode during the period. The
parnashala where Sita was abducted is also on the same hills. The mountains were also home
of Rishi Bhadra who worshipped Lord Rama and conducted an intense penance. Rama pleased
with Bhadra promised he would visit on the way back to Ayodhya. However this visit was not
materialized in Rama avatara’s time. However, Rishi Bhadra continued his tapas and his prayers
reminded Lord Vishnu of his promise to Rishi Bhadra. True to his nature, Lord Vishnu rushed
to his devotee in the form of Vaikuntha Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana and blessed Rishi
Bhadra and manifested themselves as moortis on the mountain. The mountain got to be known
as Bhadraachalam after the Rishi Bhadra since.

These moortis, per legend, were revealed themselves to a tribal woman named Pokala
Dammakka who was an ardent devotee of Rama. She preserved the idols and waited for the
blessed one to construct a proper temple.

That blessed was Kancharla Gopanna(1621-1680) popularly known as Bhakta Ramadasu. When
Ramadasu, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, found out about the Sri Rama moortis in the
remote tribal lands he moved heaven and earth to build temple at the Bhadrachalam temple
in 1674 AD. His devotion on Lord Rama was outpoured in 300 odd exquisite devotional songs
set in Carnatic style. Later in the century these compositions inspired in Sri Thyagaraja and
improvised on the krithi form introduced by Ramadasu.

Thus the Bhadrachalam was home to three spiritual gaints – Rishi Bhadra, Pokala Dammakka,
and Bhakta Ramadaasu. It is from this sacred site that the utsava moortis are coming to Sydney.
Significance of Utsava Moortis

According to the Shilpa Shastra ( the engineering principles of sculptures ) the moorthis in
temples are broadly classified into two – achala ( immoveable) and chala (movable). The moorti
of the principal diety is usually acahala (immovable) and is called Dhruva bera. Dhruva bera
resides in the sanctum ( garbha gruha) and is the recipient of the main worship. The chala –
bera ( movable moorthis) are of five types hence the name pancha bera. These five chala-beras
moortis are used in various ceremonial forms of worship in and around the temple.

These are:
• Kautuka (कौिकु ) bera is a miniature replica of the dhruva bera and is used in nitya (
daily) pooja
• Snapana (स्नपन) bera receives the naimittika (special occasion) poojas and
adbhishekams
• Shayana (शायन) bera receives the resting upacharas
• Utsava (उत्सव) bera receives the pooja when taken out in procession
• Bali (बतल) bera is taken out when offerings are made to gods and to the pancha bhoota
( elements)

All the above pancha bera are considered as an integral part of the main moorti – dhruva bera
and are deemed as emanating from it. These chala bera moortis in the temple that are
worshipped each day during the ritual sequences are but the variations of the adi murti. As
per shashtras each of the pancha bera map to five types of sacred vedic agnis and also
correspond to the five primordial elements – aakasha, vaayu, agni, aapah, pruthivi.

Therefore these different moortis represent unique aspects of the dhruva moorti, in various forms. The tejas of the main moorti steps into each of the chala moorti during various stages of worship. Though When worship sequences are conducted the tejas moves into kautuka and snapana and so on. The tejas takes a symbolic stride into utsava moorti and reaches us all when they are taken out in procession. On a lighter note it is said, because we are so mired in our daily vocations and have no time to time to go the temple, Lord himself comes out in procession and enquires about our well being.

All of us may not be fortune enough visit Lord Rama at Bhardrachalam, therefore make use of this splendid opportunity to pray, rejoice and submit ourselves at the feet of Sri Bhadrachala Rama who is coming for us all the way from Bharata Varsha. His mere presence is ‘jagadananda karaka’.

JAI SREE RAM

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Caste System in India and UK

An expose of Caste System in India and in UK by Karolina Goswami.

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Hindu History of Afghanistan

Hinduism today is only followed in India and small percentage of people in few other countries. But the Hindu
kingdom until 900 CE was spread to a vast area including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Yes, Afghanistan was a Hindu kingdom which was dominated by Hindus and Buddhists. The Muslim invasion of the Hindu region began as early as 980 CE when Raja Jaya Pal was attacked by Sabuktagin. During the rule of Jaya Pal, Shiva
worship was dominant in all places of Afghanistan. The places had hundreds of Shiva temples with prayers, chants on
Shiva a common site.

[Click here to read more….]

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Jalaram Bapa a saint from Virpur

A once mighty civilization that India was, it continues to produce men and women of exceptional abilities from time to time and from place to place. The land of Punjab is Vir Bhumi, land of Kerala is Punuruthana Bhumi, land of UP and Utrakhand is Dev Bhumi, land of Bengal is Reform Bhumi, land of Bihar Jharkhand is Shanti Sandesh Bhumi, land of Tamilnadu is Kalaa Bhumi and so on. The land of Gujarat is famous as Sant Bhumi. Each Bhumi or land or state has produced many stars in its category.

Jalaram Bapa idol at a temple in Vadodara, dressed in colorful attire on occasion of Jalaram Jayanti holding a danda and wearing a turban.
Jethwarp – Own work

Gujarat has produced many saints. One such saint of Gujarat who lived mostly in 19th century affectionately known as Bapa (meaning great Dad) started a tradition of feeding the poor, the needy and everyone else who came to him. I had gone to Virpur where Bapa was born and witnessed his open kitchen, open to all, his earthen vessel that quenches the thirst of all and a place that does not accept donations. Even after 200 years, Bapa continues to shower his blessings and money has never been a problem to serve. 

The main shrine of Jalaram Bapa is located at Virpur. The shrine is actually the house complex where Jalaram lived during his lifetime. The shrine houses the belongings of Jalaram and the deities of Rama, Sita, Lakshamana and Hanuman worshipped by him. It also has on display the Jholi and Danda said to be given by God.[5] But the main attraction is the portrait of Jalaram Bapa. There is also an actual black and white photo of Jalaram Bapa, taken one year before his death.[7]

The temple is one of a kind in the world in a way that it has not been accepting any offerings since 9 February 2000.

Jalaram Bapa popularly known as Bapa was a Hindu saint from Gujarat, India. Bapa is revered by many people around the world for his saintly qualities and his ability to work miracles but most of all he is remembered for his selfless acts of charity.

Bapa was born on 14 November 1799 in the town of Virpur near Rajkot in India. He got married to Virbai at the age of sixteen. Virbai Maa, as she is popularly known, supported Bapa wholeheartedly in his saintly duties. Bapa’s feats of kindness, his devotion to God and his miracles are well documented.

At the age of 20, after obtaining his Guru’s blessings, Bapa started his Sadavrat (‘an oath forever’), providing free food to every person, at first to sadhus (monks) but later extended to anyone who dropped in. Inspired by his insatiable desire to feed the poor and needy, many became his devotees. True to Bapa’s desire and nearly 200 years later this tradition of feeding people continues to this day in Virpur.

For his devotees this meal is now a Prasad. Virpur has become an important Pilgrimage centre in India and attracts thousands of visitors daily.

Although Bapa origins were from the Lohana community his work and influence extended to all as he considered all castes and religions equally worthy of help and respect.

Bapa died in 1881 whilst praying. He was a divine soul who worked selflessly for humanity. His deeds are inspiring millions of people to follow the path of humanity and service. His birthday (Jayanti) each year is celebrated by many thousands of people across the world. His mandirs everywhere still serve the same Prasad of “Rotla, Khichdi, Kadhi and Shaak” and preach about the completely unselfish and kind deeds of Bapa.

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Hinduism and the scientific heart – a book review

Pavan Verma of JDU has written a book on Adi Shankaracharya. His interview is very informative and is given below. Pavan Varma is a celebrated diplomat, cultural catalyst and public intellectual. His new book on the Shankaracharya throws startling light about Hinduism and its fascinating relationship with science.
 
 
 
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Europeans brought their caste system into India

By:Surinder Jain, 2nd July 2018.

It is known what the word caste used so commonly in India comes from ‘casta’ in Portuguese. In Spanish America (and many other places), racial categories were formal legal classifications. Racial categories had legal and social consequences, since racial status was an organizing principle of Spanish colonial rule.

The system of castas was more than socio-racial classification. It had an effect on every aspect of life, including economics and taxation. Both the Spanish colonial state and the Church required more tax and tribute payments from those of lower socio-racial categories.[1][2]

Spanish ideas about purity of blood (which historically also related to its reconquest of Spain from the Moors), the colonists established a caste system in Latin America by which a person’s socio-economic status generally correlated with race or racial mix in the known family background, or simply on phenotype (physical appearance) if the family background was unknown.

Other methods of categorization were based on the degree of acculturation to Hispanic culture, which distinguished between gente de razón (Hispanics, literally, “people of reason”) and gente sin razón (non-acculturated natives), concurrently existed and supported the idea of the racial classification system. Castas is a Spanish word that is used in New Mexico history to describe pueblo people and New Mexicans. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European elites created a complex hierarchical system of race classification. 

Cagots (a minority found in the west of France and northern Spain) were forced to use a side entrance to churches, often an intentionally low one to force Cagots to bow and remind them of their subservient status.[10] This practice, done for cultural rather than religious reasons, did not change even between Catholic and Huguenot areas. They had their own holy water fonts set aside for Cagots, and touching the normal font was strictly forbidden.[11] These restrictions were taken seriously; in the 18th century, a wealthy Cagot had his hand cut off and nailed to the church door for daring to touch the font reserved for “clean” citizens.[12]

Holy water font for Cagots in Oloron cathedral, Béarn

Cagots were expected to slip into churches quietly and congregate in the worst seats. They received the host in communion only at the end of a stick. Many Bretons believed that Cagots bled from their navel on Good Friday.[7]

 

A page from the manuscript Seventy-two Specimens of Castes in India, which consists of 72 full-color hand-painted images of men and women of various religions, occupations and ethnic groups found in Madura, India in 1837, which confirms the popular perception and nature of caste as Jati, before the British made it applicable only to Hindus grouped under the varna categories from the 1901 census onwards.

It is this system of “casta” that was applied by the British in India to classify Indian society into castes and then mistakenly assumed a caste (jati) to be a part of the four varnas.

(credit:wikipedia)

[Click here to read more ….]
 
and [Click here to read even more ….]
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Why sprinkle water around food before eating

Have you ever wondered why did your grand parents sprinkle water around their food before eating. Well, here is an explanation. Watch the video.

 

[Click here to read more ….]

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Why do Gods look the way they do?

By: Surinder Jain.

Hindus have many Gods and each God has his or her own form. We have Shiva sitting on an ice cold mountain top with a fountain of water (river Ganga) flowing out of the top of his head. We have Ganesh with an elephant head and Shakti shown with up to eight arms carrying weapons and gifts in each.

 

All religions have a well defined concept of The God, Their God. Not all religions however can show you what their God looks like. In fact some religions prohibit showing their God’s or their prophets form altogether going to the extent of calling such an act a heresy. In some religions it is asserted that God created Man in His own image and therefore one can deduce that reverse must be true, i.e. God must look like a man (not a woman, mind me).

By Source, Fair use, Link 

Vishnu from Bali

Vishnu from India

 

But if each religion had to follow Hinduism and depict their God in the form of a picture or a sculpture (murti), and assuming it is permitted, what would their deity look like.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scholars went about addressing this issue for Christians. If Christians had to draw a picture of God, what would it look like. Now, this is not the first time that someone has dared to draw a face and picture of a Christian God. Many historic paintings available in Churches in Europe show God as an old white male with a white beard and this is what the scholars must have been expecting to come up with.

After showing a number of different photos (very much like mug shots) to devout Christians and asking them which photo resembles their God the most, they came up with a picture of a Christian God. They found that God comes not in one but in as many forms as human aspirations or groupings.

The researchers found that American Christians see God as young, white and loving. But those with views aligned to liberals see God as more feminine, more African-American, and more loving than conservatives. They see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. But everyone in the study seemed to see God as similar to themselves.

God and anti-God

Even though American Christians ostensibly believe in the same God, people perceived God in their own way, their perceptions reflecting their political ideologies and their own personal appearance,” the researchers found. When Christian believers think about God, they perceive a form suited to meet their needs and who looks like their own selves.

If people believe they live a godly life, they’re most likely to see a god that looks like themselves, and it might explain why one person’s perception of hypocrisy of some believers, isn’t to others, basically making their view of God conform to them rather than the other way around.

So, if Christians were to make deities in their churches of Christian God (not that they would or should), they are likely to end up with as many Christian Gods as in Hinduism. 

So, next time you are teased by a non-Hindu for being a Hindu with many Gods, quote this study and tell them to try and come up with a unique universally acceptable face or form of  their own God.

[You can read more about the university study here …. MPR News]

here [NBC ….]

and here [Science Alert ….]

By: Surinder Jain.

(acknowledgements wikipedia photos)

 

 

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The Case for India by Will Durant

Book Review by : Vijai Singhal

The Case for India

This book was written by Will Durant, an American writer, historian and a philosopher in 1930 after visiting India. Given below are some of the abstracts from this book which can be freely down loaded from the Internet. The book was written without the help or cooperation by any Indian.

Will Durant had made an in-depth study of the Indian civilisation, which he declared as one of the oldest and the greatest civilizations that mankind had ever known. He went to India to see for himself but was appalled to see almost one fifth of the human race suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than anywhere on the earth. He had not thought it possible that any government would allow it’s subject to sink to that misery. The British conquest of India was an invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company utterly without scruple or principle.

Writing about the rape of a continent, he says, “When the British came, India was politically weak but economically prosperous. It was the wealth of 18th Century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France”. Quoting Sunderland, he says, “Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world existing anywhere had long been produced in India. India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia. Her Textile goods-the fine products of her looms, in cotton, wool, linen and silk-were famous over the civilized world; so were her exquisite jewelry and her precious stones cut in every lovely form; so were her pottery, porcelain, ceramics of every kind, quality, colour and beautiful shape; so were her fine works in metal-iron, steel, silver and gold. She had great architecture-equal in beauty to any in the world. She had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great businessmen, great bankers and financiers. Not only was she the greatest ship-building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea. Such was the India which British found when they came.”

The East India Company management profiteered without hindrance; goods which they sold in England for $10 million they bought in India for $2 million. The Company paid fabulous dividends that its shares rose to $32,000 a share. By 1858 the British Government took over the captured and plundered territories as a colony of the Crown. England paid the Company handsomely and added the purchase price to the public debt of India to be redeemed, principal and interest at 10.5% out of the taxes on the Hindu people. Province after province was taken over by offering rulers choice between pension and war. James Mills, historian of India, wrote: “Under their dependence upon the British Government … the people of Oudh and Karnatic, two of the noblest provinces of India, were by misgovernment, plunged into a state of wretchedness with which… hardly any part of the earth has anything to compare”.

“The fundamental principle of the British has been to make the whole Indian nation subservient… they have been taxed to the utmost limit; the Indians have been denied every honor, dignity or office”.… F J Shore testifying to the House of Commons in 1857.

“The Governments’ assessment does not even leave enough food for the cultivator to feed his family” – Sir William Hunter, 1875.

Economic destruction – The English destroyed the Indian industry. India was forced to become the vast market for the British machine-made goods. They ordered that manufacture of silk fabric must be discouraged but the production of raw silk be encouraged. A tariff of 70-80 % was levied on Indian textile while the English textile was imported duty free into India. It might have been supposed that building of 30,000 miles of railways would have brought prosperity to India. But these railways were built not for India but for England, for the British army and British trade. Similarly Indian shipping industry was ruined. All Indian goods were to be carried by British ships. There was a big drain of revenue through payment of salaries and pensions to English officials. In 1927 Lord Winterton showed, in the House of Commons, that there were some 7500 retired officials in England drawing annually pension of $17.5 million. From Plassey to Waterloo, 57 years, the drain of India’s wealth to England was computed by Brooks Adam to be 2½ to 5 billion dollars.

Social Destruction – When British came there was a system of communal schools, managed by village communities. The agents of East India Company destroyed these communities and the schools. In 1911 Hindu representative Gokhale introduced a Bill for compulsory primary education. The Bill was defeated. After British took possession of India the illiteracy rate in India increased to 93%. Instead of education the Government encouraged drinking of alcohol. In 1922 the government revenue from sale of alcohol increased to $60 million annually. There were also 7000 opium shops operated by the British government. In 1901, 272,000 died of plague. In 1918 there were 125 million cases of influenza, and 12.5 million recorded deaths.

There is a chapter devoted to Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagraha movement. Gandhi was an idealist. In 1914 when the 1st World War broke, Gandhi saw the war as an opportunity for securing Home Rule by proving the absolute royalty of India to England. India contributed $500 million to fund for prosecuting the war; she contributed $700 million later in subscription to war loans; and she sent to the Allies various products to the value of $1.25 billion. The suspension of the revolutionary movement enabled England to reduce India army to 15,000 men. The number of Indians persuaded to join the army to fight in the war was 1,338,620 which was 178,000 more than troops contributed by combined Dominions of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Indian fought gallantly but none of them were granted a commission. Nothing came of that sacrifice by the Indian people. Lord Curzon wrote: “British rule of the Indian people is England’s present and future task; it will occupy her energies as long a span of the future as it is humanly possible to forecast”.

In the later part of the book the writer has stated arguments from England’s side, for example: “if India has seen the decay of her old domestic handicrafts, it is because she rejected modern machinery and methods of industrialization; India did not exist as an entity, there are seven hundred nativ

e states, forever at war; no common language, 200 different dialects and the caste system dividing the people etc.”. Later on he debunks these claims, for example the British government has always been friendly to caste, because caste divisions make the British task of holding people in subjection easier, on the principle of “divide and rule”. They encouraged Moslem communities to gain weight against Hindu nationalism. Shifting of capital from Calcutta to Delhi was aimed to secure support of Moslems against the Hindus.

In conclusion he states: “I have tried to express fairly the two points of views about India, but I know that my prejudice has again and again broken through my pretense at impartiality. It is hard to be without feeling, not to be moved with a great pity, in the presence of a Tagore, a Gandhi, a Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, a Sarojini Naidu, fretting in chains; there is something indecent and offensive in keeping such men and women in bondage”.

Vijai Singhal

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